Gaming’s Greatest Villain Speeches
A good hero needs a good villain, especially in video games. Whether it’s to provide you with a challenge, to heighten the tension, or just to tell a good story, the medium provides hundreds of iconic baddies for you to pit your skills against.
Some of these villains just end up being another speed bump on your way to beating the game, but some iconic bosses distinguish themselves not by what they do, but by what they say. Not only do these monologues further the story, 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 opponents from the screen into the annals of video game history.
8 Elden Ring: Let It Be Written On Thy Meagre Grave – Morgott, The Omen King
Morgott has a chip on his shoulder, maybe literally. The son of queen Marika and Godfrey, his sole purpose seems to be prevent you and anyone else from entering the Erdtree and becoming the next Elden Lord. But while some bosses in Elden Ring are just plain annoying, it’s hard to hate Morgott’s grandeur, with an opening speech that could have been taken straight from Shakespeare.
Aside from Anthony Hall's menacing delivery, Morgott's speech is also a marvel of exposition. In just a few words, he gives you a huge dose of the game's lore, and expresses his motivation in a way that would put most screenwriters to shame. You’ve fought him once before as Margit, the Fell Omen, but it's difficult not to feel a chill of fear as he walks down the stairs, leaning on his cane, and rumbles “Graceless tarnished. What is thy business with these thrones?”
7 Command & Conquer Red Alert 3: Space – Premier 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 went out of fashion almost a decade before, adds to the goofy, retro feel of the game. And, let’s be real, turns the game from a generic RTS into something worth playing.
Tim Curry as Cherdenko gives a lot of good performances in the game, embodying the game’s over-the-top Soviets, and, it seems, having a hell of a time of it. The best is when Curry announces that he’s sending everything that he has at you, and that he is also going to the one place capitalism can’t reach him: Space! The speech contains little of the seriousness of other speeches on this list, but it deserves to be here for having one of the funniest lines in video game history.
6 Observer: Why Should One More Make A Difference? – Adam Lazarski
Observer is a game where you play as David Lazarski, voiced by the late great Rutger Haur, as a kind of cyber-cop in a futuristic, noir world reminiscent of Blade Runner. You’ve been called by your son, Adam, to a tenement building where you find his room ransacked and the system locked down. Using your ability to hack into people’s minds, you slowly discover the truth behind your son’s disappearance, all the while trying to keep together your own sanity.
The game culminates in the discovery that Adam has been making digital copies of himself, one of which got free, killed him, and has been grooming you as a vessel to hide himself in. While not a single speech, the reveal deserves a mention because of the mind-bending twist it gives to an already mind-bending game.
5 Far Cry 3: The Definition Of Insanity – Vaas Montenegro
Vaas Montenegro has plenty of hobbies. Aside from pina coladas and long walks in the rain, he likes killing, maiming, stealing, extorting, and making the protagonist of Far Cry 3 wet their pants.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in Vaas’ monologue midway through the game, where you find yourself trussed up and tied to a brick far above the water. This is the second time he’s tried to kill you, and seems particularly peeved about it. So, just to hammer home how dead you are, Vaas goes on a tangent about how insanity is trying the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. Michael Mando’s frenetic performance gives the dialogue weight, but what truly puts this speech over the top is how Vaas repeats the first line “Did I ever tell you the definition of insanity?” at the end, right before he tries to kill you. Again.
4 Red Dead Redemption: You Can’t Fight Nature, John – Dutch 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’d give him credit for. Case in point is his final speech after you corner him on the edge of a snow-covered cliff.
Before jumping to his death, Dutch gives an impassioned speech about how men like he, and the protagonist John Marsden, no longer have a place in the world. Besides giving a new face to the game’s main villain, the speech highlights the real tragedy of Red Dead: that, no matter how much he wants to redeem himself, society no longer wants men like John Marsden. It heavily foreshadows the game’s ending, and makes you question what it is you are fighting for.
3 Metal Gear Solid: There’s Only Room For One Boss – The Boss
As the series has progressed, Metal Gear Solid cutscenes have grown to become little films in their own right. And, since the series has more great villains than you can shake a stick at, it’s not surprising that it has a ton of great villain speeches.
Possibly the best, though, comes from the final boss of the game, fittingly called The Boss. The Boss trained you and raised you, but you spend the entire game thinking she has betrayed you, and your country. In this speech, she reveals that she was actually looking out for you the whole time, and wants you to take over for her, if you can kill her. She sacrifices her life so that you can continue on with her mission, and by the time you do the deed there’s not a dry eye in the house.
2 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, where System Shock truly shined was in its breathtaking story that pitted you, a futuristic hacker, against the villainous AI SHODAN who seeks to destroy all of humankind. You might have caused that, but that’s beside the point. You’re the one who has to put it right.
In its speech before the final showdown, SHODAN reveals its evil ambitions to you with shocking clarity. It’s difficult to see if there’s malice in a voice so monotone, but what the speech lacks in performance it makes up for in a verbal expressiveness that borders on poetry. “Lines of power careen from my throne room to the skies of earth. My whims will become lightning bolts that devastate the mound of humanity.” Almost beautiful, if they weren’t trying to fry everyone alive.
1 BioShock: A Man Chooses, A Slave Obeys – Andrew Ryan
As the protagonist of Bioshock, you’re convinced you’re doing the right thing, even if you did choose to kill a bunch of harmless little sisters to harvest their Adam. You’ve seen how evil the founder of Rapture, Andrew Ryan, can be and you’re willing to help out your buddy Atlas, who seems like a swell guy.
When you finally do get to Ryan, though, 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 is actually controlling you through the hypnotic phrase “Would you kindly?” Then, just to bury the point home about how little control you have, Ryan forces you to kill him with a golf club. It’s a stunning twist in an already fantastic game, and also a subtle commentary on the nature of freedom. A three-minute speech that will have you questioning everything, no small feat.
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