How Not to Design a Video Game Antagonist; the Ten Worst Nintendo Villain Designs in History!

Nothing makes a good story as much as a great villain. Whether they’re a humorous nutcase like Fawful, a merciless dark lord like Ganon or just a good all rounder like Bowser, Nintendo villains have often become seen as some of the best designed in video games, some of the most memorable characters to have appeared over the history of the medium.

Sadly though, even Nintendo isn’t immune to mistakes.  So here are ten cases where the character designers completely messed up the design for one of their video game antagonists.  Behold, the worst Nintendo villain designs in gaming history!

10. The Mean Emcee (Wario World)

Okay, the first character on our list isn’t really a full blown villain as much as a random boss in a game that already feels half boss rush.  But there’s just something about this guy that’s just… not well designed on a visual level.  Just look at him for a minute:

Above: Image by Shy Guy XXL of Wario Forums

Yes, in case you’re wondering, the one from the game is the one on the left (Shy Guy XXL on our forums redesigned him to look like the version on the right, and significantly made his design better in the process).  But the point is, does that thing even look like a good villain?

Cause personally, I don’t think so.  I think it looks more like a cross between Frankenstein’s monster and some sort of creepy drug dealer.  And good god, just look how badly every aspect of his design seems to clash with every other aspect.    You’ve got the weird lifeless eyes, the odd mix of ‘cultured’ and ‘not cultured’ design, the hair and hat which look almost like that you’d find on a scarecrow… It’s just so freaking ugly it’s unbelievable.

So for being one of the least appealing villains in a Nintendo game, and arguably an example of outright horrible character design in general, the Mean Emcee makes it in on number 10.

9. Gorea (Metroid Prime Hunters)

Metroid Prime Hunters, has never exactly had good boss design. Oh sure, the rival hunters themselves looked interesting enough (and got a fanbase), but the level bosses?

Yeah. There’s a very good reason no one remembers much about the giant totem pole of doom boss or the eyeball hanging from the ceiling, namely because they absolutely suck in terms of having an interesting design.

And Gorea, despite being the Big Bad, really isn’t much better. I mean, his first appearance looks like the designers were trying too hard:

Above: The most blatant Doom/Quake/Turok boss rip off ever?

And his later one, is just plain weird. I mean, does that thing even have any of sort of face or physical characteristics to it?

gorea2

Above: Where the hell is its head or body?

Put simply, Gorea fails for one simple reason.  It’s just too bizarre and too incomprehensible in design to really feel like much of a character.  It’s first form feels like a First Person Shooter boss mixed with a mutant space pirate creature, the second just doesn’t seem like it’s really alive and neither just seem interesting in terms of design at all.  A rather poor boss design in a game absolutely full of them.

8. Dark Nebula (Kirby)

Because come on, it’s basically a star with an eyeball on it.  Not exactly something that comes across as an interesting opponent:

DarkNebula

7. The Black Jewel (Wario World)

Some things just do not make good villain concepts.  Demon monsters?  They work great.  Evil overlords in creepy looking armour covered in spikes of doom?  Work well.  Hockey mask wearing and chainsaw wielding serial killers?  Guess that works too.

Animate jewelry on the other hand, doesn’t.  It may provide a feeble explanation for why your main character’s castle is now an assortment of random themed worlds:

But as a general rule, you just cannot have an evil diamond as a credible antagonist. Especially not when it looks like… well, this:

Or when its final battle (even the better one) ends up coming across as a terrible rip off of the Gruntilda fight from Banjo Kazooie:

Really, there’s nothing good about this guy’s design or concept.  How the hell they considered it a good choice for Wario’s only 3D game I’ll never know.

6. Tiki Tong (Donkey Kong Country Returns)

Replacing a classic villain like King K Rool with a new guy is never going to be well received.  But what’s worse than Tiki Tong being a fairly pointless enemy that for the most part shouldn’t have existed?

Tiki Tong

Above: The pinnacle of original boss design!

How about the fact he looks more like a lame Andross clone than something new.  You know, another one of the four and half million ‘giant floating head and hands’ bosses that Nintendo seems to love so much?

Yeah.  Nothing about this guy’s design is well thought out or original.  He’s generic beyond belief, has attacks which could easily be given to someone like Master Hand, Gohdan, Wham Bam Rock or Rudy the Clown without much trouble and well, just look at him a minute.  He pretty much has nothing ‘cool’ or ‘interesting’ about him visually at all.

Thank god they replaced him with Lord Fredrick in Tropical Freeze.

5. The Imprisoned (The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword)

I think this comic sums up the problems with the Imprisoned’s design perfectly:

impwisoned

Above: Comic by BowmanMira on DeviantArt

Put simply, you’ve got this massive head that looks creepy as heck… stacked on top of two relatively tiny feet with comical looking toes. And the thing initially has no arms either, putting the focus on exactly that one part of its body that looks completely ridiculous.

It’s a shame, because demon Demise actually looks pretty awesome.  It’s just that his Imprisoned form looks a complete joke in comparison.

4. Malladus (The Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks)

Our fourth entry on the list, is a bit different from the rest.  Namely, he has two lame designs rather than one lame design, a feat which pretty much no other character in Nintendo history has seemingly managed (the above mentioned Imprisoned had his fantastic looking real Demise form for his final battle).

The first one of these is his ‘real’ form.  Shaped like a giant blue skull made of clouds (I assume, it looks like some sort of variant of the Bubble enemies from the same franchise), it pretty much doesn’t look menacing in the slightest.  The way it animates by goofily bouncing around in mid air in a manner of an early cartoon doesn’t help the effect either…

Malladus_(Spirit)

Above: The least imposing demon skull in history.

Above: On the bright side, it did lead to this rather funny moment…

And then, we get his final battle form, the one gained by possessing Chancellor Cole’s body.  Guess what?

malladuscole

Above: Why even design this? Just stick Ganon in and say he made a comeback.

It’s a complete and utter rip off of Ganon.  Yup, a giant blue pig like creature (with a few goat tendencies) who fights in a rather similar way to Ganon did in Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess.  Heck, you even get to stab in the forehead with a magical sword!

More importantly for the article, it just looks absolutely ugly as sin.  I mean, giant blue boar like creatures are never exactly going to be pretty or anything, but come on.  Ganon’s design had a certain ‘cool’ factor to it.  Malladus’ design just feels like they tried to put Ganon in, realised the timeline exists and then quickly retconned it to be a generic, badly designed new guy instead.

3. Team Galactic (Pokemon Diamond/Pearl/Platinum)

Well come on, you all kind of expected at least one Pokemon villain team to appear, right?

After all, with Ruby and Sapphire having almost comical looking eco terrorists, Black and White having medieval style knights and Cipher in the Pokemon Colosseum games dressing their mooks like some sort of futuristic police force, the series has always had a long history of absolutely laughable villain costumes.

Ghetsis

Above: And Ghetsis has absolutely terrible taste in clothing.

But even then, beyond even the other villain teams in lame clothing choices, come Team Galactic from the fourth generation.  Dear god do these guys look ridiculous.

Seriously, bowl cuts on a villainous team?  Dressing like they’re out of some Jetsons style scifi franchise?  Having all the admins look like something out of Sailor Moon, even the men?

Team_Galactic_Grunts

Above: Even for a Japanese scifi themed ‘gang’, this is not a credible looking uniform design…

It just beggars belief how anyone could consider this even remotely sane villain design.  Thank goodness the later games made the teams/gangs look more like serious threats to the region/world rather than a bunch of cult rejects.

2. Bellum (The Legend of Zelda Phantom Hourglass)

Much has already been written about this guy’s personality (or should I say, complete lack of). He’s got no real backstory, no motive, no real plans other than being an evil parasite thing and for the most part, gets to do absolutely nothing throughout the entire game.  Basically, as Zelda Informer says in the article below, Bellum is pretty much a complete failure of a villain in just about every possible sense:

http://www.zeldainformer.com/news/bellum-profile-what-it-takes-to-make-an-effective-villain

But we’re not here to talk about the motives of a poorly thought up demon squid monster.  Instead, we’re here to point out that quite frankly, Bellum’s visual design pretty much sucks in every way possible.

No really.  There is absolutely nothing interesting about his appearance.  He’s literally just a squid creature with a couple of eyes where they shouldn’t be, without even the level of menace afforded to other eldritch abominations in fiction or any kind of ‘scare’ factor.

Bellum

Above: Isn’t it terrifying?  Answer: Not in the slightest.

He’s just a mess basically.  A villain that absolutely no one finds memorable and which manages to terrify exactly zero percent of the gaming population.  Rather sad for some sort of ‘legendary’ demon monster.

1. Terrormisu (Wario Master of Disguise)

And now for number one.  What could honestly be a less appealing and all round more lame design for a villain than even Bellum?

How about a fifty year old Princess Peach cosplayer?

Because to put it bluntly, that’s exactly what Terrormisu actually looks like.  No, I’m not kidding:

Above: Are they trying to parody bad cosplay here or something?

Yes, this mysterious, all powerful demon who supposedly terrified thousands of years ago… looks like an hilarious bad cosplayer from a typical video game convention.  It’s a shame really, because conceptually, her battle was supposedly kind of ‘interesting’ in some way and involved things like floating masks and weird dimensional rifts.  The music for said battle is absolutely amazing:

And yet the design of the antagonist is so utterly lame in every possible sense that you just can’t take any of it seriously.  Seriously Suzak (aka the game’s developers).  If people wanted to see an hilariously bad attempt at cosplay by a complete idiot 30 years too old to pull it off correctly, they’ve got plenty of places to look on the internet (like say, Kotaku or Tumblr or DeviantArt). That’s not a good design for someone who’s supposed to be EVIL.  What an utter joke (and failure) of a villain design.

So that’s the list. Ten Nintendo villains with the worst designs I’ve ever seen and with such awful concepts that most of them just can’t be taken seriously.

Do you agree my list and choices?  Actually like the designs of any of the villains listed above?  Have something else to say?  If so, comment below or at Nintendo 3DS Community.com today!

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i dont know myself
i dont know myself
6 years ago

HMM

i dunno myself
i dunno myself
6 years ago

it technically also applies to dethl

im kind of fond of zeldas silly useless eye creatures

Bainbridge3
Bainbridge3
6 years ago

I never quite liked vaati, sure he was cool…. until he turned into an eyeball with arms.

Bainbridge3
Bainbridge3
6 years ago

I quite like beldum in design and productivity, but no he isn’t memorable until his final form which technically isnt even him