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There's nothing like a steamingly camp villain to really set off a game plot with a bang (and a mince and a girly titter). There's just something about a preening effeminate bad guy that instantly undermines a hero, no matter what abilities and attributes said doer of good might have. He's threatening to destroy the world? Pah. He's threatening to destroy the world in lip liner!? Christ, he must be confident.
And that's to say nothing of the countless enemies who are hilariously camp purely through their sheer ludicrous nature. Yes, these guys are more intriguing, entertaining and enjoyable to face off against than a million Grufty McBig-Guns, so here we give you our run-down of the best seven around (and the ones who are almost as good, but not quite).
A camp bad guy list without Vega would be like a cheese sandwich without the cheese or bread. Street Fighter II's bosses may sometimes be known as the Four Divas, but only one of them lived, breathed and minced that title all 24/7, 365. As much as we love the Street Fighter cast like brothers and sisters, in truth every one of them is a big fat stereotype of some kind (insert E. Honda joke here), so the preening, effeminate second boss was only ever going to take the camp to pioneering, hitherto unimagined levels.
He was a showboating matador. He was a gymnastic poser. He was incapable of wiping his nose without letting out a high-pitched squealing yelp, and he was more narcissistic than two clones of Narcissus having sex in a room full of mirrors.
Above: Vega's finest hour, battling Chun-Li in the Street Fighter II anime movie. Almost a girl fight. It all kicks off around 3:40
All of which made Vega one hell of an opponent. After all, it's one thing being beaten up, but being beaten up by a damnably skillful, prancing egotist who follows up the kicking by pointing out how much prettier than you he is? That's just embarrassing.
M. Bison? Camp? Yes, of course he is. Cast aside his status as face-crunching final boss for a second and think about him objectively. The spotlessly groomed, pillarbox military garb. The shiny metal kneee pads. The half Nazi, half Village People cap. The pre-fight posing and flamboyant cape throw. If Bison wasn't such a double-hard bastard, he'd be... well to be honest, he'd be Raul Julia in the live-action Street Fighter movie.
Poison midget Ramon Salazar was that most annoying of camp bad guy archetypes; the cowardly weakling. With a creepily shrunken stature, the frilly little git was all too aware of his physical inadequacy when compared to Leon, and so avoided a direct confrontation until absolutely inescapable.
In the grand tradition of camp, bastardly wimps, he sniped Leon with rasping pithy venom at every opportune moment, but only ever risked such a confrontation when safely out of punching distance. His preening aristocratic ego dictated throughout that he was all about the bitchiness but never about backing it up with evidence of his superiority. Why Leon didn't just shoot the sanctimonious little sod in the head is beyond us, but whatever the reason, Salazar was free to spend the entire castle section of Resi 4 pompously flexing his self-aggrandising arrogance from behind the safety of his tricks, traps and foot soldiers.
Above: 5 seconds later, he stopped cackling and began his new life as a reddish brown puddle.
Unable to handle a straight fight, he evaded Leon time and time again, letting Ganados, monsters and spike-bottomed pits do the work for him, all the while revelling in his own foppish, self-assumed superiority. Unfortunately, he eventually made the slight error of forgetting that that it's unwise to leave rocket launchers lying around near a man who survived Raccoon City. Thus his supposed ascension to parasite-powered, tentacle-thrashing demon god was cut rather short - provided you chose to handle the boss fight that way - by way of a ballistic explosive to his cocky little face. After so many hours of chasing the smug sod through the castle, no pay off could have been more satisfying.
Gestapo officer Major Toht brings a great big fascism-flavoured slice of cowardly wimp to Lego Indiana Jones. During the climactic battle at Marion's bar, he sends countless sherpas out to fight Indy and Marion, making only the occasional, blink-and-you'll-miss-him appearances before scampering off again to the safety of the back room.
And to make matters worse, the cheap bastard used a gun against a man with a whip and an unarmed woman. The origin of his all-important camp factor? They may have been abhorrent scum in real life, but years of watching Herr Flick in UK sitcom 'Allo 'Allo have rendered us unable to view fictional Gestapo as anything other than, well, this. Small, bumbling, plastic Gestapo doubly so.