The Best Monkeys In Video Games
Monkeys have been around in video games since the days of the Atari 2600, and are still a staple in many of today's titles, whether they be enemies, allies, or the main character and maybe even the mascot of a game or series.
Over the last four decades of video game history, these simian characters have appeared in so many games that it can be difficult to decide which of them are the best. However, with all the numerous titles released over the last thirty years or so, we've been introduced to some of the most notable simians around.
9 Powerwild – Kingdom Hearts
Powerwild is a monkey-like Heartless from the Kingdom Hearts series and is similar to the Bouncywild and Sniperwild enemies, which all look more simian in appearance than the Tricky Monkey and Cymbal Monkey enemies from Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days.
The Powerwild uses quick melee attacks that can be tricky to avoid, rather than the long-distance attacks used by its counterparts. The Powerwild also has the most appearances compared to its counterparts, appearing in a total of five games from the series. For some reason, Powerwild's color was changed for Kingdom Hearts Final Mix but was changed to be closer to its original color in Kingdom Hearts X.
8 Key Dee/Wonkey – Kirby Return To Dreamland
Key Dees, also known as Wonkeys, are a Waddle Dee variant that first appeared in Kirby's Return To Dreamland in 2011 and have appeared in several other Kirby games since. As their name implies, Key Dees are usually seen carrying keys or other useful items that Kirby needs to unlock various things or for other purposes.
Key Dees don't attack Kirby like their spear-wielding counterparts but instead run away once they catch sight of him, meaning he has to chase them. Despite being monkey-like, Key Dees do not appear in Kirby And The Forgotten Land alongside the Beast Pack, probably due to their relation to the kidnapped Waddle Dees.
7 Silvapithecus – Dragon Quest 2
Platypunk may be a more recognizable monkey-like monster from the Dragon Quest series, but Silvapithecus is more monkey-like, given that it isn't half platypus.
First appearing in Dragon Quest 2 and at one time known as Silver Batboon or the AG Devil, Silvapithecus is a member of the Demon family that looks like it would feel right at home as a minion of the Wicked Witch Of The West. Slivapithecus also has two stronger palette-swapped versions: the purple Pazuzu, named after the eponymous Mesopotamian demon added to the popular culture lexicon by the Exorcist movie series, and the pink Batmandrill.
6 Andross – Star Fox
Andross is a recurring villain in the Star Fox series who made his first appearance in the original 1993 Super Nintendo title. Andross, also known as Emperor Andross and formerly known as Doctor Andross, is a mad scientist banished from Corneria for his dangerous experiments but returned years later with an army to help him conquer the Lylat system.
Andross has appeared in every Star Fox game to date and usually has a similar origin story, given that most of the Star Fox games retell the events of the original, with the exception of Star Fox 2 and Star Fox Adventures.
5 Diddy Kong – Donkey Kong
Diddy Kong, Donkey Kong's nephew, first appeared in the 1994 Super Nintendo title Donkey Kong Country and got the starring role in the 1995 sequel Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, where he had to save both his uncle and his banana hoard.
The Donkey Kong series is far from Diddy Kong's only claim to fame as he also received his own beloved racing game on Nintendo 64, Diddy Kong Racing, in 1997, as well as its 2007 Nintendo DS remake, and even became a playable character in the Super Smash Bros series. His ape of an uncle may be more famous, but Diddy Kong now has nearly the same level of fame.
4 Specter – Ape Escape
Specter is the primary antagonist of the Ape Escape series and has appeared in all three of the mainline games as well as several of the spin-off titles. Originally just a monkey with white fur, Specter found a prototype of the Peak Point Helmet, which significantly increased his intelligence, but also increased the evil in his heart.
At first, Specter just wanted his fellow primates to be free and be subservient to them, but after this plan fails, he later attempts to cause the genocide of the entire human race and loses any semblance of sanity that he once had.
3 Aiai – Super Monkey Ball
Aiai is a playable character and the mascot of Sega's Super Monkey Ball series. First appearing in Super Monkey Ball for arcades in 2001, Aiai has become one of Sega's most recognizable mascots, other than the blue blur himself, of course.
Although Aiai is usually seen inside a ball that serves as his usual mode of transportation, he isn't always trapped inside it. He has made appearances in the Sega titles such as Sonic Riders and Sega Superstars Tennis, Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, Yakuza 5 and more. Aiai's most recent appearance was in 2021's Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania.
2 Mankey – Pokemon
Mankey first made its debut alongside the other 150 original Pokemon introduced in Pokemon Red and Blue versions. Known as the Pig Monkey Pokemon, Mankey is a Fighting-type Pokemon who is very fast and becomes angry with little provocation. Dealing with just one angered Mankey is scary enough on its own, but Mankey live in colonies, and if one becomes angry, then the rest of the colony becomes angry as well.
Mankey is also well known by longtime Pokemon fans as the first Fighting-type Pokemon that Ash Ketchum caught in the anime after it stole his hat and evolved into Primeape.
1 Ukiki – Yoshi's Island
Ukikis, also known as Grinders or just monkeys, are enemies from the Mario franchise that first appeared in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island. Due to being monkeys, Ukikis are most often seen climbing trees or running around in jungle levels. While those seen running around are relatively harmless, the tree-climbing Ukikis may drop harmful items above Yoshi or spit seeds at him.
Besides later games in the Yoshi series, Ukikis have also appeared in Super Mario 64, the Mario Party series, and a number of Mario Sports video games. Some may consider other video game monkeys better, but Ukikis earn the spot by continuing to appear in the best-selling video game franchise of all time.
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