5 enemies in Square Enix games that we’ve learned to fearFrom FINAL FANTASY's tonberries to Tomb Raider's Stormguard, here are five fiendish foes that make us break out into a cold sweat.
We previously showcased some of the lovable parts of Square Enix games that make us grin from ear to ear - but what about the other side of the coin? The things we fear.
There are some enemies in Square Enix games that make us feel more than a little nervous. Some are ruthlessly difficult, others are just kinda unpleasant, and a few are a heady combination of the two.
Here are just five examples:
PLEASE NOTE: Mild spoilers for FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, FINAL FANTASY VIII Remastered, Tomb Raider, and Life is Strange
X-ATM092 - FINAL FANTASY VIII Remastered
Here’s the horrifying thing about the mechanical X-ATM092. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.
…oh wait no, that’s Terminator. Still, the X-ATM092 is equally persistent. Also known as Black Widow, this massive spider-shaped robot pursues Squall and his fellow mercenary trainees around the town of Dollet during their very hands-on exam.
Making things worse is the ticking timer - you only have a few minutes to get back to your transport and escape. That’s not easy when you’re constantly being drawn into battles with this powerful mech. Even if you can win those fights, X-ATM092 will bounce back in seconds and you’re back to square one.
Stay on the run, and you’ll eventually lead it to the beach, where instructor Quistis will blast it apart with a mounted machine gun. It’s a blessed relief.
Experienced players may know a few coping strategies for this boss, as well as a few tips and tricks to avoid it - but the first time you play, it’s pure panic.
The Stormguard - Tomb Raider (2013)
The first entry in the recent Tomb Raider trilogy takes Lara Croft from terrified survivor to a capable hero that can overcome any challenge.
Trapped on the island of Yamatai, Lara’s besieged by vicious beasts, deadly traps and a horde of murderous cultists. We help her take on the odds, build her skills and ultimately turn her hunters into the hunted.
So as we enter the latter stages of the game, we’re feeling pretty confident about our ability to deal with any situation. Enter the Stormguard.
Also known as the Oni, these ancient warriors have guarded Yamatai for centuries - and they look it. Not only are these new threats unsettling to look at, they’re faster, stronger and far more resilient than anything Lara’s run into so far.
Suddenly, she (and us) are on the back foot once again. The old tactics aren’t going to work - we have to dig deeper than ever into Lara’s skill set, make creative use of the environment and stay on the move if we don’t want the fledgling Tomb Raider’s career to be suddenly cut short.
All said, the Stormguard deliver an entertaining challenge, but it’s an intimidating one too. Whenever we think of these fearsome guardians, we definitely start to feel a little nervous.
Malboros - the FINAL FANTASY series
A giant plant with a serious halitosis problem, malboros have been ruining people’s day since 1988’s FINAL FANTASY II.
Whenever you run into one of these big mouthed monsters, you know you’re in trouble. They’re often very tough, high level foes that can dish out massive damage on a whim - but that’s not what makes them such a sweat-inducer.
No, undoubtedly the scariest thing about malboros is their signature ‘Bad Breath’ attack. This rancid cloud inflicts pretty much every debilitating status ailment in the FINAL FANTASY handbook onto your party.
The exact combination of Bad Breath effects differs depending on the game, but you can expect the likes of Poison, Silence and Slow at a minimum. Plus you have to assume it smells really bad.
A special shout out for the Great Malboros in FINAL FANTASY X-2 and their particularly noxious (and obnoxious) Really Bad Breath attack. Trust me - it ain’t that great.
Nathan Prescott - Life is Strange
Nathan Prescott is not a nice person.
He’s cruel, aggressive, condescending… and dangerous. We see that in the very first moments of the game, when student Max Caulfield witnesses him lose control and accidentally kill her former (and future) BFF Chloe Price.
She’s able to reverse time with her newly manifested powers, but subsequent interactions with Nathan are knuckle-whitening. He’ll shout, he’ll insult and even resort to violence - and the worst thing is that Max, as a fundamentally decent person, doesn’t really have a good way to deal with that unpredictability.
Nathan also treats Blackwell Academy as if he owns it - which in a way his does. His wealthy family is a major financial donor to the school, and the powers that be seem willing to overlook much of his behavior for the sake of that cash.
Of course. Nathan’s as much a victim as he is a villain. He struggles with drugs and mental illness, and his family situation is dysfunctional to say the least. But that doesn’t stop Max and Chloe’s interactions with him from feeling deeply unnerving. He puts them on edge - and us too.
Tonberries - the FINAL FANTASY series
They say that good things come in small packages. Well, bloomin’ terrifying things do too, as tonberries demonstrate.
Anyone who encounters one of these knife-wielding nightmares likely goes through a phenomenon I like to call ‘The 5 Stages of Tonberry’.
1. Delight - Aw, that’s adorable. Look at its diddy widdle legs and cute hoodie.
2. Suspicion - Wh… why’s it moving so slowly? Why’s it not really doing anything? Something feels… off.
3. Dread - Um… it’s getting closer. What’s it doing? Why is it not dead yet? I’m scared.
4. Despair - AAAAARGH - help me! It’s killing EVERYONE.
5. Resolve - …well that went very badly. Next time will be different (NARRATOR: It wasn’t).
Tonberries appear throughout the FINAL FANTASY series, and though their characteristics vary from title to title, they typically have a few things in common - slow speed, high HP, and a ruthless compulsion to stab your party into oblivion.
From the majestic Tonberry King in FINAL FANTASY VIII Remastered to its memorable appearance in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, every version of this gaming icon commands both respect and pants-wetting terror.
Well, all except these plushie versions perhaps. Just look at them - d’aww sooo cute!
Those were just five things that make us nervous in Square Enix games, but what do you think? Do you agree with our choices? Which enemies make you clench up? Let us know on social media: