The Top 7... Outrageously Camp Bad Guys

One of the most stereotypically camp bad guys on this list, it's hard not to feel something close to sympathy for Sander Cohen. Okay, he was clearly madder than a dancing cheese plant, but as a tortured artist hopped up on plasmids, the brutal post-fall Rapture can't have been a fun place to live.

Not that that excuses his murderous actions, however fabulously flamboyant they may have been. Even before Rapture went the way of Arkham he was involved in a long and bitchy artistic rivaly with fellow performer Anna Culpepper, which was eventually resolved by her being found dead in a bloody bath tub. Take That and East 17 could have sorted things out in the same way.

Above: Mmmm, tasteful. Michelangelo clearly wasted his life.

And then there was his "masterpiece"; a photographic murder spree forced upon Bioshock's hero Jack in order to exact revenge on those who questioned Cohen's artistic relevance and importance to Rapture. As if that modus operandi wasn't camp enough, he then celebrated with a spotlit, bunny-mask-wearing explosion of confetti and ticker tape, even alluding to messianic status by quoting Jesus' last words from John 19:30. "It is accomplished" indeed Sander, you crazy old bastard. Top marks for having the finest-crafted moustache in videogames too, Captain Price excepted.

Notable also-ran

Effeminate to the point of borderline transvestitism with a penchant for needlessly theatrical speech, Final Fantasy IX's Kuja was a villain in the same flouncing renaissance-man mould as Cohen. Couple in the fact that the revelation of his own mortality caused him to throw a hissy fit which destroyed a whole world and spurred an attempt to wipe out all of life in general, and the two could have done a great deal of 'misunderstood' bitching together if they'd ever met.

As Brit comedy legend Eddie Izzard once taught us, there's only so far you can go into being cool before you start looking like a dickhead. And similarly, if a bad guy goes far enough in an effort to be threatening, he can only become ludicrously, hilariously, savagely camp.

Above: It's so damn funny we had to show you all of it.

Such is the case with the last boss in Wolfenstein 3D. Adolf Hitler is undoubtedly one of the most evil men in human history, but the sight of him floating around in a spectral fashion, letting out a laugh Vincent Price would have been proud of when shot, made for one of the most nonsensically funny boss encounters in gaming. Doubly so when he turned up in a goddamn mech. And when the chaingunning Fuhrer finally croaked, uttering a mournful "Eva! Auf weidersein..." with a level of camp that only the German accent seems capable of evoking, it was almost too hilarious to bear. Deeply, offensively insensitive maybe, but hilarious all the same.

Notable also-ran

Zombies Ate My Neighbors is a gloriously well-judged celebration of b-movie camp, but nowhere did it pull off the beautiful madness of '50s genre cinema better than the "Titanic Toddler" level. A forty-foot baby. A killer bottle of milk. A doom-laden nursery rhyme soundtrack littered with off-kilter creepiness and those classic "Uh-oh" samples. It was as ridiculous as can be and therefore without doubt one of the best bits of the entire game.


Top 7


  • AA95mp - December 21, 2008 2:54 p.m.

    machine gun nipples????????????
  • RedOutlive10 - February 10, 2009 6:09 p.m.

    Kefka was really memorable and full of personality, this plus FFVI's story were the main reasons I still think of Final Fantasy VII as overrated. Not bad, just not as good as the other FF games many people never played.
  • Danomeon - March 17, 2009 5:52 p.m.

    Salazar was one of my favorites. I loved how he wasn't some big, looming badass like the chief (Or "Centipede man", as I like to call him.) Or wesker, but just a small, humble person. I also loved how he seemed human when we was cut in the hand with leon's knife in the cinimatic a bit before the final battle with him.
  • Awesomeitude1523 - March 3, 2009 6:07 p.m.

    It was sooooo much fun to finally kill Sander Cohen in his apartment, and then just stand there smacking his corpse with a wrench for half an hour. Crazy old fool.
  • KillerPotato - June 4, 2009 6:04 p.m.

    Laser crotches and hitler in a mech suit, the making of a great article
  • ryno - June 23, 2009 8:29 p.m.

    why the F@&k isnt the joker from batman on this list
  • Basketcase676 - November 17, 2008 5:39 p.m.

    Haha, good read! And of course Salazar had to make an appearance, too much flambouancy for a bad guy.
  • misfit119 - November 17, 2008 7:51 p.m.

    Enfants Terrible was what it was called in MGS1. It didn't have to make sense, it was written by Kojima. Not a lick of Metal Gear Solid makes sense, the fan created rambles make more sense. Oh and I want to eat Kojima's face off for that whole dominant, non-dominant gene crap. Nothing will ever top Kefka for over the top bad guys. I'd pick him over Girlieroth any time. I like my bad guys homicidal, not all emo and whiney, like you get from most JRPGs.
  • GR_DavidHoughton - November 17, 2008 10:09 p.m.

    Hunter2458: Yikes. Well pointed out. Post-credits dialogue acknowledged. Don't know how that one slipped through. I'll put it down to it being Monday. Edit made.
  • GamesRadarMikelReparaz - November 17, 2008 10:10 p.m.

    I'd also suggest this one: But that's just me. (Link doesn't work, just copy and paste)
  • GR_DavidHoughton - November 17, 2008 10:26 p.m.

    I don't quite know how I feel about that image, Mikel. But I don't think I want to look at it any more.
  • Johnny6Gun - November 17, 2008 11:32 p.m.

    Good call on Alfred Ashford. I was going to suggest him after seeing Salazar on here, but you already had him as a #1 runner up. Well played!
  • Amnesiac - November 18, 2008 3:13 a.m.

    Yeah, I'm with most everyone else here, the first person I thought of when I saw the headline was Kefka. Love that YouTube cosplay video by the way. Also, the line about the two Narcisusses having sex in a room full of mirrors made me lawl hardly.
  • Defguru7777 - November 18, 2008 3:32 a.m.

    Pansies. Salazar's head is above my mantle. Guffaw.
  • Ravenbom - November 18, 2008 6:58 a.m.

    Yeah, Kefka was my first thought for number one. I wasn't sure if he was going to make it, since his 16 bit camp is hard to quantify out of context nowadays. But I'm happy he made it! He's definitely my number one camp bad guy. Also, I'm more than mildly disturbed by that CJ Collins video.
  • coffeenebula - November 18, 2008 5:40 p.m.

    What about the Director of H.A.R.M. in No One Lives Forever 2? He and the mime king deserve at least an honorable mention!
  • CandiedJester - November 22, 2008 3:16 a.m.

    o: How did I not know about this Kefka character? He seems frickin awesome. He does act like the Joker too. I think Im in love >///< lol That dude was a good cosplayer. Haha. MAMMA'S BOY! Best thing ever XD The only ones I knew were Sander Cohen and that twurp from RE.
  • Schuultz - November 23, 2008 12:33 a.m.

    I want David Houghton on the Podcast - if necessary via skype or whatever
  • Gameward-Bound - November 24, 2008 3:38 a.m.

    hey, what about that clown guy from devil may cry 3? or was he not a bad guy?
  • chrisat928 - November 17, 2008 5:36 p.m.

    How did I know Kefka would be number one? Awesome article.

Showing 1-20 of 39 comments

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