Comrades in Arms: Top 10 Henchmen in Videogames
Henchmen, followers, or companionsâ€”whatever you might call them, these trusty characters stick with us through time and tide never letting us down. We examine our favorites.
Henchmen, followers, or companionsâ€”or whatever you personally choose to call them, are trusty comrades-in-arms who stick with us through time and tide, never letting us down. Most of the time, anyway. In this article, we take a look at ten of our favorite henchmen.
#10 Human enemies in Turok
The original Turok didn't have the most advanced AI – enemies ran at you haphazardly, grunting into your field of view (which was hilariously small, looking back). But I have to wonder how their blood pressure got so high. Too much salt? Maybe all the stress from living shoulder-to-scale with dinosaurs? Whatever the cause, the smallest pin-prick caused blood to practically slip the surly bonds of the Lost Land, and launch itself into the thick, foggy stratosphere.
As a 12 year-old, the way enemies died in Turok was awesome. As a 26 year-old looking back, it's a riot and awesome.
Goro is a dick. I mean, the guy has four arms and he competes in a tournament wherein most other entrants possess two arms. Uh, hello? Can I get a ruling from the Mortal Kombat fairness committee? Having four arms should be considered juicing! Like, stop flexing your superior anatomy at me, Goro. I get it. You can put every other one-man band to shame. There's no need to get all 'roid raged about it. Lighten up, fella. Everybody out here in the forest with monster trees is trying to have a good time, and you're being a real buzzkill.
Really, I don't even want to fight you. Not only are the odds stacked against me, you kinda creep me out with that whole Tarzan-from-hell vibe you're giving off.
#8 Creepers – ssssssssss-*BOOM* "GOD DAMMIT!"
I think more than a few households had a strict "No Oddjob" rule when playing deathmatch in Goldeneye on the Nintendo 64. But, if like me, you enjoyed playing it fast and loose, you'd let anyone pick Oddjob, you'd even play with auto-aim turned off. Then you'd curse your wild ways as you struggled in vain to shoot a man who was the size of an average NYC sewer rat, and roughly twice as fast.
Invariably, you'd get desperate as your older brother ran up the score on you. On the inside, you began to wrestle with your morality as you'd try to rationalize committing the ultimate split-screen sin – screenlooking. By then it was too late, because you'd already taken a peek and were about to suffer the worst imaginable punishment – getting slugged in the arm! Times were rough before LIVE came around.
Thanks for making me question my moral compass, Oddjob.
#6 Dogs in Modern Warfare
As if infinitely respawning enemies weren't enough of a pain in the ass, you just had to put me in some tall grass, and sick guard dogs on me, didn't you Infinity Ward? You dicks. "Psshhh, lern2nife, noob," you'd probably say. Yeah? Well, I could knife those dogs without any trouble had there not been a dozen Russians clamoring for a piece of my scalp at the time! And how do those dogs know where I am anyhow? Can they see through tall grass? Thermal vision maybe? Did Soap throw on his ham-scented cologne that morning?
Oh, and thanks for making me snap their necks, guys. As if my girlfriend needed another reason to hate video games.
#5 Gloams/Black Souls in Diablo 2
Few monsters struck genuine terror into the heart of the average Diablo 2 player. Gloams, however, were horrifying. On Normal and Nightmare difficulties, Gloams were manageable. On Hell difficulty, going toe-to-toe with one of those tricky little ghosts was practically suicide. They shot out lightning bolts that I'm pretty sure were more damaging than a camera at a frat party. Also they were crazy fast, turned invisible, and like all bad seeds, they loved to roam in packs.
You mess with one Gloam, you mess with the whole crew. You don't want none of that.
#4 Turrets in Portal
While not particularly smart, or dangerous, they're just so… magnetic! Who amongst us didn't want to run up and hug one of GlaDOS' tiny minions the first time they heard "Are you still there" in that sing-songy robot voice? Only a monster, that's who! Every time I ran across one of those little turrets I wanted to adopt it like than a lost puppy. In fact, fuck puppies! I want a turret now! I know I'm not the only one!
Leave it to Valve to make me obsess over cold, heartless, cute killing-machines in a video game. I hope my kids don't ever read this.
#3 Lurker necromorphs in Dead Space
Creepiest things ever, or creepiester things ever? It's not that they were particularly scary either. They're just disturbing. Necromorphs that were reconstructed from the bodies of infants. Have you no care for the sanity of your fans, EA? And Lurkers didn't really go for the cheap scare by popping out of monster closets (though many other enemies in Dead Space did), because they didn't have to. Just knowing that a tentacled, malformed baby was in the room was enough. Further compounding this was the way Isaac killed them. There was the obligatory dismemberment, but there's also the rare occasion one gets close enough to latch on. After a brief struggle, Isaac manages to peel the lurker off of him, then he drop-kicks it across the room.
Take a second to digest that last bit. Yes, ladies and gentlemen. In 2009, video games reached a new level of insanity when the main character of a highly-regarded franchise regulary kicked zombie babies across the goddamned room.
#2 Guards in Assassin's Creed Series
Unlike some of the other entries on this list, the guards in Assassin's Creed are spectacularly inept. And that is what makes them so great. They're the perfect patsies. They exist as specimens for Ezio (or Altair, if you're into that sort of thing) to test his new tricks and gadgets.
Still don't think they're good enough for a nod on this list? Go try out Assassin's Creed II or Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. Actually, go watch one of your friends who already owns the game play it. Or ask them what they like about it. If they're arbiters of fine taste, as I'm sure they all are, they'll list "numerous ways to ace guards" amongst the qualities that make an AC game great. My personal favorite? Popping out of a hay bale like a deadly Jack in the Box, and then pulling a guard back in with you.
For my money, Metroids are the coolest enemies in any Nintendo game. Personally speaking, I feel a sense of immediacy when fighting a metroid that is rarely, if ever, matched in other games. They represent this exotic, primal force of nature that wants to do nothing more than suck the life out of everything, leaving behind a sandy husk. The way they move in Super Metroid scared the crap out of me as a kid. They were so quick, and looked entirely single-minded in their desire to consume Samus. It's like Mother Brain had been starving them, or teasing them, or singing off key. All they wanted to do was murder me.
It's weird that a game can telegraph that sort of psychology into a 10 year-old's mind through nothing more than a bit of coding and some pixels, but every time I saw a Metroid, I knew what they wanted to do, and it freaked me out.