A good henchman is like food stuck in your teeth for hours: a solid, constant annoyance that you can’t wait to chew up and spit out. It’s hard to strike the proper balance that makes them interestingly awful as opposed to just being a dull chore for you to clean up before moving on to the main antagonist.

So let’s take a moment to talk about the rotten cream of the crop. To the goons, the goombas, the knuckledraggers, the deceived, and the lowly schemers: this one’s for you.

Pendleton is your classic jerk who thinks he’s the top dog when he’s actually a disposable buffoon. He sells out his own brothers to be executed, constantly boasts (read: lies) about all the women he’s bedded, and ultimately betrays you. Big surprise.

Of course Treavor’s just too dumb and egocentric to see his own betrayal is right around the corner. In one possible ending to Dishonored, he’s poisoned at dinner. In another, the plot has fallen to pieces in a more bloody fashion, and you find him bleeding to death from a gunshot wound. He snarks at you a bit and you can either leave him to bleed or slice open his throat. Either way, Pendleton gets his just desserts, with his legacy probably amounting to nothing more than a footnote in some dusty history book. Ouch.

’Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty’
Fortune is one of the most tragic character in Metal Gear Solid, a series that gives Hamlet a good run for its money when it comes to making miserable people launch into long, winding monologues about how sad they are. Helena Jackson, AKA Fortune, bears a grudge against protagonist Solid Snake because she’s been told that he was responsible for the death of her father. In the end, Revolver Ocelot, who Jackson has been working alongside with, reveals that he was the one who killed her father and that she’s essentially be working for his killers this entire time.

Fortune is great because she’s that rare hench(wo)man who isn’t annoying or disgusting or slimy. She’s very sympathetic and wields a kickass rail gun to boot, and her ending in the story is heartbreaking.

’Persona 4’
Persona 4 is probably best summarized as a 70-hour Scooby Doo mystery starring Japanese teenagers gifted with special powers trying to stop a murderous madman while also working through all the personal and psychological issues that accompany growing up. It’s heartwarming and weird and if you haven’t played it yet run, run you fools to your nearest PS3 or Vita—and stop reading, because this is a big spoiler.

At the end of that long road is Tohru Adachi. Yes, Adachi was behind most of the game’s sad events. But in the end, you discover that he was actually just a puppet, doing the bidding of a higher being that wants to drown the world in chaos. Still, Adachi was memorable and even kind of charming in a quirky way, especially if you took the time to build up his story by spending time with him in the game.

’The Witch 2: Assassin of Kings’
Listen y’all. His name is Dethmold. He’s a shoe-in for this list. Besides the hilarious name, Dethmold is also your typical zit-popping, sniveling henchman, and since you get to spend so much time with him (if you make certain choices in the game, anyway) his irritating voice and insults are never far away from your ears.

Still, in spite of his just how terrible he is, it’s hard not to feel the slightest tinge of pity if you let the ever-vengeful Roche and his gelding knife get a hold of the man. Ick.

’The Wolf Among Us’
The first time you meet Bloody Mary the game has finally forced you as Bigby, sheriff of Fabletown, to get mad and desperate enough to turn into a massive, hulking werewolf.

And she still beats you, shooting you with a silver bullet and nearly severing your arm before leaving you for dead. The Wolf Among Us’s final two chapters make it seem like your real beef is with The Crooked Man, and it is to a degree, as he is the man who’s been pulling all the strings behind the murders befalling your city. Yet he’s far less interesting than Mary, whose wicked smile and affinity for sharp objects make for a tense and exhilarating showdown that Bigby just barely manages to walk away from.

Javy Gwaltney devotes his time to writing about these videogame things when he isn’t teaching or cobbling together a novel. You can follow the trail of pizza crumbs to his Twitter or his website.

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