Think of a game off the top of your head.

Chances are the game you thought of has some form of government mentioned or shown and that the ruler(s) in question use their power of rule at some point. Governance can take on many guises: from a democratic government to a ruthless dictatorship, video games have showcased these forms of rule and, often, they are used as plot devices in the game. The person (or people) that rule can be good or evil, but many video game developers seem to take great delight in sticking authority onto the more "evil" side of the spectrum, or at least neutral. One particular form of authority that is often typecast as an antagonist is a monarchy - a form of governance where sovereignty (supreme power to govern) is embodied in a single person. With only 1 person giving the orders, it's often their wishes that get put through, so it's not surprising as to why this could easily be used for sinister things and allows a focused point for the protagonist's grievances.

This list shall look at 10 such monarchs, 10 which appear to demonstrate the traits of an antagonistic monarchy to the very best that it can be. This list takes 3 major traits into consideration as to where and why these monarchs rank, which are:

1) Effectiveness - What is the point of being an antagonistic ruler if your subjects can easily topple you? If you are quick to lose what it is you gain (or don't gain it at all)? If your tactics are not quite so well thought-through? Effectiveness is a very important trait for any monarch but much more so for antagonistic ones because it is you they are fighting against (and we all know this usually leads to a bad ending for said monarch)!

2) Destruction - Many antagonists are measured by how bad their acts of tyranny are: the loss of life, structural damage and the style and rate of how these are done are often used to justify "why X is worse than Y". If a monarch has little desire for or simply does not engage in destructive ways, then they aren't going to be scoring too highly here.

3) Intention - Maybe this seems a little odd, especially since the first 2 make a lot of sense, but the intention of the monarch is an equally important attribute as the previous 2 traits. If a monarch has noble or even downright "good" intentions behind their acts of cruelty or destruction, then it lessens the impact their actions have and, thus, they are more likely to be viewed as "tragic" rather than antagonistic. It is also this clause that prohibits monarchs that turn out to have been mind-controlled (or outright be another person), but still allow insane monarchs. There are very rare instances, however, where a monarch antagonist with evil intentions can still be a tragic character.

With the criterion out of the way, let us see the actual entrants that made it onto this list. All of these monarchs fought hard to be included here and more than a few were difficult to weigh up with their positives vs. negatives. Without further ado, I present to you: The Top 10 Monarch Antagonists!

"WATCH AND WEEP! From this galaxy, I'll rule a great galactic empire with Peach by my side."

We start our list off with a very familiar face for many gamers: Bowser, the dastardly Koopa King who is constantly trying to kidnap Princess Peach for some reason or another. Bowser has been around for a very long time and, as such, has accumulated quite the status as an antagonist.

So, what is it Bowser has actually done that makes him get on this list? He's turned all of the Mushroom Kingdom's inhabitants into inanimate objects (Super Mario Bros.), immobilised the kings of the world with magic wands and started a worldwide assault with the Koopalings (Super Mario Bros. 3), conquered countless galaxies and almost caused the destruction of the entire universe when his own galaxy failed to take form (Super Mario Galaxy) and is the owner of 2 Sprixie Kingdom islands (Super Mario 3D World). A decent amount of territorial expansion and quite an effective one until Mario jumps along.

So, after bigging up Bowser, why is he sitting at the bottom of this list? With such a vast resumé, surely he should be higher? Alas, when one looks closer at his past deeds you find most of them are less than impressive. There is a large gap between Super Mario World and Super Mario Galaxy where Bowser's only goal appears to be "kidnap Princess Peach" with hardly any destruction of anywhere. Bowser's effectiveness must also be called into question since, let's be honest, he really can't kidnap anyone and keep them long enough to make it matter. Finally, Bowser's comical side, whilst side-splittingly funny and endearing, does not help his image as a great monarch antagonist.

A spotty record by anybody's account indeed. Bowser can be effective if he tries and his destructiveness, though sometimes accidental, can be vast, but his repeated failings and lack of destruction overall place him in 10th.

"Did somebody page the King of Awesome?": Yes, well Bowser has been called that and many other names throughout the series, but it is the RPG series where this gets picked up most. Such shining examples include "Arm Flailer", "Your Sogginess" and "Monsieur Turtle Bits". Suffice to say, the RPGs are not really kind to Bowser, but Bowser gets his own-back with several stunning one-liners. Who can forget "I am Bowser, businessman of legend! Fear my accounting!"

"This is my Albion and I will see it destroyed before I surrender it."

Such an unfortunate case here. King Logan was the main antagonist of the first part of Fable III. He was also the brother of the player character and this played a pivotal role in how he was dealt with in the game.

Logan was not a fondly thought of ruler of Albion. He was said to have "suddenly snapped" one day and started legislating laws that were like those of a dictator. Heavily increased taxes, shutting down education, extended workdays in large factories, Logan did all of this. When this proved not enough, he handed over control of the economy to Reaver, an ex-pirate turned businessman. Slavery and child labour was the name of the game for Reaver and he decided the best way to deal with complainers or slackers was to shoot them. This made Albion a very productive country and made Logan happy since it made him appear an effective king. Logan also had ways to deal with dissenters in his army: station them to areas where they were heavily likely to die. This was the fate of the Swift Brigade, who were stationed to Mourningwood to defend it from Hollow Men (essentially the undead) who vastly outnumbered them. Logan's tyranny is only stopped when the player leads a revolt and reaches Logan's throne room where he surrenders. He is then put on trial where swift justice can be dealt.

But wait! Logan had good reason, Your Honour! And this is where we can discuss why Logan, despite his atrocities, is so low on this list. Logan was preparing Albion for an attack from the Darkness - a being that instantly kills or destroys whatever it touches and had been predicted to attack Albion in 5 years. But, the Darkness can be held back with weapons. By getting more money, Logan could amass more weapons and "man the cannons" as they say when the Darkness made its appearance. So, good intentions - just going about it the complete wrong way since the player eventually beats the Darkness when it attacks without such tyrannical measures. There is also the fact that most of Logan's tyranny was focused on domestic affairs: he really had no intention of dabbling in foreign affairs or war at all. On the contrary, he wanted to be on good terms with other countries since he needed them to invest in Albion. Destruction was the exact opposite of what he wanted.

A tyrant on domestic affairs, a suck-up on foreign affairs, King Logan was a good antagonist to ease you into the beginning of Fable III. However, his lacking of destruction outside of Albion and his intentions do him no favours on this list and so he places 9th.

"We will be stronger. No matter what sacrifices we must make.": As you can probably tell, Logan had a fierce sense of duty to Albion and expected nothing less of its' citizens as well. But even he could afford to take a time out to show off his vainer side and have a portrait painted. The resulting artwork can be seen...provided your dog is at the level of skill where it can dig it up from the palace gardens...

"Behold, my pretties, destiny, in its most brutal form!"

There is one word that can describe this woman rather aptly: Ax-Crazy. As the ruler of the Kingdom of Zeal, Queen Zeal developed an addiction to the power of Lavos which caused her to go insane. Must be strong stuff.

And indeed it is since the obsession over the power of Lavos shattered any moral pretense this woman may have once had. She bases the entire kingdom to be about her, with the civilians having to be completely devoted to her. She so believes that she is above everyone else she decides it's better for her to become immortal than have the world become devoid of her presence. In order to become immortal, she needs Lavos to remain alive, Lavos just so being the main antagonist and out to destroy the world. She callously uses her daughter, Schala, to her own ends by utilising her daughter's vast magical powers to destroy any who stand in her way of gaining immortality, even if the cost is the planet itself. She even attacks Schala herself if the need arises. Her own people are terrified of what she wants to do, but are too devoted to her to rise up against her. The whole world is put at huge risk by a queen who simply doesn't care. To understand the gravity of the situation, simply time travel to 2300 A.D. in-game to hear her mock the party for being far too late to stop her and to see the dead planet. At the very least, she gains huge power from Lavos and remains in the Black Omen until she is fought and defeated.

With the potential to doom the entire world in her grasp, why is she so low? Well, what makes her such a memorable character (she is absolutely mad) also dents her ability as a monarch antagonist. Her effectiveness is questionable since how effective of a tactician can you be if your goal is to be immortal and rule forever and knowing that being so requires the world to be devoid of life? But, her entire nation is pretty subservient to her without her having to lift a finger. Her potential for destruction is high since she is releasing the thing that will drain the planet, but that is subject to what time period you're in. However, since Crono manages to fix the future, it can be assumed that potential wasn't reached.

The Queen of Zeal is an interesting person. Her madness augments her character and even helps highlight some of her antagonism. But her questionable tactics for acheiving her motives and the fact that her most deadly plan does not manage to occur means she cannot place higher than 8th.

"For you there will be no tomorrow!": I bet Lavos wishes that was quite true. You see, Queen Zeal seems to be the only person who is good enough (or crazy enough) to be able to talk to Lavos and not be absorbed or destroyed by him. With a whole millennia before he fully finishes with the planet and with Queen Zeal's mad ramblings and refusing to leave the Black Omen, Lavos probably regrets granting her eternal life.

"These toys are too much for you! I command you to return them to me!"

Much like Bowser, Ganondorf is another well-known antagonist and is often the main one in the Zelda series. However, since this list is restricting the entrants to monarchs, only the Ocarina of Time version of Ganondorf can be taken into account, where he is explicitly called "King of the Gerudos".

Ganondorf has done a lot to be able to make it onto this list. He gave ultimatums to each of the 3 holders of Spiritual Stones: that they either hand them over or suffer greatly. This resulted in the death of the Great Deku Tree, the Gorons almost starving to death and the Zora god Jabu-Jabu becoming infected with parasites. Ganondorf is even a hated king in his own lands with Nabooru openly stating that she'd "never bow to such an evil man". After the time skip is where Ganondorf ups the ante however. Castle Town is full of Redeads (literal zombies) with destroyed houses and swirling black clouds. Zora's Domain is completely frozen over. He plans to commit genocide of the Gorons by feeding them all to Volvagia, a powerful fire dragon, and use it to spark an eruption of Death Mountain that would destroy Kakariko Village, where most of Castle Town has fled to. Finally, he extended his influence to the various Temples, preventing the Sages from reacting properly to the crisis. All of these things were done in Ganondorf's vain efforts to prompt Zelda into action so that he could take her Triforce of Wisdom and make a wish on the completed Triforce to rule Hyrule forever once he had all 3 pieces. Ganondorf also quits looking for Zelda after a while, feeling certain she would try to aid Link in some way and that she would eventually reveal herself. Zelda does exactly that - throwing off her disguise allows Ganondorf to kidnap her with ease and he uses her as bait to force Link to rescue her. Don't forget, Ganondorf can actually win here and it be canon.

Yet Ganondorf is still relatively low on this list. The reason for this is two-fold: as an Adult, Link foils every plot Ganondorf has. He gains influence over the Forest Temple? Link frees it. Planned genocide of the Gorons? Link prevents it along with the eruption. Link also frees the Zoras and Nabooru as well. Everything turns 180 degrees for Ganondorf in a very short time-span. Even if Link doesn't defeat him, Ganondorf has shown he isn't as effective as many think.

Pretty cruel and strategic, but easily foiled sums up Ganondorf rather nicely. 7 years is a long time and Ganondorf simply doesn't have much to show other than Castle Town. For those reasons, Ganondorf ranks in at 7th.

"Heh heh heh... You want a piece of me?! Very funny! I like your attitude!": Well, you too can get your very own piece of Ganondorf! If you purchase the 2006 version of Nintendo Monopoly that is. Ganondorf takes the places of Pacific Avenue and can be yours for just $300! How fitting that Pacific Avenue is next to Go To Jail...

"This is where our journey began. You and I walked along the same path for so long together, but this is where they began to diverge..."

"My way is the only way" sums up this entry quite nicely. Jowy Atreides becomes the King of Highland quite a way into Suikoden II and, well, things only go downhill from there.

Originally on the player's side but captured by Highland forces, Jowy becomes king by informing Riou (the player character and his childhood friend) of a sneak assault by the then-king Luca Blight on his castle. Luca is found and killed, making Jowy next in line for the throne (via marriage to Luca's half-sister). Jowy immediately sends Riou an invitation to talk about peace negotiations. However, this turns out to be a dirty trap with Jowy demanding Riou to surrender so that he can unify and rule all of the territories, knowing he could take advantage of Riou's trust in him. When Riou refuses, Jowy is all too ready to kill him, but Riou escapes. Riou then starts to liberate the surrounding lands. Jowy decides to send an assassin, Lucia, to be rid of Riou. Jowy has also been continuing the use of the Beast Rune which Luca started using. It requires a sacrifice of mass quantities of blood that allows it to manifest ethereal wolves that can attack and kill people. He even sacrifices his own wife to the Rune near the end of the game (though she doesn't die) in a desperate bid to raise morale amongst his soldiers. Jowy is defeated when Riou's forces storm and take Highland Castle and, like Logan, just what happens to Jowy is down to the player.

Jowy does deliver on destruction, however, much like Logan, Jowy has good intentions behind his acts of war. One of the big themes of Suikoden II is whether it is better to be ruled under a single leader or allow each territory to assume their own destiny. Jowy falls on the former side and truly believes that what he does will bring peace once he rules it all. He didn't want to become king but he did so for peace. As for the Beast Rune, Jowy was actually trying to stop it. Focusing his energy into his Black Sword Rune, he was always trying to subdue the Beast Rune in any way he could. "Sacrificing" his wife to boost morale was just that. Finally, he may have continued the war, but Jowy lost his territories very quickly and his hiring of Lucia to kill Riou fails.

Strategic and callous, Jowy certainly takes the warpath when he becomes a king and is a major antagonist. But his intentions and lack of effectiveness toward the end place him in 6th.

"Enjoy the moments you have together, because nothing lasts forever.": Well, if Jowy had stuck with Riou, he would have actually allowed players to use his upgraded weapons. As is, Jowy's 2nd & 3rd level weapons cannot be used outside of hacking by players because he leaves before you can use them. Speaking of missing out on stuff, a scene near the end of the game shows Jowy kissing his wife Jillia before the final battle...except it doesn't since the scene never is shown. Poor Jowy.

"If you are stronger than those around you, you should benefit from your strength. This is why I will use my strength to remake this world."

And another mad monarch makes an appearance on this list. King Ashnard was the 13th king of Daein and was considered so mad that the war against him was literally called "The Mad King's War".

Ashnard was a long way back in a large line of successors to the throne. So, what's the best way to deal with that? Yep, he killed them all and made him look innocent too by somehow making the king of Daein sign a Blood Contract that magically kills people when its terms are broken. Once it killed all those in line, he killed the king, shredded the Contract and declared himself king. Ashnard had the philosophy of "only the strongest survive" and wanted the whole world to obey this after having Daein adopt it. He also spent many years putting out anti-Laguz propaganda (Laguz being a race of people that can briefly turn into animals to attack and such). This was done to make it easier for him to invade since his first target was the country of Crimea, which was friendly to the Laguz. He invaded Crimea in order to steal Lehran's Medallion, an artifact that housed the Goddess of Chaos, Yune, that would make all of Tellius a battleground where only the strongest would emerge victorious. He takes over Crimea and, after obtaining the Medallion, receives great power, becoming god-like. He also approved of the testing of the Feral drug, a drug that causes Laguz to go insane and prevented them from returning to their human form. He supplied Izuka, its creator, with many test subjects and used these drugged Laguz as training for Daein soldiers. Despite all of this, he is killed by Ike and the Greil Mercenaries at the end of the game.

For such small scale work, Ashnard actually ranks quite high. Much like Ganondorf, he is ruthless and highly aggressive, however he actually succeeds with a lot of his plans. He planned out his method of invasion for years before carrying it out (he had been king for 18 years before the start of the game), he managed to make it to being king whilst looking completely innocent. But Ashnard slips from being higher by virtue of what has already been mentioned - a lot of death and destruction, but confined to such a small area. Ashnard simply didn't have much of a chance to get going. There is also the fact that he received god-like power from Lehran's Medallion, but was defeated by a mere beorc (a human).

A strong entry but not quite a solid one, Ashnard is just too easily (and quickly) brought down by people who he really should have been able to defeat. However, he delivered more heavily on the destruction and still showed a high level of strategy. Therefore, Ashnard seems a fine choice to put in 5th place.

"Eh? Who are you talking about? The name is unfamiliar...": Ashnard is guilty of forgetting more than one name and even forgetting people's existence. How? Well, let his sword tell the tale: Gurgurant, as Ashnard's sword is called, comes from Arthurian myth where Gurgurant was a mad, cannibal king who had a son that was murdered by giants. A fitting description for Ashnard is not only mad and tyrannical, but also has a son who might as well be dead to him since he has no knowledge of him.

"I am Shao Kahn! Konqueror of Worlds! You will taste no victory."

Next up on our list is everyone's favourite ruler of Outworld, Shao Kahn! After poisoning Onaga and becoming Emperor, Shao Kahn led a pretty brutal reign.

Shao Kahn continued Onaga's policy of forcefully and brutally adding various territories and lands to Outworld's empire, either through direct conquest (which meant a lot of bloody wars) or through the Mortal Kombat tournaments; tournaments renowned for their bloody nature and, in the real world, for the contributing to the creation of the ESRB. Shao Kahn was also a very good manipulator, getting Prince Goro to fight for him in the tournaments in order to add more land to Outworld, with the promise that Goro's village would remain untouched. Guess what? He didn't keep that promise and absorbed it into Outworld. Shao Kahn also managed to merge Edenia with Outworld, taking its queen, Sindel, as his forced wife and raised her daughter, Kitana, as his own. Sindel took her own life to try and escape him. Of course, Shao Kahn was not having this and he imprisoned her soul in Outworld. Further evidence of his unwilling to be denied comes with Mortal Kombat II where, after Outworld's first ever defeat in the original game, Shao Kahn exercises a loop hole that forces Earthrealm (the previous winners) to re-enter again in a new tournament. Along with this, Shao Kahn abducted some of Earthrealm's champions to prevent them from winning. But Earthrealm won again, enraging Shao Kahn. He tried one last time to get Earthrealm by having Sindel revived in Earthrealm, allowing him to use royal decree to "retrieve" her. Whilst he did this, he also stole almost everybody's souls in Earthrealm. Drastic measures, but Shao Khan was not willing to be denied.

A fearsome emperor to be on the wrong side of, sure. But Shao Kahn has a few failings to his name as well. As has already been noted: he hasn't won anything recently with Liu Kang beating him at every turn making it so that Outworld can no longer merge with Earthrealm. This causes even his own soldiers to lose faith in and abandon him. It even gets to the point where, come Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, he has to take back his own fortress from his own "daughter". He even spent a period of time not being the "Emperor of Outworld" (since he was seemingly killed). That said, he has kept up the destruction and his past track record shows he has a lot to his name.

A few minor setbacks do not stop Shao Kahn from climbing up to the higher end of this list. Indeed, his brutality, effectiveness of gaining territory and tactical ways of thinking earns him the 4th spot.

"Bow to me!": If Shao Kahn ever demands this of you, you might want to stop and check just how low you're going to have to bow. Shao Kahn's height has been a fluctuating thing in the Mortal Kombat series. In some games, he's the size of a Shokan (which are at least 8 feet tall), whereas in others, he's merely half a head above the average guy. At the current moment, Shao Kahn stands at 7.5 feet, so your bows should be fine.

"Now, I'll find out if Kuja's claims are true. Odin, come to me!!!"

Just look at that beautiful face! Full name Brahne Raza Alexandros XVI, Queen Brahne is quite the tyrant in the world of Final Fantasy IX. And yes, her looks and size are brought up often.

How does double genocide with a side of eidolon summoning sound? Because that's exactly what Brahne does. She wants to gather the jewels needed to summon "the ultimate eidolon", Alexander, to rule the world with. To do this, she needs 4 jewels: 1 in Alexandria (her kingdom) and 3 others in various other territories, so she invades them. Burmecia is the first of these, which is an unfortunate casualty really since they didn't have any of the jewels and Brahne wipes them out. She successfully recaptures her "daughter" Garnet (who had fled the kingdom) and demands her mystic jesters, Zorn and Thorn, to extract Garnet's eidolons from her for her own personal use. Cleyra, a civilisation living in a giant tree, is her next target and they do have one of the jewels, so they get special treatment for resisting her: an eidolon straight to the face (well, tree)! After sending soldiers and black mages to do a bit of damage, she summons Odin, who destroys Cleyra with the force of an atomic bomb (mushroom cloud and all) while Brahne smiles at the annihilation. After this, Brahne openly asserts to her General, Beatrix, that Garnet will be executed upon her return since she no longer cares for her. Even when Beatrix turns on her, Brahne does not let up and unleashes the Bandersnatches to defeat Beatrix and the player's party. She then travels to Lindblum for another dose of eidolon summoning, this time it's Atomos who sucks up an entire district of Lindblum and crushes it. Lindblum then surrenders to her and Brahne gets 3/4. She was also very effective at making her daughter, soldiers and country believe that she was not only redeemable, but also not evil.

So, why isn't she higher then? Well, not all of Brahne's plans work. Mostly because she gets killed. Yep, this is one monarch antagonist who's main flaw is that she dies at the game's halfway point. She overestimates her power and turns on the source of that power: Kuja. Kuja effortlessly deals with her by turning her summoning against her via brainwashing Bahamut, forcing it to attack her instead. There is also the slight problem that Cid, ruler of Lindblum, knew there was something amiss with her attitude and guessed correctly that she was after Garnet's eidolons, but that was solved by invading Burmecia, diverting Cid's attention.

Absolute carnage, insatiable greed and some clever thinking are traits Queen Brahne had and made her an impressive monarch antagonist. What makes her stick out even more is, after her death, Kuja remarks it was her greed-filled soul that enabled him to enter Trance (a super-powered state of being), showing that her influence lived on even if she did not and so she rightfully takes 3rd place on this list.

"Queen Brahne was not impressed.": Well neither would you be if you had a kitty couch taken away from you. Yes, you read that right. Queen Brahne was originally going to have a giant cat as a recliner for her to lay down on. Alas, it only remains true in concept art sketches and her quarters in-game show it does not exist in the Final Fantasy IX universe.

"I intend to scour humanity from this planet, and make no mistake: I have the power to do it."

How fitting that the Silver Medal goes to a tin tyrant, eh? The Lich King was the very dangerous King of Northrend. The Lich King is technically 2 people: the orc shaman Ner'zhul for a part of the game, then the prince of Lordaeron, Arthas Menethil for the second part.

The Lich King came about when the demon lord Kil'jaeden created him out of Ner'zhul's soul and ordered him to conquer the world of Azeroth with an undead army, known as the Scourge. Kil'jaeden sent Dread Lords to keep an eye on the Lich King and trapped him in a Frozen Throne for fear he would break free and destroy indiscriminately. So the Lich King started conquering lands, absorbing the souls of those who were killed and raising them as his undead soldiers. He also starts to plot a way for him to escape by sending a Dread Lord, Mal'Ganis, to Lordaeron to spread the Scourge. Here, Prince Arthas fails at stopping Mal'Ganis and ends up finding and using Frostmourne, a cursed blade, to strike down Mal'Ganis, playing into the Lich King's plan since Mal'Ganis was his deadliest jailer. Arthas became a pawn for the Lich King due to the sword's curse of forfeiting the wielder's soul to the Lich King, spreading the Scourge to many areas and killing thousands. The Lich King then decided to directly show his defiance and struck down another Dread Lord, Tichondrius, who was supposed to aid Archimonde (one of Kil'jaeden's right hand men) in a war. Sensing Kil'jaeden would destroy him for this, the Lich King called Arthas back to Northrend and fused souls with him.

After a short period of inactivity, Arthas, now the new Lich King, resumed his spread of death and destruction by infecting rice in nearby nations, which turned people into undead when consumed. He then attacked the capitals of the 2 main political alliances in an attempt to draw armies to Northrend, where he could corrupt them himself.

With thousands of deaths, some masterful tactics and great effectiveness, what downsides does the Lich King have? Suffice to say, Arthas isn't as great. No sooner than had the Lich King attacked the 2 capitals had 2 armies come together to fight the undead monarch. He even went to fight them on holy ground, a monumental mistake since the undead are very vulnerable to holy things. The 2 armies proved a mighty challenge for the Lich King since, whilst usually at war with each other, the 2 armies came together whenever the Scourge was present. The Lich King decided to lure the armies to the Frozen Throne to deal with them personally. This doesn't work either since it leads directly to his eventual "death" when Frostmourne shatters, with the trapped souls destroying him.

A king of death, no matter who he is, the Lich King was a great strategist and warmonger. Though Arthas wasn't as great, he still had some successes and the overall magnitude of the Lich King's efforts puts him in 2nd.

"In the end, you will all serve me.": If there's one thing the Lich King himself serves, it's pop culture. Arthas' fall to Lich King is a direct mirror of Anakin Skywalker from Star Wars, including their aspirations and turning on their allies. Arthas' return to Lordaeron to spread the Scourge also reflects Anakin storming the Jedi Temple as Darth Vader with similar camera angles, body movements and mannerisms. There is also a hint of Pirates of the Caribbean with the fact that there must "always be a Lich King" (to control the Scourge).

"This world can have but one Emperor, and I am he!"

That's right: the number 1 entry on this list is the brutal, cunning and fabulous Emperor of Palamecia from Final Fantasy II!

In the beginning, The Emperor summons legions of hell-spawn to conquer the neighbouring kingdoms and gives orders to kill everyone, including Firion and his friends (the player party, they get better). The Emperor then builds his airship, The Dreadnaught, with which he levels more kingdoms and abducts Princess Hilda, leader of the Wild Rose Rebellion that is against him. He has the foresight to think her forces would mount a rescue and replaces her with a Lamia Queen; a deadly monster. The party falls for the trap with...humourous consequences. The Emperor then hosts a tournament, with Hilda as the prize. Although the party entered to trick The Emperor, they were outsmarted and imprisoned. He then summons a giant Cyclone that annihilates any other town that still resists. However, the party infiltrate the twister and face The Emperor head on where he is killed.

...Or so it would seem. Play further and The Emperor makes a triumphant return! This time, The Emperor is now the Emperor of Hell since he managed to defeat the Devil when he died. He states that he no longer has any interest in ruling an empire and instead wants to destroy the world. The party escapes and The Emperor then builds Pandemonium over where Palamecia once stood and resumes his campaign.

The Emperor also causes issues for the party members who died during the game. Minwu, Josef, Scott and Ricard arrive in Heaven, where they are summoned by...The Emperor! He is now the ruler of Heaven, but he acts different: he states he is repentant for what he has done and he requests the party's forgiveness and offers them eternal life. The party considers the offer, but are warned by others who perished under The Emperor that this Emperor is no different and that it is another trap. Both sides of The Emperor are killed, finally putting an end to his tyranny.

His strategy also appears in the Dissidia series, where his plan to outlive the gods via the power of the crystals almost succeeds and spanned several cycles of the war.

The Emperor has few flaws. The obvious flaw would be his premature death, but that is scripted as if it was his true intention all along and, even though he is killed, he manages to be double the menace by having 2 of him in existence at once. All of his traps, with the exception of the very last, work on the party and he has great prediction skills in being able to plot the party's moves. None of this even begins to address the fact that he has left the world unsalvageable because of his rate of destruction.

An absolutely spectacular and shining example, The Emperor is truly a violent, interesting and effective monarch antagonist. For his destructiveness, effectiveness and obvious intentions with little negatives, The Emperor takes 1st place.

"Uboaaa!": See that? That's The Emperor's Japanese death cry. It is also the name of his personal fanclub that formed because of the pure cheesiness surrounding this line of text that occurs as The Emperor meets his doom. The English death cry, "Ungaahhhh!", is also popular both in the West and Japan and both were used to full effectiveness in the Dissidia series. As a final note, yes, The Emperor does bear resemblance to Jareth from Labyrinth, which came out 2 years before Final Fantasy II.

Honourable Mentions:

Emperor Sun-Hai (Jade Empire): Was actually pretty close to knocking Bowser off the list and was an interesting choice due to his draining the Water Dragon's powers for himself and creating golems out of murdered slaves, but missed out because he really isn't destructive at all (certainly not large scale) and proves to be quite ineffective with only the control of the Lotus Assassins to his name.

Emperor Gestahl (Final Fantasy VI): I'm sure many half-expected this guy to turn up in the 10 but, honestly, I feel he simply doesn't do enough. Kefka does a lot of damage but not really in the name of Gestahl - it is more for himself which makes me hesitate to say it was Gestahl's doing. Intention is there, Effectiveness is debatable but Destruction has very little from him in my view.

Shadow Queen (Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door): Someone who I almost completely overlooked, simply because you really don't expect her to be that great. The Shadow Queen does show destruction with her war against the city that stood where Rogueport now does, her intentions of ruling the world and the creation of the Crystal Stars to allow her to achieve that feat. What puts her down in the HMs is that she really isn't that effective (she lost all the Crystal Stars pretty easily) and her destruction is so contained that it is literally one city.

Empress Teodora (Skies of Arcadia): Invasion and capture of other countries? Check. Is quite effective in tactics? A little debatable, but mostly fine. Obvious "rule the world" intention? Big fat tick in that box. Now, is she the one really behind all of this? Uhh...As you can guess, what applied to Gestahl sees itself reapplied here. Teodora is just a little worse in that regard since she really doesn't do anything at all. She is merely the ruler of Valua and her orders are to "Retrieve the Moon Crystals". Galcian is the person who this criteria would have to apply to and he's not a monarch.

King Leoric (Diablo): He would seem a very likely candidate for this list since his constant executions and declarations of war, as well as his mad spiral near the end are very antagonistic. What makes him not get on this list is criteria #3 - Intention. Diablo was controlling the King's actions all along and so, it wasn't really the King's intention to do what he did.

King Dedede (Kirby Series): DDD is being listed simply to address the fact that I would expect several people to ask why he isn't on otherwise (like the other 2 big Nintendo monarchs are). To be honest, I seriously fail to see how DDD is that good of a monarch antagonist. Many of his acts of aggression have him under mind control from another entity, when it is his own volition he is hardly destructive and he isn't a very effective king since almost all of Dream Land ignores any decree he issues and, like Bowser, he is repeatedly defeated easily.

So there we have it: 10 monarchs (plus several extras) that are antagonists and exhibit the traits of Effectiveness, Destruction and Intention the greatest. It is amazing how certain types of antagonists can be so interesting and monarchs provide a taste of what many countries in the world have long since removed from power. Even in my country of jolly ol' England, the Queen is merely a figurehead with sparse authoritative powers. It is just refreshing to see the image of conquesting monarchies, something that, in real life, is mostly relegated to history books.

As more characters of this style are created, perhaps they shall surpass some of those who made this list. The entries above, however, are a tough act to beat and many have already stood the test of time themselves for their brutality, tactics and warmongering. From kidnapping a Princess to ruling Heaven and Hell and everything inbetween, I am glad there are so many brilliant monarch antagonists out there and I hope that this character archetype is kept alive with just as vibrant a cast as this list.

Any questions or comments about this list? Just want to say how much you like it? Bring 'em over to the Top 10 Lists Board where I'll try and answer any issues you may have with it. I appreciate the feedback. At the very least, I thank you for reading this very wordy and long-winded list! =)

List by NegaZelda (05/14/2014)

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