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18 ways to be a bastard in games

Fallout 3

Pick pocketing: bad. Give pocketing: good. With barely two bottle caps to rub together, the Good Samaritan can sneak presents into the pockets of fellow Wastelanders. “Hang on, this feature ain’t called The Ultimate Samaritan!” Thanks, rhetorical reader voice. Of course, we meant to say: the good bastard can sneak frag grenades into the pockets of Wastelanders. Now it doesn’t matter if they don’t have two bottle caps to rub together because they don’t have two fingers to rub them together with.

My, granny, what big trajectory you have!

For years Spider-Man games have had a free critical pass for letting us climb the Empire State Building. “Ooh, so majestic,” we coo as we stare out on the cereal box rendition of the Big Apple. Prototype, Radical’s bastard take on Spider-Man, reclaims the landmark by letting you lob grannies from the top. We don’t know what’s funnier, the arduous climb with a squirming granny in your grip or the almost serene anti-climax as grandma goes from being a clump of struggling beige to a tiny dot on the horizon. Bonus bastard points for using the glide ability to chart her descent up close.

Forza 3
Paint misbehaving.

Paint has a long history of being a bastard.In Forza 3, paint enables people to release their inner Van Gogh. In the wrong hands it releases their inner Van Gogh Away. Take one car, paint something massively inappropriate on it. Anything offensive will do: go mainstream with a bit ofgiant penisaction or think outside the box with a painted declaration that the greenhouse effect is a myth. Take to the online roads and parade you hate-mobile around for all to see. Hitler started out as a painter...

Assassin’s Creed II
Arms for the poor.

Threat of desynchronisation prevents Ezio from going stab happy on the population of Venice. However, there’s nothing in the Animus handbook about getting a guard to do it for you. Find a witless peacekeeper with a hammer and stick him with the poison blade to get his arms a-flailing. Now throw coins at his feet and watch the chaos unfold as the magpie AI forces nearby gentry to lunge for the shiny trinkets – straight into crazy’s hammer time. What they wouldn’t do for florins - it’s like a 15th Century edition of Bum Fights. What a bastardo!

Red Faction Guerrilla

We could have filled our night of bastardry with civilian killing in sandbox games. So unnecessary and yet so compulsive. A bit like Val Kilmer. Guerrilla devs Volition are no strangers to random torture impulses, programming in a brilliant panicking animation should you stick a remote charge to a civ’s head. Arms flapping, they screech around in the dust like a child chased by a bee. Only it’s not a bee. It’s a giant metallic charge clamped to their face. Prolong the fear as long as your bastard gland so desires and push the button.

Complimentary nuts.

Shooting men is a necessary evil in John Woo’s slow-mo-‘em-up; humiliating them while doing so is not. Precision mode – a time slowed aim paired with a bullet camera – was obviously designed for headshots. Snipe from afar and the camera follows the lead from the hard metal barrel to the fleshy face. A slight analogue nudge reassigns the aim for far more fun. There’s no clever wordy way of saying this: watching a bullet whizz into a dude’s junk is funny.

Apr 27, 2010

The backseat gamer's burden
Annoying behaviors that make you want to rip the controls right out of their hands

Explosions, assassinations and headshots. What more do you need to see?