Written by Rick Warren / Gfn2112
Last week, I shared my favorite boss fights. While I’m happy to have made that list, shortly after I realized that there was plenty of ground to cover when it comes to the opposition found in video games. This time, I’m going to share my all-time favorite recurring, regular enemies. Sure, these five groups of cannon fodder may lack individual names and personalities, but they’re used so well in their respective games that they’re just as memorable as the larger foes.
5.) The Helghast - Killzone series
This enemy faction is one that has been a joy to face off against. Their nazi-like ideology and iconic orange eyes make them stand out among the heaps of evil military groups, and they only became more interesting over time. The exploration of their backstory/motivations proved interesting in Killzone 2, as did the conflict for leadership in Killzone 3. Their weapon designs were cool, as were the varying Helghan locations visited in the series. Truth be told, though, it’s the different types of Helghast soldiers in Killzone 3 that helped elevate the faction to such a high status for me. The jetpack soldiers added a new level of verticality to the previously grounded shooting mechanics, and the stealthier, close quarters soldiers guided players into making use of the brutal new melee kills. Fighting against these enemies was always something I enjoyed, and they kept me coming back to the Killzone games with a smile on my face.
Up next, Fallout’s most terrifying foe...
4.) Deathclaws - Fallout Series
I don’t need to explain these enemies to Fallout fans; the mention of their name alone will scare any long-time player. If players aren’t fully prepared for one of these monstrous creatures, a Deathclaw will make extremely short work of them. One hit deaths are a grim possibility in most of these encounters. Unless a player is an extremely high level and carrying plenty of ammo, avoiding a Deathclaw is the best course of action. That isn’t always possible, though. In some cases, Bethesda will force former vault dwellers to come face to face with the creatures (a trek through a Deathclaw-infested cave and a battle with one in a church are two of my favorites). I can’t wait to struggle against these enemies again in the next Fallout game, whenever it comes.
In spot #3, the aliens that drove Isaac Clarke insane...
3.) Necromorphs - Dead Space Series
While many of Dead Space’s boss fights were spine-chilling (looking at you, Regenerator), nothing beats that first encounter with a regular necromorph. The noises the creatures make, the way they move and, of course, the way they look are all things that build up the unmatched scare factor of Visceral Games’ beloved trilogy. Whether they’re playing dead or jumping through vents, the threat of necromorphs closing in on the player doesn’t stop. With each game adding new designs, from dog-like aliens to deformed toddlers, necromorphs have become the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of the horror genre. I don’t think that will ever change.
In the second spot, one of the most interesting takes on “zombies” out there...
2.) Clickers - The Last of Us
When a single noise can make a player tense up, it’s clear that the developers have done something right. The clicking noise made by these infected enemies in The Last of Us is a distinct warning to hide, and one that should always be followed. The combination of their fungi-covered bodies and superhuman hearing managed to make the concept of an undead enemy interesting, in a world where it seemed like the well had run dry long before. Though it’s by no means a horror game, I could see why some people are afraid to play The Last of Us... because clickers genuinely scared me, and they did so more than once.
Finally, in the top spot...
1.) Big Daddies - Bioshock Series
After I had decided that they fit into this list, they were an easy number one for me. It can be argued that all Big Daddies are bosses, but with their numerous appearances and unchanged movesets within them, I’d say that they fit better in this category. With that in mind, it’s time to talk about what makes “Mr. Bubbles” special. Where to begin? The brutal drill arm would be a good start, as would the intriguing domed head and diving suit design. The Little Sisters, their creepy companions, would also work. Regardless of where the discussion starts, though, the truth is that all these things and more are essential to creating the imposing image of a Big Daddy. Making a voiceless and faceless enemy with no personality of their own the focus of a game’s promotional material is something that is almost never seen. With Bioshock, though, it worked. Much of the success of the series has been attributed to the locations where the action takes place, and that’s fair... but these legendary enemies deserve quite a bit of credit, too.
That’s all for this week. What are your favorite non-boss enemies? Share them in the comments and check out some of the honorable mentions while you’re there!