Stalker enemies are either supremely annoying to a gamer, or one of the coolest and most intense enemies in a game. If you’ve seen It Follows, you also know that they can be downright terrifying. In honour of the upcoming movie, Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, here’s a countdown 5 of the top stalker enemies in gaming. The rules are only one enemy or monster per franchise, and they have to be a repeated threat throughout the game.
1. Mr. X – Resident Evil 2
As you might have guessed, Mr. X takes top spot on the list. To me, hands down the best enemy that consistently follows you. Whilst I am skeptical of video game movies, after checking out IMDB and seeing that there are effects artists working on Mr. X, I might just have to go see the movie.
Resident Evil 2‘s stalker comes with strong competition from the franchises other games. Everyone loves our Vampire crush Lady Dimitrescu, and Jack Baker was a fearsome enemy with an entertaining personality. However, Mr. X has elicited the most fear from me. This is down to two details. First, his continuous presence after a certain point in the game, and second, those damn footsteps. These mix together to make a powerful cocktail of anxiety and fear.
Nothing quite beats being low on ammo and healing items and hearing the deep booming of the giants’ footsteps getting closer and closer. Another bonus to Mr. X is that you have the ability to hide, and you cant fight him. Unlike some others on this list, you can’t defend yourself beyond slowing him down, and this adds a great level of pressure when seeking to solve a puzzle, or the heart in throat run to a safe room. Let’s hope he is done justice in the movie.
Whilst not necessarily a scary character model, the double whammy of great sound and game design gives Mr. X the top spot. They only aspect he loses points on is the goofiness of running in and out of a safe door to troll him.
2. Pyramid Head – Silent Hill 2
Now, you can’t have a list about stalkers and not talk about one of the all time greats, Pyramid Head. Specifically in Silent Hill 2. Whilst I love this monster, it functions best as a manifestation of James Sunderland’s guilt and desire for punishment, and this is undermined in the sequels wherein he becomes a figure seen by others. Even Masahiro Ito, the designer, thinks it should have stayed as a Silent Hill 2 creature for this very reason, tweeting “I designed Pyramid Head (Red Pyramid thing) only for James”.
You meet Pyramid Head a few times in Silent Hill 2, often doing disturbing things to other monsters (Masahiro Ito has repeatedly said they aren’t sexual but meant to be suggestive of sexuality). He comes with some great lore that’s worth a read if you’re into that.
Pyramid Head’s intriguing backstory, symbolism and connection to the protagonist would already get it a high spot on this list but let’s not forget the design. The cumbersome helmet and great knife make for a disturbing image, supposedly with inspiration taken from King Tiger tanks from WW2. I’ve always considered these two items of his to be beautifully symbolic of James’ grief and the weight he carries around with him.
Whilst I prefer the lore of Pyramid Head over Mr. X, his presence as a stalker is less oppressive due to being limited to certain interactions, rather than continuous. However he is an icon for a reason, and thus takes second place.
3. Brador – Bloodborne
This was a close call for the Soulsborne series. There’s a lot of love for Dark Souls 2’s The Pursuer. I mean come on, that entrance on the Eagle is awesome.
However, Bloodborne‘s Brador edges him out. As a Fashionsouls enthusiast, Brador’s outfit of a skinned Cleric Beast is awesome. It is my go-to outfit for the game. But Brador isn’t just radical for his great dress sense (really I should give credit to the character designer).
The church assassin comes in hot with a giant Mace called a Bloodletter, and will fight you 4 times, defending, it seems, the body of the Great One Kos. There’s a tragedy to this figure, whose life saw him assassinate his ‘compatriots’ to prevent outbreaks of plague, ultimately leading him to be stuck forever in the hunter’s nightmare, going insane. Whilst appearing quite bestial, he gives you warnings repeatedly and seems to take little joy in his occupation of killing to guard the churches’ secrets. He’s more understandable than the monsters below, but can’t place any higher due to his being a relatively minor character you don’t see too much of.
He is memorable though. For looking cool, fighting cool, and being cool, Brador gets to be number 3.
4. Xenomorph – Alien Isolation
Originally based on work by, and designed by, H.R. Giger, so you know it looks weird (Necronom IV from 1976, which is, amazingly, even more phallic). It has been an icon since its first appearance in 1979. Fortunately it was done justice in Alien: Isolation. Its sexualized design, evocative of S&M, and the twisted mesh of biological and mechanical elements, along with smaller details such as the lack of eyes, make for a phenomenal design.
This combines well with the claustrophobic space station setting of Sevastopol. The stealth over action gameplay (as opposed to colonial marines), harkening to Alien over Aliens, is effective. The first-person perspective is terrifying, with the Xenomorph detecting noise and movement, so even the flashlight and movement detector must be used sparingly.
Developed by Creative Assembly, the same people who make the Total War games, they smashed the execution in their first major outing into survival horror. Even Sigourney Weaver came back to voice act some parts.
For making me spend way too many hours slowly exploring and taking breaks to mellow out, the infamous Xenomorph gets spot 4.
5. Hunter – Dead Space
Speaking of weird monsters: Dead Space and the Necromorphs. The last spot was a toss up between the Ubermorph and the Hunter, both regenerator type necromorphs. However, due to the earlier appearance and more humanoid design, I went with the hunter. The design is fleshier and unnerving, especially as it was previously a human being, which adds to a body horror angle that makes the necromorphs so horrifying.
Whilst the endgame rush with the Ubermorph hot on your heels is a memorable moment, the repeated presence of the hunter, especially hearing its growls after supposedly defeating it by freezing it in a cryogenic tube, gives it a longer lasting and more intimidating presence throughout the game. This will only be freakier with upcoming remake bringing the Hunter to us in even more detail.
This one has the highest pressure on the list. Expect constant aggro, high damage output and tight spaces. I’m definitely excited to see its return in the upcoming Dead Space remake.
Of course, honorable mentions to; Dark Souls 2′s Pursuer, Lady Dimitrescu and Jack Baker, that creepy spider in Limbo and Jason from the Friday the 13th game.
Do you have a favourite that didn’t make the list? Let me know in the comments!