It's like I always say: the grass is redder on the other side... from all the blood that gushed out when those plants devoured their gardener. The concept of killer fauna has fascinated mankind ever since the first Venus Fly Trap was discovered, with a mouth that looks specifically designed to eat human flesh. Maybe it's just the fact that plants get a lot more interesting in the realm of fiction rather than boring ol' fact. In real life, poison ivy only gives you a rash. In video games, Poison Ivy has the body of a supermodel and impales people with giant vines. I'd say there's a clear winner there.
Hazardous greenery can be found in all sorts of games, but only rarely does it have the capacity to kill. These next seven shrubs, sprouts, and flora are just as dangerous as any sentient lifeform, and it takes much more than weed-whacker to take them down. Now remember: we're talking plants, not fungi, so The Last of Us Infected and Super Mario's Poison Mushrooms are out. With that, let's take a look at the vegetables you should never, ever plant in your victory garden...
7. Alura Une (Castlevania series)
Only a series like Castlevania could make a botany-based enemy look like a burlesque show. Une weeds are all over Dracula's castle but--when you take the time to feed them blood--they blossom into a form far prettier than Audrey 2. Like a siren offering full-frontal nudity in a Teen-rated game, the Alura Une's maidenly form distracts you from the fact that you're being eviscerated by thorny vines and barbed shoots.
Alucard is the first to encounter these floral temptresses in Symphony of the Night, where they are originally known as Venus Weeds. Beyond all reasoning, their blatant nakedness and suggestive cries made it into the sequels on Nintendo handhelds. I suppose it's the fact that they don't appear to have pixelated nipples, a detail that can only be confirmed or denied by Konami artists and the loneliest of gamers.
6. Wood of the Suicides (Dante's Inferno)
This one's a real downer, but I guess that's what you get when you take a 14th-century allegorical poem with religious motifs as the basis for a video game. Way down in the Seventh Circle of Hell, located between the "No food until you beat Battletoads with no deaths" dungeon and the "Comcast customer service call using only Kinect commands" atrium, lies the Wood of the Suicides. In this forest, the souls of those who took their own lives grow into gnarled, blood-filled trees, forced to endure pain for all eternity. Because that makes sense, God.
But the creepiest part is that these horrific trees bear fruit. The totally-not-lazily-named Suicide Fruit, to be exact. And, should you bite into one, or be anywhere near the point of impact when it falls, you'll suddenly be convinced that now's the opportune time to end it all. It's like the plot of M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening, but with less Mark Wahlberg. And, like M. Night Shyamalan's most recent work, the Wood of the Suicides is a piece of entertainment that is probably best forgotten.
5. Hyper-Mutated Flytrap (Bulletstorm)
After watching his buddy Ishi get swallowed whole by a veiny, clawed plant tentacle, Grayson Hunt can only articulate his innermost feelings with one sentence: "What happy horse shit was that?!" It's the Hyper-Mutated Flytrap, Grayson--at least, a very small piece of it. In its dormant state, this mutated blossom would fit right in with the rest of the tropical flora on the resort planet of Stygia. But piss it off, and you'll find yourself staring up at what looks like a fleshy, leafy green sock puppet worn by a sore-covered, seriously agitated giant. It's like a glimpse of what Petey Piranha would look like after years of steroid use.
Fortunately for Grayson, Mother Nature saw fit to give this Flytrap a bulbous, bright orange underbelly, which effectively translate to "Shoot me now and forever" in video game speak. But to do so, you'll have to deal with a tornado of poisonous pollen and giant, regenerative maggots in its core. Even if the Flytrap is sadly incapable of spewing out endless streams of profanity, it's still one of the most intense set pieces in all of Bulletstorm.
4. Mother (Sanitarium)
If HK-47 had any appreciation for living things, Mother would be his favorite plant. That's because, like everyone's favorite meatbag-condemning droid, Mother sees humans as nothing more than revolting globules of ignorant, decaying meat that must be disposed of. And given the circumstances, I can't really blame her. This freakish amalgamation of moss and vines started out as an alien lifeform that crash-landed into an Anywhere, America town. And what's her first exposure to humanity? A drunken father hitting his own daughter.
Now normally, that would be the time to call child services. But Mother steps it up a notch, murdering the disgusting abuser and and the entire population of the small town for turning a blind eye to the atrocity. Everyone, that is, except the children, who still possess innocence and potential in Mother's eyes. But those fleshy bodies just won't do, so Mother opts to deform them into hideous little mutants and raise them as her own. It all makes for a hell of an opening level in this 1998 psychological thriller, as if to say "If you can't handle this mortifying scenario, just uninstall now."
3. Mantraps (Spelunky)
Accidentally bumping into a Mantrap during a respectable Spelunky run is like popping a child's favorite balloon animal right in their face: a moment of immediate shock and sadness. That's because the Mantrap will instantly devour you if you're not careful, no matter how much health you've stockpiled beforehand. Experienced spelunkers will know the agony of breezing through the Mines, playing as if on autopilot, then getting a rude awakening in the Jungle courtesy of a Mantrap's big red maw.
Unlike most foul creatures in Spelunky's depths that can be killed with a bop to the head, trying to crunch a Mantrap underfoot spells instant death (unless you happen to be wearing a pair of Spike Shoes). You're better off attempting to sneak or sprint by, forcing the Mantrap to slip into a momentary food coma by tossing a Caveman carcass--or Damsel if you're desperate--into its pointy chompers. You know a video game plant is deadly when it doesn't discriminate between player, NPC, or enemy for its meals.
2. Ancients (Warcraft series)
Night Elves love nature. They love it so much that, if you're stepping on their turf without a druidic permit, they're totally fine with watching you get pulverized into pink slime beneath the root-foot of their sentient buildings. In the world of Warcraft, treants are the foot soldiers of the living foliage hierarchy, and Ancients are the slow-moving tanks that can take anything down one-on-one. I can confirm: if a tree obliterates the only human who was around to hear it, it does indeed make a sound.
They have the health bar of a building... because they are buildings. Ancients' dual purpose as training ground tree houses and mobile killing machines is just one of the perks of playing as those purple-skinned Night Elf hippies. It's like if someone was getting mugged on your street, so your entire apartment complex uprooted itself, smashed the perp's body with a satisfying splat, then settled back onto its foundations.
1. Flaahgra (Metroid Prime)
No, not the abominable dish made by force-feeding a living creature so that we may eat its bloated liver. Worse. There have been plenty of giant, genetically altered plants in games, but none are more terrifying than Flaahgra. Imagine if there was a hibiscus flower that bloomed into a tentacle-like praying mantis with a small, skull-like face growing inside its big ol' bug head. Now picture that monstrosity being three stories tall, and you've got some idea of the craziness that Samus Aran has to deal with on a daily basis.
Like Superman, Flaahgra derives its power from the sun--and like that grody kid who backwashes into their juice box, Flaahgra actively poisons its own water source as it drinks from it. And the only way to hurt it is just plain nasty: once you've cut off its solar power source by disrupting some reflective panels, you've got to get all up in its roots and bomb the sucker in Morph Ball form. After an encounter with a plant like Flaahgra, I wouldn't be surprised if Samus stopped eating vegetables entirely and went full carnivore.
Not enough weed killer in the world
So, will you never see flora and fauna the same way again? Or do you plant to surrender yourself to our new plant overlords willingly? If you think we missed any other great plant picks, tell us about it in the comments section below.
And if you're looking for more, check out 7 awesome video game bosses that were cut from your favorite games and Gaming's lamest, most irritating catchphrases.