Written by Jonathan Wojcik

October 25: Coolest Parasite Eve Monsters

   Maybe these video game top tens are straying too far from Halloween - especially since I'd have probably done them anyway outside the season - but you don't care, and I don't care, so let's talk about some video game monsters!

   Based only loosely on a novel of the same name, Parasite Eve was the bizarre story of woman whose mitochondria have awakened to their "true," long lost potential, unlocking terrible telekinetic powers and allowing her to re-shape living things. Narrowing down ten personal favorites was honestly pretty difficult, but every single creature in the original game is exactly as monstrous and cool as it could possibly, possibly ever be. You can see for yourself thanks to KoMPepperochu on Deviantart, who posted scans from the official artbook that I'll be using here. Whoever designed the first game's bestiary should really be designing monsters for far more games - you couldn't ask for a more horrifying parrot.

#10: The Triceratops

   One of Eve's most inventively hideous acts during her reign of terror is when she breaks down thousands of people into a living, orange slime of raw, undifferentiated tissue (stem cells?) to further her ultimate plot. Along the way, however, the slime invades a science museum where it merges with a number of fossilized skeletons, building hideous parodies of long-dead beasts. While the Tyrannosaurus is best remembered, I find the Triceratops far more disturbing and cool, especially when you blast its head off and it just doesn't care.

#9: The Plant

   Still images don't really do the plants justice. With their tentacles retracted, they look like nothing but big, bushy autumn leaf piles, almost cute as they slowly scoot their way around like a sea urchin. Get within range, of course, and they lash out with their nasty whips, a very simple, straightforward concept with a lot of personality.

#8: The Treasurebox

   Every fantasy role-playing game has some variation of a "mimic," a monster pretending to be a treasure chest until an unsuspecting hero tries to open it. Parasite Eve isn't quite medieval fantasy, but still has a strange monster lurking in select item boxes. It's impossible to tell if this stretchy little fleshwad is derived from any natural organism, but it's surprisingly dangerous and surprisingly mobile, bouncing around madly and flailing its little tentacles with what I always interpreted to be the joy of newfound freedom. Murderous joy.

#7: The Chameleon

   These little guys look positively insane with their conical, striped eyes, elongated snouts, exposed gums and impossible, flip-top smiles. The merging of tail and hind limbs makes them even freakier, which they use to leap around like scaly, clown-faced grasshoppers.

#6: The Crab

   An optional boss monster, the crab wouldn't be that impressive of not for its detachable, flying eyeballs, incredibly unsettling as they float out of the monster's sockets and attack with psychic energy beams. It's neat how the eye sockets and mouth are the same thing - or maybe the actual mouth is farther back in the huge orifice.

#5: Flyman

   Every insect monster in the game is just beautiful (especially the cockroach) but these pitiful, hunched over ghouls are another one that wins for personality alone. They barely seem to care about fighting, seldom making any direct move towards our heroine and just sort of skulking around in aimless directions. Wherever they stop, however, they immediately vomit a big pool of corrosive jelly, making them quite dangerous despite their apparent apathy.

#4: The Frog

   I just love the way these monsters distort mundane animals into such exaggerated nightmares, and do away with any limbs that aren't immediately applicable to killing. The giant frogs, appropriately encountered in the sewers, are nothing more than huge, wet mouths with legs, their tongues adapted into strong grabbers and their eyeballs multiplied with an appealing scatterbrained asymmetry. They would be cute if they were smaller, but their goofiness belies a mindless eating machine that will pull you inside its slimy gullet and digest you alive - just like the real thing through the eyes of so many insects.

#3: The Sucklers

   The second Parasite Eve is certainly interesting, with a wide range of disturbing human mutants supposedly representing alternative evolutionary pathways, clearly inspired at least in part by the book Man After Man. Only one creature, however, was quite ghastly enough for me to include here. You're looking at the Blood Suckler, Mindsuckler, mutated Sucklerceph and Bone Suckler, neotenous humanoids who crawl in packs under cover of darkness. Their ground-dwelling forms attack by exploding their heads, killing prey with bone shrapnel for the rest of the pack to consume. Obviously, not many Sucklers reach adulthood, but those who do becoming the flying Mindsucklers, who implant parasitic larvae in the skulls of hosts. Though not shown in the game, these parasites supposedly lead victims back to the Suckler nest to be devoured. What isn't awesome - and hilarious - about murderous, parasitic, suicidal babies?

#2: The Mixedman

   By far the most unsettling of the original enemies, Mixedman would have been right at home in Silent Hill. The mangled ball of distorted human anatomy crawls about slowly and awkwardly, clutching blindly with its misshapen claws and tentacles while it unleashes one of the weirdest attacks in the game; large spheres of flesh continuously grow from its unstable mass, break off, and wildly bounce around like rubber toys. If you don't kill them quick, you'll end up with more crazy hi-bounce tumors than you can keep up with, and nobody wants that while a tangled pile of arms is still shambling their way with murder (and who knows what else) in what few eyes it still has.

#1: The Rat

   The earliest, simplest, most plentiful enemies in the game are nonetheless one of its most flawless and appealing designs. The scraggly fur, rotten eye sockets, snaggly exposed jaws and spidery limbs make a brilliantly conceived whole, easily cooler and creepier looking in my book than anything in the Resident Evil franchise, or heck, a majority of other video games. Then again, that sort of goes for everything in the original Parasite Eve. Take a good look at that Deviantart link at the top - I would go so far as to say this was the highest possible point in the history of video game monster design.

Browse Halloween 2011: