Whether you’re blasting through hordes of enemy aliens in Halo or killing armies of demons in DOOM, shooting games are all about feeling powerful. Any great shooting game has a good arsenal of guns, but only the best weapons stick in our minds for years upon years. As we look back fondly on shooting games over the past 40 years, it’s hard to forget some of these super-strong weapons.
Some of these guns are available through cheat codes, while others can be plucked straight from fallen enemies. Either way, they helped us achieve god-status in our favorite shooting games. These are our picks for the most powerful gaming guns of all time.
If you think we missed an obvious choice, feel free to comment with your favorite. It’s incredibly hard to recall every awesome gun across the entire shooting genre, so it’s likely we missed a few. If you feel like your favorite got snubbed, don’t be afraid to let us know!
This list of powerful guns in gaming wouldn't be complete without pointing out the true classic; the BFG. This big f'ing gun is capable of smoking an entire room full of baddies with a single pull of its experimental trigger. By firing huge green blasts of plasma energy, it sweeps through demonic matter like butter, destroying everything in its wake.
The BFG stands as one of the most iconic and deadly weapons in gaming history, regardless of genre or release era. It has appeared in other classic shooting games like Quake, and receives nods and homages with high frequency in the genre. Whether you're stuck in a corner and trying to survive waves of demons or simply aiming to do the most damage possible, the BFG is your best friend in DOOM.
If you ask anybody to point out the most powerful gun in Goldeneye 007, they'll probably direct you towards the Golden Gun. With its metallic finish and ability to kill almost any enemy with one shot, the Golden Gun is undoubtedly one of the most iconic guns from the Nintendo 64 era. Despite that, the Gold PP7 stands as the most deadly gun in the entire game.
You can only unlock the Gold PP7 by finishing the campaign level “Cradle” on Agent difficulty in under 2 minutes and 15 seconds. Once enabled via the cheat code menu, you can blast through any level using this incredibly effective handgun. Like the Golden Gun, the Gold PP7 can kill nearly anything in one hit and there's no shortage of ammo. This is easily one of the most over-powered guns to ever grace the N64.
While there might be other weapons on this list that are a bit more exotic or interesting in design, few guns can match the efficacy of the Rocket Launcher in the Halo series. Regardless of what Halo game you're playing or what enemy you're trying to kill, the Rocket Launcher can usually get the job done in seconds. An absolute terror in multiplayer and a savior in difficult campaign missions, the Rocket Launcher is a god-send for when explosions are needed.
One of the best aspects of the Rocket Launcher is its immense splash damage, which easily takes out groups of alien forces in one fell swoop. It's also your best bet for dealing with enemy vehicles, especially after it received the lock-on upgrade in later Halo titles. Generally speaking, if you fire this weapon anywhere near your enemy, it's an instant BBQ.
Every now and then, there's a gun that pops up in a shooting game that is unequivocally over-powered. The Model 1887 shotgun with the Akimbo perk from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is easily one of the most memorable in that department. Due to a small glitch that expanded its accuracy when dual-wielded, the Model 1887 took over the multiplayer landscape of Modern Warfare 2 in an instant.
Whereas other guns on this list might require skill or accuracy to be used properly, the Model 1887 Akimbo load-out was basically a machine for free kills. With a range that could only be described as absolutely ridiculous, the Model 1887 Akimbo could take down other players in one quick trigger pull. The lengthy reload time puts the user in danger after a misfire, but as long as you can pull off one clean shot, the Model 1887 Akimbo would dust your opponent like it was nothing.
The Hammer of Dawn might be the most powerful gun on this list, if only due to the incredible level of destruction it affords the user. It doesn't fire bullets or explosives, but rather directs a satellite-laser by painting the target with a beacon. Players can only use the weapon outdoors and with clear sight of the sky, which limits its use in both multiplayer and campaign levels. However, once the skies open with a red burst from the Hammer of Dawn, you can be sure that death is to follow.
Firing the Hammer of Dawn takes a few seconds, so players have to ensure that they properly time their attack to avoid an early grave. Otherwise, the Hamer of Dawn can sweep across levels, instantly destroying any enemy it comes in contact with. If enemy players are lined up right, you can easily delete an entire team at once. Be careful though, as straying too close to the Hammer of Dawn laser will be your downfall, as the laser does not discriminate in its destruction.
Like DOOM, Quake is a classic franchise with tons of awesome guns. From automatic nail-guns to grenade launchers, Quake has tons of weapons that deliver epic moments of bloody violence. The Lightning Gun first popped up in Quake 3, where it was quickly utilized by players with precision and skill. If you want to make a mark in multiplayer Quake, becoming proficient with the Lightning Gun is a must.
Unlike other guns on this list, the Lightning Gun is all about accuracy over brute-force. It doesn't have a great range, nor does it have a huge ammo supply, but the Lightning Gun can easily toast a foe if used properly. It's a gun that is 100% accurate, meaning that any missed shots are purely the fault of the player. It might take a bit of practice, but getting good with the Lightning Gun is a sure-fire way to edge out the opposition.
When compared to some of the other games on this list, the Ratchet & Clank series might be seen as a bit childish. Despite its cartoon-like visuals and kid-friendly story, the franchise has always been about one thing; incredibly ridiculous and destructive weapons. Of those guns, the RYNO (short for “rip you a new one”) is an easy contender for the most powerful.
This expensive weapon can be picked up from the gun merchant partway through the game, but it's unlikely that players will have accumulated enough cash to grab it on their first playthrough. This is probably a good thing, as the RYNO makes mince meat out of anything you set in its path. The weapon can fire up to nine missiles at a time, locking onto targets and homing in on them. If you want something dead in Ratchet & Clank, the RYNO can get the job done with ease.