When we think of Nintendo, we may not immediately think of the ruthlessness of its characters. In spite of Nintendo’s jovial nature, for every plot-driven or player-driven game, there is at least one villain to combat the hero.

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According to Franklin D. Roosevelt, there is “nothing to fear but fear itself.” For every antagonist who wreaks havoc on their world, a protagonist must summon the courage to defeat them. The following characters may be darker than they seem. Their atrocities make them among the evilest video game villains of all time. These are the 10 most ruthless Nintendo villains, ranked.

10 Bowser Jr.

As many may have guessed, Bowser Jr. is the son of Bowser. He shares the qualities of his father. For example, Bowser Jr. has a hyperactive personality and wishes to bring harm to the Mushroom Kingdom. He is spoiled and is heir to Bowser’s throne.

We’ve seen Bowser Jr. appear in video games such as Super Mario Party, Mario Tennis Aces, and Mario Kart 8. His first appearance was in the 2002 game Super Mario Sunshine. To see Bowser Jr. pop out of Mecha-Bowser’s head was shocking.

9 Dark Samus

Much like the Metal Sonic of the Sonic franchise, Dark Samus is the evil doppelgänger of Samus Aran. Her first appearance was in Metroid Prime when she appeared in the game’s secret ending. She would later become a secondary antagonist in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes.

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For teaming up with some of Nintendo’s most wicked villains, she is considered to be one of the most ruthless. She possesses more speed than Samus Aran, making her a tough foe to fight. Don’t mistake her for Samus Aran; she’s actually a reborn Phazon-mutated Metroid Prime!

8 King K. Rool

As the villain of the Donkey Kong video game series, King K. Rool is cruel and bad to the bone. Taking on the appearance of an overweight crocodile, he wears a cape and a crown (or pirate hat).

As Donkey Kong’s archenemy, he is comparable to what Bowser is to Mario. In Donkey Kong 64, King K. Rool orchestrates a plan to kidnap Donkey Kong’s friends and holds Donkey Kong’s island under duress. With numerous henchman on his side, he is Donkey Kong’s most dangerous foe.

7 Mewtwo

There are varying recounts of his origin, but the earliest state that Mewtwo was born from a pregnant Mew found in the jungles of Guyana. This creature was experimented on until it broke free, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.

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As one of the few Pokémon that are hostile towards humans, Mewtwo is a menace and the antagonist of Pokémon: The First Movie. In the Pokémon games, it lays waiting in the Cerulean Cave for a trainer to test its power.

6 Master Hand

After the intro of the first Super Smash Bros. game, it became clear that the game’s characters were all a bunch of puppets to the Master Hand. The characters of the game laid motionless on the desk as if they were a bunch of toys.

He appears in every single Super Smash Bros. game, yet so little his known about his background. Does this hand have a deeper meaning, and is there someone controlling the hand? Perhaps it’s mechanically operated? For being a common enemy for Nintendo characters as a collective whole, the Master Hand is one of the most ruthless Nintendo villains.

5 Ridley

Also known as the Cunning God of Death and Geoform 187, it’s not difficult to see why Ridley is so ruthless. In his initial appearance in 1987’s Metroid, he was not the main antagonist—but a lesser of Mother Brain.

Ridley will stop at nothing to bring destruction to the universe. He’s a bloodthirsty alien that has the appearance of a dragon with glowing orange eyes. Despite being defeated countless times, he reappears in various Metroid games. Only Samus could combat this terrible space creature.

4 Hades

Hades is a figure from Greek mythology but is also a Nintendo villain in Kid Icarus: Uprising. In Kid Icarus: Uprising, players control angel Pit, who must defeat the ruler of the underworld. Hades revives Medusa and is notorious for collecting the souls of the human race.

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Using lies and deceit, he will stop at nothing to accomplish his goals. Hades is a purple demonic entity with red tattoos on his body. His orange chest drill makes him a tough opponent, and he is a threat that must be stopped!

3 Bowser

Also known as Lord Bowser, King Koopa, and the Great Demon King Koopa, Bowser is, without a doubt, the most recognizable villain on this list. As the primary antagonist in one of the most popular video game franchises of all time, he is the root of all evil in the Mushroom Kingdom.

In almost every Super Mario game, Bowser kidnaps Princess Peach and wants to defeat Mario. Deep down, Bowser might be jealous of Mario. Fire breath, spikes, shockwaves, and an army of Goombas make him dangerous!

2 Ganondorf

In The Legend of Zelda series, Ganondorf takes on alternate forms such as Calamity Ganon and Phantom Ganon. They are not to be confused with each other because they are separate entities.

Ganondorf is known a the King of Evil, the King of Thieves, and the Dark Lord. His various personas all point to him as an evil being. The biggest atrocities he has committed are killing Zelda, killing Link, destroying Hyrule, and enslaving the race of Zora. How could someone have so much darkness in their heart, one might wonder.

1 Giygas

Appearing as the antagonist in Earthbound and Earthbound Beginnings, Gigyas is the epitome of evil. Making his debut in the early ’90s, he is not your typical Nintendo villain.

Before many of the villains on this list, Giygas attempted to reclaim the knowledge of psychic powers from human beings. This alien character, who abducts humans, wants to bring harm to the universe. Words cannot fathom the darkness of this creature’s heart. The mere presence of Giygas will cause animals to become uneasy and violent.

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