Gaming's freakiest monsters: A biological study

Perhaps better than any other creative medium, videogames have managed to recreate entire ecosystems of imaginary creatures and presented them in an observable context. Books and movies may offer detailed glimpses of anatomy and behavior, but only in videogames does the observer interact with organisms and experience behaviors first hand. In times past we had more comprehensive instruction manuals that often described the various entities of a particular digital biosphere, but these days the determined biologist must speculate on anatomical functions. So then, join us on a brief ecological survey of gaming's more... peculiar creatures.


Biosphere: Dead Space, Dead Space Extraction
Classification: Leapus horrificus

The Leaper, typically encountered in deep space environments, is equally at home in Earth-equivalent gravity and zero gravity, using its powerful talons to grip to most surfaces. An ambush predator, it uses surprise and speed to catch prey unawares. Like all animals with tails, it uses its massive tail for balance while running. Although the tail also appears to function as a formidable weapon, similar to that of a scorpion, Leapus horrificus seems reluctant to use it as such. Without a potent poison to deliver, the tail proves not particularly lethal, and due to a lack of rear legs, it is probably difficult to maintain balance and lash out with the tail. This leads us to conclude that the impressive, sharp tail tip is mostly for display, both to intimidate potential predators and competitors for mates.

Let's see how the Leaper does, in fact, hunt for food...

Right. Well, when it gets close, we can see, aside from the rather unfriendly behavior, that the Leaper presents formidable, and complex mandibles. While there are proper fangs, there are also two sets of hinged mandibles separate from the jaw, which appear similar to a spider’s pedipalps. Usually such structures serve to better move pieces of food into the mouth for consumption. Note, also, that the tearing of the skin at the sides of the head suggest that the jaw can dislocate like a snake’s, allowing for the swallowing of prey whole.

Reports that Leapers use their graceful tails in elaborate mating dances have yet to be confirmed, as typical observes tend not to survive encounters. At all.


Biosphere: Dead Space, Dead Space Extraction
Classification: Infantus incorrigible

It's been shown throughout the animal kingdom that “cuteness” is a universal evolutionary adaptation. Baby animals share the traits of an enlarged cranium, proportionally large eyes, with other facial features diminished. As no reports have ever confirmed sightings of “adult” Lurkers, the running theory is one of mimicry – the Lurker takes on the appearance of an infant in order to induce feelings of sympathy in its adult human prey.

Through the outer carapace sprout three appendages used for self-defense. These extrusions also serve to warn predators away, and helps to make the Lurker look larger, thus intimidating less-intelligent animals. The tentacles may also serve as ovipositors or sexual organs, which on the latter one biologist noted being a “disturbing possibility I don't want to think about.”

While typically skittish, Infantus incorrigible has been known to become quite aggressive when threatened, as can be seen here:

Sure are friendly little fellas! Up close, we can better see the infant-like outer shell. With the dorsal appendages extended toward the face of the prey, the possibility of reproduction becomes clear. While many scientists agree this behavior is purely defensive or predatory, others have suggested a more benign purpose – that the mimic-minded creature is merely duplicating infant behavior and is “coming to mama.”

Either way, scientists agree that encouraging said behavior in Lurkers injury on the part of the scientist and separation anxiety for the “child.”

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  • conchking - October 28, 2009 7:32 p.m.

    Awesome article, Ioled at terrapin buttface
  • lewis42025 - October 28, 2009 8:08 p.m.

    very, very funny....and informative?
  • lewis42025 - October 28, 2009 8:10 p.m.

    very, very funny!!!....and disturbing
  • Corsair89 - October 28, 2009 8:17 p.m.

    Oh God, the Regenerators and the Iron Maidens nearly made me shit my pants when I first saw them. That breathing still invades my nightmares.
  • Cyberninja - October 28, 2009 8:21 p.m.

    great article
  • GamerTagsSuck - October 28, 2009 8:45 p.m.

    I called the Regenerators Hyperventilating Zombies before I learned their name. I still think my name is much better.
  • Terro - October 28, 2009 9:06 p.m.

    All my nightmares condensed into one article. I still get nerves about the Regenerators every time I play through RE4, even though I'm got my Inf. Rocket Launcher...
  • Hurricrane - October 28, 2009 9:07 p.m.

    *coterrorizes whith Corsair* and the re-imagining of Cerberus is equal parts awesome and extremely disturbing... guess I should expect that from Dante's Inferno by now >.>
  • jar-head - October 28, 2009 9:21 p.m.

    Damn Funny! Gata Love GR's Approach on some of the Best Survival/horror games out there...Cannot Wait for Dante's Inferno, an Epic Classic.....GR Has to publish a symbolism/creature Guide when it's released...
  • Jordo141 - October 28, 2009 10:05 p.m.

    Oh GamesRadar, how you combine my love of games and biology.
  • Metroidhunter32 - October 28, 2009 10:46 p.m.

    Hm. Those Regenerators are going tro be interesting when I get to them in RE4. Not much in that or Eternal Darkness has scared me yet, not even Baghead, so I'm begining to wonder if a video game can scare me. Those guys will push that to the test
  • ryno - October 28, 2009 10:56 p.m.

    i think the turtle thing will give me nightmares
  • c1nd3rcell - October 28, 2009 11:12 p.m.

    these things scare the living crap out of me!! well, at least they're better looking that my history teacher ;)
  • FrozenImplosion - October 28, 2009 11:13 p.m.

    This was great, I'm loving these Halloween themed articles!
  • norid - October 28, 2009 11:21 p.m.

    (3 years ago)ahhhhhhh make the beathing stop. *sobbing* (present) ahhhhhh make the breathing stop. iron maidens aren't real *sobbing in the corner*
  • Shadowhatchi - October 28, 2009 11:44 p.m.

    I don't find cerburus scary at all because to me he is the only monster in the game that looks like he was made in spore.
  • Conman93 - October 29, 2009 12:01 a.m.

    Regenerators are creepy as hell. Nightmares are returning. Very informative article. Now I know, and knowing is half the battle ( GI JOE!!!! )
  • jtslugmaster10 - October 29, 2009 12:34 a.m.

    wow i am surprised no monsters from diablo made it into the article... oh well still a good article
  • Hobojedi - October 29, 2009 12:49 a.m.

    There's too many freaky monsters to count, I think of this guide as just a small sample of them.
  • patriotfan09 - October 29, 2009 1:51 a.m.

    Not to be rude or anything, but what about Feral Ghouls from Fallout 3? I know there was probably a reason for them being left out, but what was it? Thanks

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