The zombie drama genre has become incredibly popular across the last decade, and while it has always been at the forefront of horror— with the likes of Day of the Dead— shows like The Walking Dead have fired it onto the mainstream throughout the world. The mixture of fantasy, horror and real life are actually incredibly close to home, and considering that half of the time the bad guys are actually human creations themselves, in the form of scientific experiments, the reason viewers find it so scary is because of the feeling like it could actually happen to us.
The zombie genre has been around for the most part of a decade, and though it was initially thought up as something that could never happen, some viewers are now convinced that a zombie outbreak is possible, even imminent, and while that may be a little far-fetched, it hasn’t stopped people from coming up with zombie survival packs and master plans. Books, videos and even websites are dedicated to fan fiction, fan theory and guesswork as to how and when the zombie outbreak will occur.
One game that has propelled the genre to new heights has been the Resident Evil franchise. A multitude of films, games and mini-games has built this up to be one of the biggest franchises in the world today, and as the success of Resident Evil 6 comes about, there’s no doubt that the genre is as big as ever. Although as you will find below, zombies are sometimes the least of your worries. Take a look as we explore 15 of the more gruesome Resident Evil bosses to date.
Making an appearance in most Resident Evil games since the beginning, the Tyrants are bad guys in the form of biologically enhanced undead beings, who have the sole purpose of working as super-soldiers on behalf of the Umbrella Corporation. One of the most popular sets of bosses during the series, the Tyrant named Nemesis lends his name to the third game, Resident Evil: Nemesis.
Initially introduced in the very first Resident Evil title in 1996, the Tyrant characters have become extremely popular species within the series, and often seem to be as symbolic to the games as the zombie characters are.
Throughout the series, numerous models and variations of the Tyrant characters have been created by Umbrella in order to perfect their super-soldier product, including the T-001, 002 and the Mr. X character type, T-103. As the game goes on and more sequels arrive, we doubt very much that we’ll see any less of the Tyrants going forward.
If you’re coming to the Resident Evil games and you aren’t expecting to see a zombie or two, you might well have come to the wrong place. The most classic villain in the games’ series is the ever-annoying zombie. The Resident Evil games are centered around the zombies as members of the STARS task force initially set about looking for one of their missing crew members. The games have changed, evolved and have even been rebooted, but the main premise will always be the same: survive against the zombies. When released, Resident Evil was known as the defining title in the horror video game genre and, by all intents and purposes, still is. Before it, there was little, if no, representation of the zombie in the gamer world, so the zombies have thus far taken their place among the more gruesome and classic game characters ever. They were always going to make our list.
13 Ramon Salazar
Ramon Salazar is a small person, the size of a child, looking like an old man, but is in fact a 20-year-old guy. Already confusing, isn’t he? His role is one of the secondary antagonists within the Resident Evil 4 game. The character, from the Spanish family Salazar, is part of the Los Illuminados cult. After kidnapping the US President’s daughter, Leon Kennedy is travels to Spain to find her, only to come across Salazar and be told that, unfortunately, the President’s daughter was now becoming part of a ritual. Oh, well that’s a pain. Lots of fighting ensues, including Ramon getting a knife through his hand (ouch!) but, after transforming into a hideous monster (as you do...) Leon defeated Ramon and all but ended the Salazar family name. Since then, we have seen nothing of the character named Ramon Salazar. And good riddance.
12 Derek C. Simmons
Derek C. Simmons is the first entirely human bad guy we’ve got on our list, and for good reason too. Popping up as the lead bad guy in Resident Evil 6, Simmons works as the National Security Adviser, as well as being the head of mysterious organization The Family, who are a dodgy group of folks who try to restore and maintain world order through political influence. Mr. Simmons, it turns out, was a bit of a wacko. After revealing it was he at the heart of the decision to destroy Raccoon City in 1998, his esteemed sidekick and interest Ada Wong left his side. This, it turns out, drove Simmons crazy. After finding Wong had left him, he decided to take on Project Ada, a project that looked to create a clone of Wong for his own purposes, which is both weird and creepy. Later infected by the C-virus, it all goes down-hill for Simmons, and he falls to his death from Quad Tower.
11 Umbrella Corporation
Probably the most famous name in Resident Evil folklore is the dastardly Umbrella Corporation. With a front in selling pharmaceuticals, consumer goods and even foods, the company secretly took on the job of finding suitable ways to develop and produce bio-weapons, most notably just outside of Raccoon City, the geographical heartland of the Resident Evil series. This is the company that started it all. While developing a virus that mutated living and recently deceased humans, their work was compromised and a chemical leak occurred, infecting everything around the test site, namely Raccoon City. After having most of their goods and research seized by the US Government, the company halted trading, but their research and test sites were still used by bio-terrorists to continue the world that Umbrella started. Which means I suppose we have them to thank for one of the world’s most lucrative, exciting and scary video game franchises of all time.
10 Osmund Saddler
Osmund Saddler is another character from Resident Evil 4, this time the main boss. Unlike Ramon Salazar, Saddler is the leader of the cult Los Illuminados, the group who takes responsibility for kidnapping Ashley Graham. In his evil plot, Saddler planned on infecting Graham with Las Plagas, a form of pest that he hoped would infect the higher echelons of the US Government once Graham was returned to her President father. Unfortunately for him, Saddler's plans for world control and domination are foiled towards the end of the game by a mixture of Leon Kennedy, Ada Wong and Luis Sera. Taking the form of a cloaked evil villain, Saddler is a resident of Spain and works in conjunction with/controlling Ramon Salazar, who does bidding on behalf of Saddler. After his death and subsequent plot failure, we see no more of Saddler or Salazar as the game ends there.
9 Albert Wesker
Albert Wesker was introduced to us in the very first Resident Evil game, while he was back then an undercover spy, pretending to work as a captain of police team STARS. Until his defeat in Resident Evil 5, Wesker has been heavily involved in the franchise, looking to exterminate the human race and his overall goal to speed up the human evolutionary state through biological research and experimentation. Probably one of the main all-time antagonists in the series, he has faked his death, worked undercover and even joined multiple rival teams to make sure he completes his own mission. Wesker is an all time great character from the series, looking like someone straight out of the Matrix. He was sleek, skillful and known as one of the best researchers within the game, he was the ultimate in cunning human bad-guy-ness. And you never know, maybe he isn’t dead yet and this is all part of his master plan.
8 William Birkin
One of the key Resident Evil villains in the series, it is William Birkin who was a constant source of research and experimentation of the sub-human viruses that took over the game. Upon completing research of the G-virus, Birkin has his lab broken into, his work stolen and himself left almost for dead. Struggling for his life, Birkin injects himself with the serum, starting the mutation process that his final form takes, from human to monster. One of the foremost bad guys in the series, he is also credited by Weskin for helping him fake his death, something which also accelerated problems in the Resident Evil series. Showing up in various cameos in flashbacks past his death, William Birkin was voted as IGN’s second most memorable villain through the whole series. He was eventually defeated by, among other people, his daughter Sherry. Which only goes to show how much of a bad dude he was, considering even his family wanted him dead.
It’s very hard to think about the Resident Evil games without thinking about the title character to the third game, Resident Evil: Nemesis. Developed by the Umbrella Corporation as a side-project to the Tyrant creations, Nemesis is iconic in his look as well as his actions. His reason for being created was for Umbrella to have an enemy who could take orders and could consciously think with a level of intelligence that would set it apart from other monsters. Known for its mutant-like appearance, there are few more menacing, evil creatures in the series than Nemesis. He takes on multiple forms throughout the series as his mutation continues and he evolves into an even more fearsome foe. Known for killing Brad Vickers, among other characters, with a shot through the head, Nemesis finally chases down Jill Valentine, leading to the game’s epic finale. Probably the most iconic bad guy within the franchise.
6 Red Queen
This character is not a physical form, but a computer, and although it plays a role within the game franchise, the Red Queen character is the major antagonist within the Resident Evil original movie of the same name. A supercomputer with excellent intelligence, she is truly creepy because she takes the form of a young girl, which is always a pretty scary sight in any horror film. Seen as a computer system, with great intellect but zero empathy, it often protected human life only because it was told to do so, and in other instances doing so with an added negative of letting out the T-virus into out into the open. Later on, in the series taking on another form, she was set up at Umbrella prime, only to attempt to erase the whole of the human race. Which is unkind. Less prevalent in the games than the film, she would be a great addition to any future extensions to the story.
HUNK is a secret agent bad guy from the Resident Evil series who works in conjunction with Umbrella Corp. He is a special agent who is know as a highly trained and very ruthless opposition, receiving training at the Rockfort Island Military Centre. Because of his highly-trained skill set, HUNK was often one of a few, if any other, main survivors of various missions and eventually would be nicknamed Grim Reaper HUNK. Not a lot is known about his past, and even his real name is not revealed in the game, but he is a constant throughout many games and side stories.
4 Dr. Sam Isaacs
As far as seemingly evil geniuses go, this list has had its fair share. Dr. Isaacs, true to his doctor status (and no doctor in a zombie flick will ever be the good guy) he is one of the main villains within the Resident Evil movie franchises. Starting out as a standard scientist who works on the Nemesis program, he soon becomes the Head of Science at the Umbrella Corp, where he eventually ended up dying following a mutation. After being trapped and bitten by an enhanced zombie, Isaacs was taken back to the Umbrella lab and sealed in contamination where he was then ordered to be killed. Just after mutation had begun, the Dr. was shot in the heart, but this did little to stop him. He was already becoming the monster he would change into and decided that, after nearly being killed, he would slaughter everyone in the Umbrella labs, starting with Alex Slater, the person who initially tried to shoot him.
A classic bad guy for the ages, the Axeman is a no-messing-around kind of badass. Taken from the fourth and fifth films from the movie franchise, who also appears in Resident Evil 5. The Axeman is a mutated zombie, with the additions of an axe. Obviously. As a pretty gruesome enemy, he tried pretty hard, on multiple occasions, to kill our heroes using either his own weapon (the axe) or by letting the standard zombies into the compound where Claire and Alice are hiding. In classic zombie style, it takes a swift shot to the head to kill this masked villain before he causes any more damage. Although not a massive character, he adds another dimension to the standard zombie storyline, and looks mean too. Looking like an age-old beheader, covered from head to toe in old rags and coming with a massive, 8-foot axe, I wouldn’t want to see the Axeman walking down my streets.
2 Zombie Dogs
The zombie dogs are my favorite part of the list. Other than the zombies themselves, zombie dogs are probably the most classic and recognizable bad guys from the whole franchise. Looking disgusting, dishevelled and generally worse-for-wear, the zombie dogs have the same attributes as undead people, but in canine form. The dogs, however, aren’t viewed in quite the same light, even if they are as brutal, if not more, than normal zombies. As an unfortunate side-effect of the T-virus outbreak, these little guys were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Agile, strong and fast, the dogs are still very similar to their pre-infected selves, with the exception of not being much to look at. The scariest thing about these dogs is their quickness, and while you’re used to fighting off zombies from head height, these little devils are right round your ankles, trying to infect you in a whole different way.
No list of Resident Evil baddies is complete without Nosferatu, the mutated version of Umbrella scientist Alexander Ashford. The son of revered scientist Edward Ashford worked for Umbrella on a series of subpar experiments, and never hit the heights of excellence his genius father had. However, he did create two twins, Alexia and Alfred, who would go on to be the downfall of his human existence. Alexia had incredible intelligence but Alfred, the lesser of the two twins, did not. Once he discovered he was merely the byproduct of his sister's creation, he went about capturing Alexander and injecting him with the Veronica virus, which ended up turning Alexander into Nosferatu; a tentacle-like beast and all around gruesome baddie. From here, Alexander was kept in a locked vault for 13 years, only to be released onto the world. Nosferatu’s powers included poisonous gas release and his big tentacle arms that come from his back, which he uses to attack. Nosferatu was definitely one of the grosser baddies from the series.