Animal companions are a pretty important part of human society. We generally think of our pets as being part of the family. They can amuse us, comfort us, and they can even defend us. So, it makes sense, then, that video games would latch onto this idea and deliver us characters paired with animal companions.
While, obviously, dogs are going to be one of the more common animals found in these pairings, there are a lot of diverse animal partners that deserve mention here.
10 Kinnison And Shiro – Suikoden 2
While it is pretty cool to have a dog companion, what about having a wolf companion? Well, that is exactly what you get with Shiro. Kinnison and Shiro are pretty minor characters in Suikoden 2. They live in the woods and join Riou in order to defend it. Given how uncomfortable they are living in the bustling Dunan Castle, they clearly miss living among the trees.
One of the most interesting things about Shiro is how kind-hearted the big wolf is. At one point, he seems concerned about a fallen bird and gets your attention to help rescue it. Shiro is a wolf, but he also clearly has a great deal of compassion. These two may be a bit of a mystery, but they make a great pair and are valuable members of your party in the early parts of the game.
9 Xiaoyu And Panda – Tekken
A well-trained guard dog is one thing, but a guard panda is certainly more impressive. That is exactly what Panda is. She accompanies Tekken’s Xiaoyu, keeping her safe. Better yet, this is one Panda who knows Kung Fu! She even has a karate-fighting grizzly bear admirer.
Outside the tag games, we don’t see Xiaoyu and Panda fight alongside each other too often, but we do catch glimpses of them training together and they both appear in a number of each other’s stories. All in all, they are a noteworthy pair, but the one-on-one standard of the majority of Tekken games does hamper their synergy as a fighting team a little.
8 Shadow And Interceptor – Final Fantasy 6
Shadow isn’t a man with many friends by choice. His one friend in the world is his trusty canine companion, Interceptor, a confirmed good boy. Interceptor is a loyal companion. He is also happy to take a hit for Shadow occasionally and when he decides to, he dishes out his own hits as well – for big damage too.
As mysterious as Shadow is, and he is quite mysterious, Interceptor is also similarly enigmatic. For one, Interceptor seems to have a fondness for Relm. She is hinted to have been Shadow’s daughter, but how does Interceptor know that? Was he around when she was born? Can Interceptor smell blood relations? We will never know.
7 Mario And Yoshi – Super Mario World
Sure, many characters have animal companions, but how many of them were at least partially raised by their animal companion? Not many. Yes, Mario is the star of the show, but, like everyone else, he used to be just another dumb baby. Who looked after Mario for all those years? Yoshi, that’s who.
Though clearly, this relationship is a one-sided one, as we all know what happens to Yoshi when Mario needs to make a big jump. You were too good for him anyway, Yoshi.
6 Minsc And Boo – Baldur’s Gate
Minsc is a fearsome warrior who comes accompanied by the equally fearsome Boo who is, of course, a hamster. Is Boo secretly a miniature giant space hamster as Minsc claims? It seems unlikely but we love him anyway.
Sometimes big heroes come in small packages, and we choose to believe that Boo is every bit the champion Minsc says he is. Go for the Eyes, Boo. Go for the eyes!
5 Nakoruru And Mamahaha – Samurai Shodown
Why choose an animal companion who fights on the ground when you can rain death down from the sky? Samurai Shodown’s Nakoruru is a protector of nature, so it only makes sense that animals would have an affinity for her. However, the eagle Mamahaha definitely shares a particularly strong bond with her.
Mamahaha is shown to be quite intelligent. She is seen communicating with Nakoruru and telling her that her father had been taken. In battle, the two fight as one. Mamahara can help carry Nakoruru, or dive from the sky and attack her foes. This is a potent pair with a unified mission and battle-tested bond.
4 Bartz And Boko, Final Fantasy 5
Chocobos are some of the most notable fictional creatures in games, but you rarely see them forming strong connections to the protagonists. That is not the case with Boko. Bartz and Boko begin the game as a pair, but as the game continues, Boko never becomes irrelevant.
This Chocobo would become so noteworthy that he would actually be referenced in a number of Final Fantasy games afterward, becoming a common default name for a number of chocobo encountered in subsequent titles. Bartz may be the hero of Final Fantasy 5, but Boko became a legend.
3 Ken And Koromaru – Persona 4 Arena Ultimax
While Ken and Koromaru may show a certain level of kinship in Persona 4, it wasn’t until Persona 4 Arena Ultimax that these two officially became a duo. The majority of Ken’s special moves in the game are performed by Koromaru. Often this makes it possible for Ken to set attacks up and put his opponents into tricky situations.
This fearsome duo synchronizes their actions and fights as one. A beautiful touch is that Koromaru is wearing Ken’s hoodie from the original game in Arena Ultimax. That detail alone is definitely worth a chef’s kiss.
2 Monster Hunter And Palico – Monster Hunter
There is one truth that everyone knows deep down in their souls: there simply aren’t enough cat companions in games. Well, Monster Hunter is doing their part in trying to curb this unfortunate trend. The Palico is able to assist the hunter in a number of useful ways.
They fight alongside them, they can help snap them out of a stunned state, and they can even provide a heal. Working in synergy with a good Palico is like poetry in motion. While the hunter is an avatar for the player, and therefore lacks characterization, the chummy Palico are filled with personality and more than compensate for the hunter’s nonexistent one.
1 Jack And Hanpan – Wild Arms
Jack comes with his sturdy companion Hanpan, who just so happens to be a blue hamster – okay, apparently he is a “wind mouse”. When it comes to this pair, Hanpan is the more reasonable one. In fact, it wouldn’t be a stretch to call him the brains of the operation. While Jack is a bit of a hothead, Hanpan is generally more cautious.
Hanpan contributes quite a bit to the gameplay of Wild Arms, as well. It is only through him that we are able to reach distant levers while traversing dungeons. He also participates in battle by supporting Jack and isn’t all brains, he gets his paws dirty too. We don’t know how these two became pals; all we know is that Jack is better off having Hanpan around to help guide him.
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About The Author
James Kennedy (58 Articles Published)
James is a list writer for TheGamer. He typically spends his time playing games, thinking about games, overanalyzing games, and sleeping. While he has an appreciation for all genres, he is especially interested in fighting games and RPGs. He also enjoys reading books and watching movies and will happily overanalyze those as well.