When most of us think of Thanksgiving, we think of turkey. And while it is delicious to eat, it is a very difficult animal to kill–which makes hunting one a mixture of frustration and satisfaction. So in honor of the Turkeys that fall to the wiles of the hunter this Thanksgiving, I thought it would be a fitting tribute to talk about the countless foes that both frustrate and satisfy us as we play whatever games we fancy. Not boss battles mind you. Those get enough coverage. These are the near nameless rabble of victims that fall prey to our insane gaming skills every single time we log on and play. So here they are, a few faves that we came up with. But we’d love to hear about some of your favorites in the comments section as well.
The Duck (Duck Hunt)
I will never forget the first time I played Duck Hunt . I was always a fan of shooting games at the arcade where you actually held a gun in your hand. Then came the light gun and with it… Duck Hunt . It brought the joy of blasting stuff on the TV to my living room and I couldn’t have been happier. That is until I started getting farther and farther into the levels of Duck Hunt . Those ducks gave me fits as the zigged, zagged, zipped and shot across my screen at what seemed to be speeds that defied the laws of nature. But then I discovered if I just put the tip of the light gun right against the screen, I didn’t even have to aim to shoot them down. And life was again good…until Hogan’s Alley came out.
Nazis (Pretty much any WWII game ever made)
For a very solid chunk of the video game industry’s history, the Nazi party became a staple for being the enemies in shooters. If you played any of these games, from Call of Duty to Wolfenstein , then you’ve faced all that the Nazi army had to offer. From bombers to submarines and Kreigsmarines to the SS, the Nazis were a formidable enemy. But quite possibly one of my favorite “Nazis in a barrel,” kind of game was in Sniper Elite . You could take your time and line up some seriously cool shots to see just how many jack-booted, goose-steppers you could take out at a time.
Lambents (Gears of War Series)
The Locust Horde was the enemy in the Gears of War series and they were a force to be reckoned with. But then Delta Squad runs into something a little more dangerous than even they had imagined. They discovered the mutated creatures known as Lambents. The Lambents were first noted by COG officials in the Imulsion mines. They witnessed people mutating into these Lambents and becoming more feral, but like any good government would, they covered it up. That is until E-day turned everything on Sera upside down. During the fight for Sera, the Imulsion came into contact with several different beings and created a vast array of volatile and highly explosive foes that the COG had hoped to keep a secret.
PMCs (Metal Gear Solid 4)
Throughout the MGS series, I have enjoyed slaughtering my enemy by the bushel. But nowhere was this experience more enjoyable than in MGS4 . The Private Military Contractors, or PMCs, became fodder for my rampages. There were sections of the game where no matter how many of them you killed, they just kept respawning. I killed so many of these clowns that at one point Snake stands up, then doubles over and starts throwing up and having an auditory hallucination of Ocelot talking about all the violence Snake has wrought. It made for a truly awesome killing spree. But even better than that is the satisfaction of taking out a large number of these guys without alerting anyone to your presence. That’s when things get really fun.
Heartless (Kingdom Hearts Series)
As much as I enjoyed these games as a whole, I truly enjoyed the Heartless as a foe. They always kept you guessing and would always throw you a curveball right when you think you have them figured out. The variety may not have been as deep as the enemies of other games, but it was deep enough to be a full cast of foes in the series. Honestly though, my favorites were the lowest forms of the Heartless. They would try to swarm you, but inevitably fell prey to the power of my keyblade skills. Oh, and watching some of my favorite Disney characters from my childhood kicking their asses alongside me was also quite an enjoyable addition to the mayhem.
Helghast Soldiers (Killzone Series)
As an avid fan of this series (I have played every one several times since the beginning), I may have single-handedly been one of the factors leading to a near genocide for Helghan. I have punched, butt-stroked, cut, shot and launched my way through the countless throngs of Helghast soldiers. And believe me when I say that I have loved every minute of the fight. I know I will catch flak for this and that’s okay, but I am a bigger fan of Killzone than I am of games like Battlefield and Call of Duty …because the story of the Killzone series is so rich and full and it focuses less on online play and more on giving you a total experience. And that’s what fighting wave after wave of the Helghast army does. Especially in Shadow Fall .
Hunters (Halo Series)
I would imagine that I am not alone when I say that I very vividly remember the first time I saw one of these big bastards looking back at me as I headed to find the Silent Cartographer in the first Halo game. You assault the beach and work your way inland and suddenly there they are. Well, if I recall correctly, you only fight a single one the first time, but he was no less formidable. I remember emptying tons of rounds into him only to watch him seemingly laugh as I tried to gain the upper hand. Finally I was down to my pistol. I had thrown all my grenades, which he had dodged, and burnt all my assault rifle rounds with seemingly no effect. So finally I maneuvered behind him and fired a shot that hit him in the exposed areas of his low back and the behemoth dropped cold with just a few shots. Every time after that, the dance of death with a Hunter quickly became one of my favorite underling fights in the series.
Koopa Troopas (Super Mario Series)
Since the very beginning of the Super Mario franchise, the Koopa Troopa has given players the best of both worlds. By this I mean that they are a solid enemy that requires some timing to fully eliminate-since we all know that one wrong aftertouch on a jump and the shell of the foe you just killed becomes your undoing. But later in the series, when the ability to pick up a shell of a fallen Koopa Troopa became available, your dead foe’s shell suddenly became a formidable weapon. Even with the addition of using it as an offensive device, you still had to exercise caution. That shell could still knock you dead if you weren’t careful and just went out there flinging it about without a rhyme or reason. Then even later in the series, the Troopas could get back in their shell if you didn’t jump on them or kill them again after the initial hit. They just kept evolving and getting better and better at being a bad guy.
I have always had a soft spot for the Psychos in the Borderlands series of games. Not because I liked them, but because they made me laugh. These rag-tag, mask wearing baddies yell the craziest stuff at you as they run to attack you. And those attacks can be as varied as flinging a hatchet at you from across the board, or running up at you while on fire and blowing themselves up to try and kill you. But no matter what their offensive strategy is, they are everywhere on Pandora. You’ll find them in midget form and even in monstrous forms as well (even though those are technically a different class of enemy altogether, they are still lumped into that type of enemy), and they always seem to have a way of letting you know they are coming. While that is a serious tactical oversight on their part, they still remain being one of the funniest and most frustrating forms of cannon fodder in the game.
Cabal Phalanx (Destiny)
It is no secret that I am hopelessly addicted to Destiny right now. Bungie’s new IP has created a brand new world that is as familiar as it is fresh and I can’t get enough of it. With that, there are so many new foes to vanquish within the different planets and zones of combat. From the Hive to the Vex, each race has its own set of tactics and enemy classes. But none are as organized and deadly as the Cabal. This paramilitary race of giants knows how to move as a unit and will try to trap you and murder you without hesitation. They also tote a massive arsenal of weapons, but none are as deadly or frustrating as a small squad of Phalanx troops on the horizon. These guys carry shields that negate even high explosive damage and make them very hard to kill. Your only hope is to have steady aim, a good scope and enough cover to make sure you can take the shot that will cause them to drop their shield long enough for you to shoot their heads off.