Skip to main content

The 12 deadliest crabs in video games


What you see in the above image (and cannot now unsee, no matter how much therapy you buy) is the Cthurkey. Its the creation of Rusty Eulberg--a culinary genius from Texas--and its part crab, part turkey, part octopus. And, its literally the ONLY justification I need to write a feature about crabs this close to Christmas.

So join me in celebrating the humble crab in video game form. The following list of crustaceans ranges from the smallest, incidental crabs to the mightiest sci-fi beasts that tower over players with terrifying claws poised to eviscerate. Also, dont worry--theres definitely a joke about pubic crabs in there too. Shell we continue?

Image copyright: Rusty Eulberg, 2013

Crawmerax The Invincible (Borderlands The Secret Army of General Knox)

If theres an award for Most Badass Crab (and there will be in next years Platinum Chalice Awards (opens in new tab), mark my words) then it belongs to Crawmerax. Hes a giant Larva Crab Worm, and hes only available as part of the Secret Army of General Knoxx DLC. In fact, hes so badass, that many consider him to be the first Borderlands raid boss, requiring multiple players working together to bring him down. Come on--he appears in a mission called You. Will. Die.

Hes got more deadly attacks than I care to list, and he automatically scales to four levels above the host player fighting him. Whats more, his minions level-scale above players too, and they come thick and fast while youre fighting him. The reward for smashing through Crawmeraxs carapace is pearlescent loot, some of the rarest and most devastating in the game. This loot alone makes The Secret Army of General Knoxx DLC (*straightens tie) worth shelling out for...

Crabmeat (Sonic The Hedgehog)

You know Crabmeat: hes the cute red robot that ambles from side-to-side before lobbing a couple of fireballs out of his claws, right? Hes harmless, yeah? Well, no. Hes actually a walking prison for a small animal, and he has a penchant for killing rodents and stealing their hard-earned rings. He doesnt even taste very nice, Im told.

So feel no pity as you spin-attack his face off. No need for guilt when you see him falling apart in your sparkly wake. The Crabmeat design was evolved in Sonic 2 (MegaDrive) to become Shell Cracker, who--lets be honest--is an even bigger jerk with his single, giant pincer. In Sonic 2 (Master System) there is a Crabmeat variant called Taraban, which is painted red, white and blue. So, to recap: Sonic fights the Taraban in his second tour of duty. Hes quite the patriot.

Giant Enemy Crab (Genji: Days of the Blade)

Ok, obvious one now. Here is the Giant Enemy Crab from Genji: Days of the Blade; a crustacean made famous by its appearance at Sonys E3 press conference 2006. As rows of dangerously underwhelmed journalists watched on in horror, Sony presented Genji as an action game based on real events and authentic aspects of feudal Japan, before uttering the phrase So, heres this giant enemy crab. As yes, I believe I saw an old lady taking her Giant Enemy Crab for a walk through Akihabara last time I was in Tokyo

As if this historical faux pas wasnt enough, the same game demo coined the meme attack its weak point for massive damage as the poor Sony guy showed the world how to take out the Giant Enemy Crab by flipping it on its back and attacking its weak point for Look, you know how it all went down (opens in new tab).

Headcrabs (Half-Life)

Hey Jeff, how are things, mate? You look different. Did you do something with your hair? Oh, its a headcrab? Ah, yes, that explains your sudden thirst for human flesh and the fact that you also have a gaping wound where your chest used to be. Oh well, shit happens, eh Jeff? Lets go for a beer.

Ok, bit of background: the headcrab is an unpleasant little alien that spilled through the hole that Gordon Freeman accidentally tore in the fabric of the universe. It attaches itself to human heads, it feeds on them, it hates being set on fire. Fun fact: on its home planet, headcrabs are near the bottom of the food-chain, and is often fed on by Bullsquids and Antlions.

Krabby (Pokemon)

As Pokemon go, Krabby is something of a bit-part player. You occasionally see him / her in the anime, but it isnt really sought after in the games. Being a crab, it usually lives on a beach and keeps itself to itself. Ash once caught Krabby in Mystery At The Lighthouse, but a quick course of medication sorted that right out.

One of Krabbys best features, aside from his / her extensive charity work and fluency in Norwegian, is that it can emit a layer of foam as a defensive tactic, which makes it appear larger than it actually is. Basically, it just wants to be left alone to carry on eating sand and writing regular sports columns for the New York Times. Look, full disclosure: I may have made Krabby sound much more interesting than it actually is.

Clawrence The Crab (Coconut Dodge Revitalised)

No-one played Coconut Dodge Revitalised. No-one. So, youre forgiven for muttering Who the hell is Clawrence The Crab? when you clicked through to this slide. CDR is an indie game on PS Vita where you move a crab (yes, Clawrence) across a screen to avoid coconuts and collect treasure that falls from the sky. Its set on some lovely beaches, its strangely charming and whimsical.

Clawrence only makes this list because a) he looks kind-of-cute in his hand-drawn style, and b) hes called Clawrence, which is a passable pun. Want a decent pun? No, I couldn't take up so much space just making a joke. That would be totally (*straightens tie again) shellfish of me...

Mudcrabs (The Elder Scrolls series)

Ah poor Mudcrabs--theyve long been at the bottom of Skyrims food-chain. Even the feeble level 1 adventurer, who emerges blinking and unsteady on his / her feet from the tutorial area of either Oblivion or Skyrim can comfortably beat up a Mudcrab. In fact, most Mudcrabs bring it on themselves, hanging around low-level parts of the map, giving it all this (Im making a gesture with my hand thats meant to represent someone talking smack, but also--and this is the joke that Im definitely not labouring--looks like a crabs pincers).

In Skyrim you can raid Mudcrabs for chitin, which is useful for restoring your stamina and curing disease. There are several special Mudcrabs in the Elder Scrolls series, including a King Mudcrab (Skyrim), Spectral Mudcrab (Skyrim), and even a Merchant Mudcrab (Morrowind), which--tragically--looks just like a regular Mudcrab, but actually has 10,000 Gold to trade with. A couple of weeks after finishing Skyrim, the developers even made this Mega Mudcrab (opens in new tab) for a joke. I am not making this up.

Crabs-Y (Mega Man X8)

Technically, Crabs-Y isnt actually a crab. Its a mech, cunningly designed to look like a crab, presumably as part of some weird crustacean smear-campaign by Capcom. Or, yknow, there have been roughly a billion Mega Man games, so there was bound to be a crab in one of them.

You actually fight Crabs-Y 3 times during the game: twice as a sub-boss and finally as an actual boss. Hes actually pretty tricky to kill, as you need to use barrier-breaking attacks to get any damage dealt. Jumping over him to attack from behind doesnt work either, as he simply spins around. Not very realistic, but then again, hes more machine now than crab twisted and evil.

Nipper (Banjo Kazooie)

Look, I feel sorry for Nipper. You can find him near the entrance to Treasure Trove Cove and, at first, this giant hermit crab is super-helpful, offering to assist Banjo and Kazooie with their search for treasure on the small island he calls home. Then he basically gets insulted by Kazooie until he loses his temper and offers to fight the pair. Frankly, he probably wishes hed just stayed in his shell with the door(?) locked.

And so begins a boss style fight, which is pretty easy because Nipper--being a crab--has a limited range, despite his savage claw-snapping. Once defeated, you can raid his shell for goodies. You could call it a (*straightens tie for a third time) smash and crab...

Full Metal Haggar (Secret of Mana series)

In the Secret of Mana series there are a number of awesome crab enemies. Theres a death crab (which is surprisingly tame), a metal crab (also tame) and the Full Metal Haggar (badass). This is the first boss you face in Seiken Densetsu 3, and it can shoot lasers from its eyes. LASERS. And yeah, it does other stuff like dive-bombing your party, or poisoning them with its breath. But still lasers!

The Full Metal Haggar appears in Legend of Mana too, but hes a far less ferocious beast; he just kind of jumps around a bit and spits bubbles at you. And for some reason hes turned purple. Its probably something to do with British Petroleum look, Id rather not speculate.

Achievement Crabs (Tomb Raider)

The Achievement crabs, as I call them, in Tomb Raider are so petty and insignificant, youd be forgiven for missing them entirely. However, Crystal Dynamics--creator of the latest game--decided that you definitely need to see and murder the little fellas, so it included an Achievement / Trophy for doing so. Its called Crab Cakes, FYI. Id have called it (*straightens tie a fourth, and final time) I fought the claw, and the claw won.

My question is: what did these poor crabs ever do to Lara? Ok, she butchers the deer at the start because shes hungry, and fair play: the wolves are just asking for it. But the crabs? Lara doesnt even eat them. She just guns them down to fulfil some kind of dark, sociopathic urge. Shes drunk on death, and in the absence of any actual humans to perform brutal melee executions on, she spends time on the beach shooting innocent animals. No, don't come near me--I dont know you anymore, Lara!

Larry's crabs (Leisure Suit Larry 3)

Ah yes--no feature about crabs would be complete without at least one smutty reference to pubic crabs. And where would I find such a reference? Yeah, in a Leisure Suit Larry game. This ones from Leisure Suit Larry 3: Passionate Patti in Pursuit of the Pulsating Pectorals, and comes about when Larry finds himself getting intimate with topless sunbather Tawni on the beach.

Sadly, before Larry can make his move, a crab crawls into his trousers and somewhat ruins the mood. Cue a bunch of unfunny crab jokes that ultimately leave Larry high and dry, with nothing but a cartoon crustacean for his troubles. Chin-up, Larry, at least youve bagged a decent dinner for one.

Claws for thought

Well, there you have them, folks: the deadliest crabs in all of Gamedom. Looking back on the feature, few of them are actually that deadly. Bit of an oversight, but ho-hum. Did I miss your favourite crab? I do apologise. Please tell everyone about it in the comments. Ooh, and while you're in a crabby mood, you should take a look at this mad, yet hilarious MGS3 parody video called Crab Battle (opens in new tab). Trust me.

Pssst. While youre here, why not check out some of our more worthy list features, like 10 Kids Games That Are Actually Good (opens in new tab), and 6 Advergames That Are Actually Good (opens in new tab). Thats a lot of goodness.

Andy Hartup
Andy Hartup