Think Link would have accomplished nearly as much had Epona not been there to get him from point A to point B? Wasn’t Koromaru a valuable addition to your party in Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3? You can’t deny the power of pets in video games. No matter the animal, they can be just as valuable as their human counterparts – sometimes, even more so. And just like random encounters in RPGs or QTEs in action-adventure games, they’re everywhere. We’ve ran down the five most useful critter companions we can think of. Squeaky toy? Don’t make us laugh.
The Dog of Fable 2
No matter what you decided to name your canine companion, it was always by your side, ready to find sparkling new treasure and protect you in every scuffle. If you lost your way or couldn’t rely on the breadcrumb trail to your next objective, your furry friend never hesitated to lead the way. The ability to change the dog’s breed and teach it a host of different and unique tricks were additional enhancements that made your loyal traveling buddy more than just a virtual pet, but more like your dog. In addition, your actions throughout the Fable narrative would alter the dog’s appearance to tailor it more to your own character, lightening or darkening its fur depending on your good and evil actions.
Epona, The Legend of Zelda series
We’re not sure Link could have saved Princess Zelda from Ganon’s evil clutches had he walked everywhere. The poor kid doesn’t even speak. That’s where Epona comes in. Through thick and thin the regal equine has stayed by Link’s side, through game after game, even in the darkest of times. She’s even got her own personal song that can be used to summon her. It’s much more convenient than running around yelling “AGRO!” if you ask us. Galloping along on Epona throughout Hyrule is one of the most breathtaking experiences in Ocarina of Time, and will always remain one of the most memorable as well.
Rush, Mega Man 3
Rush, Mega Man’s faithful robotic dog, was introduced in Mega Man 3 and was actually created by Dr. Light and Dr. Wily. Not only does he provide excellent companionship (he’s programmed that way) but he can change into a variety of different forms, including a submarine. With Rush Jet, his legs can transform into jet engines, and the Rush Adaptor actually lets Rush attach himself to Mega Man for further battle support. And already he’s ran circles around your Shih Tzu. Too bad he’s not a real dog. Then his feats would probably be a little more impressive.
Chocobo, Final Fantasy
The amazing breedable yellow bird has been a staple of Final Fantasy since the very beginning. These stalwart creatures will be your loyal companion as long as you don’t, well, get off of them. If you need some quick transportation through a ridiculously huge overworld, pick up some Gysahl Greens and prepare to outrun some Zoloms.
Your Pet, FATE
FATE allows you to choose between a cat or a dog to accompany you throughout your dungeon-crawling adventures. Not only can your pet fight for you, carry items, and make the trek back to town for selling excess loot, but you can feed it different types of fish to alter its form. Depending on the type of fish it consumes, your pet can change into several more powerful species, often permanently. It’s an invaluable part of the journey in FATE, acting simultaneously as a pack mule and best buddy at the same time. Not only that, but your pet can’t be killed – only injured. Now that’s impressive.
What are some of the most useful pets you’ve come across in your gaming chronicles?
Brittany Vincent is a freelance writer who routinely eviscerates virtual opponents and tempts fate by approaching wayward Zoloms. A connoisseur of all things bloody and bizarre, she's available to chat via Twitter @MolotovCupcake, and is always ready to take on new projects. You can peruse her archived work at PfhortheWin.com