Top 30 Most Evil Nintendo Villains Of All Time, Ranked

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A heroic adventure is only as good as its villains.

Anyone can go out one day and do a bunch of good deeds like helping grandma cross the street or getting a kitten down from a tree – but if you don’t stop someone’s evil plans, it’s hard to call yourself a hero.

Nintendo and the developers they work with know this very well, so the best games on Nintendo platforms usually have pretty awesome villains.

As awesome as they are evil.

We all know who the most famous Nintendo villains are – but have you stopped to wonder which ones rank the highest on the “evil” scale?

Let’s find out.


30. King Dedede

King Dedede from Kirby Game Series screenshot

Game Series: Kirby

Kirby’s iconic frenemy has slowly drifted toward his heroic side throughout the years.

But back in the day, he used to be as much of a villain as Bowser or K. Rool.

His evil stems from a greedy desire for power and recognition. Dedede doesn’t want a peaceful kingdom – he wants to be the one who keeps the peace.

It’s tough to look good next to Kirby, who single-handedly stops primal forces of destruction with nothing but his copy ability.

Out of envy, King Dedede is constantly sabotaging the little pink blob – and that, my friends, is very evil.


29. Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong from original Arcade Game screenshot

Game Series: Donkey Kong

Every hero is a villain in someone else’s story.

Donkey Kong and Mario may be on good terms now. But back in the days of original Donkey Kong (1981), they were at each other’s throats.

Sure, that was the older DK, now known as Cranky Kong – but the current Donkey Kong isn’t a stranger to the monkey business.

We see as much in the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series, where the iconic ape kidnaps Pauline, steals toys, and generally wreaks havoc.

DK lacks bad intentions, but his actions are more than a little desperate and uncool.

They’re evil, if only because they shatter his friendly image.


28. Bowser Jr.

Bowser Jr. from Mario Game Series screenshot

Game Series: Mario

Is Bowser Jr. truly evil, or does he just want his father’s approval?

Regardless of his motivations, this kid tends to get mixed up with really shady business.

Whereas Bowser tends to take the Mario Bros. head-on, Jr. resorts to dirty tactics like impersonating Mario and damaging his reputation by drawing graffiti on public property.

Now that’s evil!

This actually earned him the respect of his father, who made Jr. his second in command. Maybe their plans never work – but nothing beats working on a project with dad!


27. Wolf O’Donnell

Wolf O'Donnell from Star Fox Game Series screenshot

Game Series: Star Fox

Just like there’s the Star Fox team of galactic protectors, there’s Star Wolf – a band of rogue mercenaries led by Wolf O’Donnell.

It’s hard to tell whether Wolf has evil intentions – but as a member of a paramilitary mercenary team, he’s willing to do awful things for a paycheck.

Plus, look at the guy’s character design.

So many spikes and sharp angles!

This dude is dangerous, and he lets you know from the moment you lay eyes on him.

Still, we see him put his life on the line for the greater good sometimes, so there’s definitely some light left in his heart of darkness.


26. Mewtwo

Mewtwo from Pokémon Game Series screenshot

Game Series: Pokémon

Mewtwo is one of those cases where you can’t help but sympathize with the villain.

This mighty Pokémon was created by scientists who genetically modified a Mew embryo. Scientists continued experimenting on it after birth, making it bigger, stronger, and smarter than the original.

But intelligence comes at a price.

Realizing his origins and power, but not knowing what to do with all of this information, Mewtwo becomes enraged – leading to the events of Mewtwo Strikes Back (1998).

Is it really evil to lash out at your evil creators?

It is if you involve bystanders.

Mewtwo’s immense power blinds him to the value of others at first, making his actions 100% evil.


25. King Boo

King Boo from Mario Game Series screenshot

Game Series: Mario

Just like Mario has Bowser, Luigi has King Boo.

While not the biggest boo, he’s definitely the most powerful.

He rules over his own Paranormal Dimension, and every ghost follows his leadership.

I can’t really say King Boo is incredibly evil, considering how much he really cares for his fellow ectoplasmic entities. After all, he only goes after the Mario Bros. to avenge all the boos they stomped over the years.

Still, he’s ruthless when it comes to exacting revenge.


24. Bowser

Bowser from Mario Game Series screenshot

Game Series: Mario

Compared to some other entries on this list, Bowser is an angel in dragon’s clothing!

Most of his dastardly plans to capture Princess Peach are born of a love for his people and a desire to give his son a loving mother.

Maybe he even loves Peach, in his own reptilian way.

Still, kidnapping and trying to force the Princess into marrying him is just unforgivable. Maybe someday he’ll learn how to express his feelings more constructively.


23. The Impostor

The Impostor from Among Us Game Series screenshot

Game Series: Among Us

Among Us is one of the best-selling games on the Nintendo Switch, making The Impostor one of the most well-known villains for Switch users worldwide.

Little is known about the Impostor’s motivations – if they even exist – but it’s hard to describe them as anything but evil.

Not only do they impersonate regular Crewmembers to stab them in the back when they least expect it, but they also sow dissent among the survivors in hopes of turning them on each other.

Manipulating friends so they eject each other into outer space is as evil as can be.


22. Wario

Wario from Mario Game Series screenshot

Game Series: Mario

Much like Bowser and King Boo, Wario is not against leaving his usual shady business for some karting or a sporting event – but don’t let yourself be fooled.

There isn’t an inch of this man that isn’t evil.

Well, kind of.

Wario doesn’t hold any ill will toward people, and he doesn’t really want to make others suffer.

He just wants money and power.

But he’s willing to let you suffer if that’s what it takes.


21. Marx

Marx from Kirby Game Series screenshot

Game Series: Kirby

As the old adage says, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover – or in this case, don’t judge a pink blob for its adorable face.

I’m talking about Marx – a recurring character in the Kirby franchise and the main villain in Milky Way Wishes, one of the games in the NES classic Kirby Super Star (1996) and its NDS (2008) remake.

Marx is like the devilish younger sibling who acts like a little angel until your parents are gone.

He’ll play along as long as you’re helpful but won’t hesitate to throw you under the bus when the need arises.

Considering the entire conflict of Milky Way Wishes was orchestrated by Marx to gain control over Planet Popstar, I’d say he’s pretty evil.


20. Nightmare

Nightmare from Kirby Game Series screenshot

Game Series: Kirby

The original big bad from Kirby’s Adventure is evil incarnate.

No, really,

Their whole existence revolves around spreading darkness and horror throughout the galaxy.

In Kirby’s Adventure (1993), he’s attempting to turn Dream Land into Nightmare Land. You do stop him, but it’s hard to tell whether he’s gone from good.

In the Japanese version of the game, he says he’ll return someday as long as there’s fear in the hearts of people.


19. Dark Samus

Dark Samus from Metroid Game Series screenshot

Game Series: Metroid

Created from the merging of Samus’ Varia Suit and the remains of Metroid Prime in a pool of Phazon, this somber figure stalks the universe looking for more Phazon to fuel her maddening addiction.

Much like Samus is a bounty hunter, Dark Samus is an independent warrior who sometimes cooperates with the Ing and the Space Pirates but ultimately follows her own agenda – even if it means turning her cannon on her “allies”.

Her corrupting influence was so prevalent, it took erasing all Phazon from the galaxy to finally put an end to Dark Samus.


18. Queen Gohma

Queen Gohma from The Legend of Zelda Game Series screenshot

Game Series: The Legend of Zelda

You may not think much of Queen Gohma at first.

After all, it’s only the first boss in Ocarina of Time.

Still, her parasitic behavior might be among the vilest things I’ve ever seen.

Ganon may bring pain to more people at the same time, but Gohma slowly ate and corrupted the Deku Tree from the inside for who knows how long before Link finally put a stop to it.

It takes a special kind of evil to torture what’s essentially an elderly man to death.


17. Dimentio

Dimentio from Mario Game Series screenshot

Game Series: Mario

If I was ranking Nintendo’s strongest villains, I’d probably give Dimentio the top spot.

The Master of Dimensions is the real big bad of Super Paper Mario – a wicked god-like being who toys around with mortals for his own amusement.

He’s able to cast reality-bending magic, conjure up his own dimensions, and possess others – like Luigi, who he fuses with to become Super Dimentio.

Seeing Luigi so disfigured was disturbing the first time around.

At one point, Dimentio even sends your entire party to hell, technically killing them.

That’s about as far as any Mario villain has ever gotten to triumphing over the Italian plumber!


16. Zanza

Zanza from Xenoblade Chronicles Game Series screenshot

Game Series: Xenoblade Chronicles

Zanza used to be just another scientist working hard on some volatile and potentially dangerous technology without any government supervision.

As it often happens, something went wrong – leading to the end of the world he came from and the creation of the Xenoblade Chronicles (2010) universe.

As the only consciousness to survive the journey (next to Meyneth), it’s easy to see why Zanza felt entitled to this creation – but it doesn’t excuse wanting to erase all life just because you’re lonely and bored.

That’s like sabotaging your kids so they don’t go off to college!

That’s just really evil, man.


15. Cackletta

Cackletta from Mario Game Series screenshot

Game Series: Mario

Cackletta is one of the most insane villains in the Marioverse, and the main antagonist of Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga.

In the game, Cackletta steals the Beanstar that protects the Beanbean Kingdom and intends to destroy both Beanbean and the Mushroom Kingdom.

No matter how many times the brothers defeat her, this chaotic and evil spirit keeps coming back – even going so far as to possess Bowser.

I’ve seen some scary things throughout my life.

But Bowletta is one of the most intimidating and unhinged-looking enemies in gaming history.


14. Fawful

Fawful from Mario Game Series screenshot

Game Series: Mario

The only thing worse than an evil mastermind, is the even more macabre mastermind quietly working under the first, biding their time.

It’s a prevalent trope in video games.

And Fawful from Mario & Luigi: Super Star Saga is a prime example.

He started out as a secondary antagonist in the first game, and even manages a shop in M&L: Partners in Time (2005), but when Bowser’s Inside Story (2009) rolls around, he’s ready for a chance to shine as a villain.

By the end of the game, he’s become Dark Fawful – an immensely powerful wizard ready to accomplish what his master did not.

Just look at that face… This bean has gone insane from evil.


13. Mario

Mario from Donkey Kong Jr. Game screenshot

Game Series: Donkey Kong Jr.

Didn’t expect to see Mr. M here, did you?

Mario is the scourge of the Koopas – a brutal champion ready to stomp on anyone looking to harm his Princess.

From the perspective of his enemies, he’s a genocidal maniac.

He’s also literally the villain in Donkey Kong Jr.

You could say he was just guarding a highly dangerous criminal, but the fact remains that he’s the cruel enforcer keeping a child from reuniting with his family.

What’s so evil about Mario is he does it all with the same enthusiasm as karting and playing sports.

It’s all the same to him as long as he can stay in the Princess’ good graces.


12. Ghirahim

Ghirahim from The Legend of Zelda Game Series screenshot

Game Series: The Legend of Zelda

Evil is nothing new to the world of Legend of Zelda.

Even before the times of Vaati or Ganondorf, powerful evil beings like Demon Lord Ghirahim from Skyward Sword (2011) sought power and influence over the world.

Much like Fi serves as the spirit within the Goddess Sword, Ghirahim is the humanoid form of Demise’s demonic weapon.

Unlike Fi, however, Ghirahim seems to be full of emotions – most of them negative.

He thinks extremely highly of himself, and enjoys inflicting as much pain on others as possible on the way to revive his master.

This dastardly jester has no redeeming traits.


11. Zero

Zero from Kirby Game Series screenshot

Game Series: Kirby

One of the most dangerous beings ever thought up by Nintendo has to be Zero – the creator of Dark Matter and the ultimate evil in the Kirby universe.

This Eldritch abomination usually takes the form of a floating eye with an aura of power around it.

In other words, he’s just like Dark Matter, only bigger and more powerful.

Almost all enemies in the pink blob’s games are born from Zero in one way or another.

Even though you defeat it at the end of Kirby’s Dream Land 3 (1997), it’s better to think of Zero as a manifestation of the evil floating around Kirby’s universe.


10. Team Rocket (& Others)

Team Rocket from Pokémon Game Series screenshot

Game Series: Pokémon

Just how evil do you have to be to steal Pokémon from a child?

It’s literally like stealing a puppy!

Anyone who does that must have dark matter for a heart.

Team Rocket is a legion of people like that. They’re willing to rain on everyone’s parade, split friends apart, and endanger the lives of whoever it takes to achieve their goals.

The same can be said of almost every other “Team” in Pokémon history.

Some of them had actual ideals they were fighting for, but ultimately, they’re just organized crime – and that’s one of the worst evils in human society.


9. Mother Brain

Mother Brain from Metroid Game Series screenshot

Game Series: Metroid

This incredible AI was initially developed by the technologically advanced Chozo race to help them run their society, but it betrayed them at the drop of a hat when the Space Pirates invaded Zebes.

Thanks to Mother Brain’s excellent military counsel, what was once just a band of space rogues became a severe threat to the Galactic Federation.

The thing is, Mother Brain obviously doesn’t care for the Space Pirates.

It’s all a plan to cripple the Galactic Federation so she can end all life in the galaxy and reshape it in her own image.

Conquering through violence is already pretty evil, but pursuing control over the entire universe is in a league of its own.


8. Andross

Andross from Star Fox Game Series screenshot

Game Series: Star Fox

Who could forget the giant robotic ape face that serves as the final boss in so many Star Fox titles?

Andross started out as a scientist in Corneria.

As his experiments became more and more extreme, he drew attention from the authorities, who sentenced him to prison in Planet Venom.

Scorned by society, Andross decides to strike back, building an unstoppable military force and striking back at the Lylat System.

This kind of evil consumes you, and Andross is a prime example. In the end, all that’s left of the prodigious scientist is an insane AI hell-bent on destroying society.


7. Hades

Hades from Kid Icarus Game Series screenshot

Game Series: Kid Icarus

Some of the most evil villains are those who do it for fun.

Bowser wants to conquer more land, and King Boo takes revenge for his fallen subjects, so their struggles are understandable.

On the other hand, Hades is already the God of the Netherworld.

He has power beyond compare, an infinitely growing number of subjects, the best armor magic can conjure – and yet, he puts tremendous effort into making life more miserable for humans.

Hades does it all for the hell of it.

He just loves watching people suffer and oppressing others.

That’s pure evil!


6. Majora

Majora from The Legend of Zelda Game Series screenshot

Game Series: The Legend of Zelda

Many gamers will remember Skull Kid as the villain in The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, completely forgetting that the real big baddie in this bizarre adventure is right there on the box art.

Majora is a dark spirit invoked by ancient tribes to torture their victims and curse their enemies.

This sinister being controls Skull Kid all along, corrupting his mind from within the mask.

What makes Majora so evil is its seeming lack of motivations other than inflicting pain.

It intends to bring the moon down on Termina, but not to conquer the world or free itself from the mask, but simply to destroy it.


5. Giygas

Giygas from EarthBound Game Series screenshot

Game Series: EarthBound

Known as Giegue in Earthbound Beginnings (1989), the Universal Cosmic Destroyer used to be just another alien.

After failing to reclaim the knowledge of PSI power from humans, Giygas ultimately decides to plunge humanity into horror and darkness.

By the time we fight him in EarthBound, he doesn’t even have a physical shape other than a bunch of blood-red faces twisted in pain and suffering.

This Embodiment of Evil does right by his title by inflicting pain and suffering on humanity through Starmen, Octobots, and all sorts of deadly war machines.

He also corrupts the mind of Porky Minch, transforming him from a mere bully into a twisted dark being just like himself.


4. Ganondorf

Ganondorf from The Legend of Zelda Game Series screenshot

Game Series: The Legend of Zelda

Evil is in Ganondorf’s spiritual job description.

This dark sorcerer is fated to be reborn repeatedly along with Link and Zelda, forever trying to rain on their parade.

Ganondorf is the reincarnation of Demise – the original evil shown in Skyward Sword – or, rather, a result of the curse he threw upon the heroic power couple on his dying breath.

One thing is certain:

Whenever Hyrule falls into his hands, he plunges it into an age of darkness.

In Ocarina of Time, it takes him just seven years to eradicate the Goron and Zora, destroy the Kokiri Forest, and generally make everyone’s life a living hell.


3. Ridley

Ridley from Metroid Game Series screenshot

Game Series: Metroid

Also known as the God of Death, this sinister pterodactyl-looking villain is the leader of the Space Pirates – and one of the most persistent villains in gaming.

No matter how hard Samus wipes the floor with him, the space dragon keeps coming back. First it’s Meta Ridley, then Omega Ridley, Proteus Ridley, Neo Ridley, and Ridley-X…

Jeez, this guy is worse than Ganon.

At least it gives Samus the chance to take revenge for her parents over and over again.


2. Gruntilda

Gruntilda from Banjo-Kazooie Game Series screenshot

Game Series: Banjo-Kazooie

Gruntilda is so evil, it’s hard to believe she’s the villain in a game as whimsical as Banjo-Kazooie.

Not only does she kidnap Banjo’s little sister Tootie – making her a child kidnapper – but she does it all just to take her beauty and youth.

Talk about a superficial plot!

(She does become pretty hot if you let her win, but come on…)

Moreover, after her witchy sisters come together to bring her back to life in Banjo-Tooie, she kills them all in return.

Umm, hello? She hadn’t even won yet!

This witch is just bloodthirsty.

She’s so evil, even her sentient spellbook – Cheato – decides to turn cloak and help Banjo defeat the green witch.


1. King K. Rool

King K. Rool from Donkey Kong Country Game Series screenshot

Game Series: Donkey Kong Country

Bowser may be more famous, but it’s hard to get more evil than King K. Rool.

Just look at the guy!

The Leader of the Kremlings is a horrifying mutated croc with one eye-popping out of his skull, and a lot of violence in his heart.

He’s so evil, Nintendo wastes no time de-humanizing the character.

Bowser gets painted in a positive light from time to time, but K. Rool? Not one bit.

Plus, let’s consider the fact that there’s literally no reason for a band of carnivore crocodiles to steal a banana hoard… other than starving out the Kongs!

That is next-level villainy.

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Nelson Chitty

Nelson Chitty is a Venezuelan expat living in Argentina. He’s a writer and translator passionate about history and foreign cultures. His ideal weekend is spent between leisurely playing games of Civilization VI and looking for the next seinen anime to marathon.