Are you ophidiophobic (afraid of snakes)? I am. And yet, the little (or not-so-little, as in the cases to follow) guys keep showing up as deadly obstacles in all our favorite games. Here are ten that, shall I say, poise above the rest. As a bonus, I'm going to take a page from BlueGunstarHero's book and classify each one by species like he did on his crab list.

Species: Eucretes Donbluthus

Sooner or later (usually sooner) in this interactive cartoon, Dirk The Daring undergoes one of his classic original adventure's more memorable sequences when he enters a dank, misty room and the gates clank shut around him. Suddenly, a huge, Nazi-colored snake descends from a hole in the celing and opens its gaping maw, making it clear that it's you or him/her. No sooner is its head cut off, leaving no body, than a second such serpent emerges from a hole in the wall behind Dirk with the same intentions as the one that came before.

Upon its beheading, a third, different-looking snake pops up. You swing your sword at it, but it dodges, prompting a rope weighed down by a skull to drop from another hole in the celing. You pull the rope, opening the way out, and you escape, but not before snake #3 makes another attempt at you. Interestingly, there's no death animation in this sequence of Dirk being eaten by either of the first two snakes, only one of him being squeezed by the third, which only makes sense in the sequence's second half.

In the first stage of the sequel, Dragon's Lair II: Time Warp, we get an idea of just how deadly the former (listed) species is when, if you look closely after lasting long enough, you can clearly see that its bite is strong enough to reduce a stone block to pebbles.

Species: Naja Gelitanicus

In this heartwarming remake of the NES cult classic, the unnamed young protagonist and his amorphus extraterrestrial friend travel an inexplicably long and involved distance from the former's treehouse to his home, effectively begging the questions as to how he got to where he began his journey in the first place and the whereabouts of his parents. At the end of the first set of levels, the only thing standing between them and the house is the first boss, a big, black blob in the shape of a cobra, which is defeated in a very specific way.

First, the Boy feeds the Blob a banana jellybean, turning him into an anvil, which he then pushes until the serpent strikes, smashing his own head. While the Boy whistles to turn the Blob back to normal, a power line descends from higher up and the snake goes on the offensive, slithering under the bridge to emerge on the other side. To counter this, the Boy feeds the Blob a tangerine jellybean to turn him into a trampoline and bounce up to one of the platforms above and lure the snake up there to strike at the exposed wire, electrocuting him. As the Boy falls, he whistles again and gets the Blob into position. The cobra gets back on the right side of the bridge and prepares to leap high into the air. During this time, the Boy feeds the Blob a punch jellybean to turn him into a hole, which the snake falls through into a watery grave, leaving the way home unobstructed.

When they finally make it to the Boy's house, there's no sign of his parents, nor is there one anywhere else in the game.

Species: Ophiucus Umbrellacus Major

After a little under two hours of exploring, killing Zombies, gathering and using items and finding three of your comrades dead, you use the Shield Key to enter the attic. Whoever you're playing as, you'd better be packing the shotgun, because Richard's killer, a huge, poisonous snake, crawls out of a hole in the wall in order to keep you from getting the Moon Crest. Chances are, you'll get poisoned trying to drive him off, forcing you to either control Rebecca to get the serum or watch Barry save you.

Later on, after wisely clearing the mansion of Hunters and using the Helmet Key for the final time, you enter a seemingly empty room with a hole in the back of the fireplace, ideally packing either the shotgun again or the acid round-loaded bazooka. When you examine the piano, Yawn, ideally de-venomed, shows up through the hole to settle things once and for all, but not before making a hole where you were standing. After pumping the final shot into him, he dissolves into a randomly-shaped purple puddle.

If you're Jill, Barry's question as to whether you found anything interesting is rather odd, unless you left the room, likely to save, and came back to find Yawn's remains gone.

Species: Hydrus Tarotcardus

One way or another, James Taylor and/or Gary Stewart eventually see a man running for his life, only to have an eyeless, serpentine head with jagged teeth grab him and proceed to gnaw the life out of him, as one of its siblings has already done to his friend. As you face down this monstrous foe, shooting each of the four outer mouths as they try to bite you, each of them falling after three shots, you take note that the central head has yet to make a move. Then it falls as soon as the second-to-last one does and quickly slithers into the next room, filled with either water or sand.

Here, you forcibly move in pursuit of the jagged serpent, who's either level with your face on the water's surface or with your feet beneath the sand. As it comes at you again and again to bite you, you fire into its open mouth to foil its attacks. Eventually, you fire the final shot into it and it dies, either floating on the water or laying on the sand.

Tower later reappears towards the end of the final chapter, this time with the central head attacking with its four siblings and each head falling after two shots, meaning that there's only a 1-in-5 chance that the central head will be the last to fall.

Species: Eucretes Coralcolus

When 15-year-old Mike Jones begins his journey to search for his Uncle Steve, better known as Dr. J, his journey through the C-Island Tunnel has him using his newly-acquired Yo-Yo, coupled with his skills as a pitcher, to take down slugs, bats and, of course, snakes. Towards the end of the dungeon, he picks up a stock of torches, and boy, will he need them when he meets the first boss, the C-Serpent (literally, the Serpent of C-Island).

In this iconic battle, Mike must wait for his foe to open his gaping maw before letting loose with a torch and jumping to the side to dodge his fireballs. If the C-Serpent, for some reason, doesn't breathe fire, Mike can send two torches down the snake's gullet. Eventually, the fiery repast proves to be too much for the beast to handle and he explodes. Moving north one screen, you can see the skeletal remains of his tail.

Towards the end of the sequel, Zoda's Revenge: StarTropics II, Mike finds that his old foe's skeleton has been reanimated by Zoda-Z and is deadlier than ever with his fireballs, both large and small, coupled with his side-to-side movement, but it's nothing Mike's Ultra Psychic Shock Wave can't handle.

Species: Ophiucus Spectralus Gallowmericus

Throughout Sir Daniel Fortesque's journey through the kingdom of Gallowmere to stop the one who reanimated him from taking over, he opens several chests containing a benevolent spirit known as Kal Katura The Serpent Lord, who helps Sir Dan fight off enemies for a short while. Eventually, however, in The Gallows Gauntlet, he meets his ally's polar opposite: The Serpent Of Gallowmere, who emerges from his skull-and-crossbones-marked chest if Sir Dan comes within a certain distance of it.

I hope you've collected every Chalice Of Souls and reaped every corresponding reward to up this point, because otherwise, you'll have to head out the emergency exit or face certain death (again). If you did get all the Chalices, then your latest reward will have been Megwynne Stormbinder's Lightning, which just so happens to be the only weapon capable of fending off the spectral serpent. After a few shocking seconds, you'll successfully fend it off and you'll be free to collect the two treasures it was guarding.

Keep in mind, this is not a boss fight. Those have visible life meters and reasonably assume you have some means to come out on top, at least in this game.

Species: Agkistrodon Dickcheneyus

Definitely the most underrated game I've ever played, the shortest stage in this hack 'n slash anthropomorphic action-adventure places our titular feline hero aboard the Mi Noh. After listening to Su Ling and the crew of pandas sing their respective lyrics, a cry rings out: "Oh, no! The Dreaded Chei Ni! We're doomed!" And sure enough, as his name appears on screen, the monstrous sea serpent leaps through the water towards the ship, intent on cutting short your voyage to Waa Lo.

Naturally, it's up to you to cut him down, but it won't be easy. Not only does he strike with the force of a piledriver and spew gushing torrents of venom for seconds at a time, but the medallion embedded in his throat can only be damaged if Kay has no less than a Combo +1 active. Though there are Zhongs for that, he's backed up by an endless platoon of rats that have stowed away onboard. However, upon triumphing (preferably with the claws, just to acknowledge that they were used to kill something big, even if the game doesn't), the crew sings this joyous refrain: "There's nothing more foul than a dread sea snake! Would you like to serve it up, sir, as a juicy steak?"

Incidentally, it's a real shame about this gem's legacy. After falling out of Capcom's hands, the DS iteration pretty much undid everything that was good about the original. As a result, seeing the words, "We'll be back!" at the end of the credits just doesn't fill me with the same sense of anticipation anymore.

Species: Crotalus Durissus (No, seriously.)

Do I even need to explain this one? Look at the box art, he takes up about 60% of it! Well, I suppose if I want to do him justice...

In every odd-numbered stage of this unique beat-em-up, you assume the role of a tarantula (also pictured). Though you sometimes fight the other main protagonist, a scorpion (and sometimes the reverse in the even-numbered stages), the former arachnid's real arch-nemesis is a rattlesnake, which he encounters early on. After managing to put a few dents and take a few chunks out of the reptile, the spider escapes, only to soon run into him again, further only for the serpent to wind up captured by the other main antagonist, Struggs (voiced by Oscar nominee Dennis Hopper). Finally, after escaping their respective terrariums and the inside of the gas station, the two of them have a final showdown as they're both trapped by a fire, ending with the tarantula once again humiliating and escaping his nemesis.

While this is going on, Struggs is being made to regret being born by the scorpion, who keeps stinging him *ahem* where it hurts. After doing so three times, the scorpion escapes and Struggs goes after him. Blindly pointing his shotgun at a gas pump, on which the rattlesnake just so happens to be poised, he fires and blows the serpent to chunks and puts himself in a coma. Is there a more satisfying tale of nature's triumph over man?

Species: Naja Midgaridae

Not long after finally escaping Midgar and setting foot on the world map for the first time, you come across a swamp with a tell-tale serpentine shadow (the like of which previously seen in FFIII). The locals identify it as the Midgar Zolom and say that you need a Chocobo to get past it. You probably think you can either get past it on foot or successfully engage it, until it beelines toward you to prove both hypotheses wrong.

At 4,000 HP, not to mention his sheer size, he''s a force with which to reckoned, indeed. Logic would indicate he's weak to ice, but that won't be enough to win you the fight at this point. Even with Ice spells and your strongest physical attacks, he's quite the heavy hitter, himself, not to mention boasting the ability to eject party members with a flick of his tail. And just when you think you'll beat him eventually, he heralds your demise by stretching himself up to the sky. Not long after, he casts Beta, a powerful fire elemental attack that, at this point, will only not cost you the game if he previously ejected a party member.

If you're smart and ride past him (for now), you'll find yourself in a one-shot area, where you'll discover a dead Midgar Zolom impaled through the neck on a giant stake, courtesy of Sephiroth. Eventually, you'll be able to match that, and if you have at least one Enemy Skill Materia with which to obtain and subsequently use Beta after surviving it, so much the better.

Species: Ophiucus Mechanicus Blinkius Major

When the Blue Bomber beams into the all-too-aptly-named Snake Tower to dispose of Snake Man, what he finds is every ophidiophobe's nightmare: Literally, a tower made out of (mechanical) snakes, and, in fact, that he's standing on one, and a big one, at that. After blasting the heads off some snakes that turn out to have them (and eyelids, which real snakes don't have, but Wily's a robotician, not a herpetologist), he comes face-to-face with Petit Snakey's elder sibling, Big Snakey.

Boasting the ability to spew four balls of energy in a row and a shifting segmented body, Mega Man can get around the latter by simply jumping where he stands and blasting his foe in the jaw. However, even after the giant snake head goes out with a bang, his body, like those of his younger siblings, remains, and there's more to him than you've seen thus far. Not only that, but there's another giant snake body up ahead, indicating an inevitable confrontation with another Big Snakey. When you get to Snake Man's Lair, you can see such a body or two, showing that either one or both Big Snakeys stretch all the way to the boss' lair and perhaps beyond.

On the Game Boy, the Big Snakeys don't stretch beyond their respective screens and have no solid ground in front of them, effectively forcing you to ride their shifting segments to get your Mega Buster shots, charged or otherwise, to hit them.

So there you have it, a list of the best and biggest of what happens when the snake and video game worlds intersect. To all my fellow ophidiophobes, sorry if I gave you any nightmares with my list. Sleep well!

List by GigadeathWeapon (05/18/2012)

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