Here I am, early in a blogging week with nothing planned and feeling a touch of inspiration drought. So why not return to that well of a near mindless list. I wrote one of these a while back when I was struggling to come up with ideas for the blog. The time I blame it on spending the past few days in the pub, playing Destiny or getting back into Pokemon Shield.
Thus I find myself plucking three more weapons from my big list of video game weapons and talk about them for a while. I apologise profusely.
Leviathan Axe – God of War
In the previous entry in this series, I talked about the different relationships players have with weapons in different types of video game. How, sometimes a weapon can be a fleeting tool, used until something better comes along, or when it’s expended its ammunition. In others, the relationship with the weapon becomes intimate. 2018’s God of War has two such weapons of that later example.
The Leviathan Axe from this Nordic set character action game is made to be a Thor power fantasy. I know Thor is actually already a character in this game, but based on the combat in God of War and how the axe behaves, I have no doubt that the designers were using the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s iteration of Thor and how he uses Mjölnir in those movies.
And it works. Hucking that axe into enemies and then have it return to Kratos’s outstretched hand never fails to feel cool and satisfying throughout the entire game. You get the blades of chaos in the later parts of the game, but they never feel as controlled or as natural as combat with the axe does. It’s a great weapon in a better game.
Remote Mines – Goldeneye
I have one, dominant memory of playing Goldeneye back on the Nintendo 64. That was playing split screen multiplayer with my brother and my cousin. Because I sure as hell never played the story campaign, and if I did then I don’t remember doing it.
All I do remember was loading the facility map, hanging around in that toilet and playing with the game’s remote mines. I talk about different player relationships with weapons on this list, the relationship with the remote mine was something more akin to a toy, like a chemistry set or something.
It was something we loved to experiment with, see how far we could push the programming of the game and how much it would let us get away with. Given, we weren’t aware we were doing with, we were just playing about. Stacking mines on top of one another, seeing how much of the interior of a wall we could cover and how big of an explosion we could end up causing.
It’s one of those bizarre fascinations with something pretty mundane you get as a kid, and yet my prevailing memory of that entire game was that muffled explosion sound going off up those stairs in that public bathroom.
Bomb Gauntlets – Silent Bomber
Silent Bomber is my favourite Playstation game that nobody ever seems to talk about. An extremely arcadey action game published by Bandai and developed by CyberConnect in 2000. A character action game, the entire combat is based around planting remote bombs, which you can stack for a larger explosion and then detonating them once you’re safely out of range. You can also launch them and stack them onto enemies themselves.
It’s a super fast paces, chaotic style of gameplay that holds up fantastically well. The story itself is a very particular brand of 90s anime cheese, something there would have been a ton of AMVs for had it actually been an anime. But the regular bombs, as well as the different special bomb types that took ammo made Silent Bomber into the next generation Bomberman game that Hudson always wanted.
There isn’t much more to say about the Bomb Gauntlets other than they’re pretty much the core of the game, they’re what carries the entire game as a purely combat experience with some silly late 90s cutscenes in the middle. Unlike a lot of modern character action games where learning new and more complex combos for the sake of style, the combat in Silent Bomber stays the same from beginning to end, where as the challenge comes from a more bullet hell style of projectile avoidance.
The more I think about it, the more it really is a classic arcade game brought into the polygonal era. Man, I wish I could find a way to play Silent Bomber again, but even emulating it has proven rather difficult.