Tuesday, March 1, 2016

5 of the best enemy reveals in gaming

There’s a lot that goes into the making of an enemy. There are many possibilities as to why an enemy is an enemy in this first place; they could be misguided by a higher bower, manipulated into attacking the hero; they could be looking to take something from the hero- something that can only be taken by force; it could even be a simple as the hero being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Nonetheless, enemies are everywhere for gamers. It’s hard to say whether people run into as much opposition in their day-to-day lives as they do in video games. We deal with imbeciles, perhaps, who impede progress through incompetence or uncooperative behaviour (aka everyone that gets put on your team in an online team Deathmatch): but, enemies that we have to forcibly remove from our path to progress? Can anyone say that they have many of those? Good enemies in games stand a chance of becoming iconic for many reasons: the way they look, how difficult they were to beat, or how they made an entrance: whether this means bursting onto the scene with power and pomp, or whether they take us by surprise by being unlike anything we’d seen up to that point.

That’s what we’re taking a look at today: 5 of the best enemy reveals in gaming. The only rule to this list is that final bosses are excluded; it’s easy to make a grand entrance if you’re the head and the whole game has been building up to your arrival. This one is for the ones that takes us by surprise on our destination to Final Boss Town. Let’s start off with…

Phalanx, Shadow of the Colossus

There are big bosses in games; then there are bigger bosses; THEN there are the bosses in Shadow of the Colossus. The game is essentially a boss run, and it’s a beautiful, terrifying, epic experience. You play as Wanda, a man who travels to a foreign land where there is a way to bring people back to life. Wanda must slay 16 colossi roaming the land to bring back his true love.

All of the colossi are monstrous behemoths that look as though they’ve become one with the ancient landscape, wearing battle armour made of faded stone and with masses of untamed hair strewing down their elongated bodies. They come in all shapes and sizes, but none are bigger than Phalanx, the 13th colossus that you fight. Your guiding voice tells you “A giant trail drifts through the sky… “, but that doesn’t prepare for you for what you see once you reach the desert:

Yup, you have to bring that down. Good luck.

Despite being labelled as the enemy; Phalanx doesn’t make any attempts to attack you. They just fly around, looking all majestic and graceful: and you kill them. You monster.

Gaping Dragon, Dark Souls

For all the praise that Dark Souls and other games by From Sofware receive for being harsh but fair with the player, there are definitely some moments when you feel like the game is messing with you: this becomes clear around the time the gaping dragon makes an appearance. The player goes through a range of emotions: anticipation with a tinge of dread upon seeing a huge empty room, the token abode of a boss battle; then relief mixed with curiosity as only a tiny reptilian head pops up from a waterfall; then everything is thrown out of the player’s mind as an overwhelming fear takes hold. Watch it, and see if you have the same experience:

Dark Souls, you tease.

The Regenerator, Resident Evil 4

Anyone who’s played Resident Evil 4 will tell you that one of the scariest enemies in the game is the Regenerator. Why? Because they’re so unlike anything else that you encounter the game. At the beginning of the game, it’s hardly to tell if the people you’re slaying are even zombies. Then, by the second act, you feel pretty up to date with “Las Plagas”, the parasitic creature that’s turned a Spanish village into a ravenous hive mind of H.R Giger nightmares. Then the third act takes you to an island, and you come across a laboratory and you meet this…thing. What is it? Was it ever human? And WHY is it laughing?!

So the player sees a stiff, purple body lying motionless on a surgery table. There’s no way in, so the player walks the other way. They find Luis’s memo talking about a creature that’s truly horrifying, with an extraordinary healing factor. Then the sense of foreboding begins to settle in. The player takes the key card, and then hears a loud crash: something has been disturbed. The door opens, there’s the Regenerator. You know what it is, and you are immediately panicking.

The worst part is that you only find out how to beat it a few rooms later. Now, you have no idea: you keep shooting it, but nothing can stop. It keeps shambling towards you, with a grin that’s filled with jagged teeth that will rip your throat out when it gets too close. Terrifying

Andrew Ryan, BioShock

Alright, I’m just going to warn you about spoilers right here. If you haven’t played BioShock and would not like to know apart an important part of the plot, then please stop reading…now!
A lot of encounters in games tend to be of a more physical nature, i.e. fighting with swords, guns, fists. It’s rare that characters fight with words, using the power of persuasion to defeat their enemy.

So when the player meets Andrew Ryan, the founder of the subterranean nightmare that you’ve been fighting to escape from that is Rapture, you’re not sure what to expect. Nothing can prepare you for what happens when you meet him. Even though the encounter descends into violence, the words that are spoken have a lasting effect on the player that will run far deeper than any swarms of bees running through their veins will.

As the city is about to crumble, the player is looking for Andrew Ryan to kill him under the orders of Atlas, the friendly Irish chap who’s been keeping you “aloive” this whole time. However, when the player confronts Andrew, he’s strangely calm- playing miniature golf in his office, he begins talking as if he’s known you for your entire life, and knows exactly. And as he talks, you realize that you have been a pawn in a fight for power that’s far bigger than you ever imagined.

“A man chooses; a slave obeys.” The words ring out through you, as if they dictated every single action that you’ve taken, and still have a hold on you. You feel like a puppet seeing your strings for the first time. That’s what makes Andrew Ryan such a great enemy; despite his death, he still has power over you.

The Dead Hand, Ocarina of Time

Ocarina of Time
is one of the greatest adventures that has ever been brought to consoles. It’s a treasured favourite for anyone who owned an N64, and continues to be fondly remembered to this day.

It also gave a lot of kids’ nightmares.

Do you ever look at an enemy in a game and think “You don’t belong in this game”? It’s something about them; their design really stands out as different in every way to everything else that we’ve seen in the game. In Ocarina of Time, the Dead Hand turns up in the “E for everyone” game when it looks like it should be in a Resident Evil game.

The player walks into a room with long hands sticking out the ground in a scene that looks like what might happen if Salvador Dali painted a room in hell after taking to Francis Bacon for a bit. Naturally, the player walks up to one to investigate it (or chop it down, if they had more sense). The hand bends down and grabs them, and then the Dead Hand crawls up quick behind the player with its jaw detached ready to devour Link and then several seven year olds run out of the room crying for their mum.

Just remember that some at Nintendo watched this and thought, “Yes, this is suitable for children.” We’ll certainly never forget that one.

That concludes this list of 5 of the best enemy reveals in gaming. What did you think of it? Were there any enemies that you would’ve put on this list? What are your thoughts on these enemies? Let us know in the comments.


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