Top 10 Retro Rovers in Video Games
It’s a ruff road out there. If you’re looking for sympathy you’re barking up the wrong tree. Stop hounding me with questions. Take a paws and read the title of this blog.
Okay, I believe that I got all the dog puns out of my system, so hopefully they won’t show up anywhere else in this blog. Now let me retrieve your attention (dammit!) by telling you what I’ll be counting down today. Recently, my dog passed away and even more recently I got a puppy. Her name is Luna and if you don’t say “daww…” while looking at her, you have no soul.
While my other dog was sick and I knew she was going to pass, I came up with the idea to write a list showcasing the best dogs in gaming, but I never got around to it. Also, my initial list had over 30 dogs, and I had no idea how to cut it down. Luckily, 1 More Castle happened and now I have two lists dedicated to dogs. The first one you are reading here will focus on dogs from retro games, while the second list on ScrewAttack.com will focus on dogs from more current games. At the end of each list will be a link so you can check out the other one.
- Like all my lists, this one is based off of how much I personally like the dog and their impact on gaming community.
- There will only be one dog per franchise.
- If there is a dog you thought should have made the list comment below, I’ll try to explain why he or she didn’t make the cut.
- I haven’t played every single game ever made, so if a dog you like isn’t on this list, it might be because I haven’t played the game.
- Comments are always read and appreciated.
Without further ado, let’s begin.
10.) Poochy – Yoshi’s Island and Yoshi’s Story
We’re going to start this list with one of the oddest dogs on this list, and that’s saying something.
Poochy made his debut appearance is Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island but since then he has appeared in numerous games from the Mario franchise. Poochy in Yoshi’s Island serves as a form of transportation for Yoshi and Baby Mario. Throughout the game you’ll find lakes of lava and fields of spikes blocking your progression. Luckily, Poochy is a dog with superpowers. Poochy can run over spikes, lava, and enemies with no damage whatsoever. All Yoshi has to do is jump on Poochy’s back and point in the direction he want to go. Poochy made his next appearance in Tetris Attack and this was the only game he was “playable” in… but that was basically a 1v1 puzzle game similar to Columns or Puzzle Bobble, so it doesn’t really count. Poochy’s final appearance that I’m going to be talking about is in the Nintendo 64 classic, Yoshi’s Story. The main goal of Yoshi’s Story is to basically feed Yoshi as much food as possible. Poochy assists by sniffing out melons for Yoshi to eat. Now this is the odd thing about Poochy. Besides the fact that Poochy is practically immortal, he can also sniff out fruit…
…but I ask you, how does Poochy sniff out fruit if he has no nose? That is a mystery to us all.
So Poochy the immortal nose-less dog takes the number 10 spot.
9.) Houndoom – Pokemon Gold and Silver
There were actually a lot of canine Pokemon for me to choose from for this list, but in my opinion none of them come close to Houndoom. Houndoom was released during the second generation of Pokemon, and thus catchable in Pokemon Gold or Pokemon Silver. Now I’m not the biggest Pokemon fan in the world, but Houndoom is just cool. It’s such a dark and mysterious creature, in the world of Pokemon which is generally filled with happy and cute critters.
First off it’s a dark/fire type Pokemon and besides its pre-evolution form Houndour, it’s the only Pokemon of that dual type. It’s an almost demonic Pokemon with myths and legends surrounding it. They say that its fire attacks are so strong that you’ll never heal from them, and that its howl was once described as the call of the Grim Reaper. In addition, according to Bulbapedia (the official Pedia of Pokemon) Houndooms eat other smaller mammalian Pokemon. Why didn’t they show that in the show!? That’s almost as morbid as the story behind Cubone’s skull helmet. If you look at the image above you can see that Houndoom is a canine Pokemon based on a Doberman Pinscher combined with some sort of demonic hellhound, thus the name Houndoom. It has the general body type of a Doberman with large horns, a skull-like decoration on its chest, bone-like armor on the rest of its body, and a typical devil tail with a pointed arrowhead at the end.
All I know is that every time I play Pokemon Silver, I get Houndoom in my team.
8.) Max – MDK
Here’s a somewhat obscure game, but it really shouldn’t be.
MDK which stands for… Actually I don’t know what it stands for. MDK is a relatively unknown third-person shooter developed for the original Playstation and PC. It was developed by Shiny. You may remember Shiny from such classics as Earthworm Jim, Wild 9, and Earthworm Jim 2. They made other games, but there’s nothing better than Earthworm Jim or MDK.
The plot of MDK is quite simple. The somewhat insane Dr. Fluke Hawkins is in self-exile in a space shuttle orbiting the Earth when suddenly he sees aliens heading toward the planet. He tries to warn them, but being a self-exiled doctor, they don’t listen to him. Therefore, the doctor sends his laboratory janitor, Kurt Hectic, down to Earth equipped with the latest battle suit with an arm-machine gun and a head-mounted sniper, to save the planet from being mined of all its resources by the alien scourge.
Now what does this have to do with Max? Well not much actually. Max doesn’t have a huge role in the first MDK game. Max is a six-legged robotic dog created by the doctor. Throughout Kurt’s adventures, Max is sent to rescue Kurt from the slipstream at the end of every level. Max’s biggest role in MDK is towards the end of the game. In the second to last mission Max is kidnapped by the leader of the alien invasion Gunter Glut. As Kurt, you must rescue Max who then gets turned into a seal… yup. Then you must feed seal-Max to Gunter Glut. Then Max destroys Gunter from the inside until a massive explosion of blood and guts.
Without Max, the Earth would have been doomed, but Max played a bigger role in MDK 2 where he is actually playable. Wait… I can’t talk about MDK 2 because it’s not considered retro. How will I end this entry?
7.) Iggy – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
I’m going to admit right now that I don’t know anything about JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure besides what is in the Playstation 1 fighting game. I’m pretty sure JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure was also a manga series as well, but I never had any experience with that.
What I did play was the classic Capcom fighter for the Playstation 1, Dreamcast, and Arcade which is now available on XBLA and PSN. The game follows Stardust Crusaders manga story arc, but here’s what I know. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure follows Jotaro Kujo who has a special ability known as The Stand. Jotaro goes on a quest to defeat the evil vampire Dio Brando so that he can get a cure for his mother who’s suffering from an unstable Stand. A Stand is essentially super powers with a physical manifestation. In the game that means, when Stand Mode is active the majority of the characters will have a ghost-like second person or creature who will aid the original character in battle. In Stand Mode characters are stronger offensively, defensively, and you get special moves.
Now with this story and the Stands, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure has a lot of odd characters but none of them are quite as strange as Iggy. Iggy is a Boston Terrier who has his very own Stand called The Fool. Iggy is named after the musician Iggy Pop and The Fool is based off the Fool tarot card. The Fool gives Iggy extra strength and the ability to control sand. It’s extremely flexible and its power is limited to the wielders imagination. As I said above, Iggy is a Boston Terrier in a fighting game full of human-like characters. He is a sick puppy. Iggy loves coffee flavored gum, biting hair, and farting in people’s faces. He’s disgusting, but was even able to defeat one of the main bad guys all by himself.
6.) Laughing Dog – Duck Hunt
You knew this bastard was gonna make an appearance somewhere, but I just cannot justify putting him any higher. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about Duck Hunt. It’s even the Featured Image for this blog. In case you were born yesterday, Duck Hunt is a game developed for the NES, and designed to be used with the NES Zapper. The goal is the game is to shoot ducks. That’s about it.
On your quest to shoot ducks, you are assisted by your faithful canine companion. Before every round, the Laughing Dog jumps into the thick grass and scares the ducks into the sky. If you end up shooting the ducks, the Laughing Dog will be proud of you and celebrate your victory. If you fail, then the Laughing Dog will point and laugh at your failure. Think about it. Your loyal dog starts mocking you for not killing a creature. It’s taunting a man with a loaded rifle. That’s quite brave. Every time that dog laughs, you want to shoot it so badly, but you can’t. At least not in any of the console versions of Duck Hunt.
The dog is so loathed by the gaming community that decades later it’s still an fresh wound for us.
5.) Parappa – Parappa the Rapper
Parappa the Rapper is the granddaddy of the rhythm game genre. It was developed for the original Playstation in 1997. Since then, Parappa has enjoyed moderate success and even though he has only appeared in four games, Parappa hasn’t drifted into obscurity. In fact, Parappa was chosen to appear in Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale, even though some more well-known characters didn’t make the cut.
Parappa’s first game was Parappa the Rapper. In this game Parappa learns how to do tasks and rap by studying under the tutelage of a master. The master will rap to a beat and you’ll see button commands on the screen. Then when it’s Parappa’s turn to rap you must press the correct button in time with the beat. It’s not too difficult but it’s quite addictive and fun. The gameplay get’s even more fun when you try to get a “Cool” rating on each rap song. To achieve a “cool” you must freestyle. That means you must push buttons that aren’t in the given sequence, but you must stay on the beat.
In this game you play as Parappa who is in love with a girl named Sunny Funny. Parappa’s advances are thwarted by a larger and stronger dog. Therefore Parappa learns some karate moves from Chop Chop Master Onion, then he learns and gets his drivers liscense from Instructor Mooselina, then he crashes his dad’s car so to pay for it he sells stuff at a flea market under the tutelage of Prince Fleaswallow, then he realizes that Sunny’s birthday is coming up so he learns to make a cake from Cheap Cheap the Cooking Chicken, then he’s on a date with Sunny when he suddenly has to use the restroom so he must do a rap battle with all the previous Master’s so that he can get to the front of the line (that’s the song I embedded above), then finally Parappa is invited to Club Fun by MC King Kong Mushi and raps on stage and finally expresses his feelings to Sunny.
It’s a touching story of love, thriftiness, and karate all in a rhythm game.
4.) Rush – Mega Man franchise
As I’ve mentioned multiple times, I adore the Mega Man franchise. I even based my online pseudonym off of a robot master from the second game in the franchise. While Mega Man 2 is my favorite game in the series, the third installment introduced a staple of the Mega Man universe. It introduced Rush the dog. Rush is Mega Man’s robotic canine companion and one of the most versatile dogs on this list.
As I mentioned above, Rush was introduced in Mega Man 3. In that game he only had three abilities. There was the Rush Coil, which gave Mega Man a boosted jump. There was Rush Jet, which Mega Man can ride on top of and fly through the sky. Finally there was Rush Submarine, which allowed Mega Man to traverse through the water with ease. Since then Rush has been able to transform into a variety of machines with various uses. Some of the more memorable Rush transformations are a drill machine, a motorcycle, and even a spaceship. In the later games he could be used to sniff out hidden items and weapons. The most memorable transformation for Rush is the Rush Adaptor introduced in Mega Man 6. In this game Rush is able to fuse with Mega Man. One fusion gives Mega Man the power of flight, while the other gives Mega Man the ability to shoot off his arm as a rocket punch that’s stronger than the mega-buster.
It’s a transformer dog, and named after the awesome Canadian band, Rush.
3.) Sam – Sam and Max
Rest in peace LucasArts, you will surely be missed.
Sam is one-half of the crime fighting duo known as Sam & Max. Sam & Max started as comic book characters created by Steve Purcell. The comic satirized American pop-culture, but mainly focused on Sam & Max solving bizarre crimes with even more bizarre solutions. The duo got their first video game in 1993 with Sam and Max: Hit the Road. Since then Sam and Max have enjoyed being some of the greatest point and click stars of all time.
Sam & Max have appeared in twenty-four games and even though LucasArts is shut down they’ll be a household name for years to come. Sam and Max are homages to other popular crime-fighting duos. They work together, but are complete opposites. Max is a little white rabbit with homicidal and insane outbursts. He’s often angry and unpredictable. Sam on the other hand is a 6 foot tall anthropomorphic dog with a Humphrey Bogart sense of style and mannerisms. He wears a trenchcoat and a classic detective fedora hat. Sam is the straight-man of the duo; he often uses logic and common sense to solve puzzles. Sam is rarely seen angry, but when he is it’s terrifying. Max has to calm him down. I also like Sam because despite his common sense he’s not a perfect dog-person. He has tendencies to ramble on and on about subjects, and still has dog mannerisms. He’s “not above sticking his head out the car window and letting his tongue flap in the breeze” Also he looks a lot like McGruff the Crime Dog.
2.) Incerceptor – Final Fantasy VI
In a world full of dragons, ogres, and other mythical creatures sometimes all you need is man’s best friend.
In Final Fantasy VI you meet a unique cast of characters. One of them is the Assassin named Shadow. Shadow is a ruthless mercenary who joins and leaves your party at will. According to Edgar Shadow would “…slit his mama’s throat for a nickel!” At first appearance it seems that Shadow is a ruthless killing machine, only interested in money. I don’t want to reveal too much about this character, because it’s Final Fantasy writing at its greatest. As it turns out, Shadow is a man with a tragic past and despite his cold exterior, he does develop some kinship with the party. However, he has much more kinship with his dog.
Following Shadow everywhere is a large black Doberman Pinscher. Shadow tried to live a normal life but his tragic past kept haunting him. So he ran away from his wife and child to become the assassin named Shadow. Despite trying to tell his dog, Interceptor, to stay the dog follows Shadow everywhere he goes. Since then Interceptor and Shadow were the best of friends. Interceptor is extremely hostile to any character besides Shadow, and surprisingly, Relm. It is said that Interceptor will eat strangers. While this is never confirmed, it makes Interceptor a complete badass. Interceptor is loyal and protective of his master, Shadow. In combat if Shadow is attacked by a physical attack then sometimes Interceptor will take the hit for Shadow or counterattack with a devastating blow.
Either way, you don’t mess with Interceptor or Shadow because their bond is tight.
1.) Yamato – Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi
Now this is a completely personal list, so you may not agree with my choice for the number one spot. Before you grab the torches and pitchforks, let me explain myself.
Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi is a game in the Shinobi series that is often overlooked, but it shouldn’t be. It was released in 1990 for the SEGA Genesis or the Mega Drive if you want to call it that. The games protagonist is different depending on which version of the game you play, but I always assumed that it was the real Shinobi, Joe Musashi.
Joe Musashi brought down the Neo Zeed organization in a previous game so he decides to go to New York City to spend time with his former student, Kato. However, Kato has been seriously injured trying to rescue a bunch of children at an Elementary School from an evil gang of ninjas known as Union Lizard. These ninjas, under the orders of a giant reptilian creature have taken over New York City. They’ve killed numerous people, and have taken any survivors hostage.
Now I’m sure you’re asking what does this have to do with Yamato the dog. Well Yamato was Kato’s dog. When Kato passes away Yamato follows Joe Musashi and helps him take down Union Lizard. You can tell Yamato wants revenge for his fallen former master, but also wants to be loyal to Joe Musashi. Throughout the game, Yamato can be used to assist you in your quest. If there is an enemy on screen, Yamato will begin to bark. You can then sic Yamato on the enemy who will be stuck in place under Yamato’s strong jaws. This loyalty and usefulness in battle makes Yamato very similar to Interceptor, but there is one difference that puts Yamato at the top, and that’s vulnerability. You feel sorry Yamato lost its master, but more importantly you feel protective. Yamato is a Shinobi dog, but he is still a dog. He will defend Joe and attack his enemies, but if Joe is not careful, Yamato can be attacked and hurt. If Yamato is injured he will transform from a fearsome Husky, to a small vulnerable puppy.
Yamato isn’t just any dog, he’s your dog. Anyone who hurts him is in for a world of pain.
Well 1 More Castle, that’s my list of the Top 10 Retro Rovers in Video Games. Feel free to leave a comment in the section below and if you want to check out my Top 10 Current Canines in Video Games you can click this link or that giant picture below.