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10 craziest gaming villains

Steve Boxer runs down the foes you love to hate...

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The Penguin

Gotham City harbours many of the finest villains ever conceived, but our favourite is Batman: Arkham City's Oswald Cobblepot, aka The Penguin. We like him because developer Rocksteady had fun with him: embedding the end of a bottle in him as a monocle and a Cockney accent (which, a tad, unforgivably since the game was made in Kentish Town, is a bit Dick van Dyke). He has a cool umbrella-gun, and the other baddies in display-cases in his Iceberg Lounge HQ (including Mr Freeze) confirm his uber-villain status. Prefers to let others do his dirty work.

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The Great Mighty Poo

Playing Conker's Bad Fur Day could have been a problem for those who suffer from upset stomachs. For in Rare Software's anarchic N64 masterpiece lurks Poo Mountain - surely the only geographical feature in a game constructed entirely from turds. Therein dwells The Great Mighty Poo, a hilarious creation with sweetcorn for teeth, and twin predilections for hurling faecal matter and singing songs. Luckily, Conker is armed with his trusty toilet roll.

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Psycho Mantis

Metal Gear Solid fans surely still harbour fond memories of encountering Psycho Mantis in what is generally held to be one of the best boss-battles ever. The chief weapon in his armoury is a phenomenal array of psychic powers, displayed in his MGS boss-battle in such an imaginative way (turning the screen black, making the controller move) that you'll think you've gone mad. Another raving humanity-hater, he looks great thanks to a permanently attached gas-mask and copious barcode tattoos.

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Saren

Shepard's arch-enemy from the first Mass Effect is a classic example of a good guy corrupted by power and megalomania - the most dangerous type of villain. A turian, and originally a Spectre operating on behalf of the Citadel Council, he became virulently anti-human, falling under the spell of Sovereign, the ancient Reaper. Saren then devoted himself to the Reapers' efforts to eradicate organic life, cutting a swathe of havoc across the galaxy, culminating in an attack on the Citadel. Shepard's pursuit of Saren is one of the most protracted and hard-fought rivalries in the history of games and Saren's decision arguably one of the maddest.

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