When you run into a monster in a computer game, 99 times out of 100 you're supposed to kill it. The other time, it talks to you first. That's why the pitch-black lionlike beast from Delphine's early '90s side-scrolling action classic Out of this World is so unique and still so frightening so many years later: You couldn't do a thing about it except run like hell in the other direction. But running wasn't good enough.
Out of this World opens with a scientific experiment gone awry, in which you suddenly appear in a place unlike any you've ever seen before. You swim to the surface of a lake (mysterious tentacles reach for your heels as you clamber out) and find yourself in a mountainous area with mysterious black slugs lurking about. These slugs are dangerous but can be killed with a swift kick. Soon enough you notice a black shape on the horizon, which looks a lot bigger and a lot tougher. Fortunately, you think it's far away and doesn't seem interested.
Unfortunately, you're wrong on both accounts. The beast suddenly leaps down and snarls. It's bigger than you, and clearly your kick won't even tickle it. Your instinct tells you to flee, but your common sense tells you the beast is faster. And this time you're right.
When the beast is right on your heels, you leap forward even as it lunges for the kill. It topples to the ground, buying you precious time, but soon enough it's right behind you again. You notice a cliff ahead of you and a vine hanging above it, and you come up with a last-ditch plan. You leap for the vine - but the beast has learned its lesson and stops short of the cliff. You swing over, then back, and the vine snaps, sending you over the beast's head. You begin to run back in the direction you came from, with the lion thing once more in hot pursuit. And just when you think you've had it, you run into an alien hunter who shoots your pursuer with his laser weapon, and the beast drops dead.
That first minute of Out of this World remains one of the most exciting, most frightening moments in any game. Very few games since have managed to elicit such a feeling of helplessness and desperation, let alone with such immediacy. And we have one big, black cat to thank for that.