Weapons are everywhere in video games. They feature heavily in most titles from our Top 100 Games Ever, and come in all shapes and sizes: from the humble pistol to the outrageous, length-of-a-bus, sword. They allow us to inflict wanton violence on our game worlds, or to defend ourselves from terrible evil. As such, we figured it was time to pay tribute to video game weapons by listing our 100 favorites.
Now, a quick note on selection criteria. We judged weapons on how they feel to use, how original they look and function, and how devastating their effect is. Although stuff like nostalgia and legendary reputation is a factor, we went for the weapons we most enjoy using. With that in mind, let's get going. Click through to start your deadly journey.
100. Jarate (Team Fortress 2)
Its a jar of piss. Lets get that out of the way up front. Its a jar of piss, and the primary reason that its on this list is because... its a jar of piss. Existing as a result of the Snipers need to often camp out for days on end, the Jarate--as its officially known--is a thrown projectile weapon which causes decent splash damage (sorry) and debuffs all of its victims, causing them to take mini-crits for every hit during the duration of their soaking. It can also be used to extinguish fires on friendly team members, without any of the ill effects suffered by the opposition. But mainly were using it to kick off the list because its a weaponized jar of piss.
99. RC-XD (COD Black Ops)
Latter-day Call of Duty multiplayer has hosted a number of head-turning, bombastic kill-streak bonuses (looking at you, game-ending nuke from Modern Warfare 2). But sometimes, as they say, good things come in small packages. The RC-XD remote-control car/explosive from Black Ops isnt particularly effective--it is fragile, and its weapon can only be detonated once--but its slight, unassuming form means it can easily go unnoticed by an enemy who is in a hurry. And theres nothing quite as embarrassing as being taken out by a childrens toy.
98. The Pulse Rifle (Alien 3)
The pulse rifle may be a relatively standard weapon compared to some of the other armaments higher up this list (well, and the jar of piss at #100), but its just so satisfying. Especially as you can run towards an alien, emptying a whole magazine as you go--knowing that as it leaps for you, by the time it reaches your face--it will just be a few chunks of alien and a fine mist of acid. Which doesnt hurt sprite Ripley cos shes just that hard. You bitch.
97. A Plastic Bag (Manhunt)
There are many civilized, gentlemanly weapons on this list. The plastic bag is very much the antithesis of this. Manhunts painfully simple, utterly brutal makeshift weapon is hideous to use, and frankly we feel pretty uncomfortable choking virtual enemies to death with it, because the sounds and animations are just so visceral. Still, its a weapon that perfectly encapsulates Manhunts grimy violence, and its a method of killing that seems to stick in everyones minds, so its more than qualified for the Top 100. Please, please, please: do not try this at home.
96. Smart Pistol MK5 (Titanfall)
Or, to give this weapon its full title That-fucking-cheap-piece-of-shit-Autopistol-used-by-Titanfall-players-with-no-real-skill. Well, thats how we refer to it. Anyway, yeah, this over-powered pistol automatically locks on to enemies, and fires off a flurry of shots. 3 locks is enough to kill a pilot, and you can blast away from sniper distance with unerring accuracy. The only downside is that you tend to lose one-on-one firefights with the Autopistol. Feels good to use, and its perfect for those yet to fully master the finer art of Titanfalls free-running / man-shooting combo, but seriously, Respawn, its pretty cheap Combine with the tactical cloak for full on, teeth-gnashing, leg-sweep levels of cheapness.
95. Valentine (Soul Calibur series)
Valentine is the name of Ivys Snakesword--a bladed weapon that splits apart into arrow-like segments, each connected in a chain, until what was first a sword is now a metal, serrated whip. Yowch! Whats more, said whip can pierce the ground, re-emerging from underneath Ivys opponent and ascending straight upwards, with inevitable results. Thats gotta hurt.
94. Chuck's Head (Decap Attack)
Video game puns may never get better than they were in the early '90s--in Decap Attack, you play as "Chuck D. Head," a headless hero who is able to throw skulls at his enemies. That's right, folks, Chuck D. Head chucks heads at his opponents. Oh, and he was made by Dr. Frank N Stein, and he's fighting the armies of Max D. Cap. And while that might sound corny, and silly, it it's actually super corny and silly. It's the silliest damn thing ever, and that's why we absolutely love it, and never grow tired of launching his dumb head at bad guys.
93. The Berserker (Panzer Dragoon Zwei)
Panzer Dragoons trademark attack is a lock-on laser, which is emitted from your dragons mouth. It originates from the glowing light in every mutant Khourieats throat. It is an ominous light, someone once said But enough geeky quoting from this awesome game. Basically, the lock-on laser is amazing, but shooting stuff with your gun charges your berserker (presumably because the dragons getting bored), which fires all of your dragons lasers in one fleeting, yet massively devastating, display of 32-bit pyrotechnics. Berserker!
92. Pipe Bombs (Left 4 Dead 2)
Pipe bombs in Left 4 Dead are pretty scarce, and you can only carry one of them in your limited inventory. But when you do finally decide its time to use one, theres nothing else quite so satisfying in the game. Like car alarms, zombies are attracted to its flashing and beeping, flocking towards it in the their droves until it explodes and about 100 undead bastards get blown up, raining down from the sky in meaty chunks. Ahhhh, pure bliss.
91. Quad-Barrelled Shotgun (Bulletstorm)
Back when Doom 2 introduced the double-barrelled shotgun, a generation of gamers lost their tiny minds. Man, that weapon had a kick. Well, with Bulletstorm making violence an art, it should come as no surprise to anyone that the game features a four-barrelled shotty. Thing is, instead of just being a novelty toy, it's actually loads of fun to use. You can literally blow enemies in half, or pound them into a fine patty with a well-aimed shot from above. There's probably all kinds of Freudian analysis to be done on the guy who invented this magnificent, jumbo-sized, penis-extension, but we're trying to keep things light. This is a family feature, yeah?
90. Gold Melter (Super Stardust HD)
Before Housemarque made the amazing Resogun on PS4, it made Super Stardust HD on PS3. Another brilliant game, this twin-stick shooter offers 3 weapons for your use, each one effective against one type of asteroid that threatens the planet. The gold melter melts gold. Thats fine. But unlike the other, gun-like weapons, this is a stream of energy. And you can literally swirl the stick around and create a barrier of flame around your ship. And at weapon overdrive, that is quite the sight to behold.
89. Hellfire Missiles (Desert Strike)
In Desert Strike, you only get three types of weapon: chaingun (weak), Hydra missiles (medium) and Hellfires (excelsior!). You only get eight Hellfire missiles per ammo crate, so you have to use them wisely. And by wisely, of course we mean use an entire Hellfire missile on one tiny footsoldier'. He explodes. You feel bad. Of course you do. Thats the very definition of overkill. But of course youll do it again with the next one.
88. A spade (Condemned: Criminal Origins)
You could arguably pick any melee weapon from Condemned: Criminal Origins, and itd make this list. Why? While none are particularly iconic (although the mannequin arm has a certain grim charm, and the 2x4 with nails is pretty savage too), they all pack the same meaty heft when you smash them into an enemys face. We chose the spade because the metallic clank, which accompanies the fleshy thud of impact, adds a twisted frisson to the horrific violence. At least, thats how were justifying it. Cut away all the fancy description, and the real reason for the spades inclusion is that its simply loads of fun to use. Clang!
87. The Jetpack (Jetpack Joyride)
Whats better than a jetpack? All the coolest characters in films have jetpacks--guys like James Bond and Boba Fett. How can the jetpack possibly get any cooler? Oh, right, with the addition of a machinegun. Yeah, makes sense. Look, we know Jetpack Joyride is an iOS game--we get that--but you cant deny that its central item is a cool fusion of brute force and cutting-edge tech? Can you? Look, you can touch the screen to boost and fire at the same time Damn it, people, just leave mobile games alone: some of them are alright.
86. Road Signs (Mad World)
Mad World got some bad reviews because it has little depth beyond the bloody violence on display. But for the sake of this list, that creative gore is a bonus! As essential as Jacks wrist mounted chainsaw is to the game, the use of road signs is what most people cite as 'the best bit in the game'. You can impale someone in the face, skewer some poor thug, fling people towards a dart board, or just swing it around in your best impersonation of Donatello from TMNT. There are just so many uses for this humble fusion of steel and concrete.
85. The Glaive (Dark Sector)
If you ever develop a game, know this: letting people control a projectile in slow-motion is always fun. Sure, it's absurdly unrealistic and likely breaks any number of laws of physics, but we weren't thinking about that as we slowly curved Hayden Tenno's Glaive around a corner and into the neck of an unsuspecting enemy. Throwing the discus at foes is incredibly fun, and a pleasant change of pace from your average cover shooters. Being able to line up a few foes for successive decapitations (again, slow-motion, you can't forget the slow-motion) makes an otherwise average game absolutely entrancing.
84. The Electrodriver (Painkiller)
You think shurikens a.k.a. throwing stars are badass when chucked by hand? Then what do you think of a machine gun that flings out dozens of shurikens in a few seconds, including clusters of EXPLODING ninja stars? And what if that same automated ninja-flinger could also blast devastating jolts of electricity? Your new-found sense of wonder at such a weapon is why the Electrodriver in Painkiller is a work of murderous art. Seriously, this thing belongs in a museum next to all the paintings of fruit, and marble busts of Roman Emperors.
83. The Chicago Typewriter (Resident Evil 4)
Resident Evil 4 is recognized as one of the greatest games of all time not just because of its genre innovations and world-class pacing, but also because of its high replayability. Unlockable weapons like the Chicago Typewriter--a Thompson-esque submachine gun with infinite (and insanely powerful) ammo--contribute to that particular hook. The seemingly self-referential Typewriter is particularly awesome because it enables things like this 40-minute speedrun of the game!
82. Edgar's Tools (Final Fantasy VI)
Every member of the Final Fantasy VI cast has their own specialty in battle. And while they all kick ass, Edgar has the best weapon of all: his Tools. Hey, why are you giggling? Stop it. Despite Edgars noble dress and royal background, hes a pretty handy guy, wielding chainsaw, crossbows, drills, and blasts of poison all with the same universal element. Plus, he has a sense of humor about his powerful equipment (again with the giggling--why?), even donning a Friday The 13th style mask when tearing through enemies with a chainsaw. Jealous much, Marcus Fenix? Oh, right, you have a chainsaw gun... Fair play.
81. Dragonbane (Skyrim)
There are plenty of weapons in Skyrim, and indeed the Elder Scrolls series in general. But one distinct weapon came to mind during the discussions that produced this list. Dragonbane. A sword forged for one purpose and one purpose only: slaying dragons. It glows and crackles with purple energy. It decimates dragons energy bars. Its one-handed, allowing you to cast spells with the other hand. It freakin rocks.
80. The Tihar (Metro 2033)
There are a lot of cool weapons in video games, but how many do you really feel attached to? If youve played Metro 2033, the Tihar will be near the top of a very short list. Because while there are machine guns aplenty in video games, there are few guns whose use really feels like operating a machine. The Tihars bodged together, pneumatic firing system is a tactile delight to use. Keep the air cylinder pressurized (via manual pumping) and youll have a beast of a rifle, good for open combat and sniping alike. You can even over-pressurize it for insane-powered shots as long as you keep that cylinder full. But neglect it, and that satisfying Phhutt will diminish to an apologetic hiss, making the Tihar as much a lesson in personal responsibility as a firearm.
79. The Mortar (Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam)
As if the snipers weren't powerful enough with their long-range rifles, picking off players from miles away, Battlefield Bad Company 2: Vietnam gives snipers a way to bomb enemies from across the map. All you have to do is equip the mortar binoculars, point out the spot that you want to go boom, and anyone in that general area is going to have a really bad day. The mortar may be one of the most overpowered weapons in any of the series loadouts but there's still a part of us that wishes it would make a return in the new Battlefield games, if only for the deeply satisfying thudding noise it makes.
78. The Crossbow (BioShock)
There's the age-old story of David versus Goliath, where a mountainous bully was taken down by a single sling and stone. That same principle of small trumping large is what makes Rapture's version of the crossbow so special. Shooting the thick plating on a Big Daddy with any firearm is a surefire way to get a drill through your ribcage. But lining a hallway with the electrified tripwires from half a dozen Trap Bolts can shock a Big Daddy to death almost instantaneously. And those Splicers don't seem so menacingly creepy when a long-distance arrow through the head can put them out of their ADAM-induced misery.
77. Force-A-Nature (Team Fortress 2)
Scouts live for three things: chugging Bonk energy drinks, bashing in heads with an aluminum baseball bat, and jumping. See, jumping's kind of the Scout's thing, what with his ability to leap through the air twice before touching down. But when you give this snide, speedy Bostonian the Force-A-Nature, that's when things really get crazy--because your double jump just became a triple jump. Through ways science dare not explain, this sawed-off, double-barrel shotty can propel the Scout to heights and vantage points previously thought impossible. And few things in life are sweeter than successfully using the FAN's knockback to send an in-your-face Pyro sailing off a cliff.
76. Bombs (Metroid series)
Pretty much every item on this list is great for defending yourself, but Metroids bombs are worth remembering for also being invaluable tools. The explosives kill enemies fine--notably the bombs are needed for bosses like Flaahgra and Amorbis. They can be used to launch Samus ball form into the air to reach new areas. Plus, the bombs are invaluable at opening up new paths throughout the franchises massive maps. Back in the NES days, these beauties taught us that not every weapon needs to be deadly to be awesome. But it does help...
75. The Double Flamethrower (Gunstar Heroes)
Gunstar Heroes weapon system is brilliant. You have two slots, each of which can be filled with a different weapon type. So you could have one flame and one homing, or one rapid fire gun with added flame you get the picture. But you can also have two of the same for a mega-weapon. And thats what the double flamethrower is. Set the game to fixed shot, stand in the centre of the screen and swirl it around until everythings dead. Perfect.
74. The Ballsitic Knife (Call of Duty: Black Ops)
If there is one thing Call of Duty probably learned from that 2004 Punisher movie with Thomas Jane, its that a knife is way cooler when its blade can eject from the handle. It took a while, but Black Ops, finally included the ballistic knife as a secondary weapon in multiplayer. You have to forgo a handgun to bring it into a match, and it has very limited ammo, making it a risky choice... but the difficulty of landing a shot is balanced out by it causing a one-hit-kill. And, of course, the smug satisfaction of doing so is undeniable.
73. The Rossmore 290 Shotgun (Resistance 3)
The Rossmore 290 shotgun is cool. You pick it up fairly early in Resistance 3, and its first used to repel a bunch of Chimeran borders who throw themselves onto your boat as it picks a route along the Mississippi river. It packs a nice punch, and sends foes flying back in a pleasing way. However, upgrading the weapon eventually yields flaming shells. So not only does this shotty kick enemies like a steroid-enhanced mule with Tabasco-sauce on its balls, it also sets them on fire as they arc through the air. So, while the Rossmore isnt the most iconic shotgun, its certainly one of the most satisfying to use. Ever.
72. The Radiant Sword (Radiant Silvergun)
There are 6 face buttons on the Saturn pad. Radiant Silvergun assigns an amazing, unique weapons to each button. But then theres the right trigger, which appears to unleash a tiny energy blade. Hmm... looks a little feeble at first. You can use it to collect the pink bullets, which fills a meter and then its charged. And you then get one attack that fills the screen and destroys everything in its path. Again! Again!
71. Thunderfury (World of Warcraft)
In the early days of World of Warcraft, when it still held some secrets and mystery, and players were still feeling out the world and deciphering its systems, Legendary items like the Thunderfury sword carried a great mystique. A reward for a long and involved questline that required multiple runs through Molten Core, the end-games toughest dungeon, the iconic sword was sought after by many players but acquired by few. Its an unfortunate consequence of the MMO design that the Thunderfury is all but useless in the game now, but its still remembered fondly as one of the best-looking and most prestigious weapons in any game.
70. The Alien Ray Gun (Call of Duty Nazi Zombies)
In COD: World At Wars now-legendary Nazi Zombies mode you can get the Alien Ray Gun from the Mystery Box, a random weapon generator that can dish out anything from a pistol to this mighty piece of extraterrestrial tech. If youre lucky enough to roll the Ray gun, you're basically responsible for keeping your team alive. Not only do the projectiles fired from the Ray Gun cause massive damage to a single zombie (it instakills them), the round also explodes and damages everything in the vicinity. Not too shabby.
69. Plasma Grenades (Halo)
Nailing an enemy with these sticky, cobalt-colored explosives is like shooting a swish in basketball: getting one always feels amazing. That subtle little tik that's heard when this apple-sized orb makes contact is blissful, assuring both predator and prey that an unpreventable death is just moments away. When you're on the receiving end of a Plasma, it's just as thrilling to try and take someone down with you in a blaze of neon-blue glory. Whether you score a long-bomb Plasma Grenade from downtown, or you lightly pat it on the back of an unaware Spartan, it's satisfaction guaranteed. But why doesn't the grenade stick to Master Chief's hand when he tries to throw it? Who cares--just go with it.
68. Pandora's Box (Zombies Ate My Neighbors)
Ah, the old heaven chord of the suspended fourth, to the second and resolving on the third. Thats the wonderful musical fanfare that erupts as you fling open Pandoras Box and let the mystical contents spew forth, swirling around the screen and destroying (or at least causing massive damage to) everything on within striking distance. Well done Zombies At My Neighbors. Well done, indeed.
67. Mr Toots (Red Faction: Armageddon)
Mr Toots (or, the Unicorn gun) is quite possibly the maddest weapon on this list. Following on from Red Faction: Guerrillas Ostrich Hammer--literally an ostrich used as a sledgehammer--Mr Toots is a powerful unicorn that can shoot a deadly ray of rainbow gas out of its ass. We are not making this up. Check out the screenshot from Red Faction: Armageddon. When Mr Toots fires off its deadly beam, it wears a pained expression. As you would. This is easily the most powerful weapon in the game, and the beam cuts through any enemy. Hit a foe directly, and they explode in a shower of rainbows. Hurray! You unlock Mr Toots by finishing the story--a great incentive for sticking with a game thats so painfully average.
66. The Shower head (Dead Rising)
When you first find the shower head in Dead Rising, it seems small and worthless. Its not heavy enough to do any serious damage as a melee weapon, and throwing it is hardly in the same league as a molotov. Or even a custard pie (which almost made this list, incidentally). But then you slam it down on top of a zombies head and blood comes out of the rose for a second or so. A portable, zombie-blood shower. Amazing. Probably wouldn't want to wash in it.
65. The Homerun Bat (Smash Bros. series)
The Smash Bros. series uses so many famous Nintendo weapons to destroy the companys many stars, but when choosing just one Smash item for this list, the Home-run Bat is the obvious choice. The item is both feared and coveted because--when used with a Smash attack--it very often results in an instant KO. Even when thrown, the bat has high enough knockback to devastate anyone in its path of destruction. And unlike some overpowered Smash items, the bat takes some skill to properly topple the competition. If you get beaten by it, you know it isnt because of some lucky item drop or cheap shot.
64. RYNO (Ratchet & Clank series)
While not the most unusual, the RYNO is perhaps Ratch & Clanks most iconic weapon. Its essentially a massive RPG, which fires loads of homing rockets all at once, pretty much wiping out anything unlucky enough to be on screen. The acronym RYNO stands for Rip You a New One, and its a perfect name because this beast can blast a serious hole through anything its pointed at. Its always the most expensive weapon in the R&C games, but is usually worth saving all those bolts for--mainly because it has grown ever more ludicrous as the series has continued.
63. SAW (Halo 4)
A lot of people moan about the SAW. But you know what? They shut up the second they get one of their own. Because yes, the SAW is overpowered. And yes, killing a person with it is as easy as keeping them in your sights for a second or two. But good God, is it fun to feel that furious, buzzing rattle as 4,000 bullets drill through an opponent in no time at all. And in the great scheme of things, its not really cheap at all. Given how well paced Halo 4s multiplayer weapon drops are, the SAW never even threatens to dominate. Its more an infrequent burst of stress relief than anything. See it as cathartic outlet valve. Embrace it, and love it.
62. The Vibroblade (South Park: Stick of Truth)
So, yeah, this is a vibrator. And it isnt the only penis-shaped weapon in this list. Yup, were a bunch of giggling kids, right? Anyway, the Vibroblade is genuinely one of the best weapons youll find in South Park: Stick of Truth, and it makes its phallic-cousin--the Anal Probe--look distinctly under-powered by comparison. It adds +100 shock damage to each of your attacks, which is pretty hefty, and it looks suitably ridiculous and offensive in a game thats, well, meant to be ridiculous and offensive. Where do you find it? Look, if youve already finished South Park, youll know were not going to spoil the surprise here. Combine with the Condom Cap for maximum innuendo value.
61. Super Sheep (Worms series)
First off, killing your enemies with a weaponized sheep is incredible. But this sheep isn't like the other sheep--it's a heroic sheep among sheep. When your Super Sheep springs into action, its destined for a majestic flight that would make Superman proud. Or, more likely, you'll immediately crash into the nearest wall and possibly kill two of your own squadmates. In either case, firing off a Super Sheep briefly turns Worms into a harrowing game of Snake as you desperately try to thread the needle through tight terrain. And did we mention the Aqua Sheep variant that can fly underwater? One thing's for certain: wool's never been deadlier.
60. The Electric Guitar (Fighting Vipers)
Raxel. Raxel Now who could that name be intended to sound like? Jon Bon Jovi, perhaps. Jokes! Of course its Axl Rose. But Raxels rock star persona is just an excuse to let him tawt people with his electric guitar. And the command still comes to mind now. Toward, toward, punch KERRANG! Dont you just love the way guitars in games make lovely, distorted, Marshal Stack kinds of noises even when theyre not even plugged in? KERRANG!
59. The Magnum (Resident Evil series)
There are literally 100s of Magnums in games. Theyre seen as the ultimate pistol, even if the real life equivalents have such incredible kick-back that they become wildly inaccurate in all but the biggest, safest hands. However, the most iconic virtual Magnum can be found in the original Resi. Ammo for this beast is tough to find, so each shot counts but oh my, firing this gun is super-satisfying. A single shot turns a zombie head into a cloud of gore and red mist, stopping the undead bastard in his or her tracks. Makes short work of bosses too, although its best used as a treat weapon for nailing lone enemies.
58. The Rocket Launcher (Powerstone)
In a game where every attack is spectacular, its surprising that such a violent staple should be the most enjoyable. But every time the rocket launcher appears, everybody makes a dash for it, simply because the feeling of power it provides is immense. The 3D translucent explosion effect, when it hits home, is beautiful in an arcadey sort of way, and your hapless opponent gets tossed around like a mere rag doll. Man, we miss Powerstone.
57. Bombs (Bomberman series)
Much like Michael Bay, Bomberman has built his entire career on the power of explosions. Growing the volatile power of your explosives is the main goal in Bomberman, with each power-up making you more dangerous to both your enemies and yourself. This weapon comes in varieties such as ice, gravity, and remote, all to be used with as much planning as the games chaotic pace allows. Of course, the most triumphant feeling comes from using a standard bomb to trap an opponent in a corner and watching the fiery burst turn the games cutesy characters to ash.
56. The Buriza-Do Kyanon (Diablo 2)
The Buriza-Do Kyanon--affectionately called the Burrito Cannon by Diablo 2 fans--isn't the best weapon in the game. Hell, it's not even the best bow you can find; that title goes to the Windforce, which is easily the premier option for any bustling Bowazon looking to improve her DPS. But what the Buriza lacks in raw damage it makes up for in both affordability (Windforce is nearly impossible to attain) and style. Its awesome piercing affect means that a Guided Arrow will basically plunge in and out of an enemy until it is dead. Talk about convenience!
55. Tonfas (Ninja Gaiden 2)
There are so many great weapons in Ninja Gaiden 2, its tough to choose between them. The classic Dragon Sword is a lovely blade, but its no different from most katanas in numerous games. The joy of using it comes from Ryu himself, as he twists and pivots around the environment, slicing enemies into manageable chunks. The Ninja Scythe from NG Sigma 2 is amazing too, especially when you start to swing it in a crowd of enemies. For us, though, its all about the Tonfas. Again, its all about how they feel. Each impact has an incredible heft to it, and chaining hits together--which you can do very, very quickly--just feels insanely satisfying.
54. The Magnet Gun (Red Faction: Armageddon)
Red Faction: Armageddons Magnet Gun is basically the opposite of the Portal Gun. Instead of shooting at two objects and creating a door between them, you're shooting at two objects and forcing them to smash into each other. And in a game with as much destruction as Armageddon, that's exactly as cool as it sounds. Fighting giant monsters by launching them through buildings is immensely satisfying, and being able to send giant hunks of metal into any enemy at high speeds is also one of the best things about the game. Plus, just think about how useful it'd be in real life! Want a drink? Just magnet the fridge door to your hand, and actually, that might end poorly.
53. The Manapult (Saints Row The Third)
Any Grand Theft Auto clone lets you run over pedestrians, but thats only the beginning of the fun with Professor Genki's Super Ballistic Manapult (the official name) in Saints Row: The Third. As your sweet wheels roll over people, they become ammunition for the launcher on the back of your truck; human bullets to shoot at other unsuspecting folks. We appreciate the fun blast of confetti accompanying each shot, as well as the ability to even fire yourself out of the back. Admittedly, the cars a bit too easy to damage, but if thats a design flaw from plastering Genkis toothy grin on the front, so be it.
52. The Drake Sword (Dark Souls)
If you dont find the Drake Sword early in your first playthrough of Dark Souls, you definitely have a difficult time. Compared to the starting weapons (which might as well be toothpicks), the Drake Sword is an overpowered monster slayer that makes all of the average enemies and early bosses a cake walk. But unless you look it up on a wiki, there's no real chance that youll find it on your own. Early in the game, you come across an obnoxious red dragon that perches on a long bridge and spews near instant kill fire breath at you. But if you manage to sprint past the flames and enter a lower section of the bridge you see his tail. Shoot the tail with your bow a few times and you get the sword. That makes sense, right? Hmmm...
51. Fruitdrops (Blitter Boy)
Think indie games like those on PS4 are a new thing? Theyre not. Blitter Boy was developed for the Net Yaroze version of PlayStation 1 by Chris Chadwick. Yep, one man. The game is amazing, and in it, theres a fruit gun (named Fruit Drops). Shoot an enemy with the fruit gun and they stand still for a split second before getting squashed as an oversized piece of fruit lands on their head. Hooray! You can then collect said fruit for bonus score, which presses even more make gamer happy buttons.
50. The Morningstar (Borderlands 2)
Yes, this is the gun that berates you. To begin with, you might wonder who the hell is talking, complaining about wasting ammo and criticizing your gunplay even when youre doing well. Then you realize its your gun. But this snarky sniper is worth sticking with, thanks to a stacking (but short-lived) 20% critical hit bonus with each successive hit. So the first shot is powerful, but the third, fourth and fifth are mega. You twat.
49. The Competition Bow with flame arrows (Tomb Raider)
There's elegance in simplicity. Lara Croft may have a penchant for dual-wielding pistols, but we much prefer it when she does some silent killing, archery style. And what's better than an arrow whistling through the air before cleanly piercing a goon's head like a shish kebab? When said arrow causes that baddie to burst into flames. Lara may not take any joy in killing vicious mercenaries, but we relish every second of extra-crispy burning that our arrows inflict on bandit flesh. Extra points if the flame arrow causes a chain reaction of immolation amidst the ranks of those miserable villains.
48. A Keyblade (Kingdom Hearts)
Who doesnt want a Keyblade? Its a sword shaped like a key, presumably taking the blade half of real keys to its literal conclusion. But it has more uses than that. It unlocks worlds (wow, right?) and can even augment your own abilities if you attach different chain accessories to it. And you thought Keychains were only for Macs. Nope, they turn your Keyblade into themed awesomeness, like the Pumpkinhead from Halloween Town.
47. The Shrink Ray (Duke Nukem 3D)
Not exactly a killer weapon, but Dukes Shrink Ray scores big points for originality and novelty value. If you never played Duke Nukem back when it was, yknow, good... the Shrink Ray is a device used to shrink enemies. Shocker, right? Thats not the cool part. Were getting there. Once they're tiny, you can stomp enemies with Dukes boot, squishing them to small meat-puddles. The tiny crunch makes it all worth while. Its a scream in multiplayer, and one of the most humiliating ways to best an opponent. Fun fact: you can minimise yourself too, by shooting the Shrink Ray at a reflective surface like a mirror.
46. A Lightsaber (every Star Wars game ever)
You're not going to find many weapons on this list that made their initial debut in movies or books, but we felt the need to make an exception in this case. Why? Because it's a lightsaber! Everyone who watches Star Wars wants to wield one, and since you'll never be able to do so in real-life, video games give you your only chance. It doesn't matter if you're tossing it at enemies in The Force Unleashed, deflecting blaster shots with one in The Old Republic, or carving up Stormtroopers in Jedi Outcast--the lightsaber is amazing, and makes for an intensely fun weapon.
45. The BFG 9000 (Doom)
Few weapons are more powerful than the BFG 9000. It's so unbelievably devastating that it's fun to imagine what previous iterations of the BFG were like--the one we first use in Doom is the 9000 model, after all. Were they all massive weapons capable of killing entire rooms of enemies with a giant ball of green light? Did previous versions overheat or something? Or were they just less powerful? We can't imagine they were more dangerous, since the 9000 is so unwieldy at first that you've a better chance of killing yourself than your opponents. Well, whatever they were, we're happy they came and went, because the BFG 9000 is an absolute masterpiece, and gaming is better for its existence.
44. Aquila (DmC: Devil May Cry)
If you skipped the DmC reboot (out of some childish grudge about the character design), then you really missed out on some great melee action. This new version of Dante is a pro with basically any weapon he puts his hands on, and the best of the bunch are his spinning Aquila blades. They have some of the games quickest combos, and also have great ranged abilities, as the spinning blades can cover a room speedily, ensnaring multiple enemies at once. This cyclone of death is a thing of beauty.
43. Gunblade (Final Fantasy VIII)
Here you have one of Final Fantasys greatest gifts to gaming weaponry, the gunblade. Its a dynamic combination of a firearm with a sword but, despite a common misconception, it doesnt actually make ranged attacks. Instead, it shoots ammunition through the blade to create vibrations that enhance damage if used very carefully--crazy we know, but it works well for FFVIIIs Squall Lionheart. His Revolver model of gunblade is certainly the most recognizable, but there are a number of editions out there, with varying effects and ammunitions, spread across multiple Final Fantasy titles.
42. The Flailgun (Bulletstorm)
The main problem with Bulletstorm is that you can only carry a selection of its awesome weapons with you at once. We like to keep the Flailgun handy, mostly because it has the biggest potential for amusing, high-scoring combo attacks. On a basic level, wrapping a bolas of grenades around a helpless enemy is original and quite fun. Kicking that helpless victim into a group of his chums ups the ante. Wrapping your flail around a nearby pillar and decapitating a foe? Also very cool. But you really bring the awesome when over-charging the Flailgun, and shooting out a red-hot discus of death that decapitates a whole room full of bad guys.
41. The AWP Sniper (Counter-Strike GO)
At first blush, the AWP is as standard-issue a sniper rifle as you're going to find. It's long, it's kind of green, it has a scope on it. There's a trigger hidden somewhere in there. It looks like every other gun from every other military shooter. But then you pull the trigger, and it screams. The booming cacophony of the AWP echoes throughout Counter-Strike's maps, like the roar of a tiger in the jungle. Even if you can't see it, you know it's out there, and you know that unless you're careful it will be your end.
40. The Laptop Gun (Perfect Dark)
Swiss Army Gun, anyone? The Carrington Institutes stealth assault weapon is a flagrantly, pointlessly over-designed thing, but therein lies exactly the point. Some things only make sense because they dedicate themselves so wholeheartedly to resolutely not making any sense at all. Its an SMG that can disguise itself as a laptop. Carry it into a boring office meeting, set it down, and suddenly that meeting is no longer boring. But beyond that, it can also be deployed to any surface as a magnetic auto-turret. Its tendency to burn through all of its ammo in seconds when in this mode makes for a tricky tactical balance, but hey, what fun is an unfolding, laptop-shaped, transform-o-gun turret without a bit of challenge?
39. The Flak Cannon (Unreal)
In the future, all shotguns will also double as cannon launchers. The Flak Cannon has taken various forms over the years, but the firepower's always the same: a spray of neon-yellow pellets on the left-click, a mortar-like bomb on the right. And you haven't lived until you've mulched an opponent with the Flak Cannon at point blank range, their body turned to (bloody) Swiss cheese in an instant. Plus, nothing says "Have a nice day!" like the smiley face emblazoned on the cannon itself. Oh, and ssshhh--don't tell PC Gamer that we didn't rank the Flak Cannon as the number one gun, like they did.
38. The Quake Disruptor (WipEout 2097)
What could be better than knowing the instant you press a button, the ground in front of you is going to turn into a tsunami of concrete, tossing your foes into the air like a childs playthings? Well, 37 things are better, but you get the point. The Quake Disruptor is both a technical marvel (appearing as early as PSone/Saturn) and a treat to use. Especially when youre travelling so fast you can follow it for a while as it tears up the track.
37. The Spread Gun (Contra)
Konami code be damned. The only thing any gamer worth their salt needs to finish the notoriously difficult shoot 'em up Contra is a good handle with the Spread gun. Once you get ahold of that "S" power up, you can kill just about anything in the game in a matter of seconds--bosses, armored monsters, and even the Red Falcon's heart doesn't stand a chance. It's hard not to feel like the most badass, shirtless commando ever as you watch every alien in front of you get vaporized by giant red energy balls. But what makes this gun so lethal is its reach. By the time a single blast of spreading red balls reaches the edge of the screen, it has produced a massive cone of death--which you can keep blasting in all directions as fast as your thumbs can press the button.
36. The Golden Gun (GoldenEye)
Why, pray tell, would a gun made of gold be more powerful than a gun made of steel, or whatever non-precious metal most guns are made out of? No idea, but that didn't bother us in our friends' basements in 1997, and it sure as hell isn't going to bother us now. We scrambled to get our hands on the ridiculous looking thing during multiplayer matches of Goldeneye 007. The one-shot-kill pistol wasn't especially fast or sexy, but what it lacked in flashiness it made up for in its power, and the fact that it was a solid gold pistol that killed everything in one shot. Now we know how the other half live. And remember, readers: Oddjob is STILL banned.
35. The Sledgehammer (Red Faction: Guerilla)
In Red Faction Guerilla, there's a gun that disintegrates solid matter--but that's not on this list. Sure, it's cool and all, but it has nothing on the game's Sledgehammer, which is actually just a pretty normal sledgehammer, as far as sledgehammers go. But thanks to the game's fantastic physics, wielding this massive, blunt object is more fulfilling than most virtual rocket launchers. Bashing apart the supports of buildings and watching them crumble is endlessly satisfying, and using it to club enemies (which usually sends them flying in the air--it is a sledgehammer, after all) helps make this humble tool one of the best melee weapons in gaming history.
34. The Master Sword (Zelda series)
Sometimes called the Sword of Time and the Blade of Evils Bane, the Master Sword was dramatically introduced in Link to the Past, and has been the premiere weapon in Legend of Zelda ever since. The enchanted saber has hacked Ganon to shreds across millennia, and was so important that its creation is the focus of Wii entry, Skyward Sword. The Master Swords iconic design is timeless--it looks just as great in 16-bit pixels as it does in HD textures. Its impossible to imagine Link without it.
33. The Combat Cross (Castlevania: Lords of Shadow)
In most Castlevania games, the Belmont family member wields a whip. In CLOS, Gabriel slashes his foes up with the Combat Cross--which is very much like a whip, only more badass. Is a large, Holy cross that extends into a deadly metal chain, that can be used to stake vamps, climb titan-sized enemies, or just slash the undead into giblets. The Combat Cross can also be imbued with red or blue magic, to either devastate enemies or leech their health. Think of it as the Swiss Army Knife of melee weapons. Indeed, if the Swiss Army actually used Combat Crosses in battle, Switzerland would RULE THE GODDAMN PLANET.
32. The Crowbar (Half-Life)
It's literally just a crowbar; a tool used to crack open doors and pry out nails, right? Don't be silly: it's more than that. It's a beacon of humanity, and a symbol for science. Sure, it looks low-tech when Gordon Freeman is bashing the skulls of aliens in the Black Mesa Science Facility, but that's the beauty of it all. In a crumbling, technologically advanced society, the thing that prevents the complete annihilation of the world is a basic, man-made tool--a bent piece of metal, basically. And, you know, it doesn't hurt that said tool is fun to wield and smash enemies with, either.
31. The Hammer of Dawn (Gears of War)
Most of Gears arsenal can be wielded freely by the games hulking brutes, but the Hammer of Dawn is requires access to the sky, so players only equip the item when outside. And once your target is set, look out for the giant blast from the heavens that will kill all in its path, even you. Calling down a giant pillar of burning death from the Hammer of Dawn requires a bit of patience and planning, but its worth the wait, both as a difference maker in online battles, and as an important story element in Gears explosive narrative.
30. The Shotgun (F.E.A.R)
While it doesnt technically do anything that any other FPS shotgun cant, the feel of F.E.A.R.s combat shotty is unlike any other. Theres a sense of focused aggression when you pull the trigger that you just wont find anywhere else. Its like unleashing war through a small metal tube, directing a precisely targeted mini-apocalypse each and every time you fire. Couple that with F.E.A.R.s spectacularly realized, unnervingly real enemy animation, and you have a shotgun with feedback and gun-feel that very few other video game weapons can even rival. Also, you can fire it in slow motion, at which point it cracks out more particle effects than a next-gen launch game. And clouds of blood. You need this gun in your life.
29. The Concrete Donkey (Worms series)
Theres something gloriously silly about utterly annihilating your enemies with a giant, concrete donkey. Its the ultimate show-piece weapon in Worms, more excessive than the Super Sheep, more Monty Python-esque than the Old Woman, and definitely more satisfying than the Airstrike. Acquiring one is a matter of luck, as they appear as drops in weapon crates, but once youve got it that usually means Game Over for your opponents. When it falls from the sky and smashes its way through a large chunk of the map, the Concrete Donkey makes a funny braying noise, which almost drowns out the cries of your dying opponents. Almost.
28. The Blades of Chaos (God of War)
Most of the weapons on this list can be, you know, put down, but that's not the case with the Blades of Chaos. Part of the deal Kratos struck with Ares assured that the massive knives would always be at arms reach thanks to the fact that they're attached to chains and burnt into his flesh. That, alone, is fairly awesome, but what's better is actually using them in battle. The Blades turn Kratos into a whirlwind of violence, and also allow for incredibly fulfilling boss battles. Cutscenes often show him throwing them into enemies chests in order to climb higher on them, and while we'd obviously rather be in control, we're often too busy laughing like maniacs (seriously, call the men in the white coats. Now) to get upset.
27. The Mutator (Resistance 3)
One of the more novelty weapons in Resistance 3, the Mutator doesnt necessarily pack much of a punch. What is does do well, is quickly wipe-out groups of enemies. Firing a single shot into a foe causes them to quickly mutate and explode like a rotten egg in an oven. If any gore from this initial burst lands on anyone else, itll infect them too, and so on. You can potentially clear entire rooms of bad guys (usually in the excellent prison level) with a single shot. So, not the most powerful piece, but its hugely deadly and very entertaining to watch, if used properly.
26. The HF Blade (Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance)
This is Raidens main weapon in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. The HF stands for High Frequency, which basically means that the blade resonates at a pitch that allows it to more easily slice through matter. In other words, you can cut absolutely freaking anything with this sword and itll never blunt or break. As if that wasnt cool enough, Raidens cyborg reflexes allow him to not only slice at speed, but with terrifying precision. To conclude: the HF Blade allows you to slice anything, at any angle, in nano-seconds. Terrifying. Awesome.
25. The Anal Probe (Destroy All Humans)
It saddens us to think of how Destroy All Humans fell from grace, as it increasingly substituted substance for crude jokes and B-movie tropes. The first game is so full of wonderful, interesting ideas. Like the Anal Probe (yeah, ok, the series was never that classy). As a weapon its pretty impractical, but as a source of entertainment its inspired. In a childish kind of way. For those who dont know, a charged shot from the Anal Probe will cause your target to run around; clutching their ass as they soil themselves, uncontrollably. After a few seconds, they collapse on the floor and their head explodes. So, no use as a stealth weapon, and its low, low fire-rate makes it impractical for combat. This gun is played purely for laughs. Childish, childish laughs...
24. Hair (Bayonetta)
Bayonetta has a bad hair day every day. Bad because it kills things, not bad because it looks bad. In fact, it looks great. Not just on her head, but all over her body, acting as Bayonettas clothes until its all required for an especially large attack, at which point it goes to town on the enemy en masse, leaving Bayonetta wearing little except a wink and a smile. It can also turn into a giant dog head. And a stiletto. Basically amazing, then.
23. The Hammer (Donkey Kong)
Do doodle-oo do doo do do do, do doodle-oo do doo do do do! You know what Im talking about. When Mario gets that hammer and the cute, monophonic music kicks in, all is right with the world. The hammer kills anything it touches, making Mario the most powerful being on Earth for a few moments. Its one of gamings most enduring images, helped by the fact the 8-bit graphics could only afford two frames of animation. Up and down. Realism be damned, all you really need is a hammer and the volume cranked up. Do doodle-oo do do do do do
22. The Land Shark Gun (Armed and Dangerous)
So many shooters today lack the sense of humor that made Armed and Dangerous so much stupid fun back in 2003, and its Land Shark Gun has to be one of the funniest firearms in gaming history. Functioning like a homing missile, it sends a shark fin flying underground, which then vanishes near an enemy. A moment later and... CHOMP! That sentry is fish food. The only downside is the fact youd get distracted by watching your enemies getting devoured by a massive shark over and over again. Totally worth it, though.
21. The Plasma Cutter (Dead Space series)
So what if you can get other, supposedly superior weapons in Dead Space? The default Plasma Cutter is absolutely perfect. For starters, its got laser sights so you can see exactly where youre going to hit your foe, but we all know its beauty is the result, not the execution. The clue is in the name. You can use the Plasma Cutter to literally cut enemies into pieces. Land a good shot on a leg and the whole limb comes clean off, leaving the now-mangled creature writhing on the floor. Best of all, its the only way you can kill them, meaning youve literally got to have insane amounts of fun if you want to progress. Poor old you.
20. The Penetrator (Saints Row: The Third)
Oh man, this one isnt going to be easy to write. So in Saints Row theres this large purple item that you, er, beat people with. And its really, um long and floppy? We mean, its a really powerful melee instrument that batters people senseless and its a super durable and--no wait! Its the marquee, typically insane weapon from Saints Row and its also a Jeez, its... Look, its a giant dildo on a stick, ok? And its awesome.
19. The Penetrator (F.E.A.R.)
Effectively a weaponized nailgun, the Penetrator can pin men to walls. By any part of their body. Whats more, its even cooler than it already sounds. You see F.E.A.R.s enemy behaviors and animations are designed to be as realistic as possible, by way of what the developers call stuntman physics. The Penetrator is designed to play into that beautifully. Rattle a few nails into a mans chest and hell stagger back. Fire into his foot and youll knock his leg out from under him. Shoot him in the hand and itll whip back as the force sends him into a pirouette. Do all of that, with precise aim, using F.E.A.R.s slow-mo mode, and youll soon have entire walls decorated with grimly hilarious tableaus of carefully arranged, corpsey wall-art.
18. The TMP (Resident Evil 4)
A basic machine gun? This high in the list? Yes. But for good reason. You see the thing that typifies all of Resident Evil 4s guns--indeed, the reason that almost any of them could be justifiable for high placing in this feature--is that more than the weaponry of almost any other shooter, they just feel right. Weighty, meaty, tactile, rattly and aggressive, theres a physicality about Resi 4s guns thats still really, really tough to beat. And the TMP is an absolute star attraction. If you have any doubts, just attach its stock (for increased accuracy and cool points), go to the castle, and start ripping through the Ganado monks wooden shields with it. There are very few simple satisfactions to match it in all of games.
17. The M490 Blackstorm (Mass Effect 2/3)
A gun that fires miniature black holes? Why thank-you, sir. Disregarding the scientific impossibilities of such a creation, the Blackstorm is one of the most entertaining weapons in Mass Effect. It was introduced in the second game, and refined for the third as combat became more of a focus. While its of limited use against single and mech targets, nothing clears a room full of enemies quite like a pint-sized singularity. Simply fire in the rough direction of your target, then sit back and watch as they claw at the ground, desperately trying to avoid being sucked into cold oblivion.
16. The Farsight XR-20 (Perfect Dark)
Few things are more rewarding than sniping an unprepared, unaware enemy. There they are, minding their own business, when BAM!, you take 'em out in a glorious, confusing shot from God knows where. Perfect Dark's Farsight takes this to the nth level by allowing the alien weapon to not only kill foes in one blast, but to let you see and shoot through walls. Seriously, if the enemies in the Perfect Dark campaign were using this puppy, Joanna wouldn't have come anywhere near Elvis. And though the story of Perfect Dark might not be that memorable, we definitely remember the euphoric joy of mutilating our friends through the walls in the G5 Building.
15. The Double-barreled Shotgun (Doom 2)
All hail the shotgun king. Every blast is like a work of art: the jet black metal, the wooden grain of the forestock, the eye-popping muzzle flash and subtle smoke wisps, the gorgeous animation as you smoothly recover from the force of the kickback to reload two shells into the perfectly rounded cartridge chambers. Even when humanity has advanced far enough to colonize Mars and practice interstellar Satanism, no technology can simulate the rustic killing power of a good old-fashioned double-barreled shotty. Filling an Imp's spiky torso with a flurry of speeding pellets is still one of the FPS genre's greatest joys, and the pKOOM-chikchak sound of firing this shotgun will never, ever get old.
14. The Taser (Syphon Filter)
Youve probably forgotten about the taser, but as soon as you remember it, you will remember how awesome it is. Heres a video to jog your memory. Because not only do you get a cutaway camera angle that shows a close-up of the unfortunate victims convulsion-racked body, you can go too far. Way, way too far. For while you can just incapacitate a guard with the taser by using it for a second or two, theres nothing telling you when to stop. And if you keep using it (motionless and expressionless, arm held out like a spectre), the victim starts to smoke, then catches fire. Which of course you have to do every single time. Oh, and it works at ridiculously long-range with inch-perfect accuracy. Hilarity, thy name is taser.
13. The Gravity Hammer (Halo series)
The Gravity Hammer isnt just a giant space-club. Its the space-club: a weapon with a singular, obnoxiously effective purpose, yet whose pornographic attention to tactile feedback makes it a luxurious experience to both wield and witness. You start the swing. The weighty heft of the overhead arc--of course its a giant overhead swing--starts slow, but picks up speed as momentum kicks in. The hammer crosses the point of no return. It hurtles downward in a glorious, unapologetic curve of Fuck you, eventually meeting the ground like the iceberg met Titanic. Energy explodes. Club and target interact like a rubber wall and a crash-test dummy. A bright red space marine hurtles into the sky like an inverse shooting star. It is all, without reservation, joyous.
12. The Shock Rifle (Unreal series)
Conceived in an era when the content of a multiplayer shooter was built around creatively constructing the very means of killing, rather than simply spotting your quarry before he spots you, the Shock Rifle is a multi-purpose wonder of a thing. Its twin fire modes deliver a classy two-for-one deal, yet come together in delirious, destructive union when combined by an inventive mind. Want a fast, long-range shot? Fine. Want a massive, slow, area-of-effect shot? Youve got one of those too. Get out there and enjoy carving up the battlefield. But whats this? You can shoot the fat shot with the thin shot, and have their blissful union birth a great big juicy exploding shot? Excelsior! Now you can turn the whole damn map into a lethal assault course of your own design.
11. The Morph-o-Ray (Ratchet & Clank)
The Morph-o-Ray is not only an amazing weapon, it also solved the problem of starvation the galaxy over. Shoot it at an enemy and they turn into a chicken. Not a dead, roasted chicken as most video games would cause you to expect, but instead a live, clucking chicken. Comedy value is through the roof. But when combined with the also-legendary Suck Cannon, you can then use these chickens as ammunition to launch at other enemies. Thats just genius. Long live Insomniac! And by that, we mean the Insomniac that created Ratchet and Resistance. Not-so-much Fuse.
10. Dual Wristblades (Assassin's Creed 2 onwards)
When Ubisoft revealed the hidden blade (haha) in the original Assassins Creed, the gaming world was in universal agreement: it was cooler than a Polar bear wearing Raybans, posing next to Samuel L Jackson at a film premiere. Beautifully designed, satisfying to use, utterly deadly. How on earth was Assassins Creed 2 going to top such a stylish, simple man-murdering device? Oh, right, by adding another one
Yup, the hidden-blade was made instantly better with the addition of a second one, half-way through AC2. Suddenly Ezio could perform double-assassinations from ground or air. He could use wristblades in open combat. He was killing machine 2.0. Since that moment, Ubisoft has refined the dual wristblades, but never messed with the satisfying formula--a true testament to the design of the weapon.
09. Proximity Mines (GoldenEye)
The choice of the more refined, civilized GoldenEye player. You see this is no mere bomb. To refer to it as such is to label Chess as Checkers with horses. No, the Proximity Mine is a beautiful, multi-faceted, tactical, playful gem of a thing, concerned as much with the whimsical to-and-fro of gentlemanly mind-games as it is the actual blowing up of adversaries.
In a mines-focused match, few shots will be fired, but the sense of danger--of being invisibly hunted--is immense. And the only way to retaliate is a cerebral, silent counter-hunt. Do you hide mines in the obvious choke-points? If so, do you use them as a primary tactic, or as a means of bluffing the more knowledgeable player towards your real, more idiosyncratic trap? Do you aim for the floor? That little cubby-hole on the wall? The ceiling? Do you even set traps at all, or instead go conspicuous, drawing your opponent towards you before frantically hurling mines at their feet and hoping to escape the fallout? Proximity Mines. A weapon for a more genteel, thoughtful age. Also, in case you were wondering: Oddjob is still banned.
08. The Red Shell (Mario Kart series)
While Lightning bolts, Bullet Bills, and mushrooms are all helpful in a competitive Mario Kart race, its the shells that often make the biggest impact. The Green Shell can be a great defensive tool as well as worth using for a wild shot, and the Blue Shell is a painfully destructive punishment for whoever is in first. But the Red Shell reigns supreme by combining the best qualities of the other carapaces to create Mario Karts greatest weapon.
The Red Shell has the homing abilities of its azure counterpart, but it isnt invincible, so timing the most effective shot takes practice. The red Koopa shells also appear in threes like its green cousin, encircling your kart in a protective field that you can sacrifice to blast enemies with remarkable accuracy. There are few more secure feelings than sitting in first place with a stockpile of Red Shells to keep you safe.
07. The Experimental MIRV (Fallout 3)
Nuclear bombs are abhorrent and terrible and mankind is worse for having created them. That said... we're not going to pretend they don't make for intense video game weapons. The glow of a mushroom cloud is awe-inspiring (when it's a fake mushroom cloud that isn't actually hurting anyone), but these sights are usually reserved for RTSs or pre-rendered cutscenes. Fallout 3's Fat Man not only shoves a nuke into a real-time RPG/shooter, but makes it a handheld weapon that lets you fire nukes at rats.
The Experimental MIRV is a unique version of the Fat Man that delivers not one, but eight nukes at once--all of which do full nuclear damage. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner. Firing the MIRV at a group of enemies provides one of the most impressive scenes in the game, especially if you do so using V.A.T.S. so it plays out in crippling slow motion.
06. The Bullseye (Resistance series)
Theres a wonderful simplicity to the Bullseye. While it isnt the flashiest weapon in the Resistance universe, its one of the most inspired; a design classic. The premise is simple: it can be used as a straight-forward assault rifle, with a satisfyingly high rate of fire. However, the Bullseyes secondary fire allows you to tag enemies with a homing beacon, and send every subsequent shot to that target like a swarm of furious bees.
This truly opens up the potential of the game, allowing you to tag foes, hide behind cover, and brutalise them with bullets. Its such a simple, effective idea, that its amazing other shooters never considered it before. Moreover, its just heaps of fun to use--it makes you feel like a massive badass, even if your aim is worse than a one-eyed alcoholic wearing a blindfold. Along with the Auger, and the Spiked Grenades, this weapon made Resistance the pick of the PS3s launch line-up.
05. The Lancer (Gears of War)
Epic, frankly, does not fuck around when it comes to creating guns. Ever since the early days of Unreal, brash, brainy, brutal firepower has been its trademark. It should have been no surprise that it chose to stamp its mark on the Xbox 360 with a massive chunky assault rifle equipped with an equally massive, meaty chainsaw. Yet it was. So wonderful--shocking, even--was the fearsome sight and sublime conceit of the Lancer that it single-handedly sold the whole concept and vibe of Gears of War immediately.
Either element of the gun would have made it a winner. Its fire is poundingly, viscerally tactile, not in the least overshadowed by the showboating, flesh-devouring bites of its star attraction. But ye Gods, how wonderful it is as a whole package. Taking the traditional shoot/melee dynamic to transcendent new levels, it wraps it all up into one single, neat solution comprising immense risk and reward. Pick off enough enemies from a distance with the Lancers long-range, ballistic authority, charge in through the remaining hail of bullets, and your prize is the most satisfying, physical, flat-out angry melee attack ever conceived in a video game. Its spectacularly cathartic.
04. The Railgun (Quake series)
Truly the most elegant, gentlemanly weapon in all of FPS, Quakes Railgun is less a firearm, more the modern iteration of the medieval jousting lance, with a good deal of the Georgian duelling pistol thrown in for good measure. Its ultra-precise, nigh-instantly lethal, but demands utter precision and mastery in exchange for the revelation of its greatest pleasures.
One shot, one kill. Nigh-immediate delivery of death upon pulling the trigger. A reload time just long enough to ensure that misses are almost certainly fatal against skilled opponents. Its a simple but impeccably well-honed set-up, made even more rewarding by the beautiful pyrotechnic sky-art that a good Railgun battle paints in the air. Get a few decent Quake III players on a wide, open space map, and magic will happen. Glowing, neon, rainbow magic, punctuated with explosions of gore. Theres a reason the Railgun (sometimes augmented with high-flying rocket jumps) has become the de facto way to play Quake over the years. It packs enough depth and satisfaction to make a whole game in itself.
03. The Covenant Energy Sword (Halo series)
Just the sound of the Covenant Energy Sword--that electrical whoosh--can feel either incredible or terrifying (depending on whether youre the sword carrier, or the potential victim). And when you see it looming towards you, across a multiplayer map or illuminating a dank corridor in the single-player story, you know death is imminent. It's Halo's ultimate weapon.
What we love about the Energy Sword, aside from its elegant design, is its balance. Sure, its a one-hit kill weapon from close-range, but getting into lock-range takes true skill. The sword makes you an obvious target, and unwary carriers will die long before they get to strike. Similarly, a well-timed shotgun blast just before contact will earn an erstwhile victim a coveted Bulltrue badge, and brutally reverse the balance of conflict. But when it all comes together, when you slash from target to target, clearing out a whole room of enemies (real human opponents are best), theres no more satisfying melee weapon in all of gaming.
02. The Gravity Gun (Half-Life 2)
Oh blessed Gravity Gun, descended from upon high to show we mortals the error of our limited concept of firepower. How gloriously you changed everything for the better. It wasnt enough that the GG completely overhauled gamings perception and implementation of physics-based gameplay. It wasnt enough that it turned everything into ammunition, from brick, to saw-blade, to toilet, or that it lets you take a car for a walk, crushing all in your path with the tumbling heft of your automotive buddy. It wasnt even enough that that super-charged version lets you pluck men off their feet and hurl them into other men, killing all the men.
No, while the Gravity Gun is the most conceptually radical, smartly implemented, creativity-rewarding, freeform firearm in all of games, they had to go and give it that bloody marvelous, primally satisfying WSHBWAAAUUMM noise whenever you fire it. The epitome of tactile weaponry in every single respect.
01. The Cerebral Bore (Turok 2)
Around the mid-to-late-90s, when FPS took a drastic leap forward with exciting new innovations such as real 3D graphics and the ability to aim up and down, the pleasure of the then-new headshot became king. Sadistically fun and tactically sound, it was clearly apparent that this was the technique that FPS was made for. Or so we thought.
You see then, in 1998, the Nintendo 64s first big FPS hit got a sequel. And Turok 2 showed us that our previous definition of a head-shot actually referred only to the weakling, training-wheels action of pathetic, mewling gun-kittens. The Cerebral Bore is a thing of utter beauty. It locks on. It fires a goddamn drill into its targets skull. Then, just to make sure (because the Cerebral Bore takes its work seriously) it explodes. For sheer, visceral satisfaction points, it trumps every other weapon on this list. In fact, it does this so creatively (even with its apocalyptic power tempered just enough by its medium range and slow, floaty lock-on) that it's a rewarding delight still unbettered in the world of gun-gaming. And there are a lot of gun games out there.
Take a bow
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