Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water walked away with four big Oscar wins last night, including Best Director and Best Picture. Had the romantic drama been nominated for Best Fishman, it undoubtedly would have won that too.
Now, to capitalize on The Shape of Water’s Oscar success, we’ve put together a list of our favorite fishmen from video games. Fishmen (or mermen, if you prefer) have a long and storied presence in the medium, and choosing our favorites has been a difficult exercise.
We’ve established a few rules for this list, primarily that they must have fish and human physical characteristics. We’ve also excluded cephalopodmen, thereby disqualifying the cast of Splatoon and Donald Duck in squid form, and ruled out Atlantica Sora from Kingdom Hearts, who, despite being a merman, is half-human, half-dolphin (in other words, all mammal). Finally, we’ve focused primarily on named characters, not species (e.g., World of Warcraft’s jinyu and murlocs, Fallout’s anglers and mirelurks, Castlevania’s mermen). Also, the Drell from Mass Effect are widely considered reptilian, BioWare, despite their physical similarity to another famous fishman, Abe Sapien from Hellboy.
If there’s an important fishman we’ve missed, please let us know. Now, on with the list of outstanding fishmen, in order of importance and preference. Raw sexual appeal also played an important part in our ranking.
Prince Sidon from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The zora are a fishpeople who have appeared in many games in Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda franchise. While Prince Sidon and the other zora from Breath of the Wild have a sharklike appearance, they are undeniably fish people. Because sharks are fish. Sidon is notable for his enthusiasm and swimming ability, but — like the fishman from The Shape of Water — famous for his smoldering sex appeal.
Rikuo from Darkstalkers
Rikuo (aka Aulbath) hails from Capcom’s Darkstalkers franchise. Like many fishmen in popular culture, he was inspired by the Gill-Man from The Creature from the Black Lagoon, but falls squarely in the “sexy fishman” category. Like the Gill-Man, he hails from Brazil and uses a variety of aquatic attacks in one-on-one combat. Incidentally, Rikuo isn’t fighting games’ only merman: He was beaten to market by Trident, a green-scaled fishman who appeared in Sega’s Eternal Champions.
Seaman from his self-titled game
The surly Seaman is (obviously) a strange lifeform, but lovable nonetheless. In addition to being a standout fishman, he’s also a frogman, but that doesn’t exclude him from our roundup of favorite fish-human hybrids. One of his evolutionary stages is named “Gillman,” so developer Vivarium (or Seaman’s localization team) may have also drawn a bit of inspiration from The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Hopefully, the public’s renewed interest in fishmen can will Seaman 3 into existence.
The Amazon from Pro Wrestling
The wrestler known only as The Amazon hailed from parts unknown (despite his name offering a pretty solid clue) and served as the main heel character in Pro Wrestling for the NES. His special moves, Piranha Bite and Outlaw Choke, seem like pretty blatant violations of the Video Wrestling Association’s rules due to their graphic, bloody nature.
Aquaman from Injustice
He’s more man than fish, but Aquaman has a close working relationship with fish, and in Injustice: Gods Among Us and Injustice 2, he is no joke. Plus, if you’re into generally handsome fishpeople with noble heritage, you can’t go wrong. My colleagues criticized the Aquaman of Injustice for not looking like his hunkier counterpart, the DC Extended Universe version of Aquaman played by Jason Momoa, but that version of the character is playable in the mobile version of Injustice.
T.H.U.D. from Tony Hawk’s Underground
Inspired by Gill-Man and the monster from C.H.U.D. (Cannibalistic Human Underground Dwellers), T.H.U.D. was an unlockable skater in 2003’s Tony Hawk’s Underground. Like his fellow unlockable skaters Gene “The Demon” Simmons from Kiss and Iron Man, he’s got some pretty respectable skater stats.
The Mariner from Waterworld
Everyone remembers the Mariner from the Waterworld video games released in the mid-’90s for Game Boy, Super NES, Virtual Boy and PC. (There was also a movie released under the same name that starred actor Kevin Costner.) The Mariner was a hero in a flooded world who just barely qualifies as a fishman, thanks to his webbed feet and the gills that allowed him to breathe underwater. He also had great hair.
Hierophant from The House of the Dead 2 and The Typing of the Dead
The second boss monster from The House of the Dead 2 (and The Typing of the Dead), Hierophant is perhaps not the series’ most memorable boss. But he’s certainly relatable, for as G’s file points out, his weak point is his heart. :(