Tuesday, October 12, 2010

31 favorite monsters: The Martians

"The War of the Worlds" was written by H.G. Wells in 1898, and introduced the world to the now fundamental concept of the alien invader. Terrorizing mankind with their towering mechanical tripods, heat rays and black smoke, the invaders hail from the planet mars, and desire Earth's bountiful resources. Having evolved beyond the need for much else, they consist of only immense, saclike bodies, bulging eyes, beaklike mouths and two clusters of tentacles or "hands." The creatures fit themselves into their walking machines like brains putting on interchangeable bodies, and most disturbingly of all, nourish themselves by drawing blood from other creatures and injecting it into their own veins via syringe-like tools, lacking anything resembling an actual digestive system.

These tentacled heads are hinted as a glimpse into our own evolutionary future should we continue to rely more heavily on our technology, and it's a shame that some adaptations HACKCOUGHSPIELBERGCOUGH completely reject this entire concept. Having perhaps long eradicated microbial life from their own world, the seemingly unstoppable invaders are ultimately wiped out by harmless Earthly germs - probably the common cold.

31 favorite monsters: Parasitis

This will be a long one...

The notoriously difficult Abadox on the Nintendo Entertainment System was once one of my most frustrating experiences in gaming; as with most video games, I played it as a child only to see what sort of creatures were lurking within its twisted circuitry, but could never make it past the hectic second stage. This was a time before save points were a standard, before internet FAQs spoiled the mystery of every single title. The game teased me with only a little taste of flying eyeballs, skinless mutants and pulsating fungus-sacs, but was virtually impossible for a child who had only ever beaten The Little Mermaid. It was over a decade before I'd find my way onto the internet, discover emulation, and was able to finally cheat my way through Abadox and marvel at its creativity. Collecting images of every creepy critter along the way, I wound up with the content for one of the first webpages I ever created, and Bogleech.com expanded from there.

Abadox is a pretty special game to me, and the best part of all is that its levels are not only packed with monsters, they are a monster. The game tells the story of the deep-space lifeform, Parasitis, a creature so tremendous that it devours entire worlds. "Abadox" is the planet most recently absorbed, though for some reason, our character is sent into the monster's body completely alone to retrieve only a single princess. It's a thoroughly ridiculous setup, but the visuals are as disturbing as anything thrown at us by modern "Survival Horror" games. Don't believe me? Just check out the bosses:

It's obvious that these things were once human beings before they were digested and integrated by Parasitis, while more minor enemies include mutated animals, plants, and even flesh-infested machinery. The final boss here is even (SPOILER) the very princess you were sent to retrieve, though she must not have finished digesting since she emerges safe and sound when the surrounding tentacle-beast is destroyed.

If you've never played this game (and most of you haven't) I reccomend Dena's thorough two-part review and playthrough, which is easily more exciting than playing it for yourself, anyway: