8 Video Game Villains Who Got Off Easy

infamous cole 8 Video Game Villains Who Got Off Easy

Among the many memorable video game characters out there, we’ve seen plenty of iconic villains. Longtime baddies like Bowser and Dr. Eggman have been plugging away at kidnapping princesses and aiming for world domination for decades, only for the hero to show up and foil their schemes. Indeed, the never-ending war between good and evil has been prevalent in games for so long that most of us think we know how all of these conflicts will turn out in the end, with the hero emerging victorious over their adversary time and time again.

However, sometimes things aren’t always as cut-and-dry as good triumphing over evil for the umpteenth time. Much like real life, there are instances in games where the story throws you an unexpected curve ball, and some baddies manage to walk away scot-free from their misdoings, learning nothing from their experiences and likely to cause more trouble in the future. In some situations, they can even end up in a better position than the hero by the end of the game. Though this can be a kick in the teeth for players who get invested in the good guy’s plight, there’s no denying that it can make a conclusion more memorable, as well as help you hate a baddie you were never meant to have positive opinions of in the first place.

Here’s a look back at some notable examples of villains who managed to escape the wrath of karma over the years, from games old and new alike. Be forewarned that this will contain spoilers for each character’s respective game.

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8) Roy Earle

royearle 8 Video Game Villains Who Got Off Easy

Cole’s slimy Vice partner in L.A. Noire may have provided some funny moments with his snark while on the case, but from the moment he’s introduced slapping women around backstage at his favorite club, it’s made pretty clear that he doesn’t have the most inviting personality to go along with his wit.

Roy shows his true colors later in the game, judging by his quick decision to sully Cole’s reputation, take the focus off police corruption, and gain himself a brown-nosing spot with the higher-ups by exposing a secret affair, cementing his antagonistic status. Roy’s reputation with gamers also isn’t helped by the game’s final scene (which you can view below), where he delivers a eulogy at Cole’s funeral talking about how buddy-buddy they supposedly were. But hey, you’ve got to keep up a nice image for the media, right?

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7) Captain Qwark

qwark 8 Video Game Villains Who Got Off Easy

Despite being an occasional ally with Ratchet & Clank, and even a playable hero in some of the series’ newest entries, Captain Qwark wasn’t always on good terms with the Lombax and his robot friend. In the first game in the series, Qwark allied with the evil Chairman Drek for the sole purpose of getting better publicity to boost his career as a superhero icon, knowing full well that Drek was planning to annihilate innocent planets for his own greedy needs. After he first meets Ratchet, he tricks them into traversing a deadly obstacle course, and when they manage to get through, he tries again by throwing them into a pit with a carnivorous beast. When that doesn’t work, either, he tries one last time by trying to blow Ratchet up in a spaceship battle.

In Going Commando, Qwark was revealed as the main antagonist towards the end, hoping to manufacture the dangerous Protopet with the end goal of personal gain once again. In Up Your Arsenal, a reclusive Qwark was coerced into commanding a team of heroes again, due to his past experience with the game’s big baddie, Dr. Nefarious. Even then, Qwark fakes his death and shuns responsibility until some convincing words from Clank cause him to return at the last minute to help out. So what punishment did Qwark eventually receive for his past misdeeds? By the time All 4 One was released, he had been elected president of the galaxy. Funny how things work out.

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6) Coach Oleander

oleander 409x360 8 Video Game Villains Who Got Off Easy

The main antagonist of Psychonauts kept a disguise from the beginning as a strict teacher for budding psychic students, but in reality, was planning all along to harvest their brains to power a bunch of tanks and take over the world. His excuse? Being unable to obtain a high rank in the army due to being too short.

All this built-up evil, as the final level reveals, turns out to be caused by childhood trauma, as Oleander had some serious daddy issues with his butcher father. After the game’s hero, Raz, enters Oleander’s mind and helps him deal with his personal demons, the coach releases everyone from his captivity, apologizes…and goes right back to being a camp counselor, with no apparent repurcussions. Sure, I’d be messed up too if I saw my father slaughter my pet rabbit as a kid, but that’s no excuse.

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5) Shelly de Killer

dekiller 424x360 8 Video Game Villains Who Got Off Easy

A mysterious assassin from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice For All, de Killer is hired both to perform a murder and hold Phoenix’s longtime companion Maya as ransom, forcing the lawyer to defend Matt Engarde, the suspect who orchestrated the whole thing. By the end, upon finding out that Engarde also plans to blackmail him as well, de Killer swears vengeance via a radio and makes his getaway. Maya is released, and Engarde chooses prison over possible assassination, but de Killer remains on the loose, perhaps meeting up with Wright once again in a future title, or perhaps continuing his murderous methods to his dying days.

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4) Beldam

beldam 8 Video Game Villains Who Got Off Easy

Leader of a trio of witches in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door known as the Shadow Sirens, Beldam starts out a nasty streak by verbally insulting her younger sister Vivian throughout the game, to the point where Vivian jumps ship and joins Mario’s list of allies. But that’s nothing compared to the end of the game, where Beldam helps head baddie Grodus summon the ancient Shadow Queen to do his bidding, knowing well ahead of time that the Queen takes orders from no one and plans to wipe out civilization.

After Mario defeats the Shadow Queen, and Beldam’s plans for destruction have been found out, what is her final fate?  She promises to never do anything bad again and returns to society. I know logic doesn’t have that much of a place in a series about stomping turtles and eating mushrooms, but this seems a bit of a stretch.

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3) Bill Hawks

billhawks 8 Video Game Villains Who Got Off Easy

Initially, Bill Hawks, the Prime Minister of England in Professor Layton and the Unwound Future, seems to be a hapless kidnap victim who is being used merely for negotiation purposes between the professor’s team and our main baddies. However, some late-game revelations make his true involvement clear.

As part of a trio of scientists working on a time machine prototype years earlier, Hawks went ahead with testing the unfinished device solely to impress some corporate sponsors, resulting in an explosion that left many dead. Hawks, who still gained enough power from the sponsors to eventually become Prime Minister, had the incident covered up from the public to keep his reputation intact, even having Layton beaten within an inch of his life just for trying to find out what happened to his girlfriend, who was in the blast.

This ultimately results in a victim of the accident going mad and causing mass destruction in London, before Layton ultimately saves the day, and Hawks as well in the process. His response to all this? Talking about how underhanded tactics make him sick, and walking off to rule the country again. The irony here is so thick, you could eat it with a spoon.

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2) G.U.N.

gun 8 Video Game Villains Who Got Off Easy

The elite military unit from Sonic Adventure 2 not only captured the iconic hedgehog, but ruined series regular Shadow’s life, shooting down his best friend (who happened to be a child) in cold blood, and forcing him into a cryogenic prison for decades. It doesn’t help that they presumably mowed down the other inhabitants of the space station this all took place on, even driving head scientist Gerald Robotnik to mentally snap and engineer a backup plan to crash the space station into Earth as revenge against mankind before they executed him.

These events are what set the whole story of Sonic Adventure 2 into motion decades later. After Dr. Eggman, who happens to be Robotnik’s grandson, frees Shadow from his prison, the two make use of the derelict station’s weaponry to pull off terrorist acts. While Eggman’s motives are the same world domination plans he’s wanted throughout the series, Shadow initiates the plan with only revenge in mind, under the assumption that his fallen friend wanted retribution on all of civilization due to G.U.N.’s savage acts.

Ultimately, Shadow ends up changing his mind when he realizes the friend actually wanted him to protect mankind, and G.U.N. isn’t mentioned again. Funny enough, Shadow ends up apparently putting past grudges behind him and becoming a G.U.N. agent in the 2006 Sonic title – but we all remember how that game turned out, so it’s probably best to forget it either way.

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1) You!

player 8 Video Game Villains Who Got Off Easy

A trend in more modern action-adventure and role-playing games is the morality system, where certain choices that players make throughout the game can determine just how good or bad they want to be. Cole McGrath from the inFamous series can ultimately end up becoming a white knight for mankind, or choose to purge the world of all people without superpowers like him. Darth Revan, controlled by the player in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, can ultimately take back control of the Sith and spread evil across the galaxy, if you so desire.

Finally, let’s not forget games without choices, where your hero does flat-out scummy stuff by default. A famous example is Claude, the iconic mute from Grand Theft Auto III. Despite being a thug who pulls off many underhanded deeds and murders, he still gets the girl and walks away scot-free at the game’s conclusion. There’s also the eventual gang leader in the Saints Row series you play as, who pulls off numerous murders in the name of gang warfare, but is ultimately set to be President in the upcoming Saints Row IV. Bad guys might be closer than you think in games!

That concludes our list of 8 Video Game Villains Who Got Off Easy. If you have any personal choices, be sure to put them in the comments below for everyone to know!

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  • hesoyamdonMonster

    good article !!

  • http://avangionq.stumbleupon.com/ AvangionQ

    Playing the bad guy in video games might be a catharsis of sorts, and the typical morality play conclusions you see in most movies and fairy tales might not apply … still, remembering the simple notion that evil may be powerful but still reviled by all downtrodden or oppressed should be enough reason not to be evil yourself …

  • Randall


  • TheGr8Crp

    Playing bad in fallout has similar reprucussions as the good path so yeah you can say you get off easy.

  • Jo

    Bill Hawks did not just get off easy he had no punishment at all!

  • Bodour

    What about Cole McGrath’s Friend! The chubby guy! Forgot his name though… He did some PRETTY bad stuff to Cole but still in InFamous 2 he forgives him!

    • Derp von DonkeyShitz

      This is so true! I mean he tried to friggin work with the huge powerhouse monster thing to get powers or somethin like that.

  • Spartan_B12

    What about Captain Walker in Spec Ops: The Line? I’d say he got off pretty easy for what he did.

  • Megan Payette

    Talk about a bunch of Karma Houdinis.

  • Jim

    What about Reaver in the Fable games? Through the course of Fable 2 and 3, he:
    -Murders several innocent people just because he doesn’t like the statues/portraits they make of him
    -Tricks an innocent young woman into being cursed with old age so that he can stay young longer
    -Runs his businesses like a dictator, keeping child workers in slave-like conditions and killing or torturing any worker who complains
    -Keeps an arena/torture chamber in his home that he uses to trap and kill innocent people, and nearly kills the protagonist in as well
    And his punishment for all this? Nothing. In fact, in the third game when the protagonist becomes King, he makes Reaver one of his advisors on the royal court. After two games’ worth of psychotic, murderous douchebaggery, the guy not only gets no comeuppance but he gets rewarded. COME ON!