Diwali may be a festival of lights and blatant consumerism, but as Priyanka Chopra says, it's mainly about things that go boom. No one does boom better than the crazy people behind video games. That's why there isn't a better way to celebrate the Diwali spirit than to take a look at some of the best examples of things that go boom. Here is an eclectic list of the most badass weapons through the history of gaming.
FGM-148 Javelin (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series)
The FGM-148 Javelin is the only weapon in this list that's rooted in reality, and that stands testimony to its sheer kickassery. What you're looking at here is a man-portable anti-material weapon capable of defeating any kind of armoured vehicle known to mankind. It achieves this with a tandem HEAT round—a warhead so sophisticated that it uses some batshit crazy physics involved with shaped charge design to launch a superheated slug of plasma capable of punching through several inches of armour. Yes, you heard it right—this puppy uses plasma to turn any tank into a weapons-grade pressure cooker. The insides of the armoured vehicle can touch temperatures as high as 4500 degrees Celsius. Ouch!
You say your fancy T-90 has reactive/composite armour. Well, there's a reason why the Javelin warhead is described as a tandem HEAT round. This puppy packs in two explosive charges consisting of a precursor charge meant to blow away any reactive or composite armour, while the main charge does all the killing. In addition to a regular head-on attack, the Javelin is capable of a top down attack as well. In this target engagement mode, it soars over the battlefield and then crashes down right on the top of the armoured vehicle with righteous retribution. Did I mention the fact that tank armour is the lightest at the top? Well, now I did.
How about running, you ask? Don't even try, because the Command Launch Unit's (CLU) sophisticated target acquisition system feeds the missile with all the information it needs to home into it. The CLU's clever onboard computer and accurate thermal imaging system packed into the missile gives it an impressive 95 percent success rate. Being a fire-and-forget platform, you just pull the trigger and relax while the missile seeks out and does the dirty work for you. What's more, its advanced guidance and targeting system makes it good enough to be used against attack helicopters and other slower low-flying aircraft as well.
However, all this killing power doesn't come cheap. At $125,000 for the CLU and $40,000-a-pop per warhead, deploying a FGM-148 Javelin in battle is akin to driving an explosive-laden Porsche into a tank.
Hammer of Dawn (Gears of War)
Forget everything else, the Hammer of Dawn's thoroughly badass name alone is enough to grant an entry into this list. However, on its own it is no more lethal than your TV remote control. In reality, it's more of a laser designator used to paint targets for attack from a real weapon, which in this case is an orbital satellite carrying a bigass death ray capable of destroying anything from a building to a large city. The only drawback to this arrangement, as anyone who's ever used a GPS will agree, is the fact that it's as useful indoors as a lawnmower. Since a significant portion of the game takes place indoors, this is one of the rare weapons that you don't get to use often.
Nevertheless, when you do have to use it, the gameplay segments are always memorable. Very few things compare to the tension of waiting for the orbiting satellites to come in the right position, as you crap your pants playing chicken with a Berserker charging straight at you. It's absolutely terrifying to paint a pissed-off hulking monstrosity for the orbital satellites with the designator, but when the beam of concentrated energy does drop in, it just wipes out everything in its path in a deeply satisfying manner.
The Orb (Blood II: The Chosen)
This weapon may not be original, but conceptually, it is the coolest of the lot. The Orb has been licked straight off one of my favourite childhood horror franchises—Phantasm. Just like the movies, the weapon involves a floating orb that can chase down its victims and latch onto their heads. Once in place, it drills into the cranium with a sickening high-pitched whine of the drill.
This Orb is as sinister as it is gruesome
The killing might of The Orb is best realised by visualising an egg beater. The only difference is that The Orb blends the brain right inside the skull till the cerebral matter flows out from the ears. If it wasn't gruesome enough witnessing it from a distance, the game even let you be The Orb. That way, you could chase down victims through a point-of-view perspective from the killer ball itself. This was the rare enjoyable element in an otherwise boring sequel to a brilliant game.
Zero-Point Energy Field Manipulator (Half Life 2)
Don't remember this weapon? That's because no one really referred to it by its real name apart from Dr Kleiner. Known popularly as the Gravity Gun, it initially is nothing more than a glorified means to nudge away barricades and vehicles, or lift light objects. Its main contribution to the game is its effectiveness in solving Half Life 2's sublime physics puzzles. Additionally, it serves as a nifty means to conserve ammo by launching circular saws and other heavy or sharp objects at enemies.
Not just a weapon, but a means to solve physics puzzles as well
However, it really comes into its own only near the end. An effort to atomise the weapon at the Combine Citadel somehow pumps in enough energy to turn it into a super weapon. In this amped up state, the Gravity Gun can suck in and manipulate Combine grunts like ragdolls and smash them against walls with consummate ease. There's something quite satisfying about picking up entire vehicles and launching them at approaching foes. No wonder it's one of the most iconic and easily recognisable weapons in gaming.
Voodoo Doll (Blood)
Blood was one of the best games to have come out of the Build engine era of the 90s. Like every single one of its contemporaries, it had a unique character and an eerie atmospheric feel to it. In keeping with its dark, occult-inspired theme, Blood's arsenal ranged from something as simple and gruesome as pitchforks to the really arcane ones such as the Voodoo Doll. This little puppy is a rather sinister looking rag doll replete with nice long metal spike to impale it with.
Now, that's what I call going old school!
The idea is simple: point it at the nearest enemy and poke it a few times and you're greeted with a warm spray of blood. Well, you can't really feel the warmth, but the overall atmospheric quality and art direction of the game makes it the next best thing. The fact that sometimes enemies tend to drop down on their knees, begging you not to use the weapon is a great touch. Blood and other Build engine games show that you don't need fancy graphics to make kickass games. All you need is some imagination.
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