The hallmark of any good versus evil story often rests on the standard of the villain. Much like a superhero needs their counterpart, a rich and engrossing RPG needs a strong antagonist.
After all, what's the point in conquering many pitfalls, challenges and evils along the way if you're only going to get a lacklustre, forgettable denouement for your troubles?
Yet what makes a villain great isn't always a black and white, "I must destroy the world for reasons" mindset. Sure, there are some of those in this list, but they at least have reasons why they want to do it.
Not always, though. Some are just so dastardly that they've earned their place on this list by sheer evil determination, which you can't help but admire. Well, from afar.
Preferably another planet.
Mad princes, clones, insane clowns and even those that just want to defy god and/or fate, they're all here. There are even some you get to play as, which really gives you a glimpse into the psyche of those that want to see the world burn, or destroyed... they're not fussy.
It was hard enough to pick ten, but in the end, only one can reign supreme. Do you agree with these rankings, or who would be in your top spot?
Better still: who would you have face off against each other? Let us know below.
10. Sydney Losstarot - Vagrant Story
Kicking this list off is the criminally underrated Vagrant Story. A game that, despite high acclaim, never saw more after its first offering.
Lament aside, it did give us both a memorable setting and some stellar storytelling at the start of the millennium. The city of Lea Monde offered a wealth of sinister intent and nasty surprises, but all that pales in comparison to the presence of Sydney Losstarot.
As the enigmatic leader of Mullenkamp, a cult out to learn the secrets of Lea Monde, Sydney is a powerful and elusive antagonist.
Yet as the story develops, you learn of Sydney's real motivation: he is actually the Duke's son, and is trying to rid the curse of the Dark that plagues his family. Having it used to save him from a terminal illness, Sydney secretly strives to repay the debt his father earned by passing on the evil.
He may not be the endgame villain you expect, but for the majority of the story we're led to believe he is. Which in itself is an impressive feat, kudos to Square on that one.
See, told you it wasn't always black and white.