A good hero needs a good villain, especially in video games. Whether it’s to offer you a challenge, to increase the tension, or just to tell a good story, the medium offers hundreds of iconic villains for you to pit your skills against.
Some of these baddies end up being another speed bump on your way to beating the game, but some iconic bosses stand out not by what they do, but by what they say. Not only do these monologues move the story forward, but they also introduce who your opponent is and make them care about them. They can turn a good encounter into a great encounter, pushing your screen opponents into the annals of video game history.
Elden Ring: Let It Be Written On Your Skinny Grave – Morgott, The Omen King
Morgott has a chip on his shoulder, maybe literally. Son of Queen Marika and Godfrey, his sole purpose seems to be to stop you and anyone else from entering the Erdtree and becoming the next Elden Lord. But while some Elden Ring bosses are downright boring, it’s hard to hate Morgott’s grandeur, with an opening speech that could have been taken straight from Shakespeare.
Anthony Hall’s menacing delivery aside, Morgott’s speech is also a marvel of exposition. In a nutshell, it gives you a huge dose of the game’s lore and expresses its motivation in a way that would put most screenwriters to shame. You’ve fought him before as Margit, the Fell Omen, but it’s hard not to feel a shudder of fear as he descends the stairs, leaning on his cane, and growls “Graceless tarnished.” What are you doing with those thrones?
Command & Conquer Red Alert 3: Space – Prime Minister Anatoly Cherdenko
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 is a game that knows exactly what it is: a shlocky sci-fi RTS with one of the best soundtracks of the time. Making it an FMV game, a style that had gone out of style nearly a decade before, adds to the goofy, retro feel of the game. And, let’s be real, transforms the game from a generic RTS into something worthwhile. to be played.
Tim Curry as Cherdenko gives a lot of great performances in the game, portraying the game’s over-the-top Soviets and, it seems, having a hell of a time. The best part is when Curry tells you that he’s sending you everything he’s got, and he’s also going where capitalism can’t reach him: space! The speech contains little of the seriousness of the other speeches on this list, but it deserves to be here for having one of the funniest lines in video game history.
Observer: Why should one more make a difference? -Adam Lazarsky
Observer is a game where you play as David Lazarski, voiced by the late great Rutger Haur, as some sort of cyber cop in a futuristic, noir world reminiscent of Blade Runner. You have been called by your son, Adam, to an apartment building where you find his room ransacked and the system locked. Using your ability to hack people’s minds, you slowly uncover the truth behind your son’s disappearance, while trying to keep your own sanity.
The game culminates with the discovery that Adam made digital copies of himself, one of which broke free, killed him, and prepared you as a vessel to hide in. While there isn’t a single speech, the reveal deserves mention because of the mind-blowing twist it puts on an already mind-blowing game.
Far Cry 3: The Definition of Madness – Vaas Montenegro
Vaas Montenegro has a lot of hobbies. Aside from pina coladas and long walks in the rain, he enjoys killing, maiming, stealing, extorting, and making the pants of the Far Cry 3 protagonist wet.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in Vaas’ mid-game monologue, where you find yourself tied up and tied to a brick high above the water. This is the second time he’s tried to kill you, and he seems particularly irritated about it. So just to hammer home how dead you are, Vaas goes on a tangent about how insanity tries the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome. Michael Mando’s frenzied performance lends weight to the dialogue, but what really sets this speech above is how Vaas repeats the first line “Have I ever told you the definition of insanity?” at the end, just before he tries to kill you. Again.
Red Dead Redemption: You Can’t Fight Nature, John – Dutchman Van Der Linde
Red Dead Redemption’s main antagonist, Dutch, is the kind of villain we love to hate. He’s not a good guy, but he often dispenses more wisdom than you think. For example, his last speech after getting him stuck on the edge of a snowy cliff.
Before jumping to his death, Dutch gives an impassioned speech about how men like him and protagonist John Marsden no longer have a place in the world. As well as putting a new face on the game’s main villain, the speech highlights the true tragedy of Red Dead: that no matter how much it wants to redeem itself, society doesn’t want men like John Marsden anymore. This strongly foreshadows the endgame and makes you wonder why you are fighting.
MGS3 the boss before the final battle
As the series progressed, the Metal Gear Solid cutscenes became little movies in their own right. And, since the show has more great villains than you can handle, it’s no surprise that it has a ton of great villain talk.
Perhaps the best, however, comes from the game’s final boss, aptly called The Boss. The boss trained and raised you, but you spend the whole game thinking she betrayed you and your country. In this speech, she reveals that she has been looking out for you the whole time and wants you to replace her, if you can kill her. She sacrifices her life so you can continue her mission, and by the time you do the deed, there’s not a dry eye in the house.
System shock: God. The title suits me well – SHODAN
System Shock is one of those games that shaped video games into what they are today. Influential in its setting and gameplay mechanics, System Shock truly shone in its jaw-dropping story that pitted you, a futuristic hacker, against the villainous AI SHODAN who seeks to destroy all of humanity. You might have caused this, but that’s beside the point. You have to fix it.
In his speech before the final showdown, SHODAN reveals his evil ambitions to you with shocking clarity. It’s hard to see if there’s any malice in such a monotonous voice, but what the speech lacks in performance it makes up for with a verbal expressiveness that borders on poetry. “Lines of power stretch from my throne room to the heavens of the earth. My whims will become lightning that will devastate the mound of humanity. Almost gorgeous, if they weren’t trying to fry everyone alive.
BioShock: A Man Chooses, A Slave Obeys – Andrew Ryan
As the protagonist of Bioshock, you are convinced that you are doing the right thing, even though you chose to kill a group of harmless little sisters to harvest their Adam. You’ve seen how evil Rapture founder Andrew Ryan can be and you’re ready to help your buddy Atlas, who seems like a great guy.
When you finally get to Ryan, however, everything changes. Ryan reveals that everything you thought you knew about yourself is a lie. You were created in a lab, your memories were implanted at birth, and Atlas actually controls you through the hypnotic phrase “Would you kindly?” Then, just to bury the point about how little control you have, Ryan makes you kill him with a golf club. It’s an amazing twist on an already fantastic game, and also a subtle commentary on the nature of freedom. A three-minute speech that will make you question everything is no small thing.
Next: Game Villains Who Will Never Fight You Directly
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