Fallout 76: 8 Terrifying Enemies (And What They Represent) –
THE MOST TERRIFYING ENEMY IS THE GAME ITSELF AMIRITE?
Fallout 76 hasn’t had the best of releases. And being fair, that’s probably as it’s not the best of games.
76 offers up a multiplayer online world that no one asked for, and despite being full of other players and colour, there’s none of the heart of the previous entries. Without NPCs to populate the wasteland and make you emotionally invest in what’s going on amongst the radiation, Bethesda have turned their attention to creating some truly engaging monsters – or rather, stolen most of them from local folklore and turned their West Virginia based world into a cryptozoologist simulator.
That’s not a bad thing though, as donning your Steve Irwin cork hat and venturing out into the wild has the potential for some truly unique encounters. Whilst 76 might not excel in making a game you want to play for years on end like many MMOs would, its creatures are at least reason to dive in and have a look at what you can find.
But what exactly do these weird and wonderful monsters actually represent? Where were these urban legends born? And what in the name of Long Dick Johnson is a Snallygaster?
Well, vault-dwellers, let’s take a look in the wasteland survival guide and find out…
8. Honey Beast – Save The Bees!
The Honey Beast is mostly what it says on the tin. A mutated version of a honey bee, it’s a giant rendition of the friendly neighbourhood pollinator deformed by its own hive that grows out of its back. If that doesn’t sound gross, then the leaking goop that comes out the holes should do it for you: what one can only assume (and hope) is honey.
Whilst the Fallout universe prides itself on the everyday creature warped into something unrecognisable through radiation, as that’s par for the course in nuclear warfare, really, there’s arguably something more behind the Honey Beast than its sticky honeycomb ass.
In our own world where ‘Save the Bees’ is taking a hold as we try to protect the environment, Fallout 76 has offered up a scenario where the bees are saving themselves. When humans have been almost wiped out, animals have thrived: and the humble honey bee more so than any other. Without interference they’ve grown their own mobile house, giant protector, and surplus honey supplies whilst we’ve been stuck underground making party hats and snazzy jumpsuits.
The Honey Beast is the ultimate ‘f*ck you’ from the natural world where adapt and survive has long reigned king: in this new world, we don’t need to save the bees. We need saving FROM them!
7. Scorchbeast – Future Dragon
Another of the original additions to the Fallout 76 lore, the Scorchbeast is an impressive foe. Apparently an irradiated bat, these monsters are as deadly as they are on the ground as in the sky, a level 50 behemoth to take down once you’ve levelled up appropriately. And that’s to say nothing of the recently discovered Queen Scorchbeast.
It’s fair to say that Scorchbeasts feel very inspired as a reimagining of dragons, appearing in the sky as terrifying silhouettes before employing sonic blasts akin to fire-breathing, conjuring up hordes of scorched like undead armies of soldiers, deploying radiation fog from their wings, and generally making a big old mess of the landscape in the process.
Like the medieval dragon, Scorchbeasts live in a lair – albeit underground – and only the most intrepid of adventurers will go near to attempt to slay them. They even distribute a disease called The Blight, a common affliction used in typically high fantasy settings such as Dark Souls, Dragon Age, and The Wheel of Time, drawing on terminology used to reference dragons in the process.
Of course, their appearance is at the heart of this. One look at the sky to see a ginormous leathery wingspan and some nasty looking claws is enough to send you healthily running in the opposite direction, just as Bethesda’s own Legendary Dragons in Skyrim should too. No thank you.
6. Snallygaster – The Quick Ghost
In game, the weirdly named (and weird looking) Snallygaster is described as “a dragon-like demon,” however, dragon-like seems to be code for pink fleshy dinosaur-looking lump with a mouth for a face rather than anything scaly and majestic, or winged and airborne, or even fire-breathing. So none of the good stuff. It’s also noted as a result of experimenting with the Forced Evolutionary Virus.
In folklore however, the Snallygaster was a monster that was cited as half-bird, half-demon, named by German immigrants as the Swift Ghost as it would swoop in silently to steal its victims and suck their blood. The game version can be argued to tap in its human-feasting origins by focussing entirely on the Snallygaster’s mouth, making its giant maw a feature of its existence (along with the disgusting tentacle tongue) in the same way that it’s consuming of the local Maryland community was all-encompassing for the residents.
Whilst most monsters are simply born from the ‘mutated and gross’ theory in Fallout canon, the Snallygaster at least layers this over the folklore that inspired its name, a cross-bred lump of flesh that’s as horrific as the 1900-era reports of a monster made up of various animals was back in the day.
5. Mega Sloth – Evolutionary Nightmare
A sloth rendered massive by radiation? Not that strange, considering that Mega Sloths existed long before Appalachia was brought to life.
The Mega Sloths of Fallout 76 hang around The Mire, living in trees and dropping down to attack curious victims that get a little too close for comfort. With a mouth full of sharp teeth and mushrooms growing out of their backs, you’d be forgiven for thinking that normal sloths had maybe been toyed around with for their creation – but the past has other things to say about that.
The Ground Sloth was a creature that existed until roughly 2500 BC, a giant version of the happy tree sloths we know and love replete with built in weaponry (such as their claws) able to slash tree trunks open with ease, which extended to hunters after an easy, ginormous kill if they got within swiping range. Sloths also allow fungus to grow in their fur as prevention against disease, in the same way as penicillin on bread, so their mushroom-y backs in 76 aren’t a cute decoration, but actually an internal defence mechanism.
All in all, the Mega Sloth is a return to our history rather than an advancement of it. A fossil was even found in West Virginia in the late 1800s, so the basis in that area’s folklore is happily continued with this behemoth sloth.
4. Flatwoods Monster – Interdimensional Traveller
Fallout 76’s take on the forest-dwelling alien is a floating, eerie looking creature in a spacesuit – somewhere between organic and robotic, surrounded by a strange purple glow. As usual, it can be linked to a backstory based in West Virginian urban legends, an adaptation straight from the sightings that made it famous in the 50s.
The original Flatwoods Monster, presumed to be alien in origin, was a cryptid that made headlines in 1952 when two brothers stumbled across a round-faced, 10 foot tall monster that floated across the ground, seemingly encased in something resembling a spacesuit. Fallout 76 has remained mostly faithful to the legend, only changing its green glow to a royal purple hue – but it’s pretty clearly a little alien guy floating about in the spherical helmet like a lost goldfish.
The Fallout version plays into the reports of the sighted creature by being able to teleport. The Flatwoods Monster was only ever spotted on one night, which a superstitious person might attribute to a extraterrestrial being getting the heck back on its ship and out of the area after being found. Its colour change to purple is an interesting deviation also: a rare colour to occur in nature, it reinforces the unnatural, interdimensional origin of the creature, and that it’s not of our Earth.
3. Wendigo – Hungry, Hungry Cannibals
Perhaps the most interesting and long-lasting of urban legends, the Wendigo is founded in Indigenous culture, predominantly Algonquin-speaking peoples, most often associated with a human that’s fallen befoul of sinning and is cursed to live as a wraith-like, supernatural entity. Cannibalism is the predominant cause of transformation into a Wendigo, with an insatiable, paranormal hunger for human flesh becoming the one prerogative that then drives them.
In short: don’t f*ck with a Wendigo, because they WILL eat you and they won’t be sorry about it.
In Fallout 76, a few Wendigos have an appropriate backstory to match this – such as a note found in Wendigo cave where a husband and wife ate human flesh, and he transformed after succumbing to uncontrollable greed. Her body is found nearby suggesting that his final meal was one a littel closer to home.
Appearance wise, their potbellies contrasted with the skeletal forms are a great representative of the hunger that drives these monsters in the game, of course retaining their human qualities if only to exaggerate how far they have gotten from being truly alive. Like everything else, 76 claims that radiation is the cause of creating the Wendigos… but just to be safe, I’d stay away from the Long Pig. Trust me.
2. Grafton Monster – A Hulking Presence
One of the most straightforward adaptations of a monster from its legend, the Grafton Monster is a giant, hulking creature with pale white skin that will clobber you to death with its nubby arms should you get too close. It appears headless, and could be mistaken for a slab of rock if not observed carefully, at least until it starts launching boulders and black liquid and being generally smashy in the local vicinity.
The original beastie was spotted in – you guessed it – Grafton in 1965, simply lurking by the side of the road in the dead of night, noted for it’s ‘seal-skin’ appearance. When hunted for afterwards, it had disappeared, but a low whistling could be heard throughout the area, and the land was clearly disturbed by something heavy.
There’s little else known about the monster dubbed the ‘headless horror’ by locals, with only one sighting and a runaway newspaper campaign that saw plenty of residents attempt to hunt the creature out. That Fallout has created an aggressive, The Thing-like version of the creature suggests our implicit fear of the unknown, attaching a violent disposition onto something previously known as only quietly observant simply because there is little else to be known about it.
Removing his head and creating a pure brawn-like creature is of course testament to unbridled aggressive and the destruction it can wreak without thought for our actions, too.
1. Mothman – The Mothman Prophecies
Mothman has long since made a name for himself in pop culture. Alleged to show up before disasters have struck communities – most famously before the collapse of the Silver Bridge in West Virginia – he’s been the subject of wild sightings, novels, tv shows, movies, as well as plenty of other games since his first appearance in 1966.
In Fallout 76, the Mothman is more moth than he is man, able to be encountered by turning on the lighthouse light which he takes a particular interest in. Of course.
Mothman’s “real-life” influence can be seen in 76’s adaptation of the monster, in that conjuring the beastie on The Path to Enlightenment brings about the ‘Wise’ Mothman and an experience boost of +5% whilst adventuring. In the same way that the West Virginian cryptid warned the population of impending doom, the Appalachian version bestows knowledge by appearing to players in his purple-eyed passive form, and granting them the ability to learn information from their surroundings.
The Mothman himself is arguably a representation of our fear of the future, and of the unknown, as the terrible events he depicts are only realised once they happen, and can be tied back to a sighting.
That this creepy guy in the game can unnervingly stalk you in similar fashion can only reinforce that idea.