You would think that being a badass is a given when talking about a true villain. After all, most every villain is bent on some form of world domination and massive genocide, so they clearly have the not giving a crap part down, and at that point you can probably skate by on a few cutting disses and an above average sneer. Sadly, far too many villains prove that being a badass villain isn’t as easy as one would reckon (we’re looking at you, Dr. Wily) and so it’s important we take time to sit down and appreciate the select few who show what being a true badass is all about.
#8. Sephiroth (Final Fantasy 7)
There. Sephiroth is a must have on any Top Anything Villains list that doesn’t want to end with 6,000 comments on how Sephiroth should have been on the list, because oh my God, Sephiroth is so awesome. So here he is, right off the bat. Everyone can breath easy and put away their replica man-sized swords.
Now, I’ve never actually played Final Fantasy VII, but if you’re here reading this, you probably have, so I’m betting the odds are not too good that this field gets filled in to any reader’s preference no matter how well researched it is. So, an executive decision has been made to just kind of wing it.
As you can see, he’s got some pretty long hair, as any good Final Fantasy villain would, which means he probably has to be really badass to have ever ascended to being any kind of genuine threat to anybody. As adored as he is, fan art only seems to make this problem worse.
In the end, Sephiroth’s badass abilities aren’t enough to counteract the comically-oversized nature of protagonist Cloud’s sword, and he is smote verily (I’d have to imagine.)
#7. Goro (Mortal Kombat)
Soul-sucking Shang Tsung gets all the glory as the final boss in the brawling series’ debut, but nobody broke more controllers than the four-armed baddy. What it boiled down to was pretty simple – Shang Tsung’s shape-shifting was cool and all, but at the end of the day all he was doing was coming at you with things you’d already seen and despined. Goro, on the other hand, could offer the other hand and still have three left to mercilessly bash you in the face.
Throw in the pony tail and you basically have a six-limbed Steven Seagal.
Whether he was smashing your face in with his many fists, or simply using his many arms to hug the life out of you, you could be sure that whatever Goro was doing he was doing it in a mankini. On its surface, this would seem like a detriment to his level of badassery (badassitude?) but let’s be real about this — any of us entering a to-the-death fist-fighting tournament would likely show up in a full suit of armor. Goro rolls in ready for a dip on a European beach because he’s just that fucking confident you aren’t going to hurt him.
#6. Wesker (Resident Evil)
Wesker is unique on this list as he starts his video game character career not as a badass enemy, but instead as a badass ally. As the boss of whichever main character you chose Wesker strolls onto the scene with a calm, cool tone, slick hair, pinpoint accuracy with a gun, and the single most badass creation known to man – shades.
Of course, like many a badass, Wesker really only cares about Wesker, and he sells you out faster than an iPhone.
Wesker returns in later iterations of the Resident Evil series, where he proves to be even more of a badass than previously imagined. After going through the mansion and seeing all the horrible mutations, Wesker does what any badass would do. He says damn the consequences, that stuff will make me powerful and hops right onboard the train to genetic freaktown. Willingly injecting yourself with an untested virus then having it work to the tune of resurrection and subsequent superhuman abilities is pretty much the epitome of badass.
Also, the shades.
#5. Darth Vader (Various Star Wars Games)
We realize that Darth Vadar isn’t technically a video game character at heart. Apparently he was in some films of some sort that were moderately successful. That doesn’t change the fact that Vadar makes countless appearances throughout the many, many Star Wars licenses which keep George Lucas’ money pool sufficiently stocked.
Lots of badasses have impressive skill sets, and even more impressive egos which make them believe they’re something even more than they are. Darth is everything he thinks and then some, seeing as how he has the ability to bust out new force powers with near-Superman-like diversity. Actually, that would probably make for a pretty awesome battle. Get on that, DC licensing branch. We all know you’ll cross over with anything at this point.
Honestly, it’s really hard to imagine how Vadar even falls so far down this list until you realize he has actually appeared as a villain in many games, and one of the primary jobs of a boss is losing in the end, which hurts your cred after the seven or eighteenth time. Most notably among his failures is his demise at the end of Empire Strikes Back on the NES, where he is mortally bested, thereby invalidating the entirety of the series’ sixth film.
#4. Ganon (The Legend of Zelda Series)
Any old schmo can make a habit of terrorizing and antagonizing the world of mortals. Ganon doesn’t see himself as above doing just that, mind you, but he has another hobby which cements himself on any list of bad mamajamas. In his spare time Ganon is fond of trying to take on the very Gods and deities of Hyrule themselves, and he’s remarkably good at besting them. Really, the only thing stopping Ganon from ruling over all of existence is his propensity for getting beat by tight-wearing teens.
Ganon’s strength comes from his piece of the Triforce which, despite being only a triangle, provides him with a host of cool abilities, most notably the ability to routinely come back from the dead. Also, he’s prone to taking new and more menacing shapes on a whim. It’s not that hard to reason he would be an unstoppable force if he could ever rid the world of Zelda’s Triforce of Gloryhogging and Link’s Triforce of Actually Doing all the Damn Work.
The cherry on Ganon’s badass sundae comes from his fondness for horseback warfare in the next generation versions of the Zelda games. If epic movies have taught the world anything, it’s that nothing is more badass then a stirring speech given on horseback.
#3. Psycho Mantis (Metal Gear Solid)
The Metal Gear series features the most badass hero character ever created in the chain-smoking, neck-breaking, bandana-wearing Solid Snake, so anybody that can give him half a fight has to be considered pretty badass in-and-of themselves. Anybody that does so while looking like a gangly Gimp, and still provides one of the more memorable gaming boss fights out there has to be a true badass.
Somebody over at development made the classic psycho/psychic mistake when it came time to think this baddy up, as Mantis spends the entirety of your fight with you violating your mind like it was in prison. Sure, looking back at it now a lot of Mantis’ tricks seem simple and silly, but who alive wasn’t a little freaked out when he showed up and started railing off all your previously played games? It got to the point where the player is left shifting uncomfortably just waiting for him to claim he knew what they’d been doing on those extended bathroom visits.
The finishing touch was his ability to read your thoughts and counteract your every move, countered only by switching controllers to the other port. The unique ability proved terribly frustrating before finding the solution, and is probably about as real an approximation of what it feels like to fight a super-villain as you’ll come across.
#2. M. Bison (Street Fighter Series)
As we established previously with Wesker looking the part can be vital to being a badass, and it’s hard to argue Bison isn’t a sharp-dressed man. Lest you think it’s just aesthetically he has the heart of a true badass however, the host of the second Street Fighter tournament has all the bravado that comes with the part
Not only did Bison play host to the tournament, but he also saw fit to spend his free time causing the deaths of the loved ones of many of its entrants. Pouring fuel on the fire of some of the baddest fighters on the planet would seem like a really unwise strategy if not for the fact that Bison doesn’t have to give a shit about that because he’s badder. Far, far badder.
Just how bad? After deciding that all those troublesome human things like compassion and kindness that we would associate as “good” were really just bogging him down, Bison saw fit to remove that part of his soul entirely, ensuring he was 100% bad. As for the parts banished from his body as not badass enough to be Bison? Well, they were still badass enough to reform as an entirely different entity which was also a badass fighter.
#1. SHODAN (System Shock Series)
The badass that’s so badass they don’t even need a physical ass. An inherent part of being a badass is the belief you’re better than all the other people on the planet because, well, you are. SHODAN takes it to another level by believing itself better than all the people in existence because they’re people, and seriously, fuck people.
In the first System Shock, SHODAN is a powerful piece of artificial intelligence which the protagonist is paid to hack by a big-shot suit. The request is for our hero to remove all those pesky ethical restrictions and he does so dutifully, because he has apparently never seen a single Sci-Fi film in his life.
As it turns out, this ends poorly, and SHODAN starts ruining people’s lives after about a half-second’s thought (though, in fairness, that’s a lot of time for careful consideration to a super computer.) SHODAN uses its superior brain-power to take over, and its creepy-as-hell voice to torment the hero (and we use the term lightly given that he wouldn’t have a world in need of savings if he’d taken the time to not be an idiot) as he tries to battle SHODAN’s minions en-route to finally thwarting the computery bastard.
Or not really. As it turns out, the really nice doctor helping you through the early stages of System Shock 2 is dead, and guess who it’s been all along, manipulating you like a good little puppet?
Son of a bitch.
Eventually Protaganist Two enters SHODAN’s world and emerges victorious, and leaves SHODAN finally dead for good. In the same way Jason is always dead for good at the end of a Friday the 13th flick.