Top 5 Dogs in Gaming,
Recently I have had the pleasure of taking care of my parent’s dachshunds. By pleasure, I of course mean the pleasure of being barked at around the clock, cleaning up after one of them after he has his war flashbacks (which war is up for grabs, since he barks in Cantonese, German, Russian, and three dialects of Sumerian when he gets going and is often found asking for bayonets), and having my productivity reduced to next to nothing as I clean pee from everywhere outside of the wee-wee pads I set up.
Still, I think we’re coming to an understanding (I’ve managed to teach them to play Donkey Konga at least) and I’ve decided to share some examples of dogs who I believe might inspire them to greater heights. The dogs on this list are lovable, highly skilled, and the very definition of man’s best friend. So kick back and relax as I share my picks for the greatest dogs in gaming. The only rule is that it does have to be a canine, or at least a canine shape (Sorry, D.O.G. and the pet chain-chomp from Link’s Awakening).
While it doesn’t do anything the other pets in the Torchlight series can’t do, the dog in Torchlight is still pretty amazing. Not only can it carry extra items for you and help you in combat, it’s also more than willing to let you experiment on it with items that transform it into a completely different species and, more importantly, will run off and sell your stuff to the merchant, making it the best friend you have as you explore dungeons. I’m not sure how a dog manages to make deals with merchants and never gets scammed, but I won’t question it: this dog is just that awesome.
Still, considering all the other pets in the game can do the same thing, Torchlight’s dog couldn’t make the list.
She might be the newest character on this list, but make no mistake; Isabelle’s easily earned her place on this list as a sweet, loyal dog who is probably one of the hardest-working secretaries in gaming history. Whether she’s hosting the latest firework festival, helping you compose a new town tune, setting up a donation box for your new public works project, or cleaning neighbor’s mouths out with soap, this little Shih Tzu is always working to make sure your town is flourishing, even when you aren’t playing. Admittedly, her dedication can get a bit disturbing when you realize that she is ALWAYS ready to help you and she is only seen sleeping on extremely rare conditions.
Also, despite her loyalty to you and your town, she won’t do everything for you. I’m just saying, Isabelle, it’s Summer and our town’s budget is nothing. Maybe you could pick up a net and pick up some beetles or pass that sales tax I’ve been bringing up so I don’t have to be solely responsible for every single public works project. Still, for being extremely dedicated to her job and being the best secretary she can be, Isabelle works her way into the number 5 spot on our list.
In a world where everything is out to kill you, sometimes man’s best friend is your best weapon against the mutants, ghouls, and bandits that plague you. Dogmeat is a great addition to your team in Fallout. While he might not be able to equip weapons or wear armor, Dogmeat makes up for it by sheer savagery and loyalty. Dogmeat is fast and brutal, capable of delivering several attacks in the time most characters can only do one attack. This allows him to be invaluable during early game exploration when you are fighting bandits and radscorpions. If you’re careful, you can even get this adorable wasteland scrounger to survive to the end of the game, despite him canonically dying in the super mutants’ base.
However, this dog’s ability to tear through foes and survive through most of the game isn’t enough to get him on this list. After all, Shadow from Dead to Rights II was willing to bite ALL the crotches for his owner and Fallout 3’s Dogmeat was willing to sacrifice his entire lineage to your cause. No, this dogmeat is on the list because he’s willing to bend TIME AND SPACE to serve you. In Fallout 2, you can find a lonely cafe where Dogmeat faithfully waits for his master (despite the fact that he should be dead). You can even get him on your team if you’re wear the Vault Dweller’s clothes. That’s not all. You can even find this faithful mutt in Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura if you look carefully (the game was made by former Fallout developers)
So for chewing faces and breaking the laws of physics to be with you, Dogmeat earns himself an iguana-on-a-stick.
It’s not easy to live in a Mother game. At any moment you can run into children with psychic powers, zany enemies who are just as fun to look at as they are to beat up, or even Eldritchian horrors that will give you nightmares for years to come. So what kind of animal would try to take this world on with only his bare paws? Only one of the greatest dogs to ever live: Lucas’ dog Boney.
Boney might not be the toughest character on your team, despite having amazing speed and the ability to sniff out enemy weaknesses, but he makes up for it by being absolutely devoted to Lucas. Not only was he helping out Lucas’ family when he was only a pup, but he’s also more than happy to join in on Lucas’ quest to keep the kid safe, whether he’s fighting another goofy boss or trying to pass himself as a human by standing on two legs and wearing clothes so he can sneak into a club
Yes, that happened. Mother 3 and Boney are completely awesome.
Speaking of being willing to be embarrassed to help his master, let’s not forget Rush, the lovable canine companion of Mega Man. Rush may not be directly involved in fighting the various robot masters and minions of Dr. Wily, but he is more than willing to put himself in the line of fire to help his master. Rush is willing to dig up power-ups, turn himself into submarine or jetboard, or even act as a freaking spring so Mega Man can get the 1up that is right out of reach. And he does it all without a single complaint. This dog is literally allowing its master to stamp all over him and he’s proud to do it.
What’s more, later games even allowed Rush to become a suit of armor for Mega Man to wear. You have to give Rush credit for the trust he puts in the Blue Bomber. I mean, I asked my parent’s dachshunds to let me equip them so I can fight the giant badger that lives in the woods and all they did was pee on my favorite chair. Rush would jump into hell itself just so Mega Man could get a little farther.
Who could beat a robot in terms of loyalty? Rush, Boney, and Dogmeat would be willing to die to help their masters, so who could possibly beat that kind of dedication?
You had to see this one coming. Missile here might seem like he’s just the cutest little thing whoever lived (which he is), but he has a dedication to his masters that goes far beyond anything you could ever hope for in a dog. See, Missile isn’t willing to die for his masters–oh no, it goes far deeper than that. Missile is willing to STAY dead for them. See, poor little Missile has found that death is actually pretty liberating: not only does it give him wonderful insights into great universal truths (like the fact that he is, in fact, a Pomeranian), but it also grants him special powers that he can use to help keep his masters safe, so he’s fine staying dead, despite being given the opportunity to stop his death from happening.
I want to repeat that. The happy little puffball above, the little thing that has only recently gained sentience and understanding of his former life, turns down the chance to be saved just so he can keep his masters safe. That’s to say nothing of the game’s big reveal (Play the game. Do it right now. Seriously, it’s not that hard to get a copy). I mean, there’s dedication, there’s unbridled loyalty, there’s a life-debt, and then there is Missile the freaking Pomeranian. There’s no better dog you could possibly ask for in real life or in a game.
Now, let’s see if any of these tales of faithful canines have rubbed off on my parent’s pooches. In the meantime, why don’t you share your own picks for your favorite dogs?
“HOW DID YOU EVEN START THE OVEN? NO! BAD DOG! STOP POURING BRAKE FLUID INTO THAT BEAKER AND GIVE ME BACK MY SINUS MEDICENE! …No, we’re cool, we’re cool.”