Five Great Alternative Video Game Weapons

Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 1:55 pm
Bow and arrow -- regular weapon, regular violence. But some of these other things...

If there's one thing I've learned from playing a lot of Minecraft over the past few days, it's that bashing heads isn't always the best way to deal with your adversaries, even in video games, where bashing heads is almost always a good option. Sometimes the best way to deal with an angry horde of foes is to simply lock your doors, take a nap, and hope they're gone by the time you wake up again.

But even when complete nonviolence isn't an option, weird violence is. Weird violence is like regular violence in that it harms people, but it's like nonviolence in that it warms the human heart. How does it accomplish both of these seemingly diametrically opposed goals? Well, weird violence causes injury in ways that are so goofy or dumb that it's impossible not to smile.

In video games, the available weapons are usually mainstays like firearms or swords. But sometimes a game will give you something different, something a little kooky that still manages to neutralize your enemies. Weird violence ensues! Hilarious!

The following are five indisputably odd ways heroes of video games have destroyed their adversaries.

1.) The Legend of Zelda: a Link to the Past - Magic Powder


There are lots of runners-up in the Zelda canon here. Link can dispatch his enemies in myriad ways, and some of these ways are stranger than others. I think the closest runner-up is the Cane of Somaria, which I for many years thought was called the Cane of Somalia (alas, our ill-fated intervention in Mogadishu in the 90's had little to do with this magic staff). This cane, if waved, produced a bright red block. If you wave the cane again, the block explodes in kind of a dinky little way.

But the winner here has to be the Magic Powder. Link gets this magical little baggie from a witch after he gives her a mushroom for her stew. Now, if Link prefers not to use his conventional weaponry like his bow or his sword, he can sprinkle some enchanted dust on enemies. It can turn some bad guys into slime piles. It can also turn electrical cucumbers into singing electrical cucumbers with glasses.

2.) Earthworm Jim - Head Whip


In Earthworm Jim, you would think weird violence would be the default. But no -- even though Jim is an earthworm in an indestructible mechanical suit battling space-crow bounty hunters and booger men, his all-purpose weapon is a plasma gun. Just a plain old plasma gun. Not a normal weapon per se, but not so far out there.

But wait. Jim's secondary attack is his whip attack, during which his suit's hand reaches up, takes Jim and whips him at the enemy.

This is called, colloquially, the Earthworm Jim "head whip," though this isn't exactly accurate. Though it appears to be Jim's head when he's in the suit, that's actually Jim in his entirety -- he's a worm. What's happening here is that Jim's suit is taking Jim's entire being and whipping it at enemies.

It's enough to make even a calmer person scream, "WHOOOOOOA NELLY!!"

3.) Bioshock - Insect Swarm

Nic Cage's worst nightmare.

Short of having a plasmid called "Rat Flood" or "Spider Bath," Bioshock really couldn't have made a weirder or more unsettling power than the power to unleash furious bees on adversaries. The fact that it appears to also have the side effect of making your arm into a scabby human honeycomb only adds to the grossness / weirdness.

4.) Final Fantasy games - Chocobo Summoning

Which is to say that it smells like half-digested grass, old feathers and avian flu!

Chocobos are, throughout the Final Fantasy series, a race of mountable bird-ponies. They have their own goofy little theme song and serve as comic relief in a way that is difficult to describe. Perhaps simply the entire idea of Chocobos is supposed to be funny -- it's a half-macaw half-dinosaur little dude that you can ride around!  Sometimes there are fat ones, too! Ha ha ha!

But they're not just for riding: heroes with the power to summon beasts to attack for them can summon Chocobos, so essentially having a Chocobo is like having a hilarious flightless bird that you can ride around that can also kick the shit out of your enemies every so often. If that's not weird, I don't know what is.

5.) Earthbound - The Blues

These ghosts aren't fucking hip enough for this.

At one point in Earthbound you have to pass through a ghost-infested tunnel. The city bus is no use -- the ghosts overwhelm it and turn it back. The only way to pass through is... to blast the blues at full-volume and go through the tunnel in the rundown van of five terminally broke musicians.

Go figure, man.

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