The TA Top Five: Substances

By Jonathan Barnes, 5 years ago
I’ll make no bones about it; it was really hard for certain members of the TA team to focus this week due to the fact that everyone’s favorite teacher-turned-meth kingpin, “Heisenberg” (aka Walter White) comes back tonight for the final eight episodes of AMC's "Breaking Bad". As our minds and bodies began to ache for another hit of Heisenberg’s “Blue” (or, rather, another hit from Vince Gilligan's narrative cook), we started to think about the best drugs/substances found in Xbox 360 games and submit to you our humble list.

Honorable Mentions
Any health/mana potion ever
The Power Pellet - Pac-Man (Xbox 360)
Scarecrow's Fear Gas - Batman: Arkham Asylum (Xbox 360)

5 - Rook - The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

One of the key mechanics of The Witcher 2 is the use of special potions to augment Geralt’s abilities before going into battle. While there are many different combinations (and you can pick up to three different potions at once), one potion will almost always be in the rotation, Rook. Rook instantly increases sword damage by 10% and (unlike many other potions in the game and in this list) carries no negative side effects. Furthermore, in the game's context, it only carries with it a toxicity of 25, meaning that it's like JELL-O... there's always room for it.

4 - Felldew - The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

If you want to really ride the dragon (crap... wrong Elder Scrolls game...), you need to hook yourself up with some Felldew. Upon taking Felldew, your character receives an instant +20 bonus to Strength, Intelligence, and Agility. Basically, it’s the greatest upper in the history of games.

But wait a second, obj, if this is “the greatest upper in the history of games” why isn’t it higher on the list? I FIND YOUR LIST INVALID AND DEMAND A RECOUNT!
Easy there, substance-passionate gamer who strangely has "420" in their tag.

The reason Felldew isn’t higher on the list are the crippling side effects that occur in withdrawal which can drain (in no particular order): luck, intelligence, strength, agility, endurance, speed, willpower, and even health. So, basically, after a quick 45 seconds of god-like amping, you bottom out faster than someone who crosses Heisenberg.

3 - Psycho - Fallout 3 / Fallout: New Vegas

I’ll be quite honest, Fallout has A LOT of good chems in it. Its roster of substances is basically like the '27 Yankees in terms of excellence. With that in mind, it was really hard to pick between Jet, Ultra Jet, Buffout, Mentats, and the always-needed RadAway. So while Psycho is taking the prize, think of this as an award for the entire chem cabinet.

Psycho gives your Lone Wanderer an instant 25% damage boost, which is incredibly handy when taking on a den of Deathclaws. Fortunately, it only carries with it a 10% chance of addiction, so you’ve got that going for you… which is nice.

2 - Touch of Death - Far Cry 3

While Felldew might be the greatest upper in the history of games, Touch of Death is more like the Finger of God. Want to smite some (as Jesse Pinkman might say tonight) bitches? Take a syringe of Touch of Death and every single one of Jason’s shots becomes a one-hit kill for twenty seconds. The only downside of this syringe is that you’re going to need to gather two white leaves, five amber leaves, and five crimson leaves… although by the time you collect the forty relics you need to unlock the formula, you should have no problem with the herbology.

1 - ADAM - BioShock (Xbox 360) / BioShock 2 (Xbox 360)

You never forget your first time with ADAM. You just found your way into Rapture. You just saw a splicer eviscerate someone RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU. Then you beat someone to death with a wrench and come across this giant, glowing, red syringe. Without hesitation, you JAB that bad boy into your arm and watch electricity begin to shoot out of your fingers… then you throw yourself off of a balcony and pass out.

Throughout the rest of the game, you're going to need more ADAM so that you can continue to upgrade and gain more powers, powers that are necessary to survival.

Just like any great power, ADAM comes with great responsibility, and the ways you go about obtaining it and using it create one of the key cruxes to BioShock's excellence.

Now that you've heard from us, what kinds of "performance enhancing substances" are on your list?

The TA Team will be bringing you The TA Top Five every Sunday until we run out of coolness to debate and discuss. If you have an idea for a Top Five you'd like us to do, be sure to let us know in the comments!
Jonathan Barnes
Written by Jonathan Barnes
Jonathan has been a news/views contributor since 2010. When he's not writing reviews, features, and opinion pieces, he spends his days working as an informal science educator and his nights as an international man of mystery.