Spiders! The air-breathing arthropods that live in practically every place on this Earth (except for the Arctic) and also one of the members of the spooky quartet. They are armed with eight hairy legs that allow them to walk on almost any surface, fangs that inject poison and an abdomen with six types of silk glands. This allows them to produce the well-known spider web, which is not only a way of transportation, but also to create sticky nets that can capture insects, birds and small mammals (I’m not kidding).
Because of the above reasons, I consider spiders the second most used and powerful enemy alongside snakes of this quartet, and it’s not because they are creepy enough to have their own phobia, but it’s because they have a particular set of skills. These skills make them a nightmare for gamers like us that will end up in a “game over” for sure. These skills include:
This is one of the main abilities that spiders have. It makes them such a pain because it means they may appear not only on the ground but also on the ceiling, walls or even in the background (yes, even if it doesn’t make any sense).
Spiders are known for the use of their web to immobilize prey in order to eat them, and in video games YOU are the prey. In several games spiders will shoot their web in order to immobilize you for a couple of seconds, which makes you an easy target for the spider or any other enemy on the screen. In RPGs like Pokemon, they will reduce your speed (string shot counts), which can prevent you from switching Pokemon.
Ok, to be fair, this is more about levels rather than enemies, but ask yourself who’s responsible for this, and the answer is pretty obvious. This is an iconic obstacle in the legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, which also appears in Luigi’s Mansion that can be solved with the natural solution to every problem of humankind: FIRE. In other games such as Indiana Jones for the SNES or Chakan: The Forever Man for Genesis, web walls can be destroyed using your bare hands or the Scythe, in the case of Chakan.
This is a move when a spider falls in order to attack you or get in your way and then quickly return to its original position on the ceiling (or out of frame). It is used most of the time for normal enemies rather than bosses, so keep that in mind when you walk around the woods.
Similar to snakes, spiders have fangs that can inject poison, or in the case of video games: shoot it out of their mouth. In RPGs this only means that your character would be poisoned, but life goes on and you’ll likely find an antidote soon.
This is one of the lesser known abilities of video game spiders, and it is the ability to breed (so to speak) smaller spiders that will attack the opponent as a projectile. Spiders also tend to use this tactic as a last resort before they die.
Now that I’ve talked about Spider abilities, what about the creatures themselves?
B.A.S (Big Ass Spiders)
Basically giant spiders, or slightly bigger than spiders in real life in some cases. These are the spiders you’ll see in horror movies and of course video games with sci-fi or horror motifs. These are classic, generic enemies in several games such as Resident Evil 1 and 2, the Hudson’s Adventure Island franchise (well, they are big enough for me) Devil May Cry 1 and 3, League of Legends, Dungeon Defenders, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, the Final Fantasy franchise (FF, FF XI, FF Legends 2 and FF Dimensions so far), the Castlevania franchise (I lost count of how many of them have spiders), Pokemon (Since Gen 2 and in Gen 5), Limbo, Borderlands 2, Neverwinter, Hearthstone, Mickey and Donald Magical Quest, TLOZ Franchise, the Earth Defense Force franchise (2017 and Insect Armageddon), among many other games.
In Japan, the closest equivalent to B.A.S in video games are called Tsuchigumo, which literally means Dirt/Earth Spider. This term is used to refer to renegade local clans and also a Yokai, described as having the body of a Tiger and the legs of a spider (this is why the Tarantula boss in RE is called Black Tiger), and they usually appear in the Atlus Games.
Everything has its own equivalent in a robot, but let’s be real, how many times have you seen a robotic spider in video games? Despite the fact that they usually don’t have the right number of legs, I’m pretty sure that it’s a lot. Especially if you ever played Megaman X1 and X4, Astro Boy Omega Factor, The Amazing Spiderman for PS3, Skyrim, Final Fantasy VIII, Too Human, Metal Gear Rising Revengeance, Deus Ex, Gradius V, Watchdogs, The Armored Core franchise (where spider legs are apparently a thing) not to mention robotic spiders on comics and cartoons. I mean really, I don’t know why but for some reason robots and spiders work excellent together the same as peanut butter and jelly. Even I like the idea because spiders can walk on any surface, jump very high and shoot giant nets of nylon to your enemies, if you want to keep them alive. Of course, you can also equip them with machine guns, flamethrowers and missile launchers among other cool accessories. Although, sadly, as far as technology goes, we are not even remotely close to a fully developed Robot Spider in comparison to what we see in pop culture, but trust me we are getting closer and closer.
Now that we have finished the talk about spiders, let’s move on to one of the topics I wanted to talk about since the beginning of the entry, that’s right: spider people.
You see kids, there is more in this world than just medusas and centaurs. There are myths that involve all sorts of spider people, but to be more specific: Spider Girls.
Jorogumo and Arachne
Jorogumo (which can be translated as Whore Spider) is a Yokai (demon) from Japanese folklore. In the tale she is described as a beautiful woman that entices a man to go into a quiet shack and begin to play a Biwa (a type of Japanese lute). The purpose of course is to distract him while she proceeds to cover him in silk so she can feast on him later. In another version, she would ask a man to marry her or she may appear to be pregnant with a baby (which could be a spider egg sack). In other myths, she is described as a monster who lives near the waterfalls and attacks men who walk near it.
According to the Japanese culture, when a spider turns 400 years old, it gains magical powers (this also applies to foxes, cats or even mundane objects), which allows them to change their appearance or perhaps pull some bunnies out of a top hat.
Arachne, which comes from Greco-Roman Mythology, was originally a mortal woman with a great skill of weaving. But she was also very cocksure, boasting that she was better than Athena and refusing to accept that part of her skill came from the goddess. Because of that, Athena challenges her to a weaving contest (yeah, there was nothing better to do back then). In two of the three variations of the myth, Arachne wins while in the other one she loses, but at the end she ends up getting turned into a spider by Athena (because if you did not realize it yet, Greek goddesses are douchebags).
In the myths, Jorogumo is depicted as a half woman half spider while Arachne is just depicted as a spider without any more details. At the end however, they are both mostly portrayed as the upper half of a woman connected to the body of a spider (yes, basically what you get by replacing the fish part of a mermaid with a spider). Other designs go for a more arachnid body with only the face of a woman, either way it will at the end be a beautiful woman with a couple of extra legs and an immense booty.
This monster has appeared in several games, most of the time with the title of Spider Queen. Some game examples are: Chakan, Ultima VII: Serpent Isle, Okami , Smite, Heroes of the Storm, Dungeon Defenders, Gremlins (it counts for me), The Shin Megami Franchise, most of the Castlevania games after Nintendo 64 (C64, Legacy of Darkness, Circle of the Moon, Aria of Sorrow, and Order of Ecclesia so far) as well as several other games, including Monster Girl Quest.
Since Monster Girl Arachne is a bit on the spicy side, you can click here to see her.
Personally I’m not a fan of Jorogumos or Arachnes. Although don’t get me wrong, I just don’t normally date girls with more than two legs.
So, remember to be careful with spiders next time you have to face one in a video game and avoid girls who play Biwa and offer you the chance to go home to her shack.