Screw villains, they get all the glory. What about the grunts? You know, the hundreds of generic bad guys you have to shoot/frag/slice/photograph/dialog with between boss battles? Being a grunt has to be the toughest job in a videogame, yet their faces so rarely lead a marketing campaign. It’s a pity really.
This article is dedicated to them, but I’m not just talking about every faceless grunt you’ve fought over your gaming career, because that would take a very long time. This is for more than the plethora of featureless baddies that do little more than stand between you and the evil dude you spent a majority of the game trying to reach. That’s just not enough to make this list, instead you’ll find the grunts that actually managed to frustrate, or worse, embarrass gamers by killing us when we make the deadly mistake of underestimating them. This is for the little guys that caused big problems.
Now you’re probably asking yourself why these guys make the list since they’re really aliens and not necessarily monsters, to which I’ll reply, I write the article so I make the rules. Aptly named, when it came to warfare the Covenant’s strategy usually involves sending wave after fucking wave of these little bastards to whittle away our health and ammo until the real threat arrived. Then, once we’ve decided these things are little more than shiny, annoying gnomes they come armed with Fuel Rod Cannons to really ruin our day. Apparently, the lack of attention has taken its toll on the little guys as I’m sure you’ve seen, on more than one occasion I might add, a grunt take two plasma grenades and proceed to blow his tiny ass sky high. Stop the suicides people, give the grunts some love.
Silent Hill has introduced us to a plethora of annoying enemies but the Ghosts that we had a pleasure of meeting in the fourth game take the cake for a few reasons. Like pretty much every thing that made the list there’s usually more than one of these guys coming at us at once. Second, they only have to get near us to start sapping our health (and your very will to continue playing that damn game). And finally, they can’t be killed. Yeah, the designers at Konami are some sick, masochistic bastards.
The Swarmer, or what many affectionately refer to as Giblets, are exactly what their second nickname implies. They’re reanimated bits of flesh that have somehow managed to learn how to hunt humans and travel in packs. Let’s say that again: they’re intelligent bits of man meat that are more talented than the average toddler. That’s pretty damn scary.
We already looked at wretches as if they were horny alien dogs that enjoyed dry humping our bulky man legs until we were incapped so having to fight this same creature with the added feature of a ticking time bomb that makes them go boom after their demise makes these little dudes some of the more annoying enemies in Gears of War’s vast arsenal of badass creatures. Honestly, like many of the enemies on this list they wouldn’t be all that bad, manageable even, if they didn’t come in packs that tend to swarm us before consuming us alive.
Dolls are scary. Maybe it’s the way their soulless eyes follow us around a room or the fact that I’m positive they come to life while we’re sleeping to waddle their chubby plastic legs to our bed where they consider whether or not tonight’s the night they’ll decide to finally eat us alive. And I’m not sure about you but I think bombs are pretty scary too, so I’m thinking it’s pure genius that the clever buggers at Monolith decided to combine the two into some twisted baby doll bomb that totters creepily toward us until we’re safely inside its blast radius where it then proceeds to pull it’s string and go BOOM.
Doom 3 might not have been the revolutionary horror game some of us hoped it would be but that certainly doesn’t mean it didn’t have its fair share of terror, much of which that came from the Cherub. If you’re like me when you hear Cherub you immediately think of chubby flying babies armed with bow and arrows. Now I’m going to ask you to replace that thought with a monster that’s half infant and half insect, armed with serrated claws that you know is about to tear your shit up when you hear its twisted, distorted baby babble. Oh yeah, and like everything else these little brats come in groups.
Besides sounding fucking nasty, these things look like massive spiders. Nothing is worse than a spider larger than a quarter and Headcrabs are roughly twice the size of a dinner plate. Headcrabs come in a variety of flavors including original (which doubles as the easiest to deal with), a faster and more agile version of the original and my personal favorite, the poisonous Headcrab. That last guy can do much of what its ugly siblings can and it can also bring your health down to nothing with a single hit.
All that is more than enough to keep these guys nestled safely in the back of my mind where it can haunt my dreams but these guys have yet another reason for us to hate them. Just ask any of the once human zombie-like creatures roaming about any of the games though I don’t think they can hear you since they have a frakking Headcrab hugging their face.
One of the game’s more interesting additions are the Remnants that reanimate the dead and control them to do their bidding. The only way to stop the onslaught of guys they throw at you is to kill the Remnant that controls them. Unfortunately, these guys are incredibly tough so they can take a lot of damage and have a few attacks to keep you from getting too close. But really, the most disturbing thing about them is their ability to control corpses, I mean, if I could do that the first thing I’d do is set up a sweet dance troupe where I would travel the world and make my corpse puppets dance. Yeah, that’s the life.
I’ve said it time and time again that zombies should not be able to use guns, but that’s not necessarily the main reason these guys make the list. Really, my issue with these well-armed pseduo-undead is the fact that their presence makes the final couple chapters of the last two Resident Evil games incredibly difficult. Resident Evil 4 rocked my socks until it started to tread into bad action movie territory and the fifth game took what its predecessor did and ran with it. I have a love/hate relationship with these dudes, I respect their ability to use complex machinery to kick my ass and I hate them to no end because of all the times they managed to, well, kick my ass.
Psychiatric hospitals (and honestly, hospitals in general) freak me out a bit, so the Puppets that silently roam the Cradle are some of the more unsettling creatures I’ve come across in a game. What are essentially zombies, one of the creepiest things about them is how they spend their days. Not only have these poor lost souls been transformed into mindless meatbags, they’ve also had to spend a very long time in a broken down asylum. I don’t know whether to fear or pity them, though I’ll admit I lean toward the former.