It’s coming. On a chill wind in the air and the rustling of dead leaves, the season of foreboding draws ever closer. Before you can bar the windows and lock the doors (or make cider and carve pumpkins) the month of October has arrived!
Over the last several years (and blogs), I have filled this spectacularly spooky season with articles on horror games and their ilk. I intend to keep this terrifying tradition alive on Digital Draughts. To my surprise, I am starting this month with an excellent treat.
Thanks to my awesome and considerate friend Charlie, I am now the over-excited owner of a SNES Classic! I have spent the last four days hopping from game to game on this adorable little nostalgia box, reveling in the glory days of 16-bit gaming (and realizing my dumb meat hands have lost some of their skill with age).
As these various trips down memory lane have been so close to October, I started to notice that the titles on the SNES Classic are home to some of my favorite spooky creatures in gaming. So to celebrate start of October, I’ve crafted a list of my favorite creepy cuties, freakish fiends, and malevolent monsters from the SNES Classic!
Super Castlevania IV – Zapf Bat
The first on this list combines my favorite game series with my favorite animal. After making his way through the Treasure Storerooms (Level 9) of Castlevania IV, our hero Simon Belmont finds himself faced with the guardian of these glimmering piles: a bat made out of the gold and jewels of Dracula’s haul. As Simon whips away at this golden creature, the Zapf Bat rains down harmful coins upon our hero, echoing the old adage of money and the root of all evil.
Contra III: The Alien Wars – Robo Corpse
Let’s be frank at the commencement- Contra III is a very difficult game. Even if you survive to the third level, you will be faced with avian aliens that will abscond with your hero to a quick death and a mid-boss that is unfair in so many ways. But, if you manage to make it to the boss of level three, you will be treated with a creature that would be right at home on so many early-2000s shirts and sides-of-vans.
EarthBound – Department Store Spook
There are few times when I felt actual eeriness in EarthBound. Of these moments, the earliest is certainly when trying to leave the Fourside Department Store, only to have some sort of tentacled monster abscond with my friend Paula. As remaining characters Ness and Jeff make their way through the suddenly abandoned and darkened store, I was genuinely creeped out by this monster’s cries of “GWARGH!”
Final Fantasy VI – Ghost/Phantom Train
Here we encounter the delightful naming process of localization in the early ’90s. Originally known as the Ghost Train, this boss encounter from Final Fantasy VI pits a trio of heroes against the literal train to the great beyond. The only thing greater than successfully outrunning a Phantom Train is successfully SUPLEXING A PHANTOM TRAIN.
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars – Pandorite
I do so love a good Mimic. The thought of adventurers rushing forth to open a treasure chest, only to be met with the gaping maw of a monstrous being fills my heart with glee. As it happens, my earliest interaction with Mimics came from Super Mario RPG in the form of Pandorite. As my brother and I scoured the Kero Sewers for some primo loot, we noticed a lone treasure chest at the end of an alley. As we made Mario leap to open the box, we were greeted not with a mushroom or item, but with a grinning face full of fangs!
Super Ghouls and Ghosts – Firebrand/Red Arremer
As a child, this game terrified me in a rather irrational way. Not because of the difficulty, but due to the proximity of my bed to a window. Despite this silly fear, I absolutely loved the music and sprites of Super Ghouls and Ghosts. Among the creatures that blocked Arthur’s quest, Red Arremer was my favorite. This was likely because I had already enjoyed Gargoyle’s Quest on my Game Boy before encountering the eponymous antihero in his 16-bit incarnation.
Yoshi’s Island – Boo Guys
Just as we opened with some superlatives, let’s close with my favorite game and enemies from the Mario series. When I first received Yoshi’s Island on my 11th birthday, I was delighted to see the many variations on Shy Guys. Many years later, I can confirm that the ghostly form of the Boo Guys fills my ghoulish heart with glee.
Now that I have shared my preferred monsters from the SNES Classic, I would love to read your favorite creepy creatures in the comments! Not one of the determined/lucky folks who snagged a SNES Classic? Feel free to share your treasured terrors from the Super Nintendo in the comments as well!