Halloween is fast approaching, and what better way to celebrate the season than by us Gaming Respawners reminiscing on the most frightening and deadly enemies in video games that we were completely powerless against and unable to stop? We’re not talking about difficult enemies or foes that greatly outlevel us, no, we’re talking about enemies so powerful that players have to resort to running and hiding in order to survive since facing them directly will eventually lead to certain death. Plenty of freaky monsters and such to choose from with this topic, so let’s get to it! Here are Gaming Respawn’s Favorite Unstoppable Enemies in Video Games.
The Dahaka (Prince of Persia: Warrior Within)
The old PS2 trilogy of Prince of Persia games is one of my favorite series of all time. The second game, Warrior Within, is quite enjoyable and has the best combat in the series, in my humble opinion. Furthermore, it features my choice for my favorite unstoppable enemy in video games, the Dahaka. This creature is the manifestation of fate that seeks to do away with the titular Prince since he was supposed to have met his end in the first game for unleashing the Sands of Time. Given that he has cheated fate and survived, the Prince has become an anomaly in the timeline, an anomaly that the Dahaka must correct. The Prince spends a good seven years running from the Dahaka, and in the events of Warrior Within, the Prince seeks to find a way to prevent the Sands of Time from ever being created, which in turn would undo his mistake of unleashing them in the first place and (hopefully) lead to the Dahaka no longer needing to kill him.
There are a number of moments in Warrior Within where the Dahaka catches up to the Prince as he climbs and clambers about the Island of Time. The Prince has become a badass master swordsman over the years and is capable of defeating many deadly sand monsters, but the Dahaka is simply beyond his capabilities and is downright invincible, so when the Prince faces it, he has no choice but to haul ass out of there and escape through one of the many time portals dotted around the Island of Time. These “Dahaka Chases” involve the player having the Prince make full use of his signature parkour skills to stay at least one step ahead of his would-be killer. The Prince must run, jump, wall run, climb, and swing on poles as quickly as possible, or else the Dahaka will grab him with its tendrils and kill him almost instantly. The player can use the Sands of Time to rewind time and save themselves, but there’s a limit to how many times this can be done, so being quick is the best way to avoid certain death when the Dahaka comes after you.
For not being a horror game, Warrior Within certainly gets me nervous during some of these chases, particularly when you’re trying to get away from the Dahaka and have to stop to destroy a barrel blocking your way or hang onto a ledge and shimmy along the side until you can climb through an opening, all the while hearing the increasingly quickening stomps of the Dahaka coming closer and closer from behind and seeing the screen darken with the shadowy mist that permanently surrounds it, further signifying its impending approach. Really gets the heart pumping (and the instrumental version of Godsmack’s “I Stand Alone” playing in the background during these chases makes them even more memorable). And even when you do (possible spoilers) finally acquire a weapon strong enough to kill the Dahaka in the game’s climax, fighting him is no easy task since it’s an extremely powerful and tough creature. All these qualities, combined with its intimidating and badass design and its single-minded determination to catch its target and never stop until the job is done, make the Dahaka not only one of my favorite video game villains of all time but also my easy pick for my favorite unstoppable enemy in video games. And if Ubisoft end up remaking Warrior Within as they are currently doing with The Sands of Time, then I REALLY look forward to seeing the Dahaka in full remade glory.
The Xenomorph (Alien: Isolation)
It took 35 years to happen, but Hollywood’s most terrifying creature finally became video gaming’s most terrifying creature with the release of Alien: Isolation. Sure, the iconic Xenomorph had featured in dozens of games since its 1979 debut, but none had captured what truly made Alien so nightmare-inducing. The unlikely team of Creative Assembly, the studio behind the Total War games, finally made Ridley Scott’s monster something to be afraid of.
The Xeno of Alien: Isolation is a predator. With you in control of protagonist Amanda Ripley, the Xeno hunts you through the dank corridors of the Sevastapol, stalking you out of sight through air vents and tunnels. Thanks to the unique behavioral A.I. built into the game, the Xenomorph also learns from you, adjusting the way it hunts. Hide in too many lockers, and it will become wise, tearing them open like a hungry bear with a can of tuna. It will set ambushes, pouncing on you from above or behind, and reacting with cat-like reflexes to even the slightest sound you make. Perhaps most frightening of all, the Xenomorph can’t be killed, and it can’t be stopped. You are not one of the trained soldiers from Aliens, you are one of the scared engineers of the debut movie, and you have one and only one option: run and hide. Because, as they say, in space no one can hear you scream.
Ruvik (The Evil Within)
The Evil Within is full of daunting enemies that protagonist Sebastian Castellanos must face. Some of them are unbeatable until certain points in the game – and even then, it’s unclear as to whether or not they ever truly die. We go head-to-head against a spider-like creature called Laura who, even if you expend the high amount of firepower to put her down the first time you meet her, will show up several more times before the game finally decides she’s tormented you enough. And then there’s the safe-headed Keeper reminiscent of Silent Hill’s Pyramid Head who will just keep spawning in the safes conveniently littered around the room in which you face him.
It was the main antagonist, Ruvik, that stuck with me the most though. Throughout the majority of the game, Ruvik kept at a distance. He would make his presence known – showing up as a ghostly image to remind you he was there and pulling the strings, but for the most part, he’d leave the actual dealing of the player to the hoards of Haunted. It isn’t until chapter 9 that he first appears as a direct threat. As you make your way through the mental construction of Ruvik’s childhood home, learning of his disturbing past, he will appear every so often. His appearance is accompanied by a blue tint that encompasses your surroundings, and the music shifts to something similar to sound interference. There’s a feeling of dread as you realise that he’s there before you even see him. Ruvik will slowly approach and occasionally teleport to catch up to Sebastian, and while Ruvik is the final boss and can ultimately be beaten later on in the game, he can’t be beaten at this stage. If he catches you, he kills you instantly. He can’t be dodged or blocked, so there’s nothing to do except run as fast as you can and hope he doesn’t teleport right in front of you, or you need to find a hiding place and wait him out in a deadly game of hide and seek. Hiding under a bed, watching Ruvik pace the room as he searched for me with Sebastian’s heartbeat and breathing amplified for added effect, really had me on the edge of my seat.
It’s a tense chapter but easily my favourite.
Anima (The Evil Within 2)
The most tension that comes from any game rather than just horror games comes from enemies that you can subdue temporarily but can’t kill. The tension raises to a whole other level when they chase you relentlessly like you’re the last egg mayonnaise sandwich at that wedding you went to only for the free food. The one that sticks in my head and will probably continue to until my dying day is Anima from The Evil Within 2. Holy shit, this lady is one scary MF!! First encountered when you pick up a woman’s journal, a sequence of events is triggered to introduce this absolute monstrosity. First, the room you’re in goes cold, then furniture gets thrown around before the camera pans down a corridor and BAM, there she is: a tall, thin, disproportionate woman with tattered robes, long, black hair covering her face, and multiple arms waving around constantly. Then there’s her eerie song she hums as she stalks you; it will seriously put the willies up you and haunt your dreams. You can’t kill her, and if she spots you, she bursts at you, making you jump physically out of your seat. Man, The Evil Within 2 is a great game! And the Anima lady is one of the reasons why.
Jack Baker (Resident Evil 7: Biohazard)
There have been many enemies over the years that have made me question my sanity. But none more so than Jack Baker. So, I recently played through Resident Evil 7, and seriously…HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO KILL THIS MF BEFORE HE GETS THE POINT?!?!! Hit by a car? Nope. Set on fire? Not today. Shot numerous times straight in his skull?! LOL! No. The sheer tenacity of this guy is both admirable and damn right frustrating, even up to the point of his final mutation. The game itself had me almost constantly on the edge of my seat, as well as running to change my underwear. Now I’m too scared to even open my own refrigerator since I suspect he’ll suddenly pop up. That dude is going to haunt my dreams forever…
Snacker the Shark (Banjo-Kazooie)
I used to be a terrible scaredy cat as a kid, especially when it came to one specific thing: bosses in games. Spyro: Year of the Dragon’s terrifying frog creature stopped me from progressing past its first world for years as I couldn’t muster up the courage to be chased by this rotating monstrosity. The way bosses were introduced in Donkey Kong 64 was the stuff of nightmares for me. Dim lights, ominous music, the giant doors slamming shut behind me while King K. Rool’s evil laugh booms out of the TV, taking away my only escape route ー well, except for immediately pausing and quitting the game once that heavily armed armadillo showed up.
But nothing traumatised me more than Banjo-Kazooie. Treasure Trove Coast was a lovely beach level with a blubbering captain and lots of crabs. But its jaunty tunes hid a dark secret from young me. The level starts on a small pier, under which a collectible hides in the water. Little me immediately set off to get it, but as soon as I started swimming, a speech bubble popped up to tell me what a great snack I’d be (true that!) while Jaws-esque music started playing. Out of nowhere, a big shark came straight for me. Heart racing, I hurried back to shore and swore never to set foot ー or bear paw ー in that sea again. Unfortunately, that level also introduced the ability to fly, and while soaring through the sky, one easily loses track of how many red feathers one has left. Suddenly, they’re depleted, and I plummet down, usually right into the open sea, far away from safe land or debris. In most cases, I shut off the game as soon as I started falling in panic-fuelled speed that rivalled Usain Bolt.
Figuring out where your fears and phobias may have originated from, which experiences formed them, can be an interesting bit of self-discovery. For example, I’m afraid of open waters. I’ll let you do the math on this one.
And so concludes our list of favorite unstoppable enemies in video games from your friends at Gaming Respawn. If you have any picks that you feel we missed, then please share your favorites in the comments below.