Nintendo’s games offer a diverse selection of heroes, villains, and NPCs. On the surface, most Nintendo fans would think of Super Mario’s Bowser and The Legend of Zelda’s Ganondorf as the two most familiar villains who have tried to take over their respective worlds for many years. However, the rabbit hole of Nintendo villains delves much deeper than just the popular names from its headline properties.
Developers of Fire Emblem, EarthBound, Kirby, Pokemon, and more have written some surprisingly strong villains. Some of these are sympathetic figures who simply fought for the wrong cause. Others are among the single worst of humanity, godhood, and irredeemable figures for their horrendous crimes.
Please mind the spoilers below.
10 Feel Sorry For: Lusamine
This researcher from Pokemon Sun & Moon led a misguided life. After losing her husband, Professor Mohn, to the Ultra Wormhole, Lusamine grew apart from her children. Lusamine’s obsession with Ultra Space caused her to lose her relationships with her children, berating Lillie frequently and outright disowning Gladion for running away.
As President of the Aether Paradise, Lusamine’s mission is to save Pokemon. However, a later revelation shows that she’s preserving Pokemon in fossils in one of her secret research rooms. Becoming irate with the player for their meddling, Lusamine opens the Ultra Wormhole and merges with Nihilego. However, both in Sun & Moon and their Ultra re-releases, Lillie never gives up on her mother despite all the horrible treatment she endured.
9 Deserved It: Edelgard von Hresvelg
In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, the heir to the throne of the Adrestian Empire, Edelgard, serves as the house leader of the Black Eagles in Garreg Mach Monastery. In the Black Eagles route, Edelgard reveals to the player that she had been experimented on and endured serious tragedy. Only by supporting her can the player join her cause.
However, on the split Black Eagles path (Silver Snow) as well as the Golden Deer and Blue Lions routes, Edelgard turns against Garreg Mach Monastery. Seeking to wage war for the sake of her vengeance, Edelgard betrays all of her friends and becomes involved in the kidnapping of Flayn and the murder of Byleth’s father, Jeralt. The Blue Lions route emphasizes perfectly Dimitri’s hurt and betrayal by Edelgard’s action, and he feels justified for his actions. In the end, Edelgard ruined a 995-year peace and, in her petty war, brought about her own end.
8 Feel Sorry For: Haltmann
The main antagonist of Kirby: Planet Robobot fell victim to his newfound power. Having lost his daughter in a tragic accident, Haltmann appealed to the wish-granting entity Nova, also known as Star Dream. In his madness and under the control of Star Dream, Haltmann attempted to seize Dream Land and mechanize it into a new world.
Kirby is no stranger to tragedies as seen in the true boss fights of past titles. However, Haltmann’s tragedy exists on another level. Not only does Haltmann cede all control of his conscience to Star Dream, but during the final phase, with each attack against him, you can hear a distorted scream in his voice.
7 Deserved It: Wario
One of Nintendo’s most notorious antagonists debuted in Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins. After debuting in his own series, Wario Land, Nintendo created a spin-off in the form of WarioWare. This series involves quick-paced mini-games (Microgames) with a slew of original enjoyment and tons of throwbacks to Nintendo classics.
The story involves Wario getting his friends in Diamond City to help make games. In truth, however, Wario wants to reap all of their profits for himself. In each title, Wario attempts to make off with the loot only for something to foil his plans and leave him dead broke once again.
6 Feel Sorry For: Melissa Bergman
In Metroid: Other M, MB, real name Melissa Bergman, was an Android created using Mother Brain’s personality. Formerly the antagonist of Metroid and Super Metroid, MB was initially a docile, yet brilliant researcher. However, as her work progressed, the Bottle Ship authorities began to take action against her.
While Melissa was initially a cunning scientist, she was held back by her peers. Looking down on them as inferiors stifling her progress, Melissa used her power to get rid of them and all who stood in her way. The game’s climax hits when Samus is forced to take down the rampaging young woman after discovering she’s behind the attacks on the Bottle Ship. The real tragedy is MB could have lived to become a bright mind but was instead doomed to repeat the same actions and ending that brought her original incarnation down.
5 Deserved It: Andross
While Fox McCloud’s Andross debuted in the original Star Fo, his best-known incarnation comes from Star Fox 64. This primate scientist was banished from Corneria for his mad experiments. In retaliation, he unleashed war against the Lylat System and, during this time, supposedly killed James McCloud, Fox’s father.
Andross went down in flames and lost everything upon his defeat by Fox. He would later revive in Star Fox Adventures, make an appearance in Star Fox Command, and return once more in the retelling of 64, Star Fox Zero. Incidentally, Andross had an heir, Dash Bowman, who appeared in Star Fox Command.
4 Felt Sorry For: Medusa
The antagonist of the original Kid Icarus made her reappearance in the 3DS title, Kid Icarus: Uprising. Defeated in the first arc of the game, other villains, such as the Chaos Kin and Hades, would replace Medusa as the main antagonists. Despite Medusa’s quick end, she would later reappear in the climax of the final battle.
This goth goddess felt wronged for being cursed by Palutena. With her hair turned to snakes, Medusa was banished to the underworld. However, her attitude and sarcastic nature won over the hearts of players. As Hades prepared his final assault, Medusa attacked the villain, giving Pit the opportunity he needed to unleash the ultimate weapon and send Hades straight to hell.
3 Deserved It: Porky Minch
EarthBound is no stranger to cruel villains. The obese kid with a large nose and unseen eyes would constantly torment Ness while allying with his enemies. In the end, Porky traveled through time and allied with the alien, Giygas, in a bid for world destruction.
Porky resurfaced in Mother 3. As the leader of the Pig Army, he was responsible for the chimera experiments on the Nowhere Islands’ animals, the radical industrialization of Tazminy Village, the indirect death of Lucas and Claus’ mother, Hinata, and the disappearance of Claus. While taunting the party, Porky is told by Dr. Andonuts that he will be trapped forever within the Absolutely Safe Capsule.
2 Felt Sorry For: Masked Man (Claus)
The victim of Porky’s actions was Lucas’ long-lost brother, Claus. The final boss of Mother 3, he could not control his actions as Porky’s top henchman. Only at the end of the battle did Claus regain any semblance of control, which was largely due to remembering Hinata and hearing the voice of his father, Flint, calling for him to remember himself.
Claus, in a fit of guilt for his actions, sought atonement by ending his own life. His final attack involved firing lightning at his brother, equipped with the Franklin Badge, knowing it would reflect off and end his own pain and life.
1 Deserved It: Hades
The god of the underworld debuted in Kid Icarus: Uprising. Whereas Medusa held a domain in the underworld, Hades was superior. More powerful than Palutena, Viridi, and any god not named Dyntos, Hades used the souls of the dead to create a new army of monsters.
Hades is unforgivable as a psychopathic, mass-murdering lunatic who created wars just to fill his ranks in the army. Along with taking out people in the living world, Hades chose not to give the dead their due rest. Hades’ crimes transcend life and death all the while he cracks jokes at the expense of his victims. The God of the Underworld deserved his end as he is not just the cruelest villain in Kid Icarus but perhaps the evilest in all of Nintendo’s universes.