While video games have been about combat since basically the beginning, the earliest examples of the medium-- games like Spacewar and Computer Space-- didn't actually let players shoot but instead just dodge the gunfire of their enemies. Thankfully, it didn't take very long for game developers to start weaponizing players, making it so that video games without weaponry of any kind soon became the rarity. With video games primarily existing as escapism and wish fulfillment, it stands to reason that the arsenals of most video games are stocked with overpowered weapons of all types, weapons whose power isn't possible in real life-- at least, not within a weapon that someone could actually hold in their hands and run around with. The tricky thing about having video games weapons that are too strong is that they can upset the balance of a game, or make a game far too easy.
Not many people were complaining about overpowered weapons in games when they were playing solo, but as more and more games started to focus on multiplayer, someone having an overpowered weapon that tips the scales too far in their favor is a surefire way to ruin both a game and a friendship. That being said, overpowered weapons aren't always a bad thing. They can even the odds in a single-player game where the player has to do battle with creatures that exceed his character's natural abilities and they can also break multiplayer games in a fun, accepted way.
Here are 12 Overpowered Weapons That Hurt Their Games (And 13 That Saved Them).
25 Saved: BFG 9000 (DOOM)
You may have heard that DOOM's BFG stands for "Bio-Force Gun"-- thank you, terrible DOOM movie-- or some other such thing, but don't be fooled. When the BFG was conceived of by the young, boundary-pushing designers at id Software, the B stood for "big" and the F definitely stood for exactly what you think it stands for.
Does a "big f gun" basically break a game? Of course it does.
In the case of DOOM, does it make the game too easy and make the final boss a cakewalk? Yep. But has anyone ever complained about that as they were launching those iconic green plasma balls at demon hordes from that awesomely ridiculous weapon? Of course not.
24 Hurt: Energy Sword (Halo series)
Melee weapons in first-person shooters have long been criticized for being too powerful. Even in games where enemies can survive multiple shotgun blasts or walk away from the splash damage of a rocket launcher like nothing happened, one hit from the butt of a pistol ends their game and sends them flying. Seems legit.
Halo raised the bar on the idea of the one-hit-victory melee weapon when it introduced the energy sword, which not only finished off enemies with one hit but could also lock on like a standard weapon and send its wielder flying across a map to deliver the fatal blow. While this was fun enough in story mode, it is the bane of everyone's existence in Halo multiplayer.
23 Saved: Alien Blaster (Fallout 3)
There are some games where the odds are stacked so badly against the protagonist that nothing that he does to get a leg up can possibly be criticized. Fallout 3 has some absurdly powerful weapons that make the game too easy, but most of them either have severely limited ammo, are unwieldy to use, or take up too much space in your backpack to carry much else.
The Alien Blaster solves all of these problems, not only being incredibly powerful but having fairly plentiful ammo and also being quite light and easy to use. There's no such thing as an overpowered weapon in a game where you have to fight giant, radiated mutant beasts.
22 Hurt: Metal Blade (Mega Man 2)
Mega Man 2 is often mentioned among the greatest games of all time or at least the most beloved. It's everything that is great about the 8-bit era of gaming, with gorgeous graphics, a perfect soundtrack, and mostly well-balanced gameplay.
So why the "mostly?" Well, beyond the cheap deaths that MM games are infamous for, there's the Metal Blade that you earn from Metal Man that basically breaks the entire game by being way too powerful. It takes the trademark MM conceit of certain bosses being extra susceptible to specific weapons and throws it out the window, as half of the bosses are most easily defeated by just using the Metal Blade.
21 Saved: Cerebral Bore (Turok 2: Seeds of Evil)
We're going to tread lightly here, as we know that the N64 Turok games have a pretty rabid fanbase. However, it's hard to deny that the games were fairly unremarkable first-person shooters that mostly only got attention for the unique premise of being about shooting dinosaurs.
No matter what, you can't say that Turok's developers didn't know their fans and they knew exactly what to do to spice up the first sequel-- a hilarious weapon called the Cerebral Bore, which, as you might expect, dealt damage to their brains. It was way too powerful, but also so fun to watch that it didn't matter.
20 Hurt: DK Hammer (Super Smash Bros. Series)
While the classic fanfare that is associated with picking up the hammer in the original Donkey Kong was cause for laughter and excitement, when it's heard in a Smash Bros. game, the primary reaction is quite the opposite. Sending players instantly flying in all directions with just the slightest contact, DK's Hammer is a weapon that feels like a holdover from Smash's early days as a goofy party romp and is out of place in what has become a more serious fighting game.
Removing this weapon from custom matches is both common and expected.
In fact, it should be off by default and require players specifically turn it on if they want it.
19 Saved: Auto Shotgun (Left 4 Dead)
Another common complaint about FPS weaponry is that shotguns are often overpowered. It's not that shotguns shouldn't be powerful in and of themselves, but the argument is that they should be slow, cumbersome, and have short range in order to offset their strength.
In Left 4 Dead, those downsides mostly go out with the window with the Auto Shotgun, which has all of the power and virtually none of the negatives, which is handy against the dozens of zombies coming at you at all times. Sure, people say it's overpowered in deathmatch mode and completely breaks it-- but if you're playing L4D for deathmatch instead of co-op, you're doing it wrong.
18 Hurt: Knights of the Round Summon (Final Fantasy VII)
If you began the Knights of the Round summon before you starting reading this list, it might be done by the time you're finished (though probably not). And thus lies one of the biggest issues with Final Fantasy VII's most powerful magic attack.
Beyond taking way too long to play out and only being cool to sit through the first few times, Knights of the Round is overpowered in a bad way in that it one-hits all but a few enemies in the entire game. Maybe that's a fair trade-off for how tough it is to unlock, but it still feels just a little too powerful.
17 Saved: Donatello's Bo (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, NES original)
The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game for NES was a little weird, no doubt about it. In a world before the iconic arcade game and its subsequent sequels, it's all we had and we played it a ton, as infuriating and obtuse as it was.
One unique thing about the game is that each turtle actually had clearly-defined strengths and weaknesses, particularly in their weapons.
And Donnie's bo was the most powerful, best saved for boss battles. Its slow speed and very strict straight-line attack more than offset its power. Side note: Raphael was worthless.
16 Hurt: Speed Shoes (Sonic the Hedgehog series)
One of the things that initially set Sonic apart from rival Mario is his speed, since he's able to run so fast that he could go through loop-the-loops. In fact, his speed was sometimes a problem, as it was easy to have such momentum built up that it was hard to avoid sailing off a cliff into a bed of spikes.
So it's a mystery why anyone thought it was a good idea to give Sonic a power-up that made him go even faster. The Speed Shoes almost felt like a negative item pick-up, as all they did was make him completely unwieldy and would usually resulting in losing all his rings in a matter of seconds.
15 Saved: Energy Field Manipulator (Half-Life 2)
When Half-Life 2 was first revealed, one of the many things that blew people's minds was its use of realistic physics, as many games to this day don't even have such complex physics systems. And the reason the developers put all that work into the game's physics is so that the Energy Field Manipulator, aka the Gravity Gun, could be used to turn almost any object in the environment into a projectile weapon.
And when the Gravity Gun gets imbued with Dark Energy, look out-- you'll be flinging bad guys into dust with ease. That only happens toward the end of the game, so you don't get to abuse that power for very long.
14 Hurt: Ghost Missile (Twisted Metal series)
Even though it has fallen off the radar, the Twisted Metal franchise used to be synonymous with the PlayStation brand. Basically an FPS with cars, PS1 owners have memories similar to what N64 owners have with GoldenEye, playing Twisted Metal 2 in particular against friends for hours on end.
While any game of this type has the potential to elicit tension among friends, it was one weapon in particular that sent controllers flying into walls and friends angrily stomping home: Spectre's Ghost Missile, which cheaply has the ability to seek out its target through an endless amount of walls, floors, and ceilings. Having an unavoidable weapon is never a good idea for a game like this.
13 Saved: The Golden Gun (GoldenEye 007)
Speaking of GoldenEye, few other games have so firmly captured basements and dorm rooms for years on end, and the fact that we were fine spending dozens of hours playing on a screen the size of an index card only speaks to just how fun GoldenEye truly was.
Make no mistake, though-- GoldenEye's multiplayer modes weren't the best-balanced.
After all, the developers left Oddjob in there even though they knew how cheap of a character he was to play as. The same can be said for the Golden Gun, a one-hit weapon that was infuriating to lose to but is such an iconic part of the game that we can't imagine it not being there.
12 Hurt: Crissaegrim (Castlevania: Symphony of the Night)
Along with Super Metroid, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night remains the standard by which all other 2D action/adventure games are compared. It redefined the Castlevania franchise for years to come and made a household name out of the designer best known as "IGA" who is seen as something of the patron saint of the Metroidvania genre.
SotN is simply an impeccably-made game, which makes it hard to find fault with without extreme nitpicking. However, one major misstep the designers took is in the sword called Crissaegrim, which is not only overpowered but is capable of multiple strikes per button press, basically putting combat on autopilot. Yawn.
11 Saved: The Ripper (Dead Space)
Those that actually played the first Dead Space when it was new were treated to a game with atmosphere and sound design far beyond almost anything else that existed at the time, and gave genre greats like Resident Evil 4 a run for their money.
While the horror genre has been criticized for getting too action-heavy, action/horror is still a great game style when done right-- and one of the most compelling examples of that is Dead Space's Ripper, a piece of mining equipment that has been re-purposed as a terrific weapon against demons.
10 Hurt: AWP Sniper Rifle (Counter-Strike)
The ability to take down an enemy with a single, well-placed sniper shot is definitely an attractive one, but it needs to be tempered by it being somewhat difficult to actually line that shot up with what is a fairly small target.
With Counter-Strike's AWP sniper rifle, much of that skill went out the window, seemingly allowing for that same one-shot finish with only the requirement that you hit the target somewhere on the top half of their body. The sound that the AWP makes when being fired from a distance is sure to send shivers down the spines of the millions of gamers who have been taken out by an AWP abuser.
9 Saved: Splat Roller (Splatoon series)
Leave it to Nintendo to take the concept of FPS and re-purpose them into something both family-friendly and also completely unique and awesome. Across its two incarnations so far, the Splatoon series has carved out a nice little niche for itself and has an extremely devoted fanbase who eagerly await each new Splatfest like Christmas morning.
Want to play Splatoon but 3D aiming isn't your strong suit? Nintendo's got you covered with the Splat Roller, a weapon that you literally only need to know how to walk to use.
And, as if to realize it might be a weapon for beginners, it's also good and powerful and lets newbies/kids/grandmas/etc have a fighting chance.
8 Hurt: Fierce Deity Mask (The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask)
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask was extremely divisive when it was first released, with fans split between appreciating its unique direction and dark tone, and hating its repetitive, time-based set-up and feeling like little more than an Ocarina of Time expansion pack. History seems to have sided largely with the former, however.
Much of Majora is built around Link being able to acquire and wear masks that give him various abilities. One of those masks, the Fierce Deity, is made way too powerful and turns Link into, well, a god. Nintendo clearly realized that this mask broke the game a bit as its power was significantly nerfed in Majora's 3DS remake.
7 Saved: Lancer (Gears of War series)
These days, Epic Games is primarily associated with Fortnite, the brightly-colored shooter full of dancing, dabbing characters that seems to have found a particularly strong fanbase among kids and family-focused YouTubers. It's hard to imagine that Epic is also the developer of games like Unreal Tournament and one of the most iconic dude-bro action games of all time, Gears of War.
It would take someone with the build of Marcus Fenix to be able to wield a weapon that is a hybrid assault rifle and chain saw, and the Lancer is one of the most overpowered standard weapons in video game history. Then again, you don't play Gears of War if you're looking for subtle, low-key action.
6 Hurt: Vex Mythoclast (Destiny)
As the Halo series continues to struggle following the departure of original developer Bungie, Destiny has been growing into quite the respectable shooter franchise, proving that Bungie was right to want to move on to something else.
Being an online-focused game, Destiny has definitely needed its share of patches to iron out various issues, often involving weapon and item balancing. One infamous example of this is the Vox Mythoclast, a weapon so overpowered that Bungie has had to nerf it multiple times over subsequent patches because it broke the game that much.
5 Saved: Turret Guns (Ratchet and Clank series)
When platform games entered the PlayStation 2 era, the genre was forced to branch out into other gameplay styles to keep from feeling stale. Insomniac decided to do this by making its Ratchet and Clank series basically be half-platformer and half-shooter, a hybrid that has kept the series fresh and fun for nearly 20 years now.
Rather than taking its action elements too seriously, the weapons in Ratchet games are often both silly and also extremely powerful.
Many weapons in the series are classifiable as overpowered, but the turrets in particular are perfect examples of a weapon that is way too effective, but using them is too fun for that to matter.
4 Hurt: FarSight XR-20 (Perfect Dark)
One of the last games released for the N64, and one of Rare's final Nintendo games, was Perfect Dark, which took the basic foundation of GoldenEye and expanded it into a more ambitious cyberpunk adventure.
Perfect Dark was definitely a better overall game that GoldenEye in most respects, but its late release kept it from achieving the same level of success.
The game was far from perfect though, and had a few examples of developers trying just a little too hard-- as with the FarSight weapon, which was a neat concept and all, but being able to see and shoot through walls is just a little too much power for a game character to wield.
3 Saved: Pistol (Halo: Combat Evolved)
The idea behind Master Chief is that he is supposed to be incredibly strong and when the Halo games are at their best is when they are effectively communicating his skill and power to you. But it's too easy to do that through having him wield giant rocket launchers or jump into Scarabs, because any random Space Marine can do that.
No, in Halo: Combat Evolved, you felt Master Chief's awesomeness through what he could accomplish with a mere pistol. Halo's default handgun was one of the most powerful in video game history, not to mention also basically doubling as a sniper rifle for those who were even halfway proficient at aiming.
2 Hurt: Blue Spiny Shell (Mario Kart Series)
We get it, Nintendo: you want everyone to have a chance. We're totally fine with people struggling in Mario Kart games being able to catch up with the aid of a Super Star or Bullet Bill. However, with the infamous Blue Shell, which automatically takes out whomever is in first place, you've gone way too far.
The problem with the Blue Shell is that it barely even benefits the people who use it, but instead just helps out those racers who are in second through fourth place. And it's also frustrating because once it has stopped you, then everyone can just plow into you and send you from 1st place to 7th in seconds.
1 Saved: Spread Gun (Contra Series)
The only thing more closely associated with the Contra series than the Konami Code is the franchise's Spread Gun, which is a type of ammo that fans out from the point of fire and can eventually cover almost the entire height of the screen.
Besides there being no such thing as an overpowered weapon in a game where you only start with three lives and can only take one hit per life against a barrage of enemies and their bullets, the Spread Gun is one of video game history's most iconic weapons and tens of millions of childhoods just wouldn't have been the same without it.
Which of these do you love using most? Let us know in the comments!