Art by Spenzer777


Yes, believe it or not giant crabs and lobsters are some of the most common enemies in video games, especially in platformers and shooters. If you think that I’m exaggerating, just wait till the end of this entry. Honestly I don’t know how to start here because at least the previous enemies in The Bestiarium were at least… you know… intimidating.


Yes, even the slimes

Crabs on the other hand are the enemies that reside in the bottom of my list of priorities in video game enemies. What might look like a giant monster with huge claws that can destroy buildings, for me, it’s just the most expensive dish from a fancy restaurant that wants to tear my wallet from my cold dead hands. Don’t let that my opinion fool you, because crabs can be a really big pain in the butt if you aren’t prepared. So before I start, let’s talk about the biggest crab on existence: the constellation Cancer.



Why Cancer? You’ll see every constellation (or at least most of them) are based on a legend or figure from the Greek, Chinese or Hindu Mythology. In this case (or at least the only one I could find) it’s related to the crab Karkinos who was sent by Hera in order to distract Heracles. Heracles (honored in Rome as Hercules) was battling the Hydra. Karkinos tried to distract Heracles by grabbing him on the toe with his claws to give the Hydra an advantage.


Clearly not the best plan because the little crab was easily crushed in the fight

But because of Karkinos’ effort, Hera gave him a place in the sky… BEST CONSTELLATION…ER…CONSOLATION PRIZE EVER!!… But you know what’s really funny about this? Some people suggested that Karkinos was just a late addition to the myth of Heracles in order to make the “Twelve Labors” correspond to the twelve signs of the zodiac. Basically the guy was a late and lame addition in order to make the “Twelve Labors” canon with signs of the zodiac. It’s like when they integrate a new character on an already established story only to be killed at the end.


I’m looking at you Starkiller

In other words this intro was totally pointless. I mean, I can’t really say that people based the concept of enormous crab creatures on this lousy tale, but at least I can always blame to weird Sci-fi books of the 19th century.


H.G. Well’s Time Machine was weird

So after all said, let’s take a look at giant crabs as a recurring enemy in video games, and movies, and cartoons… you get the point.

Big Meaty Claws

alien soldier crab

Alien Soldier for Sega Genesis

This is basically the primary weapon of any crab: a huge pair of claws with 90 lbs of crushing strength, almost four times of a human hand. You know what the best part about them? Some species can regenerate their claws when there are ripped off… Yes, I want to see a crab boss that throws their claws as missiles and then regenerates them a few seconds later. This actually sounds neat for a Space Shooter.



Vagrant Story for PSONE

I remember fighting a crab boss that threw bubbles at me when I was a kid. At first I didn’t think twice about it, but then I fought against several other crabs in several other games that did the same thing. I asked myself: where did this reoccuring behavior come from? It turns out that there are two explanations. The first one is that a crab can have bubbles in his mouth when it’s dying. To be more precise it’s a mechanism to survive when exposed of extreme temperatures or water with very little salt. Thankfully, the second explanation is less disturbing but it’s not entirely related to crabs, but shrimp. The Snapping Shrimp is a species with the ability to emit a powerful wave of bubbles that can stun fish and break glasses.

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