You can run, but you'll only die tired: Gaming's 'baddest' villains

When your best just isn't good enough

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Most Sinister

Winner: Kefka (Final Fantasy III for Super Nintendo; Final Fantasy VI for PSOne and Game Boy Advance)

Tyrants, emperors and dictators all want to rule the world. Such petty desires are beneath this Final Fantasy madman: Kefka wants to destroy the world. And the horror of this game: he succeeds.

Kefka, a general in the militant Empire, manipulates the Emperor Gestahl into unearthing arcane artifacts for personal power and glory. Along the way, Kefka deceives his own soldiers-in-arms into brokering truces he has no intention of honoring.

When a siege of an enemy castle proves too slow, he poisons the water supply, killing not just soldiers, but women and children as well. And when the artifacts' ancient magic is finally unleashed, Kefka betrays his ruler and purposely disrupts the relics' delicate balance, reducing the world into one of ruin, making him ruler of a desolate wasteland.

Such nihilistic tendencies are characteristic of the mad god Kefka becomes, making him memorable for being not evil, but psychopathic.

Runner-up: Sephiroth (Final Fantasy VII for PSOne and Windows)

Similarly lofty goals drive another Final Fantasy conspirator, but unlike Kefka, we can almost commiserate with Sephiroth: he was genetically, prenatally engineered to be a supersoldier. All he did was fulfill his destiny by trying to suck the very life out of the planet itself.

Though many a game protagonist has died a heroic death, Sephiroth is responsible for one of the most ignominious of them all. Aeris, a holy woman with the power to stop Sephiroth, was coldly assassinated by Sephiroth in a slow-motion scene that sent many gamers on futile quests to resurrect their favorite party member. Sephiroth reminded us of our vulnerability, and that, even in fantasy worlds, death is still the final word.

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