By Mento 2 Comments
..Really? Wha.. why do I come up with names like that? Some kind of self-sabotaging personality disorder? I mean what the fu-
Oh hey! I didn't see you there. So here's a new feature. Not just new for me, neither, but new for the internet or indeed any form of written article that discusses popular media: A list of ten items, written in a descending hierarchical fashion on an arbitrary "best" to "worst" axis. Because there's so many superpowers and superheroes in comics and movies, I've only chosen to showcase those exclusive to video games. (For the pedants: I'm sure several comic book characters have some of these powers too, but the video game characters they're associated with are far more well-known.)
#1 OmnipotenceOmnipotence, the power to control all things, is nothing new in video games. More than a couple games have you play as a God - though, admittedly, one that has limited amounts of power initially. Just basic old mountain moving and flood summoning, usually. If you're going to have a list of powers that the average human is unable to perform, you might as well start with all of them. Right?
Powers: Everything. Usually more limited than that, but the ones you have are so awe-inspiring that people will believe you capable of anything.
Game (Character): Katamari Damacy ( The King of All Cosmos, when he feels like it), Populous (Protagonist), Black & White (Protagonist), ActRaiser (The Master.) Numerous other God-Sim games, where you reap in devout worship and all the puny mortals look like ants. This is especially true with SimAnt.
#2 The Slayer WithinFrom Gods to Demigods, the Slayer is the alternate form of the protagonist (and, theoretically, of any other Bhaalspawn) of the core Baldur's Gate series. The Slayer is an insanely strong physical attacker that's almost impervious to harm. It is, however, uncontrollable and rather not worth letting out for specific narrative reasons. To a lesser extent, this applies to dudes who change into werewolves, dudes who turn into dragons and dudes who simply go berserk. And the Hulk. Wait, I said no comic books. IGNORE THAT BIT.
Powers: The ability to briefly become an incredibly powerful creature you are unable to control, whenever you are greatly threatened.
Game (Character): Baldur's Gate (Protagonist), Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter ( Ryu), Jak & Daxter ( Jak.)
#3 ElectricitySucker Punch's non-procyonid wall-climber Cole MacGrath is perhaps the best-known example of a video game exclusive superhero. His electricity powers, though not completely novel, have been designed from scratch to match the sandbox environment and combat engine of the game he stars in. Powers act like a familiar mixture of guns and incendiaries, making acclimatization easy for those more used to firearms in games, complete with plethora of convenient distance-covering powers and some interesting weaknesses to water, blackouts and a consistent voice. If you hadn't guessed, me playing inFamous 2 is this week's blog idea source. So thank it.
Powers: Electricity. He controls it.
Game (Character): inFamous ( Cole MacGrath), Raiden ( Mortal Kombat.)
#4 ImmortalityViewed as both a gift and a curse, immortality is the inability to die. In a very technical sense, pretty much every video game protagonist is immortal. Or at least an incredibly fortunate random time-traveler. But there's only a handful of video game characters where the immortality is a major plot point, chief of which is Black Isle's excellent but text-heavy adventure-RPG Planescape: Torment, where you solve a mystery that spans multiple dimensions. Sort of. It's an odd game.
Powers: You know how if people get really badly hurt or really old they can die? Not the case here.
Game (Character): Planescape: Torment ( The Nameless One), Legacy of Kain ( Kain), Castlevania ( Dracula & Alucard.)
#5 Viewtiful (Viewty? What's the noun for this?) The state of being Viewtiful. Essentially, you have a considerable amount of super-strength, super-speed and super-skill with acrobatics and the martial arts as long as you look good while fighting crime. Though the more naturally stylish have nothing to fear, those who are slightly more physically awkward might have trouble getting any use out of this ability. Still, if you have a series of bizarre supervillains to fight through in a highly-referential comedic world influenced by pop culture, and you aren't Michael Cera, it's probably best you don't look a gift V-Watch in the mouth. Or on the wrist. I.. you know what I mean.
Powers: Various superpowers, the effectiveness of which is conditional on your showboating.
Game (Character): Viewtiful Joe ( Viewtiful Joe.)
#6 Holding One's Breath For Ten MinutesHey, that's a long-ass time. If you can't solve a series of mind-bending puzzles, each more fiendish than the last, within 600 seconds then perhaps you have no business being a mighty pirate. Just sayin'.
Powers: Holding one's breath for ten minutes. Ten minutes exactly, mind.
Game (Character): Monkey Island ( Guybrush Threepwood.)
#7 HeartYou might not think there's anything quite as epically lame as Captain Planet's youngest planeteer Ma-Ti's notorious power of "Heart", when all the older kids from more established continents got badass elemental powers, but as the show was so quick to point out - human empathy and love is perhaps the most powerful force in the universe. Only it kind of isn't. If you find yourself in some kind of lying children's cartoon or teenage angst anime (or a combination thereof, as is the case with Sora over here), your best bet is try to nurture some meaningful relationships with your cohorts because apparently that's boss killer material right there. Sigh. A cat would never lose to a mouse in real life either. And Santa? Let's just say I have serious doubts about that guy.
Powers: Nebulous. Usually it's just enough to shoot a rainbow beam of light and destroy the evil dark force forever. But that's all.
Game (Character): Seriously any youth-oriented video game where the power of friendship card is played. They all have them.
#8 BoogersAs well as honoring the release of inFamous 2 by discussing superheroes, we're also honoring the long-due release of Duke Nukem Forever by discussing puerile humor only a 12 year old would appreciate. Boogerman is a fairly solid platformer, as platformers in the 16-bit era went, with an unfortunate emphasis on bodily excretions. Boys will be boys, I suppose. Boogerman's superpower is boogers and throwing the boogers so they hit bad guys and the bad guys get all grossed out and they die. Frank Miller did some interesting stuff with the license back in the 80s, but the video game neglected the grisly murders and crack whore subplots for more levels with boogers.
Game (Character): Boogerman: A Pick & Flick Adventure ( Boogerman)
#9 Instinctively Being Able To Identify The Contents of Pizza Boxes Without Looking (But Only Pizza Boxes)Slightly obscure PC superhero games are a perfect thing to drop in the middle of one's article if one feels they aren't being elitist enough. While the adventure game and RPG mechanics have become fairly dated (though still a fairly novel intermingling of the two), the humor and intelligence of this game has stayed fairly pristine. I guess. I suppose it doesn't shine quite as brightly in a world where oddball superheroes with not-particularly-useful and incredibly specialized abilities is a slightly more mainstream concept (thanks in part to Mystery Men), but there's still a profusion of amusingly bizarre superpowers in this game. Including the one outlined above, as used by one Madame Pepperoni. Protip: It actually comes in useful, but not often.
Powers: Instinctively being able to.. aw hell, just read the name. It's that. Soon as I figure out how to Copy-C and Copy-V, you guys are going to be sorry.
Game (Character): The Superhero League of Hoboken (Madame Pepperoni.)
#10 DiabetesHaving the "superpower" of diabetes is how Captain Novolin is able to suit up and spread awareness of the life-debilitating disease. While I can't knock the creators of Captain Novolin for wanting to spread awareness of a fairly common yet dangerous ailment to the kids of America and beyond, I can knock their vessel of choice for said message. Captain Novolin is a notoriously bad platformer that you all have no doubt seen mocked many times in internet articles and blogs funnier than this one. To actually make diabetes his superpower, though, is kind of stretching the limits of taste. To anything but "sweet". Sorry. Because of its poor quality, these days a copy of Captain Novolin is so rare that it costs a hand and a foot. Seriously, again, I'm so sorry.
Game (Character): Captain Novolin ( Captain Novolin). Went this whole thing without mentioning Wilford Brimley. Good for me.
So how about you dudes? Any video game specific superpowers that you know of that might be more deserving of acclaim? Want to talk about your experiences with inFamous or its sequel? Notice how I'm steering the discussion towards the article's content and not its name? That, my friends, is out of necessity and loathing.
Until next time!