Square Enix have created some of the most interesting and memorable villains in video game history, but while everyone’s familiar with the likes of Sephiroth and Kefka, there are also plenty of fascinating female antagonists who have stood out to fans aswell. Of course, the majority of them appear in Square Enix’s signature Final Fantasy series, but a few of the developers’ lesser known titles also contain female villains who are often seen as fairly underrated by fans of their respective games.
It’s hard to find a developer who puts more effort and care in crafting their villains than Square Enix, often making them absurdly powerful, but still containing deep and complex motivations that end up making them so intriguing, and that most certainly goes for these female antagonists listed below. It should be noted before jumping in that games developed by Square before they merged with Enix in 2003 will also be taken into account, along with games which have been co-developed.
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8 Jihl Nabaat
The Cold And Calculated Jihl Nabaat Commands Every Scene She’s In
Final Fantasy 13
- Square Enix
While Barthandelus reveals himself to be the major villain of Final Fantasy 13 at about the halfway point of the story, it’s very easy to initially assume that Jihl Nabaat is actually the one pulling the strings, primarily because of how ruthless she appears to be. Jihl makes it more than clear that she despises anyone who’s been branded a L’Cie, taking great pleasure in tormenting those that she considers her enemies, as is seen when she purposefully tries to turn Vanille and Sazh against one another just for her own satisfaction.
She possesses an incredibly intimidating aura that allows her to steal every scene she’s in, and while she unfortunately doesn’t get too much screentime before her unexpected death, she still makes quite an impression with the time she’s given. It almost feels like Square Enix could have completely negated the critique of the game having a poor main villain if they had instead opted for Jihl to fill that role rather than Barthandelus.
Morag’s Wacky But Malicious Personality Is A Joy To Watch On-Screen
Dragon Quest 9
- July 11, 2010
Morag is a demonic witch that appears near the beginning of Dragon Quest 9, and it’s fair to say that she has a pretty strange introduction as far as villains go. When Morag first pops up, she’s speaking to a Wight Knight, a once humble man who has actually been cursed by Morag to serve him for eternity. This isn’t due to her simply wanting an army of slaves though, it’s actually because Morag is madly in love with the Wight Knight and can’t bare for the two to be apart.
While she definitely seems a little unhinged, what commences right after this exchange is a pretty brutal boss fight where Morag is able to attack every party member at once with her devastating attacks, making buffs and healing an absolute priority. She’s without a doubt one of the most memorable villains in this beloved entry, but another reason she’s become such a captivating villain is her incredibly creative design, which manages to look demonic while still having a few witch-like elements thrown in to make it as visually interesting as possible.
Larxene’s Childish Personality Hides Her Underlying Sadistic Personality
Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories
- December 2, 2008
- Square Enix
- Action RPG , Digital Card Game
Larxene may be wearing a permanent smile any time she appears on-screen, but underneath it all, she’s an incredibly sadistic and cold character who seems to love nothing more than watching her enemies suffer. She also has a very childish demeanor that makes her incredibly unpredictable, often throwing out sarcastic quips and making light of pretty dark scenarios, such as when she relentlessly mocks Vexen who has just been threatened with treason by the Organization.
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What makes her even more interesting is her death scene where, in a rare moment of honesty, she admits that she simply joined the Organization just to have a little bit of fun, before implying that she may have been working for someone else entirely. Larxene is a menacing villain who has shown on multiple occasions that she isn’t afraid to use violence to get what she wants, but there are also a few hints dropped that she may not be as tough as she claims to be.
4 Benedikta Harman
Benedikta’s Obsession With Loyalty Makes Her A Dangerous But Also Very Complex Antagonist
Final Fantasy 16
- June 22, 2023
- Action RPG
Despite being the Dominant of the immensely powerful Garuda, Benedikta comes across as a calm and collected individual who’s vindictive personality is put on full display during several key moments throughout Final Fantasy 16’s story. A lot of players were disappointed that she ended up meeting her demise so early in the game, since she’s without a doubt one of the best written villains, with her emotional grief and trauma stemming from her undying loyalty to King Barnabas making her a genuinely fascinating individual who goes through an excellent character arc.
Benedikta’s tendency to grow intimate with her enemies in order to learn more about them also showcased a much more devious side to her character, which was a nice contrast from some of the other Dominant’s who were more concerned with brute strength. Her design is also a particular standout from the game’s cast, especially when she enters her Eikon form and grows a giant pair of wings which she isn’t afraid to use as lethal weapons during her encounter with Clive.
Yunalesca’s Determination To Maintain The Status Quo Is Reflected In Her Brutal Boss Battle
Final Fantasy 10
- December 17, 2001
For a lot of Final Fantasy 10, Tidus and his allies are doing what they can to uphold the teachings of Yevon in the hopes of retrieving the final Aeon to fend off Sin for another few years. However, by the end, they decide to reject the traditions entirely in an attempt to stop the Summoners from sacrificing themselves, while also finding a way to send Sin packing for good. Yunalesca is pretty much the embodiment of these traditions, believing that driving away Sin with a Final Aeon, which is the tradition she invented, must be followed at all costs, with anyone who dares to break away from it being severely punished.
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Her stern and demanding ideology is actually presented extremely well through her boss fight, where she is renowned for being one of the toughest enemies in the entire game, constantly throwing out Mega Death which can kill multiple party members in a single hit. All of this comes together to create an incredibly memorable and intimidating villain who’s symbolism perfectly fits with the larger context of the game.
Eve’s Terrifying Abilities And Iconic Design Make Her Extremely Memorable As A Villain
- September 9, 1998
While Parasite Eve unfortunately seems to have been more or less forgotten about by Square Enix these days, the game was incredibly influential for its time, especially with its complex story that places a lot of emphasis on the more unnerving elements of evolution and genetics. Eve herself is a deadly life form who possesses some truly horrifying abilities due to her cells taking over her body, such as being able to control and even completely destroy living beings at will, something she does without hesitation to an entire opera room of spectators near the beginning of the game,
Eve’s otherworldy powers make her a genuinely terrifying villain who always feels as though she could end the world with a snap of her fingers if she felt inclined to, but she also has a downright striking design that lingers in the brain long after the game is finished. All in all, she’s an incredibly compelling character who constantly keeps the player guessing throughout, and it would be a joy for so many people to see her return in a remaster or even a fully fledged remake in the future.
Ultimecia Is As Merciless As A Villain Can Be, And She Isn’t Afraid To Show It
Final Fantasy 8
- February 11, 1999
There are a few reasons why Ultimecia is often considered to be one of the most recognizable villains in all of Final Fantasy, with one of the most prominent being her absolutely merciless personality. Ultimecia is fully aware of how powerful she is, and will often recite large monologs about how she views everyone else as lowlives, scum, and unworthy of even standing in her presence.
Her ultimate goal is to compress all of time and space completely to try and create an existence where only she can reside, and essentially, become existence itself. It’s a fascinating spin on the typical cartoon villain “rule the world” plot, and not only does it go to demonstrate her godly status within the world, but it also hints at her feelings of loneliness and mistrust that are signature parts of her character. Her design, speeches, ideology, and unforgiving boss battle have also cemented Ultimecia as one of the most dangerous women in the history of video games.
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