In its two decades of existence, Resident Evil has made its mark in the video game industry by pioneering the survival horror genre. The series had its humble beginnings back in 1996 and has since produced countless games, a film franchise, and an adaptation to the small screen. With a series spanning many titles and spin-offs, fans are always wondering what or who will come next from Capcom’s darling franchise.
Throughout the years, the Resident Evil series has produced notable characters, some of which rose to popularity among other iconic characters in the entire video game history. Here are the ten best villains in Resident Evil history.
Updated on 26 April 2023 by Amy Cowley: Resident Evil truly has a fantastic roster of characters, both in terms of heroes and villains. Previously, this article contained entries of both, splitting the article to showcase five heroes and five villains. While this structure provided great variety, it didn’t offer the focus that either side deserves. As such, this article has received a drastic overhaul to shift the focus solely to the villains. The hero entries were completely removed, and more villains were added to shine the spotlight on more of Capcom’s fantastic antagonists from across the entire franchise.
This list contains spoilers for several Resident Evil games
10 Jack Baker – Resident Evil 7
The patriarchal figure of the Baker family brought a new era of terror the Resident Evil, following on the tails of Capcom’s diversion from survival horror with their more action-focused titles. Resident Evil 7 invited players to enter the survival horror once more, placing them into the first-person perspective of a brand-new protagonist, Ethan Winters.
Ethan travels to the dilapidated Baker residence after receiving a video message from his missing wife Mia. Upon arrival, he notices the place is not as abandoned as he thought and encounters the Baker family, a once quiet and kind family turned into twisted killers thanks to the mold. The patriarch, Jack Baker, is the most relentless of them all. No matter how many times Ethan manages to put him down, he rises up again in a more powerful form until their final showdown.
9 Mr. X – Resident Evil 2
During Mr. X’s first appearance in Resident Evil 2, it is evident that he is an upgraded version of the original tyrant from the previous game. While he was still terrifying back in 1998, Mr. X really made a mark in the series during his return with the 2019 remake of Resident Evil 2. A tall, towering juggernaut of unstoppable force who shrugs off most bullets like they are a mild inconvenience, Mr. X became a hallmark Resident Evil villain.
His relentless pursuit of the player brought about a terrifying and intense ordeal, given that no weapons in the game can stop him from his mission and that no matter how far Claire or Leon goes, Mr. X is not far behind. Only when players encounter Mr. X during the inevitable boss fight in the final hours of the game can players actually end his reign of terror.
8 Roman Salazar – Resident Evil 4
Though Saddler is the mind behind Las Plagas and the plan to use Ashley to spread the parasite to America, Roman Salazar remains as one of the strongest and most memorable villains in Resident Evil 4. The little lord of the castle, Salazar, has an army of cultists and some truly horrific creatures at his disposal that he sends to rid him of Leon, preferring to avoid direct conflict.
From his Napoleon-like stature to his grotesque transformation when he finally confronts Leon head-on, he is one of Capcom’s more unique villains, though sadly one of the easiest to dispose of. Like many RE4 bosses, if players equip a rocket launcher during his boss fight, players can kill him with one well-placed hit, though what Salazar lacks in his bite, he more than makes up for with his bark.
7 William Birkin – Resident Evil 2
William Birkin is the definition of a mad scientist. After working alongside Albert Wesker as a researcher in the mansion, Birkin was transferred to the Raccoon City facility, where he continued his work on the G-virus.
The scientist betrayed Umbrella and attempted to sell the G-virus to the US Military, who are also conducting their own bioweapons project. Umbrella then attempted to retrieve a sample of the G-virus from Birkin, which led to the events triggering the outbreak in Raccoon City, killing a hundred thousand innocent civilians. In the end, he becomes the victim of his own work, willfully injecting himself with the virus and becoming a horrifying, mutated monster.
6 Eveline – Resident Evil 7
Though other members of the Baker family often stole the spotlight, Eveline was the true evil of the game all along. She was a new type of bio-weapon that introduced the mold to the Baker household, turning the kind and unassuming family into monsters, though there is no doubt that Eveline is the greatest monster of them all.
At first, she appears as just a normal little girl, a form that can draw sympathy and pity, which she uses to her advantage. But over time, Eveline withers away until she is a frail old woman bound to a wheelchair with a penchant for popping up in various expected places over the game. At the climax of Resident Evil 7, players will behold Eveline’s final form: a large mass of black mold-like flesh and one twisted, grotesque face.
5 Mother Miranda – Resident Evil Village
Mother Miranda rose to the ranks of cult leader and flock mother to the inhabitants of the Romanian village she lived in, becoming the first among them to become infected by the Mold. She gained extraordinary powers and intelligence and began to experiment on this mysterious substance, using her own people as her test subjects in the hopes of finding a suitable vessel to bring back her daughter from the dead, leading to the kidnapping of Rosemary Winters.
Mother Miranda appears sporadically throughout the game, able to alter her appearance between the young and beautiful mother to the elderly and wizened crone, speaking to Ethan in cryptic riddles. Miranda is undoubtedly one of the most intelligent bosses across the whole series but proves to have brawn as well as brains when Ethan confronts her at the end of Resident Evil Village. Her actions, while despicable, are given reason through her touching motives.
4 Nemesis – Resident Evil 3
Who could forget Nemesis from Resident Evil 3? While the tyrants from previous games were scary enough, none would ever live up to the way Nemesis traumatized players when he killed Brad Vickers in front of Jill Valentine. This scene alone was more than enough to foreshadow what players would have to face as they play the game.
Apart from his terrifying look, Nemesis is also the most threatening of all the tyrants. He runs, carries weapons, and has impressive tracking skills, making him the perfect example of what a bioweapon can do. Like Mr. X, Nemesis shrugged off nearly all damage, and each time the players thought he was dead, he would return in a larger, more formidable form.
3 Ozwell E. Spencer – Resident Evil 5
While not as famous as everyone else on the list, Ozwell E. Spencer is considered the source of all evil in Resident Evil’s lore. Spencer is the man behind the vast Umbrella Corporation who pioneered the research on viruses and how they can be manipulated to create mindless yet obedient bioweapons.
The Umbrella Corporation’s founder is also one of the most mysterious villains in Resident Evil’s history, given that the only time players actually see him in the game is during his death in Resident Evil 5. Despite being the sole engineer of most of the catastrophes across the franchise, Capcom took thirteen years to finally show Spencer in the game, dying at the hands of Resident Evil’s best villain.
2 Alcina Dimitrescu – Resident Evil Village
Miranda was not the only mother in Resident Evil Village, with Lady Dimitrescu being the mother to her three daughters, Bela, Cassandra, and Daniela. Alcina is one of the four lords that guards a piece of the dismantled Rosemary Winters and is the first Ethan encounters. She is a woman of Amazonian proportions, towering above most other Resident Evil bosses. Her stature and extendable sharp nails make her a formidable threat before she even shifts to her dragon form.
Although Alcina is vanquished within the first quarter of the game, her shadow looms over the game due to her memorable character and amazing design. Capcom took a risk designing the four lords, as all of them are a huge departure from what fans are used to seeing in the beloved series, but it is one that paid off. All four lords are unique and represent a different subgenre of horror, but there is no denying Alcina is the best among them.
1 Albert Wesker – Various
Albert Wesker is no doubt one of the most prominent villains in Resident Evil’s history. Ever since the first game, Wesker and his dark sunglasses have always been involved in every single tragedy that happened in Resident Evil’s first five games.
The spin-off title, Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles, gave players a preview of the villain’s goals and his continued effort to achieve global domination. Without the intervention of Chris, Jill, and Sheva during the events of Resident Evil 5, Wesker would have been successful in spreading Uroboros around the world, which would ultimately result in the deaths of millions, if not billions, of people.
MORE: Resident Evil – Every Playable Character Ranked