Some video game protagonists go it alone throughout their adventures, sometimes they have a sidekick, or an extra gun to tag along with them, but sometimes their adventure is too big to just travel by foot, and that’s where your trusty steed comes in. Tried and true, your equine partner will stick with you through thick and thin, and occasionally, in some games, will stick around and do a little damage themselves (from what I’ve heard, getting kicked in the head by a horse doesn’t feel too good.) Of course, in the realm of gaming, not all horses are the hairy, muscular animals that we see in everyday life. Some of them are lit with an eternal flame, some of them are unquestionably from the black depths of the underworld, and some of them are just straight up dead.
I’m sure that people reading this are already thinking of one or two horses that are the obvious picks for the top few horses, but I’m gonna try to not really start any comment wars, so for that reason, these are in no specific order. They’re just the 10 horses that stick out in my mind when it comes to games that I’ve played, so without further pause, let’s check out my Top 10 Horses in Gaming.
10) Butt Stallion (Borderlands 2)
The infamous Handsome Jack from Borderlands 2 is one of the most memorable villains in videogame history, with his constant quips towards the player during the game, you kind of develop a love/hate relationship with him. One of the earliest and most memorable bits is when he brags about his new pony made completely out of diamonds that he decides to name “Butt Stallion”. During the main game, you never actually get to find this famed diamond horse, but Handsome Jack speaks so highly of it that it really got everyone wondering: “Does it really exist?” The answer to that question came to us in the Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep expansion to the game, where you finally get to meet Butt Stallion. The thing is that not only is it a freaking horse made of diamonds, but by feeding her 5 Eridium, you can make her fart out vomit, or poop out a random piece of loot. It’s a little disturbing to think about forcing rocks down a horses throat to make it puke or poop out a gun for your pleasure as many times as you want, but hey, sometimes she gives you some pretty cool stuff! But if you see a horse in real life, I don’t care if it’s made of diamonds or not, please don’t stick giant glowing rocks down it’s throat and try to make guns come out of it, that’s not cool, man.
9) Horses of The Apocalypse (Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare)
There’s no doubt in my mind that the first thing that you wanted to do when you started playing Undead Nightmare was to shoot some zombies in the head. However, past that, finding out about the Horses of The Apocalypse (War, Pestilence, Death, and Famine), that you wanted to tame all of those bad boys, because they were awesome. Riding a flaming horse around the old west, while shooting zombies and looking for Big Foot should be enough to convince anyone that they need to play Undead Nightmare. Not only that, but once you had all four, you can get a freaking unicorn, that’s right, a UNICORN. Can you imagine a badass cowboy like John Marston riding around on a unicorn while a sparkly rainbow flows behind it, mopping up the hordes of undead roaming around? Neither can I, but it sounds awesome, doesn’t it? I still stand as I did years ago when it came out, that Undead Nightmare is one of the greatest DLCs to ever grace any game ever, because it was like playing a whole other game, and it was freaking awesome, especially thanks to the Horses of The Apocalypse.
8) D-Horse (Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain)
Poor D-Horse, he just can’t catch a break from you, the player. Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about, I saw you drop a crate on his head, that wasn’t very nice. In all honesty, the thing that makes D-Horse so special is his dedication to Venom Snake, he really does stick by you no matter what, even when you drop shit on his head and then kick him to get him up. No matter what, he’ll get right up and let Venom Snake jump his heavy ass up on his back and take him all over creation and back. Not to mention, he’s subject to whatever you wanna do to customize him, so pretty much his whole life is indentured servitude to you. And if all of that wasn’t enough, you can make him poop on command to provide a slippery surface for light vehicles to lose traction on. So Snake beats him, rides him to the brink of exhaustion, then makes him shit himself, is there anything that would drive D-Horse away at that point? He’s the most extreme kind of loyal when it comes to being an animal sidekick, let’s all share a moment of silence for D-Horse, for his never-ending suffering at the hands of Venom Snake, poor, dumb, loyal horse.
7) Horse/Pegasus Mounts (Fire Emblem Series)
Let’s face it, when it comes to the mounted units in the Fire Emblem series, those fighters would just be wimpy guys with spears and swords if it weren’t for their trusty steeds. Paladin, Cavalier, all of those guys/gals would be smashed into dust if it weren’t for the strength and speed of the horses that they ride. Is it any wonder why usually one of the first characters that you get is a Paladin, an immensely powerful mounted unit? Those guys are like your body guards for your weaker characters in the beginning of the game, always ready to rush in at a moment’s notice and save one of your other heroes from certain death. Pegasus Riders, not to mention, can be promoted to Pegasus Knights, which is essentially when they become tanks with wings (but watch out for those arrows). I would mention Wyvern Riders, which are pretty cool, but I’m trying to stick to things that are closer to horses, and unfortunately, dragons really aren’t horses, I know, I’m disappointed too. Not only can you get tough-as-nails warriors on mounts, but you best be on the watch out for riders with the power to use staves and magic spells, because they’ll mess you up just as hard. Basically, the mounted units are gonna be the backbone of any solid team in any Fire Emblem game.
6) Centarumon (Digimon Franchise)
Digimon has always lived in the shadow of Pokemon, granted, I’ve always had a softer spot for the Digital Monsters, but Pokemon has always kind of been the more popular big brother of Digimon. Centaurmon is a really cool, interesting character, because he acts as a kind of guardian to weaker Digimon that live in the more natural areas that he usually resides in. His design always struck me as kind of weird but also memorable, with his huge, purple muscle plates, helmet that exposes one red eye, and an arm cannon. It’s like they fused a centaur from ancient mythology with Megaman and a guardian angel, and thus created Centarumon. His “Solar Ray” attack packs a wallop in the TV show, though in the games, he seems a little bit weaker, though still a formidable foe/ally. Another cool little fact about him is that he’s related to Sagittarimon, who is often regarded as “The Greatest Hope on Earth”, and being related to that makes you pretty damn awesome by default.
5) Executioner’s Chariot (Dark Souls II)
It’s no surprise at this point that Dark Souls II and the Souls series in general is one of the most difficult series of games in gaming history, and that comes out more than ever in the boss fights. The room in which you fight the Executioner’s Chariot is the reason why it’s such a pain, because the fight has two different phases, the first, where you have to circle around the room, dodging the Chariot, and fending off skeletons, is such a pain. The Chariot zooms around the room at blinding speed, and that dead pony wants nothing more than to bowl you over and stomp you into paste. When you finally reach the lever, and pull it, it closes a gate that the Chariot will then crash into, starting the second phase of the fight. At first, you might think that the second phase is that now you have to fight the Chariot rider, that he hops off, brandishes a sword, and fights you one-on-one. No, you idiot, that’s stupid, now you have to fight the giant freaking horse (who, admittedly isn’t that hard to fight). The horse only really has a few attacks, he’ll charge you if you’re in front of him, he’ll boot you in the head if you’re behind him, and occasionally he’ll breathe a dark smog that does heavy damage. Basically, just steer clear of his attacks, don’t try to block anything, because he’ll bust right through it, keep swinging, and you’ll take him down. Still, he’s a pretty damn badass horse, after he should’ve been down for the count, he gets back up and tries to take you down even after his rider is dead, and THAT makes him worthy of being on the list.
4) Rapidash (Pokemon)
If you look up the term “Majestic as F*ck,” you should probably be seeing a picture of Rapidash, because, let’s face it, there are few non-legendary Pokemon that are as majestic as Rapidash. A flaming unicorn that can breathe fire and run at speeds of 150 mph to compete against a bullet train while its beautiful mane burns brighter and brighter? I mean, if you can think of something more awesome than that when it comes to a game/TV show that’s meant for little kids, then let me know (cue the angry messages about something more awesome). Rapidash has always been one of my absolute favorite Pokemon across every generation, because even with the crazy new designs of some of the newer Pokemon, and introductions of new types and whatnot, Rapidash has remained just as awesome as ever. That’s the true sign of good character design, that after all this time, so many people could still love it so much, even with so much new stuff being thrown at fans, it still sticks out. I don’t claim to be a pro at Pokemon, but if I can fit one on my team at any given time, I always do.
3) Agro (Shadow of The Colossus)
I know that a list about awesome horses in gaming would not be complete without arguably one of the most important, loyal horses in any videogame, and that is Agro. Agro is absolutely a needed sidekick to the player, because if you want to traverse that game by foot, I mean, go ahead, knock yourself out, but I’d rather hoof it (eh?) with Agro. That horse takes you EVERYWHERE and he takes you there at a full gallop at all times, I don’t know about you, but sure, I can run 10 miles, but I can sprint about a half a mile before I’m out of breath and feel like crapping my pants. When it comes to fighting the titan-sized Colossuses, you also need Agro to be able to maneuver around them and get close to them, because they can really move, for being the size of the Empire State Building. Agro is absolutely essential to do basically everything, in all honesty, the game should be about the damn horse, nobody else, because she steals the spotlight in every possible way. Also, if you haven’t played Shadow of The Colossus, or at least watched someone play it, what the hell are you doing reading my article about horses?
2) Shadowmere (Elder Scrolls IV and V)
“We Know.” Some of the most chilling and yet exciting words that you can read while playing Skyrim, because it’s creepy as hell to get that note with the handprint on it, but that also means that it’s go-time and that the Dark Brotherhood wants you to join. The Dark Brotherhood is always one of the most interesting plot lines in the Elder Scrolls games, sending you on covert ops and assassination missions, and you always get decked out with the coolest equipment. Not only that, but one of the coolest things that you’ll get is Shadowmere, a jet-black horse with glowing eyes that literally crawls out of a bubbling black pit when you summon him. Shadowmere kicks all kinds of ass, whether you’re riding him or he’s just with you, because he’ll reel back and knock the shit out of anyone that tries to mess with you. Granted, his hooves aren’t quite as powerful as a two-handed sword or a lightning bolt or a fireball, but still, it’s the thought that counts, right? Shadowmere is pretty much the mascot of the Dark Brotherhood, because I’d put more money on him than any of the actual members of the brotherhood (aside from maybe the Dragonborn). Careful when you try to brush his coat, though, sometimes the infernal black goop from the underworld gets caught up in the brush and then you’ve got to wash it and then it’s just a big nasty mess.
1) Epona (The Legend of Zelda Series)
I mean, duh, right? Alright, well perhaps Epona doesn’t have supernatural powers or origins, she wasn’t born in hellfire, and she can’t shoot lasers out of her hooves. But Epona is a workhorse, and she is the classic example of equine allies in gaming. Who could forget freeing her from Lon Lon Ranch, jumping that fence out of her miserable life to be taken by Link, someone who actually cared about her? I mean, we both know that Link isn’t getting any from Zelda or anything, so he’s gotta vent to someone about the stuff he deals with, why not his horse? I mean, I’d rather talk to Epona than Navi, Jesus, anyone but Navi, I’d rather try to hold a conversation with a tree stump than with Navi.
Beyond Ocarina of Time, Epona plays an even bigger role in Twilight Princess, where horseback combat was introduced more heavily and used for a few key scenarios in the story. Epona has always been designed simple, but beautiful, she’s not a big, beautiful white horse, she doesn’t have a luxurious black coat, she’s a lot like her owner. She’s simple, she’s tough, she’s rugged, and she knows how to get down, dirty, and get into the fight, and she’s just as brave as Link is. Epona should be in the sidekick hall of fame, if there is such a thing, she absolutely deserves a spot.
Now, once again, none of these entries are any more important than any other, but I had to give them some kind of rank for the sake of making the list. They’re all awesome and kickass in their own ways, and have all contributed to their respective videogames in irreplaceable ways. I hope you guys dig my list, and if there’s any you think I left out, leave a message and let me know! These are just my personal favorites, but I love hearing what you guys think!
“Making you a better geek, one post at a time!”