There are plenty of classic enemy designs in gaming. Evil goblins, invading aliens, and unfeeling robots are all found in countless games throughout generations, just as varied as the heroes fighting them. One such enemy that also makes a classic and easily hated villain is the demon.
Brave paladins, and unlikely Martian marines all have faced this wicked foe. Whether it be 8-bit arcade classic demons or impressively rendered high-definition ones, there are plenty of great designs even for this one enemy. Though, which of these designs are the best? Which ones dominate our minds when we think of video game hell?
10 Vulgrim (Darksiders)
You meet a lot of interesting and unique characters in the Darksiders series. Perhaps none as consistent, and curiously scheming, as Vulgrim.
A demon, yes, but one who doesn't mind sharing his wares as long as you have the souls to purchase them that is. His thin form, bat-like wings, and fanged grin all add to a character design that is not soon forgotten, and weirdly you'll sigh a breath of relief when you see him after taking on a particularly deadly boss.
9 Belial (Diablo)
The Diablo series is no stranger to taking on the forces of hell, knowing that it takes a notably good design to stand out from the crowd.
Belial is just the character that stands out. As a lesser evil and the Lord of Lies, you'd want his design to reflect that, and it does quite well.
The multiple faces that Belial sports make him all the better at spreading deceit, and there is an almost royal quality to the layers of flowing chitin that make up his body.
8 Empusa (Devil May Cry)
For a series that doesn't always take itself seriously, Devil May Cry has some impressive and often creepy enemy designs.
Of all of them, one of the more striking is none other than the common Empusa enemy found nearly everywhere in the game. You'd want your common fodder enemy to have a good design though, so it makes sense.
The combination of human qualities and insectoid build is definitely a demonic mix. One that is well worth fighting level-by-level and one-by-one if necessary.
7 Malacoda (Dante's Inferno)
Moving through the circles of hell is no easy task, especially with the damned souls and demons blocking your way. In Dante's Inferno, one of the biggest threats in your journey are the Malacoda.
They are Satan's demon officers, charged with making sure the punishments are doled out eternally. They look like you would expect from a demon but in a classic way which, for a classic tale like The Inferno, only seems appropriate.
6 Demon Arms (The Darkness)
It isn't all fun and games being Jackie Estacado. Actually, very little of Jackie's life is fun and games, especially after becoming the host of The Darkness.
The twin serpent-like arms that sprout from his back are something cool enough to have helped the story jump from comic book to video game with solid success. The baleful glares and shadowy bodies only get creepier when you see what they can do to the forces arranged against Jackie in what it's definitely a give-and-take relationship.
5 Baphomet (Agony)
Agony was a game that took you to the depths of hell in ways no one had ever seen before. The gross character design and the unrelenting atmosphere are unlike any other.
One such character that appears early on is Baphomet. The character design for this enemy is somewhat what you'd expect, as it takes ideas from classic depictions of the demon.
But, where it differs is that it seems to be made of meat, with almost recognizable organic structures built into its form. This semi-recognizable shape is surprisingly discomforting when you get a good view of the creature, which is all you'd want in a game set in hell.
4 Pain (Bayonetta)
There are plenty of creatures to fight in the Bayonetta series, demon or otherwise, and all of them are designed quite uniquely.
The Pain demons in Bayonetta are one such creature, and an aptly named one at that. They are large metallic constructs that are covered in bladed spinning wheels.
Their sole purpose seems to be inflicting agony on whatever stands before them, and you can tell by just looking at them. Such an effective design is definitely noteworthy in the series.
3 Garm (Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice)
The Hellblade series has been a fresh look at how video games approach enemies, especially mental health. True enough, many of the enemies in Senua's adventures are in her own mind.
Garm is the guardian of Hel's gates, he stalks you from the shadows quite persistently. With a dog-like design, it looks made of rotting meat and bone, and once you see it you'll understand Senua's fear even better.
2 Cacodemon (Doom)
Doom has been a classic game of demon slaying for decades now, and it revels in it. Of all the demon designs, none are as easily identified as the Cacodemon.
Out of all of the games in the series, not much change has been done to the Cacodemon design. Which just goes to show how perfectly simple it is.
The cyclopean eye, vivid colors, and hungry maw all make it stand out as a beast that is ready to attack you at a moment's notice. It may not be the deadliest demon in the game, but you know exactly what it is when you see one.
1 Daemons (Warhammer: Total War 3)
The Old World of Warhammer: Total War 3 is one of many enemies. Perhaps none so depraved or deadly though as the forces of chaos.
The main force of these chaotic armies are the daemon. Belonging to one of the four chaos gods, each embodies one of humanity's pitfalls.
Nurgle's bloated and green Plague Bearers, Khorne's ever-angry Bloodthirsters, Slaaneesh's Daemonettes, and Tzeentch's Changer Of Ways all stand ready to bring down the human empire and drive the mortal worlds to madness. The varied ways each of these daemon designs reflect their ideals is something you won't often see in other games