Shovel Knight is remarkable in many regards, but he's not alone when it comes to weird weapons. His choice of armament could best be described as "unconventional", but it's by no means the weirdest Xbox has to offer. From unicorn asses to dangerous cleaning implements, the following list is a snapshot of imaginative, unsettling or just plain stupid ways to defend yourself on Xbox.
Wicked Weave - Bayonetta
Bayonetta's hair is part-clothing, part-weapon and part-demonic portal. The macabre forms of hell's most powerful denizens emerge from her scalp to dismember angels and turn into giant, stampy feet. Theres no easy way to explain how weird this is in practice - assuming the way I just described it wasn't weird enough - so let me put it this way: she also uses bazookas powered by the soul of a character from Apocalypse Now, and they didn't even make this list.
Jarate - Team Fortress 2
Thoughtful spiritual types will tell you that true strength comes from within. To be fair to them, that point is somewhat proven by this entry. The Sniper's last unlock in Team Fortress 2 is a mason jar filled with his own urine. Not only does it weaken anyone doused with bladder ichor - no surprise, really - it's also an efficient roleplaying tool for any wanting to recreate the 'outraged music festival attendee' experience.
Art of War Scroll - Dynasty Warriors 8 XL
In a series with loads of playable characters and a wanton disregard for responsible history teaching, there was always going to be a point at which a character just carried around Sun Tzu's famous tactics manual/80s business bombshell and use it to summon ghosts. This is that point.
Gilgamesh - Devil May Cry 4
While an artefact that spontaneously gives Dante gloves, thruster boots and an enchanted Scuba mask doesn't stray too far outside of the Devil May Cry's penchant for weirdness, the fact that practically all of its moves are drawn from Bruce Lee films or Capcom fighting games is a bit odd. He's essentially wearing a website list feature. Perhaps we should sue.
Massive Bomb - Dead Rising 3
On the surface, there are far stranger concoctions in the Dead Rising series, but this has an endearing simplicity. It's a bomb, and it's massive. (The clue is in the name.) So massive, in fact, you can't put it in your inventory; you cart it to its endpoint, lob it, and wipe out an entire city block. And blow all of Nick Ramos's clothes off in the process. My word.
A rock with a face - Rock of Ages
The majority of tower defence games are content to give you a castle that conveniently parps out siege weapons. This unsung XBLA offering swaps all that for a sentient rock plonked to earth by the hand of God, which rolls down hills and tries to destroy priceless works of art. All very Terry Gilliam.
Boganella - Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!
Boganella is a pink shotgun that talks to you in an Australian accent. Well, swears at you. She swears at you for firing her, she swears at you extra-loudly for swapping her out for another gun, and she gets 'excited' when you reload her (which she indicates, as you may have guessed, by swearing at you).
Rock-It Launcher - Fallout 3
Bethesda RPGs are notable for their impressive selection of junk. You're not doing it right unless your inventory is full of candlesticks, tins and stolen forks. They're usually useless, but Fallout 3's Rock-It Launcher gives them meaning. Quickly unencumber yourself by firing those not-so-prized possessions you've stolen out of a vacuum-powered cannon. It's like tidying, but in reverse.
Live Ammo - Oddworld: Strangers Wrath
Bows are ten-a-penny in video games, but the Stranger's Wrath version comes with a twist. This wrist-mounted ballista fires a selection of chittering alien beasts, from body-less chipmunks to spiders that crap out immobilizing webs in (entirely reasonable) surprise at being used as ordnance. Nobody tell PETA.
Landshark - Armed and Dangerous
This long-forgotten third-person shooter was probably the start and end of the action-comedy genre; a sad fact given how brilliant this weapon was. There's little more satisfying than pointing at an enemy and having them bitten in half by a furious, expected shark. It's so good, in fact, that the Saints Row devs stole the idea wholesale. At least it didn't go to waste.
Mr. Toots - Red Faction: Armageddon
Inadvertently the creepiest addition to our list. One of the few redeeming features of this disappointing subterranean sequel game was the ability to equip a cartoon unicorn who farts catastrophic rainbows when you lift his tail. That's weird enough, but the real kicker is the horrified look of pain on Toots's face, in this clearly non-consensual misuse of a magical arse. Now there's a sentence you don't often read.
Hand Cannon - Dead Space 2
You can make this one at home. Just get a standard big foam hand from any good sporting event, then point it at people and childishly shout 'bang bang bang!' or 'pew pew pew!' - your choice. The only thing left is to work out some way of making your targets limbs fall off once you've done so. Or maybe it's best to just play Dead Space 2 instead.
Brooms - Dustforce
Perhaps a spiritual predecessor to Shovel Knight, this XBLA action platformer swaps traditional weapons for something we keep in the shed and try to forget about. No, not elderly relatives: brooms! The broom serves the double purpose of vanquishing enemies and, as you might expect, sweeping up dust (albeit in the style you'd expect from a kung-fu movie about the life-changing magic of tidying).
Johnson - Shadows of the Damned
Johnson is a weapon in more ways than one. He's an irritating, levitating British skull who also turns into a variety of guns. He's also a game-long source of tedious dick jokes. Oh, and just to quadruple down, some of those gun names are dick jokes too, just in case you didn't get it. Did I mention the dick jokes? There are dick jokes. Lots of them.
Crossbow of Impalement - South Park: The Stick of Truth
Context is everything. In most action titles, a crossbow would be a mid-game stealth option - at best, a one-shot kill machine provided you get a headshot. But in an RPG where most weapons are either turds or twigs, the ability to fire high-velocity bolts into peoples' abdomens suddenly becomes a very strange thing indeed, weirder precisely because it's so surprisingly normal.