Though Nintendo has remained a very family-friendly in its long history of video games, some villains stand out as particularly petrifying. Whether it’s a terrifying look or sinister motives, not all of Nintendo’s baddies are as pleasant as you’d expect. Check out how we rank some of the most notable villains from the gaming giant’s history on the spooky scale!

King Dedede

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Don’t let the adorable exterior trick you, King Dedede is a formidable opponent for Kirby and friends. Always one step ahead of our Pepto Bismol ball, King Dedede provides a powerful attack between his hammer and heavy body. 

Scare Factor: 1 out of 7


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Though he’s gone through many iterations, Bowser’s a staple in Nintendo’s book-o-baddies. He’ll go to any length to cause mayhem to Mario and company, though typically in flamboyant fashion. Though he’s persistent with his wrongdoing, we’re sure he’s a sweetheart deep down. 

Scare Factor: 2 out of 7


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The bane of Hyrule, Ganon knows how to strike fear and cause chaos in one swoop. Whether he’s galavanting around the shadows or putting a wicked curse on Hyrule Castle, he knows how to do it in a terrifying way. 

Scare Factor: 5 out of 7


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This one is a no-brainer. A giant alien dragon? Terrifying! The scale of Ridley in previous games didn’t do the justice that the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate reveal did compared to some of Nintendo’s classic characters on a packed battle stage. We wouldn’t want to run into Ridley in a dark corridor. 

Scare Factor: 6 out of 7


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Standing out on this list as the most ‘normal’ villain, Giovanni is one of the most sinister of the bunch. He’s a savvy, charismatic gym leader who also happens to be the leader of Team Rocket. He’s hellbent on his mission and no person or Pokémon should stand in his way. 

Scare Factor: 6.5 out of 7

Mother Brain

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Sure, the Metroid series had Ridley, but Mother Brain, one of the creepiest recurring antagonists to face Samus, keeps coming back for more in darker and darker fashion. Providing some of the toughest challenges for our favorite space bounty hunter, Mother Brain tops our list as the scariest Nintendo villain.

Scare Factor: 7 out of 7

Bonus: Bowsette

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For many reasons, Bowsette is truly terrifying, in part do to her instant popularity (regardless of canon status or not). 

Scare Factor: The gauge is broken

Did your favorite Nintendo baddie make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!