“Blockade” from 1976. Also known as “Snake.” Technically the first appearance of a snake in video games.
And if you’re looking for a more modern take on a video game snake, there is this one from Dragon’s Dogma. Although technically it’s a Hydra… Those count right?
There’s something that I like to call the quartet of generic enemies in video games, or the “Spooky Quartet” (because they also act as generic creatures in horror movies). You see kids, video games are hard if you think about them too much. However, they can be easy if you follow the same patterns that everybody else does. Trust me, there’s nothing more cliche than these four enemies, each of them with the same purpose – to kill you – but each one with a different function and location.
In the sky we have Bats, to annoy us every time we try to jump from one platform to another.
On the ground we have the Rats, just to get in our way.
Hanging from the ceiling there are annoying Spiders that will appear out of nowhere to kill you.
At the top of the chart we have Snakes, the ones that can poison us or even shoot fireballs (for some reason). I’m pretty sure that anyone who plays video games, even casual games, had to struggle with snakes at some point of their life. From the classic retro platformer games, like Super Mario Bros 2, Ducktales (the original and the remake), the whole franchise of Hudson’s Adventure Island and even Robo-Snakes like the ones from Megaman 2.
Point and Click adventures, such as King Quest V or Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis for PC.
Third person shooters, like Resident Evil 4 where they act like mimic chests (see more here).
And RPG’s (among others) where they can be a pain in the butt because their attacks will put your character into the negative status known as “Poisoned.” Which normally will cause damage to your character on each of their turns during the battle and outside of it every few steps you take. This becomes a huge problem when you are in the middle of a dungeon, far away from the closest place to heal your status and you don’t have an antidote.
Another thing that makes these guys more annoying than the rest is that they appear as bosses most of the time. Not as just as regular snakes though, these guys appear as super snakes similar to the ones in the old myths and legends, such as…
The Midgard serpent according to the Nordic Myths, is a snake so massive that it can surround the earth and has a poison so powerful that it killed Thor on its final confrontation. In video games, the closest thing to the Midgard Serpent (because it’s easier to say than the unpronounceable Jörmungandr) are just some big ass snakes that can easily eat a single human in one bite.
The Jungle Book
A platforming game based on the classic movie the Jungle Book. It came out for several consoles such as Sega Genesis, SNES, Sega Master System, Gameboy and in this case, the NES. Kaa the Snake is a giant python that will appear to shoot you with his Hypnotic power (yeah I don’t know how that works). He will then disappear once you jump on his head with an ending attack that is almost impossible to dodge in the NES version. It is not a long battle or a very hard one, except for that damn projectile attack!
Another Disney Platformer based on one of their movies with yet another reptilian boss. This is the final fight against Jafar and is slightly easier than the first one in my opinion, and it’s a pretty good fight. The whole floor is just the body of Jafar that wiggles around in order to burn you with the fire below his body. He will also throw eggs from his mouth (I don’t remember that part in the movie), but in order to beat this guy you have to jump on his head, to do so you have three different ways. The first is to jump on the eggs he shoots in order to get enough height to jump on his head. The second is to just jump when his body moves in a certain way that elevates you enough to step on his head. Finally, the third is to jump over his head when he tries to bite you which is easy considering you are jumping constantly anyway to avoid getting third degree burns. Once beaten he will trap you and the game re-creates the end of the movie through in game cut scenes.
The RE franchise is well know for their B.O.W. (Bio Organic Weapon), one of the most well known is Yawn, who made his debut in the first RE game. Yawn is a gigantic snake that appears in the attic guarding one of the crests for the door in garden. You can choose between fighting the monster and wasting your precious ammo or stealing the crest and GTFO. But Yawn is not the only snake in the Franchise.
Iluzija is another snake-like boss, and it appears on RE 6. This boss is more tricky than Yawn, you can run from this monster but you can’t escape from it. This creature has the ability to camouflage, so make sure you find it before it finds you. My recommendation is to use the laser sight to find it and avoid being eaten as much as possible.
Not that Hydra…
In Greek mythology, Hydra was a giant snake-like monster that had the ability to grow two heads for every head that is cut off. It had a poisonous breath and its blood is so virulent that even its scent was deadly. The only way to defeat the Hydra was by using a firebrand to scorch the neck stumps after each decapitation. In video games, Hydras are mostly giant snakes with more than one head (normally 3 or 5) that can shoot poison, fire or even ice out of their mouth. Some video games in which they are appear include:
King of Dragons
A Beat em Up game for the Arcade and SNES developed by Capcom. The Hydra is the 4th boss who attacks with his three heads at the same time, each time you beat one of them it is snapped off of its body. However, due to limitations and censorship, in the SNES version you can only fight against two at the same time, while the third one is hidden in the back and will appear when you beat one of the heads. Also, their heads just fall out instead of being snapped off.
A platformer for the PSONE, PC and Game Boy, although I played the PSONE version (on my computer) because I think it looks best. The fight against the Hydra is very similar to the one in the movie, you cut the heads and then more appear. Just keep doing that until its life goes to zero and the level will be over, although be careful because sometimes timing the moment to dodge an attack can be a pain.
Super Ghouls and Ghosts
A SNES platformer in which the only easy thing were the bosses, in comparison with the levels that is. The hydra is not very hard, just focus on one head at a time, try to avoid his attacks, and whatever you do, don’t approach them when it splits into three snake-men. Once you finish with him there will be three levels left in the game unless you want the real ending, which requires you to play the entire game over again.
I could say that this is a hard boss, but honestly, by Dark Souls standards it’s just a regular one. The Hydra is a Boss that requires a good use of strategy and reflexes, or just cheating, You can beat it by using long range projectiles or good melee weapons (the wiki recommends using the Rusted Iron Ring). When you go to the bonfire to regain your health, the HP of the Hydra will also regain but its heads won’t re-appear. Once you cut all the heads off the Hydra you will win the fight. Just be careful with the Water projectiles, the bites and its attacks of bombardment.
Of course, I could mention other snake related monsters such as Medusas or Lamias, but that would be an entry for another day (reptilian people).
Honestly, I can’t complain too much about snakes in video games because they normally fit well with the ambiance of the levels they appear in. I mean, finding them in the jungle, desert, mountains or even in a lake makes sense. Although finding them in an old mansion or even in a boat just sounds kinda silly. Snakes can slither into just about anywhere though…
Just try to avoid being swallowed by them.