Friday, April 7, 2023

Six of the Scariest Animal Attacks in Horror Video Games

Video games may be filled with mutant enemies and extraterrestrial terrors, but there’s something to be said about games that rely on existing creatures to scare unwitting players. While real world animals might seem tame compared to the imagined beasts of fiction, an evening watching Animal Planet will likely convince you that there’s nothing scarier than a real predator that has decided to make you its next meal.

And with so many ravenous creatures to choose from, we’ve decided to come up with a list celebrating six of the scariest animal attacks in gaming. After all, from deep sea predators to rabid bears, there are plenty of natural thrills to be found if you’re willing to look past the usual genre excesses.

As usual, we’ll be abiding by a couple of rules. First of all, we’ll only be including real animals (so no Reaper Leviathan from Subnautica or other mutant approximations of real-world creatures). We also won’t be including prehistoric enemies, as the speculative element involved in recreating extinct creatures in media often results in them being portrayed more like monsters than proper animals.

With that out of the way, don’t forget to comment below with your own favorite virtual animal attacks if you think we missed an important one, as there are plenty of bloodthirsty beasts to go around…

Now, onto the list!

6. Doberman Ambush – Resident Evil

Fans usually think of zombified scientists and man-eating lizard-men when remembering the original Resident Evil, but long before you find out that Umbrella’s bioweapons are behind the horrors of the Spencer mansion, players face a pack of rabid Dobermans. These man-eating dogs are actually what keep the STARS team trapped in the mansion in the first place, making them a memorable introduction to the horrors of the RE franchise.

Of course, the stand-out moment of canine terror happens when the dogs ambush players by jumping in through the mansion windows, making for a nasty surprise that even veteran RE players continue to dread when revisiting the game. While later entries would introduce mutant dogs containing tentacled parasites and other strange powers, we’re including the original Dobermans because they’re still technically dogs, even if they look like they’ve been sitting in a grave for a few weeks.

5. Rattlesnake Boss – Deadly Creatures

Rainbow Studios’ Deadly Creatures may not be the Wii’s most fondly remembered title, but this innovative action game had its fair share of pint-sized thrills. Putting players in the (many) shoes of both a tarantula and a scorpion, this weird little experiment pit these predatory arthropods against a series of natural enemies as the story explored a conspiracy involving buried treasure and a duo of criminals voiced by Dennis Hopper and Billy Bob Thornton.

One of the most memorable challenges during this motion-controlled adventure was a facing a recurring rattlesnake enemy that attempted to eat our protagonists, with these encounters culminating in nerve-wracking boss fights that likely scared the crap out of unsuspecting players. The rattlesnake may not be the game’s final boss, but its downright unsettling animations make it a great example of how videogames can capture the horrors of the natural world.

4. Release the Hounds! – Don’t Starve

Survival games often need indirect timers to remind players that their lives are on the line, and as if the constant dwindling resources weren’t enough of a challenge, Klei Entertainment’s Don’t Starve also introduces a group of randomly spawning hounds that chase down the protagonist after the first three days. Experienced players will likely be equipped to fend off these carnivorous canines by then, but these four-legged predators never really stop being a threat.

While there are more varieties of hounds later on, with some even bursting into flames after death and possibly destroying all your hard work in the process, we all remember the first harrowing time that the default hounds invaded our humble encampments and forced us to restart the game, which is why they rank so high on this list.

3. The Entire Game – Depth

animal attacks sharks

From Ark’s Megalodon to the protagonist of Maneater, there are a surprising amount of ravenous sharks in video games. That being said, the underwater predators of Digital Confectioners’ Depth are some of the most memorable, with this asymmetrical multiplayer horror experience exemplifying exactly why we’re still afraid to get in the water.

Obviously, sharks aren’t really human-devouring killing machines in real life, but the underwater thrills of Depth borrow from exaggerated B-movies like The Shallows and Deep Blue Sea, making it highly entertaining for horror hounds on the lookout for multiplayer matches that might trigger their thalassophobia.

2. Rat Swarms – Plague Tale: Innocence / Requiem

Ask any New Yorker and they’ll tell you that a single rat is a nuisance, but a swarm of them is an actual threat. That’s why Asobo Studio’s Plague Tale: Innocence shows up on this list, with the game turning its disease-ridden rodents into a legitimately terrifying mechanic as they chew through human flesh and decimate medieval France. Sure, this stealth adventure title doesn’t exactly dwell on these horrors, but it’s hard not to be unsettled by the fluid motions of the game’s toothy little hordes.

The sequel also improves on these rat-based scares by rendering an absurd amount of the rodents onscreen at the same time, making you traverse literal rivers of ravenous little beasts as you attempt to keep Amicia and Hugo safe from the inquisition.

Eat your heart out, Willard!

1. Bear Chase – Condemned 2: Bloodshot

animal attacks video games

It’s kind of ironic that a gritty piece of urban horror about vagrant serial killers and city-wide conspiracies is mostly remembered for an iconic animal attack, but leave it to Monolith Production’s Condemned 2: Bloodshot to shock players with a rabid bear encounter that comes completely out of left field.

While some gamers criticize the sequence for not having much to do with the title’s over-arching plot, others (like myself) see it as a terrifying highlight of a deeply strange game. Sure, this isn’t the only scary bear in gaming, but the level’s heart-pounding layout and Jaws-like finale make it incredibly memorable. It also makes me wish for a AAA videogame adaptation of Cocaine Bear.

The post Six of the Scariest Animal Attacks in Horror Video Games appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.


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