I have travelled far and wide to find the object, the one object that will destroy my arch-nemesis. But I really never imagined the effigy that I must destroy would be… A plushie? Well, effigies come in all shapes and sizes, along with varying degrees of strangeness. Nevertheless today we’re going to look at our Top 10 Effigies that are in film, TV, video games, anime and more. (more…)
As we approach ever closer to Christmas Day, with it only being 16 days away now, our Top 10’s have become more Christmas themed once more. This week, as chosen by you, our fantastic audience, has been probably our hardest list in a very long time to compile. We had to come up with a definition of Badly Decorated… But here’s what we think.
With it coming up to Christmas, we settled on Badly Decorated as one of our choices, but we didn’t really think what that meant. At Christmas, we cover our houses in tinsel, fairy lights and so much more, but it’s not exactly a flattering look. It’s just a “Christmas-sy” look. As such, to us, badly decorated means that for the time we see the place, it has to either have unfitting objects, bad decorations or an abundance of just poor design.
Got it? Sweet! On to this week’s list! (more…)
The Point and Click Adventure genre leans a little too heavily on one very simple puzzle which I’ll refer to here as the Lock & Key: finding Thing A and applying to Thing B in order to proceed.
To be clear, things A and B can be a wide variety of things, a ladder and a wall, a photograph and a person, an ostrich and a sandwich toaster, or an actual key that corresponds to an actual lock. We can all thing of a few dozen examples, if pressed we could probably come up with that many from the same title. Grim Fandango, Machinarium, the Discworld game series, to an extent one could argue The Room, all make heavy use of this basic set up. Why?
Well, ignoring for a moment the fact that it is very simple and easy to put together in game, from a game design perspective it’s no bad thing either. It’s an un-failable task, you can’t get it wrong, you can only keep trying. It’s an obstacle to be overcome, to face the next obstacle, and the next one, and the next one. Occasionally you’ll see something different, I’d just like to offer a few suggestions of how we can shake up the genre.
Oops, we’re running out of puns… Quick, find something nearby and fire it off at our readers. Um, umm… Baloney Fudge and Mustard! There, now that I’ve got that off my chest, it’s time for us to look forward to this weeks’ list, as chosen by you, our dear Top 10 readers. Right now, both Joel and Timlah are at AmeCon, enjoying the convention – But we couldn’t forget to do our Top 10 for this week now could we?
You demanded it, so you’ve got it, this is our Top 10 Improvised Weapons list, but let’s get some ground rules going here. If it’s just there and it happens to be usable, then sure, it’s an improvised weapon. Also, if it’s something that people just wouldn’t generally use, then it’s also an improvised weapon. The room for scope on this one is massive, so read on for our list!
10) Shoe – Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
“That really hurt! Who throws a shoe, honestly?”
Who said that everything was groovy to Austin Powers? The international man of mystery (though it’s dubious as to how he even got that title) is known to be susceptible to the occasional hit. It doesn’t matter that he’s a spy, he’s certainly not the best out there, even though Basil would probably try to get you to believe otherwise. Occasionally thought, Austin has been known to get hit by flying projectiles.
Such as shoes! In this scene in the first Austin Powers film, an assassin comes in and instead of throwing a knife into his throat, or poisoning Austin or anything logical, he throws his shoe at Austins head. This obviously hurts, so Austin shows his frustration by telling the assassin that it really hurt… And he’s right! Who would throw a shoe, honestly?!
9) Paint Cans – Home Alone
Of all of the many clever traps we could have picked, this one’s a favourite of Kevin McAllister’s when defending stairs. Tie off paint cans so that they swing and collide with the intruder firmly in the face, sending them flying backwards and severely wounding in the process. He liked it so much that he brought it back for the second film with a major upgrade, but I’d like to raise a few issues here.
The Wet/Sticky Bandits are drastically different heights. How’d he hit them square in the face the first time? They’d have to be on the right side of the stairs, and he’d have to have judged the height perfectly during prep work, along with all of the other crazy stuff he puts together. The pipe from Home Alone 2 was inspired, as it sweeps the whole staircase, hits them simultaneously and when they least expect it, but the cans were perversely well placed, and not to mention genuinely lethal!
Thank slapstick rules those guys lived, otherwise Home Alone 2 would have been a very different film. One without paint cans.
8) Milk From A Cow – Kung Pow: Enter the Fist
Okay, this isn’t a list of Top 10 Cows, that’s already happened hasn’t it? But this is a list of Top 10 Improvised weapons and to be honest, if you’re a kung-fu cow, you have very little in the way of weaponry. You have your hoofs and you have your body weight, which is significantly more than a human, but there’s very little else in your favour when you’re going one on one with a martial arts master.
Except, cows are female and therefore produces milk. In a scene that evokes the purest of reactions including “What am I watching?”, a cow attacks our protagonist by doing a cartwheel of sorts mid-air, whilst firing off stream of milk that it milks out of itself then and there. Aha, I guess the old adage of “Use what you’re given” rang a bit too true to this bovine. Moo-ving on, then.
7) Spoon – Mewtwo
Now, it’s arguable that this isn’t improvised at all, but instead is actually one of Mewtwos weapons. Yes, you’re reading this right, Mewtwo has a spoon in some adaptations of the character. Often seen in the manga with his spoon, Mewtwo is no better than an Alakazam, because y’know, spoons are the most obvious form of intelligent life, right? Whatever, why has this made our list?
Basically, the spoon isn’t really a spoon, but rather something that Mewtwo conjured. This means that Mewtwo had to think of something to produce as his weapon… So why would he choose a spoon? Perhaps it’s simply to mimic Alakazam, perhaps it was Pokemons way of saying “He’s a psychic type!”, but if you ask me, I just think that Mewtwo had a lovely bowl of soup once and wanted to use the spoon he ate it with… But also to make said spoon a lot bigger.
6) Wet Fish – Lots of things
The wet fish is a staple in comedy now. From the Holy Mackerel as we covered in our Top 10 Fish list a few weeks back, to just a wet tuna being slapped in someone’s face, the wet fish is a running gag which can also sometimes be taken to extremes, by making them into incredibly vicious weapons. You can be sure that if you get hit by a wet fish, you’re going to be extremely embarrassed.
I’m not sure where slapping someone with a wet fish first came from, but you can be sure that it’s been thrown around for ages. I’m sure that someone out there will know where this first came from, so if you know, leave us a comment below with your knowledge on slapping people with a wet fish… But hey, at least it accompanies the Scout’s favourite energy drink: Bonk!
5) Chair – Everything
Whilst lacking in originality, the chair is rather a classic, being something easy to lift, suitably heavy, and readily available in most fight situations like bar-brawls, stadium riots and cage fights. As bottles fly faster than harsh language, and people are being politely shown the exit head first, you can guarantee that somewhere in the midst of the carnage will be a chair, quite literally on its last legs.
When it comes to the matter of offering someone a seat, this method may be seen as a little over the top, but when they’re agitated and causing a fuss the best thing to do is get them a chair and make them calm down. Apply to the affected area, and repeat as necessary.
4) Microwave – Gremlins
This was inspired. One of the most fearful monsters in horror-comedy history is small enough to be shoved in a microwave and cooked until paste. For the monstrous spawn of Gizmo the kitchen is a source of food, mischief, and dangerous weapons, ones that they can use, and ones that can be used against them.
Though they are surprisingly strong, agile and deadly for their size, you can easily take a few gremlins down with a steak knife, a blender and flash photography, but one afternoon in a bathtub and they can regroup in terrifying numbers. Still, if you’re in a pinch, a powerful dose of radiation can really take care of things. Interestingly, the gremlin in question was nicknamed Grumpy, and was one of the first of Gizmo’s brood alongside Stripe, unlike Stripe, he does not reappear in the sequel.
3) Insults – Monkey Island
Insult Sword Fighting is a staple of the Monkey Island series, which took on many incarnations, including a rather weird turn for Insult Arm Wrestling too. As such, it’s obvious to me that the real weapon in these fights were not the physical activity, but clearly the wit to defeat your opponents in an insult-off. With quips such as “En garde, touche!” “Oh that is so cliche” and “You’re as repulsive as a monkey in a negligee!” “I look that much like your fiancee?”, you can bet that the insults are sharp!
But the curious part about this is the limited knowledge that Guybrush Threepwood possesses (he’s a mighty pirate, you know?) When he starts out, especially in The Curse of Monkey Island, he basically knows nothing about insults. He has to try to make do, but be humbled in defeat and learn from his defeats to progress and to learn to be wittier. Effectively, he’s making it up as he goes along – and that’s the ultimate form of improv.
2) Willing Allies, and Unwitting Enemies
You may have heard this one referred to in less polite terms, but in short this is the practice of bludgeoning someone with another someone. Be it a projectile halfling, a legion of reanimated corpses, or swinging the guy you knocked unconscious around by the ankles until his buddies have joined him, there are many uses for friends and enemies alike.
Whether you’re a fan of the M:tG card Fling or the practice of turning people into weapons like in Soul Eater, there’s no denying that the greatest and most terrifying weapon that’s always readily available is somebody… well some body, doesn’t matter if they’re cooperative or not. Only one rule applies when wielding people as weapons, never toss a dwarf, and if you do, don’t tell anyone.
1) Health bar – Deadpool, Marvel Avengers Alliance
Oh would you look who’s back at the top of the list? It’s our favourite reoccurring character. Well it’s not our fault Deadpool does so many things better than anyone else, and amongst them is improvising in his specialist field: sarcasm! And I guess weapons.
If you’ve ever played Marvel Avengers Alliance you’ll know it to be a surprisingly good “freemium” social media game, interesting stories, interesting mechanics, a surprising amount of engaging gameplay, but after a while, if you’re not winning all of the tournaments or paying real money you’re missing some of the best elements. I am not ashamed I paid money for Deadpool.
Like the badass he is, he’s well aware he’s in a game, and plays up to it, including the absolute best move in his arsenal (if not the most powerful), ripping his health and power bar from the GUI and smashing his opponent over the head with it. Now that’s thinking outside the box.
Some weapons are just not what you’d expect, but it’s not exactly the most improvised. In these next two cases, we show you two weapons that are indeed improvised to a point, but neither of them qualify properly for the list. Still, it’s worth mentioning them as they’re both weapons that are pretty unique to their titles.
Whatever You Can Grab – Dead Rising
It was perhaps the biggest selling point for Dead Rising that weapon creation got… well, creative. Most famous of all must be the double-ended-chainsaw-paddle, but the franchise also includes lightsabers, burning gloves, a pitchfork-shotgun, toy helicopter with blades, a lawnmower helmet, a heavily armed wheelchair, burning bull-skull helmets… you know what? There are lists on the internet, just have a look around, it gets silly.
But when you’re facing down hordes of zombies and you’re options are limited then necessity really is the mother of invention. Even when your shopping malls have guns readily available they can only get you so far, and then you need to get messy. Alright, so I’m not sure how necessary it is for you to strap a bunch of sawblades into a vacuum cleaner, but when inspiration takes you, you’ve really just got to go with it.
Proton Pack – Ghostbusters
On first appearance, the Proton Pack really shouldn’t be included on a list of improvised weapons, because the Ghostbusters went out specifically with these weapons. It isn’t until you actually stop to think about the facts of the Ghostbusters do you realise that this is a very highly specialised kind of improvisation.
The Proton Pack was created based upon a few basic theories which include:
- Ghosts exist
- Ghosts could be stopped
- How ghosts work (In theory)
They put together their weapon and they put their suits on based entirely on conjecture and theories. In my eyes, this makes them amongst the ultimate improvisational characters of all time… But what do you think?
That’s it, I’m going to put down my keyboard and instead throw it between your eyes! You’ve now bared witness to the greatest improvised weapons that have ever existed – at least to us. As always, we’ll be back next week with another list that we put together last minute (Or several days in advance, since you know, writing schedules and all that jazz). In the meantime, you get to sway the vote in your favour:
We’re done for this week, so it’s time to put down that pool cue, stop mincing our words and time for us all to celebrate that it’s all over with… By throwing some farmyard animals around. What do you think of our improvised weapons list? Were they zany and outlandish enough, or do you think we could have done better than this bunch? As always, let us know what you think in the comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.
If you like point and click adventure games, then you’re going to thoroughly enjoy Gibbous – But what is it exactly? What makes this a Cthulhu Adventure? Is it any good? Join Timlah as we look through the demo of Gibbous.
A life of freedom upon the open sea is a dream for some, but it is not a vocation without perils. Out there where men are free, they can be free of oppression, taxation, and the rule of land, to pursue whatever desires of conquest and greed they please, so long as they’re happy to also be at the mercy of others who want to do much the same thing.
Here we have assembled a gathering of the most terrible captains, wicked crews and vicious looters, pillagers and ravagers known to these seas or any others. Mutinous scoundrels of history and fantasy, gathered one and all in this week’s Top 10. (more…)
Sidekicks, the oft-forgotten but ultimately necessary addition to any great main character. Let’s face it, what is Batman without Robin? Sure, we all care about the main guy more, but let’s face the facts: The sidekick serves more purpose than just comedic effect, (although some seem tied into this role.) Some are actually intelligent, capable and sometimes are more rounded than the main characters themselves.
In honour of all of the best secondary characters out there, as voted by you, this week we’re dedicated to bringing you our Top 10 Sidekicks in Games.
10) CL4-TP – Borderlands 2
Specifically Borderlands 2. Why? In the first in the series CL4-TP units were everywhere, each had their own variation on the basic personality type of arrogant and cowardly, and they would eventually come to rise up against their Hyperion masters and endeavour to assimilate various main characters. In the pre-sequel, the Interplanetary Ninja Assassin model becomes a playable character.
In Borderlands 2, that same Claptrap is the last of his kind, living in a mausoleum made of his broken friends. Hard to feel bad for him though, while he is essential to the plot, he spends most of the first chapter referring to you as “Minion” while shaking in a corner as you deal with his problems. He’s full of catchphrases and soundbites, and every one makes you want to throw him off Sanctuary just to watch him bounce. Sadly for us all, he’s necessary.
9) Lydia – Skyrim
Otherwise known as Housecarl to the Thane of Whiterun, trap springer, arrow catcher, and “Dammit, get out of the way!” there is no more dedicated a sidekick than Lydia. Willing to fling herself into danger in the name of her Thane, no matter the consequences, literally no matter what the consequences, good/bad/irritating, it doesn’t matter.
She can take a beating, and she is sworn to carry your burdens, so she’s not all bad. And worst case scenario you can always tell her to go home. She’ll even stand in the cold and unfurnished shell of Breezehome, diligently awaiting your return. She’s not quite so keen as Oblivion’s adoring fan, but at least she has a name.
8) Ora – Mark of the Ninja
Ahh, here we go, a sidekick who knows what she’s for!
Mark of the Ninja’s Marked rarely sees his companion Ora except when she drops in to inform him of security measures up ahead that he may not have seen already, or critical changes in the situation. After that she vanishes, presumably to go deal with things off-screen while you get on with the game. She may very well be running her own little mission for all you care, but stays broadly by your side for when you need her most.
There may be a reason for this however [SPOILERS] Ora may very well be a hallucination brought about by the markings on the Ninja protagonist, and you are eventually faced with the possibility of killing your friend and ally, or possibly slipping into psychosis [SPOILERS OVER]. She’s a creepy question mark hovering over your narrative, but she’s also indispensible.
7) Murray, The Curse of Monkey Island
“I am Murray, the evil demonic skull! Muwahahaha!”
Murray is an interesting character overall. He’s a comedic relief, in a game series known for its humorous dialogue. The Curse of Monkey Island has a relatively ‘serious’ plot, in that you are trying to save Elaine from being a solid gold statue and defeat the evil pirate LeChuck.
Technically, this demonic talking skull isn’t really a sidekick, but in some situations he certainly acts like one. He gives you little hints and tips, all whilst realising the inevitability of his circumstances, (y’know, being just a skull means you can’t do much.) Whilst he’s snarky and nasty to you a good 95% of the time, he not only sometimes just appears out of the blue, (questionable how a talking skull gets about so much), but he’ll even go in your inventory and talk when you open it. At least he’s always there for you. Annoyingly.
6) Ellie, The Last of Us
The Last of Us is a game that took the world by storm and for good reason. The protagonist, Joel (not to be confused with our very own Joel,) loses his daughter and becomes a bit of a negative person. However, when push comes to shove, he is tasked with looking after Ellie and the two form a fantastic duo.
Perhaps it’s the strange bond of humanity that makes these two characters an absolutely believable team, or perhaps it’s the direness of the situations they’ve been faced with. Whatever the reason for these two and how they manage to look after one another, Ellie holds her own at such a young age. She makes a lot of sense in terms of character development and she’s up there amongst the most awesome youngen in video games.
Naughty Dog, you can be proud of yourselves for portraying Ellie so well in this. She’s the real hero to me.
5) Potato GLADoS – Portal 2
We struggled with this one, but frankly Wheatley made a far more interesting villain than sidekick. Somehow GLADoS’s journey from AI with god delusions – all-powerful within her self-contained domain – to science fair project with a personality disorder made her far more compelling a companion.
The excursion into Aperture’s abandoned projects and the narrative that unfolded their made her presence far more interesting, and her assistance felling the mad moron drunk with science was invaluable. Ok so her reward for restoring her to her rightful place was not killing you, considering her attitude towards you over the last eight years, you got off lightly.
4) Glottis vs Pey’J, Grim Fandango vs Beyond Good and Evil
This town ain’t big enough for two non-human engineer sidekicks. It’s time for you to cast your vote as to which of these two behemoths are video games best engineer sidekick, but first, let’s explain who these two are.
Glottis, the Demon engineer who isn’t allowed to torch anything bigger than a cigarette without a form signed by the boss himself. After Manny manages to get a signature for Glottis to do his thing to Mannys company car, Glottis becomes Mannys personal driver. Turning the car into the Bone Wagon that we all know and love, Glottis is a fun and incredibly enthusiastic character. He understands rules, but most importantly: He values loyalty and friendship above all else.
Pey’J is a Sus Sapien. If you don’t know what that means, it’s basically a pig human. Don’t be fooled by his gruff looks though, Pey’J is also an incredibly loyal character, but unlike Glottis, his head is way more down to earth and clearly understands the importance of Jades discoveries. He likes to create electronic devices for himself and Jade, often to help Jade out… But sometimes just be cause he enjoys making things. Conversely to Glottis, he doesn’t like driving, but he’s a master mechanic and engineer.
Luigi needs no introduction what so ever. The guy has his own stories and his own games that he goes through. Recently, there was even a year in his honour. If you missed out on that, then you missed out on a special part of the Mario universe. However, the Green Plumber is often picked over his own brother, which begs the question: Is he a sidekick, or an alternative hero at this point of time? Originally, he certainly was introduced as a sidekick, being the player two to Mario.
We can’t be too wrong with this one. Many other websites with similar Top 10 themes rate Luigi as a highly dependable character. With videos such as the below to support him too, whose to say he doesn’t deserve a top 3 spot? Honestly, the next two sidekicks however… They take it to the next level.
2) Tails – Sonic
Ok, so he’s not quite so good as Sonic, not as fast and not all that useful in multiplayer. But the twin-tailed fox has something unique that makes him surprisingly handy at exactly the right moment, and isn’t that ultimately what makes a sidekick perfect? Miles “Tails” Prower doesn’t exactly seize the spotlight but there are times you’d father rather you were flying than rushing past everything at breakneck speeds.
Unlike Knuckles – the third addition to the Sonic team – who has his own stuff to get on with unless he’s needed, Tails is friend and admirer to Sonic. Though he can increasingly depend on himself without the blue speedster watching his back, Sonic can always depend on him when he’s in a fix.
Plus he’s ginger. Gotta represent!
1) Alyx Vance, Half Life 2
Alyx Vance is, for all intensive purposes, the perfect Non-Playable Character and I cannot fault her at all. She’s logical, she’s believable, she’s very intelligent and she’s very athletic and helpful. There’s no reason to dislike Alyx, even if you’ve never played Half Life 2, you will at least know of her. She’s considered one of the greatest NPCs of all time by many, she’s full of presence in Half Life 2 and she’s likeable.
What helps is that throughout Half Life 2, you meet characters who are good for helping you out. Alyx is a constant reminder that friendship and devotion to a cause can be a powerful combination. She cares deeply about Gordon Freeman, the silent crowbar wielding protagonist, which is apparent. Combine this with stellar AI which possibly helps her be one of the smartest AIs in video games at that, it’s apparent she’s the perfect sidekick.
I know for a fact right now that if nothing else, there’s one GeekOut reader who’ll see this at the number one spot and be fist pumping and will never stop talking about it, because the guy never shuts up (and we love him for it). He knows who he is.
We’ve been through the motions of our Top 10 but now that the heroes helpers have been honoured, it’s time to have a look at some more sidekicks who didn’t quite make the cut for the full list. Nevermind, they’re still winners to us, even if they’re rarely remembered. We remembered them… Wait, that’s not how this works! We remember these characters for very specific reasons and here’s why!
Navi, The Legend of Zelda
ARGH!!! STOP IT NAVI!!!
Actually, the whole issue of Navi being an annoying character is slightly inflated by the internet. Hear me out here – I don’t remember playing Ocarina of Time and having Navi saying this all that often. Yes it is somewhat annoying when she does decide to go on a “hey listen” rant, but that’s probably because you’re not actually, y’know, paying attention to what she has to say? She’s there to help and she tries her damned best.
Instead, she’s become a bit of a mocking point for the internet. A real shame, too. She is only doing her job.
Pikachu – Pokémon Yellow
The infamous and least useful “Fourth Starter” was the first Pokémon to stalk you through the Kanto realm because he refused to stay in a pokéball. Well go to hell you stuck-up glorified battery! And stop turning your nose up and threatening to shock me whenever I try to talk to you. I have to go through Brock’s gym with you and a pidgey, that’s gonna be like trying to demolish a building with a pamphlet!
Much like in the anime, the pikachu in Pokémon Yellow edition grows to like you in time. He’s not entirely useless despite the fact that you can’t evolve him without losing the entertaining bouncy sprite following you around, and with it losing one of the most unique features of the game (certainly at the time, not so much anymore).
Quite so Watson, it’s time for us to wrap up this weeks Top 10. Much like our sidekicks that made the cut, this list is secondary to them. Hey, some of these may be scoffed at but we truly felt they deserved a mention. Don’t forget to hit that vote button for our next list!
As always though, we wouldn’t make these lists without you, the readers. Please cast your votes and let us know in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter: Do you think our choices were right for this, or are there any characters you feel deserves a mention? Did we put these in the wrong order? Is Alyx Vance really the top sidekick in video gaming, even above Luigi and Tails?! Let us know your thoughts and we’ll see you all again next week for another Top 10.