Since the 1980s, one of the staples of cable television has been the annual Shark Week event. Airing on the Discovery Channel, Shark Week is 7 days of programming dedicated to the apex predators of the ocean, giving viewers the opportunity to learn more about the impressive creatures.
Sharks have long been prominent figures in popular culture, and video games are no exception. Over the years, video games have seen their fair share of sharks of all shapes and sizes, and the following 10 are the most memorable shark appearances in video game history.
Cyber-Shark (Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon)
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon plays like Far Cry 3, but with an 80s sci-fi aesthetic. Both games put a focus on wildlife, but where Far Cry 3 features the formidable bull shark, Blood Dragon has the even deadlier cyber-shark. Being attacked by a shark is scary enough, but it’s even more frightening when the shark has glowing neon eyes and teeth.
Gran Bruce (Viewtiful Joe)
One of the many bosses the titular Joe battles in Viewtiful Joe, Gran Bruce serves as an homage to the world’s most famous shark, Jaws. His name is a reference to the nickname Steven Spielberg’s crew gave to the prop sharks on the set of Jaws, and players are even able to trigger an explosion in his mouth, which was how the beast was killed at the end of the first film. Besides appearing as a dim-witted boss for Joe to topple in the first game, Bruce also had a role in the Viewtiful Joe anime, making him one of the few gaming sharks to expand beyond his video game origins.
Jaws (Jaws/Jaws Unleashed)
Since Jaws is easily the most famous shark in fiction, it’s no surprise that he has made more than one appearance in video games. He appeared in a 1987 NES adaptation of Jaws: The Revenge, and then later in the poorly-received Jaws Unleashed for the PC, PS2, and Xbox. While neither game is considered all that good, Jaws Unleashed was a surprising commercial success, proving that there is some interest in a game where players wreak havoc as a great white shark.
Land Shark (Armed and Dangerous)
The Land Shark is something that has to be seen to be believed. Appearing as a weapon in Armed and Dangerous, a quirky shooter game that parodies a number of popular franchises, the massive Land Shark emerges from the ground and devours its victims whole. Saints Row: The Third would later pay homage to the Land Shark with a similar weapon called the Shark-O-Matic, and hopefully we see crazy shark-based weapons appear in other games as well.
Lurker Shark (Jak and Daxter)
Nothing gets the anxiety going like swimming out too far into the ocean in Jak and Daxter. Instead of simply preventing our heroes from going beyond the limits of the game world with an invisible wall, the sadistic team at Naughty Dog decided to have them eaten alive by a shark. While its most notable appearance was in the first game in the series, the lurker shark would return in Daxter in a variety of different shapes and sizes, and it also has a brief cameo in Jak 2.
A running gag in the Battlefield series has been the random appearance of a Megalodon shark. This ancient, extinct behemoth was once one of the largest creatures to ever terrorize the seas, and players can find it hidden in multiple Battlefield games. Battlefield 1‘s Megalodon shark easter egg is especially elaborate, found in the game’s post-release content They Shall Not Pass.
Neptune (Resident Evil)
In the first Resident Evil game, players encounter undead versions of a variety of creatures, including dogs, humans, spiders, crows, and even sharks. Called Neptunes, these zombified monstrosities are encountered in the first Resident Evil game as well as the Resident Evil remake.
Neptunes are great white sharks infected with the T-Virus, and they pose a significant threat when in water. However, players can render these otherwise devastating beasts completely helpless by draining their water tank.
Snacker the Shark (Banjo-Kazooie)
Like Jak and Daxter, Snacker the Shark is a clever way to keep Banjo and Kazooie within the limits of game worlds. Snacker appears in two different stages in the original Banjo-Kazooie, making his debut in the Treasure Trove stage and threatening one-liners to taunt players before he eats them. Thanks to Rare Replay, gamers can relive the terrors of Snacker and his menacing Jaws-inspired theme song without having to dig the old Nintendo 64 out of the closet.
Tiny (Batman: Arkham City)
In Batman: Arkham City, Batman encounters the great white shark ironically named Tiny while investigating the Penguin’s lair. The encounter between Batman and Tiny results in one of the most intense moments of the game, as Batman has to carefully traverse a body of water without being eaten alive by the vicious creature with no shark repellent at his disposal. Tiny’s appearance in Batman: Arkham City may be brief, but it was memorable enough to see the shark brought back for a jump-scare cameo in Batman: Arkham Knight.
Whale Shark (World of Warcraft)
In Vashj’ir, World of Warcraft players can discover the massive whale shark, a particularly powerful NPC that can be slayed by an experienced group of adventurers. Taking down the whale shark is quite the feat, but there’s not much reason to do it outside of getting an achievement. Even though it’s one of the largest enemies in the game, the whale shark drops no loot for players to collect once it’s finally defeated.
From Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon‘s Cyber-Shark to the Whale Shark in World of Warcraft, these are Game Rant’s choices for the 10 most memorable sharks in gaming history. Besides the sharks featured on this list, other notable gaming sharks or shark-like creatures include Prince Sidon from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Armaggon from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Edition, and the VR sharks seen in PlayStation VR Worlds.
Since sharks seem to be a popular enemy type, it’s a safe bet that future video games will feature even more of the impressive creatures. As gaming technology continues to advance and graphics become even more realistic, video game sharks will become that much more awe-inspiring and intimidating.