In real life, everyone knows sharks are perfectly lovely creatures that hold down good jobs, drive responsibly in hybrid cars, and almost never prey on humans. In popular media, however, they’re vicious aquatic bastards who like nothing better than to sneak up on unsuspecting swimmers and devour them as gruesomely as possible, preferably in front of an audience.
Above: You know, like this
Videogame sharks are no exception, and knowing they exist makes us a little nervous every time a game asks us to take a swim through some murky water. That’s because when sharks actually do show up, it usually means you’re about to be on the receiving end of some potentially terrifying, instant-kill bite action in an environment where you’re damn near helpless. And if the game knows what it’s doing, it’ll try and menace you a little first.
Naturally, some games pull this off better than others. What follows are some of the creepiest, bloodiest and most memorable incidents of sharks swimming up to ruin (or improve) our fun.
This particular “attack” doesn’t really fit the traditional mold of a shark swimming up and biting your shit off, but we’re including it for two very important reasons. First, it’s yet another excuse for us to shoehorn Okami into a list article and remind you that you, personally, are to blame for its commercial failure. Second, its shark is nasty.
Above: Oh boy, we can’t wait to take a swim with that thing
Showing up late in the game, the armored shark Ichiro is the horrific offspring of Jiro and Saburo, two bizarre half-shark, half-crab creatures that embody everything wrong and squishy about marine animals. As if they weren’t gross enough on their own, they’ll fuse together the next time you see them, combining their sharky parts to make one big, armored monstrosity that will then act like he’s going to eat you.
Aside from being hideous and unnatural, he’s also fast and aggressive, although he forgoes traditional chomping in favor of leaping out of the water and attempting to belly-flop heroines Amaterasu and Rao to death.
Above: Less scary than being eaten, but still pretty deadly
The beast seems tough until you get his armor off, at which point he can be easily subdued by just painting cherry bombs into his general vicinity until he goes belly-up. It’s a disappointingly swift end for one of the game’s creepier bosses, but Ichiro did his job – which, for the record, was to give us the heebie-jeebies before we found out just how little he was capable of. Here, watch him in action:
In spite of being created by the same studio that would later be responsible for undersea gorefest Jaws Unleashed, Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future is often fondly remembered as a bright, happy adventure filled with soothing New Age music and friendly sea life.
So it’s sometimes easy to forget that you spend a lot of time dogfighting with sharks. In fact, one of the first – and most frightening – challenges young Ecco has to face is a battle with a Great White shark so massive that it would probably be classified as an extinct Megalodon by any sane measure.
Above: Also it has theme music that’s like the theme from Jaws, but with more quiet menace
Making matters worse, you have to taunt it into chasing you through a narrow passage. And as any shark expert can tell you, agitating a giant predator on purpose is absolutely the best idea ever. It’s such a good idea, in fact, that the shark is almost guaranteed to eat you the first several times you try it.
Above: Better known as the “SHIT-SHIT-SHIT-SHIT-cam”
In case you’re wondering, Ecco’s main reason for challenging this enormous bastard in the first place is to steal its “Power of Vigor,” which he will eventually use to fight invading aliens. First, though, he has to snatch it from this thing’s mouth…
Above: Oh hell no
Which will most often result in this:
Above: Ha ha, it’s like he’s smoking a dolphin cigar
It’s far from the bloodiest or most shocking shark attack we’ve ever seen, but in terms of raw, sustained terror? If you cringe at the thought of dipping your toes into a shark tank, then going head-to-head with this monster is a recipe for heart palpitations, no matter how many times you tell yourself that it’s just a game and you’re being stupid. For further proof, here’s some video footage of the ordeal: