3. Metal Gear Solid
Solid ‘Dave’ Snake is the manliest damn assortment of polygons ever assembled. FACT. If hiding cigarettes in his stomach or beating a minigun-toting shaman in a giant freezer wasn’t enough to convince you, let us tell you a short story about his get together with a Russian military gunship in Metal Gear Solid.
Above: The greatest story ever told
Now first, we should probably put into context just how shitting scary the Hind D our stealthy hero bests is. Early in the adventure, Snake’s evil twin (with disappointing lack of twirly moustache) only goes and uses it to shoot down two bloody F-16s. Y’know, those cuddly little fighter jets, which have been the backbone of the US Air Force for four decades.
Above: Adorable and totally non-threatening, right?
Lets just reiterate that point again. The combination of Liquid and the Hind is so devastating, Snake’s bro manages to swat down aircraft, which have featured in almost every conflict for the US since the Gulf War, so easily, he refers to them as “bothersome flies”. And what does the Solid One proceed to do? He not only avoids hails of its gunfire while rappelling down a tower, he also manages to destroy the ruddy thing with a stinger missile. In the middle of the freezing Alaskan wilderness. At night. During a raging storm. Without suffering a scratch.
He also cracks off a final line after the fight that would make even John McClane doff his skin-tight vest to our 32-bit hero…
Ladies and gents, the definition of badass has just been redefined. Yeah, and US Government? Next time you get into a scuffle with another nation, don’t bother sending out the F-16s. Just give our boy Snake a quick call.
2. Half-Life 2
The kickass copter battle: The Water Hazard Hunter-Chopper fight.
City 17 is full of perils. Headcrabs. Men with gasmasks who’ll beat you within an inch of your life if even a single hair from your manly moustache of science twitches at them the wrong way. Oh, and the deadliest, most relentless flying machine we’ve seen that wasn’t piloted by a stoic Star Wars bounty hunter.
Above: Slave One ain't got anything on this
Seriously, the Hunter-Chopper you encounter, as you flee through the city’s rivers and reservoirs with Gordon Freeman, simply will not stop. Not for fuel. Not for ammo. Not even for special mystery tours of creepy-ass houses hosted by the G-Man.
Thanks to a pulse cannon and the bastard thing’s ability to constantly drop mines in your path, what should be a soothing detour in Goggsy’s airboat becomes a white knuckle thrill ride. Just replace the thrills with impending death. Really, such is the dedication at which it dogs you over miles and miles of terrain; it makes the T-1000 look like a lazy, if homicidal, slacker.
What could have easily been a ball-ache of a setpiece is quickly transformed into one of Half-Life 2’s most memorable sections, purely because of Valve’s watertight pacing. You’re given occasional lulls during the pursuit where you might have to go onto land briefly to flip a switch to open the gates of a dam. Rather than being unwelcome breaks in the action, though, they act as welcome respite and stop the fight from becoming overwhelming.
Above: A relaxing interlude
And the end of the battle? It’s satisfying like popping bubble wrap as Alyx Vance simultaneously gives you a neck massage while sensually whispering inspirational messages in your ear. We suggest taking time out from your ‘busy’ work/school day and watching the climactic scrap below.
Taking out an enemy which has pursued you for the best part of an hour? Now that’s cathartic. Who knew bespectacled men of complicated science were capable of such heroic incidents of badassery. Although considering this particular specs wearer has single-handedly taken out armies of Special Forces, aliens and zombified monstrosities (no doubt while doing a bit of theoretical physics work on the side), perhaps we should be a little less taken aback.
Above: If only all physicists were this adept at handling machine gun turrets, what a world this would be