The vilest enemy races of all time

One of the challenges of an action game is creating a villain that you, the player, will want to destroy. Some games, like Killzone 3, end up crafting bad guys so cool and awesome, you're rooting for them instead of the so-called heroes. Then there are games that just get it right, making an entire army of bastards you just want to punch in the face.

Thanks to a mixture of visual design, atmosphere and writing, some games go beyond even that, and are able to craft an entire race of enemies that are simply despicable to behold. They're ugly, they're disgusting, and they garner absolutely zero sympathy. Those are the truly successful baddies in videogames, and now we rightly pay tribute.

The Locust

When it comes to plain old ugly, very few enemies do it better than the Locust. These subterranean barbarians are the primary antagonists in Gears of War, and while they come in many varieties, the running theme across the entire species is pure visual abomination.

They resemble reptilian apes, with squashed, pug-like faces, snarling mouths filled with uneven teeth, and an apparent belief that we want to look at them topless. Their women are twelve-feet tall and have faces closely resemble Castle Greyskull carved out of dry dogshit.

Gears developer Epic did a wonderful job with the Locust, crafting an enemy that is at once very humanoid, yet utterly alien to us. Even their voices, gutteral and with a limited grasp of English, are both familiar and obscene. They are like people, but primordial and brutish. They are ugly because they're like parodies of us, and that somehow makes them even less sympathetic than something completely inhuman.

The Strogg

Imagine the twisted offspring of a Borg and a zombie. Undead constructs of flesh and metal, built by something that placed pure function well above any aesthetic value. That is the Strogg, the techoflesh empire that acts as your principal foe in Quake II and Quake IV.

The Strogg were designed entirely to be horrific, and the art department deserves a golf clap for the effort. Unlike the Borg, which still manage to look rather sleek and stylish, the Strogg are twisted Clive Barker freaks that dredge up images of torture and sheer, uncompromising brutality with their very presence.

As mindless soldiers bred only for war, a Strogg soldier doesn't care that weeping sores and gaping, blood-soaked wounds cover its flesh. It doesn't care that pipes are jammed into its throat and jagged spikes are protuding from its swollen belly. Unfortunately, we care, and that's our disadvantage. The mere thought of the Strogg is enough to make one feel queasy.

The Necromorphs

Take the Strogg, but replace the metal parts with jagged, bony, mutated parts, often attached in all the wrong ways. You now have the Necromorphs from the Dead Space universe. Unlike your average zombie, the Necromorph has been warped and twisted to such a degree that it is barely recognizable as human.

Upon close inspection, however, the human aspect is made all too clear, and it's heart-rending. Pained, glassy-eyed expressions on skewed mockeries of faces and arms torn open for new limbs to arrogantly sprout in their place. The artists at develoer Visceral have an incredible talent for designing Eldritch, babbling, disturbing creatures, and it shows with every member of the Necromorph race.

The worst part of the Necromorph design is, of course, the fact that it applies to children as well. Babies and juveniles both appear in Dead Space 2, and despite their monstrous appearance, they still somehow resemble kids. To pull that off takes the kind of skill that no sane human would willingly desire. There it is, though -- Visceral made something that is hideous, yet child-like. The juxtoposition results in something utterly grisly, something that hints at a force with truly no compassion. 

The Space Pirates

The design of Metroid's Space Pirates has varied considerably over the franchise's many games, but the fleshy mistakes from Metroid Prime 3: Corruption are arguably the most grotesque interpretation. Their heads are eyeless, meaty balls of sharp fangs and mandibles, and the skin looks like it would be sticky to touch.

Space Pirates have always looked somewhat unpleasant, and that was taken to eleven with Corruption's slavering fiends. How in the universe do they function in everyday life looking like a cross between a dog's penis and a frozen afterbirth? It doesn't bear thinking about.


  • Plan10FromOuterSpace - September 14, 2011 11:59 a.m.

    So im gonna come out and say this even if it makes me look rather pussy, in relation to dead space 2, i really dont like watching kids take the role of victims or enemies in video games. There was a part early on in Prey where a little girl stabbed her brother to death, I found it horrible to watch, its just something I dont like. I guess games cant exactly skirt round the issue and just pretend the characters of the universe they're set in dont have just saying I dont like it
  • Thezombiesarepeople2 - March 10, 2011 12:49 p.m.

    Silent Hill=runner up because of a "rape" scene that I'm not entirely sure was intentional? The design for baddies in Silent Hill was every bit as good as Dead Space, perhaps even more original. Dead Space's most twisted enemy just can't compare to Pyramid Head.
  • BurntToShreds - March 7, 2011 3:57 p.m.

    The Covenant in the Halo series has some monsters in it. The Elites, however, are honorable. They apparently have a warrior culture like samurai. This is why I liked the Arbiter chapters of Halo 2, they gave you a broader look into the structure of the Covenant, and why they fight. The Brutes, however, are vile and they do whatever they can to achieve their goals.
  • faraany3k - March 7, 2011 9:29 a.m.

    EPIC FAIL ARTICLE. Where are the ZERGS tell me. ZERGS due, the ZERGS.
  • super0sonic - March 7, 2011 8:34 a.m.

    Strange how you did not point out that the Chimera were humans. The processing plants that convert humans to Chimera were scary. It's too bad that the processing plants were removed in resistance two because infected people just grow pods now, and that's dumb.
  • fairways312 - March 6, 2011 11:40 p.m.

    No flood from halo huh? Cool article anyways haha
  • happydude007 - March 6, 2011 9:19 p.m.

    What about the Elites and Brutes in the Halo series? Grunts too!....wait a minute.....
  • EdDeRs1 - March 6, 2011 8:32 p.m.

    what about the flood from Halo?
  • DarknessWithin - March 6, 2011 7:46 p.m.

    What about the Creeps or Burnouts from Bulletstorm?
  • Grif - March 6, 2011 6:46 p.m.

    I agree with all of these, but I would have added the Flood from Halo. That bit in Halo 3 where you watch a marine get infected really makes me feel awful. Not scared or freaked out, just sort of sad you know. All though the Chimera do this much better than the flood with their conversion process.
  • Miles_Endsly - March 6, 2011 6:25 p.m.

    Aliens?! James Cameron is totally going to take this website change it around slightly and make a billion dollar movie out of it just in Spite.
  • chrisantistas2inchpenis - March 6, 2011 8:04 a.m.

    I was sure Boomers from L4D would be on this list
  • Mortis - March 6, 2011 6:19 a.m.

    @Smeggs - well said...i was about to say something to that Effect...ha! see what i did there? and everyone bitching about racism: shut the fuck up. it is a list for entertainment of ENEMIES that are trying to kill you in VIDEOGAMES. racism has no part in this. on that note, nice article, and Necromorphs are the creepiest things ever. they don't even have to be on screen to induce anus-quaking fright.
  • Smeggs - March 6, 2011 5:56 a.m.

    This list is meant to talk about the combo of Genocidal Asshole/Eye-Vomitingly Hideous creatures, not who is the most evil or who you were the most afraid of. That's why nothing from Mass Effect is here. Batarians are just douche-bag pirates who are plain ugly. Reapers are sleek giant genocidal robots. Geth are sleek genocidal robots of varying size, and also the moral gray area during Legion's loyalty mission makes them seem less threatening altogether. Vorchas are idiots who are basically attack dogs that can carry guns, annoying voice not-withstanding. However, I do agree the Darkspawn/Brood Mother should have been here.
  • TeaserTuesday - March 6, 2011 5:33 a.m.

    It's not racist, these are all different species that are trying to kill you. (If anything it's specist?)
  • NightCrawler_358 - March 6, 2011 3:12 a.m.

    I like these entries, but theres alot of shooter enemies on here. I think that the Zerg would fit nicely here.
  • BertTheTurtle - March 6, 2011 3:01 a.m.

    I strongly agree with the necromorph and Silent Hill creatures' entries, and I would like to add my own suggestion: BioShock's splicers. I do not know if they should count as a "race", but everything about them disturbs me to no end.
  • TURbo - March 6, 2011 1:06 a.m.

    Only a person like you would overlook the most vilest race of all time. The White man.
  • FOZ - March 6, 2011 12:37 a.m.

    "Vile." The Reapers aren't vile, they're big talking spaceships. They don't have any tentacles, ugly faces, fleshy tumors or really anything disgusting at all.
  • babyhenchy1 - March 5, 2011 8:56 p.m.

    @JBizFoShiz Not Hades or Hephaestus. Hephaestus was trying to protect Pandora and Hades had a pretty damn good reason for wanting to kill Kratos. And for those saying Scions or Collectors, the Reapers should be on here instead of them since they created the damn things.

Showing 1-20 of 61 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000