If you’ve gamed for a long time, you’ve likely come across many unique, powerful, and terrifying enemies—and then defeated them. And a lot of design and artistic work went into that experience. It takes a lot of skill to create visually memorable monsters and aliens that stick in the mind long after you’ve finished mopping the floor with them. So, for a little nostalgia, let’s look at some iconic video game enemies whose designs a crafty cosplayer can bring to life.
(Videos below contain, gore, swearing, and violence.)
You probably know these enemies as “Elites.” These Halo enemies were among the first big challenges for a player-controlled Master Chief. They’re tall, imposing, and have a lot of health. They also have splendid enemy A.I. and are often really tactical. And cosplaying them is a challenge many have undertaken before. Elites are over seven feet tall on average, wear complex armor, and have that classic alien mandible mouth. If you want to go deep on this cosplay, you can also make their iconic Energy Sword weapon.
Our first human enemy on this list—but not the last. Splicers are a metaphorical enemy that plays heavily into BioShock’s social critiques. They also look incredibly distinct. Cosplaying as Splicers is easy, though. Just dress up like you’re going to a 60s party, then ruin the outfit and give yourself zombie-style makeup. Some Splicers also have crystal growths or frozen sections on their skin you can create for extra effect.
The lore behind The Locust is complicated, but the end result is an iconic enemy in the Gears of War series. The Locust are hulking, scaled, and very threatening. Another tall species, an intrepid cosplayer would need to figure out their massive armor (a staple of the franchise) and possibly how to add a little more height. The Locust Queen is also a good option for fans of intricate armor.
A common enemy in the Fallout series, these post-apocalyptic humans will go after you with all sorts of weapons throughout the games. Their armor is also sometimes comically ramshackle—lots of wires and leather and sometimes even bits of tires or sports equipment. Raiders are perfect for creative cosplayers who want to repurpose materials or DIY things. Just ensure that any “spikes” or pointy bits you make are rubber or some other flexible material for you and your fellow con-goers’ safety.
It’s not fun to just call these “zombies.” Necrotics are unfortunate people controlled by headcrabs in the Half-Life series. Mostly, these are your standard zombies, but they look super cool. As a cosplayer, dressing up as a Necrotic is a two-part process. First, you have to do all the usual zombie stuff, plus additional creepy claws. Then, you need to attend to the prop that’s basically a very complex hat. Make sure you can see out, breathe easily, and remove it if it gets too hot. Safe cosplaying is the best cosplaying.
And those are five iconic video game enemies. If you’ve played games for a long time, you’ve probably encountered more than one of these. They stick in the mind because of how cool they look, how creatively they move, and how tense our battles have been with them. So, consider giving these enemies a try, and if you do, wave at any video game protagonists running around your next con. Oh, and tell them who gave you the cosplay idea!