Video game villains play extremely important roles in the stories in which they exist. The ones that are most over-the-top are usually the ones that are the most memorable.
Driving the conflict and motivating the protagonist, compelling villains can often make the difference between a good game and a great one. So while it’s a dirty job, somebody’s got to do it. Some villains go about it with more gusto than others, though, with more insane plans, more ridiculous aspirations, and over-the-top personalities. Here we present the craziest video game villains that tower over the rest.
1. The Joker (Batman Arkham Series)
What can anyone say about The Joker at this point that hasn’t been said thousands of times? His brand of playful insanity has remained a cultural tentpole in gaming and fiction, so for him to nab the top spot shouldn’t be much of a surprise. While we acknowledge the Batman Arkham version of the character here, any other version of him would also work just as well. From poisoning innocent citizens of Gotham to turning himself into an unstable, hulking monstrosity, it doesn’t get much crazier than the Joker.
2. Revolver Ocelot (Metal Gear Solid series)
Any great villain excels when their motivation rises to the level of psychotic obsession, and Revolver Ocelot represents a personification of just that in the Metal Gear Solid series. Holding entire countries hostage and threatening nuclear annihilation just scratches the surface of Ocelot’s rap sheet. As the Metal Gear Solid series grows, and Ocelot’s grip on his own mind slips, he’s made even more unstable as Liquid Snake’s consciousness lives within him through a severed arm. Ultimately, Ocelot becomes an unholy hybrid of both villains, forming a two-man Voltron of evil who brings the world to the brink of destruction before meeting his end in Metal Gear Solid 4.
3. Pyramid Head (Silent Hill 2)
As a literal and figurative representative of insanity, Pyramid Head rose to the level of iconic villain status after his appearance in the excellent Silent Hill 2. Without spoiling too much, Pyramid Head’s role in the story would become more complex than just being a typical villain, but he still remained a consistent threat throughout, delivering pain and anguish wherever he went. The Silent Hill series has since made him a mainstay of sorts, and now that giant triangular head of his remains just as recognizable as any other maniacal character.
4. Psycho Mantis (Metal Gear Solid)
The avalanche of craziest video game villains across the Metal Gear franchise offers plenty to pick from. From genetically enhanced super spies to borderline supernatural entities, there’s no shortage of strange scoundrels to choose from. Of the most iconic, though, Psycho Mantis deserves a major nod. As a child, Mantis learned to turn inward and focus on honing his telekinetic abilities beyond all else, turning him into a rather strange person who later wound up in Fox-Hound under the tutelage of Liquid Snake. His battle with Solid Snake would result in his death, but would also bring us one of gaming’s most memorable boss fights with flying furniture, moving controllers, and players across the world thinking their PlayStations had broken.
5. Alcina Dimitrescu (Resident Evil Village)
Consumed by power and lacking in any sort of emotional regulation, “lady” Dimitrescu ruled over her region of Resident Evil 8’s village with an iron, blood-soaked fist for some time. Her battle with Ethan Winters would result in her timely demise. Leading up to that, Ethan battled her daughters one by one before slaying Alcina in her ultimate dragon-esque form. Overhearing her unhinged phone calls and ramblings to other characters clued players in on just how unstable she could be, but nothing could prepare gamers for the unmitigated insanity of the final showdown on the rooftops of Castle Dimitrescu.
6. Steven Armstrong (Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance)
Anyone who’s played through Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance risked their own sanity by encountering the downright lunacy of Steven Armstrong. A Senator, a CEO, and a bonafide loon, Armstrong comes to blows with Raiden over their conflicting ideologies. Where Raiden largely wants society to continue improving within its current framework, Armstrong wants a massive overhaul of everything– including the very concept of law and order. Armstrong’s most memorable moment came towards the end of the campaign, where he gave a rather incoherent speech that lives on in infamy today as one of the most unhinged babblings of a villain in recent history.
7. Dr. Robotnik A.K.A. Eggman (Sonic the Hedgehog series)
While not effective with his plans, there can be no question about Robotnik’s insanity. His unwavering obsession with Sonic, his friends, and achieving world conquest should be enough to earn his spot on this list, but when combined with his treatment of defenseless animals, impractical contraptions, and constant state of unhinged mania, he becomes a shoo-in for a list like this. Robotnik’s plans never clear, and thrown together on a whim, yet his desire for power burns with a white-hot fire that refuses to die out, despite being him being shut down on such a regular basis.
8. Albert Wesker (Resident Evil series)
Albert Wesker became synonymous with villainy when the original Resident Evil took off as one of the most popular horror games ever. While much has changed about the long-running series, Wesker has remained a fixture in the lore as a contemptible antagonist with a delirious devotion to his nefarious goals. Helping develop the most destructive virus ever created and sacrificing anybody he could to proliferate its presence, Wesker’s ability and willingness to manipulate friends and foes alike while displaying callous disregard for human life elevates him to the highest levels of crazy villains.
9. Dr. Neo Cortex (Crash Bandicoot series)
Like Dr. Robotnik, Dr. Neo Cortex’s ambition rarely matches his competence. His bizarre experiments and infective plots never seem to build towards his lofty goals, but still, as irrational as it all is, he insists on continuing them. His flamboyant personality mixes with his insanity in a way that comes off as charismatic most of the time, but it’s also obvious that his megalomaniac personality can never be trusted with any real power. While he can be entertaining and even charming at times, he also provides a clear reminder of the razor-thin line between extreme intellect and extreme madness. Without a doubt, one of the craziest video game villains ever.
10. Frau Engel (Wolfenstein series)
While Frau Engel might not be a cyborg or a multi-headed freak from another dimension, she still represents the worst qualities of human nature in the Wolfenstein games. As a prominent leader in Wolfenstein’s version of the Axis party, Frau deploys every unscrupulous tactic known to man. Torturing her enemies, threatening her allies, and devoting herself to the most fanatical form of fascism ever devised, Frau became iconic for her unpredictable and ruthless nature. The irrational obsession with Blaskowicz doesn’t help things either, and as many extreme obsessions do, it leads her to her end.
11. Sarah Kerrigan (Starcraft)
As a somewhat more complex illustration of insanity, Starcraft’s Sarah Kerrigan doesn’t flaunt her psychotic tendencies as other baddies on this list. Sure, when it serves her, the insanity flows like a river, but she also has a quieter scheming side that makes her more dangerous in many ways. The Zerg Overmind changed her for the worse by removing any capacity for empathy and ensured the disarray of the Starcraft universe. Her brutality matched only by her deviousness, it doesn’t get more dangerous and crazy than Sara Kerrigan.
12. Ganon (The Legend of Zelda series)
Ganon has embodied the essence of evil and insanity for longer than many who might read this have even been alive. His dogmatic pursuit of the triforce has left him with nothing but an eternity of failures and endless enemies, and yet, he refuses to yield. This relentless personality has always been a common trait for deranged villains, and Ganon has it in spades. The endless obsession to deliver vengeance to Link and Princess Zelda also serves as an irrational motivator, and despite never achieving this goal, the malice in his heart still drives him toward it.
13. Goro (Mortal Kombat series)
As one of the most brutal characters in the history of video games, Goro boggles the mind with his extreme strength just as much as he does with his bloodthirsty, cruel sort of craziness. Whatever damage one large shokan warrior could achieve with their two arms, Goro can always double with his extra set. Holding victims still while pummeling them into oblivion can only be done so flippantly by a deranged mind, and Goro fits that bill. The violent tendencies, complete lack of empathy, and endless hunger for power of this insane character will keep him lumbering around in the nightmares of gamers forever.
14. Sephiroth (Final Fantasy VII)
Sephiroth keeps his cards close to the vest much of the time with a more calculated sort of insanity that almost makes him charming. Before anyone can empathize too much though, he’ll cross any humanitarian red line imaginable to get what he wants. As with many of the more complex villains in games, Sephiroth, at his core, suffers from several of his own issues. A fractured sense of self, a delusional superiority complex, and an unchecked ambition all emerge from time to time in his actions. But again, Sephiroth makes it impossible to feel sorry for him when his cruel and destructive tendencies reveal themselves.
15. Scolar Visari (Killzone series)
As the charismatic far-future nationalist leader of Helghan, Scolar Visari manipulates his entire nation into goose-stepping along with his xenophobic and totalitarian agenda. Right from the beginning, this madman strikes fear into the hearts of players of the first few Killzone games. Echoes of Hitler, Stalin, and other notable fascists from history can be heard in his speeches as he inspires hatred and paranoia among his people. The gratuitous persecution of those he deems a threat and complete lack of interest in diplomacy make him a lethal combination of influential and crazy, which explains the cold-blooded nature of the Helghast military.