10 Best Nintendo Antagonists of All Time | TheReviewGeek Recommends

Nintendo has developed numerous games over the years for fans to enjoy. Each title offers a fun narrative, an excellent cast, and colorful worlds for players to get lost in. None of these worlds would be as great without its antagonists, though.

To celebrate Nintendo’s legacy in the gaming industry, we’d like to highlight some of the best antagonists they’ve created over the years. Whether it’s their charismatic personality or the way they’re written, these are some of Nintendo’s best antagonists yet.

As usual, we would love to hear your thoughts about our picks in the comments below.

Ganondorf (The Legend of Zelda)

Ganondorf (Ganon) is the central antagonist of The Legend of Zelda series. While Link’s fought numerous other villains like Demise, Majora’s Mask, Zant, and others, Ganondorf’s been a thorn in Link, Zelda, and Hyrule’s side for ages now. He’s a devious and merciless individual who has the Triforce of Power.

Ganondorf’s done a lot of damage during his reign as The Legend of Zelda’s series staple villain. He’s seized part of the Triforce, manipulated a powerful sorcerer, can transform into a demonic beast, and ruled Hyrule for many years in Link’s absence. He’s a brutal and conniving individual who only cares about world domination. Whether you love him or hate him, Ganondorf is a force to be reckoned with and deserves a spot as one of Nintendo’s best antagonists.

Bowser (Super Mario Bros)

After Donkey Kong had fun with Mario, Shigeru Miyamoto sought a new antagonist to put up against Nintendo’s mascot. Bowser is the Koopa King and a powerhouse in the Super Mario Bros. series. He has a menacing appearance, an interchangeable personality, and a son who is just as devious and mean-spirited as himself.

Long-time Nintendo fans know about Bowser’s goal. In almost every game, he vows to swipe Princess Peach from the Mushroom Kingdom. Therefore, it’s up to Mario and his pals to rescue Peach from Bowser and his variety of minions. Spin-off titles like Paper Mario and Mario + Rabbids gave Bowser a goofier personality, though.

This is what sets him apart from someone like Ganondorf. Bowser’s willing to play ball with Mario when a bigger threat emerges. However, when a larger threat isn’t on the table, Bowser has no issues making Mario, Luigi, and the other’s lives a nightmare. Hopefully, the upcoming Super Mario Bros. movie does the Koopa King justice.

Dimentio (Super Paper Mario)

Remember when I said Bowser often teams up with Mario when a major threat emerges? Dimentio is one of those individuals I was referring to. While the game Dimentio airs from is a mixed bag with fans, people who enjoyed the game value Dimentio’s twisted personality and cunning tactics. He made his debut in 2007’s Super Paper Mario and left a lasting impression on fans.

He’s the type of twist villain many writers should strive to create. He appears as a lackey for the supposed main antagonist Count Bleck. However, Dimentio betrays him and takes over as the game’s true villain. He has a lot of charm, strength, and strategies under his belt. He can manipulate people, create pocket dimensions, teleport, duplicate himself, and so much more.

While Mario’s known for being a well-rounded hero in his series, he needed Bowser, Peach, Luigi, and others’ help to defeat this foe. From turning Luigi into a heartless evildoer to pulling one over on the game’s initial villain, Dimentio is a quirky magician you don’t want to mess with.

Marx (Kirby series)

King Dedede and Meta Knight are fun rivals for Kirby, but Marx left a sour taste in fans’ mouths. Marx has a jester-like appearance as Dimentio and even befriended Kirby during the events of Kirby Super Star. Despite showing Kirby kindness and support, Marx turned on Kirby and plotted to rule over Kirby’s home world of Pop Star.

Marx has manipulated the Sun and Moon to fight, almost killed Kirby during Nova’s resurrection, and even had Pop Star under his beck and call. Like most Kirby games, Kirby manages to recover from Marx’s ill-hearted attack and slays Nova and Marx to oblivion. Marx has incredible abilities under his belt from teleportation to shooting large energy beams from his mouth.

He’s a psychotic and crafty evildoer that fans cringe at whenever he pops up in the series. If “never judge a book by its cover” was a Nintendo character, Marx is who’d you find in that dictionary.

Ridley (Metroid)

From one psychotic antagonist to another, we examine Ridley from the Metroid series. Like Bowser and Ganon, Ridley’s a reoccurring villain who likes to battle the series’s protagonist Samus Aran. It might seem like Ridley is a nonsensical space dragon in games like Super Smash Bros., but that is far from the truth.

Ridley is known as a commander of the Space Pirates. He’s ruthless, cunning, and unforgivable. Unlike Bowser, Ganon, and Marx, Ridley played a role in ruining Samus’s life. Ridley raided her home planet and murdered her mother without batting an eye. The battles players have with Ridley always feel like a spectacle.

No matter how many times you defeat him, he finds a way to return stronger and more brutal than before. Although Bowser’s known for being Nintendo’s number one dragon beast, his character design’s at least child-friendly. Ridley, on the other hand, evokes the same nightmarish energy as the Xenomorphs from Ridley Scott’s films.

Andross (Star Fox)

While Wolf O’Donnell is heralded as Fox McCloud’s greatest rival, Andross is his sworn enemy. Like Ridley, Bowser, Ganondorf, and others, Andross somehow comes back into the picture. While this feels more forced than authentic, Andross at least reappears looking more cybernetic, terrifying, and crazier than before.

It’s said that Fox’s father, James McCloud, perished after his former wingman Pigma betrayed him during their fight against Andross. Since then, Fox’s held a strong vendetta against the space primate for years. Andross is intelligent, which shows in his technological upgrades. He’s also a great leader and commands his men to lead Fox and his allies astray several times.

Although many Star Fox fans want Andross to retire from his role as the series’s main villain, his mission to take over the Lylat System may never end so long as Fox and his crew are around.

Hades (Kid Icarus Uprising)

Hades is one of Nintendo’s newer antagonists unlike the ones discussed so far. He makes a full debut in Masahiro Sakurai’s Kid Icarus Uprising, which was released on the Nintendo 3DS in 2012. He’s charismatic, comedic, and loves to see the world burn before his feet. Without the sacred treasures and Lady Palutena’s help, Pit wouldn’t have been able to defeat him.

Hades is also an excellent manipulator and strategist. He caused humanity to undergo a full-scale war just so he can use their souls to build his army. Hades is a deity with the power to fire large lasers and can transform himself into a living tornado. He occasionally breaks the fourth wall and supplies the game with incredible comedy.

While he’s done some heinous things, Hades never takes himself too seriously. He likes taunting Pit and the player throughout the game, too. You’ll wind up laughing at the silly things he says. With his likable personality, horrid goals, and otherworldly powers, Hades is definitely one of Nintendo’s best antagonists.

King K. Rool (Donkey Kong Country)

Donkey Kong may look like a goofball but he’ll act serious when someone messes with his companions or banana horde. King K. Rool is a large and powerful reptile king who loves clashing heads with Nintendo’s beloved ape. While King K. Rool can be comical and nonsensical as Donkey Kong, he’s not a complete dunce.

King K. Rool is a solid leader, scientist, pirate, and technician. To some extent, King K. Rool likes to change his appearance in every Donkey Kong Country title. He even manages to capture Donkey Kong, leaving Diddy Kong and his girlfriend Dixie Kong to embark on an adventure to free him. Diddy would end up being imprisoned in Donkey Kong 64, though.

While King K. Rool may look like a dimwitted reptile, fans shouldn’t underestimate this strong, intelligent, and charismatic crocodile. Hopefully, King K. Rool will make a triumphant return in a future Donkey Kong project. With his inclusion in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the chances have never been higher.

Giygas (Earthbound)

Earthbound was already a different JRPG from others that were released at the time. Giygas follows a similar trend but feels more different compared to most Nintendo antagonists. While the others mentioned here have physical forms, Giygas appears as a terrifying swirling vortex during the events of Earthbound. He does have a physical form if you play through Earthbound: Beginnings, though.

Nonetheless, many fans’ first encounter with this haunting entity was near the climax of Earthbound. Giygas’s plan is to engulf Eagleland into eternal darkness. This provokes Ness and his companions to travel across Eagleland for one final fight against Giygas and Ness’s neighbor and former friend, Porky Minch.

Unfortunately, not many know of Earthbound or have seen Giygas before. From his incredible boss fight to the dread people get just by looking at the creature, Giygas is a noteworthy, internally broken antagonist that many people need to experience and learn about.

Zanza (Xenoblade Chronicles)

Although Zanza (sort of) redeems himself during the final events of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, many people found him to be a mean-spirited entity in the first game. He stole Shulk’s body, wiped out a universe, and caused an endless cycle of rebirth and destruction to maintain his god-like status. He even contributed to the Mechon leader Egil’s hatred toward life on Bionis.

Despite being a god, Zanza cares little for his creations. He only wanted to treat them as slaves and as a food source for himself. Zanza has incredible powers under his disposal and argues a world with no god is an unruly one. Thankfully, Shulk and his allies put Zanza in his place. This leads to some remarkable developments in Xenoblade Chronicles 1.

However, it also results in some sad affairs involving the next’s game’s protagonist and his allies. With his destructive mindset, godly powers, and cruel antics, Zanza is a magnificent Nintendo antagonist worth remembering.

So, there we have it, our pick for the best Nintendo antagonists of all time!

What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!

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