Imagine you're a struggling astronaut, tasked with trailblazing research on Mars, but as you go about your work, you’re plagued with questionable hallucinations of your past and future that slowly eat away at your sanity. If that concept doesn’t sound horrible enough, throw in some good ol’ tentacle wielding, sentient plant monsters straight out of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos, and you’ve got yourselves the concept for Moons of Madness.
Indie game developer Rock Pocket Games’ first-person cosmic horror game released for PC in October of last year, but we wanted to celebrate the PS4 and Xbox game coming out March 24, 2020. What better way to do that than share a list of other literary monsters that would make amazing (and scary) video game enemies?
Hollowgasts from the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series by Ransom Riggs
It’ll come as no surprise we’d love to see a video game take on the hollowgasts from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series. These humanoid creatures are basically crawling silhouettes with strong, tentacle-like tongues (Lovecraftian enough?) that feed on peculiars (people with abnormal abilities). They’re also invisible unless their feeding and unless you're Jacob, the main character of the series, who’s one of the few peculiars who can see hollows. Let’s say you played as Jacob through the earlier parts of this imaginary game, and you learned how to efficiently take down visible hollows. But, as the game progresses, you have to play as other peculiars who aren’t gifted with Jacob’s sight, and when you happen across a hollow, you must navigate the fight by tracking their shadows or relying on Jacob's direction. Make it even harder by having hollows hunt you in a shadowy building or under the moonlight. If you’ve heard of the Kaernk, or Water Lurker, from Amnesia: The Dark Descent, then you know how effectively terrifying an enemy like that can be.
Jakmal from Spark and the League of Ursus by Robert Repino
Although this book doesn’t come out until April, we had to mention the surprisingly disturbing Jakmal from Spark and the League of Ursus. This middle grade novel doesn’t pull any punches when describing its big baddie—from the unhinged jaw and leathery skin to the sheared nose and insectile legs. To make things creepier, it has a human face and a human-faced pendant on its chest and can portal jump right into your bedroom, so even your most fierce and loyal teddy bear can’t always protect you. As a video game enemy, Jakmal would make for a great boss fight with its armor, various methods of attack, and portal jumping capabilities. The fight could play mechanically like a Legend of Zelda boss fight (track the enemy’s pattern, hit the weak spots, repeat), and the appearance and story behind the monster would be as twisted as some of the Dark Souls series bosses.
The McGill from the Skinjacker series by Neal Shusterman
Set in a limbo-like world parallel to ours, the McGill is a monster that haunts the thoughts of the afterlights (ghost children) who reside in Everlost. Similar to Jakmal, the McGill from the Skinjacker series has the grotesque appearance of a Bloodborne monster and the tragic backstory of something like the striga from The Witcher, but instead of portal jumping, he can warp into whatever monstrous creation he can imagine (picture the shapeshifting capabilities of the mimics from Prey but less sneaky and nastier). This often means many eyes, claws, and off-putting face leakages, but theoretically, he could jump far, fly high, or pull all sorts of stunts in a fight. He also collects afterlights by stringing them up by their ankles like slabs of meat, so that would add another creep factor if it were the battleground for the boss fight.
Grievers from The Maze Runner series by James Dashner
Combine the guardians from Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild with headcrabs from Half-Life, and you’ve got grievers from The Maze Runner series. With sinewy bodies and various mechanical appendages, these creatures feel like a mix between a mutated spider and a Swiss Army knife. In the movies they mainly skitter about with their multiple legs, but in the books, they’re described as regularly rolling forward like spiky, deadly balls of blubber. Both sound horrible. They also make eerie clicking and whirring sounds, which would add an element of tension like that of the Clickers from The Last of Us, and their sting results in hallucinations and eventual death. With a Grief Serum item, though, you could heal your character - but you’d have to get away from them first.
Morgoth from The Silmillarion by J. R. R. Tolkien
There’s a good amount of monsters from Middle-earth that would make for great video game monsters (that’s why there’s already so many game adaptations), but Morgoth (aka. Melkor) would be one of the most imposing final boss battles. When a villain’s weight is compared to a fallen hill and his shadow to that of a storm cloud, you know he’s big. Although his height isn’t defined, he can be anywhere from thirty-five feet to sixty plus. He can also destroy entire mountains, create firestorms, and curse you to sorrow and death, so there’d be a lot to manage in this fight. Also, he’s immortal. Bring a ton of curse antidotes, fire-resistant armor, and start by chopping at his legs and getting him down on his knees. Then scale him like a colossus from Shadow of Colossus, do some damage, and eventually end with banishment to the Timeless Void.
The Monsters from the Monsters of Verity series by Victoria Schwab
With a series title like Monsters of Verity, there’s bound to be more than one type of monster, and all of them would make for great video game enemies. In this world, different types of monsters are born when humans commit acts of violence. It’s near impossible to kill them unless you yourself are a sunai, so for the sake of a more fun gaming experience, let’s say you’re an average human in this warring world, fighting monsters and making choices that define your character along the way:
Corsai move among darkness as swarms and function as a hive mind. They are the weakest monsters and are confined to shadows, so a little light could go a long way when it comes to avoiding them. Just make sure your flashlight doesn’t run out of batteries, and keep an eye peeled for any shadows that sneak out from the pack. If one gets close enough to attack, you're done for, but a silver medallion will lessen your chances of getting grabbed as they're weak to silver.
Malchai are vampire-like humanoids with red eyes and translucent skin that lets you see their dark bones underneath. They are insanely fast, but light weakens them. Shine a light on them to slow them slightly, then dodge and parry in a strategic boss battle like one from Sekiro. A weapon made of silver will do extra damage.
Sunai pass as humans save for their gray eyes that blot out as black in photographs. They sing songs or play music to paralyze evil humans and steal their souls. They are basically indestructible unless first starved for days and days, resulting in them "going dark." Practically they’d only make a great video game enemy if they were in their dark form (yes, they have a final form) and if you made violent choices against humans throughout the game. Think of this avoidable and near impossible fight like Sans from Undertale.
The Chaos Eater is an intangible shadow attached to a human host. This battle would be less a physical one and more of a narrative one like the hym from The Witcher. Choices would have to be made, and you can only hope you can save the host in the process.