10 Great Video Game Villains That Appear Only Once
One-on-one encounters with rogues can create engaging opponents and leave a lasting impression on players.Unforgettable boss battles like the one ag...
One-on-one encounters with rogues can create engaging opponents and leave a lasting impression on players.
Unforgettable boss battles like the one against the Starscourge Radahn in Elden Ring and Mike Tyson in Punch-Out! highlight the impact of a single direct interaction.
Confrontations with powerful villains like the Nihilanth in Half-Life and the Icon of Sin in Doom Eternal mark dramatic conclusions to captivating stories.
The world of video games has been blessed with many great antagonists. From Vaas in Far Cry 3 to the Illusive Man in Mass Effect and Handsome Jack in Borderlands, some of gaming's most memorable villains leave their mark through a constant presence throughout the gameplay, making their eventual defeat all the more satisfying.
However, sometimes a single personal encounter is enough to create a captivating antagonist. Even if these villains may communicate through radio or lurk in the background, these antagonists leave the impression they need on every player in just one direct interaction.
10 Starscourge Radahn - Elden Ring
FromSoftware is one of the most respected developers in the entire industry. While they are primarily known for their challenging gameplay and imaginative nightmare worlds, they are also famous for creating some truly unforgettable bosses. FromSoftware's collaborative effort with George RR Martin, Elden Ring, is filled with relentless, towering antagonists.
One of the major highlights is Starscourge Radahn. Although optional, any self-respecting fan of FromSoftware would truly miss out on one of the most memorable boss battles of the game in a visually stunning arena.
9 Mike Tyson - Punch-Out!
Video games have evolved tremendously since the 1980s. While today's gaming industry is plagued by serious ethical issues, there is no denying the vast improvement in game design. However, there is something beautifully simple about the way old games were presented, especially in terms of the hero and the villain.
Punch-Out! from 1987 is known for two things: Little Mac and the final match against real-world boxing legend Mike Tyson. This incredibly challenging ultimate fight established Tyson as a powerhouse in both the real and digital worlds.
8 Nihilanth - Half-Life
With each passing day, it becomes easier to forget how Valve was once the master of immersive storytelling. For many of their long-time fans, Valve's masterpiece remains Half-Life from 1998, a game that completely redefined what a narrative in a video game could be.
One of the most memorable elements of Half-Life is the Nihilanth, a massive amalgamation of alien and baby that leads the central invasion. When Half-Life's heroic, silent protagonist Gordon Freeman confronts the Nihilanth in Xen, it marks the dramatic conclusion of one of the greatest stories in gaming.
7 Jega 'Rdomnai - Halo Infinite
To say that 343 Industries has disappointed with Xbox's flagship franchise would be an understatement. However, Halo Infinite was a significant improvement, particularly in terms of capturing the feel of the classic Halo once again.
One of the highlights of Halo Infinite is the Master Chief's battle against the cybernetic elite warrior Jega 'Rdomnai. Throughout the game, you come across several Spartans killed by this warrior. So, when you finally face off against this formidable opponent towards the end of the story, the build-up adds to making the already impressive boss encounter even more intense.
6 The Devourer - Divinity Original Sin 2
Divinity Original Sin 2 remains one of the best-written RPGs of all time, even as Larian's Baldur's Gate 3 threatens to overshadow it. The game offers several fantastic unique encounters, and one of the most extraordinary is with the undead dragon, the Devourer.
The quest to retrieve all five pieces of the Devourer armor set spans the entire game. It culminates in facing this imposing beast that, up until this point, has only communicated with the player through ominous visions.
5 Icon of Sin - Doom Eternal
The iconic Doom game series by ID Software is not particularly known for its storytelling. Gameplay has always taken the forefront while everything else took a backseat. However, that hasn't stopped the developers from creating some truly terrifying demons, monsters, and ghouls that stand in your way.
The final boss of Doom Eternal is the Icon of Sin, a colossal beast that is mentioned throughout the game but is only revealed at the end. In a brutal battle, you must utilize all your weapons and abilities to bring down this imposing monster.
4 Deathstroke - Batman: Arkham Origins
There is arguably no comic book character with a more impressive rogues' gallery than Batman. The Arkham video game series features numerous fantastic adversaries. However, when it comes to unique encounters, it is Arkham Origins that presents the cream of the crop.
One of the assassins Batman fights is Deathstroke. Although he is primarily an enemy of the Teen Titans, he has clashed with the Dark Knight on several occasions. The battle against Deathstroke in Arkham Origins is brutal, intense, and one of the best boss fights in the entire series.
3 Andrew Ryan - Bioshock
In almost every aspect, Bioshock is a masterpiece. From the game design to the construction of the game world, the writing, the graphics, and the immersion, there is not a single part of the game that falters. Therefore, it is no surprise that the villains one can encounter in the underwater city of Rapture are equally unforgettable.
Throughout the story, you are contacted by Andrew Ryan, the mysterious creator and overseer of Rapture. The personal meeting you have with Ryan in the middle of the game is still remembered in the annals of video game history, even after so many years.
2 Legate Lanius - Fallout New Vegas
Fallout New Vegas is a game in which one could argue that there are no heroes or villains. There are simply those you ally with and those you do not. However, from a moral perspective, the Legion of Caesar is more or less immoral.
For those who do not align themselves with the Legion, it is inevitable to encounter Legate Lanius, a ruthless war general. Throughout your adventure, you hear stories of his brutality and numerous conquests. This happens even before you actually meet him, and when you do, the conversation will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression.
1 Sovereign - Mass Effect
At the end of the Mass Effect trilogy, Commander Shepard has already confronted and spoken with a few Reapers, including the first Reaper, Harbinger. However, it is in Mass Effect 1 where the most significant encounter takes place.
In the first installment of the trilogy, there is only one Reaper, Sovereign, and players have only a single opportunity to speak with it. Your conversation with Sovereign completely changes everything you know about this mysterious enemy. In the exchange, Sovereign makes it clear that the Reapers are embodiments of fear.