Slideshow

The 38 most memorable first enemies

Check out 38 enemies that made an immediate impression on us.

  • 27- Kid Icarus: Shemum


    First encounter:
    As Pit bursts through the first door on stage one, four Shemums come cascading down from the platforms above. Fortunately, Pit is equipped with a bow and arrow, and by shooting the Shemum in the face it disappears leaving an item in its place.
    We remember it because...
    Described by Nintendo as a combination of Zelda, Mario Brothers, and Metroid, Kid Icarus is generally regarded as one of Nintendo's original classics. One of the reasons it is so fondly remembered is due to the wide array of unusual enemies it featured, including, but not limited to, that winged snake called the Shemum. Emerging more often than any other enemy in the entire game, the Shemum appeared in every level of Kid Icarus, until the climatic fight with Medusa.
  • 19-God of War: Legionnaire


    First encounter:
    The Legionnaire is first introduced while receiving an earful from Kratos about getting sent back to the depths of hell. This scream session takes place on the bow of a shipwrecked boat, and while these Legionnaires don't seem to take well to Kratos' vocal belittling, their indignation doesn't prevent them from being easily slaughtered.
    We remember it because...
    Kratos makes short work of the Legionnaire and he does so often. The enemy is repeatedly seen throughout the game, making him easily identifiable as the game's most prominent antagonist. His strange, blue skin also makes him stick out in a crowd of your everyday, run-of-the-mill Greek soldiers.
  • 16- Sonic the Hedgehog: Moto Bug


    First encounter:
    Upon joining Sonic in the Green Hill Zone, a slow (at least in comparison to the hedgehog), mechanized bug rolls up on one wheel. Ultimately, he poses such a minimal threat that he's often jumped and then subsequently forced to eat the dust of the blue mammal.
    We remember it because...
    Sonic the Hedgehog was an amazing game that was striking not only for its intense gameplay, but also for its extremely colorful art design and world. Part of that world included those strange amalgamations of robots and animals called Badniks, who were as annoying as they were creative. The Moto Bug was such a Badnik, and upon crushing him, an adorable woodland creature would hop out and scurry away.
  • 20-Metroid: Geemer


    First encounter:
    As Samus Aran slowly materialized on the planet Zebes, a pair of Geemers abruptly appeared, slowly circling platforms above the female heroine. The enemies were generally left alone to continue circling their platforms; however, if the player had a mean streak or hated everything Geem-like, they were easy to dispatch with.
    We remember it because...
    Since Metroid was one of the first non-linear games, until its release, players hadn't frequently experienced the concept of backtracking to further themselves. This meant that, not only would these Geemers be seen at the start of the game, but also after each subsequent pass through that particular area when the players retraced their steps.
  • 28- Shinobi: Punk


    First encounter:
    Once players deposited their quarters and a booming voice announced "mission one," it was time to move the ninja to the right and do battle with a Mohawk-wearing punk. If the players failed to chuck their throwing stars at this pig-faced enemy, they should be prepared to receive the only attack the punk was capable of delivering: a kick.
    We remember it because...
    Shinobi was an incredibly successful arcade game, but if you didn't get the opportunity to play it in one of those dark, nerd havens, then you would have had many chances to play it at home, since it was ported to over 10 different home consoles. That meant that hundreds of those hooligans perished at the hands of players, and as a result, thousands of punk rock records stopped getting played.
  • 33-Ghosts 'n Goblins: Zombie with Red Mullet


    First encounter:
    Following the kidnapping of Princess Prin-Prin during her picnic in the graveyard, Arthur —¸the player-controlled hero/knight — immediately jumped to his feet where he was at once met with a pair of zombies sporting bitchin' red mullets.
    We remember it because...
    When playing one of the most difficult videogame titles to complete, one takes special note of the aspects that aren't so difficult, and certainly killing these mulleted zombies was not. They also attack in large groups, so not only would the players be repeatedly subjected to the zombies' bad taste in hair styles, they would see and kill hundreds of them.
  • 5-Donkey Kong: Donkey Kong


    First encounter:
    Before the barrel hurling begins, and even before Mario appears on screen, a giant, menacing ape sits atop some scaffolding preparing to destroy the hero's ambitions of love and happiness with his now captive girlfriend.
    We remember it because...
    Donkey Kong is one of the oldest platformers ever, and it also was one of the first games to use a narrative to enhance its gameplay. This subsequently cemented the massive monkey's legacy, and it ensured that Kong would continue to appear in later titles.
  • 2- Resident Evil: Zombie


    First encounter:
    After listening to some atrocious dialogue, your character eventually ventures off on his/her own, and after entering a few empty rooms you finally happen upon a creature who — detailed through a cinema — is grazing on a decapitated corpse's flesh.
    We remember it because...
    Up to this point the game had been creating some pretty thick atmosphere, and there was some ambivalence as to what creatures you were going to be encountering and fighting. Those questions were answered, however, as you came across a zombie on all fours engaged in consumption. This renowned encounter was also immortalized on the game box-art, where it illustrated the infamous cinema that showed the zombie slowly looking over his shoulder at you.
  • 8- The Legend of Zelda: Octorok


    First encounter:
    Once the player acquires the brown sword from the old man at the outset of The Legend of Zelda, any direction he goes will eventually lead him to the red Octorok. This land-Octopus will then proceed to shoot large rocks at Link from its maw, before getting stabbed and disappearing.
    We remember it because...
    The Octorok — who was given his clever name due to his octopus-like appearance and his ability to spit rocks — frequently attacked in packs. This resulted in numerous battles and subsequent deaths at the hands of the androgynous green hero. Due to these numerous battles, the popularity of the game, and his overall strange design, the Octorok became a gaming icon.
  • 34-Ninja Gaiden: Helmeted, Life-Preserver Wearing Clubber


    First encounter:
    As player-controlled Ryu runs to the right, a trio of Helmeted, Life-Preserver Wearing Clubbers approaches with their aforementioned clubs raised in anticipation; however, they usually end up taking a sword to the gut before exploding and disappearing.
    We remember it because...
    These ridiculous enemies rarely posed a threat, and usually only got a shot in when Ryu was occupied with defeating other tougher foes. However, the combination of motorcycle helmet and life-preserver, coupled with the fact that Ninja Gaiden was a great and notable game, made these opponents ones to remember.
  • In gaming, first impressions mean everything. Particularly, your first fight has to be a good one. Sometime it means having a pushover of an enemy to inflate the player's confidence. Other times, it means shocking the player with something creepy to instil fear. Whatever the means of their introduction, the following 38 first enemy encounters will never be forgotten.

  • 3- Pitfall!: Scorpion


    First encounter:
    Decked out in his green shirt and pants, Harry the explorer first spotted the massive scorpion upon entering the third screen of the game. The colossal bug sat underground, however, and posed less of an immediate threat then the pair of logs rolling Harry's way, although the insect did prompt a horrible image of what battles lay in store.
    We remember it because...
    If you were playing videogames in 1980, you were playing Pitfall! This title sold over 4 million copies and was owned by the large majority of Atari 2600 users. That meant that during the industry's earliest days, basically everyone was encountering and subsequently battling/avoiding this giant scorpion.
  • 23-Medal of Honor: Nazi Soldier


    First encounter:
    Jimmy Patterson first comes across one of these extremely well-animated soldiers during a covert mission in France, and it is between a row of hedges where the first Nazi appears and is then consequently shot. Shortly following that first kill will be hundreds more.
    We remember it because...
    What set Medal of Honor apart from the other first-person shooters of its day was its incredible attention to detail. After doing battle with the first Nazi, you realized that where you shot a soldier would determine how he reacted to being shot. Shoot him in the leg and he'd bounce around on one foot, shoot him in the gut and he'd grab his torso. While that might not seem impressive today, in the past it blew our minds.
  • 36-Bomberman: Security Guard


    First encounter:
    From the second the Bomberman first steps foot in that diabolical maze, those balloon-shaped security guards repeatedly attempt to put a halt to his gratifying bombing exploits. Unfortunately for the guards, balloons don't withstand blasts from bombs very well.
    We remember it because…
    Bomberman is a title that has transcended every generation of videogame consoles, and somehow remained enjoyable and engrossing. And while the series, and this title specifically, is remarkable for a number of reasons, it's tough not to appreciate a sentient balloon who has the toughness and heart to attempt to stop a man with unlimited bombs at his disposal.
  • 9- Final Fantasy VII: Shinra Soldiers


    First encounter:
    As your still-unnamed character exits a train with a band of mercenaries, he is approached by a pair of train guards. It is here where our hero unsheathes his massive sword for the first time and attacks these hopeless nobodies.
    We remember it because...
    Final Fantasy VII is considered by many to be one of the best RPGs ever created, and as a result it has amassed a dedicated following. This initial encounter was the player's first real introduction to the extremely popular protagonist, and not only did it reveal the game's combat mechanics, but it gave us a preliminary insight into the nature of one of Final Fantasy's most beloved characters.
  • 35-Battletoads: Psyko Pig


    First encounter:
    Shortly after the player's chosen Battletoad is lowered onto the screen, a pair of large spikes puncture the ground, and as they recoil, they leave behind the terrifying Psyko Pigs. These red swine then attempt to axe those fightin' toads; however, they frequently fail in their endeavor.
    We remember it because...
    What Battletoads lacked in accessibility (it was extremely difficult), it made up for in graphics and creativity. The game looked great, and is usually remembered as one of the NES's most graphically accomplished games, a characterization that held true for its distinguishable enemies as well. The forceful entrance those unique-looking, pig soldiers made also enabled them to be forever stamped in gamers' collective subconscious.
  • 13-Metal Gear: Sleepy Soldier


    First encounter:
    The original Metal Gear world was split up into various screens, and the player could not see the next area until he proceeded to the edge of the one he was in. Upon entering the second area, Solid Snake would come across the infamous, drowsy soldier--who by choosing to feel asleep at this inopportune time, would frequently be punched to death.
    We remember it because...
    The initial Metal Gear not only served as the predecessor for a highly successful and influential gaming series, it was really the precursor for the entire Stealth genre. It introduced a new and novel type of gameplay that was first experienced when this particular soldier decided to rest his eyes. As a result, that soldier would frequently awaken to face-punches.
  • 10- Doom: Zombie Space Marine


    First encounter:
    In a large room immediately to the player's left resides a tall staircase, and perched atop that staircase stands a former Space Marine, now in a form that enjoys brain-eating. Depending on what version you played, sometimes a pair of Zombie Marines waited to get blasted atop those stairs, sometimes not. Either way, blasting ensued.
    We remember it because...
    Doom created atmosphere in spades with one of the first utilizations of immersive 3d graphics. It also turned out to be an incredibly bloody title, which the gamer first realized after shooting the head of that undead marine, leaving a bloody pile of gory goo on the ground in its place.
  • 22-Halo: Covenant Elite


    First encounter:
    Shortly after Master Chief was awoken from his frozen slumber, the Covenant Elites unexpectedly began attacking, inducing panic, which was depicted in the game through the human's antiquated voice acting.
    We remember it because...
    This wasn't your standard "move towards the right of the screen until an enemy appears" encounter. No, this game set you up by introducing a very slow and deliberately paced tutorial, and then instantly and unexpectedly throwing you into the fire once the Covenant attacked.
  • 14-Mike Tyson's Punch Out: Glass Joe


    First encounter:
    After a disembodied boxing glove punched through the mesh Punch Out logo, we would see for the first time this ugly Frenchman's mug. In a couple more minutes, that face would become even uglier.
    We remember it because...
    Mike Tyson's Punch Out is a game that has aged incredibly well, and as a result, it is still frequently played and fondly remembered. One of its more memorable aspects was the incredibly varied and distinct cast of characters it employed, each of which possessed a very unique personality and fighting style. Glass Joe's style involved taking frequent punches and repeatedly falling down, making him the unforgettable creampuff.
  • 31-Earthworm Jim: Killer Crow


    First encounter: The arrival of a massive earthworm at New Junk City quickly prompted a crow whose eyes were bigger than his stomach to attack. Unfortunately for the crow, that massive earthworm was equipped with a high-tech ray-gun, and he unsurprisingly was opposed to being eaten. Thus, the crow was frequently blasted, ironically causing his beak to separate from his head.
    We remember it because...
    Like nearly every aspect of Earthworm Jim, the crow and its subsequent death is laced with humor, and it isn't difficult to see the irony of a crow losing its beak after getting shot by the worm it wanted to consume.
  • 38- Penny Arcade: Fruit Fucker


    First encounter:
    With Penny Arcade Adventures protagonist's crushed house providing him the fortitude to pursue its crushing transgressors, your custom-built hero then proceeds down the street of his cul-de-sac where he eventually comes across the small, thrusting robots known as Fruit Fuckers.
    We remember it because...
    Any enemy called a Fruit Fucker is going to be easy to remember, just like any enemy who engages in copulation with produce would be easy to remember. And in this particular enemy's case, both attributes apply.
  • 30- Bionic Commando: Nazz Soldier


    First encounter:
    After Captain Nathan "Rad" Spencer landed from his parachute infiltration, a solitary Nazz Soldier can be seen running back and forth, blindly shooting his gun, whether an enemy was present or not. Since the soldier didn't react to movement, it was best to attack him while he was blindly shooting in the opposite direction.
    We remember it because...
    Remembered as being the only platformer where the hero couldn't jump, Bionic Commando was remarkable for many reasons beyond its unusual method of traversing platforms, one being, its not so subtle suggestion that its antagonists were Nazis. This was not only noticeable from the enemies' similar spellings (Nazz and Nazi), but from their evil leader's eerily similar appearance to Hitler.
  • 24-Gauntlet: Ghost


    First encounter:
    The first of the undead menagerie the hero encounters in Gauntlet is the Ghost, and the encounter takes place about 6 paces down from the initial spawn point. And how do you kill these already dead, vaporous entities? With an axe, of course.
    We remember it because...
    The sheer amount of enemies that needed to be killed in order to proceed from one level to the next in Gauntlet was massive. This meant the player would literally see hundreds of any of the various monsters during each level of this game. And since the game was ultimately unbeatable, the amount of Ghosts one could come across playing Gauntlet was infinite. When enemies' headcounts are that large, they become difficult to forget.
  • 25- Double Dragon: Red Vested Woman Puncher


    First encounter:
    Double Dragon begins with Billy's girlfriend getting socked in the gut by a thug sporting a Marty McFly-style vest jacket, and carried off in the company of a gang of hoodlums. The quest for revenge begins shortly thereafter... when you run into two enemies who looked just like that guy.
    We remember it because...
    The first time we played, we thought we had already caught the perp, and his also-evil twin. Unfortunately, what ultimately stuck in our mind was the rampant character model recycling at work in the game, especially when you notice the blue-haired enemy on the top in that opening was just a palette swap of the main character.
  • 21-Contra: Red Falcon Soldier


    First encounter:
    Immediately after somersaulting onto the screen, player-controlled Bill Rizer was forced to unload his machine gun or suffer the horrible fate of getting mowed down by the Red Falcon Soldier. After getting shot, this kamikaze soldier would then leap backwards into the air before melodramatically exploding.
    We remember it because...
    This suicidal, crimson soldier is so well remembered for a number of reasons: (1) Contra was one of the first co-op video games, and a good one at that, meaning Contra got played often for a number of years, (2) the enemy is present throughout nearly the entire game and is frequently seen, and (3) no one could forget that sensationally exaggerated death with the soldier flying into the air and exploding like a firework.
  • 7- Castlevania: Symphony of the Night: Dracula


    First encounter:
    Castlevania: Symphony of the Night begins with a sort of prologue that details a preceding fight with Dracula. In this prelude, the player initially controls Richter Belmont as he plays out the climax of a previous Castlevania title. In it a toned down Dracula is defeated, ultimately providing a catalyst for the events of SOTN.
    We remember it because...
    Symphony of the Night is one of the most popular and well-regarded Castlevania titles, and its unusual beginning — starting off with a previous title's climax — is very memorable. Also, using the series' main antagonist for the game's first encounter is something that is just as unique and notable.
  • 11- Asteroids: Asteroid


    First encounter:
    The main antagonist of Asteroids — the asteroid — appears immediately on the screen at the same time as the player's triangular spaceship. This means that the action begins the second the game starts, and there is no need to first seek out the enemy before attacking or avoiding it.
    We remember it because...
    During the golden age of the arcades, few games were as popular as Asteroids, and regarding the medium in general, few games so repeatedly recycled their main enemy than Asteroids. During the course of an average Asteroid game, 99% of the objects fought are of the flying-space-rock persuasion. This enemy was prominent.
  • 29- Bubble Bobble: Bubble Buster


    First encounter:
    Immediately after the beginning of a fantastic story, you will make a journey to the cave of monsters. There, your bubble-blowing dragon avatar will happen upon a trio of enemies who look like a cross between a washing machine and Pac-man. These are Bubble Busters, the enemy with the unfortunate calamity of having its weakness as its name.
    We remember it because...
    Sure there were wizards and weird fish later on in the game, but Bubble Buster wasn't all that easier than its brothers in arms. Probably because the old "put in bubble and pop" tactic worked for 90% of the enemies, Bubble Buster served not only as an introduction to the game, but also its main combat mechanic. Plust they were sooo cute when they got angry and red.
  • 37- Devil May Cry: Marionette



    The Marionette doesn't make his its appearance immediately known in Devil May Cry, and it takes a little bit of castle exploration before Dante happens upon. However, after its discovery rest assured that a combination of swords and bullets make the Marionette appear about as life-like as a sock-puppet.
    We remember it because... For starters, the prolonged castle exploration sequence makes the eventual combat segment that much more jarring and distinctive in comparison, and secondly, the enemy is so unusual, creepy, and unique looking that it easily makes a strong impression. The game was also extremely well done, and thus was often played
  • 12- Bioshock: Splicer


    First encounter:
    The player first makes his/her acquaintance with a Splicer as the player's bathysphere arrives at Rapture. There, he/she witnesses said enemy gut a pleading man while an overhead light flashes ominously. The Splicer then screams, attacks your sub, gives up, screams again, and retreats. Later you put a bullet in its head.
    We remember it because...
    BioShock's encounter was so easy to remember because it was so terrifying and cinematic. The creepy atmosphere had already been well established before that abomination showed up; however, its incoherent shrieks significantly added to the frightening ambiance. After meeting your first Splicer, you tiptoed through the rest of this creepy game.
  • 15- Portal: Sentry Robot


    First encounter:
    For the first few stages of Portal, your only visible enemy is a terrifying drop to your death. The first outside threat to your character's existence comes 16 stages into the game, when an armed and dangerous robot cutely asks "Are you still there?"
    We remember it because...
    As the only enemy type outside of GLADoS, the Sentry Robot needed to pretty darn memorable. By being as lethal as it was adorable, every single sentry you'll encounter will warm your heart... if it doesn't fill it full of bullets first.
  • 6- Dragon Warrior: Slime


    First encounter:
    Even though the battles in Dragon Warrior were random, the first enemy you would always come across was that smiley faced, Hersey Kiss shaped, blue slime. And while his smile warmed your heart, what really made the player happy was how easy they were to defeat.
    We remember it because...
    The grinning Slime has become a trademark of the Dragon Warrior titles, appearing in every version of this very prolific and currently ongoing series. And while the player will never have a difficult time defeating one, the Slime's unusual high-spirited appearance while being butchered will always allow him to be remembered fondly.
  • 18- Silent Hill-: Knife-wielding Babies


    First encounter:
    After passing a blood-soaked gurney and broken wheelchair in a pitch-black alley at the beginning of the game, you run into two knife-wielding demonic infants who lunge at you.
    We remember it because...
    Silent Hill was the kind of game that was just dripping with evil, and what other game before had the guts to kick things off with a fight against something as freaky as murderous toddlers carrying meat cleavers?
  • 1- Super Mario Brothers: Goomba


    First encounter:
    Half a second after pushing start and proceeding to the right, Mario will come across the first wave of Bowser's immense defenses: a sluggish, side-stepping Goomba. He will then proceed to crush its head.
    We remember it because...
    Super Mario Brothers was the quintessential NES game, and if you owned a Nintendo, you owned Mario Brothers. And since it was one of the NES's best games — available very early in its life cycle — it got played a lot, and as a result that poor Goomba's melon got squashed gazillions of times.
  • 26- Prince of Persia: Guardian


    First encounter:
    It's a little ways into the game before one does battle with Prince of Persia's first enemy, but after navigating through a few traps and landing a few large leaps, the players would eventually find themselves face-to-face with a pink-adorned Guardian. At that point a sword fight would ensue and often the pink guard would find himself at the wrong of said sword.
    We remember it because...
    Because Prince of Persia established so many platforming elements before introducing the first enemy, when combat finally ensued, it really stuck out. Also, the use of swords as weapons —¸when so many games at that time favored projectiles — added more uniqueness and originality to a game that was already pretty innovative.
  • 17-Half Life: Head Crab


    First encounter:
    Following the failed teleportation experiment, and just after all hell breaks loose in the Black Mesa Research Facility, Dr. Gordon Freeman will eventually come across these ugly aliens. And since early on the only weapon at ole Gordo's disposal was the crowbar, those alien's mugs suffered extensive blunt trauma.
    We remember it because...
    Half-Life spent a lot of time on developing plot prior to any sort combat, and not only did this make the eventual combat that much more profound, but it also was a welcomed change of pace from the listening to those scientists talk about science.
  • 32-Gears of War: Locust Drone


    First encounter:
    Regardless of the divergent path the players chose at the beginning of Gears of War, eventually they would find themselves on an exterior bridge in a duck-and-cover gun-battle with one, or several, Locust Drones.
    We remember it because...
    Gears of War is one of the current generation's most successful games, and it ultimately represents the pinnacle of modern gaming. Its firefights were intense, and as a result every encounter — especially the first few — were ones to remember. Also, GOW's graphics were so striking and explicit that it made all of its detailed enemies tough to forget.
  • 4- Shadow of the Colossus: Colossus


    First encounter:
    After a quick control tutorial and some brief platforming segments, the player — via a cinema — will for the first time lay their eyes on one of the massive Colossi. Following this discovery some climbing and stabbing ensues.
    We remember it because...
    Shadow of the Colossus was an incredibly unique game in the way it approached combat, treating it as much of a puzzle game as an action title. Its unique enemies also remained distinctive: in numbers — there were only 16 of them total — and in the scope of each battle - some fights could take up to 20 minutes. All of these features combined to make a one-of-a-kind game with one-of-a-kind enemies.
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