5 great dogs in Square Enix videogamesWe pick out 5 powerful pooches in this mutts-read article!
This website’s really going to the dogs.
And you know what? We’re fine with that - dogs are awesome and we’ll take any excuse to talk about man’s best friend.
Fortunately, videogames afford plenty of opportunity to do just that. Many games - Square Enix titles included - feature dogs in prominent roles. Sometimes they’re faithful companions, and sometimes they’re an obstacle to overcome, but we love them each and every one.
Interceptor - FINAL FANTASY VI pixel remaster
You won’t find many videogame pooches as brave and loyal as this.
Interceptor is the partner of FINAL FANTASY VI’s mysterious ninja Shadow. You’ll encounter the two a few times in the story, even having them join your party at some points. In battle, Shadow can call on Interceptor for devastatingly effective attacks.
There are downsides to dog ownership though. It seems Interceptor has expensive tastes - at one point you’ll have to shell out a whopping 3000 gil to feed the greedy little gourmet. That’s like buying six phoenix downs!
It’s worth it though, because Interceptor is a true hero. Perhaps his finest moment comes in the town of Thamasa. A sudden blaze breaks out in the middle of the night, and the young Relm is trapped inside a burning house.
Three of the party, Locke, Terra and Strago leap into action but are knocked out by the fire monsters inside. But unknown to them, Interceptor has followed them - the fearless furball stands guard over the unconscious trio, keeping the monsters at bay long enough for his master to arrive and pull the group to safety.
Even when things get their bleakest (and as anyone who’s played FINAL FANTASY VI knows, things get pretty bleak), Interceptor remains loyal to his master throughout it all.
‘Woofles’ - The DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2 dog
You’ll spend a lot of DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2 making a community. As you explore islands and complete quests, you’ll build up a rag-tag group of friends and allies, including the most adorable little pooch you’re ever likely to see.
The good news is that you can indeed pet the dog. The bad news is that the poor thing’s a little nervous - approach too quickly and it’s likely to run off.
You’ll need to sneak up nice and slowly, but if you do successfully stroke the adorable ball of fluff, you’ll make a friend for life. The dog joins your team and will help you out as you explore for the rest of the game. What a good dog!
Perhaps the coolest thing though, is you get to decide what to call her. I went with ‘Woofles’, which is therefore the best and canonical name*. But other less awesome names are available too I guess.
(*The DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2 team would like it to be made clear that Woofles is in no way the ‘official’ name. Spoilsports.)
Meow Wow - KINGDOM HEARTS 3D DREAM DROP DISTANCE and KINGDOM HEARTS III
Now, I know what some of you are thinking: is a Meow Wow a dog ? Sure, the design combines elements of both dogs and cats, but does it really qualify for this list?
Truth be told, it’s a debate that raged here at Square Enix HQ too, but ultimately, Meow Wow did feature in the prestigious Can You Pet the Dog? Twitter account, so we defer to their authority on the matter.
Whatever your opinion, you can’t deny that Meow Wows are awesome. They’re a type of Dream Eater - helpful spirits that eat bad dreams and defend against Nightmares.
A Meow Wow was the first Dream Eater introduced in KINGDOM HEARTS 3D: DREAM DROP DISTANCE, and features one very cool distinction over the others: it was designed by director Tetsuya Nomura himself.
It’s also a helpful, loyal companion to Sora throughout his ill-fated Mark of Mastery exam, assisting him in battle and looking out for him in other ways too. Meow Wow makes a welcome return in KINGDOM HEARTS 3, where Sora can summon it for what might be the happiest, bounciest attack in the game.
While not all Meow Wows are quite as benevolent as Sora’s, there’s no denying that that this catty canine is one of the best sort-of-dogs in all of gaming.
Umbra - FINAL FANTASY XV
Umbra fulfils many roles - he’s a protector, guide and the world’s fuzziest messaging service.
The loveable pooch serves Lunafreya Nox Fleuret, and acts as a go-between for the young Oracle and her beloved Prince Noctis Lucis Caelum. Though the two are kept separated by duty, the magical pup ferries a notebook between the love-birds so they can share their intimate thoughts.
When Noctis and his lads leave Lucis, Umbra takes on a new role. He allows the party to relive memories of their road trip together - in gameplay terms, he sends you back to the open world so you can mop up side quests, complete hunts or chow down on some fine Ignis cuisine.
And when things for Noctis are at their bleakest, and he’s stranded alone in a changed world, Umbra is there to guide him to where he needs to be.
In short, he’s a very good boy.
Sant’ Angelo di Roma - FINAL FANTASY VIII
A lot of fans think fondly on Squall, Zell, Quistis and the rest of the FINAL FANTASY VIII's gang of SeeD-y heroes. But there's an extra, often overlooked, member of the party that we think is particularly worthy of recognition: Angelo.
Sant’ Angelo di Roma, to give her full name, is Rinoa’s faithful hound and constant companion. She’s a regular source of comfort to the troubled resistance fighter, not to mention super-adorable.
But where Angelo really comes into her own is battle. She acts as Rinoa’s limit break technique - if her master is in danger, Angelo can rush out to launch a special attack. She’ll also occasionally dive in to heal and buff the team
Sadly, Angelo’s skillset is a little limited early one - she only knows a couple of moves. Fortunately, she’s a dog with brains to match the brawn - a quick flick through a copy of the magazine Pet Pals and she’ll pick up a new trick in seconds.
That said, our favorite move is available from the start: Angelo Cannon. This attack sees Angelo essentially become a fur lined ballistic missile. She jumps into Rinoa’s arms, and is fired off like a rocket, causing an explosion that devastates enemies.
No, we’re not quite sure how it works either, but it’s undeniably awesome.
Those were just some of the most capable canine companions in computer games, but what do you think? What are your favorite videogame dogs - share your thoughts in the comments and on social media: