It's been a while since I did not make a proposal. Truth to be told, this is not my cup of tea. But I think this one is more than nasty enough to count.
What's The Work
Fighting Fantasy is a long-running series of "Choose Your Own Adventure" gamebooks, with a predefined character and story, unfolding following the player's choice and their outcomes. I've been a huge fan since my teenage years, and have been writting about it here pretty much from day one. (And sometimes feel like I'm trying too hard.)
Most gamebooks take place in the Fantasy world of Titan, having to save the town/country/continent/world from the local variation of Dark Lord, ranging from the one-dimensional cardboard cutout without personality who does nothing but sit there to have someone to trade blows with at the end, to very fleshed out and well-defined, whose actions really shape the story and give us incentive to go against them. And among them, there she is.
Who is the Candidate?
Ulrakaah is the main villainess of one of the most recent gamebooks The Gates of Death, and one who is really fleshed out and shaping the story, but clearly in the worst way possible. She was once the very powerful High Priestess of the Earth Goddess Throff (one of the most important deity of the local pantheon), the ruler of the Invisible City (the most magically advanced city in Titan), and the most beautiful woman alive. Sorry for aiming so low...
She clearly had it all, but it badly, badly went to her head, and she decided to learn Dark Magic to become even mightier and take over the world. Because? Because. She became such a threat that her own priests sealed her behind the titular Gates of Death, into the Demonic Planes of Existence. Wrong move, she absorbed demonic energies to become a demon nearly as powerful as the Demon Princes themselves, and took over her dimension prison.
Hundreds of years later, she has become powerful enough to build herself a gigantic army of monsters, and to open dimensional gateways towards the Earthly Planes, ready for a second bid to global domination. Think she was bad before? Just look at what she had become now...
Ulrakaah is leagues beyond the Dark Lord kind of evil, standard in those games, who conquer everything in sight and destroys what they cannot. She does just that, albeit twenty times worse. She is a monster of raging narcissism and egomania, to the point of making her very name her catchphrase (wasting her final breath uttering it). She thinks of herself as the gods' gift to people, and believes that everyone should sing her praises and devote their lives to her alone.
She is so petty that she refuses to allow beauty to exist, now that she no longer has it. She openly voices her goal to make every living being as monstrous and twisted as she is, so that she can still be the highest in this category. To sum it up, if she cannot be beautiful anymore, no-one can be.
She has zero empathy towards her monsters, despite calling them her "children". She crushes them without second thoughts when they are bewitched to turn on one another, never once considering to undo the spell. She is very disturbingly unhinged, violent, blood-thirsty and sadistic. Should the player be dragged next to her, she picks them and eats them as a snack, and she is extatic at the prospect of crushing someone.
What They Did?
Ulrakaah caused an outbreak of the horrible Demon Plague. Think of a Zombie Apocalypse, albeit on steroids. Victims retain their intelligence and self-awareness, they are corrupted into revelling in their new state and in killing anyone around, including former loved ones. Even avoiding infected is not enough, for people can be contaminated by coming across it, with no way of knowing it till the end, making everyone a ticking bomb.
Anyone infected is mutated into a hideous, murderous demon who attacks everyone in sight. Anyone wounded by a victim is bound to transform in turn, only returning to normal when they die, to the point that being ripped to shreds by an infected is the luckiest outcome. It is so bad that even Lord Varek Azzur, one of the most reviled figure in this universe, wants her stopped. To save his hide and take profit of course, but still enough to help the player, something never seen before...
The pandemy is spreading like wildfire all across the continent of Allansia. The playable character (the only one with antidotes) starts their adventure witnessing few cases, though they must mercy-kill their beloved mentor after he transforms. As they progress, they see people chaining and confining their transformed loved ones in caves, they save children from their transformed mother (and cannot bear to remain there as her corpse turns back to normal, leaving them orphaned), and see allies killed by their most trusted confidents as they transform. They can cure people, but less than ten, leaving difficult choices, (and seeing the cured ones wracked by guilt and despair at what they did). Talk about player punches... It goes to such length that society collapses even in the greatest cities of the continent, with ninety-nine percent of the population transformed and chasing every newcomer all over.
And once the player finally enters the Invisible City, they find it deserted. The High Priestess of Throff hid everyone in pocket dimensions and transformed notables needed there to shapes that demons would dismiss. For the entire city is invaded by demons sent by Ulrakaah, and shape-shifted as normal humans to gain the citizens' (and the player's) trust and better backstab them. Just to make it worse. Like their queen, they take great delight in doing so.
Freudian Excuse/Mitigating Factors
None. At. All. She had all the power, influence, beauty and respect one could achieve, and she could not be satisfied, wanting more, and more, and more. Sure, becoming a Demon Queen magnified her malevolence, megalomania and power craze, but it did not make it so. The seed was already there and growing. If anything, she might not have become so hideously twisted if she was not horrible in the first place.
Sure, she has pragmatic reasons, wanting as many servants as she could to pry open the Gate of Death and be free. But it is said that her demons were rallying monsters and evil beings all around under her banners, and that alone would have given her the manpower needed. The outbreak and shape-shifting the demons were totally gratuitous, and she explicitely states not only to enjoy it, but to be her ultimate goal, before or after she is freed.
If anything, she is an enjoyable (albeit laughably easy) final boss, and her intelligence is to be noted. But after all she put the player through, she deserves every sword slash she gets and some more.
One of the worst villains of the series hands down. Even the utterly despicable Necromancer is less awful. (If only so much.) Almost every other Dark Lord of the series want to take over the world for the sake of power and control. Even those who want to destroy civilisation want to built their own over the ashes. Ulrakaah does this all for a petty ego-trip. The collapse of civilisation and transformation of every human, being and animal into snarling horrors is pretty much a gigantic vanity project to her.
Boy, did it felt GREAT to finish her off. She is meant to be despised, and for her defeat at the player's hands to be cathartic as can be, and this is done right.