Here are our next five classic favorites, as we continue counting down the Top 25 video game villains.
Cyberdemon from Giantbomb
#20: Cyberdemon: Demon to the nth degree
The video game series Doom is famous for putting first-person shooters on the map. It proved so popular, in fact, that it inspired a number of extremely similar games colloquially known as “Doom Clones.” What good is a shooting game without something big and ugly to shoot at? As we saw with Diablo, demons are always a safe choice. And what could top a standard Hell demon, you might wonder? How about a standard Hell demon with the addition of a cybernetic missile launcher as an arm? If this sounds like a good target, check out the Cyberdemon, which the Doom II manual describes as “A missile-launching skyscraper with goat legs. ‘Nuff said.” Imagine staring down the barrel of your gun at that creature. ‘Nuff said, indeed.
Grue from Zazzle
#19: Grue: The real reason children are afraid of the dark!
“The grue is a sinister, lurking presence in the dark places of the earth. Its favorite diet is adventurers, but its insatiable appetite is tempered by its fear of light. No grue has ever been seen by the light of day, and few have survived its fearsome jaws to tell the tale,” claims the narrator of the game Legend of Zork. A grue can be anywhere. You can’t see it, can’t hear it, can’t smell it. It simply sits in the dark, waiting for you to wander into its lair. Even the traditional font of this iconic text-based game evokes haunting memories of the grue. No wonder we’re all still afraid of the dark.
SHODAN from Wikipedia
#18: SHODAN: A perfect, immortal machine?
SHODAN, which stands for Sentient Hyper-Optimized Data Access Network, is a computer gone bad. Appearing in the game System Shock, SHODAN served as an artificial intelligence for a research and mining space station. After being hacked by the order of a corrupt government official, SHODAN loses her ethical and morality programs and begins to systematically kill all members of the station or, at the very least, turns them into cyborgs. Perhaps most memorable about the character is her voice, which includes stuttering, major fluctuations in pitch and tone, and electronic crackling noises that resemble a sound card malfunction. Since SHODAN has no physical body and cannot attack, you spend much of the game listening to her taunts and insults while fighting her minions. She makes you want to purchase earplugs.
Sinistar from TVTropes
#17: Sinistar: “Beware, I live!”
Developed by Williams Electronics in 1982, Sinistar is known as the first arcade game to use stereo sound, which greatly enhanced the game experience. It’s bad enough that a huge cybernetic floating skull is trying to blast your spaceship into pieces. You also have to deal with his roaring right in your ear! These iconic taunts are well known among gamers today. From his initial pronouncement of living after being constructed out of crystals, to the even more threatening, “Beware, coward! I hunger! Run, coward,” it’s impossible to hear that deep, guttural voice without shuddering. This villain is a personal favorite of mine, as I have many memories of sliding into the cockpit-style arcade cabinet and tensing at the first sound of his voice.
Goro from Wikipedia
#16: Goro: Count the hands!
Mortal Kombat is most famous for its gruesome finishing moves, including one that rips the spine out of your enemy’s back. Controversy over the game sparked the establishment of the Entertainment Software Rating Board in 1994. I knew at least one of these villains had to show up on our list, but which one? Eventually, I chose a guy who just has a little more meat on him. He’s about 2,000 years old, a half-dragon, and he carries the title of undefeated fighting champion for 500 years. And, oh yeah, he’s built like a tank and has four arms. His name is Goro, and he is hailed by gamers as one of the most difficult MK characters to beat. His fatalities include tearing you apart limb from limb with his four arms, and driving a dragon’s fang into your throat. Just standing in front of him is intimidating enough!
Did any of these bring back some memories? Please feel free to share. I’ll be back with five more insidious antagonists.