TA Top Five: Enemies

By Marc Hollinshead, 5 years ago
One of the main aspects (if not THE main aspect) that brings challenge to a game is having a health bar. If that health bar reaches zero, then, obviously, you die. To stop that health bar from staying in the green, you have a collection of monstrous, annoying, sneaky, and downright unfair enemies to keep you on your toes. There are plenty of enemies out there that enjoy beating you up any which way they can, but what’s even more interesting is what makes them unique. For this particular list, we will be looking at enemies that stand out from the crowd. What do they possess that nothing else does? What makes them more memorable to fight than your average gun-wielding psychopath? Some of these unique enemies may not be particularly hard to destroy, but they have a quality that causes them to stick in gamers’ minds.

I will also list a couple of pros and cons for each enemy, so we can clearly see what makes them interesting, challenging (if that’s the case), and unique over others, as well as what we simply hate about them. Whether that’s good or bad, we shall see!

5: Alan Wake - The Taken

The Taken

Darkness can be a frightening thing; even more so when you’re wandering around in a forest with nothing but a flashlight and a flare gun. That’s exactly what Alan Wake did in Bright Falls, and it didn't go too well for him. In every single episode in the game, Alan is thrown into the pitch black forest and has to meander through, fending off the Taken as best as he can. The Taken act almost as a personification of darkness itself, with black mist surrounding them as they edge towards you with their distorted speech. Each Taken used to be a normal person just like Alan, but the force of darkness in the game has taken them over. They are shells of their former selves, and exterminating them is the only way of ending their misery. They certainly don’t make that easy though. Alan has to destroy their dark exterior with his flashlight before even attempting to hurt them. This makes for more of a challenge, and the fact that they can easily camouflage themselves in the forest before pouncing on you means you’ll potentially keel over when one appears out of nowhere.

- Shield of darkness causes more challenge
- Merge well with the setting in the game

- Sometimes overwhelming in large numbers
- Occasionally enjoy pouncing on unsuspecting players

4: Portal - Turrets


The turrets of the Portal series are some of the cutest enemies around. If you get anywhere near their line of sight, however, consider yourself toast. They tend to try and lure you in with their sweet voices and phrases like “I see you...” and “Could you come over here?”, but don’t be taken in so easily. Cute but deadly is what best describes these little robots, as all they want to see is Chell’s bloody body on the floor. That may be the case, but they are also extremely easy to kill. Simply knock them over, and they’re gone for good. Watch out for their goodbye rampage before they do die though because Chell can only take so many bullets. With the use of portals, turrets can be easily fooled, so Chell can walk right behind them, and they won’t be able to do anything about it. Players enjoy going even further with this and playing around with the things. Launching them off aerial faith plates, incinerating them, or simply throwing them off of high-up paths are a few actions that these poor machines have to experience. They only want to be loved... before they plaster you with a hundred rounds of metal.

- Very cute with their high-pitched voices
- Extremely easy to kill

- Once they see you, you’re very much a dead test subject
- You can’t take one with you throughout your journey and be best friends

3: Left 4 Dead - Witches


Claws are NEVER a good sign, especially on a Witch in the Left 4 Dead series. Witches are an interesting enemy in the sense that if faced with one, it’s possible to avoid her completely. Just to make sure you don’t accidentally run into one, a particular tune begins to play as you get closer, along with the occasional sobbing of the witch herself. With these audio cues, you can either prepare yourself for the fight or get the hell out of there. I think all Left 4 Dead players will know that tune very well, and if you don’t...have a listen. Spooky, huh? An enemy having its own theme is quite the privilege, and it’s fascinating to simply listen to her crying over and over again. Once provoked, though, you’ll be longing for those tears again. Those claws sure do pack a punch, or, shall I say, scratch. Although she is initially passive towards the player, if you disturb her with light, get too close, or attack, she will ask you to leave by rapidly chasing you and incapacitating you until one of you are dead. That is why it is best to just leave her alone completely. It’s just like real life; watch yourselves when encountering a sobbing woman because you never know how the situation could turn out!

- Unique with its own theme and the fact that it CRIES instead of smashing your face in...at first
- It’s possible to simply sneak around her and avoid a fight

- When provoked, you are potentially doomed

2: BioShock (Xbox 360) - Big Daddies

Big Daddies

The Big Daddies of the BioShock series are iconic. Their giant diving suits and drills or rivet guns have made them an enemy that gamers will always remember, but it's not necessarily just their aggressive exterior that make for a memorable enemy. They act as guardians for the Little Sisters - a daddy, if you will. If you happen to come across a Little Sister in your travels through Rapture, expect a Big Daddy to not be too far behind. Unlike Portal's Turrets, Big Daddies can't just simply be pushed over. Take one on, and you'll have yourself one heck of a fight. I once walked into a fight with barely any ammo, so needless to say, I was a goner. The juxtaposition of an intimidating child minder is an interesting one, but the Big Daddies are sworn to protect the Little Sisters and do so at all costs. Whenever you kill one of these behemoths, there's always a part of you that feels slightly saddened by the fact that you've torn a little girl away from her only friend. It's either kill or be killed with this one, even if it means watching a Little Sister crying by a lifeless suit.

- Guardian of the Little Sisters - they aren't all bad!
- A challenging enemy as well as an iconic one

- Get too close when fighting and you're done for
- It's sad to watch a Little Sister crying next to a dead Big Daddy

1: Dead Space - Necromorphs


When an enemy is this disgusting, terrifying, and aggressive, you know it’s something to look out for. The necromorphs of the Dead Space series delight in scaring players witless as well as ripping them apart so that all that is left is a single toenail. I personally think of them as upgraded zombies as they follow a similar formula. A normal human being (dead or alive) gets ‘infected’ and eventually transforms into something that is barely human at all. Necromorphs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, whether they're slashers, stalkers, twitchers, pukers, brutes, or little child-like things who scream and claw at your face. What makes these monsters more memorable than any other enemy is that, to fully kill them, you have to dismember their limbs. Now, I know when faced with something like this, it’s tempting to go on an all-out rampage, but if you keep your cool and aim for those arms and legs, you’ll soon see them on the floor (just be sure to ground stomp them to double-check when you're done). As is typical of survival horror, they also like to strike you when you least suspect it, as well as play dead, just to make sure you’re extra careful when peeking round that next corner. No wonder Isaac Clarke developed severe dementia.

- Variety of different necromorphs throughout series keeps things fresh
- Strategic dismemberment makes for extra challenge

- They sometimes play dead and constantly like to scare you
- They never hold back in making your death look as grotesque as possible

Enemies are vast and numerous in the gaming world, so we can only give you a small dose of which ones we like. What are your favourites, and what makes them unique for you?

The TA Team will be bringing you The TA Top Five every Sunday until we run out of coolness to debate and discuss. If you have an idea for a Top Five you'd like us to do, be sure to let us know in the comments!
Marc Hollinshead
Written by Marc Hollinshead
To summarize Marc in two words, it would be "Christian Gamer." You will usually find him getting stuck into story heavy action-adventure games, RPG's and the odd quirky title when he isn't raving about Dark Souls and Mass Effect. Outside the world of gaming, Marc attends and helps out in his church on a regular basis and has a not-so thrilling job in a supermarket.