The villains of Nintendo games certainly make the hero’s journey that much harder. But what would Link be without a Ganondorf to fight, or Mario without a Bowser to kidnap his beloved Princess Peach? These are the villains that set many players’ games in motion. But while Nintendo may have some of the most enduring villains in the industry, are they really that strong?
Is a villain that kidnaps a princess time and time again only to fail utterly really a powerhouse, or is he actually one of the weakest Nintendo villains? What about a reincarnation who will never rest until he wins? Or a boxer whose punch can knock you out? Or a big giant… piece of jewelry?
If you threw all these baddies into an all-out melee against one another, who cwuld prove to be the most powerful Nintendo villain and who would turn out to actually be an overhyped weakling? Find out in our list of the 8 Most Powerful (And 7 Insanely Weak) Nintendo Villains.
15. Strongest: Mike Tyson (Punch-Out!!)
Originally, the final fighter your boxer, Little Mac, would have to take on in Punch Out!! was Mr. Dream, but he was replaced by the much more intimidating Mike Tyson. He doesn’t just have the name and likeness of Mike Tyson, but unfortunately for you, the boxing abilities as well.
Tyson was the world heavyweight champion and is the youngest boxer to win a heavyweight title. He’s able to knock out Little Mac with one uppercut in Punch Out!!, truly living up to the title of the game. The fight against Tyson in the game for the first 90 seconds is just uppercuts and you’re only able to block one, which will take almost all of Little Mac’s heath away. Then he moves on to some deadly punches. Get ready for the fight of your boxing career!
14. Weakest: Bellum (The Legend of Zelda Phantom Hourglass)
Run for your lives it’s… a giant squid thing? What is Bellum? Does anyone even remember Bellum, the villain of The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, with his boring design? Bellum does have some impressive skills, including the ability to absorb Life Force and possess others. He even takes down the Ocean King.
Since he doesn’t utter a single line of dialogue, it’s hard to figure out Bellum’s motivations or personality besides “evil.” Despite all of Bellum’s cool abilities, he doesn’t really use many of them during his final battle with Link. He just summons others to fight his battle, when he isn’t using his tentacles or flying in circles.
It’s theorized that Bellum may not have even been real but instead just part of people’s fears. So a figment of your imagination is trying to kill you. Just think really hard about puppies and unicorns and we’re sure you’ll be just fine.
13. Strongest: Tabuu (Super Smash Bros. Brawl)
Get ready for this giant butterfly to mess you up! Tabuu is the final boss players will have to face in the adventure mode of Super Smash Bros. Brawl. He is able to grow stronger by absorbing the powers of others. Immediately, Tabuu proves just how powerful he is during his first appearance in Brawl when he takes out Master Hand, the usual villain of the Smash Bros. games, with ease. It is revealed that he is the real evil mastermind behind all the events of the game. He uses Ganondorf, Bowser, Wario, and King Deedee to do his bidding, and turns almost all the fighters into trophies.
The reason he’s so low on this list? Besides the fact that he has only one game appearance to show off his strength, and despite taking out pretty much every fighter in the game, Tabuu’s plans are foiled in large part due to one blue hedgehog. After everything is said and done, he should really go and commiserate with Dr. Eggman.
12. Weakest: Bowser (Mario Series)
Bowser almost made it onto the strongest list as well, because his power really does fluctuate from game to game. After all, he takes on the entire galaxy in the Super Mario Galaxy games. But that doesn’t excuse the tremendous fail rate Bowser has racked up over the years. He can’t take out one single plumber? Not only that, but Princess Peach was able to take Bowser out, even after he turns into a giant during the events of Super Princess Peach.
There may be something super about Peach, but Bowser? He needs his kids to help him out, having them take on Mario while he parties the night away, possibly conceiving more of his koopa kids. Bowser is iconic, and he certainly won’t be forgotten like Bellum and the Black Jewel, but he is also a perpetual loser. At least Ganondorf switches up his plans every once in awhile, keeping Link and Zelda on their toes.
11. Strongest: Andross (Star Fox Series)
What’s scarier than a floating ape head in space – where people can’t hear you scream? Andross is a recurring villain in the Star Fox game series. He is very skilled in technology, telekinesis, inter-dimensional travel, and strategizing. A mad scientist, he became the supreme commander of a huge military force that overran several planets in the Lylat system.
Despite being driven mad and doing deadly experiments on himself, Andross works through his madness and shows off his brilliance. He promotes his most worthy followers to leadership posts and gives them war machines that they use for the utmost carnage across the galaxy. His experimentation led to him turning himself into a lethal bioweapon. He’s even capable of making combat equipment and monsters.
10. Weakest: Waluigi (Mario Series)
Waluigi has caused a lot of mayhem over the years in the Mario series. From trying to take over the world with his DDR moves to making Luigi’s life a living hell, Waluigi just won’t seem to go away. He first showed up in Mario Tennis, just so Wario could get a buddy to play doubles with. Sure he can defy gravity and nearly poisons Mario and the rest of the gang, but he’s never come close to truly winning anything. Even hanging out with Wario hasn’t helped him; Wario still remains more popular, starring in multiple games.
Constantly a side character and never the big bad villain that’ll cause you to shiver in fear, Waluigi just can’t catch a break. But possibly the biggest reason he’s on this list? He’s by far the worst spot in the Mario version of Monopoly.
9. Strongest: Ridley (Metroid Series)
When one of your aliases is “The Cunning God of Death,” you know this villain means business. Originally working under Mother Brain, Ridley has since struck out as his own boss and is a recurring antagonist in the Metroid series. He is a leader with the Space Pirates that raided Samus’s planet when she was only a child, starting a lifelong conflict between the two.
Despite dying several times at her hand, Ridley is always able to come back – not just because of Space Pirate engineers but because of his own amazing regeneration skills (which he uses at the expense of others). Ridley is not a monster lacking IQ points. Besides his healing skills and raw power, he is sentient and capable of leading others into battle. Brains and brawn are certainly a deadly combination here.
8. Weakest: The Black Jewel (Wario World)
Originally captured by Wario (strike one against it), the Black Jewel escapes in Wario World, turning the rest of Wario’s treasure into monsters and destroying his castle (point in its favor). Though apparently the Black Jewel is colorblind since it’s actually dark purple…
At the end of the day, you’re fighting a giant piece of jewelry that has only a few attacks. And how do you defeat it? By freeing Spritelings on the battlefield, which easily knock the Black Jewel out, and use Wario to give it a little love tap. Rinse and repeat. After doing this eight times, you win. Hooray. At least, that’s it in the International versions of the game.
Apparently in the original Japanese game, the fight would change up a bit halfway through… but apparently the Black Jewel forgot about being creative with his attacks and settled to sticking to the same old predictable pattern in every other version of the game.
7. Strongest: Ganondorf (Zelda Series)
A villain that more than rivals “The Cunning God of Death,” Ganondorf takes the moniker of “the Great King of Evil”. A Gerudo sorcerer, Ganondorf is pure evil through and through. Some of his power stems from his position as King of Gerudo (politics do make for a truly terrifying villain). His strength lies in both magical and physical sources. He is a powerful warlock as well as a skilled swordsman.
Once he obtains the Triforce of Power, Ganondorf gets even stronger. His already impressive abilities grew stronger and no mortal could hope to best him. In Twilight Princess, the Triforce of Power also gives Ganondorf invulnerability; he uses this gift to heal a sword that pierces his chest, postponing his execution indefinitely. So you better get a Master Sword!
6. Weakest: Master-D (Bionic Commando)
Master-D was the leader of an extremist list whose role was taken over after he died. He would not last a second one-on-one against Andross, Ridley, Ganondorf, or any of the other great Nintendo villains. He’s simply a man – a resurrected man at one point, but a mortal man nonetheless. They didn’t even need to bring Master-D back; the only reason to do so was because he had information that would complete the Albatross, a powerful airship. However, his imperial forces manage to complete it all on their own, without any of the knowledge he took with him to his grave. If they had figured this out earlier, Master-D most likely wouldn’t have even been brought back at all.
The main reason Master-D is so high on this list? He dies not once but twice in Bionic Commando with relatively little effort. It would have been no effort at all if he hadn’t used the Albatross, an airship with a laser beam. He’s finally taken down with one shot – granted, a perfectly aimed shot – but one shot from a bazooka. His gory death scene is a powerful cautionary tale for other weak Nintendo villains.
5. Strongest: Porky Minch (EarthBound and Mother 3)
Porky is one manipulative little monster. During EarthBound, Porky Minch starts off as your neighbor who seems truthworthy enough… until it’s revealed that he’s actually working for the main antagonist, Giygas. He slowly rises through the ranks and gains more power and clout throughout the game, starting out as a high priest in Carpainter’s Happy Happist cult, moving up to be Monotoli’s adviser, until finally he’s Giygas’ right hand boy.
Porky pilots a spider machine. Unlike Giygas, who does not survive the final confrontation with Ness, Porky manages to give Ness the slip thanks to time travel, coming back as the main antagonist in Mother 3. He starts as your annoying next door neighbor in EarthBound before upgrading to a maniac bent on world domination and leader of the Pigmask Army. If you need advice on how to get a promotion, Porky seems like the perfect person to go to… and then run away from as quickly as possible.
4. Weakest: Pink Birdo (Super Mario Bros. 2)
Her first appearance in Super Mario Bros. 2 alone is enough to land Birdo on this list. She’s a pink dinosaur roughly the same size as your character. Even worse? You can use Birdo’s own attacks against her! Just take one of the slowly moving eggs she spits out at you and use your new projectile to make this dinosaur go extinct again. At least the Red and Green Birdos shoot fireballs at you. Her robotic counterpart in Super Mario Advance is more deadly than she is, serving as a boss.
Plus the events of Super Mario Bros. 2 turned out to all be a dream, so Birdo never really could harm anyone! Ironically, she is much more powerful in games like Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars and even helps you out in Wario’s Woods, which just further proves how worthless she is when she tosses some eggs at you for the very first time. Hope you like ’em scrambled!
3. Strongest: Hades (Kid Icarus)
You’re at the end of Kid Icarus: Uprising. You’ve finally beaten the main villain of the game, the wretched Medusa, and you’re enjoying some well-deserved credits as Pit and Paletuna celebrate. Suddenly, a hand claws its way through the credits and you find yourself face to face with the King of the Underworld!
Yes, Hades does the unthinkable and crashes your credits, depriving you of your happy endings and revealing himself to be the true main antagonist. A literal God, Hades is able to regrow severed limbs and moves faster than you can blink. He’s able to consume the souls of the dead to grow even more powerful and can revive his allies. Plus he can use his Devastation Ensemble, an outfit covered in weapons that he can fire off whenever he wishes. Even worse? He’s King of the Trolls.
2. Weakest: Mario (Donkey Kong Jr.)
Remember when Mario was a bad guy? Clearly, being a protagonist suited this plumber much better than being an antagonist. Though he does have a fantastic mustache to twirl for it. The only time Mario served as a villain was in Donkey Kong Jr. In the follow-up to Donkey Kong, Mario appears to be getting revenge on Donkey Kong for kidnapping his former flame, Pauline. He kidnaps Donkey Kong and keeps him in a cage.
Mario doesn’t seem very creative as a villain. He copies Donkey Kong’s method of kidnapping and has his plans thwarted by Donkey Kong’s kid, Donkey Kong Jr. Mario doesn’t even try to fight, running away at the end of every stage. He definitely found his calling exploring castles, rescuing princesses, and fighting koopas.
1. Giygas (EarthBound Series)
Enjoy those nightmares you’re bound to have after fighting Giygas, an alien creature that you fight at the end of EarthBound. Driven to madness, Giygas can distort all of reality, causing people to turn violent and go mad, joining him in his conquest. It’s speculated that this power makes Giygas very much like H.P. Lovecraft’s Azathoth, a God.
Giygas gets the coveted spot of most powerful Nintendo villain because he has the power to destroy the entire cosmos. Attacking Giygas normally won’t work since he is invulnerable. Time means nothing to him either. You will need to use prayers in order to take him down, and you’ll definitely want to start praying once you see this… thing. Some people theorize he is actually an aborted baby, which would mean you have to kill a fetus. Who’s the villain here again?
If the Nintendo villain you think is the weakest or strongest did not make the list, let us know who we missed in the comments below. Honorable mentions go out to King K. Rool, Mother Brain, and Medusa… but would you put them on the most powerful or least powerful list?