50th Anniversary Of Lasers! Our Favorite Lasers In Gaming

Halo 3

You have used them to fell your enemies, destroy sinister strongholds, and solve innumerable environmental puzzles. You have been baffled by their physically impossible visibility to the naked eye. You have been impressed by their versatility, at the sheer variety of things they disintegrate. They have consistently distinguished themselves from our guns, the bullets, the lightning shooters, and the gravity manipulators that have been our weapons of choice for years and years.

I speak, of course, of the lasers. Human beings have been using Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation (LASER. Get it?) in the name of science, security, pointing at stuff and awesomeness for fifty years (the patent was created on March 22nd, 1960), but we gamers have been using these potent beams of coherent light for a variety of destructive purposes for ages. Across time and space, in unknowable pasts and far-flung futures, we have taken up our lasers and smoked fools into oblivion. Celebrate a half a century of functional laser devices with these, the five sweetest lasers in gaming history.

The Hammer of Dawn from "Gears of War"

You know what's the worst? When millions of bug-lizard people start coming out of the ground, destroying your awesome cities with their giant worm monsters, and kidnapping your wife before zombiefying her. It sucks. Frankly, just shooting and chainsawing Locusts isn't enough. It's just not as satisfying as it should be. Luckily, you can point a little gun at them and summon an enormous laser beam from space to disintegrate them and their stupid worm monsters. That'll learn 'em but good.

Gemini Laser from "Mega Man 3"

When you've forcibly ripped seventy-eight separate weapons from defeated robot masters over the course of twenty-three years, they tend to run together. You may be a mega man, but can you really be expected to discern between a Leaf Shield and a Jewel Satellite? Of course not. You do remember your favorites though, and playing second fiddle only to your beloved Metal Blade is the Gemini Laser. This little rectangle of light torn from the ruined husk of Gemini Man not only blows up evil robots, but it will also ricochet around a room if it misses its target. The Gemini Laser reappeared as part of a boss fight in Mega Man 10. It takes away like half of your life if it hits you. It is awesome.

Laser from "Contra"

So you and your buddy are running along, shooting up alien forces with aplomb. He takes the high ground through the jungle, but you're not quick enough and you take the low road. Your pal is a traitorous bastard though. He takes not one, but both of the Spread Guns. He didn't even need the second one. He says, don't worry about it, just take the Laser. You seethe with anger, but before you curse your partner's name unto seven generations, reconsider your consolation prize. The Laser may be slow and it may be narrow, missing many of the enemies you fire it at. Remember, though: it makes the a totally rad noise when you fire it. It also passes through dudes after you shoot them with it.

The Spartan Laser from "Halo 3"

Good things come to those who wait. While everyone else is running around like chickens with their heads cut off, you should take the time to savor the finer things in life. Let those fools run off to get to the Banshees first. Ignore them as they race to grab the Plasma Sword. Instead, take a leisurely stroll over to that Spartan Laser, casually raise it to your shoulder, and take slow aim while it warms up. Your patience will be rewarded when you've melted the heads off those hasty idiots who opposed you with a beam of hot, red light blazing across the terrain. Hell yeah, Spartan Laser.

Your Hand from "Astro Boy: Omega Factor"

It ain't easy being a robot built solely to replace your creator's dead son. It puts the pressure on. It makes it hard to enjoy having rockets in your feet and righteous pointy hair. It distracts you when you're beating the crap out of common criminals and evil robots who don't find constructive ways to vent their existential angst. You know what makes it all okay? When you can hold out your hand and freaking lasers come out of it. Somehow, your quest for justice, your daddy issues, the prejudices you face as an artificial life form all just melt away when your hand is a laser. It should be noted as well that "Omega Factor"'s creators, Treasure, are laser experts. This is far and away their best.