Now, video games don’t have to be violent. Nintendo, for instance, are committed to creating bright, colorful, cartoon worlds, where the only casualty is the odd stomped Goomba. Even so, the market does eat up shooters and vicious hack and slash titles.
As such, it makes sense that the history of games is loaded with the kind of absurd weaponry that Arnold Schwarzenegger wishes he was toting in the last half-hour of Commando. It’s all about making the player feel powerful. From the infamously overpowered to the more underrated, these weapons are some of the strongest gamers have ever seen.
10 Gnasher (Gears of War)
Shooters often have issues getting shotguns right, don’t they? The defining characteristic of these weapons is that they are very weak and longer range and deadly up close, which presents various problems. How deadly should they be up close? What kind of mobility options does the player have? Balance can absolutely fly out of the window if these factors aren’t carefully considered.
Gears of War’s iconic Gnasher is one example of a shotgun that’s super, super good. One of the series’ most powerful (and most controversial) weapons, all Gears of War fans have found themselves on the receiving end of a Gnasher’s wrath many times over. Nonetheless, it has its limitations, so it takes the first position on the list.
9 Infinite Launcher (Resident Evil 4)
As all Resident Evil fans will know, the fourth installment took a step back from the slow-burning survival horror and into TPS territory (Resident Evil 5 and 6 took a huge zero-gravity moon jump further). Intense, combat-heavy action was the name of the game.
The concept culminated in the Infinite Launcher, which unlocked for purchase by the Merchant after completing the game. As the name suggests, it’s a Rocket Launcher (an incredibly powerful, expensive, one-shot weapon usually) that lets you blaze away with endless rockets. You can make short work of absolutely anything in the game with this, while Leon takes splash damage only if you fire at absolute point-blank range. They’re small-scale explosions, though, which is why this one takes the ninth slot.
8 Energy Sword (Halo Franchise)
Ah, yes. When it comes to truly devastating and ridiculous weaponry, the Halo series has something else to offer. We’ll get to that later, though. Right now, we’ve got another infamous tool of mass Halo destruction to talk about: the Energy Sword.
As with the Gnasher, everyone in the fanbase has surely felt the insta-death sting of the Energy Sword countless times. Simply knowing that an opposing player is carrying this thing can be panic-inducing. Somehow, they have a way of sneaking up on you that ensures you just cannot take them out in time. Before you know it, you’re respawning again, though your hopes and dreams may not be. It requires charge and has pitiful range, though, so a number 8 slot it is for this badass Halo weapon.
7 Cerebral Bore (Turok Franchise)
Granted, the Cerebral Bore doesn’t have the mass destruction capacities that some of the very strongest weapons on this list do. It’s not the fastest or most practical tool in a gamers’ arsenal. Do you know what it does do, though? It drills into the heads of furious dinosaurs and then detonates, blowing up their brains and decapitating them. That’s a whole lot of chutzpah, whichever way you slice it.
It was first seen in Turok 2: Seeds of Evil and its effects are gory enough to put Mortal Kombat’s Scorpion off his lunch of molten demon-magma. Devastating as it is, however, the Cerebral Bore can be slow and cumbersome to use, and works only on one opponent at a time. Seventh place!
6 Kelbi Bow (Monster Hunter Franchise)
Now, some may tell you that the Kelbi Bow is nothing particularly special at all. It’s a very handy bow from the Monster Hunter series, able to support the team with a diverse array of status coatings, but that’s as far as it goes.
Is it, though? If you’ve ever tried your hand at Alatreon speed-running, you’ll probably know that the true fury of the Kelbi Bow is unleashed by several players wielding it at once, spamming regular shots to constantly apply the Slime effect. In this fashion, the most dangerous monsters in the game are continuously being staggered, barely able to move at all. As a very niche pick, it takes the middle slot.
5 Golden Gun (GoldenEye 007)
Another nigh-unparalleled weapon of small-scale destruction, it’s the Golden Gun of legendary FPS GoldenEye 007. If you spent much of your childhood trying to hit that darn Oddjob with his awkward hitbox, you’ll know exactly what we mean (it also appeared in the Wii game, as pictured here).
The Golden Gun is very tough to use, holding only a single bullet. In exchange, though, it almost always one-shots any target. As powerful as it is limited, it’s a perfect pick for the sixth spot of the list.
4 Death Penalty (Final Fantasy VII)
It was tough to choose between the Golden Gun and Death Penalty for this slot. In the end, we opted for Vincent Valentine’s ultimate weapon. Anybody who spent precious hours of their childhoods trying to defeat Emerald and Ruby Weapon will probably appreciate why.
Final Fantasy VII’s Death Penalty had an interesting property, as all of the game’s ultimate weapons do. In this case, it gained power with every enemy Vincent killed. The curious thing was, an overflow glitch eventually allowed Vincent to reach (invisible) damage numbers the game just couldn’t calculate. In short, he could take out the formidable Emerald Weapon in a single attack. Of course, this was hardly intended. It’s still only single-target damage, though, and our last entries are all about mass destruction.
3 God Mode (Rise Of The Triad 13/Rise Of The Triad 95)
Well, needless to say, enabling God Mode in any game is going to give you some absurd firepower. Rise of the Triad 13 and Rise of the Triad 95, however, take that concept and run it to the end zone of ridiculousness.
This power-up is given to the player very sparingly throughout the game. On picking it up, their character becomes bigger, completely invulnerable (besides falling in Rise of the Triad 95) and fires energy balls that immediately destroy any enemies they touch. As fearsome as all of this is, there are still two weapons left that just beat out God Mode.
2 BFG 9000 (Doom Franchise)
Well, what can we say here? You can’t have a list of the strongest weapons in gaming without Doom’s iconic BFG making an appearance. You absolutely cannot.
Here we go, then. Most of us probably know how the BFG 9000 works already: a huge beam of plasma destroys any hideous enemy it hits (aside from bosses), causing damage as it flies towards its poor, doomed target and hitting any in the blast radius on impact to boot. In terms of its strength in the series itself and its formidable reputation, there’s probably only one weapon that tops it.
1 Halo Array (Halo Franchise)
As promised earlier, we’re returning to the Halo franchise now, to take a look at a weapon that makes the Energy Sword look like a child’s plastic knife with Barney the Dinosaur’s adorable face on the side. That’s right, it’s the Halo array.
There’s no messing around with single enemies here. No explosive projectiles that happen to catch a couple of extra enemies in the blast, either. The Halo Array is nothing less than a vast group of weapons and structures, all forming one whole of incredible scale and destructive power. If Darth Vader had a couple of Death Stars and each of them had several pet Death Stars of their own, he’d be halfway close to commanding the sheer might the Halo Array represents. It’s capable of stopping the Flood, by destroying all life within its range and leaving the Flood without any way of sustaining itself. The most powerful video game weapon ever? It might just be.