You can’t have the good, without the bad! Following our Best Video Game Heroes, we dive deep into memorable videogame villains that have received the action figure treatment. Some bad guys just have anger issues (Locust Horde) or are simply misunderstood (Big Daddy), while others are utterly insane (Psycho Bandits) or hell-bent on world domination (The Chimera). Regardless of their mental psyche, these are all enemies you must face and destroy in your videogame adventures.
Here are 10 of our favorite Video Game Villains that made it as a toy collectible:
1) LOCUST HORDE
Game: Gears of War Series
Goal: Destroy the Coalition of Ordered Governments; Protect the Queen
The Gears of War videogame series debuted in a spectacular fashion with it’s simple, bombastic storyline: battle hardened COG soldiers fighting subterranean mutants known as the Locust Horde. Gritty, future military weapons and armor defined the game’s opposing forces, and while you played on the side of the “good guys,” it was the villainous good looks of the Locust Horde that made for the best action figures.
From lowly Drone infantry to big dumb Boomers, toy company NECA knocked out wave after wave of Locust action figures. Each exciting new addition featured cool new loadouts (Boomshot!) and awesome armored appearances (Cyclops!) . However, it was the elite Locust troops, the red-robed Theron Guard that rank as my favorite “Grubs” in NECA’s toy army. Grab one, grab ten; you can never have enough Locust Horde action figures in your collection.
2) THE CHIMERA
Game: Resistance Series
Goal: Conquer Earth; Erradicate Humanity
Similar to the Locust in Gears, the alien villains of Resistance – the Chimera – just want their home back. Where the Locust want to emerge from the dark, dank underground to live on the sunny surface of Sera, the Chimera want to reclaim an entire planet – Earth – where they were forced to leave following a devastating conflict with another alien race (read: not humans). So the Chimera are back, and this time pesky humans ARE in the way.
In a nutshell, Resistance was PlayStation’s answer to Gears of War on the Xbox. While it never quite reached Gears-level popularity with the gaming populace, Resistance was successful enough to spawn two sequels, including a third title that resulted in some pretty cool-looking action figures. Oddly produced by DC Unlimited (of DC Comics fame), four figures saw release in 2011 based on Resistance 3. Where the ho-hum human hero was an easy pass for me, the three Chimera impressed with their unique alien military designs and weaponry: standard grunt, sniper and heavy. Sculpts and paint apps on these figures are tight (love the snarling pointy teeth and multiple bug eyes), and DC wasn’t a slouch when it came to articulation. Whether you’re a Resistance fan or not, DC Unlimited’s Chimera action figures make an excellent addition to any villainous videogame toy display.
3) HELGHAST EMPIRE
Game: Killzone Series
Goal: Let’s Have A War!!!
Speaking of PlayStation and DC Unlimited, here’s another videogame property that received the action figure treatment: Killzone. Like most shooters, Killzone’s basic premise is a galactic war between two factions: the Interplanetary Strategic Alliance (good guys!) and the Helghan Empire (evil!). What made the game cool was its future military aesthetic, especially the design of the Helghast soldiers who bore a striking resemblance to the red-eyed Protect-Gear seen in the Japanese manga/anime property, Kerberos Saga (which in turn borrowed heavily from German armed forces during World War II).
Fun Fact: The word “Helghast” is a combination of “Hell” (suffering, terror, fear), “Heil” (German for “hail”), and “gast” (Anglo-Saxon for “Ghost”).
Based on the third Killzone installment, DC Unlimited’s two figure assortment featured the Helghast Sniper and the Helghast Assault Infantry. Snag ’em both if you dig their Protect-Gear, err, WWII German military good looks.
Game: Quake 2, Quake 4
Goal: Stroggification of Humanity; Kill That Damn Space Marine
The Strogg are a hostile cybernetic race from the planet Stroggos. Similiar to Star Trek’s Borg, the Strogg seek the “Stroggification” of humanity; a process of harvesting biological materials (read: flesh) for technological fusion and enhancement. You know, typical cyborg stuff. While rather generic as far as videogame villains go, they did have a deep hierarchy of military units (read: lots of various bad guys to kill). Plus, the Strogg military insignia – winged skulls and such – was pretty chill.
Despite the popularity of Quake 2 at the time, only one company came up to the plate to tackle Quake toys. That was ReSaurus back in 1998 (who, God bless their souls, also took on Duke Nukem 3D). Two Marines saw release (male Marine Major and female Marine Athena, both awesome), as well as two Strogg: the Iron Maiden (with Strogg Technician), and my absolute favorite, the Tank (pictured). Hunt down this hulking figure if you can as it’s a real looker, fully loaded with great features, such as armor plates that can be removed to simulate battle damage, a shoulder-mounted rocket launcher that swiveled in the direction you turned the head, and even real-metal springs on its mech-like legs!
5) THE COVENANT
Game: Halo Series
Goal: Seek Truth In A Higher Being; Defend Some Dumb Space Ring Thing
Unlike many of the enemy factions on our list (i.e. The Locust, Chimera, Helghast), the Covenant ARE NOT a universal race of beings. Instead, the Convenant are a collective; an alliance of various alien species seeking truth in a higher being known as the Forerunners. While the Forerunners would become the antagonist in the more recent HALO videogame installments as uninspired glowing things to kill, the original Convenant forces Master Chief had to battle were very diverse, not only in their attitude and appearance, but in their battle tactics.
From silly self-destructing Grunts (Unggoy), gangly Jackal snipers (Kig-Yar), and energy sword-wielding Elite ( Sangheili), the Covenant have kept the MC on his toes, and have also made for cool collectibles. My favorite Covenant race, however, has always been the Brutes (Jiralhanae). Introduced in HALO 3, these large, hairy ape-like creatures ruled with tons of ‘tude and brutal weaponry, including MC-smashing Gravity Hammers, wicked Spiker pistols, and even Spike Grenades! These guys loved their stuff “spiky”.
McFarlane Toys ruled the roost with the HALO 3 toy license and Brute fans weren’t let down. Not only did they debut their HALO action figure line with an awesome 6-inch scale Brute Cheiftain, but they also released the beast as part of their amazing Legendary Collection (11-inches tall to the tip of his raised Gravity Hammer!). Large static PVC statues they were, but ones that captured epic HALO characters in dynamic action poses. It’s a shame that the series wasn’t more successful as the Brute Chieftain figure is amazing with its beefy plastic construction and game accurate sculpt.
6) PSYCHO BANDIT
Game: Borderlands Series
Goal: Kill! Kill! KILL!; Blood! Blood! BLOOD!
One enemy type that has remained a constant throughout the Borderlands videogame series is the Psycho Bandit. These insane Road Warrior-inspired villains are everywhere in Borderlands because, hey, for a game all about guns (and getting more guns), you need a lot of stuff to shoot. Shirtless, wearing their trademark white masks and dressed in orange pants, Psychos attack in hordes all while screaming homicidal (and often comical) war cries. Bigger bads exist in the Borderlands universe, but none are as memorable as the hilarious Psychos.
Collectors have numerous choices on getting their hands on a Psycho figure. NECA was first (and arguably the best) with their Psycho Bandit action figure, complete with game-accurate cartoon cel-shading. If you missed out on that one, McFarlane Toys produced another Psycho Bandit, along with the ‘roided-out Krieg from Borderlands 2. Last, but not least, The Coop produced two 7-inch tall vinyl figures, including a Male Psycho AND a Psycho first, a Female Psycho!
Game: Resident Evil 3
Goal: Hunt Down S.T.A.R.S.; Kill Anyone Who Gets In His Way
Resident Evil‘s answer to the requisite videogame “Boss Battle” was to create Tyrants; towering, biologically engineered supersoldiers for players to fight. Most Tyrant designs have been over-the-top, with a “Thing”-like vibe of over-sized claws and extra appendages (Super Tyrant, Bandersnatch). Others have kept it simple, focusing on the trendy fashion statement of a long trenchcoat and come-hither blank stare (Mr. X, the Ivans). Resident Evil 3: Nemesis introduced a cool combination of both Tyrant styles with, you guessed it, the NEMESIS!
One of Umbrella’s smarter bio-weapons, the Nemesis stalked members of S.T.A.R.S. with its superior intellect, quick reflexes and big honkin’ rocket launcher. One of my all-time favorite action figures of the Nemesis was produced by Palisades Toys (pictured). What’s super weird, despite Resident Evil 3 having just been re-mastered and re-released, is that there are no new Nemesis toys. Well, there’s a Colossal 1:4 Scale Statue from Hollywood Collectibles Group if you have $600 burning a hole in your wallet. However, with that kinda money you may as well hunt down the Palisades figure. You’d even have plenty of cash to spare for a now hard-to-get Funko Nemesis Pop.
8) BIG DADDY
Game: Bioshock Series
Goal: Find Little Sisters; Protect Little Sisters
Encountering a Big Daddy for the first time is an experience you won’t quickly forget. These Bioshock bruisers are genetically enhanced humans that have been grafted into a massive diving suit. Sworn to protect Little Sisters, “Mister Bubbles” gets his point across with a deadly mining drill hand.
When it comes to Big Daddy action figures, nothing tops what NECA produced. Back when the company had the license, fans could pick up numerous versions of Mister B, including one with light-up “eyes” and a Toys’R’Us exclusive Elite Bouncer. Getting you hands on a NECA Big Daddy action figure can be pretty pricey nowadays, but you can always own an affordable stylized vinyl Big Daddy to place on your desk! Made by The Coop, this fun little figure is sure to bring back fond memories of when you first met him in the videogame.
9) PYRAMID HEAD
Game: Slient Hill 2, Silent Hill: Homecoming
Goal: Molest Mannequins; Split People In Half
Most people are familiar with Pyramid Head from the 2006 movie Silent Hill, however, it was his disturbing debut in the 2001 videogame Silent Hill 2 that first made him a villain to remember. A silent (har!) antagonist, Pyramid Head’s lack of words are made up for by one of the creepiest creature designs to grace a videogame. With its face concealed beneath a large pyramid-shaped metal helmet, “Red Pyramid” (as it is also known as) invokes fear with its mysterious monster looks alone. Add on a blade the size of a man, dragged across the ground like nails on a chalkboard, and Pyramid Head transforms from a terrifying “WTH is that?” encounter to a lethal “oh crap, run!” executioner.
Toymunkey Studios (later re-released by Gecco Corp.) produced the definitive Pyramid Head collectible with a stunning 1/6th scale PVC statue (pictured). If those two opportunities passed you by, then Max Factory presented a third chance with a cool Pyramid Head Figma action figure. There’s rumor of a new Silent Hill videogame in the works (not to be mistaken with the sadly canceled Silent Hills project), so fingers crossed Pyramid Head makes a return… as well as much-needed collectibles.
Game: Doom Eternal
Goal: Kill the Doom Slayer; Annoy Doom Eternal Players
2016’s DOOM reboot ranks as one of my all-time favorite shooters; with its intricate “dance of death” gameplay mechanic stealing the show. 2020’s sequel DOOM Eternal takes that core gameplay and amplifies it tenfold, all while adding more. DOOM Eternal is a videogame shooter on steroids; a frenzied blur of carnage with so much going on that it left my mind reeling. A rush to play, for sure, but ultimately DOOM Eternal is just too much of a good thing. It’s like eating two thick, rich slices of chocolate cake in one sitting – it’s oh so good until it isn’t. DOOM Eternal is videogame overkill.
Case in point: the Marauder. After somewhat mastering the art of slaying various demon types thrown at you, DOOM Eternal introduces this pain-the-ass-villain. The engaging “dance of death” grinds to a sudden stop when a Marauder enters the fray; the “bullet sponge” forcing you to precisely time your attacks with precisely the right weapon… granted that you have the ammo to even do so. That wouldn’t be so bad if you were fighting a Marauder all by itself, but that is NEVER the case in DOOM Eternal.
As much as I despise fighting the Marauder in DOOM Eternal, I am looking forward to owning the cool-looking villain as an action figure. Produced by McFarlane Toys, the Marauder promises to be every bit as good as their figure of the Doom Slayer. Lock in your pre-order now, the Marauder is scheduled to ship in late May.
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