The 8 best evil lairs in video games

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Dreadnaught 2

I’ve had a change of heart recently. With life being tough, earning an honest living being too much hard work and the planet doomed anyway, I’ve decided to become evil…ler. While I’m not foolhardy enough to become political evil, there’s definitely an opening in the video game space ever since Borderlands 2 saw the patron saint of interactive no-goodery, Handsome Jack, offed.

It’s a great career path when you think about it! Legions of disposable henchmen who’ll do your bidding, access to the finest technology with which to take over the world and a license to dress up in the flyest of sinister threads. Also, a kickass lair to boot. You’re not a video game villain until you’ve made your last stand in a glorious lair that a hero has fought through, and over the years that anarchic architecture has reached glorious new heights.

So while I prepare to train a militia of influencers to help me take over the metropolitan area, here’s a look back at some of the more elaborate headquarters for evil.

Oryx’s Dreadnought – Destiny: The Taken King

Dreadnought

Visit the solar system! See the sights and sounds! Crash into a derelict capital ship belonging to an ancient evil that has embraced the Sword Logic of the Hive and has transcended death itself! Looking to make a proper mark on the Destiny franchise, The Taken King was Bungie’s ballsiest attempt yet to sell the world on their video game vision, which in turn led to the creation of Oryx and his terrifying ship, the Dreadnaught.

A cavernous collection of chambers that spat in the face of interstellar ship design, the Dreadnaught is a dark and foreboding structure where the Taken King resides. Resplendent in its grim glory and decorated with the remains of countless defeated foes, the Dreadnaught is misery and despair for any foolish enough to enter it, but ye Taken gods is it a gorgeously designed piece of deathly architecture.

Dr Wily’s castle – Mega Man series

Dr Wily’s castle

You’ve just worked your way through a series of robots gone bad, the path towards Dr Wily is finally open and what lies in store for you? A castle that makes absolutely zero bones about it belonging to a madman who spends all day tinkering away on murder-bots. While the numerous death traps, robotic dopplegangers and gigantic weapons of mass destruction are probably hell on Wily’s social life, you have to give the evil genius some credit.

He knew what he wanted, he had the gumption to see it through and there were zero ragrets regrets on the construction of a castle that screamed “EVIL GENOCIDAL MADMAN RIGHT HERE FELLAS”. Kudos to Doc Wily then, for reinforcing his personal brand of evil.

Mouthpiece’s Cathedral – Borderlands 3

Borderlands 3 mouthpiece

It’s the first hour of Borderlands 3, you’ve just had a minor battle with Shiv and once again you’re in the armpit of the galaxy known as Pandora. It’s not long before you’re tasked with trudging through the usual sandy dunes until you reach the Propoganda Station where the Children of the Vault reside, and ending their broadcasts in the region.

It’s your typical bandit lair, complete with repurposed furniture, rusting guardrails and crumbling concrete, but Mouthpiece’s conversion room is something…special. It’s a shocking reminder just how colourful Borderlands can be, as Mouthpiece hops off of his spikey piano, screams dubstep colours at you and proceeds to wail away on your ass while you dodge weaponised Skrillex harmonics in a room that’ll assault you with brown notes should you get too close.

A modern-day classic in every sense of the word.

Hell – Diablo series

Diablo 3 hell

If you’re going to take on the devil, be prepared to burn. Deep within hell itself, the prime evil known as Diablo waits and to reach him is an odyssey through the very depths of damnation. Hordes of demons! That one big blacksmith dude who wants to play hammer time riffs on your skull! More pentagrams than a devout Christian mom’s idea of what a KISS concert looks like!

At the very least, it’s never cold in hell and the heavy metal concerts are always awesome, thanks in part to the pits of suffering being overcrowded with teenagers who sold their souls for guitar lessons.

Dracula’s Castle- Castlevania

Dracula’s Castle

The OG attraction for the edgiest of teens and the Gothic crowd. Sure, it may have all manner of horrific nightmare fuel creatures pulled from the depths of hell and charged with protecting it, but dodging those abominations just so that you can marvel at the impressive architecture is well worth it! Avoiding Dracula may be a pain in the neck, but having a chance to explore the cavernous halls as you wonder just how all of the magic works in this monument to the night is part of the tour package.

Foreboding and impressive in equal measure, Transylvania doesn’t get enough love for its monumental eighth wonder of the world that is home to a vampire lord who is never away from home for too long.

Mishima building – Tekken 7

Mishima building

You know you’ve made it in business when you own your own skyscraper, and you double-know you’ve made it big when said building is home to a state of the art fighting ring that can zip between floors at a moment’s notice. Some business meetings may be settled in a boardroom, but Heihachi Mishima settles hostile takeovers with his fists in a building that’s almost as big as his ego. Having a private military force on hand, doesn’t hurt sensitive negotiations either.

That’s just business 101.

Bruce Wayne’s mind – Batman: Arkham Asylum

arkham asylum scarecrow stage

Bruce Wayne may be his own worst enemy, but in Rocksteady’s legendary first foray into the Arkhamverse he wasn’t exactly alone in his self-loathing. A dollop of fear gas had the dark knight wallowing in despair, with the Scarecrow infiltrating his psyche and constructing a personal hell. Logic-defying and littered with regret, the Scarecrow’s architecture got right to the root of Batman’s greatest fears, constructing a shrine to one awful night.

Massive and deadly, there’s no other game that has come close to the Scarecrow’s infestation since then.

Deep Sea Research Center– Final Fantasy VIII

Deep Sea Research Center

How do you lock away the ultimate weapon? How do ensure that a force from the past can never escape and take down a trio of military high school cadets in a single blow because he’s like totes OP and has a reaction time of screw you? You bury the bastard, deep within the planet, lock him up and throw away the key.

While you’d have to be foolhardy to venture that deep into a forgotten research station (or me if you do it several times on every platform that Final Fantasy VIII is out on), you can’t help but marvel at the facility. A combination of mank’s greatest technology that nature has invaded, the Deep Sea Research Center is a steampunk collection of valves and vines, scenic windows into the deep regions of the ocean and an ancient temple built to house the unstoppable.

You’re probably going to die should you go inside. But with a majestic view on offer, it’s well worth the carnage that plucky SeeD cadets eventually unleash.

Last Updated: October 8, 2019

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