• Takeaway 1: Sega has many underrated villains that deserve more recognition than they currently receive.
  • Takeaway 2: Villains like Captain Onishima, Nef, and Dark Harrier have unique qualities that make them memorable and deserving of attention.
  • Takeaway 3: These lesser-known villains have the potential to become iconic if given more exposure and development in future games.

Like many big video game companies, Sega has a lot of beloved franchises under its belt. And like many other popular game series, those franchises pit players against many nefarious villains. However, most lists of popular Sega villains will consist mainly of villains from Sonic The Hedgehog, Like A Dragon, or Persona.


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There have been countless iconic Sega characters created over the years, but the following seven stand out above the rest.

But with such a huge stable of games, Sega has many more villains that deserve just as much attention as the ones from Sega’s most popular series. Whether they never got the exposure they deserved or fans just couldn’t appreciate them at the time, these villains have been unfairly ignored for too long.

10 Captain Onishima (Jet Set Radio)

A Crooked Cop With A Dark Sense Of Duty

Official art ofCaptain Onishima from Jet Set Radio pointing dramatically

Jet Set Radio
October 31, 2000

Smilebit , BlitWorks

Though Captain Onishima isn’t the main antagonist in Jet Set Radio, he’s certainly the most persistent. A cop obsessed with order, Onishima is the perfect nemesis for the rebellious protagonists. Unfortunately, his reaction to teenagers leaving graffiti is to fire his revolver, send in the SWAT team, and even tanks.

His constant presence, comical design, and absurd sense of escalation have certainly helped him remain memorable to Jet Set fans. He’s also the complete antithesis of the heroes, making him a thematically perfect villain. With better handling, Onishima could have been as synonymous with the Jet Set Radio name as protagonists Beat and Gum.

9 Nef (Altered Beast)

A Dark Wizard Who Gets His Hands Dirty

Nef from Altered Beast shooting lightning at the main character

  • Platform(s): Arcade, Sega Genesis
  • Released: 1988-06-14
  • Developer(s): Sega
  • Genre(s): Beat ‘Em Up

Many players expect to meet the game’s main villain at the end of the game, especially in an ‘80s arcade game like Altered Beast. Refreshingly, big bad Nef subverts this by showing up at the end of each level. He also won’t fight the player until they’ve achieved their powerful beast form.


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Players tangle with all sorts of villains in video games. As antagonists, evil wizards are no slouches. These mages are the strongest of the bunch.

This twisted sense of chivalry certainly elevated Nef above the cackling evil wizard stereotype he appears to embody. The fact that he shapeshifts into a different form for each of his fights helps keep him interesting. If Sega ever revisits Altered Beast, Nef could become their next great villain.

8 Dark Harrier (Space Harrier 2)

A Mysterious Character Whose Mere Existence Puts A Damper On The Story

Space Harrier facing off against the Dark Harrier in Space Harrier 2

  • Platform(s): Sega Genesis
  • Released: 1988-10-29
  • Developer(s): Sega
  • Genre(s): Rail Shooter

While the Space Harrier franchise isn’t known for its narrative, an exception is made for Space Harrier 2’s final boss, the Dark Harrier. Appearing at the end of the game with no buildup or warning, the Dark Harrier leads to a bittersweet ending, even though he’s defeated. In the epilogue, Harrier laments that there’s someone out there with his powers, but he’s using them for evil.

This leads to a slightly downcast ending, causing a sense of vague dread in the player. Though evil clones of the protagonist are common in video games, the ramifications of their existence don’t usually carry the same pathos. While this intriguing plot thread never went anywhere, there is the possibility that could change.

7 Ramirez (Skies Of Arcadia)

A Powerful Enemy Who Beats The Heroes More Than Once

Ramirez fearsomely brandishing his sword in Skies Of Arcadia

Skies of Arcadia
January 27, 2003



Skies Of Arcadia is home to many unique and colorful villains, but Ramirez really stands out. The party fights him multiple times, but he can only be beaten in one of those fights — specifically in the final boss fight of the game.

His power, dashing good looks, status as the final boss, and foils with main character Vyse make Ramirez a stand-out villain in a stand-out game. If Sega ever makes a long-awaited follow-up, Ramirez has the potential to be Skies Of Arcadia’s answer to Sephiroth.

6 Dr. Curien (House Of The Dead)

A Mad Scientist With A Sympathetic Backstory

Dr. Curien from House of the Dead surrounded by plants

The House of the Dead
Arcade , PC , Sega Saturn

October 15, 1996

Wow Entertainment

Survival Horror , Shooter

When most gamers think of great villains from zombie games, Resident Evil’s Albert Wesker is a popular topic of conversation. However, the zombie genre owes a great deal to House Of The Dead’s Dr. Curien for kickstarting the events of this legendary series. Even among the franchise’s fans, his own creation, the Magician, tends to get more attention than him.

Dr. Curien has a tragic backstory that makes him more deserving of attention. He started his zombie outbreak in a misguided attempt to save his terminally ill young son. While he’s best known as a cackling mad scientist, exploring his more sympathetic qualities is bound to make him more popular.

5 Ninja Master (The Revenge Of Shinobi)

A Cackling Villain Who Raises The Stakes

Joe Mushashi facing off against the Ninja Master in The Revenge Of Shinobi

  • Platform(s): Sega Genesis
  • Released: 1989-12-02
  • Developer(s): Sega
  • Genre(s): Hack-and-Slash, Platformer

Also known as the leader of Neo Zeed, the Ninja Master is the final boss of The Revenge Of Shinobi. He orchestrated the murder of Joe Mushashi’s whole ninja clan and kidnapped his fiance Naoko. It’s little wonder Joe wants revenge.


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For those players who like roleplaying as a ninja, these RPGs have got them covered.

The Ninja Master has an awesome look, even appearing on the game’s box art, and an awesome evil laugh that appears on the game over screen. He raises the stakes of his boss fight by placing Naoko in a timed death trap, encouraging players to beat him quickly. Such a devious villain deserves more than just one game.

4 The Vortex Queen (Ecco The Dolphin)

A Monstrous And Unexpected Enemy

Ecco battling the Vortex Queen

  • Platform(s): Sega Genesis
  • First Released: 1992-12-23
  • Developer(s): Novotrade International
  • Genre(s): Action-Adventure

With thalassophobia being a popular theme in games, many gamers probably expected some frightening moments in the underwater adventureEcco The Dolphin. Very few probably expected the game’s main antagonist to be the terrifying Vortex Queen. This alien monster is so big that only her massive head is visible.

The fact that players never see the rest of her body only adds to her horrifying mystique. And this is on top of the fact that players already know she’s abducting Earth’s marine life, including Ecco’s pod, for food. Such a terrifying villain deserves to be talked about much more than she already is.

3 Mr. X (Streets Of Rage)

A Recurring Villain Who Corrupts Everything

Mr. X in Streets of Rage

Streets of Rage
Genesis , Sega CD , Game Gear , Master System , 3DS

September 18, 1991

Beat ‘Em Up

The recurring villain of the beloved Streets Of Rage series, Mr. X is a crime boss whose influence stretches to nearly every corner of Wood Oak City. In the first entry, it’s even possible for him to corrupt one of the protagonists, leading to a fight between the two players.

From his persistence to his stylish appearance and the fact that he uses a Tommy gun in a beat ‘em up game, Mr. X is exactly the kind of great villain a series like Streets Of Rage deserves. His increasingly elaborate evil plans, many of which involve robots and cyborgs, cause many fans to feel he should be at least as popular as Dr. Eggman.

2 Wizeman (NiGHTS Into Dreams)

A King Of Nightmares Who Lives Up To The Name

Wizeman from NiGHTS Into Dreams

  • Platform(s): Sega Saturn
  • First Released: 1996-07-05
  • Developer(s): Sonic Team
  • Genre(s): Action

Many NiGHTS Into Dreams fans assert that the main antagonist, Wizeman, is one of the most evil villains Sega has ever put out. As King of the nightmare world, Wizeman wants to rule over both the dream and waking worlds. To accomplish this, he traps dreamers in eternal nightmares and ruthlessly murders his own henchmen.


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It’s little wonder that one of his henchmen, NiGHTS, became a hero to stop him. In an otherwise beautiful and light-hearted game, Wizeman stands out as a truly vile monster. His sheer level of villainy has earned him many fans who would love to see him get more recognition.

1 Death Adder (Golden Axe)

A Being Of Pure Evil Who Inspires Hate From The Entire Cast

Golden Axe 2 fighting Death Adder

  • Platform(s): Arcade, Sega Genesis
  • Released: 1989-01-27
  • Developer(s): Sega
  • Genre(s): Beat ‘Em Up

One thing the Golden Axe character bios make clear is that everyone has a grudge against the main villain, Death Adder. In his campaign to conquer the world, he razed entire kingdoms to the ground and casually murdered the loved ones of all three of the protagonists. Even death has proven to be a minor interruption in his quest for world domination.

His callousness and wickedness have made him the most popular villain in the entire franchise. With his long list of diabolical achievements, incredible appearance, and awesome boss fight music, many Golden Axe fans lament the fact that Death Adder isn’t a household name.


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