As we celebrate Chinese New Year and welcome in the Year of the Tiger, it’s time to take a look at some of the best tigers in gaming history. From protagonists to supporting characters, boss battles, and even entire games filled with tiger goodness, we’ve got them all.
Of course, with so many tigers making appearances in games and some wiggle room when it comes to the term ‘tiger’, we don’t have room to mention them all, so we’ve picked our absolute favorites. Did your best tiger pick make the cut?
ten White Tiger (Nioh)
Nioh’s White Tiger boss isn’t the majestic Byakko of legend, but rather a combination of Byakko and a Nekomata (a type of yokai/demon cat). He has an odd appearance that appears to be half-dog, half-cat, winged, and has lots of tails.
Regardless of its hodgepodge appearance, this boss is pretty cool and certainly memorable as it’s a tough fight that keeps players on their toes. Curiously, it doesn’t really seem to have any scratches…
9 Byakko (character)
Byakkko, also known as The White Tiger, comes from Chinese legend, but many games over the years have adopted this character as their own. Byakko appears in a few different notable series, such as Final Fantasy, Shin Megami Tensei, and Persona to name a few.
While Final Fantasy 14’s rather impressive humanoid version of Byakko nearly made this list, we reserved the right to pick another FF14 tiger in his place, so Persona’s Byakko is the next top dog – or tiger, for that matter. to say. Part of Temperance Arcana, Byakko is a decent Persona to have on your team when you need an Ice element.
8 Tigers (Tomb Raider)
The Tigers in the Tomb Raider series don’t stand out in terms of looks or being particularly cool. In fact, if you go back to their first appearance in Tomb Raider 2, they stand out for the wrong reason as they’re your typical PlayStation block animals with derpy faces. But there’s actually something a little endearing about them.
No matter how they look, anyone who’s played the Tomb Raider series will have more than a few memories of trying to shoot those damn tigers before they mauled you to death. Cuboid bears make us love them even more because of their boxy aesthetic.
seven Tiger Pair Boss Battle (Yakuza Kiwami 2)
This daring duo of tigers gets a mention because I’m a huge Yakuza stan and I’ll put Yakuza on a list for even the smallest of reasons. For real though, this part of Yakuza Kiwami 2 is quite memorable, despite the game’s regular dosage of weirdness, you don’t expect a castle to spring up out of the ground, after which you then have to do a boss battle against two tigers.
If you ever wondered who would win in a fight – one man or two tigers, you can get your answer here. I have to give kudos where it’s due, they’re brave tigers for taking on the Dragon of Dojima.
6 Runar (Final Fantasy 14)
There are plenty of Tigers to choose from when it comes to Final Fantasy 14, but Runar stole our hearts. Ok, technically it’s not a tiger, it’s a Hrothgar, but you have to admit that Hrothgar can look like a tiger. At least he has stripes, so he already has one on Nioh’s White Tiger.
Runar is the leader of the Blessed of the Night in the Rak’tika Greatwood, but what really sets him apart is his love and devotion to Master Matoya – no, not the old woman version, but Y’shtola Rhul.
5 Ty (the Tasmanian tiger)
Tasmanian tigers are still tigers, aren’t they? Well I hope you’ll agree, after all how can we not mention Ty the Tasmanian tiger in a list of the best tigers in gaming? He has a whole series based on him!
While he might not be as well-known as fellow Aussie Crash Bandicoot, Ty also delivers a classic platforming experience for fans. Although it hasn’t had a proper sequel for quite some time, a remaster of the original game launched in March 2020, so maybe it’s time for another trip underneath?
Kinectimals launched for the Xbox 360 and worked exclusively with the Kinect camera peripheral, allowing gamers to play with little bundles of fluffy feline goodness. While the game features a range of wild cats for players to snuggle up with, such as leopards, cheetahs, and more, the cute little striped face of the tiger was the star of Kinectimals.
Later the DLC was added to bears as well, so if you wanted to change from the usual felines, you could get bear hugs instead. Lions, tigers and bears – oh my!
Is M’aiq a tiger? Not really. He is technically a Khajiit (and yes, we are absolutely aware that we are setting a pattern here). But he would definitely lie about it, and that counts for something.
M’aiq pops up in Elder Scrolls games to live up to his namesake since Morrowind, being something of a conduit for developers to deliver jokes and fourth-wall commentary to players who stumble upon him. For example, where Morrowind featured multiple throwable weapons, Oblivion ended up eliminating them, prompting M’aiq’s iteration of Oblivion to comment: “Some people wish to throw away their weapons. This seems insane to M’aiq. If you’re holding your gun, you only need one.“Everyone needs a good laugh between dragon slayings and game-breaking bugs – M’aiq is happy to deliver them.
2 Rolf (Animal Crossing)
There are so many tiger villagers in Animal Crossing that it was hard to choose just one. We went with our favorite, the grumpy and lovable Rolf as he’s appeared in every title in the series to date. And look at him, he’s adorable.
Rolf loves fitness, dreams of becoming a professional wrestler, and owns a beautiful mountain-themed home in New Horizons. If he’s not your favorite Animal Crossing tiger, just pretend this entry is the tiger you love the most, be it Rowan, Tybalt, or someone else.
1 Raikou (Pokemon)
With so many Pokemon based on normal real-world animals (or sometimes even inanimate objects), you know damn well there’s going to be a tiger or two. Sorry Litten, but the best Tiger Pokémon has to be Raikou.
This Legendary Pokemon is one of the three Legendary Beasts alongside Entei and Suicune. It is a Lightning type that is associated with storms as its bark resembles thunder while the rain cloud on its back allows it to fire lightning at will.
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