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10 Best Nintendo Villains, Ranked

Welcome, game enthusiasts and pixelated peril aficionados! If you’re a fan of the Nintendo universe, you know it’s not just the heroes who make these games memorable – the villains, with their devious plans and dastardly deeds, play an essential role in crafting these epic journeys. Where would Mario be without Bowser or Link without Ganon? These names are just as iconic as the heroes who tirelessly work to thwart their plans.

In this post, we’re diving into the darker side of Nintendo, exploring the villains who have left an indelible mark on our gaming hearts. From the infamous villain in Mario to the lesser-known but equally treacherous Mario villains and other Nintendo villains, we’re ranking the top 10 villains who have given our favourite heroes a run for their coins (or rupees, or Poké dollars… you get the idea).

So buckle up, grab your controller (or handheld console), and delve into spiked shells, dark magic, and endless boss battles. It’s time to pay tribute to the bad guys!

Image Credit: Nintendo

10. Wario from the "Super Mario" Series

Starting our list is none other than the brutish, greedy, and somewhat bizarre Wario. First appearing in “Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins” as the main antagonist, Wario was initially designed as the “anti-Mario”. A classic villain in Mario, Wario is more than just a brawny baddie – he’s a complex character with motives and ambitions.

Wario’s love for treasure and his relentless pursuit of wealth is at the core of his character, setting him apart from the other Mario villains often bent on world domination or destroying our beloved plumber. He’s not just a villain but also a protagonist in his series, “WarioWare”, where his greed drives the creation of Microgames. Wario’s self-centred antics and his knack for trouble make him one of the most entertaining Nintendo villains to follow.

While he might not be as malicious as others on this list, Wario’s undying self-interest and his comically exaggerated love for gold and garlic make him a villain we love to loathe and a great way to kick off our countdown.

King Dedede
Image Credit: Nintendo

9. King Dedede from the "Kirby" Series

Marching into our number 9 spot is the self-proclaimed king of Dream Land, King Dedede. While he may resemble a cuddly penguin, don’t be fooled. This royal ruffian has caused more than his fair share of trouble for our favourite pink puffball, Kirby.

King Dedede debuted in “Kirby’s Dream Land” as the main antagonist and has since become a recurring character. Despite his villainous tendencies, King Dedede is more of a misguided ruler than an evil mastermind. He’s known for his hammer-wielding skills and insatiable appetite, often leading him into conflict with Kirby.

One unique aspect of King Dedede is his ever-changing relationship with Kirby. He’s an enemy, sometimes an ally, and occasionally, he’s even a playable character. This complexity adds depth to his character, setting him apart from other more one-dimensional villains.

King Dedede’s petty mischief and humorous antics make him a standout in a universe filled with villains bent on destruction and chaos. He may not be the most wicked villain on our list, but his charm and character earn him the number 9 spot on our list of top Nintendo villains.

Wario’s love for treasure and his relentless pursuit of wealth is at the core of his character, setting him apart from the other Mario villains often bent on world domination or destroying our beloved plumber. He’s not just a villain but also a protagonist in his series, “WarioWare”, where his greed drives the creation of Microgames. Wario’s self-centred antics and his knack for trouble make him one of the most entertaining Nintendo villains to follow.

While he might not be as malicious as others on this list, Wario’s undying self-interest and his comically exaggerated love for gold and garlic make him a villain we love to loathe and a great way to kick off our countdown.

Image Credit: Nintendo

8. Ganondorf from "The Legend of Zelda" Series

Next up on our list is a villain who needs little introduction, the King of Darkness himself, Ganondorf. As the primary antagonist in the “Legend of Zelda” series, Ganondorf’s name is synonymous with power, ambition, and tyranny.

Ganondorf Dragmire, known as Ganon in his beast form, first appeared in “The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.” His goal is often the same – to acquire the full power of the Triforce and rule the world. Yet, his cunning, relentless pursuit of power and ability to return time and again makes him a truly formidable villain.

Unlike many villains, Ganondorf isn’t driven by insanity or mindless rage. 

He’s a calculating, strategic adversary, which makes his battles with Link all the more challenging and engaging. His presence in the game is not only menacing but also layered with a tragic underpinning that adds depth to his villainy.

Ganondorf’s iconic status and the existential threat he presents to the land of Hyrule earn him the number 8 spot on our list of the best Nintendo villains. His powerful persona and menacing demeanour have made him a character player will never forget.

Ridley from Metroid
Image Credit: Nintendo

7. Ridley from the "Metroid" Series

At number 7, we have Ridley, the terrifying space dragon and one of the most iconic villains in the “Metroid” series. As the persistent nemesis of bounty hunter Samus Aran, Ridley embodies the terror and ruthlessness that makes them an unforgettable villain.

Ridley, also known as the Cunning God of Death, is the leader of the Space Pirates in the “Metroid” series. He is a fearsome, intelligent, and relentless villain who has faced Samus numerous times, often returning from apparent death in various forms. He’s also responsible for one of the most defining moments in Samus’s life: the destruction of her home and the death of her parents.

Ridley’s monstrous design, chilling shrieks, and unyielding tenacity make him a nightmare-inducing antagonist. His battles are often intense and challenging, adding to the player’s sense of accomplishment when they finally manage to take him down.

Ridley’s significant role in the “Metroid” series and his ruthless nature and intimidating presence earn him a well-deserved place on our list of top Nintendo villains.

Mother Brain
Image Credit: Nintendo

6. Mother Brain from the "Metroid" Series

Another menacing adversary from the “Metroid” universe, Mother Brain, is taking the sixth spot on our list. As the cold and calculating leader of the Space Pirates, Mother Brain is known for her chilling omnipresence and her nightmarish final form.

Mother Brain, the biomechanical and sentient creature, first appeared in the original “Metroid” game. Despite being a brain in a jar in her initial appearances, she was a daunting adversary, protected by numerous defences and capable of powerful attacks. But in “Super Metroid”, she truly shines as a villain, transforming into a monstrous, dinosaur-like creature for the final battle.

Mother Brain’s sinister intelligence and terrifying transformation make her one of the most memorable villains in the “Metroid” series. Her battles are among the most challenging and climactic in the series, providing a significant hurdle for players to overcome.

With her daunting presence and unforgettable boss fights, Mother Brain has etched herself into the annals of Nintendo villainy, earning her the number 6 spot on our list.

King K. Rool
Image Credit: Nintendo

5. King K. Rool from the "Donkey Kong" Series

Commanding the fifth spot on our list is the mad monarch of the Kremlings, King K. Rool. As the main antagonist of the “Donkey Kong” series, King K. Rool is a character as comically eccentric as villainous, making him one of the most entertaining Nintendo villains to date.

King K. Rool is a giant, greedy, and somewhat deranged crocodile with a penchant for stealing Donkey Kong’s Banana Hoard. Whether he’s donning the crown and cape, playing pirate captain, or masquerading as a mad scientist, King K. Rool’s theatrical flair adds a unique touch to his villainy.

What sets King K. Rool apart from many other Nintendo villains is his ability to reinvent himself. His varied personas in each game and wildly different attack patterns keep players on their toes and add a fresh twist to every encounter.

With his larger-than-life personality, his knack for theatrics, and his memorable boss battles, King K. Rool is a villain who knows how to make an impression. His contributions to the “Donkey Kong” series and his unyielding obsession with hoarding bananas earn him the number 5 spot on our list.

Image Credit: Nintendo

4. Waluigi from the "Super Mario" Series

Coming in at number 4 is the master of mischief and mayhem, Waluigi. This lanky troublemaker is not your typical villain. Unlike other Mario villains who aim for grandiose plans of world domination or princess-napping, Waluigi is driven by a more relatable motive: sheer pettiness and a desire to outdo his rivals.

Waluigi first appeared in “Mario Tennis” as Luigi’s rival and Wario’s partner. Despite not having his own game or a significant role in the main “Mario” series, Waluigi has made a name for himself by appearing in various Mario spin-off titles. His exuberant personality, distinctive design, and knack for causing trouble have earned him a dedicated fanbase.

Often seen causing chaos in sports games, parties, and kart races, Waluigi’s antics may be less dire than some of the other villains on this list, but they’re no less entertaining. His penchant for cheating, over-the-top reactions, and unforgettable catchphrases make him a villain in Mario series who never fails to leave an impression.

Waluigi’s unique charm, unquenchable thirst for attention, and commitment to being the best at being the worst earn him the number 4 spot on our list of top Nintendo villains.

Bowser Jr
Image Credit: Nintendo

3. Bowser Jr. from the "Super Mario" Series

Securing the bronze medal in our villainous ranking is Bowser Jr., the heir apparent to the Koopa throne. As Bowser’s son and one of the most prominent Mario villains, Bowser Jr. carries on the family tradition of causing trouble for Mario and his friends, and he does so with a level of zeal and determination that’s hard to ignore.

Bowser Jr. first appeared in “Super Mario Sunshine” and has since become a mainstay in the series. While he might be smaller than his father, he’s no less ambitious. Often seen trying to prove himself to his dad, Bowser Jr. is known for his resourcefulness, regularly employing a range of gadgets and vehicles to achieve his goals.

What sets Bowser Jr. apart from other Nintendo villains is his combination of childlike innocence with devious cunning. He’s not just a smaller version of Bowser; he’s a character with his personality, motivations, and methods. Whether leading the Koopalings, piloting his Clown Car, or painting mischief with his Magic Brush, Bowser Jr. is always a force to be reckoned with.

With his infectious energy, cunning schemes, and determination to follow in his father’s villainous footsteps, Bowser Jr. clinches the number 3 spot on our list.

Image Credit: Nintendo

2. Mewtwo from the "Pokémon" Series

Securing the second spot on our list is a character that’s not just a villain but also a poignant symbol of the complexities of life and existence. We’re talking about none other than Mewtwo, the legendary Psychic-type Pokémon from the “Pokémon” series.

Mewtwo’s story begins with an attempt to clone the mythical Pokémon Mew, but the result is a vastly more powerful and far more troubled creature. Mewtwo’s psychic abilities are matched only by its deep existential angst, struggling with its identity and purpose, and its distrust towards humanity.

In “Pokémon Red” and “Blue”, Mewtwo serves as the final challenge for trainers waiting in the depths of Cerulean Cave. Its fearsome reputation as one of the strongest Pokémon and its troubled backstory make encounters with Mewtwo memorable and meaningful.

Mewtwo’s character extends beyond the role of a villain, delving into deep philosophical questions about life, existence, and purpose. Its portrayal in “Pokémon: The First Movie” gives us a glimpse into its inner turmoil, making it a character that players can empathise with, despite its antagonistic role.

With its formidable power, complex character, and significant role in the “Pokémon” series, Mewtwo deserves the number 2 spot on our list of top Nintendo villains.

Image Credit: Nintendo

1. Bowser from the "Super Mario" Series

And finally, standing tall and spiky at the top of our list, we have the king of the Koopas himself, Bowser. As the arch-nemesis of Mario and the quintessential villain in Mario series, Bowser’s name is synonymous with Nintendo villainy.

From his first appearance in “Super Mario Bros.” to his latest shenanigans in “Super Mario Odyssey,” Bowser has spent decades kidnapping Princess Peach, seizing control of various kingdoms, and throwing countless obstacles in Mario’s path. Despite his numerous defeats, Bowser always bounces back, proving repeatedly that you can’t keep a good villain down.

What makes Bowser such a fantastic villain isn’t just his persistence but also his personality. He’s not just a monstrous tyrant; he’s also a doting father to Bowser Jr., and in some games, shows a humorous and even somewhat sympathetic side. This blend of villainy, humour, and occasional tenderness makes Bowser a complex and engaging character.

Bowser’s countless memorable encounters, undeniable influence on the “Mario” series, and status as one of the most iconic Nintendo villains make him our top pick. Whether he’s breathing fire in a castle, racing dirty in Mario Kart, or even playing the hero occasionally, Bowser is a character that’s impossible to ignore.

And there you have it, Bowser, the King of the Koopas, reigns supreme as our number one Nintendo villain.

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