In honour of the auspicious Year of the Ox, IGN Southeast Asia is proud to commemorate the many bovines that have graced our video games throughout the ages. While oxen and cows aren’t the most popular of animals to star in video games, they still have made quite the impact across all sorts of games.
Moo Moo from the Mario Kart franchise
These jovial bovines are relegated to being background elements or road hazards in various Mario Kart games. These cows finally got their day in the sun with their very own course in Mario Kart Wii with Moo Moo Meadows, which has since been remastered and is a staple track in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Serving as the first race in the Shell Cup, it also acts as the first retro track most players will encounter.
Mad Cow and Bovine Blitz from the Worms franchise
The Worms franchise has more than enough wacky weapons for players to destroy their enemies, from the trusty Bazooka to the always hilarious Banana Bomb. One of the staples of the franchise are the myriad of animal-based weapons like sheeps and skunks, with the Mad Cow weapon, later renamed to Bovine Blitz, being one of the deadliest and most explosive mobile bombs any player has in their arsenal, a true trump card to turn the tides of battle.
Angus from Animal Crossing
It seems that the most popular of the anthropomorphic inhabitants of the various Animal Crossing games are typically dogs, cats, or something not too common, like a tanuki or a giraffe. The bovine villagers are both abundant and quite unique, from female cows like Naomi and Petunia, to male bulls like T-Bone and Oxford. The most memorable of these bovines is Angus, the Guy Fieri of the Animal Crossing world, right down to the gung-ho attitude and flaming T-shirt.
Cows from Harvest Moon/Story of Seasons
Arguably the most iconic livestock throughout the Harvest Moon and Story of Seasons franchise, Cows form the backbone of one’s farm, providing milk and even being able to enter in special contests. The Cow is also one of the first things a player will save up and strive for, the first goal of a fledgling farmer. While different games in the franchise will have different variations here and there, each and every Cow will serve their purpose as a reliable friend in your farm.
Brothers Guardian Force from Final Fantasy VIII
This pair of minotaur brothers are first fought by Squall and his friends in the Tomb of the Unknown King, before becoming a summonable Guardian Force for the team. This GF is notable for having a pretty comical summoning animation, where the brothers decide on which one of them will be thrown to the enemy. Any party member junctioned to the brothers will gain access to a number of defense and HP buffs, so in the long run, they are definitely useful in any playthrough.
Asterius in Hades
Speaking of minotaurs, Asterius, just like the rest of Hades’ pantheon of characters, has made a splash since the game’s release. Avid Greek mythology fans may recognise him as the famed minotaur who roams the dreaded Labyrinth. Acting either as a mini-boss in the middle of Elysium, or as a tag team boss fight with Theseus at the end of the level, Asterius’ mighty axe swings can be a huge problem and can end Zagreus’ escape attempt.
Miltank/ Tauros/ Bouffolant
The three Normal type Pokemon based on bovines, Miltank, Tauros, and Bouffolant may not be crowd favourites but they certainly stand out from the crowd. Bouffolant’s afro hairstyle is as silly as it is impressive, while the mighty stampede of Tauros that Ash Ketchum caught was a highlight of the anime’s first season. The Miltank that Whitney, the third Gym Leader of Pokemon Gold and Silver, was notorious for being one of the major roadblocks that players had in the game, being a steep rise in difficulty due to the Miltank’s heavy use of the move, Rollout.
Secret Cow Level in Diablo II
These Hell Bovines have become the premier easter egg in video game history, sitting pretty with the likes of Leroy Jenkins and Do A Barrel Roll. What started as a hidden level in Diablo II where players had to fight a horde of evil, axe-wielding cows after stumbling across a secret portal, secret cow levels have since become somewhat of a longstanding meme in video games. Developers Blizzard will continue to deny the existence of the Secret Cow Level, while other games like Minecraft Dungeons and Serious Sam 4 will make their own versions of this easter egg.