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Who Played The Dogs Out? The Realistic Dogs of Gaming

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Posted June 4, 2010 - By Kevin Kelly


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Who Played The Dogs Out? Dogs in Games »


 

There's no way to put this gently, so I'll just say it: Marmaduke is 2010's most universally reviled film so far. It's a live action adaptation Brad Anderson's newspaper comic strip that's been running since 1954, and it stars Owen Wilson as the voice of Marmaduke, with George Lopez voicing a Balinese. I know, you're thinking "Surefire Oscar!", but unfortunately the movie is sitting at 9% Rotten on Rotten Tomatoes, which is pretty much the same as a funeral dirge.

Is this any respect to show man's best friend at the start of summer? Definitely not. You might be out there and possibly considering going to see this, or you have kids who think it looks like a laff riot, we understand. Everyone loves dogs, right? Fortunately, we're here to help by offering up this list of realistic video game dog experiences. We're not talking about the cutesy, like Nintendogs, but instead we're going straight from the lovable companion to the frightening, slavering jaws of canine death. Read on.

 

Fable II: A Dog's Life »


Fable II

Has there ever been a more lovable, faithful, four-legged companion than the dog in Fable II? You meet him during the tutorial/opening of the game, and the little guy stays with you throughout the game. In fact, he'll also take on a different appearance depending on your actions. Living the straight and narrow? Your dog will have a nice golden coat. Feel like being supremely evil? The dog turns black, just like your heart. Developer Peter Molyneux wanted you to bond with this little furry guy, so that you'd feel emotionally tied to him ... just so he could make you cry.

Why do moviemakers and game designers want you to feel an emotional attachment to something? So they can rip your heart out when the main character starts coughing up blood (you know that means they're doomed) or when a beloved pet DIES. That's right, your dog can and will die in this game. I'm remembering it like it happened yesterday, and I'm still getting choked up. Give me a second to go slaughter a lot of vicious wolves in Red Dead Redemption. Okay, much better.

Actually it's only better because the dog comes back in the end if you make the right choices, or you can even bring him back via DLC. That's right, this dog has his own DLC content that not only lets you bring him back to life, but now you can also give him potions that change him into different breeds. This is what makes Fable II dogtastic, and apparently the dog will be back in Fable III.

 First Look: 'Dead to Rights: Retribution' -- Rebooting The Franchise That Brought You The

Dead to Rights: Retribution

So, this rehash of 2002's Dead to Rights wasn't exactly universally loved, but it did have one redeeming quality: it beefed up the role of Jack Slate's K-9 dog partner Shadow to the point that they should have just axed Jack entirely from this game so you could play as a hero cop dog the entire time. In the original game, you control Shadow from time to time, but Retribution gives you total control over the dog right in the opening scene. You can make him bark, run, attack, and tear guy's balls off. Yes, seriously. There's even a "Scrotality" achievement for it. This means that somewhere down at Dog Police Academy, they're teaching testicular attacks to canines. Awesome.

But beyond protecting his human buddy, Shadow has a lot of other functions. He can seek out weapons and ammunition, find keycards in buildings, and when in stealth mode he can detect enemy heartbeats. Yes, his hearing is just that good, and apparently acts as some sort of radar as well, because when he's doing it you can see where the enemies are. When you're idly standing there, Shadow will sometimes flip over and writhe around on his back, hoping for some affection, but more often than not, he's just your bullet-absorbing, furry friend.

Seriously, if Namco had turned this into a dog-only title, chances are that we would have loved it. Now it's just a few highlights from a game we panned. Hopefully they're listening and agreeing that this is an incredibly awesome idea, and development on Cop Dog: Shadow in the Night has been kicked into high gear. I'd buy it. Give Retribution a rental just for the dog and you'll see what I mean.

Who Played The Dogs Out? The Realistic Dogs of Gaming Fallout 3 Dogmeat

Fallout 3

Fallout has been dog-friendly from the beginning of the series, with the canine "Dogmeat" being available as an NPC who could join your party in the original 1997 game. He came back in Fallout 2, so why wouldn't he make an appearance in Fallout 3? Which is actually sort of creepy, because you can pick up dog meat in that game. In fact, it's a fairly common food source, which means you're probably eating someone related to your befanged friend. You can actually even kill Dogmeat, and search his body where you'll find dog meat. Ew.

However, if you opt not to blast this friendly pup who is based on the nameless dog that followed Max around in the post-apocalyptic world of Mad Max 2. You'll find that he's a faithful companion who is more than happy to leap into battle next to you. Even if that sometimes means he'll aggro something or someone you're trying to sneak past. He can go find things for you, carry some of your junk, and growl to warn you that enemies are nearby. In fact, enemies will shoot at Dogmeat before they shoot at you, providing an excellent distraction.

The one problem is that Dogmeat can die in the game, separating you from your most faithful friend for the rest of the game. Luckily the developers realized this and added a "Puppies!" perk with the Broken Steel DLC. With this perk enabled, your dog will experience a pure miracle and be resurrected. This dog-from-beyond the grave also levels up with you and is a lot tougher than the original Dogmeat, meaning there might be something to that whole karma thing.

Who Played The Dogs Out? The Realistic Dogs of Gaming Call of Duty World at War

Call of Duty: World At War

The Call of Duty series has had dogs in it since Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, but my money for the best dogs in the series are the ones in Call of Duty: World at War. Why? Because they're a very useful killstreak reward. Not only will they kill your enemies, but they'll also lead you straight to wherever they happen to be hiding. Very useful for ferreting out pesky snipers. But when your opponents get the same reward, it's not quite as fun because dogs will tear your throat out unless you shoot them, or break their neck just before they bite you.

World at War also upped the ante by adding an entire zombie mode to the game. I'm not here to debate why Treyarch felt the need to do that, but rather to point out that there are also zombie dogs in there! It wasn't scary enough having dogs that could tear your throat out, but now they have to be undead as well? Thanks for giving me nightmares and making me wonder if I really want to be a dog owner as I could neither break my own dog's neck, if it turned into a killer, nor sleep well wondering if the undead pooch is going to come in silently in the night and eat my brains.

Who Played The Dogs Out? The Realistic Dogs of Gaming Red Dead Redemption

Red Dead Redemption

John Marston might be a cold-blooded, ex-killer in Red Dead Redemption (which places a lot of weight on the word "redemption"), but he's also got a conscious. There are multiple dogs in this game, and if you happen to kill one of them, he feels really bad about it. He'll usually say something like "This ain't right," while the locals go crazy and run around in circles. Of course, the law will come after you as well, because they don't tolerate dog-killin 'round these parts. You can gun down as many wolves, coyotes, deer, bear, armadillos and birds as you want, just don't harm the dogs.

By the way, as dog lovers, this is fine with us. Except the game is extremely wonky when it comes to dogs. You can't kill one in town, because the townsfolk will turn against, but you also can't pet them, even though they come running whenever you whistle. In fact, your faithful horse will also come running when you whistle, possibly because he's jealous of the attention you want to give the dog, but can't. But despite the fact that you can't pet the pup ... you can gun them down and then skin their dead bodies. Doing so gives you a dog skin and dog meat. Ew.

Case in point: there's a local dog named Charlie over at the McFarlane Ranch, and you can accompany him on Nightwatch missions, where he'll sniff around for trouble, and bark to alert you when he's found anything. Which usually happens to be some no-gooder trying to steal a horse. You can blast the thief, then return for a reward. You can't target Charlie during this mission, but one it's done - ka-blam. Then the freaking out and the shootings (at you) commence. But the moment you have some free time, you can skin his hide ... and then whistle to summon a duplicate Charlie. Self-replicating dogs! Science comes to New Austin.

 

So there you have it, our favorite gaming dogs. Well, our favorite non-cartoony gaming dogs. There were a few more that we wanted to include. Remember the dogs in Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2? And what about Sam from Sam & Max? Great dog, but I'm just not sure he'd take a bullet for me. So get out there, enjoy your weekend, and avoid that movie while walking the game line with those bad boys.

Who Played The Dogs Out? The Realistic Dogs of Gaming
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