Gaming’s Greatest Hidden Weapons

Ever since I bumped Mario’s head into an invisible block in “Super Mario Bros.,” I’ve been a fan of secrets in gaming.

When you consider the amount of work put into making a complete game even functional, it’s amazing that game developers have the time to create some of the coolest objects in the game, and hide them places where they may never be found. Yet ever since some hidden credits in “Adventure,” video games and secrets have gone hand and hand.

Of these secrets, the best are the hidden weapons. Often maniacally tucked away and requiring a great deal of luck and effort to ever wield, they usually serve as unopposed killing machines worth every ounce of time and energy used to harness them, though the journey to do so is often more difficult than the game ever would have been if you’d chosen not to seek them out.

I love them though for their holy grail like status in many of the titles they are featured in, and these are five of my favorites.

The Sword of Kings – “EarthBound”

Any day I get to mention “EarthBound” is a good day.

My favorite game of all time has a series of items that you only have a 1 out of 128 chance of acquiring after beating certain enemies in specific spots. Of those items, the most sought after may be the Sword of Kings.

While not the most powerful of the 1/128 items, it is the only weapon that one of your characters can use in the game, giving him a significant offensive boost. It also must be unlocked against a very tough enemy at a point where, if you haven’t been level grinding, you are lucky enough to survive a battle with, much less play the odds of defeating enough to find the fabled sword.

To this day I’ve never unlocked the Sword of Kings, though I regularly try.

The MIRV – “Fallout 3″

There is a weapon in “Fallout 3” called the Fat Man that shoots a mini-nuclear warhead that nothing in the game can withstand. The MIRV shoots 8 of those warheads at once.

To unlock it, you must find five transcripts from the Keller family spread throughout the world. Unless you’re cheating, these are not easy to just run across, and even doing so yields no guarantee you know what the hell they lead to. Piece it all together though, and you’d find your way to a hidden section of the national guard depo where the most powerful, and unnecessary, weapon ever in a video game lies.

Even in a world built upon, and still teeming with, nuclear atrocities, the MIRV might just be the greatest war crime ever constructed. It’s also happens to be fun as hell.

Biggoron’s Sword – “Ocarina of Time”

A gaming secret in a major release that few people knew about? There was a pre-internet time when such a thing was possible.

You may think there is no greater sword in “Ocarina of Time” than the Master Sword, but you would be wrong. To get it though, you have to complete a VERY lengthy quest of which there are very few hints of its existence, or where to go next during it. Make it through this hellacious and confusing journey though, and you’ll be rewarded with a two handed sword that does twice the damage as the Master Sword, and looks 10x as intimidating.

Finding the Biggoron’s Sword without the step by step instructions was a truly rewarding experience back in the day. Even with the walkthrough, it is still one of Link’s greatest all time weapons.

Scarab Gun (Main Location)- “Halo 2″

The Scarab Gun is like the lost Ark of the Covenant in that it may be something man was never meant to find, and is face meltingly powerful.

Whoever discovered this gun in the game, and the sequence to get it, is an obsessive compulsive evil genius. The Scarab was clearly not meant to be found by 99.9% of the people who played “Halo 2,” as the commonly accepted process to acquire it demands tremendous skill, potential hours upon hours of patience, and a split second moment of reaction thats absence negates the previous two requirements.

Your reward is a normal looking gun floating above a warning marker in a seemingly unreachable part of the level, that just so happens to pack the firepower of a tank, and will obliterate any single obstacle in your path. The gun only lasts one level, but the thrill of acquiring it is forever.

Excalibur II – “Final Fantasy IX”

Though I’m sure this isn’t factually true, from my personal knowledge and experience, this is as hard of a hidden weapon to unlock as exists.

See, if you play “Final Fantasy IX” the normal way (beat the main game, do a few side quests, enjoy yourself) it takes you about 45-50 hours to complete. To unlock the Excalibur II, you’ll need to get to this 4-disc adventure’s final boss in under 12 hours.

Yikes.

It’s not a challenge any sane individual would ever undertake, and requires all of your powers and efforts to complete. Manage to do so though, and you are rewarded with a sword that can deal the series’ 9999 damage max to even the most powerful of enemies at will, not to mention more hardcore nerd bragging rights than you could acquire even through sex with an actual un-paid human.

 

So I’m very curious to know what your favorite hidden weapons are, and which are the most difficult you’ve ever personally found. Be sure to let me know in the comments below.

Gaming’s Most Evil Religious Figures

With the pope announcing his surprising retirement, the Catholic church and its followers are abuzz not just about the incident, but about who will take the position next.

With a wealth of candidates available though, there shouldn’t be much problem finding a suitable replacement, which is more than can be said about the spiritual world in video games where paragons of holy virtue and guidance are few and far between. In fact it’s quite the opposite as some of gaming’s greatest villains derive from the world of religion.

To show you how bad the problem is, here are a few of gaming’s most despicable religious leaders.

Important Note: This is in no way shape or form a commentary on any real religion or religious figures including, but not limited to, the pope or the Catholic church. This is just for fun.

Oh and spoilers. Spoilers are ahead.

Allegro Rasputin of the First Church of LeChuck – “Escape From Monkey Island”

The exact doctrines, words, and many basic day to day functions of the First Church of LeChuck are a mystery to many. It’s origins, however, are very clear as priest Allegro Rasputin was murdered by the ghost pirate LeChuck, and even made to view his still beating pancreas prior to death, while out at sea. Initially upset, the priest came to respect LeChuck for his capabilities and founded a church in his honor.

And what a church it is. Built into a volcano, and resembling a skull castle, the church has a river of lava flowing through it used in weddings so couples can become ghosts, and live together eternally, at the end of the journey. The rest of the church is a none too subtle tribute to LeChuck himself, and Rasputin’s primary goal is stopping the enemy of his deity, Guybrush Threepwood.

While not gaming’s deepest religion, for sheer tenacity, dedication, and even style, the Church of LeChuck is one of gaming’s most memorable religious institutions, and Rasputin’s devoutness to stopping our hero is equal to his faith

The Prophet of Truth of the Covenant Religion – “Halo”

It was “Halo 2” where gamers discovered that the hard fighting and no-nonsense alien enemies known as the Covenant were actually a deeply religious society with a strong sense of organization and hierarchy.

Atop that hierarchy are a series of prophets, and amongst those prophets is the clear leader, the Prophet of Truth. His mission is to lead his people in seeking out and activating the halo installations of the ancient, yet far advanced, people known as the forerunners. They believe that once the rings are activated, they will achieve a form of ascension and become eternal. They are actually aware, that while they have a slim chance of elevation, that completing this mission will more or less result in the complete destruction of every known thing.

Being a real fanatic is both the reason behind the rise to power, and the fall of the Prophet of Truth. While many villains have promised the end of the world or universe, few did it with the smug sense of satisfaction, and feeling of purpose as the Prophet of Truth.

Craig Markoff of Unitology –“Dead Space”

While the Church of Unitology’s primary figure is Michael Altman, one of the true spearheads of the movement is military man Craig Markoff.

A cleverly veiled allusion to Scientology in many ways, the Church of Unitology plays an integral role in the “Dead Space” series, and revolves around the fabled markers, which are artifacts of mysterious power. Formed in a time of dwindling religious beliefs, the church promoted a message of harmony and peace which caught on quickly and turned them into a real power. One of their principle ideas is not burying the dead, and instead keeping their bodies on spaceships waiting to be re-born. In reality, they are aware of the limited power of the marker to grant new and eternal life, though it often results in creating unspeakable atrocities. These incidents were written off as anomalies with manageable spiritual factors contributing to them.

A true and horrible evil in every way, Markoff is one of gaming’s great villains. He cleverly used  Altman as a figurehead of virtue shielding him from the many, many atrocities he would commit, and his tenacity in refusing to waiver from his claims, is nearly unprecedented.

Morpheus of the Children of the Cathedral – “Fallout”

“Fallout” is full of religions, and while the nuclear bomb worshiping Children of the Atom get all of the attention, it is the leader of the Children of the Cathedral that gets my nod.

A servant of The Master (a downright terrifying mutant, human, computer hybrid), Morpheus is an old styled southern preacher who is clever, extremely charismatic, and downright volatile. Morpheus doesn’t believe The Master to be a god as others in the church do, but he has no qualms with using the influence of the church for his own means, and is a loyal servant of him all the same.

Much like Markoff, Morpheus is a pure evil as it gets, as his short temper and selfish ambitions only further his insatiable ego. It’s one thing to take advantage of people’s spiritual beliefs to further your own causes, but to do so at the end of world when all other hope has gone? Damn.

Sergius XVII of the Ormus Religion – “Xenosaga”

One of gaming’s greatest and most complex universes is that of the “Xenosaga” games. Fittingly, it also contains one of the deepest and most complex religions in all of gaming, the Ormus religion.

It would be impossible to sum up the religion entirely here, but it is spearheaded by the patriarch Sergius XVII and is actually an evolutionary offshoot of modern day Christianity. Their main objective is to recover the mysterious Zohar artifact, and use it to defeat the equally mysterious, and troublesome, Gnosis. Sergius XVII, also has personal ambitions to use this event to further the Ormus’s reach and influence, which is already considerable as the religion has power in nearly every meaningful aspect of society.

A victim of absolute power, it’s easy to write off Sergius XVII as simply “evil”, but his motives and intentions are instead a mix of the blindingly noble and the sadistically misguided. Because of this, he stands as one of the deepest, most influential, and in many ways the most realistically flawed of all of gaming’s evil religious figures, making him more memorable than the usual snarling types.

Doritos gives gamers a scouting combine

Picture 3Once upon a time I was considering going pro as a Halo player. No joke. I was in college, logging several hours of play a day and winning local tournaments as often as I could find them. Being in college, though, I was dead broke, unable to afford the plane ticket and lodging it would cost to to get from central Ohio to one of the early MLG tournaments with hopes of landing a team spot and competing at the national level. At the time, pro gaming, at least for consoles, was just getting its start, and there wasn’t another venue that would offer that kind of opportunity before I was set to graduate and find myself in need of gainful employment.

If you’re in that same situation, things have gotten a bit better. There are loads of pro leagues all over the country, and regional tourneys happen all the time. Breaking into the MLG scene can still be pretty tough, which is why Doritos has put together the Pro Gaming Combine in select cities around the country. You still have to get there, and there is an entry fee, but pro gaming has reached a point that, if you’re any good, you can easily get noticed at an event like this and start to make a name for yourself.

The combine runs for three days at a time with both team and solo categories. Players who demonstrate the highest level of “slaying power, teamwork/communication, leadership, objective play and support play” will be selected for further evaluation by the MLG Scout Team and given an opportunity to play at an MLG Pro Circuit event and an invite to the National Championship Competition, all expenses paid. Combine registration is $100 per team or $10 per player, which is much better than the actual circuit tickets last time I checked.

For the date and location schedule, check out the official page at MLG. There will be several online events leading up to each tourney, giving you the chance to see how you stack up before spending that Hamilton or Benjamin on your registration.

Halo content planned for the next six years

Halo 2 Master Chief.I forgot to mention this very large and intrusive piece of information from the USA Today article comparing Halo to Star Wars. According to Frank O’Connor, the former Bungie guy who now heads up 343 Industries, the Halo division at Microsoft, the adventures of Master Chief have been planned six years into the future.

“Eventually, it will become very apparent that there is a plan for the way the canon all ties together and the way the comic books and the novels all tie together,” O’Connor said. I’m kinda curious what that means. Is there some nefarious plan lurking behind a story line that could have been really epic if it weren’t so poorly handled? Have I overlooked some love connection between Master Chief and the Gravemind? Tell me your secrets, Frankie!

At the very least we can all rest assured that Microsoft can still spot the gigantic glowing cash cow sitting right in front of it. The very minute you get tired of the latest Halo there’s sure to be another, even if it is a glorified expansion, flying off shelves at $60 a pop.

Halo Waypoint Hits Your Hands Nov. 5

Master Chief in the desert.The Halo Waypoint Twitter account posted some fantastic information earlier today. The service designed to completely inundate you with anything and everything related to Halo launches on November 5th.

As the Twitter feed said:

Nov 5. Mark it on your calendar. That’s when you will get your hands (or controllers) on Halo Waypoint. :)

Just think of the massive influx of pimple-faced boys, those same 13 year-olds who corpse hump you and call you all sorts of non-PC names, that will be gracing the Xbox Live servers on the 5th, hoping for gratuitous Cortana nudity. It could be a great day, but it’s probably going to be a sad day.

Amazon’s Halo:ODST Pre-order Nets You An Extra $10

Halo 3: ODST.Whenever I look to pre-order a game, I look to the place with the most freebies. I’m going to spend the money anyway, right? So why not pick up something extra?

For those of you looking to do the same with Halo 3: ODST, you might want to consider Amazon. They’re putting $10 back into your Amazon account on September 22nd, the day the game ships out. They’re offering the same deal on the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Prestige Edition. You know, the package with the night vision goggles?

Consider yourself a true Halo fan? Spend the $10 on books 1-3 of the Halo series, including The Fall of Reach, and get ready for the next franchise installment early.

Is Bethesda Eyeing The New Bungie IP?

Bungie logo.Now that Bungie is officially done with Halo, they’re looking for publishers for their new IP and are apparently very close to signing someone. Who that is has yet to be seen, but it sounds like Bethesda might be looking for the job.

Ashley Cheng, a producer for Bethesda, said on his blog that his company was one of few positioned to “snag” Bungie’s new project.

You can count on one hand the number of publisher’s[sic] around who can afford to publish Bungie’s next game: EA (via EA Partners), Activision, Ubisoft, Microsoft, and of course, Bethesda. I can only imagine how much it will cost to snag their next title.

Cheng also mentions Sony but calls the prospect “unlikely.” Whoever the publisher, the game won’t be restricted to any platform, unlike the company’s most recent efforts. That will probably be a great thing for Bungie, and going with Sony might only hurt the increased revenue they would see from a multi-platform release.

Will we have a Fallout 4/Halo 6 mashup?

Frank O’Connor Details Halo Waypoint…Sort Of

What sort of content can you get on Halo Waypoint?Microsoft’s initial announcement of Halo Waypoint was short on details and long on promises about integrating with your “Halo lifestyle.” I don’t even know what a “Halo lifestyle” means, but I can think of a few years of my life in which I tried to find out. Former Bungie man Frank O’Connor stopped by Comic-Con to release a few details on the upcoming Waypoint.

According to Frankie, Halo Waypoint is about more than just games and videos. It’s a place for fans to get together and enjoy content. “We’re going to aggregate everything that you would want to watch from the halo universe on that site,” he said. “But it’s a lot more ambitious than that. It’s going to evolve in features and functionality to make it the prime destination for the Halo fan.”

Well thanks, Frank. That really clears things up. He goes on to say that you’ll be able to view things like old E3 trailers and potentially access new multiplayer features. To be Frank frank, Frank wasn’t very forthcoming. In fact, no one’s clear whether Silver members will have access to Waypoint in its entirety or if there will be features exclusive to Gold members.

The one thing O’Connor did actually give details for was the premier of the Halo Legends anime episodes. The episodes will be available on a “staggered schedule” over Waypoint. It won’t be quite like a television broadcast, but there will be time constraints between the initial viewing and a Blu-Ray/digital distro release.

Bungie’s Done with Halo

It’s no secret that Bungie has been working on new IP for some time. According to the now independent developer, Halo: Reach will be the last Halo game, from Bungie anyway.

In a recent interview, Senior Designer Lars Bakken had this to say:

In terms of a platform for Halo games made by Bungie, yes. I can’t answer that question for Microsoft though. Whether they have something in the works or not, I don’t know if they’re actually ready to talk about it yet, but in terms of Bungie-produced Halo games, ODST and then Reach is probably all you’re going to get.

That’s it folks. No more Halo from Bungie. That doesn’t count out Microsoft’s new 343 division, which is said to be handling everything remotely related to the Halo franchise.

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