The Best Animal Villains In Gaming

There have been so many memorable villains in video games that it can be impossible to keep track of them all. One way to make your next villain instantly recognizable (outside of making a stellar game) is to make them a cunning, ruthless animal.

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Whether due to animal villains usually featuring in games from your childhood or for some other reason, they’re always in the back of your mind. Making an animal a villain can provide a lot of unique opportunities on both a story level and a gameplay level, especially if that villain ends up turning into a thrilling boss fight.

10 King K. Rool – Donkey Kong Country

Donkey Kong fighting King K Rool

This big crocodile of a villain is also one of the easiest to spot whenever he appears. Having a certain kind of dramatic flair found within a few other animal villains, King K. Rool is never far from his boxing gloves and propeller.

Almost always acting as the main villain of Donkey Kong, King K. Rool often makes himself a menace by stealing the Kong family banana hoard for his own greedy purposes. In Donkey Kong 64, the villain gets even more twisted, this time wanting to blow up Donkey Kong’s home entirely.

9 Clockwerk – Sly Cooper

Clockwerk the main enemy of the Cooper clan since their inception, his silhouette against the moon meant trouble

The leader of the fiendish five from the Sly Cooper series, Clockwerk is an utter nightmare. Already in a game filled to the brim with anthropomorphic animals, Clockwerk is an eagle owl who ends up turning himself into a robotic version of his former self.

Somehow, that big bird manages to be a thorn in Sly Cooper’s side all because of his grudge against the Cooper clan. Not even an active volcano can keep this villain down for good though, as the echoes of the battles with Clockwerk would be felt throughout the series.

8 Alduin – Skyrim

skyrim alduin closeup with sovngarde aurora and sky in background

Whether anyone likes it or not, Alduin is being classified as an animal, albeit a majestic and terrifying one. The main villain of one of the most iconic RPGs of all time, Skyrim, made such an impact that this dragon isn’t likely to be forgotten any time soon.

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Alduin is literally so powerful that it takes the Dragonborn and a few other powerful warriors who previously took on the dragon to put it down for good. Ending the world through pure dragon devastation may not be a complex plan, but it is a solid one.

7 Wart – Super Mario 2

wart from Super Mario Bros 2

While he does appear as the black sheep of the Mario series, Wart is certainly a memorable villain that some think is due for a return. Being a powerful toad, you might think he wouldn’t have all that many weaknesses, but that’s where you’d be wrong.

Wart’s biggest weakness is quite common considering it’s said to be vegetables. Mario and his friends clearly didn’t have too much trouble with the villain considering he never returned, but knowing how much Nintendo likes surprises these days, absolutely anything is possible.

6 Ganon – The Legend Of Zelda

Ganon From The Legend Of Zelda on the NES 1986

These days, it’s easy to forget that Ganon started out as little more than an evil boar warrior bent on taking over the world. It’s not uncommon for Ganon to appear throughout the Zelda series, but when he does it’s almost always in some kind of boar form.

His most truly animalistic appearance is probably in Twilight Princess in which Link is forced to revert to an animal form of his own to combat the beast. Always seeking power and dominance, it’s only a matter of time before Ganon gets his hands on the triforce in a big way.

5 Andross – Star Fox Adventures

Fox encounters Andross in Star Fox Adventures

This bizarre primate scientist is the often-forgotten villain of the Star Fox series. It’s his alien forces that Fox and his comrades are constantly trying to take down. No matter how many times she gets beat, Andross always finds a way to come back and seek revenge.

He originally worked on Corneria as a scientist, but over time, Andross would slowly become twisted and bitter. He even had family that tried to honor him by carrying on his villainy, though that worked out for them about as well as it did for Andross.

4 King Dedede – Kirby Star Allies

Spider Kirby Fighting King Dedede in Kirby Star Allies

This greedy false king is one of the mainstay characters from the Kirby series, and no one’s complaining thanks to his over-the-top personality and fantastic design. Appearing to be some kind of large penguin (or at the very least some closely related bird) King Dedede strives to be as powerful as Kirby.

His biggest asset is the massive hammer that he carries around with him, a favorite of Super Smash Bros beginners. While he is viewed as a villain by some, others view him as a rival considering he does take the time to do what’s right from time to time, even if it is just because he’s affected by other villainy in some way.

3 Scar – Kingdom Hearts 2

Scar Kingdom Hearts 2

Scar may be most fondly remembered for his appearance as the main antagonist of The Lion King, but he’s just as fearsome in Kingdom Hearts 2. The scheming lion is always ready to do whatever it takes for him to take control of the land, no matter who gets in the way.

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He’s not one of the most difficult bosses in the game or even the series as a whole, but he is still plenty of fun. Thanks to the memorable nature of each and every Disney world in the games, most people likely remember their own struggle against Scar.

2 Bowser – Super Mario Odyssey

Bowser in front of his airship in Mario Odyssey

Quite possibly the most famous animal villain in all of gaming, Bowser has been around since the inception of the Super Mario series. He may be the king of the Koopas, and a Koopa himself, but Koopas are technically a strange animal-hybrid.

Koopas are most commonly compared to turtles, and it’s not hard to see why. Bowser is anything but slow though, constantly able to contend with Mario and enact his evil schemes to kidnap Princess Peach. Bowser getting the best of Mairo on occasion has kept him relevant, and his hilarious personality certainly helps.

1 Donkey Kong – Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong 1981 arcade game

Who could forget the grandfather to Nintendo’s most famous ape? The original Donkey Kong is a classic that Nintendo always goes back to in some form whenever they can, and that’s likely because of everything this villain did for the company as a whole.

Donkey Kong set the standard for what a Nintendo villain would become. An imposing villain ready to throw any and every obstacle in your way, forcing you to persevere and become better than your last attempt. Realistically, Donkey Kong’s impact on gaming is likely bigger than most people give credit to.

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