There are loads of lists out there detailing the nastiest villains and coolest bosses ever, so there's no need to rehash them here. The five characters listed here are the kind who are so evil, they make you feel like you need to eliminate them from the game to make your life complete.
5. Stanislaus Braun, Fallout 3
There are plenty of characters out to do evil things in the Wasteland of Washington D.C. circa 2277, but Stanislaus Braun is the worst. Before the great war of 2077, Doctor Braun successfully created a stasis pod system that was hooked up to an uber-powerful virtual reality. Most of his superiors dismissed the project as mad, but he had enough cronies to help him create a series of pods connected to the VR, just before the great war started.
|"I'm a little tea pot!!! No I'm not!!|
The original plan was for everyone to stay safe in the pods while staying mentally engaged with each other via VR until it was safe to come out. Doctor Braun had a different idea entirely. He designed the VR so that he was the only one who knew that he was in a VR. He saw himself as a sadistic god who could live out his fantasies forever. Why would he want to go back to the real world where he was so unaccepted?
Our main character in Fallout 3 is searching for his father, and his quest eventually leads him to the vault where Braun has his stasis pods. We enter a pod with the main character, and find ourselves in a twisted take on Leave it to Beaver, ironically called "Tranquility Lane."
A young girl named Betty approaches us first, asking us to do more and more devious tasks in order to get information about where the hell we are. Fallout 3 is all about choice, but you have to do at least a few of the tasks before you can try to find your own way out of the maddness. Betty asks us to break up a family, make a kid cry, and... well, it gets much more nefarious after that.
No matter how you play it, you eventually find out that Braun is disguising himself as Betty in this particular varition of his VR hell. Braun is beyond your typical "destroy the world," garden variety evil, because he keeps the only people who had any belief in him alive for the sole purpose of torturing them. And the way the technology of the stasis pod is designed, there's no way of knowing when it all could end: without outside interference, it's conceivable that they could be in there forever. It's already been 200 years, and they're still going strong.
A developer from Bethesda admitted that Betty was partially inspired by a Twighlight Zone episode ("It's a Good Life") where a kid has the power of a god, and destroys all of humanity excpet for some adults in his hometown, which he treats as toys. That episode creeped me out for years, and so did Stanislaus Braun.
4. Sinistar (Arcade)
Sinistar is the only character I can think of in all the thousands of video games I've played that is so evil it scares me. Like every kid, I had to be smart with my quarters and try to make my gameplay experiences last. I'd play games like Donkey Kong and Jungle King, which I was quite good at, to get more playtime while my mom shopped.
|"Spaceships are like tasty|
edible evil in my mouth!!!"
Then I'd hear that scream from across the room - TERRIFYING for 1982 - "RRRWWWAAAHHHH!!!! RRRWWWAAAHHHH!!!!" The hairs stood up on the back of my neck. I'd get suckered into believing that this would be the time I'd take Sinistar down, perhaps multiple times. Take a look at the video to see and hear what I experienced as a kid in 1982. Pure Evil.
Like a lot of games at the time, the main character was a small triangle flying around in space, shooting enemies. the hook in Sinistar was that by shooting and bumping into the asteroids floating around, you could collect Sinibombs that you would eventually have to use to defeat the infinite evil of Sinistar.
You had to work quickly, because enemy minion ships were collecting the parts to make Sinistar very quickly. Once he was completed, you were treated to his voice taunting you with "Beware... I live." If you didn't have enough Sinibombs to take him out, you were pretty much screwed. I always hoped to hear at least a few voice drops like "Beware, coward," and "Run, coward," before hearing the primal scream from the deepest depths of Hell that made me panic every single time.
The most evil thing about Sinistar is that even if you manage to kill him, he keeps coming back. When he does, his minions will be faster and harder to hit, and he will be angrier than last time. He makes Sisyphus' boulder look like a tasty jelly bean.
3. Harlan Fontaine - L.A. Noire (PS3, Xbox 360)
|"I wear turtlenecks because|
squeezing the life out of turtles
makes me more EVIL!!!!!"""
"Psychology is a powerful tool... in the right hands, of course."
Fontaine is a post WWII psychiatrist who makes this list because he destroys so many lives while believing he's doing good, all while championing himself as a mental health advocate. Developer Rockstar is most often cited as a company that champions debauchery and chaos, which is a real shame because there is so much more to the characters in their games, especially Red Dead Redemption, GTAV, and L.A. Noire.
It's a complex detective game where you play as Cole Phelps, a decorated WWII veteran who's making his way up the LAPD food chain in the late 1940s. There are many, many story threads with a rich diversity of characters that rarely cease to surprise. Harlan Fontaine is heralded for his work with WWII veterans in particular, helping them to readjust to life after the war.
As the story develops, we learn that Fontaine is not what he seems. Not by a damn sight. What makes him more evil than the other psychopaths and criminally insane characters in the game is his insistence to himself and the world that he's just trying to help, by any means necessary. These were the early days of psychiatry, when "experts" were trusted at their word because there was so little science to support or defame what they recommended.
Fontaine reveled in this position of power. He used it for profit, but mainly he used it to feel like and act like a god, convincing all of his patients that he was acting in their best interest. When one of the patients, or anyone for that matter, questioned his methods, he'd simply deflect them with his wall full of degrees as proof of his good will. Anyone who disagreed, in his estimation, simply didn't understand.
His treatments lead to horrific consequences that he has multiple opportunities to stop, but doesn't. He's so full of himself that he'll let horrible things happen as long as he's sticking to his belief in his own infallibility. He's evil to the core.
|See this guy above! Yup.|
2. You People (Any Game That Lets You Make Moral Decisions)
I'm not a great guy in real life. Ask anyone. But when it comes to video games, which are my art and my haven, I find it very, very difficult to do evil things to innocent characters.
Then I check your guys' trophy and achievements lists, and I'm horrified. Almost everyone I know played the Mass Effect Trilogy picking exclusively evil choices in dialogue and actions. I brought Infamous over to my buddy's place, and two hours later he was glowing red and had everyone in town running from him.
I've played through Fallout 3 over a dozen times, and I still don't have the evil or neutral trophies. I always say "I'll do it next time," then I feel like a total dick when I'm given the option to blow up beloved Megaton.
How do you do it!? How can you live with yourselves, knowing you just decimated an entire town of decent people!? How can you use the mighty Commander Sheppard to punch an innocent journalist in the face? It's real! I've seen it!
I am NOT trying to claim some kind of moral superiority here. I'm just baffled, both by my inability to do bad things to good people and your gleefullness in being utter dicks every time you have the chance. I don't get it. Maybe I'm the evil one. Maybe I do good things in video games to make up for the bad stuff I do in real life.
Nah, you're just a bunch of jerks.
1. David - The Last of Us (PS3)
|"My beard cannot be|
it is EVIL!!!!"
I have never hated a character as much as David. The Last of Us is emotionally exhausting enough, then they throw this much creepier Jim Jones type asshole at us. He arrives in the second half of the game, and The Last of Us must NEVER be spoiled for those who haven't played it yet, so I'll be careful in my description of what makes him the worst of the worst.
Basically, The Last of Us is a post-pandemic adventure featuring Joel, a hardened man who lost his daughter at the beginning of the outbreak, and Ellie, a young teenager that Joel has been tasked with protecting. It won most game of the year awards for 2013, mainly because of the way it develops these two characters.
Let's fast forward to a scene where the adventure has come to a very scary halt, with Ellie helping Joel recover from an injury. She's out hunting for deer, when she meets some people from a camp who want to trade with her. Like a good post-apocalyptic survivor, she is skeptical and distant to them. One of them is David, the leader of a nearby city where they are having a decent time surviving the pandemic.
It all goes wrong. Ellie discovers horrible things about the city and the people who dwell within it, and naturally wants to escape. But David has different plans for her. Horrible, unspeakable plans for her.
The reason I have David at #1 really must be experienced to be understood. I'll leave it at this: by the time his and Ellie's interactions were finished, I was sobbing inconsolably. So much had changed because of this bastard. The BIGGEST thing had changed because of him. Writing this makes me want to play the game again right now. My hatred for him is just that strong.