Saint Patrick’s Day is coming, which warrants some acknowledgement.
Saint Patrick, the patron Saint of Ireland is perhaps the one saint (other than St. Valentine) who is commonly associated with anything resembling a good time. Friends meet up to spent some time together, sharing their enjoyment of good beverages, good music, and the mutual understanding that the day after might come at a price.
But if we dig beneath the immediate green surface, we can also find a peculiar legend, explaining why Ireland has no snakes. Apparently it was Saint Patrick, irked by being bitten by one of the serpents, who banished them all to the sea.
Seeing how video games and snakes go hand in hand, we’ve complied a short list of some of the prominent gaming snakes, arranged in ascending order according to the danger they pose.
10. Noodle – Snake Pass
In terms of danger Noodle is on the rock bottom of any list. The somewhat clumsy snake protagonist of a puzzle platformer Snake Pass is at best a danger to itself, and even that only by virtue of being too much of a klutz.
One could argue that it’s the player’s own fault, and one would be right, but there’s also no denying Noodle isn’t the fastest serpent around, and the local physics are often against its success.
Danger rating: Wet noodle
9. Snake – Snake
Snake from Snake is probably the best known digital snake out there, impossible to misnake for anything else.
The game itself couldn’t have been simpler: guide a more or less nondescript string of pixels towards food and see it grow until it fills the playable area. Simple, fun, engaging.
Why does Snake get a position a notch higher than Noodle? The reason is simple: due to its voracious appetite and apparent short-sightedness Snake, like its mythological patron Ouroboros, can eat its own tail if it isn’t careful. Needless to say it’s an immediate Game Over, because otherwise we’d face a recursive growth in length and the telephone would explode.
It can also smash its head right into a wall, which also ends Snake’s visit to an all you can eat buffet prematurely.
Either way, Snake is any danger only to itself, but by virtue of being more active about it, it ranks 9 on this list.
Danger rating: Culinary Narcissism
8. Phalanx – Shadow of the Colossus
In the light of a recent complete remake of the cult classic Shadow of the Colossus one would be remiss to not mention one of its majestic beasts here. Although there is a total of three serpentine colossi to heartlessly kill, Phalanx gets the spot due to its sheer size and docility.
When we find Phalanx it’s calmly floating about, unconcerned by the ants on the ground. It’s the luxury being well over 100 meters in length and broad like a four-lane road affords you.
Although Phalanx won’t strike back at Wander harassing it, it gets spot number 8 because if it ever fell on a town it would likely crush a ridiculous portion of it with size and weight.
Danger rating: Gravity
7. Ekans – Pokemon
How could this list not have Jessie’s favourite pet? And at the same time also one of the less exciting Pokemon you could catch early on in the games?
Ekans has all the features of a properly annoying snake. It can spit and regurgitate acid at you, it can wrap you in its coils, it can stare at you REALLY hard. It would be a well-developed snake without equals, if, much like all Pokemon, it was able to learn more than four skills at a time.
Sorry, Ekans, you are more dangerous to others than to yourself, but you don’t have the oomph to make it any higher here.
Danger rating: iak arbok
6. ASP Pharah – Overwatch
A Snake Pharah Pharah
As Pharah as Overwatch heroes go, the Egyptian Rocketeer doesn’t hold back a whole lot as far as her armaments are concerned. Her basic weapon is a rocket launcher, and it only goes up from there. If it wasn’t enough, she can also soar through the skies with her jetpack-equipped power armour. She’s no joke.
Only 5 more days until our cosmetics update arrives in Overwatch! Join us as we count down to their release with new item reveals every day.
Today's reveal: ASP PHARAH (Legendary Skin) pic.twitter.com/hDROJPh8WZ
— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) January 18, 2018
How does she fit into the whole article’s premise? She has a skin called ASP, in itself a very serpentine name, and the official meaning behind the acronym is A Snake Pharah. So as you see, she has every right to be here.
Danger rating: Very dangerous, you go first.
5. Viper – XCOM 2
Some of you might recall the snakemen in the original X-COM games. They were reportedly rather nasty, but that’s just X-COM, baby. When Firaxis made the first rebooted XCOM snakefolk got transformed into humanoid Thin Men. They were wimps, dying from a glancing hit… provided you were still alive after they were done spitting venom clouds at your troops.
The sequel, in a truly sequel fashion, decided to ramp things up, and aliens got a nifty boost. This is how we got Viper. Viper is a somewhat grotesque mix of a female torso grafted onto a snake tail and given a horrifying cobra-like head. Vipers can grab you with their chameleon tongues from behind cover and immediately entangle you, they can spit acid, they can blast you to smithereens with their energy weapons… and their genetically created ruler is even worse, butting in with his turns after you do as much as sneeze. Rude.
Danger rating: Google Images SafeSearch off.
4. Jormungandr – God of War (2018), Magicka
Jormungandr is known as the World Serpent in the Norse mythology and it’s no joke. The blighter got so large swimming in the ocean surrounding Midgard (Earth) that it can wrap around the world and grab its own tail. We’re talking about a cosmic-level snake here, folks.
It stands to reason to include the guy here in two of its incarnations.
One comes from Magicka, and, to be honest, it’s kind of pitiful. It looks like a big deal and if it could it would talk smack, but in the end a single hilariously inept and suicidal wizard is enough to ruin its day.
The other is coming to us in this year’s God of War sequel, and it means business, because GoW games take the gloves off when it comes depicting mythological badasses. This fellow certainly looks like it can make an honest attempt at crushing the world in its coils. Thankfully for all we know at the moment, it’s sympathetic to Kratos’ cause, so it gets a pass for being relatively tame.
Danger rating (Magicka): All bark.
Danger rating (God of War): Thor’s in trouble
3. Hydra – Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen
Too many snakes
Say what you will about Jormungandr, there’s only one of the guy, and should you lop its head off, it stays lopped off. Dragon’s Dogma’s Hydra is the kind of jerk that keeps its heads growing back if you don’t cauterize the wound. Although it will not grow two heads in place of any single one, because that’s ridiculous, it WILL keep on fighting as long as you don’t figure out how to scorch it somehow. This is why you get wizards in your team.
As for the danger level it poses, let me say this: we only ever encounter it twice in the game: once at the very beginning, and getting even one of its heads causes more excitement than the reappearance of a huge dragon. The second time we even get to try to kill it off for good? It’s in the post-game content, and the quest leading up to the fight is STILL called “A Challenge”. Although the impact is lessened somewhat by having it respawn every so often, the idea that this beast could possibly handle the most accomplished monster slayer roaming Gransys speaks to its fearsome reputation.
Danger level: Dragon’s breath ammo recommended
2. Apep/Apophis – Assassin’s Creed: Origins
If a snake that can crush the world and a snake that keeps living despite getting its heads chopped off with a ridiculous sword aren’t enough for you, how about a literal embodiment of the idea of chaos and evil?
Apep has a troubled history, and accounts vary, because that’s how mythologies works, but in general it’s the antithesis of the Sun god Ra, much like Jormungandr is the destined enemy of Thor.
Egyptians were reportedly so scared of the serpent that any depiction of it were supposed to be accompanied by an image of another deity, to contain the snake.
Assassin’s Creed Origins’ Bayek battles Apep during his acid trip, and the blighter is humongous, while Bayek’s only defence is a bow shooting glowing arrows. No biggie, I’ll kill a huge snake with lightbulbs, no problem.
Danger rating: Terror of the land down under.
1. Snake and Solid Snake – Metal Gear Solid franchise
You can’t Plissken everyone
Who else could get the top spot if not the Greatest Warrior of the 20th century, genetic blueprint for the gruffiest spy since Jason Bourne, and the brainchild of the great Hideo Kojima.
The Cold War hero turned mercenary, Big Boss is easily one of the most influential military figures in the Metal Gear version of history, and one of the most iconic characters in all of gaming, preceded by his genetic clone Solid Snake. Exceptional in hand-to-hand combat, gunplay, espionage, military tactics, and looking serious, what more could you want?
In addition, the MGS Snakes are the only ones here that can eliminate you without being seen or heard.
Danger rating: Silent, but deadly.
Thus concludes our serious and in-depth analysis of the various snakes spread far and wide across the rather bloody landscape of gaming, and our work proves that the Snakes of the Metal Gear franchise are the most likely picks for the next nationwide exodus of serpents, or would be, at least, if anyone had any idea where they are hiding.
Either way, stay aware of your surroundings, and remember: when you have a snake, nearby there’s always a badger, badger, badger, badger.
What are your favourite snakes in gaming? Do let us know in the comments, alongside its danger rating, of course.