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Video games can elicit an almost infinite number of emotions, but none compares to the elation a player feels when they get their hands on the best, brightest or simply most fun weapons a game has to offer. Whether it’s a weapon, a perk, a killstreak or simply an item that makes the rest of the game a whole lot easier, every game has its difference-maker; it’s those difference-makers that have formed the basis of our latest collaborative effort. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride as the Doublejump Staff takes you through the annals of video game history to look through some of our very favourite video game weapons!
For me, the Needler — also known as the Type-33 Guided Munitions Launcher — is a prime example of how well Bungie nailed Halo: Combat Evolved’s weapon balance. Every weapon had strengths and limitations with respective gameplay implications that led to each encounter feeling different from the last. This was a revelation back in 2001, and 343 Industries has ensured that this has remained intact ever since it took over series development duties.
The Needler, in all its purple glory, looks like a discarded NERF prototype but dishes out a satisfying barrage of homing projectiles (the titular “needles”) that can down even a shielded Elite in seconds. Many an encounter was salvaged by this rare sight with Grunts, Elites, and Brutes alike falling victim when the needles puncturing their bodies reached critical mass and exploded in a gory manner. However, despite the Needler’s potential for massive damage, Bungie ensured that the weapon could not be abused throughout each campaign by making the needles ineffective against Jackals holding shields and the formidable Hunters in addition to limiting ammunition supply in each map.
In any Halo game, I am always excited to find and use the Needler: its neon-purple spikes, its chincy firing sound effects, its brutal melee and swift reload animations, its homing ability, and the satisfying crash of its exploding needles are all the reasons why it’s my favourite video game weapon!
(And, yes, I was smiling while writing this!)
Have you ever worked so hard on an assignment that you’ve literally donated blood, sweat and tears during the process, only for your computer to crash during the final paragraph and cause you to lose absolutely all of your progress? That’s about as accurately as I can describe the feeling of being hit by a Mario Kart Blue Shell.
Typical of the entire kart racing genre, the Mario Kart series isn’t founded off of the principle that only the fastest driver will succeed; in fact, driving at supreme speeds can often paint a far larger target on your back than you’d ever desire. While each game in the series had its own assortment of items that were commonly designed to either aid their driver or hinder those around them, none have ever punished the swiftest of racers quite as harshly as the Blue Shell, which has always been designed to target and neutralise the character who holds first place at the time of its launch. A key instrument in invoking a layer of strategy into the series, this shell has continued to prompt players to think hard before racing too quickly ahead of the pack since it was first introduced in Mario Kart 64.
Taking up the mantle of Hero of Time is a pretty big deal, but the title alone bears little meaning next to the weapon that truly defines it; the Blade of Evil’s Bane, or, as it’s more commonly known, the Master Sword. As a series, The Legend of Zelda has introduced fans to a plethora of unique magical and mechanical items, though none have been heralded as icons or instruments of power quite like the Master Sword. For what it’s worth, the blade carries a quiet but epic design, imbued with enough power that’ll make wearing a tight green tunic entirely worth it. Whether you’re out on a quest to save Hyrule, or simply a quest to finish the gardening, the Master Sword seems to be the ideal instrument for any heroic duty, big or small.
Story and lore can grow a game’s appeal exponentially. Some games wonderfully weave stories, while others leave many strings hanging until you start to look closer and begin to knit some of those loose threads together — this is very much the case for Yoshimitsu and his sword. He is one of the most recognisable characters from the Tekken series (and Soul Calibur), mainly because he is always found equipped with his fabled and much-loved blade, simply named Yoshimitsu. This sword is not just a very efficient weapon; it’s also a major plot device for Yoshimitsu’s journey through both these series.
One of the reasons this weapon is much loved by fans is because of the story behind it. The secrets behind the mighty blade wielded by the leader of the Manji Clan is oiled in lore and sharpened with speculation — particularly within Soul Calibur. The blade is the one constant in the variations of Yoshimitsu found in Tekken and Soul Calibur. It’s a cursed blade that feeds on the souls of the wicked and will drive its holder insane if its appetite isn’t satisfied.
The Yoshimitsu blade isn’t just known for its supernatural properties and almost benevolent sentience, it’s also renowned for taking Yoshimitsu’s hand in the Soul Calibur series, causing him to build a prosthetic (as all variations of him must have a prosthetic hand, possibly even two prosthetic hands according to some). It literally glows from the energy contained within it, though it begins to lose its strength prior to Tekken 6, prompting Yoshimitsu to find another blade, the Fumaken, to contain the lust for evil souls that ultimately corrupted his original sword.
Aside from the convoluted story of this sword, the depth it adds to Yoshimitsu in combat is what makes him such a memorable character. With attacks such as the helicopter spin, where the sword is made to behave like the rotors of a helicopter, and the new rage art in Tekken 7, where both swords are used to slice and dice the enemy, these swords provide Yoshimitsu with such an unforgettable palette of attacks that you simply have to adore him.
The Half-Life series did a lot of things right, but nothing more so than introducing the Zero-Point Energy Field Manipulator (or “Gravity Gun”) to the world. Originally used to handle hazardous materials or pick up heavy objects, the Gravity Gun can fire blasts of energy strong enough to eliminate barriers and blockages, but it is mostly used to pick up objects in the world and fling them at enemies, leaving behind outdated concepts like ‘ammunition’ and ‘restraint’. Launching explosive barrels at crowds of soldiers and decapitating aliens with saw blades are both supremely satisfying, and the possibilities for creative kills are endless. The only limit is that the gun can’t pick up organic matter, but even this is changed when the gun is ‘supercharged’ towards the end of Half-Life 2. With the Gravity Gun in hand, you are an unstoppable juggernaut, raining down destruction on all who oppose you.
The Gravity Gun popularised physics-based weaponry in gaming, without which we would not have games like Portal or the Bioshock series, and it changed the course of gaming weaponry forever. Beyond that, the Gravity Gun is just really fun to use. You never have to worry about resource management, it’s insanely powerful, anything can be used as ammunition and most importantly, it looks really, really cool.
Hotline Miami is a fast-paced, violent and bloody game, and no weapon better illustrates this than the katana. It’s by far the fastest melee weapon in the game, and it can easily slice up a roomful of bad guys in a second. In less crowded situations, the katana can knock an enemy out from across the screen, making it an effective long-distance weapon as long as your aim is good (impressive in a game loaded with as many guns as this one). Hotline Miami can definitely be rage-inducing at times, so picking up the katana early on in a level and cutting swathes through crowds of bad guys is cathartic as hell, and I think we can all agree that anything is better when you add a katana to it.
The shotgun holds a special place in the hearts of gamers. It’s the go-to weapon, the gun that is always expected to pack the most power and be the most fun to use, and a sub-par shotty can sometimes significantly diminish a shooter in the eyes of the public.
This high regard is due in large part, to video gaming’s greatest shotguns: the Doom boomsticks. With their ultra-satisfying, bass-heavy click and boom, and the explosions of gore they create when unloading them point-blank into demons’ faces, they are the ultimate expression of id Software’s talent for putting 80s action-flick bombast into the hands of the player.
They’re not just about spectacle, either. There’s a skill to using the shotgun well in Doom, in the careful timing and precision necessary to pop off shots while staying mobile. Once you pick up the rhythm of click-pop-move, click-pop-move, you can become a whirling dervish of hot leaden death who clears entire rooms in a matter of seconds. This feeling, coupled with that thunderous sound design, makes for sheer, bloody gaming heaven.
The star of Platinum Games’ classic action game has an impressive arsenal to her name, but the real headline moments belong to her litany of magic spells channelled through her impossibly long hair that also creates her clothing. The more powerful the spell, the more hair uncoils from her in some impressively destructive displays. It’s so spectacular, you barely notice that these attacks leave her mostly naked. It perfectly illustrates the way that the game portrays Bayonetta’s sex appeal as being as much about her skill and power as it is her looks, and when you see that hair go flying you always know that something cool is about to happen.
Call of Duty fans either loved the killstreak that YouTuber Chris Smoove dubbed the “Ass-Clapper 130”, or they really, really hated it. Save for those teams with a designated “killstreak destroyer”, players on the receiving end of an AC-130 — as well as their controllers and surroundings — were almost invariably in for 45 seconds of pure hell, while the player controlling the “Angel of Death” was in heaven: not only did you kill these poor suckers eleven times in a row (ten if you were using Hardline), but then you get to watch from above as those little ants scrambled for cover, praying that you’d somehow forget to shoot them while they did and then yelling into their headsets when you blew them to kingdom come. It was especially satisfying (and eerily foreshadowing) to unlock the AC-130 if you were aiming for a Tactical Nuke at 25 kills, and even more so if you managed to unlock it on the famous one-on-one battleground known as Rust.
The AC-130 stood out from the pack as the best killstreak in what was quite possibly the best game of one of the best ways to kill a few hours after school; it’s one of the things that made the time spent on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 worth it, and ultimately made Modern Warfare 2 so popular and successful.
A car can be a weapon, right? In this case, yes. Working your way up the blacklist in 2005’s original Need for Speed: Most Wanted was a tedious and gruelling task, a task that was occasionally rewarded with the vehicle of the racer you just beat. If you had the luck of the Irish, you’d strike gold and be awarded Blacklist racer #6, Ming’s car, the stunning Lamborghini Gallardo. The Gallardo was, and still is, a thing of beauty — an all-powerful machine with the perfect blend of style, speed and handling — and was the perfect car to take players all the way to #1 (a quest that became a hell of a lot easier with the Gallardo in your garage). I have some very fond memories of tearing old mate Clarence and his BMW M3 GT-R a new exhaust pipe back in the day, and I can only hope that everyone else could say the same… so long as you weren’t foolish enough to change its phenomenal look!
Multiplayer battles to the death are always fun, but never more so when you’re also fighting for the chance to wield one of gaming’s most powerful weapons. I speak, of course, of one of the most influential first-person shooters of all time: the Nintendo 64’s Goldeneye 007 and the one-hit-kill machine that was the Golden Gun, the second-most powerful weapon in the game (the Gold PP7, available only through cheats, is more powerful, but only due to its seven-round magazine) and the subject of its own multiplayer scenario. Friends and families will turn against one another in the Man with the Golden Gun scenario, fighting tooth and nail to be lucky one to first collect the Golden Gun and start the show; of course, once it is obtained, everyone else on the map is turned against the “Player with the Golden Gun”. As with any great multiplayer game mode, things don’t just stop when the aforementioned lucky bugger is killed — their killer obtains the Golden Gun for their own use, and the fun starts all over again.
All things considered, Goldeneye 007 was one hell of a fun game — the Golden Gun only ever made it more so. Besides, who doesn’t want to shoot everything that moves with a gun made entirely out of gold?
The God of War series is a shining example of how immense rage can fuel someone to take on any challenger, even if they are gods. Forged in the fiery depths of Hades and with their chain seared into Kratos’ flesh, the Blades of Chaos are the primary vehicles of the former Spartan General’s pretty serious anger issues, which he uses to hack and slash at anything that gets in his way — also known as anything at all. The fluidity and cathartic joy of swinging those blades around like a man unhinged was one of God of War’s biggest drawcards, and that’s enough to put them on any list of great weapons.
There’s something almost poetic about the Power Pellets being placed near the corners of the map, as though Namco was looking to teach gamers everywhere that there’s always a way out of trouble. The little arcade legend known as Pac-Man spends the majority of his existence eating little pellets for the energy to run away from four coloured ghosts (known, in North America anyway, as Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde), but the tables immediately turned when gamers around the world found their way to one of the four Power Pellets: the hunters became the hunted, turning blue and running away from their former victim, who is now much quicker than they are and able to devour them and send them back to their little room in the centre of the map. Pac-Man was never the easiest of games to master, but there was nothing quite like the joy of luring all four ghosts near a Power Pellet, only to turn on them and put out a 1,000-point combo — or simply ensuring that your little friend lived to wakka wakka another day.
The way Dark Souls dispenses lore is very reminiscent of Dungeons and Dragons, in that much of it is delivered through item descriptions and information granted by non-player characters throughout the gruelling journey. It is also perfectly reasonable to become friends with some characters that may become your enemy later. To me, all of this is exemplified by the Gravelord Sword: not only does it look insanely metal, deal damage like nobody’s business and inflict the toxic status effect on most enemies, but just getting the thing is an experience in and of itself.
Constructed from the bones of the dead (which just makes sense, really), this awesome looking piece of weaponry is granted to all of Gravelord Nito’s Servants, including the player if they so choose. It may be the weakest of all the curved greatswords, but its move-set — a combination of light slashes and a heavy thrust — more than makes up for it by making the weapon versatile, a good choice for most every area of the game. The weapon itself, however, is not what I love most: that honour goes to to ordeal players must go through just to get their hands on it.
To get the Gravelord Sword the player must traverse the Catacombs until they find a mausoleum with a titanite demon, run around the hostile monster, collect an Eye of Death at the end of the hallway, run back past the demon and climb into an open sarcophagus. After waiting a terrifying 30 seconds in which the demon can attack and kill the player, they are then transported to Lord Nito’s lair where they can enter into a covenant with The First of the Dead to acquire the Gravelord Sword. The Gravelord Sword is not the only gift bestowed by the First of the Dead: the player will also receive the Gravelord Sword Dance miracle, an area of effect ability that sees curved greatswords thrust up from the ground. The player can also improve their covenant with Gravelord Nito by feeding him the Eyes of Death, which Nito will reward by strengthening the miracle.
It always feels better to get your hands on a bad-ass weapon when you’ve gone to hell and back for it; nothing exemplifies this more than the Gravelord Sword.
The Assassin’s Creed games have many problems that have been exhaustively illuminated, but the thing above all else that has kept me coming back is the design. Locations and environments, costumes, weapon models, and prop design all look gorgeous and speak volumes about the people and places within the games. My honourable mention goes to Assassin’s Creed’s hidden blades, which originally required a flesh sacrifice of the ring finger on the left hand to allow the blade to extend from a forearm bracer, a sacrifice that became unnecessary in later titles. Later titles also saw improvements — including the addition of further tools — to the little blade that embodied the Assassin Order, increasing its versatility and making it an utter joy to play around with.
There is no greater feeling in a Role-Playing Game than finally getting your hands on each character’s ultimate weapons and armour. My first experience with this was in Kingdom Hearts II, more specifically collecting all of the synthesis materials to craft Sora’s Ultima Weapon. Considered one of the most powerful weapons in the series, acquiring the Ultima Weapon was an almighty chore that had a fantastic payoff. Destroying Heartless and Nobodies with ease, my fondest memory with the Ultima Weapon was equipping it to defeat the secret boss, Sephiroth at level 78. I’ve since done that without the weapon, and at a lower level, but being young and wide-eyed at the time, grinding to find the right materials and defeating the secret boss made me fall in love with any incarnation of the Ultima Weapon in subsequent Square Enix games.
Considering that Kingdom Hearts III is coming in the next year, I’m teeming with excitement to see what the Ultima Weapon will look like. Hopefully the Ultima Weapon is another material-based object instead of a reward for defeating a secret boss like in Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance. The wonderful and unique design of the keyblade, as well as its immense attacking power, continues to be one of my favourite things about the Kingdom Hearts series and one of the reasons why I continue to return to it after so long.
Arguably one of video game history’s most-recognisable weapons, the Buster Sword was introduced to the world as Cloud Strife’s weapon of choice. Although it wasn’t the most powerful of weapons (which is fair enough, given that it’s the first weapon players will use), the Buster Sword grew to become one of my favourite weapons when I learned more about its backstory through Zack Fair in Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core. Enormous and powerful, yet simply designed, the Buster Sword transcended Final Fantasy VII to become a symbol of the entire series, and it will surely remain one of video games’ most iconic weapons for the years to come.
These collaborations are getting longer and longer by the month, but we do hope that you’ve enjoyed the read nonetheless! As always, the Doublejump Staff are given a finite number of slots and a finite number of words to discuss their favourites, and we’re certain that you’ll be able to think of more great games and great weapons that we missed out on this time. Feel free to join the discussion on Facebook or even our Discord server — both of which are linked below — and let us know what you thought!
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