Hawoooo, werewolves of gaming
Werewolves are scary as hell. One minute your friend Steve is sitting on a couch watching TV, the next he's losing control, growing claws, and mauling your face off. In other words, he's a typical video game character--ready to turn into a primal monster at the drop of a hat if it serves the plot. It's no wonder that gaming occasionally dips into the lycanthropic well to make villians and heroes that can tear stuff apart, guilt-free.
Sure, werewolves aren't as popular as vampires, but they're still pretty big in their own right. In honor of Halloweek, we've wrangled up gaming's greatest examples of wolfmen in order to shine a spotlight on these criminally underutilized monsters. If you're a furry, this might've might as well be your birthday.
10. The protagonist (Altered Beast)
Here's a rude awakening if you haven't played Altered Beast in a decade: it's terrible, with horrendous gameplay and some of the most stilted controls you'll ever encounter. That said, it still has its charm. Almost like a proto-Deadly Premonition, Altered Beast trots the "So bad its good" line, mostly thanks to the game's utter insanity. The main character can turn into a buff, manly werewolf after he's consumed enough power orbs, saving Altered Beast from obscurity. And just look at those werewolf abs--sexy as hell.
9. The Companions (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim)
The guilds of Elder Scrolls lore have provided some of the most rewarding quests in the franchise's history, and Skyrim was no different. Whether you wanted to join with the stealthy assassins, the deadly fighters, or the powerful mages, you were met with bountiful lore missions in the world. Skyrim's Companions (the game's version of the Fighter's Guild) started off as a typical quest chain where you'd learn to be strong and brave, but eventually you learned the truth: the Companions were werewolves. All of them. And they wanted you to become one too. Best. Day. Ever.
8. Warwolf (Werewolf: The Last Warrior)
Set on Red Earth, 1990's Werewolf: The Last Warrior is likely one of the first werewolf games ever made. You play as a man named Ken who can transform into a werewolf to defeat the evil Dr. Faryan's mutants--but you don't need to do it with your dumb, meaty human mits. Instead, you can grab a red "W" and turn into a werewolf named "Warwolf," which might be--in our humblest of opinions--mankind's greatest creation. Sorry, Penicillin, you shoulda had a cooler name.
7. Selena (Blood of the Werewolf)
Let's hear it for all the lady werewolves in the house! Selena is a fairly recent addition to the world of gaming--just this month, in fact. But her righteous quest to rescue her kidnapped son is reason enough to rank her highly, not to mention the fact that she's just as capable in human form as when she's in humongous freaking animal rampage mode. This red-haired damsel shoots a mean crossbow when standing on two legs, but when moonlight hits, she gets down on four claws, shredding her way through lesser monsters with paw swipes and destructive dashes. On top of adding gameplay variety, that's just plain cool.
6. Zylo (Shining Force)
Besides being one of the most powerful characters in Shining Force, Zylo (whose name we're deciding to pronounce Zee-yolo) is also one of the most absurd party members ever. When you first find him, he's downright crazy, but eventually you're able to tame the wolf inside him and make him a valuable ally. Late in the game, you're even able to upgrade him to a "Wolf Baron," which gives him huge claws and a cape. Yes, a cape. A freaking cape. Game over. Best ever.
5. Ghost 2 Wolf (Wolf Team)
What happens when you take Counter-Strike, toss it into the future by a few dozen years, and give players the ability to turn into werewolves? You get a game that no one remembers, save for the people writing this list! But Wolf Team doesn't stop at simply allowing players to painfully transform into lycans--you can spend money (real money--this is a free-to-play game, after all) to buy packs that will let you play as a Guardian Wolf, Ghost Wolf, Smart Wolf, Berserker Wolf, Ice Wolf, Psycho Wolf, and--most importantly--Ghost 2 Wolf (that's not a typo). Yes, there are two ghost wolves. No, the developers couldn't think of a name for the second one.
4. Jon Talbain (Darkstalkers)
Take legendary martial artist Bruce Lee into the woods at midnight, then force him to get bitten by a werewolf. He'd pretty much end up as Talbain, who could very well be the first (and best) wolfman to ever wield a pair of nunchaku. Japanese Capcom fans know him as Gallon, but his language of "dash all over the screen as a gigantic damaging orb" is universal. His howling is some of the best in all of gaming, and his animations are straight up ferocious. Talbain's also one of the few Darkstalkers who fights for a noble cause, striving to control the beast within. 'Atta boy!
3. Link (The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess)
Forgot about this one, didn't ya? In Twilight Princess, Link is about as much a werewolf as he could possibly be, complete with a mildly disturbing transformation when he goes into lycan form. Whenever he enters the Twilight Realm (see: full moon), he can run around on all fours, digging holes and chomping down on enemies. Eventually, Link even gains the ability to transform at-will, so long as you don't save in the Cannon Room. That pesky, pesky Cannon Room...
2. Bigby Wolf (The Wolf Among Us)
Alright, Bigby might be more "wolf" than "were," but that doesn't mean he should be omitted from the list. Like, he's a man who can turn into a wolf man. That's good enough, right? And when he transforms, it's something special. While we're guessing he would rather not have to let the Big Bad guy out anytime soon, we're really hoping he's pushed to let the wolf out in the near future.
1. Werehog (Sonic Unleashed)
Oh, wait, this was a "best" list? Nevermind.
1. Brad Fang (Contra Hard Corps)
Brad Fang is a sunglass-wearing 100,000,000 year-old Werewolf cyborg super soldier with a gun for an arm. Go ahead and read that last sentence ten times in a row--it'll put hair on your chest. The most advanced character in Contra: Hard Corps, St. Fang's weapons include a Beast Shooter, a Power Punch (with his other hand, also made of metal), a Flamethrower (which, let's be honest, is risky and badass to use when you're 95% fur), and a Psychic Blaster. Brad Fang will fuck you up.
Were with it
It's late, and you start to shake. Is it a full moon? Shit. It's a full moon. That means you're going to turn into a vampire. Luckily, you've just read this article, so you grab sunglasses, build yourself a robot arm, and kick a bunch of butt. That's what we hope you've gained from this article--the knowledge that, if dressed right, werewolves are awesome.
And if you're looking for more, check out gaming's best vampires and the top 7 scary moments in otherwise unfrightening games.