The Greatest Villains Faced By The Heroes Of Nintendo
Every great video game experience starts with a fun hero to play and an interesting villain to fight. Nintendo has a wide variety of villainous characters, from silly and goofy to sadistic and nightmarish. The best of the villains are those that stick around, either being a recurring annoyance to the heroes or a sealed enemy that gets broken free by a minion or fellow villain.
The best of Nintendo’s rogue gallery of villains present a striking appearance, a fierce personality, and impactful moments on the heroes they face. They stick around and become fan favorites that have a new iteration and form throughout the years. Many of these villains have been present for decades, while others make a surprising appearance that leaves a strong impression.
10. King Dedede, Power Hungry Goofball
A large, hammer wielding anthropomorphic penguin, King Dedede is the self-proclaimed ruler of Dreamland. He is one of the sillier “villains” Nintendo has and only was a serious threat to Kirby in the first game he’s introduced in. Afterwards, he’s generally portrayed as a greedy, selfish prankster who spreads mischief on the otherwise peaceful lives of the residents of Dreamland. Overall he becomes an ally to Kirby despite butting heads regularly.
He does come back as a minor villain teaming up with Ganondorf and Bowser in Super Smash Bros Brawl but later he becomes an ally of the heroes. In many of the Kirby games that he appears as a boss fight, it’s mostly because he’s a victim of brainwashing by other more dangerous forces.
9. King Boo, King Of The Ghosts
The biggest of the shy round ghosts of the Mario Franchise, King Boo is a massive boo with a crown on his head that is officially introduced in the first Luigi’s Mansion as the final boss and Luigi’s nemesis, sharing the same dynamic Mario has with Bowser. He left a fierce impression by imprisoning Mario in a painting as Luigi searches the mansion full of other ghosts unleashed by his smaller minions.
After Luigi’s Mansion, King Boo has become a regular side boss in other Mario games and a playable character/hazard in several multiplayer party games. He’s also playable in Mario Kart 8 as a competitor. He even makes a small cameo in the Super Mario Bros film as a guest in Bowser’s wedding before the final battle. Despite these small appearances, King Boo remains the chief antagonist of the Luigi’s Mansion series, wanting to unleash a paranormal apocalypse on the world and flooding it with ghosts.
8. King K. Rool, Boss Of The Kremlings
Donkey Kong Country introduces the Kremling Krew, a legion of vicious crocodiles that menace Donkey Kong and his friends. They are the chief enemies of the Donkey Kong Country series and their leader is the very large and quite insane King K. Rool. He’s been a pirate captain, a “majestic” king, and a boxing champion. No matter what he wants to be, he’s always a savage menage to Donkey Kong and is on a hellbent quest to steal the Kongs hoard of bananas and destroy their home.
With a menagerie of gadgets and tools to fight Donkey Kong, King K. Rool has effectively kidnapped the kongs and caused wanton destruction very well before Donkey Kong can take him down. A sociopathic menace, King K. Rool Is a relentless force of animosity and is a great villain to face for the heroic Kongs. His inclusion in Super Smash Bros Ultimate nearly rounds up the roster of Nintendo’s popular villains.
7. Bowser, The King Of The Koopas
The King of the shelled terrors, Bowser is the chief antagonistic force of the Mario series and the archenemy of the Mushroom Kingdom. As the dark king of the koopas and the doting father of the Koopalings, his motivations range between wanting to marry Princess Peach to desiring ultimate power in the Galaxy. Bowser has been the ruthless villain of nearly every mainline Mario game, from the side-scrolling classics of the NES and SNES to the 3D platformers from Mario 64 to Mario Odyssey.
His dragon turtle design hasn’t changed much since the original game minus adding a ton of pixels and details. Although Bowser is best known for being the final boss and driving force of the plot for many of the games, he has had moments where he was an ally to Mario’s adventures. He has also been known to have a chill day and join Mario whenever he appears in Party games and the Mario Kart series as a participant and an obstacle.
6. Hades, Lord Of The Underworld
The chief antagonist of Kid Icarus: Uprising, Hades is responsible for Medusa’s original rampage in the series as well as resurrecting her and setting the human civilizations against each other in the events of the game. When Pit defeats Medusa in a similar way to the original game, Hades rips his way through the fake credits sequences and leads to the rest of the conflict of the game. He tricks humanity into killing each other for a fake wish making relic which causes a global war along with the intervention of the forces of Nature led by the Goddess Viridi. The reason behind manipulating this third way war is Hades wanting to consume souls of the deceased for his army and his own growing power.
Hades may have a jovial attitude similar to the Disney iteration of the Lord of the Underworld, but he’s a ruthless deity who revels in the death and destruction caused by his lies and manipulations. By the end of the game, he has consumed so many souls that his entire body has become a massive fortress of weapons. It took the relics of Pit, the support of Palutena and Viridi, along with the sudden assistance of Medusa to finally bring Hades down, and even then he might return in a sequel as he alluded in the credits.
5. The Wrathful Possession Of Majora’s Mask
Some time after his adventures in the Ocarina of Time, Link returns to his childhood and searches for his friend Navi only to end up sent to Termina by the eerie Skull Kid. Skull Kid was a mischievous imp of the forest who incidentally stole an odd mask. This is Majora’s Mask, an ancient relic of Black Magic that has caused unspeakable destruction in the land of Termina. Once taken and worn by Skull Kid, The mask swiftly began corrupting his mind and turned his pranks into true attempts to destroy Termina by dropping a Grimacing Moon on the world. It was soon revealed that the mask was a demonic entity and when Link was successful at stopping Termina’s destruction with the help of the four giants, he entered the moon to face off against the true form of Majora’s Mask. Link would have a hard time facing this demon but with the deity mask, he can easily dispatch Majora’s Mask and save Termina from its evil.
4. The Mad Scientist Andross
Hailing from the Star Fox franchise, Andross was once an ape of science, the brightest mind of Corneria, until his experiments went too far. After causing a catastrophic disaster on his planet, Andross was exiled by General Pepper to Venom and it was there that he continued his nefarious deeds. Responsible for killing Fox Mccloud’s parents, destroying multiple worlds, and causing untold deaths, Andross is one of the most consistently monstrous villains in the Star Fox franchise and is the manipulator of other villains when he’s not present. Andross is also a disturbingly uncanny character. By the time Fox faced him in his starship, Andross turned himself into a massive head with two disembodied hands and enhanced himself with kinetic powers and would keep fighting Fox Mccloud even as a brain floating in space. Andross is long dead after Star Fox 64, but his influence continues to bring grief and danger to Fox and his companions.
3. Samus’s archenemy, Ridley
A monster just as vile as his appearance, Ridley is one of the most brutal villains of Nintendo and the most personal to the heroes. Most villains have a goal and the heroes earn their animosity by being in the way. Ridley is a sadistic monstrous being who’s less invested in a goal and more interested in the carnage of his attacks. The fiercest Space Pirate to be in league with the Mother Brain, Ridley made his impactful introduction by killing Samus’s parents while she was a child trying to befriend him. Afterwards when her home planet was laid to ruin, he devoured their corpses and wasted no time gloating over their slaughter to the now grown up and powerful bounty hunter.
Ridley is Samus’s most personal enemy, and the most consistently returning threat of the galaxy. Everytime she kills this skeletal dragon, he finds a way to return, either as a mech, a DNA clone, or an X-parasite that mimics his appearance. It seems, Samus’s greatest curse is having to face this monstrous sadist for a long time.
2. Raven Beak, The Creator of The Metroids
Ashkar Behek, also known as Raven Beak, is the main antagonist of Metroid Dread and the overarching villain of the entire series. His people, the Mawkin Chozo tribe, are responsible for the creation of the Metroids as bioweapons to use against the X parasite. He also offered his blood in transfusions to give Samus her Chozo abilities, making him the reason for her strength. Corrupted by his desire for ultimate power, he wiped out all but one of the Thoha Chozos that wanted to destroy the Metroids sealed in SR388, the setting of Metroid: Samus Returns. Due his plans being foiled by Samus eradicating the Metroids and being infused with the DNA of the Super Metroid, he has become invested in unlocking Samus’s Metroid DNA in order to clone new Metroids.
Unlike most villains in the Metroid series, Raven Beak can overwhelm Samus in power and skill, effectively overpowering her in a majority of their battles. He was also able to defeat an E.M.M.I robot and reprogram their A.I to hunt down Samus for her DNA. Raven Beak is a very recent addition to the franchise, but he left such a powerful impression and had a lot of significance in the overall story that he has skyrocketed as a major Nintendo Villain, matching Ridley in importance to Samus’s story.
1. Ganon, The Great Evil Menacing Hyrule
The King of Evil, reincarnation of Demise, and the ever present menace of the kingdom of Hyrule, Ganon is one of the most iconic villains of the Legend of Zelda series. Initially shown as a pig man looking monster, Ganon was introduced in his human form in Ocarina of Time as Ganondorf, a Gerudo man who hoped to appeal to the king of Hyrule before desiring the power of the Triforce. Since then, he has been the menace of the hero Link and the Princess Zelda throughout the different timelines of the series, either seeking to conquer Hyrule or to destroy it.
Ganondorf is a master swordsman, powerful warlock, and a fearsome monster controller, unleashing legions of creatures like moblins and lizalfos to wage war on the many incarnations of the hero. Ganondorf is blessed by the virtue of the Triforce, specifically power, and as such is practically invincible. Only the legendary Master Sword wielded by Link and the sealing powers of Zelda can hope to defeat him, even if it doesn’t last. As Ganon, a demon beast form he takes with enough power, he can alter the nature of the world and becomes an ever present malice even after losing his body. By the time Tears of the Kingdom is released, Ganon has appeared in every major continuity of the Legend of Zelda and has remained the chief villain of Link’s many adventures.
Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (2023) King Ganondorf Revival Trailer