Like a lot of people, Halo: Combat Evolved is always going to be sort of a soft spot in my memory of gaming. It was for me, a sort of awakening; a realization that playing video games can be a legitimate pass-time and not something merely for the nerds. The sheer epic scope of it, the operatic music score and the menace of the flood all came together to support a story that served one purpose; shooting aliens in the head with the best pistol ever.
Defying questions like, “why does my pistol have a zoom, but my assault rifle doesn’t?” and “why would Captain Keyes not keep ammo with his sidearm?” The Halo: CE pistol is one of the most satisfying, if not a little bit incredibly overpowered, experiences in gaming.
From head-shotting grunts to blasting through Elite shields, and just absolutely wrecking the ass-end of a Hunter, the list of video game weapons that carry so many beloved memories by so many gamers is incredibly short.
Although nerfed in Halo 2, because the world can only take so much beauty; the pistol still stands as a shining example of what a good weapon should be. Viscerally satisfying, with enough ammo lying around to avoid the “I might need it later” thought-trap.
Thank you Bungie for bringing it into the world and for over a decade of fun and adventures.
I vividly remember two things from when I was a kid: The pervading sense that my entire existence was controlled by others around me that I had no influence over but accepted because I was unwilling to conceive a universe in my head where I had agency, and Street Sharks. The show was about half-man / half-shark crime-fighting, uh, shark dudes. It was probably a terrible show, but I was only 4 years old, so it was by far the coolest thing to grace the earth since dinosaurs.
To get around, the Street Sharks would ‘swim’ through the ground, their fins popping up through the asphalt water like a signal to all wannabe criminals. To me, this was, without question, the coolest thing I had ever seen. Sharks tearing up the road as they approached the bad guy, gravel and dirt flying up around them before they pounced up and ate their victim. Awesome. Skip forward a decade or so and I was exposed to Armed and Dangerous’ Shark Gun, a gun that fired sharks into the ground to eat your enemies. The 4 year old inside of me erupted into maniacal laughter.
Like magma from a volcano, I watched as the sharks from my gun burst forth from the ground, bringing the wrath of the Street Sharks into a universe that didn’t even have TV. The satisfaction wasn’t from watching the enemies get eaten by a shark that had just emerged from the earth, it was from watching the shark’s fin slowly move towards them, like some harrowing omen for their impending doom. A silly omen, but an omen nonetheless. Truly, nothing has captured my sense of godly destruction quite like the shark gun, and for that, it deserves it’s place here.
In a game where Link constantly finds himself with an arsenal of weapons at his disposal, the Master Sword will always be considered the ultimate weapon. Housing both defensive and offensive attributes, the Master Sword is a very diverse weapon steeped in lore. This weapon will repel evil, make you immune to curses, and dispel any magical barriers that may come your way. On top of this, dealing up to 3x more damage than any other blade in its universe.
Anyone feeling particularly healthy could even shoot beams from it, giving a typically melee oriented weapon an added ability. Any wizards or self-proclaimed rulers of an alternate dark world would be impervious to any damage done against them, however, with a Master Sword in hand, all defenses would be null and you could even use the enemies ability’s against them by hitting any dark balls of energy launched at you straight back to the source. Or you could go about straight up turning an evil king into stone with a well-placed blade into the forehead.
Being the go-to weapon for maintaining balance in the universe, this blade is the most sought after weapon in all of Hyrule. In dark times, the entire fate of that world rests not only on Link, but also the blade of the Master Sword.
When you think about it, anything can be made into a deadly and destructive weapon. To inflict damage to your opponent, it doesn’t have to be a traditional long sword or a heavy powered automatic rifle. It can simply be an item of clothing that you wear on your head. The Razor-Rimmed Hat, famously donned by the Shaolin Monk, Kung Lao from the Mortal Kombat series; undoubtedly dresses his hat on his adversaries probably more often than on himself.
Inspired by Oddjob’s hat from the James Bond film Goldfinger, his crafty accessory is thrown with force and precision as a circular saw to attack his opponents. The hat is surprisingly effective and tough enough to cut through human flesh and bones, making it a lethal weapon within Kung Lao’s move set. It’s both piercing and lightning-fas, so much that it almost never draws blood onto itself during a fatal hat-attack.
The Razor-Rimmed Hat is also used in practically all of his fatality manoeuvres throughout the entire Mortal Kombat series. This weapon headwear is so versatile that he either uses it to slice his foes in half, into bits or simply to decapitate them. The co-creator of the series, Ed Boon even commented saying that Kung Lao’s MK9 buzzsaw-on-the-ground fatality is “probably the most painful looking fatality ever made. With that said, not only would I proclaim the Razor Rimmed-Hat as one of the best weapons in video gaming history but also the most devastating of all time!
The Zero Point Energy Field Manipulator (ZPEFM), or better known in popular culture as the Gravity Gun, is the best weapon of any video game for many reasons. Primarily, this is because of its practicality in modern day applications. It can be used for a verity of physics based shenanigans, but, by thinking outside the box, it can also be quite a practical weapon to boot. Powered by a rare and exotic Xen crystal, the gravity gun has two primary functions in its arsenal. The primary fire releases a kinetic energy blast that can punt targeted objects with great force and distance, while the secondary fire has the ability to negate the gravitational field of an object, allowing you to hold it suspended in the air just ahead of the gun’s firing nozzle.
By thinking outside of the box, and by making use of heavy, sharp or blunt objects, the gravity gun becomes a deadly weapon with the ability to crush, impale and lacerate. The Gravity Gun can also be supercharged to change the way it is used into an even deadlier weapon. For example, the Gravity Gun can’t normally pick up organic matter, but this becomes possible if the gun has been supercharged. If punted in this special state, it can cause the organic matter to instantly vaporise.
In conclusion, if you can think outside the box, the gravity gun is hands down a force to be reckoned with. It can cause greats amount of destruction if it’s not used for its intended purpose, but let’s face it, who needs physics when have a Gravity Gun do your hard work for you.
Some game weapons are original, hilarious or hold a sentimental place in my gaming history, but what makes one the “best”? My criteria for choosing came down to one single weapon I’d want in real life; effectiveness and success rate against say zombies or boxing day sale crowds being the most important parameter. The master sword is no good for ranged attacks, the teapot cannon requires two hands and has no stealth mode, plus I’d probably only use the dagger of time for steak emergencies. I’ve gone with the beauty of Berserker Blades from Assassin’s Creed: almost a lazy option that forces your enemies to take each other out thanks to a poison-induced craze, while giving you strategic benefits.
The upgraded version of the blades applies a kamikaze effect, which, while sinister, does tie up loose ends neatly. A stealth ranged weapon keeps the user hidden, and, hopefully, safe from melee issues that often result in inconvenient blood loss. The blades are lightweight, simple to conceal and dispatch, replaceable, and provide escape and cover options for the hero who is not scared, but just doesn’t feel like fighting right now. Some missions in the later AC games were pushing my patience until I realised some berserker blade targets were more worthy than others. For example, a powerful sniper out of reach of the rest of the guards was an immensely invaluable decoy and destroyer of obstacles. I’d target a smaller, weaker guard every now and then though, just so they didn’t start feeling inadequate. This choice was more difficult than I thought it would be, but I want to point out, I am, in fact, non-violent and totally not hiding weapons about my person. Honest.
You can have your gun/sword hybrids, chainsaws, Hanso steel and glowing doo-hickies that cause horrendous amounts of damage and untold agony to their victims, but my personal favourite take a more subtle approach. That is, the sleepy approach. The M9 tranquilliser gun first appeared in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and has appeared in every game since as an alternative to lethal takedowns of both guards and bosses. The first time I completed MSG1, I was surprised to see that the post credits ranking judged me on how many guards I’d killed, which actually counted against me. My juvenile mind hadn’t even considered that killing the guards was actually optional, and that Snake didn’t have to be history’s greatest monster (let’s leave that title to Nathan Drake).
As part of a NGO determined to watch and stop the proliferation of Metal Gears (MSG2) around the world, it makes sense Snake would need a weapon to harmlessly take down hapless guards, especially as the opening Tanker mission is initially about avoiding US Marines instead of terrorists. This, and the ability to use first person aiming opened up a whole new way for Snake (and Raiden, ugh) to sneak around without blood on their hands (or headbands). Targeting a guard’s head or groin knocks them out immediately, while other parts of the body has a delayed reaction. Sleeping enemies could be wakened by other guards, but unlike finding a dead body this doesn’t set off alerts. All the tactical stealth action you want without the guilty conscience.
Snake may never find out if there can be love on the battlefield, but there is always naps on the battlefield.
When I think of my favourite video game weapons, two names come to mind; Ratchet & Clank and Resistance. What do these franchises have in common? They were both created and developed by Insomniac games. Insomniac is responsible for so many awesome guns and gadgets, whether they be hilariously fun, or devastatingly destructive.
On one hand, they’ve got the crazy, imaginative stuff. Take the Groovitron for example; a throwable disco-ball that forces enemies to dance leaving them open to attack. What about a gun that shoots out molten lava, melting any poor space bandits it comes into contact with? Or a Plasma Whip? Or a cannon that sucks up small enemies and fires them back out as ammunition? Maybe a weaponised jack-in-the-box that startles foes is more up your ally? This is without even mentioning the abundance of weapons Ratchet has used to turn enemies into chickens, sheep, dinosaurs all kinds of barnyard/extinct creatures.
Then, on the other hand, you’ve got some cleverly practical weaponry that makes the Resistance series one of my favourite FPS franchises. The Bullseye allows you to tag an enemy, and then redirects any bullets you shoot directly at your tag. The Auger lets you see and shoot enemies through walls. The Magnum is a pistol with remotely detonating bullets, letting you set up traps or just use a successful shot to blow down a group of baddies. Insomniac’s weapon design has become a cornerstone of their studio, and they’ve kept this approach to combat alive in this year’s Sunset Overdrive (let’s not talk about Fuse).
If you’ve recently purchased Super Smash Bros. for 3DS or Wii U, I won’t be surprised if you had no idea who Shulk is, or what that weird red sword he carries is all about. So, just to clarify, Shulk is from an RPG released on the Wii called Xenoblade Chronicles (an outstanding game, by the way), and the sword he carries is called “The Monado.”
Originally wielded by a god called the Bionis during a near-eternal war, this mythical energy-sword called the Monado is a weapon unlike any other. However, despite it’s involvement in a “divine” conflict, the sword itself was constructed, so trying to understand it has been the aspiration of scientists for many years. Without major spoilers, it has ability to manipulate what’s called “ether,” or to make that sound a little more impressive: the building blocks of the universe.
The Monado has the ability to devastate as a weapon, as well as change the material and immaterial shape of the world; easily surpassing the capabilities of other weapons on this list. However, it is much like Thor’s hammer, in as much that not just anyone can use it. Its application greatly depends on the users ability to control it. If you can unlock its secrets, the sword also allows the user to see through time, providing the wielder with ultimate power and the ability to counter those who might try to take it from them. The only thing you have to worry about is it destroying you.
The weapons of Postal 2 carry a unique level of crassness that’s thematic throughout the game, and it’s a childish humor I can get behind; none appeal to me more, however, than that the Cat Silencer. I should be clear that this isn’t because I hate cats, I have three running around my house and it isn’t to sate some dark, brooding beast that rages within. Like with most dark humor, I don’t laugh because what’s happening on screen resonates with my personal beliefs, but rather because it defies them in such a vulgar manner. And it’s happening on screen, not in real life, so no one gets hurt – I can’t make that clear enough, because apparently there are some who still believe that video games = real life. (They don’t, yet, but when they do we should all keep a wary eye on Evil Lincoln.)
The Cat Silencer is the best example of this in the whole game, so let me just give you a description of how it works. You’ll encounter stray cats while running around, which you can pick up and… I assume stuff into your jacket. You can carry up to 20 of them, so perhaps there’s some kind of sack mechanic involved happening off screen. When you’re ready to use one, you pull them out of aforementioned coat/sack variable and ram it arse-first onto the end of your firearm of choice. Voila! You’ve reduced the noise of your weapons to a pitiful meow, with only a minor transgression against nature! I think the best part about this is that the cat stays alive through every shot, long enough for the grand finale – firing the thing off of your weapon as an exploding projectile.
It might not be the most powerful of game weapons, or the best looking, it might not even be the sort of thing that should have been allowed to see the light of day in the first place. But it made me laugh the most and that’s why it’s my favorite… I’m a terrible person.
The Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device (ASHPD) is probably one of the most iconic video game weapons of all time. In fact, everyone who has ever played a video game surely knows about the “Portal Gun.” It is one of the coolest weapons in video games, although I guess I’m kind of stretching the definition of a weapon here. – It is an indirect, non-offensive and non-lethal tool. But that’s what makes it cool.
It needs to be combined with the wielder’s intellect in order to be effective, rather than being a brute force boom stick. It just creates a tunnel through space-time (or whatever) between one hole and another. Things that go into one hole instantly appear out the other. I guess it doesn’t sound that fantastic when you describe it in this way, but the possibilities are endless. The complicated puzzles that were designed to be solved with this capability are testament to the usefulness of such a tool.
Unlike many weapons in video games that are based on real-world (often destructive) tools, the portal gun, sadly, does not exist. And the world is a worse place for it. I think many people have explored the many hypothetical applications of the Portal Gun in their imagination, though.
You could set one up on the wall next to your couch and one next to the fridge in the kitchen to give you easy access to snacks and drinks while you play games. It would make changing the oil in your car a lot easier. Lost your TV remote? Not a problem. Can’t quite reach that itch on your back? Problem solved. Endless uses. This is the best thing since the “Gravity Gun.”
No matter what game it is, no matter what insane, “particle-accelerator-fusion-XXL-mk.III-atom-blade-world-destroyer-9000” piece of destructive firepower I’ve just acquired, it just can’t shake the appeal of the humble 12-gauges of gaming. I’ve long believed that you have a fairly accurate metric on the quality of a game by the quality of its shotgun.
Whether you’ve just downed your first shotgun sergeant in DOOM and acquired that wood-finished, buckshot-blasting bane of the Hellspawn, or you’re scrambling through the chaos of the Black Mesa facility and have narrowly escaped danger through the vents, only to find yourself in some security office, complete with a neatly ensconced row of shotguns and ammunition in the cabinet, there’s something about acquiring your very first shotgun in a game that makes you feel that little bit safer and less afraid of the monsters lurking ahead.
In terms sound, the crustier and more mechanical the pump action’s “cha-chink” sound, the more satisfying the next cartridge of buckshot entering the cranial regions of the demon/zombie/alien/mutant bearing down on you will be. There’s no other ‘boom’ quite like a shotgun boom either. It’s a fearsome blast of alien-guts-splattering-goodness that will strike fear into the hearts of anything with enough blood and brains left inside it to know that their ass is next.
Shotguns are just about always your go-to weapon whenever things get too hot to handle. Whether it’s a room full of baddies that are in need of a good clean-out, or you just feel like redecorating the walls with some zombie brains, you’ll never find a more reliable, harder-wearing or downright satisfying to fire piece of firepower than your time-tested, tried and true 12-gauge.