Weapon progression is tricky. On one hand, developers want to keep the player interested by creating a series of cool guns and abilities to gain throughout the game. On the other, we’re smart enough to realize they’ve hidden a badass doomsday weapon somewhere in there and we want it right now.
While most games take this approach, some shouted "screw it!" and shoved the best weapon into your hand right at the start. Then told you to kill everything in sight. This is our tribute to seven of those glorious games and their excessively effective implements of death.
Dead Rising 2: Spiked Bat
Above: Bret Maverick could play Magic: The Gathering for a million years and still never get a card this good
It takes some balls to give the players the best weapon right at the start when the whole point of the game is making weapons, but Chuck Greene has more balls than the Dallas Cowboys and more weapons than all their fans put together. While mortal men are rendered weak by extended exposure to shopping malls, he uses them to increase his manliness: he's like a Katamari of Testosterone picking up everything he touches and using it to kill things.
Naturally, some of these weapon combinations are insanely lethal; the Tesla Ball makes Cole McGrath look like a pussy, and the Blitzkrieg is the most genius combination of parts since the original Stephen Hawking. But when you absolutely need to kill everything in the room? Accept no AKs. Or other guns, because they all suck.
Above: He'd do more damage by holding the bullets and punching them in
The Spiked Bat turns Chuck into an anti-MacGuyver, solving problems with violence by building the same thing over and over. The Spiked Bat is the best weapon for every fight except the last two, and only because they have specifically crappy gimmicks to prevent it.
Blue Castle gave us the Spiked Bat right away because the game was more genuinely entertaining than your first Christmas, containing more fun items than every other Christmas, so they didn't have to carefully ration new experiences every twenty minutes. This is a game where you can wield more chainsaws than Ashley J Williams on a lumberjacking trip, and knows you'll still hit at least one zombie with a handbag because it's fun.
Doom II: Chainsaw
At the very start of Doom II you turn around and run away from the hordes of unholy death, and for the exact opposite of the reason sane people would do that: because you're going to kill them even harder. Behind your starting point you find a replacement for the wimpy spiked brass knuckles – a friggin’ chainsaw that chews up bad guys in seconds. To this day, there has never been a game that sentence wouldn't improve.
Above: Look at that pansy demon with its babyish "gun"
It was another example of developer confidence; id knew its game rocked, and if you missed out on the best weapon hidden right at the start, then that was your own hard luck - punch your way through the rest of Hell and learn to pick up petrol-powered evisceration engines next time, asshole.
Just Cause 2: Grappling Hook
Anyone who doesn't think the grappling hook is a weapon hasn't used it to dangle a security guard from a jet fighter and play conkers with a cliff, which is to say, hasn't really used it at all. Employing the grappling hook to merely move Rico from place to place is like employing James Bond to actually do something in secret without anybody watching.
Above: In Ultimate Rock Paper Scissors, Grapple beats Assault Helicopter
The grappling hook reveals more evil in the human soul than The Shining. If humanity produced a drug that made you beat random strangers like they were full of candy, it’d be a terrifying, outlawed substance in seconds. But give players a grappling hook and suddenly security guards turn into squishy pinatas.
Gears of War: Lancer
The Lancer is and will remain the manliest weapon in existence until some invents a monster truck launcher, and then invents monster trucks built out of steak and hand-grenades. It's the only thing in the universe that makes charging at a giant alien with a regular bayonet look wimpy. It’s what happens when developers realize practicality has as much place in videogames as it does in lightsaber design, and then remember someone else owns that copyright so they’d better invent their own iconic weapon.
Above: They succeeded
It's not an assault rifle with a chainsaw - it's a chainsaw that can also hurt things too scared to come closer. The first time you stomp up to a Locust and pull both bumpers: the sheer release of joy, the yelling, the noise and clenching muscles and the endorphin release - losing your Lancer virginity is as intense as losing the other, arguably more important kind.
Above: Useful even in real life!
It's such an effective weapon even the Locust use it, dropping the Hammerburst like the ridiculous non-chainsaw-inclusive piece of garbage it is. Gears of War 3 introduces the Retro Lancer, possibly to teach gamers that retro often means "worse." This waste of predecessor will have a bayonet instead of the chainsaw; never before has something had so prominent a point while utterly missing it.
Also: no, the Hammer of Dawn isn't the best weapon. It's a cutscene you have to trigger manually.