What are you holding?
Forget about genres, platforms, and everything else. In reality, there are two kinds of games: silly ones, and serious ones. There's The Last of Us, and there's Saints Row: The Third. There's Gone Home, and there's Deadpool. Serious games stay thoughtful while silly games continue to get zanier; for the most part, never the twain shall meet. Except when they do, and it's absolutely hilarious.
Though infrequent, there are times when games play with our expectations well, and make light of their situations by way of slapstick comedy. While working on last week's 100 best weapons of all time, we came across some surprising inclusions. Rubber ducky grenades? Swordfish? And it gets weirder. Here are the strangest, silliest items we've ever wielded in games where strangeness and silliness aren't really the focus.
7. Cardboard tube (Hitman Contracts)
The serious game: A genetically engineered, dead-eyed assassin travels from place to place killing people he's paid to kill. Contracts, in particular, has a grim tone--the entire story is framed with shots of Agent 47 bleeding to death in a hotel room.
The silly weapon: A cardboard tube made of 6mm, ultra dense, hand-forged Musashi cardboard. Unlocked by obtaining a "Silent Assassin" rating on the training stage, the tube is one of the most powerful weapons in the game, and capable of killing enemies in one blow. Not only that, but it sends them flying through the air. Hitman games occasionally dabble in the absurd (47 can sometimes don absolutely preposterous outfits to get close to his target), but a super-powered piece of cardboard is crazy, even for him.
6. Broom (Assassin's Creed 2)
The serious game: A young man named Ezio joins a league of Assassins to fight against the Knights Templar, who are trying to control the world. Near the beginning of the game, Ezio's family is killed in front of his eyes by the Templar (including his 10-year-old brother, and he vows vengeance. It's super dramatic.
The silly weapon: A broom. Like, a regular wooden broom. And while that might not seem silly at first, the actual in-game implementation absolutely is. Ezio can use any number of improvised weapons found on the street, like mallets, shovels, pickaxes, and pitchforks. Usually, they just animate like the weapons they resemble--the pickaxe works like an axe, the mallet like a hammer, etc. But unlike those, the broom really doesn't have an analog in AC2. That means that Ezio just kind of beats people to death with an indestructible broom. It looks absolutely ridiculous.
5. Cluckshot (Gears of War 3)
The serious game: By Gears of War 3, the entire planet of Sera is nearly overrun by mutated creatures. Humanity is on on the brink of extinction, and after a series of last-ditch resorts (including a failed attempt to end the war by intentionally destroying the last human city), things are looking bad for the few people that remain on the planet.
The silly weapon: A grenade launcher that shoots deadly fowl. The Cluckshot is basically a super-powered version of the Boomshot, but instead of firing traditional ammunition it launches clucking, explosive chicken. They flap towards their enemy and cause a nice fireball on impact. That's great, because even during the end-of-days, it's important to take some time to laugh and destroy one of humanity's last remaining food sources. Oh, and if you are able to get an Active Reload, the chicken explodes multiple times when it hits. Talk about kung pao chicken. #jokeoftheyear
4. Swordfish (Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones)
The serious game: Several years after the Sands of Time were unleashed, the Prince is hunted by the Dahaka, a monstrous creature that looks to hunt and kill the titular hero. He slays him in The Warrior Within, but then has his personality split in two, creating a "Dark" Prince.
The silly weapon: Xiphias gladius, AKA a swordfish. And it's not a special, time-warped swordfish either; the Prince didn't like, go back in time and find a pre-historic super swordfish to craft a weapon out of. It's just a regular, run-of-the-mill swordfish, with big gills and an absurdly stupid look on its face. There are other crazy weapons you can unlock in Warrior Within, including a telephone and a chainsaw, but none have the "please kill me" expression that the swordfish has (apologies for the blurry picture, by the way--it's shocking to me that there aren't any absurdly high-res pictures of this fantastic thing out there). The Prince uses it like a sword, which makes some sense, on account of that being its name and all.
3. Quacker (Crackdown 2)
The serious game: In the first Crackdown, players control a super-powered cop sent into a crime-ridden Pacific City to take down the three gangs that control it. Thanks to the funding of The Agency, you're able to summon powerful weapons and vehicles to help you take down the criminals that run rampant in the streets. But by the second game, those criminals have been replaced with mutated freaks. Things are looking bad for Pacific City.
The silly weapon: A rubber ducky grenade. Game developers seem to find immense joy in exploding birds, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that there are two on this list (as well as one non-explosive avian, but we'll get to that in a bit). The Quacker is one of the more powerful weapons in your super-cop's arsenal, and sticks to anything it is thrown at. Once attached, its eyes glow red, it quacks, and then it blows up, destroying whatever it was stuck to. That's one way to ensure you get those tough-to-reach spots behind the ears.
2. Hand Cannon (Dead Space 2)
The serious game: Dead Space is all about immersive horror. Isaac Clarke stumbles onto a massive conspiracy involving monsters, Unitologists (not to be confused with Scientologists), and a weird alien marker. In the sequel, he's thrown even deeper down the rabbit hole, and finds himself face-to-face with giant, absurd creatures as he slowly loses his grip on his humanity.
The silly weapon: A foam finger. Get it? The "Hand Cannon" is unlocked after beating the game on the hardest difficulty, and is likely the strongest weapon in the game. It doesn't need ammunition, can be fired as fast as you can pull the trigger, and absolutely obliterates anything it hits. Oh, and when Isaac fires, he actually says "Pew, pew, pew!" or "Bang, bang!" This is definitely a huge departure from the other weapons, and doesn't fit within the dark, frightening tone of Dead Space one bit. But it sort of works if you imagine that beating the game on Hardcore leads to Isaac finally going full-bore crazy.
1. Ostrich Hammer (Red Faction: Guerilla)
The serious game: Alec Mason joins his brother Dan on Mars, and is informed of a conflict between the Red Faction and the Earth Defense Force. RF is leading a rebellion on the red planet to overthrow the EDF, and though Alec is hesitant to join, his hand is forced when his brother is gunned down by the corrupt EDF.
The silly weapon: An Ostrich. When Guerilla was first revealed, some forum-goers pointed out that the character's signature sledgehammer looked a little... bird-like. Instead of taking offense, developer Volition proved its good sense of humor by embracing the Ostrich Hammer concept as an April Fools joke, before deciding--screw it--let's put it in the game. The result? A floppy-necked Ostrich capable of knocking down buildings, launching enemies into the sky, and causing outright havoc. The horror. The horror.
Put down the weapon!
And that goes without joking about the fish outfit in God of War. Or, rather, Cod of War! Ha. Oh, I wish I could take credit for that, but it's literally what they call it in the game. Darn. You thought I was clever for a moment, didn't you? Uh, well... leave a comment below about some silly game weapons, and we'll pretend this didn't happen.
And if you're looking for more, check out games where mortal enemies become friends for no reason and eight tired boss fight tropes that need to die.