Iconic Monsters


I was getting my pre-order in this weekend for Dragon Quest IX on the DS and I picked my retailer because (I am not proud of this btw) there was a pre-order special of a baseball cap with a picture of a slime on it.

The slimes, as you can see from the picture, are little smiley blobs. In the DQ games, they are blocky blobs of pixels which bounce along gaily. And you may kill or breed them along with the other monsters.

I now feel like a twit because although I always thought they were adorable, I had not realised that they are also THE iconic monster associated with that game. It isn’t just me who makes the association “dragon quest: cute slime monster” – it’s EVERYONE who ever played it.

That’s what happens when you just buy a game in the shop because it looks cool, it turns out to be unexpectedly fun, and you never once read about it online or realised that it was a really really popular game in Japan. Because that’s how I first played Dragon Quest, many years ago.PetMurlocMurky

Now here’s another iconic monster. Anyone who plays WoW will recognise a murloc.

I think in this case they became iconic not because they’re adorable but because of their behaviour in game. They were one of the first mobs people encountered as newbies who rabidly brought friends when they were pulled. So responsible for a lot of entertaining (or traumatic) wipes.

And the noise, that murloc gurgle. WoW does have other monsters that players might consider iconic but nothing really stuck in the way that murlocs did.

Final Fantasy, of course, does a great line in iconic monsters. From the chocobos (big yellow riding birds which appear in every outing of the franchise) to Flans (bizarrely, not pastry and fruit confections but elemental themed slimes) by way of the familiar named summons (Shiva, Ramuh, et al).

Do the games you play have iconic monsters, and what makes them so special?


15 thoughts on “Iconic Monsters

  1. The murloc gurgle makes me giggle. Northrend doesn’t have enough murlocs. I hope there will be many murlocs in my future. They remind me of my exciting noob days 5 years ago when they would kill me over and over again in Darkshore.

    • Bah. Northrend had some of the best Murlocing of all. You got to dress in a Murloc costume to rescue hordes of baby Murlocs from a group of evil Murlocs.

      It also had Caveman Murlocs. Or possibly more evolved Murlocs. Whatever Gorlocs are meant to be.

      How much more Murloc you want?

      • More. How scary would a pack of undead murlocs be in ICC? Very scary.

        Gorlocs don’t count as murlocs, they have the cute factor going on too much.

        I do admit that the Winterfin quest chain in BT is one of my favorite ones in WoW. The tadpoles!

  2. Eve: to be honest no. Some people who are more interested in the lore might disagree but to me very monster is a blinking red dot with loot inside.

    AoC: yes. I have read and re-read the Conan stories for years so I find the demons of AoC very iconic and satisfying. Early on you get a quest chain that culminates in fighting a vaguely Lovecraftian bat-demon atop a huge Aztec pyramid.

    • EVE has no monsters period, except for some of the mutated rogue drones. Every mob in the game is a ship a player can use.

  3. Iconic Monsters from (vanilla) WoW (for me):

    – Hogger
    – Murlocs
    – Kobolds
    – Defias Dickheads
    – Stictches
    – Vaelstrasz
    – Chromaggus
    – C’Thun

  4. Shadows in Kingdom Hearts show up almost everywhere. They also have that “cute but potentially bothersome” vibe to ’em.

    Oh, and Pikachu.

  5. The flans from Final Fantasy were the first things I thought of when I saw the topic, but Mario’s Goombas and Koopas are also very iconic!

    A bit outside of the mainstream… I loved the Fruit *@#^%ers and Hobos from the Penny Arcade Adventure games. 😛

  6. My very first iconic monster was on the Intellivison Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Treasure of Tarmin. It was the Minotaur that guarded the treasure. We had this see through wall scroll and we saw the Minotaur through the door.What shivers we got. We called up our friends to come watch as we tried to kill him for the first time.

  7. Spinks wrote:
    I picked my retailer because (I am not proud of this btw) there was a pre-order special of a baseball cap with a picture of a slime on it.

    Spinks… you lie your friends, and I’ll lie to mine, but let’s not lie to each other, ‘K? 😉

    I think iconic monsters are something that stand out. The slimes in Dragon Warrior/Quest stand out because they had a face. In most other games, slime monsters were formless enemies, based on D&D’s oozes, puddings, and jellies. Flans were just such a funny name in the Final Fantasy games. Murlocs, as pointed out, had one of the harshest systems for new players along with a funny sound.

    It’s hard to pick just one iconic monster for Meridian 59. One of the things that I loved about the game was that it had so much originality to it. Sure, there were the stock giant rats and baby spiders, but you quickly got into interesting monsters after that: fungus beasts, mutant ants, living trees that shot lightning bolts, two different groups of fey fighting for control of a location, etc. I think the most iconic monsters was perhaps the troll. Not entirely original to the game, but it was a very traditional (that is, pre-D&D) take on the beasts: big brutes with knobby skin. They were the first really “hard” monsters that newer players would encounter, so they left an definite impression.

    Plus they’d post on the forums all the time. Wait, wrong type of trolls. ;P

  8. off topic: I would kill for a hoodie with dancing baby murlocs on it. Especially if they figured out how to add a chip that made the mrgurgle noise when pressed. It would be awesome.

    Most of the iconic monsters I think of come from D&D, like the beholder or the tentacle-face guys, but the monster that will forever be etched in my brain is the Big Daddy from Bioshock. The first time I saw one of those scared the heck out of me, even though I’d heard about them beforehand (and had a statue of one sitting on my bureau).

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