Abandoned places come in many flavors, from creepy to cool to flat-out unbelievable. But let's be honest: What you're really looking for in forgotten real estate is its ability to help you in your quest to crush the world beneath your iron boot of terror. Well boy howdy, is today ever your day. Let your minions rejoice as you reveal to them your new base of operations, completely empty and ready for mayhem.
#6. Hasard Cheratte
Before you start your career as Lord of Terror, it's important to look within your withered heart and ask yourself, "What do I really want from my Citadel of Fear?" Do your dramatic speeches require tall towers and platforms? Will your weapons of mass doom need plenty of secretive storage space? Are you looking for an ominous entrance? Perhaps you need some ancient machinery creepily clanking away in the background, implying that sinister machinations are at work?
Lash your victim to a wheel and give it a spin!
If you chose anything besides "all of the above," we're sorry to tell you that you're not cut out for a life in evil. The rest of you should take a trip to Hasard Cheratte.
It looks post-apocalyptic. Soon, the whole world will.
Located in the sleepy Belgian town of Cheratte at the very heart of Europe, this massive abandoned mine complex combines an ominous facade with a dignified title, much like Baron Destro, to form the perfect location for some old-fashioned continental terrorism. It offers all the amenities your villainous soul could desire, including a Gate of Evil, a mansion-like exterior, a looming Dark Tower, industrial equipment that could easily double as torture devices, and vast underground caverns over 1,300 feet deep for doomsday device/giant-mech-with-your-own-face parking. The fact that it features plenty of multi-platformed, elevated corridors for parkour-fighting Belgian private detectives should go without saying.
Great as a combat arena, impractical as anything else.
The mine has been abandoned since 1977, and since Hasard Cheratte is considered a protected heritage site, the very laws designed to keep it untouched make it ripe for hostile takeover. All that's keeping you from setting up evil shop is some barbed wire, a polite "keep away" sign, and an army of mustachioed, beret-wearing sentient gorillas.
#5. Nassau Coral World
Water-based lairs are usually a safe bet. Any secret agents attempting to storm your fortress will have to do it in scuba gear, leaving them delightfully defenseless against your platoon of sting rays armed with buzz saws. Superheroes are even less of a risk -- Aquaman sulks for months if anyone else sets foot in his jurisdiction, which means the only hero likely to come after you is, well, Aquaman. And brother, if you're worried about Aquaman, you need to find a new line of work.
Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD
Besides, you have a special room for him, with cellmates Bitey and Maw.
On the other hand, land lairs are easier to manage, as supply runs on sea fortresses are a right proper bastard to organize and you've got to fly the mildew guy in, like, every week. If only there was some way to combine the two ...
And your enemies might not even notice it, distracted by the random breast buildings to the north.
Easy to defend and even easier on the eye, your aquatic death ray will find no better home than Nassau Coral World. Located on the small island of Silver Cay in the Bahamas, Coral World was a beach resort, aquarium, and observatory built in 1987. It was quite popular right up until it received a face full of Hurricane Floyd in 1999, rendering it unsafe for tourists. Its owners, not willing to risk the wrath of Mother Nature for a second time, decided to abandon it.
Sure, intruders will try crossing the bridge, but that's why you pack it with 80,000 tons of C4.
The rusting, weather-beaten hulk of the observatory tower now looms ominously over the coastline, surrounded on all sides by gorgeous coral reefs and, once you take charge, murderbots. Apart from the tower and its underwater observatory (which clearly is and forever should be the epicenter of your operations), the island features handy structures like a quaint villa hotel for your mer-themed henchmen and aquatic animal pools to hold your army of sharktopuses.
#4. Nara Dreamland
Since the release of The Dark Knight, many of today's aspiring supervillains opt for the insane clown path to megalomania (not to be confused with the inadvisable Insane Clown Posse path to Juggalomania). It's an easy road to start down, especially for the villain on a budget -- a costume is no further away than a thrift store suit and a raid on your sister's makeup drawer. However, searching for just the right base of operations can be terribly difficult: Your average abandoned warehouse lacks that certain joie de vivre, and running a traveling circus is too exhausting to leave you any time for evil.
Luckily, there's one place that can complement your murderously wacky antics straight out of the box: Japan's Nara Dreamland.
You'll beat that statue's face flat, of course, and carve your own in its place.
Nara Dreamland began life in 1961 as a blatant Disneyland ripoff, but after being abandoned in 2006, it's been quietly dwindling into oblivion. Nature is reclaiming the park, turning it into a twisted version of its original inspiration. Its Sleeping Beauty-esque castle is bleak and tarnished. Its huge fountains are dry, revealing their spiky, rusting pipes. Its Main Street has become Elm Street.
Park Street, not pictured, has become Jungle Avenue.
The park is mostly intact, but it's just broken enough to give off some serious Scooby-Doo vibes. Like the haunted house:
Actual winged guards aren't yet available, but we're working on it.
Or the cute little horses in the carousel:
Or how about the shooting gallery?
Michael John Grist
Witches belong in haunted houses. Tusked lizard bears, however, are everyday sights in Japan.
The whole place is a psychotic playground full of potential deathtraps and ominous smiling figures lurking in the shadows. Some call it haunted. Some call it condemned. For the low, low price of your sanity and basic morality, you can call it ... home.