Creatures of immense size and power, a Basilisk has become synonymous with power, cunning and intimidation. Whatever serpentine thoughts these slithering snakes have, you know their gaze will be captivating. No matter what you think of them, they’ve been in pop culture for ages, as well as ancient texts. Fear not, for today we’re going to uncover the Top 10 Basilisks in pop culture.
10) Basilisk (Creature Type) – Magic: The Gathering
Lowest on this week’s list is the Creature Type ‘Basilisk’ in Magic: the Gathering. Lowest because it’s not a specific example of a Basilisk, but rather a whole subtype of creatures in the Trading Card Game. However, as with any good subtype, there are the occasional entry that stands out slightly. So, we’ll have a quick look at one of the more interesting Basilisk creatures.
The Rock Basilisk, a card that dates back to 1996, has to be my pick for greatest Basilisk in Magic. At the time, Deathtouch didn’t exist, so this was arguably the closest thing you can get to it. Later down the line we got more brutal cards with Deathtouch (including this Basilisk), but arguably Rock Basilisk was one of the earliest examples of the Deathtouch mechanic, which became a pivotal part of black mana gameplay.
9) Basilisk: The Serpent King (SyFy Original Movie)
Coming in at number 9 is this fairly obscure title; Basilisk: The Serpent King. This Syfy Original Movie features the titular basilisk is uncovered and taken to a museum in Libya. After some strange circumstances following an eclipse and the power of the eyes of medusa, the Basilisk comes to life. From there, it goes on a tear and it’s up to, hold on, let’s get the names right… Hannah Carmelina Santorini Frankman … and Brock… To save the day. Okay…
To make this whole thing better, this film was supposed to be in homage to a terrible film called Reptilicus. If you don’t believe that a film could be so bad, it was deemed “virtually unreleasable”. Why on Earth would anyone want to pay homage to a film that bad, except for a sense of irony, or just for the campy humour, I have no idea. Nevertheless, Basilisk at least was a better attempt. I guess?
However, let me say, people actually really enjoyed this film, so props for turning a bad movie good!
8) Basilisks – Operation Chaos (1971 Novel)
If you hadn’t thought of any new uses of Basilisks, well, at least Operation Chaos has you there. A sci-fi/fantasy novel written by Poul Anderson, set in a world that instead of technology, magic has taken the forefront. Transportation is handled by magic, as well as just about everything that we’d use technology for. Operation Chaos is definitely a fun novel for those of you into fantasy.
Now, onto the Basilisks. There’s not a huge amount to say about them, hence the lower placement on this week’s list. However, Operation Chaos features Basilisks being used in wars. They would turn their enemies to stone, like your usual basilisks, however those who were turned to stone would also become radioactive. So yeah, that’s not a particularly pleasant weapon of war.
7) Basilisks – The Witcher
Here comes one of the shortest entries on this list. Like, really short.
In The Witcher, Basilisk are considered to be closely related to a wyvern. Fair enough so far, right? They’re lizard-like, after all. But one of the main features of a Basilisk is the ability to be able to make something petrified. Sound about right?
Nope, not according to The Witcher. That’s just inaccurate folklore. Right. Nothing more to see here folks, at least they did something completely different here!
Anyway, respect to them for doing something away from the status quo, even if it’s a questionable decision.
6) Basilisks – Final Fantasy X
You know, one thing I’ve realised is how poorly named all of these Basilisks are. On the plus side, the Basilisks of Final Fantasy X looked incredible. To me, they looked a lot more like your typical hydra than they did a Basilisk, but hey, who am I to judge? So what do we know about the Basilisks of Final Fantasy X, other than their majestic and glorious looks? How tough were these beasties?
The answer is they weren’t particularly tough, to which you may have noticed a theme here. As with nearly every other entry before this one, they are easy enough to dispatch of and yes, they have a stone gaze ability. That’s kind of it. They won’t use that stone gaze ability if there is only one remaining party member, which is kind of forgiving of them. Perhaps they had honour?
5) Basilisks – Old School RuneScape
These guys aren’t particularly hard, but they’re definitely a good example of a Basilisk. Walking on four legs, but with a serpent-like body, these creatures are a required part of the Slayer quests. You require a defence of at least 20, which is the amount you need to wield a Mirror Shield, which protects you greatly against these hulking beasts. But this isn’t the only defence related comment on these creatures.
Basilisks in Old School RuneScape are high in defence, but low in damage, so they’re not too hard to handle. With that said, they were an important mob to get through for those Slayer quests and they could easily dispatch of someone who wasn’t ready for them. Besides, Mirror Shield had to get its use in, right? Anyway, it’s a fun addition to an already fun and silly game.
4) Greater Basilisks – Heroes of Might & Magic 3
Joel will probably love this entry.
The Greater Basilisks of Heroes of Might & Magic 3 are a hell of a unit. They come in the mid game and are immensely effective. They are level 4 creatures of Fortress Town, which are recruited in a pit. A basilisk pit. Okay, well at least they’re pretty much on the nose so far, but why do these guys get all the way in at number 4 in this week’s list?
These were pretty effective units all round. They weren’t ever going to win any awards for being the best units in the game, but they certainly could hold their own. They were effective in just about everything, mostly because they were treated like proper beasts. Anyway, if you’re a fan of older strategy games, go pick this up, get yourself some Greater Basilisks and take over the world.
3) Basilisks – Dungeons & Dragons
A moderately tough creature to fight, a Basilisk can really put player characters to the test with their bulk and their skills. They’re not the strongest creatures in the game, not by a long way. Basilisks don’t have a lot of normal attacks in all honesty; they literally only have bite, which is a relatively close range ability, which does some piercing and some poison damage to the player character.
However where the Basilisks are truly dangerous are on the starts of their opponents turns. If a creature starts its turn within 30ft of the Basilisk, it can force the creature to make a Constitution saving throw. If the creature fails the saving throw, then they become incapacitated, being trapped in stone…
… It’s not all bad though. Make them look at their reflections. They think they’ve found a rival and would rather focus on the mirrored image of themselves than anything else.
Hey, I never said they were bright!
2) The Basilisk Bargain Sale – World of Warcraft
Oh Jeez, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean it! Basilisks are incredibly bright and I didn’t realise just how many named Basilisk mobs there were in World of Warcraft. I knew there were one or two, but not this many of them! Right, let’s give you the skinny on a bunch of basilisks from World of Warcraft… Please note, this is pretty much taken from WoW Wiki:
None of these mobs are any different to any other normal basilisk so, yeah…
… But there’s a lot of them. That was just from Azeroth, I didn’t even go to Outland.
1) The Basilisk – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Sure, it was an obvious choice all things considered, but what do you want from me? In terms of modern media, so few examples are there of a more popular story featuring a Basilisk, especially as a primary antagonistic force. Nevertheless, I think it’s only fair that we talk about why this particular Basilisk deserves the nod over all of the other’s – and it’s not just because of the popularity of Harry Potter.
The Chamber of Secrets story revolved heavily around the idea of a monster being loose in Hogwarts; this was that monster. They would find victims, including key characters like Hermoine. The victims would be petrified and if it wasn’t for the Mandrakes being grown by Professor Sprout, who knows what would have happened. Perhaps they’d still be petrified to this day?
There we have it, we managed to find 10 examples of basilisks across various forms of media. I hope you enjoyed them. Yes, it was quite video game and literature heavy, but at least we ended on a fairly iconic one, right? Now, time for two non-basilisks that use the name.
When you think of an anime called Basilisk, what would you expect? There to be a lot of snakes, or people being petrified? Yeah then you’d be dead wrong, for Basilisk is a series of rival ninja clans going at war, having a non-hostility agreement and people breaking said agreement. Basically, this is an ordinary day for rival ninja clans, don’t you think?
So there’s not much more I can say here; it’s a rather good anime. Go check it out. Or go read the manga. It’s very action-y and it’s based off real life events.
Basilisk Games (Video Game Company)
So, yeah, Basilisks eh? Let’s talk about one last basilisk, Basilisk Games. They don’t have a lot of games under their belts, but they have chosen to represent the basilisk, so they are making our honourable mentions list! Well done guys for picking an awesome creature of myth, which, as seen in today’s list, is hugely underrepresented. Now that I’ve got the congratulations out of the way…
The company is mostly known for three games in particular, all part of a series of games called Eschalon. The series is generally well received overall, picking up from the events of the previous game and telling a well crafted story. All in all, if you’re into isometric role playing games, this may be one for you to look out for. You can find the games on Steam, with book 1 being free! They’re currently working on a new title.
Now that we’ve finished slithering all over this week’s Top 10, I hope you enjoyed the list! I’m going to sibilantly slink away now and reflect on what the hell I just wrote. This one was one of the hardest ones I’ve ever written, with there being so few examples, but hey, I’m sure I got in most of the important ones without having to rely on good ol’ Mythology. Anyway, help us choose next week’s Top 10 below.
Another week, another Top 10. This week’s was incredibly tricky, but that doesn’t mean they all have to be that way, right? Right? Guys, stop choosing the hard ones now. Let’s move on from this incident, let’s pretend I wasn’t petrified when I finally realised the enormity of my task and tell me – Did I get all the good basilisks on this list? Is the order right? Should the Harry Potter one have been the top spot? Leave your thoughts and opinions below, or on Facebook and Twitter.