Monster Talkback:

Total posts: [15]
As Useless as Bubble Man
A dicsussion about different enemies and monsters in video game fiction.

Ever since Castlevania, I have gain a major interest in monsters. They're basically one of the reasons why I look up on the original sources on them, to be honest. Though, it makes me even more interested.

I guess that's why the the titled monsters in Pokemon tend to be so memorable.

And apparently, Tales of Symphonia classifies Humans as "Monsters." And I really hate that game's version of the "Mandragora."

edited 4th Mar '12 2:06:28 AM by asiacatdogblue

I don't know what to think anymore.
2 RocketDude19th Feb 2012 03:33:50 PM from AZ, United States
Face Time
I kinda like how Spiral Knights has several basic enemies and those all have variants (usually ones that dish out status effects). Allows them to make themed levels based around one kind of enemy or some elemental theme.

I also liked how, in Dune II, while all factions got roughly the same units, they had unique units to keep it fresh. You also see that in the original Command & Conquer, though that game did it to a lesser degree.

And, of course, for sheer diversity, there's Serious Sam.
Tumblr | "Hipsters: the most dangerous gang in the US." - Pacific Mackerel
3 fillerdude20th Feb 2012 01:30:30 AM , Relationship Status: Getting away with murder
I love monsters! This is a big part of the appeal for me when playing video games — seeing just what kind of creatures that artistic license biology (or flat out magic) can come up with.
4 SpookyMask20th Feb 2012 01:35:39 AM from Corner in round room , Relationship Status: Non-Canon
Insert title
Yup, its one of reasons I read manga/watch anime, just to see freaky designs tongue Also the reason why I dislike Bishonen Line
Time to change the style, for now
5 MadassAlex20th Feb 2012 01:48:18 AM from the Middle Ages.
I am vexed!
Not surprisngly, Monster Hunter does extremely well in this regard, especially with bosses. If you look at the animations, you'll see how even their smallest movements are derived from real animals of their respective environments. The Lagiacrus has animations borrowed from both crocodiles and fish, for instance. That kind of attention to detail helps give the games a sense of urgency and tension others lack.

Demon's Souls and Dark Souls also have excellent monsters, although they're not so much the natural products of a fantastic world as the results of curses on the land.

What games haven't done yet, though, is given us real, medieval-style undead. Skeletons, zombies and vampires (at least as they are now) don't count, because they're essentially mooks. In medieval folklore, the term for one of the undead varied, but was most commonly "revenant" in Western Europe. A revenant was different depending on where you went. A Scandinavian revenant was called a "draugr", which were famous for their appetites and the way people and animals went mad in their presence, even to the point of a complete mind collapse. A Western European revenant would blacken the earth where it trod, spreading disease and decay. And we're all familiar with vampires, which are essentially the Eastern European revenants.

What games consistently get wrong, though, is power scale. The undead are generally mooks, but revenants were a huge deal, and one couldn't just do battle unprepared. It was helpful to know who they were in life, why they had returned and where their burial site was. And then one could arm themselves with holy objects and prayers, and perhaps a good sword, but even those weren't proof against revenants. Games, I think, are generally too happy to draw from D&D moreso than folklore which does not work in their favour.

Everyone knows how to kill a skeleton or zombie, because there is no "how". You beat it until it's dead. But how does one destroy a revenant? That's a little different for every case.

edited 20th Feb '12 1:48:59 AM by MadassAlex

6 fillerdude20th Feb 2012 03:12:20 AM , Relationship Status: Getting away with murder
[up] I LOVE that about Monster Hunter. It actually feels like you're taking on beasts and not just placeholders for stats and skills. Another game like that would be, well, first thing that comes to mind is Shadow of the Colossus.

Revenants, eh? The thing that comes to mind is the shiny-mecha-skeleton of the DOOM persuasion. evil grin Though I do see your point about how the undead are being relegated to mooks nowadays. It's almost always dragons who are top-tier. I want my undead titan made of hundreds of human bodies!
7 MadassAlex20th Feb 2012 06:36:30 AM from the Middle Ages.
I am vexed!
For reference:

A modern depiction of an Icelandic draugr. A revenant with a horned helm. A revenant bringing death where it rides.

Google Images has, however, failed in bringing me a depiction of a revenant from an actual medieval source because the pages are congested with images from film, books and games — which just goes to show how deep the problem (if it is one) runs. I selected the above images based on how well I thought they expressed the general concept of a revenant, and each of those images, I think, implies a being of power and fear.

In fact, if you think of a revenant as a Ringwraith with a corporeal body, you've got exactly the right thing. That's what Ringwraiths were, when you come down to it — they were revenants in the service of Sauron.
8 MasterInferno20th Feb 2012 08:01:55 AM from Tomb of Malevolence , Relationship Status: And they all lived happily ever after <3
It's Like Arguing on the Internet
I think it's interesting that a lot of Japanese games (Castlevanias from SOTN onwards come to mind) have monsters based on demons from the Goetia. Sometimes the monsters are even true to the demons' original descriptions (minus being surrounded by X number of legions of lesser demons).
Somehow you know that the time is right.
9 Bur20th Feb 2012 09:20:44 AM from Flyover Country , Relationship Status: Not war
Chaotic Neutral
It'd be very nice to have more monsters derived from folklore in way that still keeps that folklore relevant. I mean, sure, we'll have to slaughter a banshee now and then, but never does a banshee appear to just say that Uncle Joe's about to croak. Or maybe that's all they're doing and they get to be a victim of "kill the messenger".

I've always been disappointed more varieties of fae don't get used to their full potential. Like redcaps. Redcaps could be such creepy fodder.

i. hear. a. sound.
10 MadassAlex20th Feb 2012 09:34:31 AM from the Middle Ages.
I am vexed!
One game that actually balances this really well is The Witcher 2. Perhaps The Witcher does this, too, but I've not played it yet so I won't speak out of turn.

A fair amount of sidequests are based on folkloric creatures and gives you options concerning what to do with them. Rarely does it begin with straight-up combat unless the creatures are inherently bestial. For instance, there's one draugr in the game that transforms into a troll if it ever comes down to combat. This sounds ridiculous, but it's actually lifted straight from Norse mythology. Plus, there's actually a bit of a mystery to solve in the quest. Cool, huh?

Earlier in the game, there's another draugr that's haunting an old hospital. You can choose to solve the haunting relatively peacefully or fight it (not with such binary choices, though). So there's the fact that you interact with these things.

One thing I'm waiting for, though, is a fantasy horror game. I love the idea of being a revenant hunter or somesuch, with the player learning progressively throughout the game. You get called into a troubled town and are left to your own devices. What signs do you find? Who do you talk to? Who do you trust? What is the nature of this revenant, and how will you use your limited resources to combat it with minimum risk? There could even be a fake-out quest where all the signs were there, but it was a send-up by a nefarious townsman.

Essentially, if you want to take the traditional folkloric approach to monster hunting, there needs to be some element of investigative puzzle solving.
11 RocketDude21st Feb 2012 07:19:14 PM from AZ, United States
Face Time
I mentioned Spiral Knights earlier, and after playing through some of the Dark City levels, I want to note the Fiend-type enemies called Devilites.

These are supposed to be devils, but instead of being big, scary horned demons, they're instead pudgy, more comical monsters themed around cubicle work. They throw things like office chairs and donuts, they get more powerful forms called Overtimers and gain these forms by having a chat with a bigger Devilite called a Pit Boss (who even speaks to them with actual speech balloons, saying stuff like "I admire your ability to promote synergy"), and said Pit Bosses are followed around by faithful healers called Yesmen. Oh, and said Pit Bosses and Yesmen will transform into different Devilites depending on which one is eliminated first.

I rather like that sort of theme-based design, makes them a bit more unique.

edited 21st Feb '12 7:20:14 PM by RocketDude

Tumblr | "Hipsters: the most dangerous gang in the US." - Pacific Mackerel
12 fillerdude21st Feb 2012 09:57:31 PM , Relationship Status: Getting away with murder
[up][up] That fantasy horror game you described sounds like the game Pathologic, except Pathologic doesn't really have monsters, per se.
As Useless as Bubble Man
(Need to look at a playthrough of Monster Hunter...)

Ever since the success of Pokemon, Digimon, and Tamagotchi, It seems nowadays that the most known and popular monsters in Fiction are often small and cute.While they still are dangerous, not many would still look at them as "Monsters," per say.

Though, that depends on what one's definition of "monster" is. One would argue that Japan makes monsters "too cute" and less threatening.
I don't know what to think anymore.
14 MrHedge644th Mar 2012 06:59:47 PM from THE TEEMOPLANE
>thread about monsters >no pikmin >no pikmin >no pikmin

Pikmin had the most hellacious monsters ever. Every single one had different hunting grounds and habits, and even had a little blurb about their day-to-day lives. They were 'so cool'.
Responsible adult
I am a fan of the Pik-monstrosities. Especially since they're all so tiny. You could probably keep most of them in the palm of your hand.
"Proto-Indo-European makes the damnedest words related. It's great. It's the Kevin Bacon of etymology." ~Madrugada
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Total posts: 15