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9 Best Dragons In Video Game History For St. George's Day (VIDEO) (PICTURES) (POLL)

22/04/2013 14:50 BST | Updated 22/04/2013 15:02 BST
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What is it about dragons that makes them such an enduring presence in myth and legend - including tales of various patron saints?

Perhaps it's simply that they look like a dinosaur with a headache and breathe hot magma.

Or maybe it's something deeper - the honour in their eyes, the nobility of their stance, their essential humanity - and their frankly forgivable desire for a bed made of gold?

Either way, while St George might not have ever fought a scaly demon for real, video gamers have been slaying dragons for decades - some of them massive and terrifying, others tiny and purple.

The legend of the wyvern is healthier than ever in the virtual world, and so to celebrate St George's Day this year, and to pay homage to those legions of adventurers who have done St. George's work in bits and bytes for as long as games have been played, we're looking back at our favourite dragons to have met digital doom over the decades.

Let us know which of these you consider your favourite - and if we've missed any out, tell us in the comments.

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Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: The frozen wastes of Skyrim are sprinkled with a large variety of reptilian aristocrats, each of them rendered in beautiful 3D - and that's lucky because you'll spend a lot of time running around hunting them.

But chief among the various types of dragon is Alduin, aka World Eater, whose insane power is only undone by the relentless narrative gravity of a game featuring a hero named Dragonborn. Alas.

Thanatos : Skyrim's 3D dragons of doom might be impressive visually, but back in 1986 the state of the digital hydra art was Thanatos on the ZX Spectrum, C64 and Amstrad.

The player takes the role of the titular monster, who has to rescue the sorceress Eros from her prison in the underworld, but in fact, you spend more time burning pretty much everything in sight - from soldiers and houses to rocks and massive sea snakes. It's like GTA meets Magic Carpet. And while it was a hard game to complete, controlling a dragon instead of killing it was a neat twist, and burning giant sea snakes, transporting witches and swooshing over the sea was objectively cool.

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Spryo: a different class of dragon altogether, Spyro comes from the Mario-Sonic end of the video game spectrum, latterly dubbed Miyamoto's Cul-De-Sac. As a fun, cutesy character appearing first in a line of platformers and recently the Skylanders series, Spyro has achieved a level of fame arguably unmatched by any other single dragon in video game history.

Singe (Dragon's Lair): Dragon's Lair was a classic but controversial game, for while it featured groundbreaking animation the player's actual interaction with it was limited to a few timed button presses. Singe was the Disney-fied dragon as its heart, who placed 93rd in IGN's list of the best video game villains of all time. The game was recently featured in issue 114 of RetoGamer magazine, which is well worth picking up if you're interested in its history.

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Dragonlord (Dragon Warrior, 1989): Dragon Warrior is a long running series of RPGs, latterly published as Dragon Quest. The actual plot is too complicated to relate, but suffice to say Dragonlord is the evil antagonist, seeking "unlimited power and destruction" from his seat at Charlock Castle. Destruction is what he eventually gets, of course, but not in the way he expects.

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Bahamut (Final Fantasy): in a similar way to Dragon Warrior, Bahamut is one of those characters from Japanese RPGs who turns up in so many guises and forms that it's almost impossible to conceive, let alone pithily summarise. But he's important for appearing in more FF titles that almost any other character, as well as the Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars game.

Liu Kang (Mortal Kombat 2): Lui Kang isn't usually a dragon. But when you press (Close) Down, Forward, Back, Back, High Kick, he is. Take a look above.

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Charizard (Pokemon): one of the elite Pokemon to have appeared in many different games and cartoon incarnations, Charizard was voted favourite Pokémon by Official Nintendo Magazine readers in February 2012.

Godzilla: Monster of Monsters: Godzilla fights other dragons, among them the three-headed King Ghidorah. This is, of course, spectacularly bad. But quite entertaining in YouTube form.