Games | CryptoSafari Snap! | The Skyfish
Article by Brandon | December 14, 2007 | Investigating gaming's most mythical creatures.
An unspoken rule among cryptozoologists (or, if you prefer, cryptosafarians) is that the more dangerous the theoretical animal is, the greater the value in hunting it. The scarier the better, in other words. Case in point: Remember all the talk of a possible thylacine study in 2006? You know, the adorable little Tasmanian tiger thought to have gone extinct thousands of years ago? OK, now how about the discovery of the ivory-billed woodpecker?
No, of course you don't remember the ivory-billed woodpecker. Nobody does. That's because it's a lame animal with a lame name. People ignored these reports, and they were right to do so -- you can discover a million different species of neon, huggable Love Vipers and no one will care.
Might as well have stayed undiscovered, loser.
You see, the best cryptids are the threatening ones. Nessie's probably eaten a few folks. The chupacabra is known for its disrespect for goats. Even our friend the Tsuchinoko, while not physically threatening, is dangerous in the way he threatens our sexuality. (You know what we're talking about, amirite, guys?)
This being said, our interest in something as seemingly innocent as the gentle Skyfish might seem inappropriate. But humor us; its true, lurking danger will become apparent soon enough.
It's difficult to say just when, exactly, the Skyfish first came upon the scene, but one of this strange beast's first known appearances was in an old Amiga game called Weird Dreams. And honestly, it's possible that instance doesn't even count, since the entire game takes place in the main character's drug-induced nightmares. The flying fish he witnesses -- and later uses as a weapon against evil Easter Island statues -- might simply be flying fishes rather than genuine Skyfish. Every Skyfish is a flying fish, but not every flying fish is a Skyfish. But we'll deal with elementary logic puzzles later.
If nothing else, the Weird Dreams incident may have been what gave normal fish the idea to take to the skies in the first place. Clear, they aren't branching out into new frontiers to strike back at man; aside from that whole Rapture business in BioShock, we don't encroach on their territory too often. Sure, we catch and eat fish from time to time, but that's their own fault for being so damn delicious.
One fish, two fish, Skyfish... Screw this.
Or maybe fish turned their eyes to the skies after witnessing some of the bosses from just about any of the games in the Darius series. Way to go, Taito. What bad ideas do you plan to hand out next? Fun Places to Bomb? Build Your Own Supervirus (and its sequel, Build Your Own Supervirus Gaiden)?
To learn more about these fish bosses, we tried to set up an interview with a guy we thought was the pilot of one of the ships in the Darius games. Unfortunately his references didn't check out -- too obscure, apparently. They'd all moved, or shut down, or been bought by Konami. So we got the next best thing: Victor "Vic Viper" Viperelli, pilot of the Vic Viper from the Gradius? series.
Vic: "Hey, how ya doin? Great, great. Look, it's great of you inviting me to this thing. Feels like I'm back on top, you know. We haven't had a good Bacterian attack in years, and it's not easy for a guy like me to get by. My philosophy is, you know, bust through the defenses and shoot the core, right? Well, that doesn't exactly translate well into day-to-day life, much less, you know, personal relationships. I'm just glad we were able to settle out of court, you know what I'm saying?
"And then the only jobs I can get are appearances at shopping malls, you know, "See THE Vic Viper" and all that. But then people act all disappointed, like, 'Where's the Vic Viper? We wanna see the ship.' Well you know something? I'm the Vic Viper. Hey, ladies, wanna go for a ride on the Vic Viper? Ha ha, heeeeey. You know what I'm saying. So it's great that you offer this interview and provide free food and everything. You know what they gave me for saving the universe however many times? Lifetime supply of astronaut food. Freeze dried or something. Stuff tastes like wood, to me."
At this point, Mr. Viperelli produced from his man-purse something that was almost certainly a small tree branch and ate it noisily.
Vic: "Mmm, pizza. But yeah, I seen a couple of these fish monsters. The big ones. You want me to draw it, right? I can do that. Here, look at this."
Here is Mr. Viperelli's sketch of the aquatic monster (not a fish, by the way -- Editor) he claims to have encountered. As he ate the crayons we provided, this illustration had to be rendered in MS Paint.
As we've established, the origin of the Skyfish is unimportant and stupid. Yet they've already infiltrated some of our best games. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow?? Yep, they've got 'em. You'd be forgiven for not noticing, though. The monsters move so fast across the screen that you need an item to slow down time in order to even attack see one, much less destroy it. And devour its delicious soul.
The airborne cryptid also makes an appearance in survival horror adventure Siren?, perhaps because it knew that the Tsuchinoko also had a cameo in that game. It's hard to say. Who can know the mind of a flying fish? Only the insane, the damned, and the Aquamen.
(Editor's note: Can Aquaman still communicate with fish that no longer live in water? Have to get someone on that. If only Aquaman weren't so shy about giving interviews. Perhaps if we coerce a fish into casually asking him and then reporting the answer back to us. But then how would we communicate with this fish? Damn you, Aquaman!)
In its Siren appearance, the Skyfish falls from the sky at one point and doesn't get back up. Oh, uh, yeah. Maybe now would perhaps be a good time to explain just what a Skyfish is. You know, to avoid confusion.
The traditional Skyfish is merely a fish in the sky. When it becomes grounded, much like the one in Siren, it is known as a Groundfish. If, however, a Skyfish gives up on its life of freedom and flight, it is known as a Quitter.
There are also those in certain cryptosafarian circles who believe that Rods can also be considered Skyfish. This is, of course, ridiculous. Rods are nothing more than smudges on photographs caused by light reflecting off of dust, bugs flitting by the lens, or the physical manifestation of the ugly vibes coming off of whoever you were taking a picture of. We're sure they have a fantastic personality, though.
It really doesn't matter what they're called. If these things multiply or gain a foothold in our fragile ecosystem, names will be the last of our worries. How about what we're going to breathe? That's kind of a big deal. You gonna breathe that air? Seriously? Fish have sex in that air.
Well, you do what you like. Me and Vic? We're moving to Rapture.