Bunnies. We've all seen one. Floppy ears and cute little button noses are the order of the day here. Thing is, you don't often get to ride on one, which is exactly where Barney the Bunny comes in. Especially considering how ridiculous his appearance actually is.
Bunnies are staples in the Star Ocean franchise, but in The Second Story they are put to a far more practical use. Seen as a "Super Speciality", you literally have the power to call a cute rabbit to come to you, and allow you to ride it. It must be a damn big rabbit, seeing as he can carry your entire party and allow you travel the landscape without any effort. It may be down to the fact he is also rotund and pink, which may just terrify all comers.
Sadly, Barney suffers the igonimy of becoming completely obsolete at a certain point in the game, when another mode of (better... debatably) transport becomes available. Thing is, this bunny is just so big and cute - the way he hops around is another big plus - that he inclusion on the list is absolutely justified.
That's no ordinary rabbit... See also: The alternative mode of transport is the Synard, which is an enormous dragon-like creature that you must fight as a boss first. Unfortunately, his sprite on the world map is ghastly. Seriously, look it up. It's horrible.
EarthBound is one of those magical games that just seems to inspire everyone who plays it. The absolute definition of cult classic game, you know that you are going to be in for some brilliant creativity. What could be better than being able to travel around on Nessie?
Well actually, you don't. Tessie is purely inspired by the mythical beast of Loch Ness, but is possibly a little more interesting than the Scottish legend. Tessie lives in Lake Tess, Winters, allowing the party to cross the lake on her back. What sets Tessie apart from other modes of transport is that she has her own club, the Tessie-Watching Club, although they never seem to notice when she surfaces, ironically.
Nevertheless, Tessie's appearance in EarthBound is both useful and interesting, as there are only a handful of occasions in gaming where you are allowed to climb aboard the Loch Ness Monster's Japanese cousin - no, Lapras doesn't count!
I need to blow my thistle whistle to get to see the Family Ness... See also: Apart from the aforementioned Lapras (I couldn't justify putting Pokémon as an entry here), other enormous monsters are features as transport. Oliphaunts can be ridden in The Lord of the Rings, while the Shoopuf in Final Fantasy X is a great example of why you shouldn't feed growth hormones to elephants.
I used to adore Golden Axe as a kid. It's one of those games, alongside Columns and Sonic 2 that has seared into my mind due to exposure to a friend's Mega Drive (I will never use the term Genesis. Pah!). Nevertheless, it's not interesting unless I talk about the real draw - the Bizzarians. Oh, what fun!
The game is mostly known for its hack-and-slash gameplay, but steeds are also mountable during gameplay. These Bizzarians have varying degrees of use: the "chickenlegs", or cockatrice, is a very weak mount, whereas the powerful dragon is effectively a fire-breathing game-breaker. The Arcade-only sequel Revenge of Death-Adder then introduced scorpions and mantises into the mix, because why not terrify the chilldren too?
Becoming the main focus of the game upon the release of Beast Rider, the series' most recent entry, we got to see a lot more of them. They are definitely a classic example of animal transport, as well as being cool to boot.
Beasts of burden? Hardly. See also: Other beasts to make appearances as mounts include the Kodo Beasts of Warcraft III. What's more, Gillius Thunderhead of Golden Axe makes an appearance in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed flying on an eagle. Pretty impressive.
In the PlayStation era (i.e. the era when the Crash Bandicoot series was at it's brilliant best), the creators came up with ever more interesting ways to ferry our favourite brainless bandicoot around and about. In some ways, his animal companions have more charisma than he does, and that is definitely the case with Polar from the second game, Cortex Strikes Back. Without a doubt (warning: terrible pun alert) he is the coolest guy in the game. Sorry.
Polar sits outside the entrance to his own level, Bear It, casually lamenting his existence while barking adorably - even when Crash is stomping on his head for ten extra lives. Once in, Crash will lift his eyebrows in a suggestive manner, before subjecting the poor bear to all manner of rough and tumble. He can sprint a short distance, leap chasms and slide across ice all for the sake of his master's mission. And to top it off you then have to outrun his incredibly angry mother around treacherous. Say what you want: he sure is brave!
Polar's pathetic little face is so adorably likeable and emotive that he melts the hearts of all who gaze upon him. Let's hope he gives Mr. Bandicoot his just desserts one day!
These puns are unbearable... See also: The Crash series also features a boar, a tiger and a dinosaur as animals you can ride. Moreover, his old rival Spyro the Dragon rides a mantaray. WWhich shoots torpedoes.
The Kirby franchise, like many of Nintendo's most famous marques, is full of creative flair even if you do have to leave your brain at the door. Luckily, the empty space where your brain once whirred is given a pleasureable massage in the form of the helpers; varied and wonderful, they are useful in their own ways. But not one of them can really hold a candle to Rick. The hamster.
Holding the very much excellent distinction of being the most interesting hamster in gaming, Rick is saved by the marshmallowy form of Kirby in Dream Land 2 and gains his trust - as well as access to his amazing repertoire of abilities. He can use the same floating ability as Kirby himself, and he can also merge abilities with Kirby to make better ones, such as shooting fireballs.
But that's not all. In the third game Rick is given a love interest in the form of Pick, and can stomp his enemies to death. Sadly, he has been relegated to cameo roles in later games in the series, but that doesn't stop Rick being both an interesting and loveable addition to the Kirby franchise.
Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries! See also: You don't often get hamsters in video games, so its a good thing he wasn't overshadowed by the other Kirby helpers such as a cat, a fish or a bird.
There's nothing quite like uncovering some really fascinating examples to fit into a topic like this. I am not the biggest The Legend of Zelda fan you will ever come across, but I do know a great idea when I see it. And when I discovered Moosh, I have to admit I fell head over heels in love with him. Because just look at him.
Moosh is a bear. A seemingly ordinary bear, one might say, save for the fact he is blue and winged. He is one of three animal companions that Link can find in Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons, where he can be summoned with Moosh's Flute. He will allow Link to fly over holes in the terrain, and can attack enemies using Ground Pound. Contrary to his aqua appearance, he hates water, and will even leave your party for a while. The wimp.
What's most interesting about Moosh - his skills aren't exactly unique - was always going to be his appearance. I think bears would generally make good transport, but Moosh takes the biscuit. Nice going!
Exit, pursued by a bear... (let's Boo Boo!) See also: Other than a certain other bear that will grace this list, the other main bear contender was Panda from the Tekken series. However, I think Panda is more geared up for fighting rather than carrying Ms. Xiaoyu!
In the world of Mega Man, what do you do when even your perfect, robotic body can't get you around well enough? Use the perfect, robotic body of a dog instead! I almost didn't include Rush in this list due the aforementioned robotic nature of the dog, but due to his obviously animal nature - and his incredible popularity - Rush more than deserves his place here.
One of the Mega Man series' greatest draws is the fact that so many powerups are at your disposal. Debuting in Mega Man 3, Mega-Man's-Best-Friend (harharhar) allows our titular hero to do tricks that shame the best at Crufts. He can jump higher, he can fly around the map, and he can travel underwater. How's that for multi-talented? I know you might say that this is a bit of an advantage over real dogs, but at least he's useful!
Nothing says I love you more than loyally standing by to help the hero get to his next destination, no matter what the cost, and that's exactly what Rush provides his best friend Mega Man. I wish I had a dog like him (don't tell my labradors I said that).
Shame Preston from Wallace and Gromit wasn't so good. See also: Other animals act as platforms in video games: owls in Super Mario Land 2, for instance, or the turtles in Final Fantasy VI.
Yoshi. What can be said about our favourite green dinosaur? First debuting in Super Mario World, he has become almost as iconic a figure in the Nintendo stable as the moustachioed wonder himself. But what makes this anthropomorphic, bootie-wearing dino so interesting to the gaming community? For that, we must consider his skillset.
First off, we have his ability to carry Mr. Mario Mario: so far, so necessary. Yet his true abilities lay under his thick carapace: his tongue is enormous, allowing for the ability to grab things, or act as a grappling hook in some cases. He can gain special powers, such as being able to breathe fire, fly or run at super speed. Most iconic of all, perhaps, is his signature "egg" moves - he can lay eggs which can be used as projectiles after eating things, and can create an egg-shield to roll around in some cases. This dinosaur packs some serious moves.
Yoshi, for all his talent, is just as well known for his cutesy design and ability to blend in seamlessly into the logic-free world of Mario. His success has been down to being so fun, so original and being a pleasure to control. There is a reason that he has remained a core part of the franchise for 24 years. Well done for your longevity Yoshi, and long may it last.
Well, he's got all the money in the world, but there's one thing he can't buy - a dinosaur. See also: Slightly less useful, and slightly less iconic, are the Dactyls from Chrono Trigger and the Hiryuu from Final Fantasy II and V. They get you from A to B, but not much else, really. Where's your fire breathing? So what if you can turn into phoenixes or pierce tornadoes? You can't munch apples or look cute!
What can I say about the humble chocobo that hasn't been said thousands of times before? You cannot deny the popularity of these creatures: on the surface some sort of bizarre chicken or ostrich hybrid, the chocobo has carried the hopes and dreams of the heroes of the Final Fantasy series for almost thirty years and countless games. So what makes them so special? Well, plenty of things as it goes.
Debuting in sprite form in Final Fantasy II for the NES, our favourite monstrous, yellow bird was nothing more than a simple means of transport from place to place from his humble abode - a little forest all on his lonesome. However, from there he has graduated from being able to heal HP and MP, store items as a Fat Chocobo, fly, cross oceans, dig for treasure, race, be trained, leap canyons and all the rest. Seriously, is there anything this beloved mount can't do?
With such an extensive CV, which also includes having his own brilliant theme song, the chocobo - Boko, Fat Chocobo, Teioh, Choco or any of your other favourites - will always have a special place in our hearts.
Kweh! Wark! See also: The Final Fantasy series has spawned a number of interesting animal mounts, including the Gargant, the Shoopuf, Lizards, Turtles, Dolphins and more besides.
I'm sorry, but I'm going to be pretty blunt with this entry: I absolutely adore Elum.
Ever since I first played Abe's Oddysee, I have always had in my mind two particular memories. The first is being absolutely terrified by the Scrabs and Paramites chasing me - the second is running at full pelt on Elum through the wilderness. A beast that looks reminscent of a deformed camel crossed with a T-Rex, Elum is as fascinating and loveable a mode of transport as you can get.
You find him in the lands of Paramonia and Scrabania, Elum is used primarily as a means of allowing Abe to escape his enemies - mostly Sligs - or leaping enormous canyons. Thing is, Elum has other facets to his personality. He loves honey, and will immediately go towards a beehive and moan with approval. If you then throw the beehive on top of him, he will become very annoyed, scratching and sounding quite sad. What I find most endearing about Elum, however, is how you really start to care for him. You feel genuinely upset when you walk into a mine or fall down a hole as his deep wail echoes on screen. Elum is cool, and will always hold a special place in my heart.
I suppose "Elum" could be a reference to the fact he is similar to a "Mule"... See also: Plenty of other games feature sidekicks that act as transport for the hero. Kazooie from Banjo Kazooie is one example, but I felt like there were more interesting enteries than that iconic bird.
So there you have it. These ten modes of transportation have delighted and bemused gamers in equal measure through their usefulness and designs, and are now immortalised in list form forever more. Thank you for taking the time to read the list, and I hope you can leave a few comments on the Top 10 List board sometime! In the meantime, I will climb aboard my trusty guinea pig companion Hamlet and ride off into the sunset. Cheerio!
Final Fantasy X
Final Fantasy V
The Lord of the Rings
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
Breath of Fire II
Treasure of Rundra
Donkey Kong Country
Secret of Mana
Devil Summoner 2
The Legend of Zelda
Super Mario 64
Super Mario Land 2
Spyro the Dragon 2
Seiken Densetsu 3
Kya Dark Lineage
The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion
Wave Race 64
Final Fantasy XIV:RR
List by sirloinestake (08/25/2014)
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