Monster Mania: Booming Makes Me Feel Good

Monster Mania is a weekly column celebrating the unique and varied monster designs in horror gaming.

Boomers are just the worst, aren’t they? Fret not, elder statesmen. I am not talking about your parents, but monsters that go, well, “BOOM!” Few enemy types ruin a hot streak of headshots like these mobile bombers. These often bulbous bastards will trigger their explosive payload themselves or detonate due to the player’s death blow. The radius and severity of their explosions induce fear in even the most seasoned of gamers. So, I have compiled my five favorite boomer monster designs.

The Boomer (Left 4 Dead)

Could I begin my list with anything but Left 4 Dead’s Boomer? Left 4 Dead is synonymous with its special infected, notably allowing players to fight as or against them. In single-player, survivors quickly come to fear the toxic bile spewing Boomer. If a player is coated in their acidic spray, it damages them and obscures their vision. Boomers will also explode when their relatively low health is depleted, releasing a bile explosion that damages and pushes survivors back from the detonation point (sometimes to their deaths). While the Boomer seems simple enough, the player’s appreciation of this noxious blob’s design increases when they control one in competitive multiplayer. The double-edged sword of having low health but being capable of dealing massive damage that can unravel even the best survivor strategies makes Left 4 Dead’s Boomer an all-time enemy. 

Creeper (Minecraft)

While Minecraft may not technically be a horror game, the first time a player experiences a Creeper handing them (and the structure they spent the last two hours crafting), their lunch is both terrifying and rage-inducing. And by lunch, I mean an explosion that would make Oppenheimer blush. The first time I heard a Creeper’s hiss behind me, only to turn and see this pixelated Promethean staring blankly at me before self-destructing, was just as, if not more, effective than even the best of timed jump scare. Creepers quickly instill fear in players for their capacity to kill them in a single blast and for ruining the integrity of their meticulously crafted structures. The Creeper has a simple but dread-inducing design that makes them an all-time baddie.

Pregnant (Dead Space)

Of all the absolute units on this list, Dead Space’s Pregnant is the most versatile Boomer. A rotund frame flanked by two massive scythe-like claws makes this aptly named necromorph about as deadly as Boomers come. Pregnant’s will charge Issac, which not only intimates but, when paired with their devastating claws, makes them a formidable foe even before they pop. Typically, Boomer enemies are quickly dispatched from afar, but pristine accuracy is required in the Pregnant’s case. While its rotund stomach makes for an obvious target, shooting this will release an explosion of miniature parasites that will swarm Issac. And while these bite-sized terrors are relatively easy to kill, their numbers and ability to mount Issac means they can quickly become unmanageable, dwindling our favorite engineer’s life bar into the red.

Boomer (Gears of War)

One of the more imposing enemies that Marcus Phoenix and his motley crew will face are  Gears of War‘s Boomers. Boomers tower over most of their locust brethren, making a statement with their size as much as their explosive deadlines. These heavy weapon specialists are armed with a massive missile launcher, which can and will make mincemeat of Marcus and the boys in a single shot. So, what’s so unique about them? Just before firing a missile, Boomers make a point to utter aloud, “BOOM!” just before firing. This tell works to the player’s advantage, warning them to take cover before being turned into giblets. Ultimately, what Boomers hilariously lack in brains, they make up for in their destructibility and devastating close-quarter brawling.

Glowing One (Fallout 4)

As if trying to survive Fallout 4’s post-apocalyptic world ravaged by super mutants, technology-obsessed fascists, and subway-dwelling ghouls wasn’t bad enough, now vault dwellers must contend with radiation-emitting ghouls called Glowing Ones. Glowing Ones are the irradiated big brothers of their lesser-irradiated ghoul brethren (though still very bitey). This flavor of the undead is distinct as they differ from common ghouls’ greyish complexion to that of neon lime green. An eye sore, sure, but this acts as a warning for the vault dweller as they are easy to see from afar, as well as their neon rays bouncing off walls of interior environments. Glowing Ones are tougher and hit harder, but making matters worse, they can emit an explosion of radiation that inflicts massive radiation poisoning against vault dwellers. Glowing Ones don’t pose much of a threat from afar, but they are incredibly deadly when clumped together with a horde of feral ghouls. 

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