The five most murderous Final Fantasy villains

Yesterday we played goody two shoes and honored the most effective and selfless Final Fantasy heroes in the series’s history. Today, we’re treading the Sith-tinged “fast and easy” path and cuddling up to the franchise’s worst (as in best) villains. Like it or not, they make the story what it is – without their sociopathic antics, we wouldn’t even have a game to play.

As before, we’re only considering the main numbered games. No spin-offs, no sidequels, just the primary series. So, who caused the most pain, killed the most people or ruined the most lives?

Includes contributions from Brett Elston and Christian Nutt

Vayne (Final Fantasy XII)

Most Final Fantasy antagonists are in your face - personally insulting you, killing your friends and generally being a huge pain in the ass. Vayne isn't like that. He manipulates governments and ruthlessly kills his family to achieve political power. He then flexes this dubiously acquired power over armies, over researchers finding new magical technologies, over anything that will bolster the claims of his Archadian Empire.

Above: Doesn’t get any more exciting than this shot of Vayne talking 

Caught up in the sweep of his ambitions, you'll constantly find yourself fighting indirectly against Vayne and his loyal servants. As you cut down these minions one by one, even his younger brother comes to your aid – before long, all of his well-laid plans fall through, and his desire to save mankind from the grip of the gods is brought to a close. Not before this weird-ass final fight, though:

Above: One of the strangest final battles the series has coughed up

Despite this “I’m going to turn myself into an airship cloud dragon!” finale, we loved Vayne as an against-type, almost down to earth antagonist. A welcome departure from the highly stylized and mass-murdering villains of similar games.

Golbez (Final Fantasy IV)

Even though this towering knight is upstaged at the end of the game, you'll hate Golbez's guts from the moment he sets foot on the screen. He plays with everyone’s emotions and secretly rules the throne of Baron Castle, and as such is directly responsible for hero Cecil’s defection, setting the whole game into motion. Golbez affects almost every member of your party on a personal level, either by taking something precious or killing characters in cold blood. Few bosses are routinely in your face throughout the whole adventure – Golbez delights in these hands-on moments like no other.

Above: Why, here he is paralyzing the team so he can feed you to his pet dragon 

The final third of the game unleashes astounding revelations about Golbez and his otherworldly origin. This twist makes him, his reasoning and his actions more interesting, and even tragic as the final lines of dialog are spoken. Golbez may not destroy the world, but in 20 short hours he manages to wreck the personal lives of your entire group, order dozens of innocents to their death and nearly usher in a new age of eternal destruction. Damn.

Sin (Final Fantasy X)

It's hard to give such prominent placement to a giant whale… monster… thing, but by the end of the game you'll understand exactly why the mysterious, destructive monster known as Sin ranks so high. What initially seems like a mindless monster with no purpose other than to randomly terrorize the world (and kill thousands of people) becomes a mind-ripping plot twist. Without getting into too much detail, Sin is actually Jecht (the dude up there) and is stuck in a never ending cycle of violence. Yeah, that’s pretty vague. We’ll stick with that.

Above: It’s hard to summarize Sin in a screen, so here’s a collection of clips where it’s mopping the floor with everyone.

The creature is an indestructible enigma throughout the entire quest, and only when you brace for the final stretch do you realize the terrible truth about Sin and the world of Spira. It’s seriously heavy stuff, which is why it ranked so high in our Top 7 Final Fantasy games. In the end, Sin is a total mindjob, from creepy introduction to blazing finale. And the ending... that must be the most satisfying high five in the history of games.


  • Spenfen - August 1, 2014 8:58 p.m.

    Necropost, but, Seriously guys, it's not a list of the BEST villains. It's a list of the most MURDEROUS villains. While I agree that Sephiroth is the better villain, I think it's pretty clear to see that Kefka is significantly more murderous. Everything Sephiroth does pales in comparison to the pure evil and killing machine-ishness that is Kefka. Sure, Sephy kills Aerith. Big whoop. Kefka kills almost everyone in the world. Need a main character to die? Fine, Kefka kills Shadow if you don't go completely against gamer logic. Sephiroth smiles after burning down a village? Kefka burns down about ten villages, dancing and laughing for joy as he does it. Even though he's shallow and one-dimensional, he's way more murderous than Sephiroth will ever be.
  • thelegendaryX - February 6, 2014 6:12 p.m.

    Anyone else skim through this just to make sure Kefka was on the list?
  • Spore - June 17, 2013 9:27 p.m.

    i'm sorry, but kuja should at least have been number 2 on this list. he's accomplished what no other ff villain has (to my knowledge)- killed the ENTIRE party. boom. dead. then he goes one step further and revives them so they can save the world. what did vayne do? politics? yeah, kuja did that too, if you'll remember he manipulated alexandria into attacking, and destroying, all three other nations on the mist continent. sephiroph burned down a village? kinda anticlimatic when you look at the fact that kuja blew up a planet, and caused the destruction of three countries. kuja is the ultimate badass
  • evoxpisces - June 17, 2013 1:57 p.m.

    #1 Should have been Sin/Jecht. I'm sorry but whale or not, everyone feared Sin and Sin was eternal. You kill him now but then he comes back. He is the endless cycle of evil incarnate. Kefka is also an amazing villain. Of course he is the textbook definition of Chaotic Evil but he accomplishes what he wanted to do. How many other villains can say that? Vayne however should not be anywhere near this list. I love FFXII and it's one of my favorites in the series but Vayne was unintimidating and easily forgettable. Sephiroth as we know if overrated and is quite the poser. He should've been replaced with Kuja, a much better (although more girly) villain. And Golbez is one of my favorites because I love FFIV. Also Golbez is a fantastic (if a bit traditional) villain.
  • chevleclair - January 23, 2013 7:28 a.m.

    if we're going strictly off the main title line, I will have no choice but to agree with you. Delita from FFT could probably replace Sin, but your top choice is bar none the best you could make. Sephiroth turns our badass hero into a snivelling wimp.
  • SilvanNosty - May 5, 2011 4:48 p.m.

    I'm fairly certain Kefka has murdered more people than Sephiroth. He defaced the Planet, turned entire continents into barren wastelands, and killed anyone who looked at him for too long. Sephiroth burned Nibelheim down (not even killing the entire population) and put his ridiculously over-sized Masamune through Aeris. That's pretty much it. He didn't release the Weapons. He didn't make Weapons. Hell, for all we know, Sephiroth didn't even know the Weapons existed. They weren't released by Sephiroth at all. Whoever wrote that should go back and replay FF7. And where the hell is Kuja? The lack of him makes this article really, really pointless.
  • LeoRoyale - December 24, 2010 1:07 a.m.

    This is a joke? Goblez helps you in the end and Sin isn't the last boss even, he's being controlled.. And Kefka was, like Celes whom you dissed prior, a magitek child that got his brain fried.. You call him a one trick pony but since he was a kid he's been trained that way. Not to mention his awesome lines and the fact he became a God and changed the face of the planet with his power. Sephiroth did what? what? MOMMY!
  • Piisuke - September 5, 2010 3:37 p.m.

    It is obvious that Sephiroth was chose and also sad that he was chosen. Considering Sephiroth's claim to fame was the burning of a relativity small village and stabbing a girl in the back, it is disappointing to see him as the "top villain" in Final Fantasy. Taking into account that Kefka destroyed an entire world, something which Sephiroth failed to do and was constantly in your face, something which Sephiroth also failed to do, I am surprised Sephiroth was placed higher and simply looks like a case for "fanboyism." As a matter of fact, a great villain that didn't make the list, Kuja from Final Fantasy IX, whom also destroyed an entire world, which, as stated before, is something Sephiroth failed to do. Kuja was also constantly in your face, tormenting your party and ridiculing you. No, instead we got the villain from FF XII who was so boring that I have already forgotten his name, even though I just read it. I accept the whole "everyone has a different opinion" thing, but it doesn't mean I have to agree with it. Sephiroth is an overrated villain who gets credited for much of the work in Final Fantasy VII he didn't even do, for example killing Aerith. It is well documented that Cloud threw Sephiroth in the Lifestream and by Cloud's words alone at the end of the game, it is well documented that you'd been chasing Jenova throughout the game. Of course Square realised that Sephiroth rules the streets in America and thus released a fancy book contradicting everything in the game's storylines and making up excuses and unexplainable reasons for some of the events in Final Fantasy VII, just so that Sephiroth looks better. Although Sephiroth looks cool, his actions, or lack thereof doesn't make him the coolest villain by a longshot. Kefka and Kuja alone are already better villains by actually accomplishing something, namely destroying a world, or in Kuja's case; an entire planet. Sin also succeeded in his cause for several years until he was finally laid to rest. Sephiroth? A small village and a girl in the back... the latter which was not even Sephiroth himself. As I said, this article reeks of fanboyism and considering some other articles regarding Final Fantasy and especially VII, even admitted to be huge fans of the 7th installment... It is a well written article... but in the end, it was disappointing.
  • CARNAGEragnarok - March 7, 2010 3:15 a.m.

    sephiroth sholda been a little higher, cuz he has a very deep story and is like the most BAMF villain ever, no remorse and merciless, essence of pure evil
  • Skykid - March 6, 2010 4:41 p.m.

    I stand corrected,SOME of them are smarter. reCATCHA: Lance fearsome. Ironic
  • Skykid - March 6, 2010 4:39 p.m.

    WOW, These villans are smarter than the ones that I tend to kick their collective asses every single time. Some are more devious and murdering than Makarov in MW2.
  • GameManiac - March 6, 2010 2:32 a.m.

    I actually felt sort of sorry for Golbez... AFTER I knocked him down on his metal-armored ass!
  • MetalGearFlaccid - March 6, 2010 1:07 a.m.

    @Zeipher I read it, don't you worry about that. I'm not one of THOSE kind of commenters. And yet, I still hold my opinion that Kefka's more evil and murderous than Sephiroth will ever be. I have tested my theory in Dissidia, and 7 out of 10 times, Kefka beats Sephiroth. I was more trollbaiting than anything, so I let my previous comment stand proud.
  • Embolado - March 5, 2010 5:19 a.m.

    Watching the video of Arieths death reminded me the battle that takes place right after with a jonova body part and that same music playing until you beat it. I always felt that the music during the battle didnt belong.
  • Relayer71 - March 5, 2010 3:06 a.m.

    Sephiroth wins it... wow, didn't see THAT one coming.
  • Thantos410 - March 5, 2010 2:14 a.m.

    Woot, Crisis Core gets a mention! I'm for the movement that Sephiroth isn't a maniacal bastard, just a confused person who wants to take over the world with his dead mother.
  • toastedmilk - March 4, 2010 9:45 p.m.

    your last two entries are so true. ff7 haters piss me off and i'm constantly forced to defend sephiroth over kefka. as awesome as he is, kefka is essentially just a one dimensional psychopath, as you point out. ff6 has better heroes though
  • Felixthecat - March 4, 2010 4:30 p.m.

    As someone who has only played Final Fantasy 7 (Roman numerals FTL), I can clearly say that my most hated villian is the big retard known as Sephiroth. Don't judge, but I just think he's a dumbass and I hate his design, I like my villians to have good design. That said, I very much want FF13, but money is an issue...
  • Xplosive59 - March 4, 2010 4:12 p.m.

    kefka ftw! other than that if you were including Tactics (not the advance ones)the brothers in that would surly be number one
  • philipshaw - March 4, 2010 2:08 p.m.

    It had to be sephiroth, even his music makes him sound bad ass

Showing 1-20 of 46 comments

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