Video games have a long standing history of featuring enemies that we can never forget. From the well-designed, to the absolutely corny and even downright challenging, enemies in video games are an integral part of the gameplay experience. Of the countless enemies created since the very first games, a few have been forever etched into the minds of gamers everywhere for the sheer terror they induced upon being encountered.
The most terrifying enemies in video game history have had the ability to transcend the games that they originate from. Long after the game has been turned off, these enemies have the unique – and horrible – ability to haunt the nightmares of those who encountered them. Below are some of the most undeniably terrible video game enemies ever conceived. Proceed at your own risk.
5 – Giygas (Earthbound):
Giygas is everything a final boss battle should be – the alien being is so terrible he is known as ‘The Embodiment of Evil’. While Giygas wants nothing more than to doom every living being into a state of infinite nothingness that is not what makes this monster so terrifying.
Outside of Giygas’ diabolical intentions, the true terror of the Embodiment of Evil is in his design. In Earthbound’s iconic final battle, Giygas’ true form is revealed. The alien being is shown to be a swirling, pained and tortured mass. The haunting image of Giygas and his maniacally warped speech have been burned into the minds of gamers for years.
4 – Bloodsuckers (S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Series)
The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series is host to dozens of creepy mutants and things that go bump in the night. As the player traverses across the highly irradiated Zone, there is no knowing what they will encounter next. The uncertainty that comes from exploring in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is one of the game’s best selling points, but also one of the most intense experiences in gaming.
Of all the horrible creatures that can be found in the Zone, the Bloodsucker is one of the most deadly and certainly the most terrifying. The hulking humanoid mutants not only have claws that can shred even the best of armors in an instant, but Bloodsuckers also have the ability to instantly camouflage themselves – vanishing in the heat of battle only to blindside their prey. Bloodsuckers have claimed many souls in the Zone and those inexperienced would be wise to avoid them at all costs.
3 – Regenerators (Resident Evil 4)
2005’s Resident Evil 4 is destined to go down in the halls of video game history as one of gaming’s greatest entries. Equal parts traditional Resident Evil brand survival horror and modern day makeover, RE4 amazed – and terrified players – when it was first released.
Of all of the game’s enemies, the lumbering Regenerator is almost always the first that gets mentioned when discussing RE4’s scariest moments. The Regenerator’s fear-inducing stature and unforgettable breathing sounds are enough to induce an increased heart rate in even the most seasoned gamers. These features, compounded with the Regenerator’s namesake – rapid regeneration of virtually every limb – make the massive enemy and formidable foe.
2 – Clickers (The Last of Us)
Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us is an unforgettable experience to begin with, but the game’s most deadly foe, the Clicker, can keep the faint of heart up all night. The highly infected creatures are absolutely frightening, mutated with fungal growths throughout their body and overtaken their faces.
Even without vision to guide them, Clickers are still tremendous hunters. The creatures earn their name from their echolocation technique of rapidly –and horrifically – clicking as they traverse through an area. Sound design is an integral part of making for scary moments and the Clicker features some of gaming’s best. Upon being located by a Clicker, those targeted have few options as the infected will do anything in its power to kill whatever it hears.
1 – Yeti/Abominable Snow Monster (SkiFree)
It might seem strange that a game released in 1991 in a Microsoft Entertainment Pack can top a list of terrifying video game enemies, but anyone who has played SkiFree will be quick to tell you that the game’s Abominable Snow Monster is undeniably fear incarnate.
As the player skis their way down the mountain, they are met with nature’s most diabolical creation. The dastardly Abominable Snow Monster exists only to hunt down the player’s skier and make a quick meal out of them. His unrelenting pursuit traumatized an entire generation of gamers and has left an enduring mark on the video game world.
Fledgling game designers, take note, this is how you design a terrifying enemy.
Bonus Round: Author’s Pick – Ghosts (Pac-Man)
There is something very wrong with Pac-Man’s enemy ghosts. Their very appearance has an unsettling quality that has earned the Ghosts a permanent place of terror in my mind. As a child, spending hours honing my Pac-Man skills the Ghosts became an instant cause of anxiety and fear.
The Ghost’s simple appearance and dedication to stopping Pac-Man is the type of terror that stays with a person long after their last play. As strange as it may be, as far as I am concerned, Pac-Man’s ghosts are gaming’s most terrifying enemies.
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