Who really is the worst gaming villain of all time? ...
10. King Bohan (Heavenly Sword)
Arguably the best thing about PS3 exclusive slash-'em up Heavenly Sword was the diabolical King Bohan, voiced with maniacal glee by Andy 'Gollum' Serkis. Bohan is obsessed with obtaining the titular sword for his own dastardly deeds and never-ending quest for power. Throughout the game his hysterical, high-pitched voice spits forth orders of murder and torture. HIs lack of compassion extends to his minions and even his own son Roach, whom he mercilessly mocks and sends to do his dirty work. A real sod and no mistake.
9. GlaDos (Portal)
Waking in the clean, glass chambers of the Aperture Science test facility, the soothing voice of GlaDos is the first thing you hear. She promises cake, and even a party. What you get instead are a series of diabolical puzzle rooms, GlaDos putting you through hours of physical and mental trauma. She makes you incinerate the only friend you have, your faithful Companion Cube. Tells you you were adopted. The cake turns out to be a lie and instead of a party, GlaDos tries to send you into a pit of fire at the end of the test. She's about as mean as an insidious female AI construct can get, and that includes Shodan from System Shock 2.
8. Albert Wesker (Resident Evil series)
Equal parts cheese and hairspray, Wesker is a former STARS team-member who turned on his comrades for heap-loads of cash paid to him by the not-so-environmentally-friendly Umbrella Corporation. He then sold out his new employers when their plans went south and wound up injecting himself with a serum which enhanced his speed and ability to heal. Completely amoral and always one to hold a grudge, Wesker seems to be motivated only by filthy lucre and the demands of his own gigantic ego. He may look like a boyband reject, but you're advised not to turn your back on him.
7. Andrew Ryan (BioShock)
Players first meet the founder of Rapture, as they descend to his broken-down underwater city in a bathysphere. He's introduced by way of a short propaganda film espousing his objectivist philosophies and presenting Rapture as a place where the gifted and exceptional are free to excel. However, the players soon find out (through a series of audio diaries) that Ryan was only keen to follow the principles of the free market until it turned against him. He then resorted to corruption and brutality to maintain his position at the top of Rapture's food-chain. Damning him even further, Ryan, for the most part couches all of his insidious behaviour in patriotic zealotry. Ultimately he emerges as a self-deluded hypocrite, who for all his pompous rhetoric about truth and the nature of man, is never able to own up to what he eventually becomes, which is a liar, and a murderer and a thief.
6. Ganondorf (The Legend Of Zelda series)
Nintendo may have a reputation for being cute and cuddly, but they sure know how to create all round bad eggs. Ganondorf is a terrifying embodiment of evil; an ugly, twisted tyrant with an unquenchable thirst for power. When he finally get his hands on the beautiful world of Hyrule, he burns it to the ground and scorches the sky black to reflect the evil in his heart. At once a powerful sorcerer, thief and a grotesque beast, Ganondorf undoubtedly takes his rightful place on this list. Fearsome ginger chinstrap, too.
5. The Lich King (World Of Warcraft)
Where do you start with the Lich King? The nemesis of all that is good and pure on Azeroth seems to be comprised almost entirely of hate and cruelty. Not content with unleashing a plague upon Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms, the Lich King released undead horrors on both the Alliance and Horde lands in an attempt to lure powerful heroes into his domain, where he could consume their souls at his leisure. It's perhaps fitting that the only villain evil enough to unite the warring factions of the orcs and the humans is himself an unholy union of both species. While we're on the topic, he's also quite cynical and condescending into the bargain.
4. Sephiroth (Final Fantasy series)
A former hero of the SOLDIER unit, Sephiroth became dark and twisted as his arrogant desire for power grew stronger. He mercilessly slaughtered anyone that stood in his way as he attempted to drain the lifeforce of the planet and use it for his own malevolent will. He's also the man who killed Aeris, and for that, will remain the number one villain for many Final Fantasy fans. We must get the number of his hairdresser, though...
3. G Man (Half Life series)
The mysterious nemesis of Dr Gordon Freeman is the creepiest antagonist on this list by a country mile. It's not that G Man speaks in cryptic riddles and alludes to knowing more than he lets on about the horrors facing Freeman. It's not even that he appears by turns to be a figment of Freeman's imagination and a malevolent presence invading the good doctor's mind. No, G Man's power is wrapped up in his unblinking, piercing gaze which exudes gleefully sadistic malice and that rasping, sandpaper voice which only needs to hiss "Mr Freeeee-man" to make your flesh crawl. It's a testament to the animation and voice-work that went into creating this character that out of all the horrors encountered in Half Life, this polite, besuited gentleman is the most likely to feature in your nightmares. "Rise and shine, Mr Freeman. Rise and shine."
2. M Bison (Street Fighter II onwards)
Players don't need to think to hard to find a reason to both fear and loathe M Bison. He's the leader of a global terrorist cell. He killed Guile's best friend. He murdered Chun Li's father. His organisation destroyed T. Hawk's homeland for material gain. He brainwashed Cammy. His arsenal of moves contained the unlockable side-scrolling torpedo. He was the top choice for anyone butting into your game in the arcade. He was the ignorable swansong to Raul Julia's esteemed career in acting. He is a character that is equal parts smarm and unstoppable brutality. Above all, anyone who ever played Street Fighter II remembers how much their palms sweated, their mouth went dry and their hands shook the first time they faced M Bison.
1. Bowser (Super Mario Bros series)
The embodiment of all that is evil in video games, Bowser has been tormenting players probably longer than any other character in the medium. The oldest and most resolutely evil villain in Mario's canon – ever since Donkey Kong sold out and turned good – Bowser remains steadfast in his belief that kidnapping a princess is clearly a key part in any plan for universal domination. This is a villain so evil, he attacks during the spring fair, destroys Mario's holiday and even puts his own children to work in his never-ending quest to defeat the portly plumber. He probably works as a traffic warden on the weekends.