Updated: Apr 5
Admit it, most ‘core’ gamers like their in-game weapons. I know I do. Shooting terrorists, beheading zombies, blowing up aliens or reducing robots to heaps of perforated scrap are all in a day’s work for the average gamer. It's all good clean fun - and no (INSERT REACTIONARY POLITICIAN) violence in games does not create violence in real life.
That said the bread and butter weapons of most games can become a little repetitive, especially when many games use essentially the same arsenal of weapons. Some games, however, do not use the typical loadout. Instead, they equip both protagonists and NPCs with death dealers that are a little off-the-wall. This is what we will be investigating today.
When I was first thinking of this topic, I was planning it to be called ‘Top 10 most imaginative weapons in games’. However, it soon dawned on me that some franchises have so many weird and wonderful weapons that choosing only one from each would be doing their designer a great disservice. Therefore, I decided to mix things up a little and list the franchises that feature the most imaginative weapons. So, in no particular order, let's dive in.
Halo’s weapons are a curious mix of the fantastic, the mundane and the downright nasty. The weapons of the UNSC are little different from what modern-day militaries use today. Pistols, SMGs, Assault Rifles, Battle Rifles, DMRs, shoulder-launched rockets, Anti-Material Rifles, grenades, etc. So far, so boring.
The weapons of the Covenant are far more interesting. Granted, they have analogues to human weapons such as the Carbine, but they also wield weapons that humanity cannot match. One of the most innovative was the Needler. Do you have terrible aim? No problem, just point the Needler in the general direction of your foe and fire. The homing crystal shards will do the rest. Impale a target with enough of them and they will explode, thus spreading your foe over a wide area.
If you want to get up close and personal, then an Elite’s Energy Sword has you covered. Think ‘lightsaber on steroids’. A lightsabre might cut off a limb, but the Energy Sword can make some enemies explode in a satisfyingly gory fashion.
Halo 2 introduced the Brutes with their brutal weapons which includes a dirty great energized War Hammer. If this isn’t barbaric enough for you then perhaps try the Spiker. It’s a gun. That shoots superheated spikes. Which pin enemies to the wall.
Halo 3 - TMCC - All Weapons, Reloads, Idle Animations and Sounds
Needler at 09:30, Energy Sword at 11:43 and Spiker at 14:12
Video by Hectorlo
Blood is a homage to horror comedies of the 80s such as The Evil Dead. It is fitting then that Caleb - your wisecracking semi-demonic avatar - has a suitably warped set of 1920’s era weapons with which to fight your demonic foes.
Grenades? Nah, those are for wimps. Real men just light the fuse on a bundle of dynamite sticks and chuck them whilst cackling like a mad man.
Pistols? Nope, too boring. Caleb chooses the flare gun, it’s so much better for setting zombies and cultists on fire. Flamethrower? Nah, too bulky, Caleb immolates the undead with aerosol cans and a zippo.
Running low on health? Then brandish a skull on a stick to leech the enemy's life force to top up your own. And if even that isn’t black magic enough for you then how about a Voodoo Doll? Just make sure you have an enemy in view when you stab it with your pin, otherwise, it will hurt you instead.
The Weapons of Blood (1997)
Dynamite at 02:22, Skull at 03:52 and Voodoo doll at 04:30
Video by llIlIllIlllIllIlIllI
3. Clive Barker’s Undying
Clive Barker's Undying is also set in the 1920s and it too features a combination of horror and FPS gameplay. This is where the similarities end. Clive Barker’s Undying trades humour for atmosphere and sheer blood-curdling terror. Patrick Galloway, your protagonist from the emerald isle, has a few tricks up his rolled-up sleeves to help him survive the evil entities summoned by the Covenant clan.
One is the Tibetan War Cannon, a golden dragon head that shoots shards of ice to lacerate and freeze enemies. For reaping the souls of the undead Galloway can wield the Scythe of the Celts - which can separate a soul from an enemies’ body whilst doing likewise with their head.
Patrick is a dab hand at spells too, some of which are weaponised. One standout example being 'Ectoplasm', which involves Galloway throwing poorly aimed globs of goo. Far more effective is 'Skull Storm' which sees our Patrick unleashing his inner Pain Elemental by launching cackling flaming skulls at anything that looks at him funny.
The most innovative ‘weapon’ however, is a spell called ‘invoke’. It affects different enemy types in different ways. Animated skeletons turn to dust, which is handy as it’s the only way to kill them. Using it on the recently slain revives them and forces them to fight for you. Its effects on the living are far more spectacular, however. It forces them to commit suicide! This never gets old.
Clive Barker's Undying - The Spooky Button (NFSC)
Invoke Shenanigans from about 14:20
Video by Civvie 11
4. Armed and Dangerous
Armed and Dangerous is often cited as the game with the most imaginative weapons, and for good reason. Its arsenal is as imaginative and fun to use as it is wacky. One weapon turns your enemy’s world upside down - literally. This causes them to fall down (or fall ‘up’?) to their doom.
#36: Topsy Turvy Bomb (Armed and Dangerous) - IGN's Top 100 Video Game Weapons
Don’t. Look. Down. Or Up.
Video by Top100IGN
But for sheer comedic glee, you can’t beat the Land Shark Gun. It is a gun. That shoots sharks. The sharks then ‘swim’ through the earth. Upon reaching their target they burst out of the ground and gobble up your unlucky foe.
#29: Land Shark Gun (Armed and Dangerous) - IGN's Top 100 Video Game Weapons
Just when you thought it was safe to stay on dry land…
Video by Top100IGN
5. Unreal Tournament
Its iconic line-up of weapons has remained largely unchanged to this day. Why? Because change wasn’t necessary - UT99 got it right first time. UT99’s arsenal has a weapon for every situation, partly due to every weapon possessing a secondary fire mode which grants it extra utility. A gun shop in the world of Unreal would probably sound something like this;