Top 10 Video Game Assholes
There’s far more to being a good villain than slapping on a moustache and cackling evilly as you tie a lady to a train track/burn down an orphanage/let the protagonist go as a child instead of shooting him then and there to make sure. I can’t even call it comic book villainy, because some of the bad guys from the last few decades of graphic novels have been amazing cases of deep, complex characters with some very sound reasons for doing what they do. There’s also the bad guy who just loves screwing with you in devious clever and maddeningly infuriating ways.
We humbly present to you, reader, Ramp’s fifteen Top Ten Gaming Assholes.
15. Teyrn Loghain Mac Tir (Dragon Age: Origins)
Hardly the most original RPG ever, but if there’s one thing Bioware does well it’s characters, and Loghain was one of the biggest arseholes you could find. Haughty, arrogant, and nursing a massive grudge against the Grey Wardens, he nevertheless went along with their plans to fight the Blight… Until the battle began, and he withdrew his army, leaving the Wardens and his king to die. And all because of a twisted sense of patriotism. What a jerk. Beating him was particularly satisfying.
14. Cesare Borgia (Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood)
Smart, handsome, rich, and very much aware of it. If he’d listened to his dad and been more cautious about who he fought, the Templars may well have united Italia, exterminated the Assassin Brotherhood and ruled the world with an iron fist. But no, Cesare had to taunt poor old Ezio, murder his uncle, demolish his home and generally do his best to be annoying in every possible way, such that Ezio just had to chuck him off a tall building. Also he banged his sister. Dude, that’s not right.
13. The Joker (Batman: Arkham Asylum/City)
Oh what a troll. There are giant bombs that turn out to be a jack-in-the-box boxing glove, threats to detonate bombs throughout Gotham (which later turn out to be filled with marzipan and kittens), his death threats contain a drawing of a donkey. He murders indiscriminately, seemingly just for the hell of it. But there’s a reason behind it all; He has Batman sussed. He knows Bats won’t kill him, he knows he feels every death on his conscience, that while Joker hasn’t bothered keeping count, Batman certainly has. His every action is directed at taunting Batman, trying to make him lose control. Even the terrible jokes. Especially the terrible jokes. What an absolute cock.
12. The G-Man (Half-Life series)
This man (or is he?!?) is utterly infuriating. Part of it is how he inserts pauses into words that don’t deserve them, making him sound subtly inhuman. Part of it is how he shows up in a neat suit&tie and a haircut you could set your watch to, standing out in a world otherwise gone completely to hell. Mostly though it’s how he exercises complete and utter control over Gordon Freeman’s existence, locking him away in a pocket dimension for 7 years at the end of HL1, treating him as nothing more than a commodity to sell to the highest bidder, refusing to explain or even apologise for his actions. He might be on the good guys’ side (well, by virtue of currently being against the bad guys), but he’s still a bigger bastard than Administrator Breen could ever be.
11. Vaas (Far Cry 3)
Vaas was a joy to meet, an absolute breath of tropical fresh air. You see, in most games, the insane are usually depicted as mostly harmless nutcases who suddenly scream about the seagulls stealing their thoughts before diving under a table, or as growling sadists with no sense of humour and who are crying for help. Vaas though is delightfully different, he knows damn well he’s an evil psycho, and he’s determined to love every minute of it. The intro to Far Cry 3, where you first meet him while tied up in his camp, is one of those stand-out moments of gaming that chills you. The things he’s not only willing but happy to do in order to survive and stay on top are breathtaking, so depraved or brutal are they. He COULD have killed you along with your brother when he found you escaping, but no, he lets you live, lets you run, shouting “If the jungle doesn’t eat you alive, I WILL!”. And we love him for it.
10. Dr. Fetus (Super Meat Boy)
Normally a foetus is only seen as a threat by ultra-conservative right-wing religious nuts. And normally, you’d be right in laughing at them. But if you give that foetus a suit of power armour (which also has a monocle, not to mention a sweet hat), then you get Evil Dr. Fetus, arch nemesis of Meat Boy. Dr. Fetus hates Meat Boy, see, and can’t stand it that Meat Boy has a happy life with his girlfriend Bandage Girl. So he does what any evil foetus in a mech suit would do: Kidnaps the girl, leaving Meat Boy to jump, splat and slide across hundreds of levels of hideous danger from spinning blades to lasers to salt to oceans of filthy syringes. Along the way there are multiple cutscenes depicting just what depth of asshattery he will stoop to in order to hurt Meat Boy. Burning forests, murdering squirrels, hurling bricks, condemning you to hell… There’s not much he won’t do just to make you suffer.
9. Everyone (Magicka)
We’d like to be able to say that the biggest threat in a multiplayer co-op game is the hordes of monsters or environmental hazards and traps. But in Magicka, the biggest threat is actually your companions accidentally* blasting you in the face with what they thought was healing magic but was actually fireballs. Friendly fire is very much a part of the game, as is combining different types of magic to create spells: Arcane bolts do massive damage, but mix it with healing and you have a beam that heals your friends. Of course, nobody can resist the temptation to heal people by chucking life-giving explosions about, usually sending someone off the edge of a cliff or into a blazing fire. Make no mistake, the enemies in Magicka are dangerous, but they got nuthin’ on your allies.
*It’s not an accident. It never is.
8. Letho (The Witcher 2: Assassins Of Kings)
We really like Letho. At first glance, he looks like a boring lunk, an unthinking slab of muscle, a hired goon. But oh, there’s so much more to him than that. He is the Kingslayer terrorising the Northern Kingdoms of the game, and you don’t assassinate a few kings without cunning, planning, clever dealings and skill, and Letho has them in spades. The Witcher 2 opens with Geralt (you) in prison for the murder of King Foltest, because Letho had planned it to look just like that, long before he slit Foltest’s throat in front of his children. For much of the game he’s pretty untouchable, either being one (or more) steps ahead of you, or just too strong to beat in a fight. He has no problems working with terrorists, if it gets him what he wants, and he has no problems sacrificing them when they’re no longer useful. Absolute jerk material right there.
7. The Transcendent One (Planescape: Torment)
Torment is, at it’s heart, mostly a story about how it’s all your fault: you learn that you’re immortal, but that immortality comes with a terrible price for the rest of the universe. The Transcendent One is at the core of it, the only one who can explain what the hell is going on and how to stop it. But he won’t, because he hates you more than any other being in existence. In fact, he hates you so much that he’s willing to spend considerable time and energy making sure you’ll never reach him, and that your memory loss will eventually grow so bad you turn into a sack of regenerating meat, which may solve world hunger but does you no favours. Not to mention that eating human flesh is frowned upon by most civilisations. And even when you finally beat all the odds, meet him and discover why you can’t die, and why he won’t tell you, that just makes him a BIGGER asshole. Play the game, find out for yourself, it’s amazing.
6. Sephiroth (Final Fantasy VII)
HE KILLED AERIS DAMN IT. IT STILL HURTS!
5. GLaDOS (Portal series)
Christ, what a bitch. An artificial intelligence so insane that it has broken through insanity and is now coming at it from the other side. She’s utterly devoted to science, and testing her subjects (mostly you) in a variety of mostly lethal and physically impossible navigation puzzles. Or at least the would be impossible without the titular portal gun. You’re nothing but a lab rat to her for a lot of the games, with no choice but to dance for her own amusement. When you finally break free of her clutches, she goes completely off the rails and does everything from promising you cake to singing you a (admittedly fantastic) love song. In Portal 2 she ups the asshole level considerably, constantly referring to the female protagonist as a horrible fat cow with all the grace of “an eagle… piloting a blimp”. She revels in the cruelty and beating her is some of the most satisfying gaming you’ll see this decade.
4. Atlas (Bioshock)
It was bad enough that after Ryan’s propaganda-laden intro, the first living voice you hear is a flimsy Oirish diddly-eye one. It was another thing altogether when the big plot twist came along and you discovered who was behind it all since the start, and how he did it, and how he spent the rest of his life mocking you for being such a gullible rube. Curse your sudden-yet-inevitable betrayal, Atlas! And for the love of Jesus stop putting on a WORSE Oirish accent to mock the one we’d been following for two thirds of the bloody game!
3. The dog (Duck Hunt)
There is just something about the way Man’s Best Friend mocks you after missing all those ducks. When he points at you it feels like a dagger through your heart. His taunting chortles sear the eardrums, leaving scars across your very soul. Every single time. No thanks for bringing him out for a walk, or keeping him well-fed with duck. Ingrate. And the ducks only moved so fast because he scared them by jumping in at them. He’d want to watch himself, or instead of hunting his next trip will be to the vet to get neutered. WHO’LL BE LAUGHING THEN, YOU LITTLE BOLLOCKS!?
2. King Of All Cosmos (Katamari series)
The man is an utter douchebag. Oh, he claims he’s hard on the Prince because he loves him and wants to see him succeed against all odds, but that doesn’t stop him shooting lasers from his eyes at you if you fail by even the tiniest amount. Depending on the particular game, the lasers might be meteors or gigantic billiard balls, or he might just string you up and use you as a punch-bag. These are not the actions of a loving father! And that’s just his family life. He’s destroyed most of the universe several times at this stage. One time he got drunk and rolled up all the stars in the sky. Another time he was playing tennis and hit a return shot so hard it created a black hole that devoured everything. And each time he sends off his son the Prince to fix a mess he didn’t create, and dishing out brutal punishments if you don’t. As if that wasn’t bad enough, every time the Prince completes the impossible task of re-creating the freaking universe, the King takes all the bloody credit! What a jerk! I’d be calling Childline and all the major newspapers to set the record straight myself.
Yes, you. We know what you’ve done. We know you murdered 16 beautiful, fantastic creatures in Shadow Of The Colossus, the only things keeping away an evil, ancient god. We know you unleashed the Sands of Time on an entire kingdom turning everyone into a hideous zombie, including your own father. We know just how many hookers in Grand Theft Auto you had sex with, then beat to death with a purple dildo just to get your money back. We know you directed both Altair and Ezio to punch, poison and stab those helpless lepers, drunks, minstrels and beggar women that got in your way. We know your Commander Shepherd punched Khalisah al-Jilani every time she looked for an interview. We know at least one of your characters from Fallout 3 blew up Megaton. Good going, you. You’re a monster.