Villains are a tricky bunch. They generally need to be some sort of evil so we won't feel too badly about taking them down, but they also need to have enough charisma that we don't tire of them halfway through the game. Sometimes, villains have so much charisma that we find ourselves rooting for them a little, even as they are trying to kill us. Here are ten nefarious villains that we can't help but love.
Bowser is the quintessential video game villain. He's appeared in every single Mario game ever, and pretty much every spin-off too. Sometimes he's a super evil bad guy, sometimes he's more of a sympathetic character (like in the Paper Mario series), and on occasion, he just wants to be a part of your sports team. But no matter what his story is, Bowser is a great villain just because he's cute and cuddly. I'm not quite sure if he's a dragon, a turtle, or some mixture of the two, but it's always a pleasure to see this guy on the screen, even when he's breathing fire at you and trying to kill you.
You simply can't deny that Andrew Ryan is a great villain. With ideals of Objectivism taken to the extreme, Andrew Ryan rejects our reality of altruism, religious freedom, and democracy and instead substitutes his own, creating a world where power trumps everything and ambition replaces true human feelings. His end is certainly a memorable one, and you have to admire the guy for going out on his own terms, even if they were incredibly bizarre and seemingly self-defeating. Andrew Ryan was a man of goals and incredible focus, and for that we can't help but love him.
Though Dr. Nefarious isn't especially smart or conniving, there's something about this little cyborg and his hatred of "squishy" organic life forms that makes him hard to dislike. Whether he's floating around on a little UFO above you or controlling a giant robot trying to rip your head off, it's hard to shake the feeling that this little guy might just need a hug rather than a face full of laser beams. The more you dive into his back story, the more you realize that Dr. Nefarious started out with some good intentions, and might just have some jealousy issues where our heroes are concerned. And really, who can blame him? Ratchet and Clank are perhaps a bit too cool. We feel for you, Nefarious.
The best villains are often those you can't make up. Though Cesare Borgia's power may have been beefed up just a little bit by the folks at Ubisoft, most of what you saw in Assassin's Creed II: Brotherhood was fairly accurate. Cesare was an irrational, power-hungry historical figure who took what he wanted and used his family's name to make the world around him fit into the mold he needed it to. And yes, he really did have a freaky relationship with his sister. Cesare Borgia was a dark figure obsessed with power, and, more interestingly, he was just plain crazy. And who doesn't love a real psychopath?
One of the big problems with "big" franchise villains is that they all tend to make the same mistakes. Take power, build army, get assassinated by the good guys. Stahl is one of the few bad guys that actually seems to understand this pattern. He uses political manipulation and a rivalry with Visari's successor to let the too-eager take the fall before he has to even lift a finger. Patience is the name of the game in any war, and Stahl has this quality in spades. And that makes him unique among his peers while earning him a solid spot on this list.