At long last, after six months of searching the Commonwealth, the first DLC add-on for Fallout 4 has arrived. Called Automatron, the pack allows players to scour the ravaged landscape of post-war Boston in the search of bits and bobs belonging to various craftable robots. Yeah, you get to build robots, so the expansion is kind of a must-play, even if the reviews were mediocre (which, they haven’t been) thus far.
As we all restart the cycle of praising the gifts that Fallout 4 developer Bethesda Softworks has bestowed upon us, let me take a moment to say that it is with a heavy heart that I embark on this new, robotic adventure. You see, in order to make the most of the DLC, you’ll need to actually have at least one new robot buddy accompany you on journys. For anyone who’s actually spent time wandering through the wasteland of Fallout 4, you’ve almost certainly run across Dogmeat, the series’ ever-present canine and your first companion.
Throughout Fallout 4, players have the option to eschew all other company and just keep the friendly German Shepherd by their side. Unlike every other companionship option, Dogmeat never judges your decisions or yammers on using the same lines over and over again. He simply follows you around looking for people to kill and shit to give you. Can he sometimes get in your way or blow a perfect stealth run? Yep; Dogmeat is not perfectly designed. But just take one look at that face and try to stay mad at him.
Maybe I’m too soft, but I have a real problem looking the guy in the eyes and telling him to take off. So, I almost always keep the dog around through my adventures in the Commonwealth, because even Lone Wanderers need a buddy.
Of course, Dogmeat is just the latest in a long line of valiant pups who’ve followed players into battle over the course of video-game history. Here, for your consideration, are some of the best.
Rush from Mega Man
While Rush didn’t show up until Mega Man 3, the robot pup has followed the hero on the majority of his adventures ever since. In the decades since, Rush has become indelibly linked to the iconic blue robot, gleefully following Mega Man into battle against an endless wave of random robots. By this point in his life, Rush has access to a crazy amount of abilities like healing, or the ability to turn into a freaking motorcycle.
The dog in Fable 2
Essentially, Fable’s dog began as Lionhead CEO and Fable mastermind Peter Molyneux’s attempt to get rid of the mini-map. He was meant to be more of a compass at first. By the end of the game’s development, though, the dog was an integral part of the gameplay experience, and one of the game’s most beloved additions. Just like the player character, Fable 2’s dog grew and changed to reflect the player’s actions: It responded to your combat tactics dynamically, and it would follow you to Hell and back. Best. Compass. Ever.
D0g from Half-Life
Every child needs a robot that’s willing to follow them around and murder to protect them. For Half-Life 2’s second lead, Alyx Vance, that robot is D0g who, okay, isn’t technically a dog. Just because he’s not genetically a canine, doesn’t mean that D0g isn’t a terribly valuable member of the canine canon. This mechanical monstrosity has all of the best dog traits: he’s loyal as fuck, he’s always down for an adventure, and he knows the value of a good game of catch. What’s more “dog” than that?
Missile from Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
Poor Missile paid the ultimate price for his person, sacrificing his life in a failed attempt to prevent his owner’s kidnapping. Not even cold hard death will keep this spunky little fluff ball from getting down on some revenge, though, as he eagerly aids the protagonist, Sissel, in his quest to get to the bottom of his own death. From there, the plot may get a touch convoluted, but Missile’s infectious charm and bark-first attitude never loses its appeal.
D-Dog from *Metal Gear Solid
It’s actually pretty easy to miss D-Dog if you’re not paying attention in the first moments after Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, but he’s well worth the effort it takes to nab him. Though he begins the game as adorable one-eyed puppy, Diamond Dog becomes both the de facto mascot of Big Boss’s private army and one of the most effective combatants to fight alongside you. He can do everything from serve as a distraction to eliminating enemies. He’ll love you pretty much unconditionally, because even a mercenary needs love, too.
Chop from Grand Theft Auto 5
Chop is straight gangsta. As a potential companion for player character Franklin, it’s possible to avoid him for most of the game (beyond yelling about his massive dumps on your way in and out of Franklin’s pad), but if you take that route, you’re missing out on one of Rockstar’s most lovable characters. Enlisted from time to time as an extra set of nostrils for the game’s three main characters, Chop may be quick to run from a fight, but he’s always down to hang out with his person and chase a few bitches.
The Dog from Duck Hunt
I know, you’re wondering why anyone would include this little bastard in a list of lovable dogs. It’s because this poor guy’s place in the pop culture lexicon has long been confused. It might look like he’s laughing maliciously every single time you let your duck get away unscathed, but look again. He’s not laughing at you; he’s giggling anxiously to keep your spirits up, to keep you plugging away. He’s one of the first faithful combat companions and his place is sacrosanct.