We all know that saving the world usually requires fighting the ‘Big Bad’, more effectively known as the ‘Big Bad Evil Guy’. But sometimes, just sometimes women can have the upper hand. And I’m not talking about a cold hearted woman who falls in love with and joins the hero, I’m talking about the woman behind the strings.
Good, Evil, it doesn’t matter, and now I’ve realised that the sex doesn’t matter either, the female side of villainy can be just as, if not, more effective than the strong masculine power houses that we’re used to waging war with.
So prepare yourself for my list of the Top 10 Villainesses of all Time:
10. ‘Jacqueline’ Natla
-Game: Tomb Raider Anniversary, Tomb Raider Underworld
-Type: Final Boss, Big Bad
-Motivation: Desire for power.
Natla is from an ancient race that settled on earth, but she became power hungry and wanted all the ancient power for herself. Natla is extremely intelligent and when her nemesis questions what she is doing, Natla just tells it as it is; no games, no emotional strings, just the cold hard truth. Sure she’s a scheming bitch, but at least she is honest about it, it’s a breath of fresh air from all the manipulations and lies from most villains.
-Game: Final Fantasy 7
-Type: Final Boss
-Motivation: Destroying the world to become god.
The result of an experiment on an extra-terriestral lifeform. Sephiroth tries to merge with the planet’s life-force, the ‘Lifestream’, effectively, she wants to become a god. Having a super soldier always ahead of you is always a downer and with the ability to summon a meteor, she is definitely a deadly opponent.
I’ve been informed that this villain isn't a girl? My bad. It’s the hair that fools me.
8. Selvaria Bles
-Game: Valkyria Chronicles
-Type: Walking Brick, Right-hand Woman
-Motivation: To serve her Country
Selvaria is a descendant of the legendary Valkyria, serving Maximilian as the Imperial Alliance invades Europa. What is surprising is how classy she is, she wants to protect her country, but she also has morals and makes an incredible sacrifice as the war progresses.
7. The Boss
-Game: Metal Gear Solid 3
-Type: The Boss
-Motivation: To Manipulate the course of the war.
A founding member of the cobra unit, The Boss is a master of CQC full of overwhelming charisma. She will always serve and protect her country. She is a motherly figure of sorts. Smart, confident, deadly and she lived until the ripe old age of 42. As far as villains go, The Boss isn't a major one, but she is a goo enough character to make it to this list.
6. Empress of Time
-Game: Prince of Persia: Warrior Within
-Type: Final Boss
-Motivation: To change her fate.
The Empress is just doing what she was meant to do, create the sands of time and protect them. But then some jerk comes along and asks around for the Empress so he can kill her to save himself. One of them must die. I like the Empress, because she isn’t the classical baddie, she just wants to not die. That’s a pretty commendable thing, wouldn’t you say? All she tries to do is prevent her death, even if that means one or two casualties.
-Game: Portal, Portal 2
-Status: Final Boss
-Motivation: To test for Science.
Everybody knows this sarcastic villain who tries to attack the player with words rather than brute force. You could argue that GLaDOS doesn’t know any better, but she was created to test subjects, GLaDOS went beyond her programming to make sure the tests were satisfactory, that’s commitment! Even if it does mean a few deaths...
4. Ravel Puzzlewell
-Game: Planescape Torment
-Type: Boss Fight
-Motivation: To do the impossible.
Ravel is the reason for the entire game (As most villains are) but she doesn’t do it for evil, she does it for your character, you see, she accepts an impossible challenge to make The Nameless one Immortal, not evil at all.. Even though she is well feared throughout the planes, The Nameless One's relationship with her keeps you a friend of sorts, until you find her and want to leave, then she shows her true, murderous colours, she’s not evil, she’s just... Ravel.
3. Sarah Kerrigan
-Game: Starcraft, Starcraft Brood War, Starcraft 2
-Type: Big Bad
-Motivation: To lead the zerg to perfection.
Kerrigan is an interesting villainess, as she started out as a loyal soldier, but was betrayed and became a pawn of the zerg. This in a sense set her free, she was given more power than ever and eventually became the sole ruler of the zerg. It’s hard to hate her as she is just using the opportunity that she was given and later worked hard for. Plus, she is yet to be defeated.
-Game: System Shock, System Shock 2
-Type: Final Boss
-Motivation: Recreating Reality to become god.
What can I say here? SHODAN makes HAL-9000 look like a cuddly toy. A scary omniscient presence in the first system shock who is always watching you, an unlikely ally who you know is going to betray you in the second. SHODAN could only work as a female, even though she is just an Sentient Artificial Intelligence, her disjointed speech and huge ego all build what is one of the best villain’s in all of video gaming.
(KOTOR SPOILERS AHOY!)
-Game: Star Wars: Knights of the old Republic 2: The Sith Lords
-Type: Final Boss.
-Motivation: To KILL THE FORCE ITSELF.
Jedi? Sith? Neither. Kreia was an effective, sympathetic villain, only enhanced by the fact that your character had been travelling with her since before the game started. She didn't like being used. She didn't like that the Force was manipulating the galaxy as its cosmic plaything. Her motivations were understandable, and I wouldn't have minded for her to win would it not have screwed up the entire Star Wars canon. She was probably one of the best-written female characters in video-gaming, made all the more impressive given that, to my knowledge, the writing staff was all male.
There you have it. Now we just need to get the best female protagonists to fight with the best female antagonists... in some mud. You bring the camera, I'll bring the popcorn.
And now a question: Do you think gender makes a lick of difference to the strengths of a character? Especially a villain?