There are bigger and tougher and deadlier animals than the Komodo dragon in Ubisoft’s jungle-island shooter Far Cry 3, but it’s the dragon I continue to hear in my head after I shut the game off for the night. It’s that hiss. That horrible, horrible hiss. It’s the stuff of nightmares. When you hear it, it short-circuits your gaming brain. Thoughts of the specific mission you’re currently undertaking are immediately replaced by OH SHIT THERE’S A KOMODO DRAGON RIGHT THE HELL HERE SOMEWHERE.
And the somewhere is key because it’s not like they’re unkillable. Three or four good shots from a decent gun will take one down. BUT YOU’VE GOT TO FIND THE FUCKING BEAST FIRST. Komodo dragons are fast and green and low to the ground, making them incredibly difficult to spot. And, being that Far Cry 3 is a first-person shooter, you can only see what’s directly in front of you, meaning the damn hissing could be coming from the left, the right, behind you … who knows? What ends up happening is that you panic and just start spinning in circles and firing like mad at every shadow on the ground you think might be a dragon. Which of course is not the best thing to do in Far Cry 3, as gunfire can quickly bring all kinds of unwanted attention to your general vicinity.
Here’s my favorite Komodo dragon story from Far Cry 3. The other day, I make it a point to activate a nearby radio tower. (You do this a lot in the game. It’s quite fun.) I exhaust most of my ammo in a nasty firefight on the way, but that’s okay because I’m nearly there. And then the damn hissing starts. OH SHIT THERE’S A KOMODO DRAGON RIGHT THE … you know the drill. I forgot to bandage myself up after the firefight and only have teensy bit of health left. No time to stop and take care of that. So I run. I run as fast as I can toward the tower. The hissing seems to be coming from all of my surround-sound speakers at once. Not sure if it’s actually programmed to do that or if I’m just imagining things. I am pretty sure I’m about to become dragon food. But I make it to the tower and climb up to the first level and then the second. I spin around, illogically terrified that the dragon will be following me up stairs and climbing ropes. There’s nothing there. So I take a breath and then move to glance down at the ground at the foot of the tower. There stand THREE Komodo dragons, all hissing at me. Komodos like to travel in packs, you see. It’s another reason why they’re so utterly terrifying. And these three had to have been right behind me the whole time, nipping at my heels. I breathe a sigh of relief and head on up the tower, though the awful hissing continues to ring in my ears.
Far Cry 3 is a pretty great game so far. Not just because of the Komodo dragon, of course, but because of what the dragon represents: a living, breathing, unpredictable virtual world. By the way, there’s apparently a thing called a Blood Komodo in this game. It’s some type of rare reddish Komodo that you need to find in one of the special Path of the Hunter missions. If this ends up being the last post I ever write at this site, just assume I met up with it and had a heart attack.