Of sufficient interest to the public or a special audience to warrant press attention or coverage.
Now I know what it means.
Anyway, it’s been a slow week in the halls of the internet, especially things pertaining to playing videogames. Aside from the release of the Fallout: New Vegas Old World Blues DLC reaching escape velocity from Planet Fun, there’s not much going.
I will say this though; recently released I-give-a-crap offerings have been decidedly laser-themed. Mad science is in apparently, and Team Fortress 2 was also recently updated, meaning All-American Patriot and King of the Rib Place, The Soldier, can now proudly tote The Cow Mangler 5000. This fires laser rockets. Pretty.
I guess since we’ve established a theme, so I’m going to continue discussin’ mah lazor in a sort of rambling stream-of-consciousness type way. Think Desolation Row, although I don’t think you’ll end up spending 11 minutes 20 seconds reading this article.
PEW PEW – Laser Beams In Awesome Games
As far as actual lasers go, our world has been tragically lacking, leaving lasers with the menial tasks of pointing things out on chalkboards, annoying pilots and generally causing risk-of-blindness-fuelled mischief.
But in the world of movies and games, laser guns, and more specifically, retrofuturism, (Glorifying 40’s-50’s-60’s era representations of what the world was believed to be like in the distant future.) is more relevant than ever these days.
Who could forget how the titular James Bond regularly had run-ins with these light-based terrors. Whether they were creeping towards his crotch, being fired at him by enemy astronauts (see Moonraker) or being used to guide bullets more accurately into his vital organs, lasers have plagued heroes and villains alike for the best part of the last century.
More recently our videogames are getting that magical touch that only lasers can provide. Fallout 3 and New Vegas aside, other titles have been getting the zap-zap treatment.
Call of Duty: World at War – The Ray Gun
Overpriced DLC, disappointing sequels and angry hormonal preteen community aside, WaW knew its way around a good zapper. The Ray Gun, found in the Nazi Zombies level ‘Nacht Der Untoten’ (inb4 typo) combined being devastating against foes with being genuinely dangerous to use. More often than not, you killed yourself with its splash damage. We didn’t just fear the zombies, we learned to fear, and respect, the Ray Gun. In skilled hands, it could turn the tide of wars.
Metal Slug X – BIG Laser Gun
Some guys are downright dicks. Take General Morden for example, and more specifically his nigh-on endless army of green-clad faceless henchman troopers, vying to take your lives and, more importantly, your change.
Metal Slug in the arcade was a costly affair, since dying was half of the fun. However, consolized iterations, specifically X for the Playstation (not MtlSlg 10 in roman numerals, but the reboot of MtlSlg 2), featured infinite lives and up to 4 player support if you could find that accursed multi-tap.
The crowning moment of X surprisingly also featured Zombies, or more accurately, exploding, wall crawling sewer mutants. These creatures run in packs of maybe about 5-10 at a time, so the BIG Laser Gun (featuring a wide-bore beam for extreme pacification) was essential for clearing out the hordes of foes you encounter in the sewer level.
Although the Big Laser Gun is cool, it pales in comparison to the boss found in the sewer level, a gigantic submarine, armed with guided missiles, energy ball attacks and massive electronic cannons.
TimeSplitters 2 – Plasma Autorifle
Put away your Perfect Dark. There was only one Goldeneye sequel, and it resides on the PS2.
Timesplitters 2 redefined what it was to play multiplayer with 3 mates offline in your living room. With features and extras that predate Gears of War’s Horde, Halo’s Firefight and all or most of the other similar multiplayer formats, Timesplitters 2 was well ahead of its time and fun beyond traditional fun measurement parameters.
Along with guns, guns, guns from every quadrant of history, the game packed a sublime armoury of deadly lasers… but who needs lasers when you’ve got… plasma.
The Plasma Autorifle was the pinnacle of badassery in Timesplitters 2; mostly due to the fact its secondary attack fires plasma grenades similar to those from Halo, although these stick to anything on contact. Walls, ceilings, you name it. You can make traps, attach them to foes, spam them, anything. You get 20 grenades for your trouble too.
Apart from the grenade launching systems, the gun also provides rapid fire energy blasts whenever required. Coupled with a steady aim-for-the-face tactic, it’s like having your cake, and eating it too.
Plus it looks like Half Life 2’s Pulse Rifle a bit.
Metroid Prime 1/2/3 – Power Beam/Arm Cannon
Fire as fast as I can pull the trigger you say? Challenge accepted.
The laser gun found in the arm of space bounty hunter Samus Aran’s power suit is probably responsible for a large percentage of self-inflicted repetitive strain injuries by the gamer generation. The plus side was that if you had the fingers for it, you could basically fire the beam so fast that instead of individual energy bolts you instead got a near constant solid beam of deadly orange energy.
This obviously revolutionized the way we tackled boss fights in Metroid Prime, meaning that the fastest fingers assured victory, while sluggish shooters were robbed of their turn by quickly being eaten by one of the mutated horrors you were required to vaporize before things turned nasty.
The arm cannon’s charge beam also doubled as a hoover, sucking in powerups and health pickups towards the player, meaning hard to reach health was accessible. When released, the results were always satisfying, since the charged shot was likely to destroy most things in its path.
In Super Smash Bros, Samus also excelled due to this weapon, with charged shots capable of knocking an unsuspecting player clean off the stage to an untimely fall.
Eridian Weapons – Borderlands
There are many flavours of Eridian alien weapon in Borderlands, but all of them use awesome blue lasers.
There are equivalents of shotguns, long rifles, grenade launchers, a massive cannon, flame, corrosive and exploding shots, rapid firing, each with an exotic sort of organic appearance about them. But what’s coolest about the Eridian weapons is that they all share the same category for the purposes of levelling the skill.
Usually Borderlands separates each kind of gun into its own category and lets you individually level up in that category by using that class of gun. However, the flexibility of the ‘Eridian weapon’ category allows the player, if they’re willing to search and search harder, to specialise in all the weapons they use at all ranges.
What’s more is the Eridian weapons also do a ton of damage and their shock function causes enemy heads to explode, and on top of that they contain infinite charges, with the only penalty is waiting for the energy cell to recharge…
Meanwhile, at Sony…
It seems that Sony couldn’t quite get away with the whole PSN hacking debacle which happened earlier this year. Basically, the Playstation Network was hacked and data belonging to tens of millions of Sony customers was stolen.
As a result, Sony is now facing a grand total of fifty-five (55) class action lawsuits for their trouble. The class action is the highest, most dangerous lawsuit for a company to receive, the legal equivalent of a nuclear device.
If Sony loses a large proportion of these lawsuits, the damage to the company could be significant, on top of the £105 million the company estimated it lost during the PSN outage and the controversy surrounding it.
After all that Laser beam excitement hows about some Oswald Copperpot action:
And there we were thinking this game could not get any more interesting. BRING ON THE BAT!