Mad Mack: The Eight Most Dastardly Enemies In Gaming History

Armed with his usual brand of dark humour and very strong language, disgruntled gamer Dave ‘Mack’ McConkey counts down the Top 8 most fearful gaming enemies of all time.

Enemies. Where would we be without them? Well, I for one would certainly not be sitting in a car outside a certain someone’s house, waiting for the lights to go out so I can break in and tea-bag the shit out of everyone inside.

You may also be interested to hear that other, more healthy and less mortal enemies can be found in computer games from time to time. And some of these adversaries turn out to be far more than your average, common all-garden grunts. Indeed, some are so formidable – and stick so long in the memory – that they may inspire awe, rage, or even nightmares.

This article offers my Top 8 choices for what I consider to be the most fiendish and iconic enemies in gaming history. I am sure some might disagree, but hey, if you do, you can always write a spiteful and vindictive comment at the bottom.


The Chrysalid – X-Com: Enemy Unknown

Everyone remembers their first time. It is the kind of thing you never forget. Oh sure, X-Com: Enemy Unknown (or whatever it was called where you are from) had its fill of great enemies, scary moments and amazing strategy and story development. But no matter how many times you played the game, there will be two things that will be at the forefront of your mind: 1) What happened the first time you saw a Chrysalid, and 2) When will the computer throw them at you in this playthrough?

Let me run through a typical first encounter with this bastard. Everyone has had an instance where this:

Became this:

So you shot the shit out of it. And it became this:

From this moment onward, there is a set thought-process that every X-Com player will go through from here on out:

It is like an organogram of fuck


Fuck that guy. Seriously.


The Elite – Halo

I debated for some time whether to include this guy or not. After all, Halo has its share of detractors who would (somewhat justifiably) argue that it really didn’t do anything particularly original, especially compared to other PC shooters, and the series as a whole has failed to really innovate beyond the original game.

If you feel that way, please feel free to mentally replace ‘Elite’ with any other suitably iconic FPS enemy.

For example, Gary Coleman

The reason they are here is because of what they represent. Most FPS games have you going up against legions of enemies that are intrinsically weaker than you, either because you are a super human, have some sort of power armour, or are just really good at quantum physics. The Elites however, turned that idea on its head. Here is a fairly standard enemy foot soldier that is easily your equal in a straight-up fight (difficulty dependant of course). They are well armed, can pack a punch and have regenerating shields, just like you. In close combat they are more than a match for any human, even without the energy shields. In fact, the only reason you can go toe-to-toe with them in the first place is because you are a super human in a super suit. You need to be super human just to be able to meet them on a more or less equal footing. And this was not a boss character: this was a fairly standard foot soldier that you would meet all the time.

‘Standard’ being a relative term

There might be other similar enemies out there, but to me Elites were the first (though a close contender might be the Alien Grunt from Half-Life – they were big, tough and very common, though they were not as tough as Gordon Freeman).


The Witch  – Left 4 Dead

So there you are, surviving the zombie apocalypse. As a team you are doing pretty well together, surviving whatever the game can throw at you without too much drama (Tanks notwithstanding). As you are rummaging through some cupboards you hear a whimpering. Your heart stops. You know what that is. Somewhere in the darkness of this abandoned house is…a Witch. She will not attack unless provoked, but if she is, then God help the entire team.

She is so emo

You whisper to your guys: ‘Get the fuck out. Slowly.’ As everyone quietly makes their way to the door, Tyrone is like ‘Shit is that a Witch? Watch this!’ He grabs a gas cylinder, finds the bitch and despite everyone else being like ‘Fucking no Tyrone! What are you doing? DICK!’ he throws it at her and blows it up. Of course, what Tyrone didn’t realise is that one cylinder is nowhere near enough to dent her. Understandably pissed, she gets up and proceeds to tear Tyrone into chum.

Fuck Tyrone. You ain’t got shit.

There was always one of those guys in every L4D team – that guy who thought it was hilarious to fuck up the rest of the team by waking the witch, often right in the middle of a horde attach. That guy was a dick.

Frequently, that guy was me.


Big Daddies  – BioShock

Once men, these tragic figures have been reduced to lumbering hulks, devoid of free will; enslaved to Rapture and the Little Sisters forever. They are a terrifying enemy to face in combat, but that is not why they are here. They are here for an altogether more sinister reason.

Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair

BioShock is a masterpiece for many reasons, but one of the standout factors is how it toys with preconceived notions of free will, and subverts the linear style of gameplay through an incredible twist about two-thirds of the way through (SPOILERS AHEAD).

It emerges that all of the choices the player character had been making so far were not actually freely made at all, and instead the illusion of free will was something that was planted into the character at some distant point in the past. As with many linear games, you as a gamer never make any truly free choices, but are instead railroaded from one situation to another. The game then throws this back in a grand reveal that suggests that even had you wanted to, you were no more able to deviate from the path than a train on tracks.

I could go on for ages, but you get the idea.

So what does that have to do with the Big Daddies? I would offer that they are a representative of the gamer itself. Formerly free men, shackled by technology and condemned to repeat the same actions over and over again without any free will or ability to self determinate, and without even knowing why. Speak to anyone who has ever completed pointless grind quests in any game, and consider what is so different from them, and a mindless drone, enslaved to the same tasks without realising exactly why.

Gamer, press your face against the glass on the helmet of a big daddy and peer inside. You might see yourself staring back.

Therefore, good Gamer, be prepared to hear,
And since you know you cannot see yourself
So well as by reflection, I your glass
Will modestly discover to yourself
That of yourself which you yet know not of.

                                                                Julius Caesar (adapted) Act 2, Scene 2


Blue/Gary Oak – Pokemon

This guy is on here because he is just a relentless cunt. From the very beginning of Blue, Red or Yellow, this guy is all up in your shit. He does not take a single pause from being a proper pain in your dick. Every time you go to a new area, he is there, dishing out the shit. It does not even matter if you beat him every single time you battle him, he still comes back and gives you shit.

It is one of those instances where after putting up with his shit despite beating him 3 times in a row, instead of throwing out a Pokemon, you can instead select to walk up to him and pop him in the nose. ‘Boom. Take that motherfucker. I am so sick of your shit Gary. One more word and I will fucking ruin your shit. Now fuck off’.

Bam. Problem solved.

What a dick

Even at the start of the game he lets you pick your Pokemon first so he can pick one that is strong against it. What kind of asshole does that? He chooses his first Pokemon not based on its personality, fighting style or aesthetics. No, he picks it based on which one can beat you the easiest. Who the fuck does that? I will tell you who – the same type of person who will one day be arrested wearing ladies underwear and the face of his missing ex-girlfriend. And that scares me.

Blue/Gary Oak – you are a dick. But you are also a ‘Gary Busey’ level of crazy.

And that is all manner of tits-out, bat-shit insane


Treasure Imps – Golden Axe

Are these guys enemies? I’m not completely sure. All I know is that out of all the enemies and characters of Golden Axe, only the scantily-clad lady (who was probably responsible for all sorts of feelings that I didn’t understand at the time) and these annoying fucks stick in my now alcohol-ravaged memory.

Get back here you fucker!

I am not sure if they are enemies because of two things – one, they did carry useful potions onto a very dangerous battlefield, and two, because they always had a bit of a jaunty grin on their faces.

That said, the imps carried all that useful kit only to run around the screen and make it as hard as possible to get a hold of. It’s like they woke up that day and said: ‘I am gonna pack my bag with loads of cool shit, then brave the legions of Death Adder to meet up with some brave adventurers, taunt them with all my cool shit and then fuck off. Repeatedly.’ It is like they just decided to go to all that effort just to be complete dicks. I take it back – they are an enemy, and they are as tits out mental as Gary Oak up there. Holy shit – I just realised who we’re dealing with:



Hunter  – Dead Space

I don’t care what anyone says – Dead Space scared the absolute shit out of me. It took me three months of playing it in 20 or 30 minute stretches to complete what is essentially an 8- hour game. It was so fucking stressful that I could not play it for much longer than that. Eventually, at about the halfway point, something gave and I smashed out the rest of the game in one go. But still, it was emotional. And for me, there was no bit that was more emotional than being chased by that fucking invincible monstrosity, the Hunter.

All the fucking time

This fucker spends a good 20 minutes chasing you from room to room (I estimate 20 minutes, but when you are playing a game that distils terror into its essence and then injects it into your spine, 20 minutes feels like an eternity) as you struggle to get to a certain area where you can deal with the monster properly. There is no way to kill it by the way – you can shoot off its limbs, but once it sustains enough damage then it just regenerates everything back. And then it comes at you anew. Again. And again. And again…..and again.

Eventually you do deal with it, and then you put down the controller, lock yourself in the bathroom, climb into the tub and weep uncontrollably while your parents/spouse/kids/housemates wonder why there is so much terror-fuelled excrement all over the living room walls.

Oh, and when I say ‘deal with it’, I mean you freeze it. You don’t kill it, just freeze it. All but guaranteeing that this is not the last you have seen of that fuck.


ReDead  – Ocarina of Time, and other Zelda titles

These assholes are zombie-like creatures that pop up when Link is an adult and the world has gone to shit.

‘Sup beautiful?

They have a paralyzing scream that will freeze you in position for a few seconds if they see you. This gives them a chance to slowly amble towards you until they are in attacking range. At which point they try to fuck you to death. I am not kidding. This is not my usual hyperbolic phraseology. They get up to you, jump on you, and fuck you to death.

Here is a video of this in action. It’s terrible quality, but you get the idea.

You can escape, but once they get you it’s kind of a question of if you even want to. I mean, Link has just been violated by an undead zombie. Would you be able to live with yourself after that?


Honourable Mentions

There are some who did not make this list, for a number of reasons, but are justifiably memorable nonetheless:

Goombas: Iconic enemies of Mario. But also basically walking mushrooms.

Headcrabs: From Half-Life (obviously). Good enemy in certain circumstances, a pain in the ass waste of ammo in others.

Zerg: Fairly important enemy from a pretty big game franchise, but unfortunately they are pretty unoriginal, being basic copies of Warhammer’s Tyranids, who were themselves derived from the Formics of Enders Game, who were probably inspired by the Bugs from Starship Troopers etc. etc.

Ethnic Minorities: All the rage these days in many, many so-called ‘realistic’ shooters

Nazis: There have been several orders of magnitude more Nazis killed in computer games than have ever existed or will ever exist.


Do you agree or disagree with Dave’s choices? And what are your own most feared gaming enemies? Join in the discussion by adding a comment below…


One Response to “Mad Mack: The Eight Most Dastardly Enemies In Gaming History”
  1. X says:

    Chrysalids……..the X-Com alien I never wanted to face.

    Responding to a terror mission at night, i’d throw my light cubes ( not the correct term, been too long to remember )….if Chrissies were about it was time to leave. Better to abort and take the basic point loss than to suffer a bunch of dead/zombied rookies.

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