Eight: The CarjackAs featured in Grand Theft Auto IV
Plenty of current games feature carjacking, whether it’s Vin Diesel hopping from car to car like a safari park gibbon in Wheelman
, or the more sophisticated thievery in Arma 2
, where you can nab any vehicle if you take out the crew without wrecking it. However, nobody does car theft quite like Rockstar, and in Grand Theft Auto IV
the act was elevated to an art form.
So what is it that makes the act of acquiring somebody else’s car so much better in GTA IV
than in, say, Saints Row 2
, which for all intents and purposes is a very similar game? The answer lies in the big picture, not merely in the act of reaching into a stranger’s car and dragging them out by the hair.
Liberty City is one of the most convincing fake cities ever created, providing a giant movie set where you’re the star and everybody else is in character all the time. As such, when you steal a car in GTA IV
, it looks and sounds more realistic, and feels more satisfying, that it does in any other game. You can play for hours, days, weeks or months and still not see the same crime committed twice on the same day.
Stealing the car is the easy bit...
There are different animations depending not only on what weapon you have, but also which vehicle you’re attempting to appropriate. Not only that, but the characters’ AI also acts differently depending on the circumstances. For example, you can jack a car without even using the Carjack button. If you walk up to the car and aim your gun at the driver, he or she will usually put their hands up, get out of the car while you have the gun trained on them and then leg it. Either that or they’ll duck behind the wheel and try to drive off – it depends on how close you are and how lucky they feel.
This is arguably one of the few games in history where committing a crime against a character doesn’t feel like a scripted event. The GTA games have always been about crime, but this takes the immersion surrounding it to a new level. The first Saints Row
featured a similar system, where you could pull a gun on a shop clerk and they would open the safe for you and allow you to rob the place, but it was much less polished, and the robberies felt more like mini-games. Stealing a car in GTA IV
is the closest you can get to stealing a real car without breaking the law.
Seven: Scorpion’s Harpoon As featured in Mortal Kombat
While nearly everything about Mortal Kombat
was overshadowed by the far superior Street Fighter
games, there was one move amid the lacklustre crop that stood head and shoulders above the rest. It wasn’t the fatalities – let’s face it nobody could do them, at least not intentionally. It sure as hell wasn’t the rubbish fireballs. Sub Zero had a couple of interesting moves, including his ability to shoot ice, and Johnny Cage had a funny punch-in-the-nuts move, but none of these were classically great moves.
The Harpoon is Scorpion's signature move in the MK series
No, carrying the honour of Mortal Kombat
is the bizarre yellow ninja Scorpion and his harpoon. Chucking that harpoon creates pure fighting game poetry, and it’s a great move in every way. He just hurls the harpoon, which appears from God-knows-where, into the face of the enemy. He then drags his foe over to him, where they stand stunned, waiting for the next attack. It’s ludicrous, but it also makes sense in the fantasy context of Mortal Kombat
. After all, Scorpion can also breathe fire.
This move also puts a big, dumb grin on your face, which is probably because it involves a big, stupid looking spear, gouts of comedy Mortal Kombat
blood and shaky animations. Then there’s the audio. Scorpion looks like a ninja, but he talks like an enraged ice hockey player. ”Get over here!”
he growls. It’s like being accosted by a four tonne block of pure cheese. It shouldn’t be brilliant, but it is.
Despite all this silliness, however, Scorpion’s harpoon move is easily the best and most memorable move that the Mortal Kombat
series ever produced, and it’s also very accessible. Followed by the uppercut, it’s a powerful combo that you can learn in seconds.