Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Armory of the Daleks

One of a video game's biggest selling points for me are it's weapons. If a game has boring, bland weapons then the rest of the game is also bland for me. However, if a game's weapons are fun to use, bizarre or as you'll soon see, shoot lightning I will play that game, even if it's only to use it's weapons because I think they're so cool.

I remember, back when I first really started to play games, I would load multiplayer without any people to play against and I would just run around the level, collecting weapons and watching them shoot at nothing in particular. For me, a game's weapons aren't a means to an end, they are a goal in themselves. I want the weapons not to kill, at least not exclusively, I want them because they're cool.

I have the same attitude towards money. I want cash not to buy things, but because dollah billz are a luxury in themselves. So, let's take a look at some of my favorite weapons I've encountered over the years.

The Soul Cube from Doom 3

As I look back, most of them games I played were bound by three common themes: fighting Nazis, fighting the occult and shooting lighting. In the case of Doom 3 it was fighting demons on Mars with what appears to be a tiny cube-shaped alien. Mother probably never realized that they were demons on the screen because, honestly speaking, they looked like aliens and the fact that they came from a fiery dimension which may or may not have been a place of eternal punishment was largely incidental to the game. Seriously, they could have just called them aliens and it wouldn't change anything.

I know that plenty of people don't like Doom 3 because of the boring levels and repetitive gameplay. I guess I agree with them, but that doesn't make me think the enemies looked any less cool, all the cybernetics helped form my early interest in biomechanics. But it's the weapons that it stands out for, especially the sounds. For some reason the sounds the guns made really stand out to me. They were all really quiet, even the shotgun was oddly quiet. It made all the guns sound underpowered and cheap. This wasn't a bad thing, just unusual.

While the guns (and the chainsaw) were great, I love the Soul Cube in particular. According to the game, the original inhabitants of Mars collected the souls of all their warriors into the cube as a weapon to fight the demons (aliens?). The player finds the cube and it even talks to them sometimes. I like that, I like the idea of having a little buddy as a weapon. Sometimes when they player is holding it it'll flip around and extend it's little blades to entertain itself. I love that.

The Tesla Gun from Return to Castle Wolfenstein

I never played the first Wolfenstein games, just like I never played the first couple of Doom's so I have little to say about those. Either way, I think this game is largely responsible for my early interest in Nikola Tesla. I'm pretty sure that this gun alone lead me to believe that he spent his whole life fighting Nazi ghosts with lightning guns. I'm sorry to say Mother, but this is yet another game consisting mostly of fighting zombies and Nazi-cyborgs (again, biomechanics, fun stuff!). I just felt so powerful with the Tesla Gun, I think I used it in exclusion of all the other guns. I just love shooting lighting at things.

Also, I have not played the most recent Wolfenstein game, but if I do it's going to be for the Tesla gun and nothing else.

The Painkiller from...Painkiller

I'm sure by now my Mother is silently fuming at the choices of content on here so far, probably thinking I've been keeping a secret Satanic double-life. If it helps, the final boss in Painkiller is Satan.

Let that sink in for a moment, the player kills the Devil.

Anywho, Painkiller had ridiculous weapons. There was a gatling gun that shot grenades, a gun that shot what I assume were telephone polls and another which shot ninja stars and, you guessed it, lightning. The titular painkiller could only be described as a weed-whacker on a stick that also fired laser beams. I was infatuated with it and actually drew a lot of plans for building one in real life, sans-death ray of course.

Again I'd like to point out that the player kills the Devil, please don't be mad at me Mom.

The Piranha from Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge

Crimsons Skies is solely responsible for my infatuation with zeppelins...and now that I think about it, planes that shot lightning. In the game, it's stated that the villain, a certain Doctor Von Essen (who, let's face it, was obviously a Nazi) had stolen the secret plans of none other than Nikola Tesla and used it to make zeppelins and airplanes that shot lightning.

The Piranha was probably the fastest plane in the game, and it's Tesla cannon had the ability to lock up the controls of enemy planes, making them crash into walls or buildings. While I never played multiplayer, I'm told that this is the single most hated plane for it's overpowered Tesla cannon. Overpowered? More like die ubergwehr! Lastly, near the end of the game the player has to fly through a huge cavern, since there's lots of tight spots the player has to fly through it's a good idea to use a nice slow plane with lots of armor.

But of course I didn't do that. I used the fastest least armored plane in the game because it SHOOTS LIGHTNING!

The Scorpions from Wanted!

One of the first games I played that didn't involve Nazis or supernatural monsters, Wanted! wasn't even a game technically. It was in fact a mod for Half-Life where instead of bespectacled scientists the player is a cowboy. It was tons of fun for me since it had working bots, meaning I could play multiplayer without having to deal with scary online people.

Wanted! had a couple capture-the-flag type maps, only instead of a flag each team had to capture the enemy's chicken from their chicken coop. I had a few giggles seeing my character holding the chicken by the neck running away as bandits shot at me. All great fun made even better because in a couple maps the player could pick up a little terracotta pot that gave them scorpions to throw at people. Just imagine that, a stereotypical cowboy throwing scorpions in people's faces so he can steal their chicken. Why didn't that happen on Bonanza!?

The Lightning Miracle from Black and White 2

The logical conclusion to Tesla guns. The Lightning Miracle was a Tesla gun ordained by THE GODS THEMSELVES! I can't even count how many times I've exterminated entire ARMIES of puny mortals with just one Lightning Miracle. I got so good with it as one point that I was able to throw them at enemy cities so that it would bounce off mountains and land right on top of their temple and electrocute each and every last one of their citizens. Sometimes I would cast a Water Miracle beforehand so not only is the ground the enemy troops standing on too muddy to wade through, but the Lightning Miracle does MEGADAMAGE due to extra conductivity.


The VSS from Desert Combat

Desert Combat was a mod for Battlefield 1942 and admittedly, was often times better then the game it was based on. It was so good in fact that EA hired the developers to make Battlefield 2. So if you ever find yourself asking why all the games now are about the War on Terror you know who to blame.

There was a secret weapon on one map that was easy for the Terrorist team to get but very difficult for the 'Mericans. Since I always played as the GIs I didn't notice the crate of guns hidden in the enemy base. Eventually I got good enough that I was able to sneak in and steal one. At first glance it was just a weird looking sniper rifle/machine gun thing. My adolescent brain wasn't impressed with it's woefully small magazine least not until I actually killed someone with it. Suddenly I was a silent assassin, ending people's lives with a totally silent, automatic sniper I had captured from behind enemy lines. I was like an American James Bond, secure in my own sense of invulnerability with die ubergwehr.

I was delighted to find out that the VSS was in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Sadly I never found it, but I did find it's less evil, NATO twin in the form of the Z-M LR 300. A respectable rifle in itself.

The Spore Launcher from Opposing Force

Opposing Force was an expansion pack for Half-Life and one of the games I played simply to find the weapons. In addition to all the weapons from Half-Life it added a bunch of others, including a huge energy gun that shot portals and in singleplayer sent the player to Xen if it had enough ammo. This in itself is enough to make it one of my favorites, but it's out-shined by that nasty slug up there. That is the Spore Launcher which is actually a baby alien that fires globs of exploding green gunk. The player reloads by feeding it more green globs, making the launcher make the most adorable om nom nom face I've seen in a game. Like the Soul Cube, the Spore Launcher isn't just a weapon, it's a friend I carry into battle.

It got awkward though once I realized that the Spore Launcher was the infantile form of one of the tougher enemies in the game. To make sure I never forced the Launcher into accidentally killing it's parents I never used it when fighting that type of enemy.

Now that I think about it, Half-Life had no less than three guns that were also living alien beings. One of which shot bees. Another was a giant roach that attaches itself to the players arm and shoots, you guessed it, LIGHTNING.

The DeLisle Carbine from Medal of Honor: Allied Assault: Spearhead

I recently bought a combo-pack of all the old Medal of Honor games (at discount!) and played through them in just three days. It was a wonderful nostalgia-trip for me and the games are still solid, even in our world of fancy ragdoll physics and inexplicably brown color pallets.

Like the VSS, the Delisle Carbine is a very subtle weapon. It's almost silent and can kill those dirty Nazis in a single shot. The level the player got it in was perfectly suited for it and I once again felt like a super spy. Fun was had by all, except those filthy demon-summoning Nazis.

If I may sidetrack for a moment, another weapon from Medal of Honor that stands out is the Anti-Aircraft gun that shows up from time to time. It makes the most frightening sound when it fires. It takes a while to heat up before it can shoot and the sound it makes when doing this is like some horrible mechanical dragon coming to life before engulfing the battlefield in fire. I actually let it heat up a couple times just to hear the sound, I tried to use it as much as possible in multiplayer. I was killed for it but no one could deny that was the best sound ever. I'm pretty sure they don't do that in real life.

The Gravity Gun from Half-Life 2

Ah yes, the gravity gun. You can call it the Zero-Point Energy Field Manipulator if you really want to. To me, this is the perfect weapon. It is at once a symbol of Human scientific achievement and our unbridled fury in combat. It's not just a weapon but a tool, it can create or destroy in equal capacity. It has beautifully hobbled-together appearance that doesn't betray it's high-tech nature. I remember when Half-Life 2 first came out I couldn't stop myself from thinking of all the ways having a gravity-gun in real life would solve all my problems.

Of course, the understated perfection of this tractor beam makes Doom 3's cheap ripoff all the more glaringly awful. See, everyone was hopping on the gravity gun band-wagon back then, and Id made an expansion pack for Doom that involved some ad-hoc plasma gun thing that could grab the fireballs enemy demons (aliens?) threw at you. It was ridiculous because it could only hold something for a short amount of time and it was so obviously a rip-off it made Backstroke of the West look like fine cinema.

Shame on you Doom 3. You went from cyber-demons and sentient cubes to stealing Half-Life's thunder (lightning?).

Notable weapons that I did not include:

The Portal Gun-mostly because it too is stealing the Gravity Gun's thunder.

The BFG-9000-It's too big for me to take seriously.

The FG-42-Clearly outshined by the Tesla Gun, you're still money though!

Anything from Halo-Because those games suck and their weapons suck.


mom said...

* stare *
***** STARE *******


if I could I would hit you right now. walk away and come back to hit you again

Shadgrimgrvy said...

I killed the Devil, your argument is invalid.

mom said...

I dont like that TYLER

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