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The Top 7… villains that never stay dead

Ageless, charismatic and apparently immortal, the messianic commander known as Kane (played by actor Joseph Kucan)has become, over the years, the heart and soul of the Command & Conquer franchise. Despite the best efforts of the “good guy” Global Defense Initiative to kill him, he always returns from the dead in time to guide his Brotherhood of Nod cult into battle with those who would oppose his vision for the world.

Maybe his longevity has something to do with his obsession with Command & Conquer’s toxic Tiberium crystals, or maybe it’s because – as the series hints at – he’s the biblical Cain, cursed to immortality for the sin of killing his brother Abel. It’s also possible he’s just extremely lucky, although that doesn’t really explain why he turned up in Command & Conquer: Red Alert as an advisor to Stalin during the 1950s.

Above: “Why hello there, I’m charmingly ruthless”

To date, Kane has survived numerous attempts on his life, both by the GDI and his own subordinates, and most of them seemed to be successful until Kane suddenly showed up out of the blue to taunt and murder his enemies. Hell, the first time he cheated death, it was after being blasted by the GDI’s ion cannon, an orbital superweapon that usually doesn’t leave much behind besides a smoking crater.

Above: The ion blast, from Kane’s perspective

Above: This is what an ion cannon looks like, in case you were wondering

In Kane’s case, however, it didn’t do much aside from give him third-degree burns on one side of his face, which he had to wear a metal plate to cover. His wounds did nothing to dull his ruthlessness, though – after he resurfaced some 30 years after his “death,” he immediately set about rallying his followers for a second Tiberium War, which ended when a GDI commander confronted him face-to-face and impaled him.

Above: Can’t catch a break

Unsurprisingly, this turned out to be a minor setback. Kane’s body was recovered and regenerated inside a stasis tube, and after a short respite he launched a third Tiberium War, which concluded with another apparent death and a near-immediate reappearance by Kane. And also an alien invasion, which Kane not only managed to survive, but also managed to get through with some cool purple alien clothes and an expansion pack named after his anger.

Above: “Have I mentioned how awesome I am yet?”

Killed in: Metroid, Super Metroid, Metroid Prime, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Metroid Fusion.

At first blush just a pterodactyl-looking space-dragon thing, Ridley is actually nothing less than the leader of the Space Pirates, the insectoid alien race that bounty hunter Samus Aran has dedicated her life to fighting. While you’d never guess it from his in-game shrieking and nudity, he’s highly intelligent in addition to being huge and extremely dangerous. More importantly, he’s damn near immortal, having been resurrected countless times after being repeatedly shot and exploded to death by Samus.

Depending on who you listen to, Ridley owes his longevity either to his own corpse-devouring regenerative powers, or to the Space Pirates’ highly advanced technology. Either way, Ridley is Samus’ great white whale; he’s the creature that killed her parents, and despite her best efforts, she can’t make him stay dead. After Samus killed him in their first encounter and left his broken body to be swallowed up in the explosion that annihilated the Space Pirate base on planet Zebes, he came back with cybernetic enhancements during the Prime series.

His multiple deaths and defeats weren’t enough to convince him it was a bad idea to tangle with Samus, and so he came back again in Super Metroid, taking the time to actually taunt Samus with his prize – the baby Metroid, from which the Space Pirates would clone an army – before doing the smart thing and flying the hell out of there.

After being killed off by Samus yet again, Ridley had the sense to lay low until the events of Metroid Fusion, at which point Samus discovered his frozen carcass in cold storage… just before it crumbled to dust. Of course, not even that could kill Ridley, as the creature-mimicking X parasites had taken an imprint of his DNA and used it to form what is perhaps Ridley’s ugliest incarnation yet:

Above: Meet Ridley-X, which also sounds like a bug spray

Mikel Reparaz
After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.