I’m usually a big fan of Runic Games, but a recent announcement about Torchlight 2 has not sat well with me, and it’s time to speak out. As some of you may have seen, Runic offered up a preview of a few of the creatures that will inhabit Torchlight 2, but in their excitement failed to detail what fans of the series should do if they happened upon any of those creatures in a real life. Sure in the world of Torchlight heroes are equipped with battle axes in magic, but that doesn’t help those of us in the streets. Whether they didn’t realize that simply imagining a monster brought it into reality or just assumed that an encounter was unlikely is a question they’ll have to answer, but in the meantime I’m here to help you keep yourself safe as well as helping Runic Games save face (I’m a fan guys, but you owe me).
The Yakotaur is a creature I’ve never heard of despite all my cryptozoological studies. Fortunately, Runic explained that it’s a cross between a yak and a yeti, so taking this beast down shouldn’t be too difficult as it does not appear to be composed of magic or mechanical means. It is big though, so a rocket or anti-tank shell to the head should be enough to stop it dead in its track. I know some of you guys want a combat challenge, but the Yakotaur looks likes it has a high karate resistance, so save the jump kicks for something else.
In keeping with the animal combo theme, Runic has featured a Manticore as another Torchlight 2 monster and I’m happy to report that I know a bit about Manticores. The worst thing about them is the animal parts they utilize as they pretty much scraped together the best of the best (lion and dragon, Fonzi’s of the animal kingdom). Obviously the challenge wouldn’t be there should the Manticore consist of a bunny face and dolphin tail, so Runic made a solid call with this one. According to legend, the Manticore’s fur is impenetrable, so forget conventional tactics. Its only weakness is its mouth, so in order to take this sucker down you’re going to have trick it into swallowing you whole, then stab it from the inside out. Assuming that it has dragon level stomach acids, you’re going to have to stab fast or bring a chainsaw.
When it comes to Witches, things start to get a bit complicated. First, they tend to be pretty tight with demons and other monsters and also live in covens (groups of witches) so it’s definitely not going to be a one on one battle. Secondly, Witches use magic, and magic has endless possibilities. History has taught us that both fire and water can kill them, but probably should be used separately as fire and water themselves are enemies and their attitude towards one another may exacerbate the situation. If you are monster slaying on a limited budget, I suggest Molotov cocktails, but should you have some connections, then a flash flood or napalm strike would be a more awesome alternative.
I enjoyed Disney’s belief that gargoyles could be good (as presented in the cartoon Gargoyles) but truth be told they tend to cause problems, such as knocking over trash cans and eating children. The key to defeating gargoyles lies in using their defensive system against them since gargoyles pose as statues when resting. Statues suck at fighting, so confronting the gargoyle in this state is your best chance for victory. If they happen to be perched on a high ledge, simply push them off and gravity will do the work for you. If they are closer to the ground, grab a sledgehammer and go to work, but be quick and don’t let your fear of gargoyles lead to the rampant destruction of your city’s statues, some of them may just be normal statues.
When dealing with machines, I tend to utilize the Goldblum/Smith system of uploading viruses into their mainframe, but the Dwarven Automata are steam punk so that strategy wouldn’t work. At first glance, these guys look indestructible but knowing that they run off some kind of fuel (Ember in this case) is my first clue to how to defeat them. Machines like this are usually pretty stupid, so a cheap disguise made of boxes and brown paint should work to trick them into thinking you’re one them (remember to work on making train noises because that’s probably what they sound like). Once you’re in, slowly examine the Automata and find their fuel intake access points and then simply open them up and let the fuel leak out. They’ll think they are just feeling under the weather and will lie down for a quick rejuvenation snooze, but you’ll know better and soon enough the Dwarven Automata will be nothing more than piles of scrap metal.
Dragons are probably the toughest monsters on the planet and ghosts are the hardest to fight. Knowing that, you can begin to determine just how dangerous a Spectral Dragon can be. The unfortunate thing about them is they became spectres after being driven mad with magic and were killed when they were at their angriest. Without Emo music or extreme sports, they have no way of releasing their angst and after years of loneliness due to few Facebook friends, they are festering with atomic levels of blood lust. Conventional wisdom would tell you that Spectral Dragons are a result of an unjust system and no amount of public funding or social programming will steer them away from a future in crime and poverty, but the very idea that Spectral Dragons exist should tell you that convention has no place when facing them head on. Spectral Dragons never knew what it was like to receive a birthday present or a hug, so why not start there? The flame breath and cravings for human flesh are only defense mechanisms to prevent them from being abandoned again, but showing that you’re there for them unconditionally may be enough to penetrate their stone cold heart. If none of that works, an electromagnetic pulse at the heart of their nest may be enough to dissolve the bonds that are preventing them from moving into the afterlife.
Hopefully I’ve helped Runic dodge a bullet while also keeping gamers safe enough to actually play Torchlight 2 when it comes out later on in the year. Should any of you run into a monster type that’s not on this list, you know where to find me.