Video games have many elements that can be extremely memorable and, in some cases, iconic. A particular moment, an awesome character, or weapon. even a game-breaking bug, can all become part of a game’s legacy – we will never erase the image of floating teeth and eyes thanks to Ubisoft.
As unfortunate as it may be, we as humans love a conflict. Therefore, it’s no surprise that an overwhelming percentage of video games are combat-based – meaning that developers have had to come up with new and interesting weapons to use on the virtual battlefield. Whether it is due to the hilarious result of using the weapon, the unique design or the overwhelming damage inflicted – there have been many weapons throughout gaming history that are simply unforgettable.
So sit back, relax, and enjoy this list of The 20 Most Iconic Video Game Weapons, Ranked.
20. AMT Hardballers – Hitman
Throughout the Hitman series of games, Agent 47 has utilized many different types of weapon to dispatch his targets. From piano wire to a sniper-rifle, one of the most attractive aspects of the franchise has been the endless options at the player’s disposal.
Despite the impressive arsenal on offer, the signature weapon of the series is, without a doubt, the dual AMT 1911 Hardballers – known in the game simply as “Ballers.” Available in dual, suppressed dual, and single suppressed variants – the Ballers are the go-to weapon for the player when shit gets real. In a game where stealth is key, the Ballers packed enough punch to cause considerable damage in the event that your cover is blown.
Here’s a piece of bonus piece of trivia: the Longslide version of the AMT Hardballer was the pistol used by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1984 film, The Terminator.
19. 211-V Plasma Cutter – Dead Space
In Dead Space, players finds themselves facing off against a horde of extremely aggressive, reanimated corpses that have mutated into horrific new life-forms by an extra-terrestrial infection.
Rather than present the player with the usual progressive set of weapons – pistol then shotgun followed by machine gun etc – the game provides a futuristic mining tool as its opening weapon. When fired, the 211-V Plasma Cutter delivers a bolt of ionized plasma, which cuts through the flesh of the Necromorphs with ease – causing limbs to detach from bodies in bloody satisfaction.
Although the Plasma Cutter utilizes cartridges called Plasma Energy as its ammunition, the ammo is quite a scarce resource in the game. This means that while it’s difficult to resist the urge to slice and dice every enemy on sight, it’s more often than not a better option to save the ammo for when it is definitely required.
18. Master Sword – Zelda
The Master Sword is a recurring weapon and one of the most iconic symbols of the Zelda series. It is imbued with the power to vanquish evil and is, in many games, said to be the only sword capable of defeating the Dark Lord Ganondorf. The Master Sword also contains the ability to repel those aligned with evil and is immune to physical damage.
The sword has been present in nine Zelda games in total and has also made an appearance in numerous other properties such as Soulcalibur, Super Smash Bros, Mario Kart, and Bayonetta. Most recently, the Master Sword made an appearance in Breath of the Wild, where – spoiler alert – it can be found resting on its pedestal, within the Korok Forest.
17. Fire Flower – Mario
The Fire Flower – arguably the most memorable Mario power-up after the Super Mushroom – grants the Italian plumber the ability to throw fireballs which skim along the ground like blazing bouncy-balls – until they hit something or disappear off the screen. The scorching attack also gives Mario the ability to defeat the more difficult enemies, who are impervious to the standard jump attack.
The fire flower has been a mainstay in the Mario series since its introduction in Super Mario Bros. in 1985 and has also been featured in Super Smash Bros and the Mario Kart series. But it’s not only Mario who enjoys the benefits of horticulture – the fire flower is also used by many other playable characters in the series, such as Luigi, Toad, and Princess Peach.
6. Golden Gun – Goldeneye 64
The Golden Gun is the titular weapon in Ian Fleming’s novel, The Man with the Golden Gun and film of the same name. The gun is the signature weapon of Francisco Scaramanga, who assembled the pistol from a pen, a lighter, a cigarette case and a cufflink. Due to its popularity, the weapon was included in many James Bond games – with its most famous inclusion being in the Nintendo 64 game: GoldenEye 007.
The 1997 game featured a multiplayer mode called “The Man with the Golden Gun”, which became an extremely popular choice among many dorm rooms across the world. In the game mode, a single Golden Gun – which is capable of a one-shot kill – is placed in a fixed location on the map. Once the Golden Gun is picked up, the only way for anyone else to acquire the weapon is to kill the player holding it. The player with the Golden Gun is unable to pick up body armor while all other players can.
15. Buster Sword – Final Fantasy VII
More often than not, the first image that comes to mind when you think of Final Fantasy VII, is the image of Cloud Strife – dressed in purple pyjamas – holding his massive buster sword. The sword – which is Cloud’s trademark weapon – was passed on to Cloud by Zack Fair, who inherited it from the original owner, Angeal Hewley. The weapon is unique in its design – with the blade being the same width as the hilt, giving it a cleaver-like appearance.
The sword has made an appearance in many games since its conception – including multiple entries in the Final Fantasy series andthe first Kingdom Hearts game. It was also featured in the animated movie Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, where the Buster Sword had been turned into a memorial to its second owner – Zack.
The Buster Sword also made a cameo in season 6 of the popular cartoon series Adventure Time. Jake tries to use the sword to fight a horde of demons, only to find the sword too heavy to wield.
14. Gravity Gun – Half-Life 2
The Zero Point Energy Field Manipulator, or, Gravity Gun, is a weapon from the Half-Life series that uses an advanced physics engine to allow the player to manipulate objects in the world. The main protagonist (Gordon Freeman) acquires the gun shortly after his arrival at Black Mesa East.
The gun has two firing options. The first discharges an energy bolt that blasts a target object a considerable distance and can be used to clear obstacles and heavy objects. The second option allows the player to pick objects up and suspend them in the air. These objects can then either be dropped elsewhere or shot away with a tremendous force by pressing primary fire while the item is still suspended.
The Gravity Gun can also become “supercharged” if exposed to the Confiscation Field in the Citadel, resulting in the guns powers being vastly enhanced – enabling it to manipulate objects of far greater mass than normal and kill enemies.
13. BFG 9000 – Doom
The BFG9000 is an extremely powerful weapon that fires large green balls of plasma that cause most types of enemy major damage – often clearing an entire room of foes in one go. More often than not, a direct hit from the BFG would result in an instant kill to any non-boss enemy. However, despite not posing a lethal threat against bosses, the BFG would cause them to be momentarily stunned, which can be used to break up an attack.
The gun has featured in every one of the Doom games and is generally considered the most powerful weapon in series. Variations of the weapon have also made an appearance in the Quake series and in the 2011 game Rage.
12. Hidden Blade – Assassins Creed
Back in 2007, the world was introduced to the world of the Assassins – a mysterious secret order who were embroiled in a bloody war with the Knights Templar. First revealed in the trailer for the original game in the series – The Hidden Blade is the signature weapon of the Assassin Brotherhood and while it can be used as an effective weapon in open combat, it is at its most efficient when used to carry out stealth assassinations.
The weapon consists of a mechanism – worn under the sleeve – which can discreetly extend or retract a blade which can be thrust into a target to eliminate them quickly and quietly. Initially, the use of the Hidden Blade required the removal of the ring finger – in the game, not real life, of course – as a means to easily extend the blade and to show commitment to the brotherhood. Modifications to the weapon meant that this practice is no longer required in later games.
11. Mark 2 Lancer Assault Rifle – Gears of War
The Mark 2 Lancer Assault Rifle is the default weapon of the Gears of War franchise and is most commonly used by Marcus Fenix – the protagonist of the first three games. The distinctive assault rifle has a chainsaw bayonet, which consists of razor-sharp, carbide-tipped blades powered by a variable torque motor, and is capable of cutting through any enemy in close range. The rifle has become the staple weapon of the Gears series and despite being the default weapon in the game; it is one of the most effective weapons at taking down the locust.
Following the release of Gears of War, Epic Games briefly found themselves locked in a copyright suit with Games Workshop, the makers of the Warhammer 40,000 table-top game. This was due to the Lancer’s strong resemblance to the chainswords and chain bayonets found in the in the Warhammer franchise.
10. Crowbar – Half Life
While the Gravity Gun – mentioned earlier in this list – is arguably a more fun weapon to wielded by Gordon Freeman, the Crowbar is, without a doubt, the more iconic and signature melee weapon of the Half-Life series. Not only can it be used to swat headcrabs out of the air like Babe Ruth in his prime but it can also be used as a tool to solve many puzzles throughout the games.
The crowbar is the first weapon acquired in Half-Life and can be used as a tool for breaking open supply crates which contain health or ammo – and while throughout both games, the player will get their hands on bigger and better weapons to use, the crowbar is always there as backup so you can continue to beat the snot out of enemies even after your ammunition is depleted.
9. Type-1 Energy Sword – Halo
The Type-1 Energy Weapon – commonly known as the Energy Sword – is an extremely powerful melee weapon from the Halo series that was used by the player in both the multiplayer and campaign modes. A single strike from The Energy Sword can penetrate through the energy shield of enemies and are in most cases fatal.
The sword is easily one of the best close range weapons to use in the Halo Series but is not without its faults – one major downside is that due to the sword being purely a close-quarters weapon. Any combat engagement outside of the effective range puts the wielder at significant risk. The Weapon is also battery-powered, meaning the user has to discard it when the power is depleted.
8. Blades of Chaos – God of War
Although there have been various sets of chained blades wielded by Kratos throughout the God of War games, this list entry focuses on the original blades as, let’s be honest, they’re all pretty similar. Forged in the depths of Hades by the God of War, Ares, the blades made for a servant that would prove worthy of his service.
Kratos was given the Blades after he pledged his life to the God of War . He used his new weapons to slay many foes during his time of servitude to Ares – even using them to accidentally kill his own wife and daughter, while on a God-driven rage bender.
The weapon consisted of a pair of blades attached to chains which are wrapped around the character’s wrists and forearms. Controlling Kratos, the player can swing the blades offensively in various combo-based attacks.
7. Fat Man – Fallout
Catapults are awesome, there’s no doubt about that. Every mischievous little sod wants one and owning one makes you the coolest kid on the playground. As an adult admittedly, they are not as impressive but imagine you had one that was capable of firing mini nuclear bombs. Granted, in the real world that would be horrific, but in a virtual world where morals are thrown out of the window and killing NPCs is disturbingly satisfying – this weapon sounds like a whole lot of fun and the Fallout games provide just that.
The M42 Fat Man is an effective mortar/artillery weapon that is capable of launching mini nukes which when fired, cause a small but devastating nuclear blast which destroys any enemies in the surrounding area – resulting in a lot fewer mutants and probably a few extra ghouls.
6. Vampire Killer – Castlevania
The Vampire Killer – also known as Holy Whip or Magic Whip – is the legendary whip featured in many of the Castlevania games – in many variations. In most games, the Vampire Killer is depicted as a leather whip, but there are many entries in the series where Vampire Killer is actually portrayed as a chain whip – sometimes with a small mace on the end.
Typically wielded by members of the Belmont family, the whip is used to battle Dracula and his horde of demonic minions. Use of the whip by a person who is not a direct descendant of the Belmont clan is potentially fatal – However, a person who is not of Belmont blood can use the weapon, providing they carry out a set of special rituals.
5. Scorpion’s Kunai – Mortal Kombat
The Mortal Kombat series has provided a plentiful catalog of special moves for players to choose from. From the standard special moves generated by button mashing to the “Fatality” and “Babality” moves, the games have provided many memorable means of victory.
The most memorable of which being is Scorpion’s move: Spear – where the character throws a rope or metal chain, which has a blade attached at the end. The blade impales itself into the victim’s chest, allowing Scorpion to pull him or her through the air towards him for a free him – all while the character yells out his trademark phrase, “GET OVER HERE!”
In the real world, the weapon – called a Kunai – was a harpoon-like tool that was originally created for farming but was adopted as a weapon by practitioners of Ninjutsu, since kunai were cheap, of a useful size and weight, and could be easily sharpened.
4. Shells (Mario Kart)
The Koopa shells are weapons that are obtainable in the Mario Kart games. There are three different variants of shell, with each being a different color and having different abilities.
The Green Shell – generally considered the worst of the three – is launched on the players command and bounces on walls at the sides of the track, until it hits a driver or before it breaks – after approximately five bounces.
The Red shell has a Homing capability, meaning that once launched, the shell will lock onto a target and fly into it. This makes it a very useful item to hold onto in case you find yourself in second place, on the home straight.
The Spiny Shell (or Blue Shell) is the most powerful shell in Mario Kart. Like the Red shell, the Blue Shell that tracks down the player it has locked onto but unlike the other shells, it blows up when it hits them. In its Normal Form, the shell skirts along track and knocks over anyone it hits. In its flying form, it flies through the air, can go over shortcuts and walls – only hitting the player in first place.
3. Home-Run Bat – Super Smash Bros.
Super Smash Bros. is a series of crossover fighting games that allows players to control characters – from multiple Nintendo franchises – attempt to beat their opponents by launching them off the stage and out of the map. As well as standard attacks, the games features useable battle items that can be used as weapons – the most memorable being the Home-Run Bat.
The Home-Run Bat is an item used in all five Smash Bros. games, which alters character’s forward smash attack,. The result: an extremely powerful attack that can potentially KO opponents in a single hit – making one of the best items in the series. The weapon also features in the game mode ‘Home-Run Contest’ – the player is given a Home-Run Bat which is used to smash a Sandbag as far away from the starting platform as possible.
2. Shrink Ray – Duke Nukem
The Shrinker – also known as the Shrink Ray – is a weapon used by the notorious blonde haired, sunglass wearing, ass-kicking – Duke Nukem. The weapon first appeared in Duke Nukem 3D and has featured in multiple games since. The shrinker was redesigned in the 2011 game, Duke Nukem Forever and renamed as The Shrink Ray.
Although the shrink ray inflicts no damage whatsoever, it is arguably one of the best weapons in the entire franchise. When used, the shrinker does exactly what it say on the tin – it shrinks things, or more specifically, it shrinks enemies. Once an enemy has been hit by the weapon, Duke will automatically stomp on any shrunken enemies within range. While it is not effective on bosses – as they are immune – it is extremely useful when taking on stronger enemies.
1. Ray Gun – Call of Duty Zombies
The Ray Gun is a weapon featured in the Zombies game mode of the Call of Duty series – appearing in Call of Duty: World at War, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Call of Duty Online and Call of Duty: Black Ops III.
The Ray Gun is only obtainable in the Mystery Box and is often the favored weapon in Zombie mode, due to its ability to one-shot kill, its high ammo capacity and its ability to hit kill multiple zombies at once, courtesy of its splash damage – the same splash damage can also cause damage to the user themselves meaning it has to be used sparingly in tight locations.
A direct successor to the Ray Gun, known as the Ray Gun Mark II, appears in every Zombies map of Call of Duty: Black Ops II – if the player purchases the Vengeance downloadable content – and the Ray Gun Mark III appear in Black Ops III Zombies, seen in the right hand of the wonder weapon: GKZ-45 Mk3, on the map Gorod Krovi.