1. World Domination
This is the biggie. World domination is one of the most powerful and rewarding of all evil objectives. Surprisingly, however, it's not as easy as one might think. It actually takes a lot of work. So let's take a look at a few of the sinister possibilities.
Military - This is the classic form of world domination in which you take over the earth through sheer military might and weapons of great power. To achieve this end you will want to begin building up your destructive arsenal as soon as possible. Nuclear missiles, armies, tanks, death rays, doomsday devices, giant robotic spider monsters... that sort of thing. You'll also want to formulate your master plan carefully (crush, kill and conquer usually works good), as well as train your troops in the subtle arts of looting and pillaging. Strategic alliances you can fiendishly break later are also a good idea. When you finally feel you are ready, unleash your dogs of war on an unsuspecting world. Send forth destruction like the earth has never seen, and take over the planet in one fell swoop. Also, if you are worried about the United States or Russia stepping in to stop you, fret not. Chances are, if you are using this method, you are one of them!
Economic - The sheer crushing force of a multinational corporation is another excellent means of world domination, and in many ways a much more realistic one. By focusing your efforts on economic power and corporate influence, you can achieve world control without one soldier sent. What you will need to do is make the global market dependent on you for the products you make and jobs you provide, and then collect enough land holdings to become a total monopoly. Purchase both the electric company and water works, and don't forget the four different railroads. Hotels on Park Place and Boardwalk are a foregone conclusion. Should you play your cards right, your corporation will gain supreme power and your lobbyists will eventually have more say than the political leaders themselves. Each decision you make will influence millions of lives, and the prosperity of the world will depend upon your ambivalence. Provided you have any, that is.
Ideological - One of the more truly evil means by which to take over the world is through the use and manipulation of belief systems. Where you become spokesman behind a particular ideology, one so powerful and mindless there is no choice but for it to sweep the planet. Religion is the best example of this, though political movements work as well (see Christianity or Marxism for more details) The main thing to do with this method is construct a belief system so sinister that people actually want to follow it. One based on humanities hatred and self-loathing, with some bit at the end on how you are the one true god. Should your message be strong enough, every man, woman and child will slowly fall under your control. You will be named spiritual king, and while there still may be countries of geographical boundary, there will be but one country of the mind, and it will be yours to command.
Shadow - The use of shadow governments and secret societies is yet another viable means of world domination. Rather than being the one in the limelight (i.e. the presidents and dictators who make themselves an obvious target) you can instead go the route of power behind the throne. The ancient conspiracy secretly pulling the strings and influencing events on a worldwide scale. The Illumaniti is a perfect example of this, and you will want to follow their lead by infiltrating every aspect of human life. Hide your agents inside the political goverment, as well as the military, Freemasons, NRA and post office. Should anyone begin to suspect anything simply eliminate them and then replace their bodies with clones or animatronics. Before long you should be influencing issues of key importance, and though your actions will remain unknown (except from conspiracy theorists, perhaps), your control of the planet will be complete.
Mass-Media - This is a fairly new form of world domination, and one which has shown to be remarkably effective over the last several decades. Rather than using armies of destruction or multinational corporations to take over the world you can instead use the insidious power of media and language. Where you use pop culture itself as a weapon, far more effective than the atomic bomb. To achieve this end you will want to control every sort of information the people receive, and then set up the world in a "bubble" reality. You see, if the public doesn't know that a particular war is going on, or that we don't really need oil for cars, or that the president is a a brain-sucking alien from Dimension X, then they can't get angry about it. Furthermore, if you promote specific world-views into the media people watch, they can then be manipulated into a mindset of your choosing. People will think they are free but in reality be slaves, mindless and controlled by the very entertainment they pay to see. World domination for the new millennium.
2. Destroy the Earth
For as long as man has walked the earth he has longed to destroy it. From the club-wielding caveman to the modern-day creators of Pokemon, all have desired to end the world and demolish everything that exists. And you can be the one that makes it happen!
TOP TEN GOOD THINGS ABOUT THE END OF THE WORLD
10) Really big boom.
9) Get to kill everyone.
8) Burning fires light up earth like Christmas tree.
7) Boiling seas like hot tubs.
6) Whore of Babylon a total babe.
5) Get to watch moon turn to blood - Cool!
4) Ravaging demons - 'nuff said.
3) Bio-plagues turn people funny colors.
2) Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Party animals! (Chug it! Chug it!)
1) Heart-to-heart talks with C'thulhu before he eats you.
Asteroids From Space - One rogue asteroid could skyrocket this planet back to the ice age. Death from above is thus another nefarious means of world destruction, though only really recommended for the most advanced evil geniuses. The reason for this is that it is unfortunately rather difficult to intentionally cause such collisions. Know that you will need two things to bring about said heavenly mayhem: an asteroid, and some sort of tractor beam. The first is easy enough, as they're practically everywhere. You can even use the moon if you're so inclined. The second, however, is a bit more difficult, in that you will need some sort of gravity generator. Though this may seem like a tall order, it really isn't, especially if you stockpile your lair with enough mad scientists. Just leave them to it, and before long you should have a weapon capable of taking out the earth in one fell swoop.
Deadly Viruses - Thanks to todays advancements in biological warfare there are now literally thousands of deadly viruses to decimate the earth's population. Horrific diseases that cause prolonged pain and suffering, that eat a person from the inside out and for which there is no known cure. Your best bet is probably the Ebola Virus, notable for its devastating effects and quickness of spreading. While most virulent in Africa, it is possible to find copies of it elsewhere, particularly in government laboratories and infected monkeys. Simply find someone on the inside who agrees with your "humanity must die" philosophy, use them and their access codes to smuggle out the disease, and within 72 hours the human race should be nothing but a faded memory.
Biblical Apocalypse - While many evil masterminds do not believe in any sort of God (except themselves, of course) it must be noted that biblical armageddon is a valid possibility. This classically depicted religious apocalypse can actually be quite sinister, what with the sky falling, dead rising from the grave and cities crumbling into dust. You can learn all about it by reading the Book of Revelations, a stunning read. Now, a few of you might be wondering about that whole good triumphing over evil thing described at the end, but you've got to realize that's just PR. If anything, the whole prophecy thing works against them, because it gives you in depth instructions as to everything that's going to happen, right down to the order of events! Success thus simply becomes a matter of analyzing the battle plans, finding a weakness and crushing them like Patton did to that German guy in WWII. A thousand years of darkness was never easier.
The Great Old Ones - Unleashing powerful supernatural forces to destroy all mankind is yet another delightful method of world destruction. This option is especially good due to the myriad of nightmarish horrors you can summon forth, ranging from Christian Devils to Babylonian Gods to unpronounceable Enochian Demons. Your best bet, however, would probably be the Great Old Ones, as described by famed weird fiction writer H.P. Lovecraft. These eldritch horrors are so mind-bogglingly incomprehensible that they can cause mass insanity simply through their very existence and devour the entire human race without even batting a tentacle. All you need do is obtain a copy of the Necronomicon, read aloud the blasphemous contents and then let the Things That Should Not Be wipe out the plague that is humanity. Death and destruction the way it was meant to be.
Thermonuclear Missiles - If all else fails, then you can consider the truly classic method of world destruction: thermonuclear missiles. This form of widespread death has long haunted the nightmares of millions, and not without reason. One well-placed nuke could result in a world war of epic proportions. As such, it may be just what you need to bring about global doom. The main thing to do is obtain some nuclear warheads, currently available from most arms dealers, and at rock bottom prices no less! If you happen to be short on funds then you can always build your own, provided you have access to plutonium and a lot of plate steel. Once you finally have your missiles then it's just a matter of letting them fly, and perhaps ransoming the world first. You are an evil mastermind, after all, and so might as well have a little fun before everything is annihilated into oblivion.
3. Widespread Misery
There is one thing that most evil-doers cannot abide, and that is happiness. Cheerfulness, contentedness, warm-fuzzy-I-love-you-ness, call it what you will. It's horrid. Wretched. And it must be stopped. Evil-doers try to attempt this in many ways, thus focusing their efforts on general badness and the spreading of widespread misery. To turn that smile upside-down into one big unhappy frown, and overall just make the world a worse place.
Criminal Activities - One of the first things you should consider is taking part in a wide variety of criminal activities. These are the lifeblood of the supervillain, the source of your evil and income and personal entertainment. Many like to do this through murder, dispatching their enemies with bladed projectiles or electrical death traps. Others prefer theft, spending their time robbing Fort Knox or stealing the crown jewels. Even vice is a valid possibility, with many entry-level positions now available in pimping or narcotics distribution. Whether you want to be a criminal mastermind, corporate bastard or just a common thug, illegal activities should be a top priority on everybodys "to-do" list.
Police State - Another method in which you can promote widespread despair is by transforming your country into one giant police state. An orwellian nightmare of secret police and honeycombed video cameras, with every home a prison and every citizen a slave. Doublespeak can become the language of the land as your government spreads to control all, with two plus two equaling five and free thought nothing but a distant memory. There will be no dissent, no hope, just an unending future of sorrow and darkness. Life the way it was meant to be lived: under your watchful eye, benevolent hand, and complete and maniacal control.
Environmental - An especially horrible technique for increasing general hopelessness is to promote widespread acts of environmental destruction. This will both make the world a physically wretched place to live in as well as create an irrevocable feeling of doom amongst the people. Good acts to engage in include deforestation, oil spills, and the constant manufacture of smoke stacks to pollute the air. Other possible befoulments include the careless disposal of dangerous chemicals, exterminating entire species of cuddly animals and sending out the litter squads en masse. All this and more is necessary to make the world a more horrid and dreadful place. If not for your children, then for your children's children.
Soul Accumulation - Many evil-doers also enjoy the fine sport of soul accumulation. This objective was originally only practiced by the Devil, but has recently expanded worldwide to a number of forms. The most common is that of a soul contract, in which you are granted ownership of the soul in exchange for their hearts desire. Another means is through the practice of the black arts, where you get to perform evil magical rites while wearing fashionable black robes. You can even attempt to trick the victims out of their souls through telemarketing scams and rigged contests. Whichever route you choose, just make sure that a constant supply of souls is being sent to Hell. Your infernal cohorts will undoubtedly be so pleased that they will reward you greatly and grant you your fondest wish. Or was it eternal damnation? Perhaps you should read the fine print
Politics - Perhaps the best way to promote universal suffering is through the avenue of politics. Yes, the arena of oily hides and greased palms, where you screw your constituents and take 'em for everything they've got. The ways to do this are nearly endless, and all of them incredibly fun. Enact laws that eliminate any sort of rights or freedom held by the people. Justify authoritarian fear tactics by saying you are "tough on crime." Start wars with other nations and then bet against your country to clean up at the bookies. Accept briefcases full of money to let corporations dump toxic waste in old folks homes and petting zoos. Apply white-out to the constitution until it appears more to your liking. You know, the usual deal.