It’s been a while, y’all…
I’m extremely picky about video games, sometimes almost annoyingly so, according to my significant other. Sometimes I get hung up on things that turn a decent game into a slogfest, other times I stumble upon a real stinker. Regardless of the reason, the games listed here are all what I would consider to be “bad”. Still, there are redeeming qualities to each entry here…the monsters.
I LOVE unique monster designs, and anymore, find them hard to come by, and sometimes, these show up in some decidedly bad games. In no particular order, I will discuss designs that I like from games that…well…I didn’t. Horror games and non-horror games alike will be making appearances here. I have limited myself to a maximum of 2 designs per game, (although for some entries, I would put literally everything). Again, I will be using the numbering system for ease of categorization, but these are not ranked. They’re all pretty interesting.
Warning: This list contains some rather disturbing content associated with some pretty hardcore body horror. Viewer discretion is advised.
7. Arnold Leach (Clive Barker’s Jericho)
If I absolutely had to pick a favorite on this list, it would probably be this, because of how striking it is. Demonic and angelic at the same time, this design is honestly too damn good for the sadly terrible game that was Clive Barker’s Jericho. Leach only shows up at a few poignant moments, but when he does, all eyes are on him. This design features all of the highlights of a fantastic creation of Mr. Barker; elements of bondage, twisted and stretched skin and flesh, gruesome looking piercings, the whole bowl of wax. I wish there were more designs in horror games that had this level of both beauty and horror. It’s the sort of gruesome where you are disgusted, but you can’t bring yourself to look away, and it gets progressively more disturbing the more you look at it.
6. Laura (The Evil Within)
The Evil Within is probably one of the biggest disappointments I have ever experienced in gaming. It was SO hyped up and there were so many commercials showing people getting scared. However, I found the game to be too combat heavy for me to truly enjoy. A lot of the monsters also resemble Resident Evil rejects…all except for Laura. This screaming, burning, bleeding pile of limbs is one of the creepiest creatures with a spider motif I have ever seen. I think my favorite part of this design is how it moves. It brings to mind other disturbing long haired spirits that crawl all over the floor, especially Kayako from the Ju On series, but cranks up the nightmare fuel just a little bit by tossing in a few extra arms and legs for good measure. It’s pretty simple, but extremely effective.
5.The Monocle Man (Silent Hill Downpour)
The “Monocle Man” is the guilt of a suicide victim doomed for eternity to oversee the location of his greatest failure and shame in life. This design is already emotionally loaded before I even consider how disturbing its design is. It kind of reminds me of Cassandra from Doctor Who, except more messed up. Facial horror shows up a lot in designs I like, but this is probably one of the more extreme examples. It is literally just a stretched amputated face with an illuminated monocle. Spooky. Although I dislike Silent Hill: Homecoming a lot more, none of its designs are quite as interesting as the Monocle Man. If only Downpour was a better game…
4. Guardian (Dead Space)
Ah, Dead Space. I…really really don’t like Dead Space. It relies too much on “oo scary gorey gore gores!” for me to take it seriously. Some people say it’s Event Horizon the game, but it really lacks substance. However, I will not deny how fucked up this necromorph is. I love it. I love everything about it. It’s so wrong. While most enemies in this game are mindless gross drones, this thing is implied to still be entirely conscious and the human aware of what is happening to their body. The fact that it looks human makes it creepy, as well as the fact that it attacks by launching its guts out. I might not like Dead Space, but the “I have no mouth and I must scream” type of horror NEVER gets old.
3.King Minos (Dante’s Inferno)
Little known fact about me; I wrote my Bachelor’s thesis on the poetry of Dante Alighieri and the influence of his ideas on the Italian Renaissance. As such, I despise the video game “Dante’s Inferno” with every fiber of my being. One thing I will say, however, is that the twisted and disturbing landscapes of hell are captured quite well. Some creatures, however, either push the disturbing button too far, or not far enough, but King Minos is just about perfect. Only described as being snakelike in nature, various artists have tackled the design of the tyrant turned judge throughout the years, and I feel like this is one of my favorite takes on him. I especially love that he is blind in this iteration. Justice is blind, of course. His face resembles a skull shaped candle covered in cooled dripping wax, which is interesting, when you consider that his mythological iteration was scalded to death. It’s a damn shame that such a brilliant design was wasted on a game that so utterly butchers its source material.
2. Katharina Stein/ The Queen of Sorrow (Doorways: The Underworld)
Doorways is an absolutely fascinating little compilation of horrible, delightful environments within the minds of serial murderers, however, The Underworld is my least favorite of these. The fact that it follows the Auditorium, which is my absolute favorite part of the game and was hyped up to be the best yet, but ended up being frustratingly annoying made it even worse. However, in spite of dying repeatedly to literal doorways and the obnoxious sewer level, I do hold some appreciation for the psychopath of this chapter. Her design is both graceful and gruesome and she has a winning smile. I found it interesting that,within her own mind, the doctor depicted herself as a victim of her own experiments rather than lording over them. Rather than simply causing others pain and suffering with her machinations, she became pain and suffering itself. The fact that you encounter her in such a claustrophobia-inducing maze makes her even more threatening. Too bad the rest of The Underworld was so disappointing.
1.Bishop Maltheus St. Claire (Clive Barker’s Jericho)
I don’t think I’ve ever been so disappointed that I can’t find a decent image of a boss in my life than I have with this one. He’s a stark contrast to the other Clive Barker’s Jericho boss here because of how subtle his imagery is. I like creepy overblown body horror, but I also like subtle vaguely unsettling body horror. The uncanny valley is one of my favorite concepts, and Maltheus lands smack dab in the middle of it, likely because the Pyxis took what was once a young bishop with leprosy and further twisted and changed him. I think in the case of this design, less is more. While I do generally like elaborate, twisted monsters, Maltheus’s simplistic design tells the player about his history in an effective manner, while keeping him somewhat troubling.