Who doesn’t love dogs? They play, bark, kill, explode, transform, teleport, and if you throw something, they usually bring it right back to you.2015 will be remembered as many things in the gaming spectrum. It was the year of impossible announcements, and the return of many beloved franchises. It may also be remembered as the year of… dog companions. There’s a trend going on in the video game industry. Since the release of Metal Gear Solid V, and Fallout 4, dogs seem to have taken the spotlight. Why shouldn’t they share some of the glory that their masters enjoy? After all, they are man’s best friend and these dogs prove that having a loyal canine by your side can sometimes make all the difference.
10. Duck Hunt Dog (Duck Hunt)
You might not have played the game itself but you’ll probably have heard of Duck Hunt Dog if you’re a gamer: he’s the grandfather of gaming sidekicks. He welcomed a generation into video games, with Duck Hunt a launch title for the NES in America but his infamy stretches across the generations. As the player, your aim was to…well, hunt ducks. The dog was your companion in the game, rousing the ducks so you could shoot them and collecting them when you bagged one. When you didn’t, however, he laughed at you. Laughed and laughed. Many a gamer’s dearest wish has been to shoot the Duck Hunt Dog rather than the ducks. He earns this place on his list thanks not only to his infamy but for the life lessons he taught us. The Duck Hunt Dog teaches you perseverance in the face of the adversity. He taught us not to bow to the haters.
9. Poppy (Samurai Showdown Series)
Ryu has Shoryukens, Scorption has a retractable spear, and Eddie Gordo has some amazing Capoeira dance moves to help him in battle. Well, Galford, from the Samurai Showdown series has a husky to help him fight, and she’s a badass dog at that. Galford’s trusty sidekick in the long running fighting franchise, Poppy, is by far the coolest dog companion you’ll ever see in a fighting game. Not only does Poppy have the distinction of representing females on this list, in battle she can bite, throw, headbutt, and even teleport (some dogs can do that) at Galford’s command. Poppy has remained a loyal companion to Galford and has a whooping 12 game appearances under her belt (leash?) Input a special command in Samurai Showdown V and you can even play as her.
8. Angelo (Final Fantasy VIII)
Angelo is one classy lady dog. She’s so classy, in fact, that her actual full name is Sant’ Angelo di Roma. If this were a list of the best dog names in video games, Angelo would easily claim the top spot. Tetsuya Nomura based her design on his co-worker’s Australian Sheperd, which he owned during production of Final Fantasy VIII. Rinoa’s sidedick since she was just a pup, Angelo’s greatest attribute is that she just happens to be Rinoa’s limit break in battle. Teach her new tricks by reading Pet Pals magazines, and you’ll have Angelo charging and rushing at enemires, recovering the party, or being used as a cannon by Rinoa. Why not? If that wasn’t cool enough, Angelo gets a a level 8 GF card in the Tripe Triad card game, without even being a GF.
7. Hewie (Haunting Grounds)
Owner: Fiona Belli
Haunting Ground is a semi obscure PlayStation 2 game by Capcom in which you guide Fiona Belli through a castle full of monsters, and your usual survival horror spooks. Fiona would be SOL if it wasn’t for Hewie, a White Sheperd she befriends immdediately after waking up in the mysterious castle. The point of the game is to evade, not confrot, so Fiona’s chances of survival depend heavily on Hewie, who will attack her pursuers, giving her a chance to escape; as long as you train him well and keep him happy, of course. Hewie is such an integral part of Fiona’s survival that he’s even standing guard and making sure Fiona’s not getting herself killed in the official box art of the game. Good boy.
6. Riley (Call of Duty: Ghosts)
Riley isn’t just a badass dog companion. He’s also a member of the Ghosts Squadron in Call of Duty: Ghosts. German Sheperds are known for being some of the most effective canines in the armed forces, but Riley takes that to a whole new level. Not only does he serve as a vicious attack dog, attacking enemies close to your vicinity; he’ll also sniff out bombs to keep the squad safe from harm, and make entire audiences go “awwwww” during E3 conferences. He’s also had more of a cultural impact than the other dogs on this list, having his own Twitter handle: “CollarDuty” and quite a few articles dedicated to him. Did I mention he can take down helicopters? Because he can.