We've been raised to expect good triumphs over evil, but as life often teaches us, the reality is quite the opposite. However, in videogames our plucky young heroes and grizzled veterans can rest easy, as their blessed with a roster of rather terrible villians, more interested in pretentious monologues and posing than actually fulfilling their diabolical plots. So, in honor of these unqualified despots, may we present the Top 10 Most Incompetent Villains!
10. Bowser (Mario)
You can't fault his persistence, but Bowser's inability to defeat a squat, plump Italian plumber who hasn't had a job in years is shameful. Bowser commands an entire army of reptiles and other odd creatures, and he himself is a capable combatant with a sturdy shell, chomping jaws and the ability to breath fire. And yet he's done little more than singe Mario's uniform. He's also incredibly predictable, always snatching princesses and then hiding them in looming castles run by even more inept lackeys.
9. Aliens (Space Invaders)
Despite being capable of interstellar travel, the Space Invader aliens made one fatal mistake in the design of their ships; they can only go right to left on a lateral plain, or down by incremental stages. They're also confounded by curious defensive blocks and a fleeting turret. If they just built ships capable of aiming at an angle, dropped remote explosives down the gaps between blocks or simply flew down to ground level from the very beginning, then they wouldn't be on this list. Alas.
8. Liquid Snake (Metal Gear Solid)
He's the clone of a legend, has escaped death by being grafted to another villain's forearm, is often in possession of nuclear-armed mechs, and yet a particular grizzled, chain-smoking spy has, time and again, put an end to his nefarious deeds. It's difficult to get a hold of Kojima's plot-tangled epic, but it's pretty clear Liquid Snake isn't qualified for megalomania.
7. Albert Wesker (Resident Evil)
Resident Evil 5 re-imagined Wesker as a leather-clad, cartwheeling Neo-wannabe, but he's been plucking the plot-strings from the very beginning. And yet Wesker, despite possessing superhuman strength, speed and restoration, just cannot shake the itch that is Chris Redfield, Leon Kennedy and co. He's often in control of undead or mutated monstrosities, and yet a few soldiers with bad dialogue, improbably large biceps and ridiculously pampered hair always put an end to his plots. He eventually met his demise in the molten maw of a volcano. Naturally.
6. Ghosts (Pac Man)
I love the Ghosts in Pac Man. How could I not? But come on, you have to admit, for ghosts they're pretty bad. For one, ghosts are supposed to be able to pass through solid objects, and yet Pac Man's pursuers abide by the simple walls of his feeding grounds. Not to mention, their superior numbers mean some simple strategy would end Pac Man's roving rein in no time, cutting off corners and surrounding the ever-hungry maw a much smarter plan than floating around aimlessly.
5. The Covenant (Halo)
The marauding force we know as the Covenant is an alien coalition comprised of a half dozen or so individual races, all united by a common belief; the Great Journey. The Prophets, their religious leaders, scapegoat humanity as a fundamental enemy, thus the Covenant set about wiping us from the face of the galaxy. And yet, despite possessing superior numbers, technology and even some reverse-engineered Forerunner tech, they met their end at the cybernetic hands of a sole Spartan, the Master Chief. Pathetic!
4. Ganondorf (Legend of Zelda)
Ganondorf, often known as The King of Evil or The Dark Lord, is a terrible, terrible villain. I love the guy, but despite his superior physical strength, his repertoire of magical powers and even with the Triforce, Ganondorf Dragmire can't even put to rest a little wood elf clad in a green tunic and sporting blond locks so luscious he must use Hyrule's finest shampoo. For shame.
3. Dr Ivo Robotnik (Sonic)
Sonic's arch-foe, the despotic Dr Robotnik, just isn't cut out for super villainy. He's an incredible scientist and engineer, building and commanding a vast robotic army and often piloting his finest creations personally, but despite his best efforts Robotnik is continually thwarted by an anthropomorphic hedgehog of a curious shade of blue. What is his goal, anyway? It's never that clear. Does he just hate spiky-backed rodents? Or is it the whole, 'I'm overweight, you're super-fast' issue?
2. Sephiroth (Final Fantasy)
Sorry, I'm not a Sephiroth man. That sword is far too long to be practical, and that hair is just ridiculous. Sephiroth has a literal god-complex, being forged from superior DNA to us mere mortals. In typical god mode, he perceives humanity as a lesser being running amok with power, and so decides they must be eradicated. Then he meets this kid called Cloud. Yes, Cloud. Who defeats him. 'Nuff said.
1. Team 'Insert Random Noun' (Pokemon)
Whether it's Team Rocket, Aqua, Galactic or Plasma, all deserve a spot on our list and for their combined incompetence they've netted top spot! In the anime, Team Rocket has become a recognised laughing stock, but it's not like any of their successors do much else other than fail miserably. Nintendo have attempted to pitch the likes of Team Galactic and Plasma as rebels or freedom fighters whose radical goals require radical methods, but you always end up battling them, and they always end up losing to a lone kid and his gang of elemental critters. Tut-tut.
Bothered by our selection of inept, incompetent, dastardly villains? Or did we agree with our list with such effusive joy you feel like telling us in the comments below? Then please do!