The Top 7... Power-ups you DON'T want to collect


3) White flashy Molotov thing – Ghouls 'n' Ghosts

Almost every item you collect in Ghouls 'n' Ghosts gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling. New suits of magic armour that have been enchanted with ancient, pyrotechnic magic. New and useful weapons that let you hit otherwise unreachable enemies without risking your modesty by getting to within touching distance. Each one is proper gaming awesome.

And then there's this:

Above: There it is. A blue-flamed torch that must surely be magical in a pyrotchnically amazing kind of way

It's not amazing at all. In all honestly, it's an insult. This is the pixelised equivalent of going into battle with your Johnson in your hand. It's rubbish. Not only does it have a range of about two centimetres (if the wind's blowing favourably), it sounds lame too. Pfffft. A bit like flatulence, only less fun.

Above: It's embarassing. Not that you're in your pants, but that you have to fight the demon hoards with this

Why is it there? Perhaps to point out that everything that glitters is not gold. That you should look before you leap. That you should probably listen to all those other old proverbs grandpa Cundy bestowed upon you. Or maybe just to secretly sing 'ha-ha' every time you greedily snaffle everything you find inside a treasure chest.


2) Mystery potion: Zombies ate my Neighbors

Excellent game, this. Full of tremendously well-researched references to B-movie lore, such as the blobs that can be frozen with fire extinguisher and the ultra-confusing Invasion of the Bodysnatchers level. But amidst the blobs and clones that look just like your character, pick-ups are everywhere. Some of these include tasty-looking power-up potions that either fill your health completely, speed up your movement or turn you into an invincible monster for a while.

All good. But then there's this little glass receptacle. Look at it, sitting there all enigmatically with only a question mark for a face. Come on, little fella, don't be shy...

Above: Ah, mystery potion of mystery, how mysterious are thee? Very mysterious you be

And that's the killer. It looks so innocent - what harm can it do? It can be anything from triggering the aforementioned monster transformation (awesome) or healing you fully (also awesome), through to... turning you into a zombie. Ah. If this happens, you don't get to have control of your character any more, instead being forced to watch yourself go after the very neighbors you're supposed to be saving. And when you're meant to be saving the cheerleaders (which would surely save the world, right Hiro?), that's just not good enough.

Above: Live cheerleaders with pom poms are better than dead cheerleaders with no pom poms. Fact

But let's be honest here. We're human beings. We cannot resist the temptation of mystery item. Like those game shows where you can trade $10,000 dollars for the contents of a mystery box, which almost always turns out to contain a set of toenail clippings. Curiosity didn't kill the cat, it killed its stupid owner. But still we reason, irrationally, that we have to find out just in case it's actually the best surprise the world has ever known.

Must find out! Must find out! Oh, it's made us dead.



  • hardcore_gamer1990 - July 22, 2011 9:51 p.m.

    Heh. I love the evil mushrooms. Especially urging my friends to collect them.
  • Atari2600Forever - July 21, 2011 1:35 p.m.

    Mad props for the Bomberman love! Gotta play it on the Turbografix with 4 other friends (preferably after drinking keg beer all night).
  • papergoon - July 20, 2011 12:46 p.m.

    I've lived to see the day I picked up an EMP from a carepackage. Hijacked. Best MW2 moment.
  • 510BrotherPanda - July 20, 2011 4:02 a.m.

    I heard that in the NES version of the Lost Levels, the Poison Mushroom was A LOT more similar in coloration to the regular Super Mushroom. They changed it to purple + a skull in the SNES version to be a little "nicer".
  • snothammer - July 20, 2011 2:05 a.m.

    I personally like picking up the viruses in Bomberman. They're a fun gamble, because some of them are (arguably) good. My personal favorite is the flame trail in Bomberman 64. If you pick one of those up, you can kill all the other players with one swift movement. I think the main thing I didn't like about them is how some of them have no effect on computer players. For example, if the COM picks up a control reversal virus, it is totally unaffected. Damn AI programming.
  • IceBlueKirby - July 19, 2011 6:29 p.m.

    I always wondered about the bubble gun in EWJ2. I thought it MUST have some purpose, but now I finally know that, no, it didn't. It was there to piss you off. I hate the lightning cloud more than anything though, because unlike most of these other powerups you can't just avoid getting it. The game just gives it to you, and then laughs at your futile efforts to give it to someone else. Even the AI is smart enough to just bump back into you the second you pass it off, giving the game even more chances to laugh in amusement of your impending shrinkage. And then once you're shrunk someone runs you over. Splendid.
  • philipshaw - July 19, 2011 1:42 p.m.

    Great top 7 and number 1 is spot on
  • nokeisoka - July 19, 2011 9:06 a.m.

    The skulls in bomberman 64 specifically the flame one is pretty fun combine it with the heart and you can go around killing ghost and players with increased run speed and instant contact death while picking up your heart everytime you die.
  • jmcgrotty - July 19, 2011 8:03 a.m.

    Without bothering to give examples, the whole Mario franchise is flooded with pathetic and downright bad power-ups.
  • theoatmealguy - July 19, 2011 7:55 a.m.

    The molotov was a crappy weapon at first, but once the green armor is picked up, the flame gets much higher, and travels farther. Great for destroying ground based enemies.
  • Yeager1122 - July 19, 2011 4:53 a.m.

    The clouds alright as long as you pass it along otherwise yes it does suck.
  • Stabby_Joe - July 18, 2011 10:19 p.m.

    Finally! Some just had to call out that dam lightning cloud. In my experience it's sort of rare... and let it stay that way or nothing at all. Another pick up, while not a real example for this list is old school shooters where you have a weapon to suit your current needs then you land on another that is, let's say only good for bosses.
  • Mumb00 - July 18, 2011 9:27 p.m.

    The first thing I thought of when I saw the article's title was the invisibility potion from Wizards & Warriors on NES. I suppose the Bomberman skull is the same thing when it triggers the invisibility effect, but it made your character invisible only to you! All the enemies could home in on you just as easily as any other time, and that stupid shimmer effect did not make it easy to be jumping the various narrow ledges trying to run away from the buggering things!
  • humpiedumpie - July 18, 2011 7:24 p.m.

    That is some verry funny writing there haha :) great article
  • jackthemenace - July 18, 2011 7:09 p.m.

    I've only ever gotten, like, 1 care package. So Cundy's better than me./ Oh, and I WANT THAT T-SHIRT
  • EwoksTasteLikeChicken - July 18, 2011 7:02 p.m.

    What the hell is wrong with the care package? If you are bad at the game, you usually get choppers or airstrikes. If you're good, that's when you tend to get uav's and ammo. If you don't like it, don't put it as one of your killstreaks. It's as simple as that.
  • rxb - July 18, 2011 6:11 p.m.

    The bombmerman skull is terrible but has resulted in some of my most hilarious memorable moments ever. The care package is a godsend for poor COD players, I stll remember the first time i got crushed by one, happy days......
  • Ampatent - July 18, 2011 6:10 p.m.

    Two things. The propensity of UAVs in care packages is a good thing because any FPS veteran will tell you that a UAV can change a match completely. Second, I imagine most of us would have figured out faster that the purple mushrooms were bad if the skull on them was actually distinguishable. Clever idea though.
  • Darkhawk - July 18, 2011 6:09 p.m.

    The Molotov was only ever good for one level in the entire "Ghosts" series. But man did it ever make that level easier. Ghouls 'n Ghosts, Genesis. Stage 4 boss. The boss in this level is this shelled maggot thing, which Arthur is actually standing on top of. Its weak points are on its body, and certain ones can only be damaged by standing directly above, jumping, and then shooting straight down. This is extremely tricky to do because not only are there smaller maggots crawling towards you, there are also flying worms above your head, making it impossible to jump half the time anyway. HOWEVER! The Molotov, being the only weapon that arcs downwards, makes it a lot easier. You can just crouch and lob fireballs down on to the weak points, and finish it off quickly and painlessly. Here's the boss in action. Unfortunately, this guy is using the spear so you'll see how much trouble he has:
  • batmanboy11 - July 18, 2011 5:44 p.m.

    Yeah, this is about right

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