An A-Z of Evil

Probably did a lot of charity work

Heh. I just stumbled across this randomly, having had no idea it had ever gone online – a pop piece I wrote for PC Gamer last March on PC gaming’s finest villains. Well, the finest that fit easily within an A-Z list, anyway. No, your favourite villain is not in there, and yes, shame on me for the oversight. How dare I call myself a PC gamer, etc. Why don’t you mention him/her/it/them/[no suitable pronoun in the English language] below instead?

Here’s a couple of random entries:

Ethereals – as seen in UFO: Enemy Unknown

The first X-COM did a splendid job of cleverly regurgitating sci-fi tropes to create its alien races, but these creepy, floating robes turned up late in the game and shook our faith in our own abilities. Unnervingly resistant to conventional weaponry and largely attacking with psychic powers rather than the guns of other races, they were the silent masterminds of the alien invasion of Earth. When you finally managed to capture one and dissect it for research, it turned out that, underneath the Jawa chic, it was a spindly pink thing a schoolboy could rough up.

The Pope – as seen in Medieval: Total War I and II
Calm down, Catholics – no matter how much he might look like Emperor Palpatine, we’re not calling the current Pope a villain. In Medieval, however, he’s a colossal pain in the behind. Consistently spoiling your fun (if France can’t be invaded, then what’s it there for?), he makes petulant demands of his own, then punishes you if you can’t meet them in the stingy amount of time allotted. He’s often your single greatest impediment to building a mighty empire. Revenge can be had in Medieval II, where you can kill or kidnap him and a new, similarly vulnerable Pope soon pops up – enabling mass papacide in the space of just of a few turns. It’s an angry atheist’s dream.

68 Comments

  1. CrashT says:

    Doesn’t this break Godwin’s Law almost instantly?

  2. Chris Evans says:

    So that was odd, had the details of a ‘Jaxtrasi’ there instead of mine, a DB issue?

    Anyway this was a great list, going to go and enjoy reading it again :D

  3. Carra says:

    Ah yes, HK-47 sure was lots of fun.

    That and no alien like in AvP?

  4. Punjab says:

    Ha, Conroy Bumpus, that brings back memories.

    Irenicus, hell yeah!

  5. sbs says:

    Same here, Chris. Also, the “Opinion away!”-button was missing. Then the story vanished from the frontpage and turned up again just now.

    I fully expected Shub-Niggurath to be on that list. That was a brilliant bossfight, if just for the fact that you have to telefrag her to claim victory ;)

  6. sana says:

    link to img215.imageshack.us

    That was interesting!

  7. Jaxtrasi says:

    KNEEL, MINIONS!

  8. suchchoices says:

    that endless torrent of sodding popups from gamesradar is pretty evil.

    but… milkman conspiracy? the listpeople confuse evil with bloody hilarious.

  9. Jaxtrasi says:

    On a separate note, I nominate Pyramid Head as the deepest enemy on that list.

  10. suchchoices says:

    re: sana

    ah, so it wasn’t just me. what a little harlot the rps bloggo-authentication-thing is.

  11. Alec Meer says:

    Well, that little tech-apocalypse was fun. Carry on, everyone.

  12. James G says:

    I guess GLADoS would make an instant entry onto any updated list.

    Must admit, there are few bad guys that spring to mind in anything other than the ‘comic-book villain’ mould. I’m actually having difficulty in remember the last gaming bad-guy who I actually felt ‘My god, what a vile piece of work, I shall have to thwart their plans.’ GLADoS I just ended up feeling sorry for for example.

    (Phew, the site no longer thinks I’m Alec)

  13. sana says:

    You may be the real one, but I will forever remain Alec Meer in the people’s hearts!

    If I were SHODAN, I would be insulted by appearing on the list right next to a level 35 Warcraft elite abomination, my magnificence being compared with a weak bag of meat like that..

  14. Alex says:

    Out of interest, mr. Meer – how do you go about making one of these lists? We seem them pop up on sites here, there and everywhere, some are better than others – it’d be nice to get some “behind the scenes” information.

  15. Alec Meer says:

    In my case, I sat racking my brains in front of a mostly blank Word document for several hours, whilst muttering stuff like “oh god, is there /anything/ for Q?”

  16. Gene says:

    my inner evil is satisfied. great job on that list :)

  17. Kevlmess says:

    I never saw The Milkman as a villain. The Rainbow Squirts, on the other hand, were quite unsettling and clearly evil.

    Also, glad to see my brief Alec-ness has waned.

  18. Devan says:

    I nominate Dmitri Volkov from the No One Lives Forever series. I mean, he’s the head of HARM, which is the classic benchmark of evil organizations.

  19. MetalCircus says:

    That was a good fun read Alec. Cheers big ears.

    And I agree with the Dimitri Volkov nomination. In NOLF 2 he was in a full body cast which shot rockets from his foot. Class.

  20. Cooper says:

    Avatar.

    That trumped up wizard in a metal box, thinking him and his heoric limp-wristed lords can stifle my minions in the bowels of my dungeon. pah.

  21. spd from Russia says:

    Where is Sarevok from BG, where is tragic mutant Master from Fallout and the scary Encalves`s Carrigan from Fallout2? Those are some of the best written and involved villians in games.

    Glados from Portal is just a weak Shodan wanna-be/ripoff so its not worthy.

  22. Little Green Man says:

    Oh yeah I got really scared that I was actually the REAL Alec Meer and this life of going to school was just a dream in my head. Ahh… oh and apperently I am also John Walker. Crazy conspiracy theories abound.

  23. Bobby says:

    Huh, come on. Ethereals for X-Com instead of the Chrysalids? Or were they just struggling to find stuff to put under E?

  24. Ozzie says:

    Weird list.
    I have the feeling that the entry of the Milkman was just another way to mention Psychonauts again. Yeah, I absolutely adore this level, but the Milkman isn’t a villain at all. The Den Mother is, but not a particularly good one, neither anyone of the main plot. Great villains isn’t the strength of Psychonauts.

    And Ignus……well, he’s unquestionably evil and selfish, but I never felt threated by him and I was kinda sad when I had to finish him off.

    Conroy Bumpus, another weird choice.
    He’s an unquestionably dislikable country singer. He captures a Bigfoot and the giraffe girl and forces them to play in his band or they’ll receive electro shocks.
    But he doesn’t play a big role in the game. Sure, he turns up at the end again, but it’s easy to get rid of him.

    No mention of Purpure Tentacle? What an oversight!

    Hm, can’t think of any personal favorites.

    Many adventure gamers think of the villain of GK2 as a great one, though. I’m just playing it, so I can’t tell for sure, but so far he seems promising.

  25. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    I’m fine with people not remembering Fallout’s Master – even if he was much more complex than whatever “MWAHAHA” rabble passed for “deep” at the time, like Sephiroth or Sarevok, it’s understandable that he was forgotten thanks to Fallout not being as successful as other games – but it’s always interesting to see Revan being given more consideration than The Transcendant One, who was basically a more well developed ancestor of the same idea, but lost out thanks to KotOR being just like Torment, only remade for thickies.

    I’m generally speaking, though, not harping against Alec :)

  26. Ozzie says:

    GK2 = Gabriel Knight 2
    Kinda expected that everyone would know. ;)

  27. Ozzie says:

    but it’s always interesting to see Revan being given more consideration than The Transcendant One, who was basically a more well developed ancestor of the same idea, but lost out thanks to KotOR being just like Torment, only remade for thickies.

    Ehm, he’s on the list…

  28. Alec Meer says:

    A few of the entries have been heavily edited back to fit onto PC Gamer’s pages (The Transcendent One being a notable example, which is why it doesn’t entirely make sense), as I recall I overwrote the piece massively :(

  29. sinister agent says:

    Huh, come on. Ethereals for X-Com instead of the Chrysalids? Or were they just struggling to find stuff to put under E?

    Yeah, I thought the same. Psi powers were a pain in the rear, but you could largely avoid the ethereals until your soldiers were ready, and once your weaker soldiers were dead, Ethereals were largely defenceless. Chryssalids, though, were pure rampaging evil. And Lobstermen from the second one were hell on a stick, being practically invincible and chumming up with the Chryssalids’ hellish ‘flying’ cousins to boot.

    Still, made for some fun light reading, even if you do have to awkwardly resize your browser to read the 15% of the screen that isn’t flashing adverts.

  30. Pidesco says:

    All No One Lives Forever villains are conspicuously missing from the list.

    Where are Dmitri Volkov, Magnus Armstrong, Tom Goodman or the Mime King? Surely these were all better villains than half of the bad guys on that list.

  31. sinister agent says:

    Huh, come on. Ethereals for X-Com instead of the Chrysalids? Or were they just struggling to find stuff to put under E?

    Yeah, I thought the same. Psi powers were a pain in the rear, but you could laregly avoid the ethereals until your soldiers were ready, and once your weaker soldiers were dead, Ethereals were largely defenceless. Chryssalids, though, were pure rampaging evil. And Lobstermen from the second one were hell on a stick, being practically invincible and chumming up with the Chryssalids’ hellish ‘flying’ cousins to boot.

    Still, made for some fun light reading, even if you do have to awkwardly resize your browser to read the 15% of the screen that isn’t flashing adverts.

  32. Pidesco says:

    All No One Lives Forever villains are conspicuously missing from the list.

    Where are Dmitri Volkov, Magnus Armstrong, Tom Goodman, the hand puppet, the Director or the Mime King? Surely these were all better villains than half of the bad guys on that list.

  33. Pidesco says:

    The above double post is RPS’s fault.

  34. Max says:

    Hitler is the best boss ever. Are there any games other than Bionic Commando (and BC: Rearmed) and Wolfenstein 3D that have Hitler as a boss?

  35. Sax says:

    The Pig isn’t dead, as seen in the Beyong Good&Evil 2 Teaser.

  36. El Stevo says:

    Oooh, the T-Rex from Tomb Raider. It’s a shame they made it into a proper boss fight in Tomb Raider Anniversary, with a proper intro cut scene and everything, rather than having the fucker suddenly burst out of the mist.

  37. Alex says:

    I’d like to have seen Constantine/The Trickster or Karras from the Thief games, I think. Or maybe the Cradle itself, that could’ve been a good one.

  38. sinister agent says:

    Ooh, yeah, Karras out of Thief 2 was brilliant, considering you never really meet him, and he sounded like a complete tool, but managed to be an enormous threat simply through cunning and unscrupulous manipulation. And when he screeches your name over the intercom, brrr.

  39. edwardoka says:

    Karras wasn’t that effective a villain TBH. The Mechanists were pretty vile enemies but Karras sounded too much like Droopy to be sinister. I can’t see how a cult of personality could possibly form around him.

  40. luminosity says:

    Avery Marx from Shadowman is one villain I’ll always remember as being very scary to hunt down at the time.

  41. Nimic says:

    I nominate AI France in EU3. Anyone who hasn’t played it won’t know what I’m talking about. Anyone who has definitely will.

  42. sinister agent says:

    It wasn’t a cult of personality. It was a cult of … well, cult. The pope’s hardly a barrel of laughs, and most people couldn’t even name the head of the cult of scientology. You don’t need a cult of personality if you’ve got a hypnotic creed.

  43. Tim says:

    Okay, I have to admit that my favorite part was the the Empire from Elite — where Alec deftly combines “shameless slave trade,” “extreme right-wing,” and “the Confederates” — just because I’d love to see the comic books they hand out in the UK on US history. :)

  44. grumpy says:

    And Lobstermen from the second one were hell on a stick, being practically invincible and chumming up with the Chryssalids’ hellish ‘flying’ cousins to boot.

    but perhaps not as *evil* as the ethereals.
    Anyway, thanks for reminding me of those. I could deal with the lobstermen. As long as you spotted them first, they went down to a few sonic cannon rounds.
    Those flying purple broccoli stalks though… I’m gonna have nightmares tonight… Of all my soldiers being turned to zombies with purple flying broccoli monsters inside them :(

  45. No Picnic says:

    I was ticked off that Return to Castle Wolfenstein didn’t have Hitler or even Himmler as a boss, only freakin’ Rob Zombie. Of course, that would have made it difficult to write a sequel. What could be more satisfying in a video game than killing Hitler? The man was a real-life monster. id shouldn’t take the story so seriously. Who honestly cared about the story in RtcW (and wasn’t let down by it)?

    Wolf3D had it right. Killing robot-suit Hitler was one of the most memorable moments in my “career” as a gamer.

  46. Forceflow says:

    No Painkiller baddies ? Some of them really scared the poop out of me !

  47. The Sombrero Kid says:

    theres another reason why zombies are popular baddies convincingly dumb AI is easier than convincingly smart AI

  48. Smee says:

    Steinman from Bioshock. By the time I reached the final confrontation with him I wanted to absolutely murder the sick son of a bitch.

    That’s…never happened to me before.

  49. Alec Meer says:

    Actually, the Elite entry is the only one not written by me – that was Craig on Gamer, who was insistent they be featured.