Most villains in any form of media simply love to laugh. They just seem to find something hilarious about evil that they must express whenever they feel the urge overtake them, usually to accentuate a particularly terrible act. Video games are, of course, no exception to this rule. There is a good amount of cackling mad villains in gaming and finding a villain who has a particularly good laugh is always a nice surprise, or a disturbing one, depending on your outlook. A truly memorable laugh can really help a villain leave an impression on the player, as evidenced by how well-known a good number of these cackling mad baddies are in gaming culture. In the spirit of this malevolent laughter, I’ve listed my top 10 favorite evil and crazy laughs in gaming.
KEEP IN MIND THAT THERE WILL BE SOME MAJOR SPOILERS FOR CERTAIN CHARACTERS AND GAMES ON THIS LIST.
10.) Kefka Palazzo (Final Fantasy VI)
Starting off the list is one of the most recognizable laughs in all of gaming, coming from everyone’s favorite evil clown (originating in gaming at least), Kefka. Even though the laugh isn’t even truly voiced, it still sounds like Kefka is really enjoying being evil when he pulls off this laugh. It’s a very simple laugh that couldn’t last longer than 3 seconds, but still manages to convey how Kefka feels about the things he does. There’s also a mocking tone to the chortle, as though Kefka knows that he will eventually succeed, despite any of the main characters’ attempts to stop him. The laugh is so in line with Kefka’s character that it can even be heard in the music for the final fight with him, enjoying his madness and ridiculing the party to the very end. The lack of actual voice acting places it low on the list, but it’s still beyond memorable and, trust me, he’s not the only clown you’re going to see here.
(Skip to around 0:25)
9.) Gruntilda Winkybunion (Banjo-Kazooie)
Banjo-Kazooie is a game that I remember playing fondly when I was a bit younger and whenever I lost all my lives or had to save and quit, I had to listen to Grunty’s laugh. As a result, I had more than enough exposure for it to get stuck in my mind. When I first heard it, the only thing I could think was how it sounded exactly how I would imagine a stereotypical witch’s laugh to sound. All these years later, I still think the same way. Grunty’s laugh is a very spirited, classic witch’s cackle and I love it for that. She also truly sounds as though she is really enjoying being evil, just like Kefka, and that always adds to any evil laugh in my mind. I consider this laugh to be the greatest for witches across any form of media, and no one has ever come close to ousting Gruntilda from that position.
(Skip to around 4:05)
8.) Takaya Sakaki (Persona 3)
Takaya, to put it nicely, is not a fun person to be around. He wants to see the world destroyed because he is dying and wants the world to die with him. He has practically no empathy for anyone else and is more than willing to use his companions, whom he does have some modicum of care for, if it helps him accomplish his goal. To go along with such a selfish and evil plan, he has an appropriately cruel laugh that he uses throughout the game. Like many good laughs, it starts out small and ends loud and abrasive. In this case, Takaya starts out with a relatively quiet snicker that immediately jumps into loud crazy laughter. It doesn’t last very long, but it simply doesn’t need to. It gets across how wretched Takaya truly is quickly and concisely.
7.) Iori Yagami (King of Fighters)
Iori is a unique figure on this list as he is not truly crazy or completely evil, just mostly so. More than anything else, he is a rival to Kyo Kusanagi, the main character of the King of Fighters series, and aims to eventually kill him for the curse the Kusanagi clan placed on his own. However, that doesn’t mean he is above using and abusing others to get what he wants and the designers gave Iori a laugh to fit with this dark characterization. Upon winning a match, Iori breaks out into raucous evil laughter, probably to go along with him being one step closer to his ultimate goal. Alongside Kefka, Iori’s laugh is one of the most recognizable in gaming and it’s really not hard to see why. Iori starts out with an evil chuckle, begins to boisterously crack up, and then finishes with very loud belly laughs. Like many other popular examples, the laugh is short, but effective, and clearly conveys Iori’s personality with very little.
6.) Lezard Valeth (Valkyrie Profile)
I can’t fully get into what is wrong with this guy, for as it is rather complicated, but let’s just say he has some serious issues. Regardless, Lezard is a sorcerer and necromancer who is very smart and, more or less, wants to become a god. By the end of the 2nd Valkyrie Profile, he has almost accomplished this feat, and it seems like his happiness at that prospect is all being channeled through his laughter. Lezard’s laugh has that almost forced-sounding throatiness to it that manages to enhance the perceived crazy exponentially while still sounding genuine. The best way I can describe it would be if someone jacked up the crazy in Takaya’s laugh to 11. The guy sounds like a laughing-mad, murderous hyena and if I ever came across someone who laughed like Lezard, I would run away… very, very far away.