TA Top Five: Vehicles

By Andrew Ogley, 4 years ago
With game worlds becoming increasingly larger, players need a set of wheels, wings, or even an extra set of legs to get them from point A to point B. Whether it is driving across tropical islands, crossing vast open plains, visiting far off planets, or even crushing hordes of zombies between your wheels, this week we are going to be looking at some of the more interesting ways of getting around.

Of course, the term vehicles is a little all-encompassing, and just a little broad, so we've decided to narrow it down just a little. In the list we are going to try and avoid modern military vehicles, so if your favourite piece of mobile armor from Battlefield, is not included and that is why. We've also avoided modern super cars and hypercars. We recognize that the Bugatti Veyron and the McLaren P1 are both masterpieces of modern engineering, but that is not what we're after either. Finally, to be included, players had to be able to control or interact with the vehicle in some way. So with all that out of the way, let's get Oscar Mike.

Honorable Mentions

Brumak - Gears of War 2

Top 5 Vehicles

There were many strange creatures to be feared in the Gears of War franchise, but one of the toughest was a huge reptilian beast which was used by the Locust as a walking artillery platform, effectively a tank on legs. Already equipped with a thick hide, it was also armor-plated, helmeted, armed with a chain gun and rocket launchers, and under the control of a driver; it was a fearsome sight. Most of the time the player was on the receiving end of the brutal damage these beasts could inflict and the only effective strategy for the player was to surgically remove the rider before the too much damage was done. However, in one particular chapter of Gears of War 2, the tables are turned and the player assumes control of the savage beast and is able to indulge in a rampage of their own whilst chasing the rapidly retreating Locust horde back down underground. Riding on the back of a giant, armor-plated, lizard-like dinosaur, with guns blazing, rockets exploding, and decimating the Locust army was an epic moment. As much fun as it was, we were only given the privilege for one brief moment in the series, and sadly for that reason, it only merits an honorable mention

Railcarts - Metro 2033
Top 5 Vehicles

Deep in the dark underground of the Moscow Metro there are not many modes of transportation; on foot, and railcart being the essential two. As a player, those railcarts were a blessing and a curse; you never knew quite what to expect. They could be a mundane ride from one station to the next, they could be a means of salvation when you were on the verge of being overrun by multitude of mutants, or they could be leading you into the next nightmare, taking you to hell in a handcart. As a ramshackle and decrepit mode of transport, you were never certain of reaching any of the desired destinations, especially under the onslaught of mutants or the less-accommodating citizens of the underground. For all those nerve-wracking moments, the humble railcarts get an honorable mention.

Submersible - Grand Theft Auto V
Top 5 Vehicles

In most of the games we play, we spend most of our time on land, some time in air, some in space, and yet so little below the waves. Just like in real life, the ocean world is one we don't get to explore too often. Rockstar finally gave us the opportunity to go where so few who had gone before, hunting down submarine pieces, nuclear waste, and hidden packages. It felt like we were all budding Rob Ballard's, discovering long lost wrecks off the coast of Los Santos County. Watching the bows of sunken ships appearing through the windows of the submersible was intriguing and almost captured the real sense of underwater exploration. As gamers, we've never had such an opportunity, and for that reason, GTA's submersible makes it onto the list.

Top Five

5 - Jeep - too many games to mention
Top 5 Vehicles

Although we didn't want to include real cars in the list, there was no way of getting around the fact the Jeep is a ubiquitous vehicle in the world of gaming. There's probably not one among us who have not been shot at, shot from, tormented by, or saved by one of these general purpose vehicles at some during our gaming lives. They're certainly not glamorous nor outstanding in any shape or form, but they are rugged, tough, and fairly reliable. The Jeep, and Hi-Lux/Landcruiser type vehicles, can be found in almost gaming environment, from Amazon jungles, tropical paradises, deserts, and urban areas. It even manages to survive across time periods, showing up in WWII shooters, modern day shooters, and yet still making it through to the futuristic world of Crysis. Inescapable through sheer weight of appearances in a plethora of games, the general purpose vehicle makes it onto our list.

4 - John Marston's Horse - Red Dead Redemption
Top 5 Vehicles

Back in 1911, there weren't many ways of traversing the great plains in the Wild West other than on horseback. In Rockstar's Western epic, other than jumping on a train to the limited number of stations or catching a stagecoach, it was the only means of transportation. Players who spent any length of time riding around the barren lands could not help but develop an attachment to their four-legged equine friend. Admittedly, it might not be as fast or as glamorous as some other modes of transport, nor as intimidating as Ruin (in Darksiders), but it would always be ready for you, and would come galloping to you whenever you whistled. Even though it was not particularly powerful, it was always your first line of defense against some of the more dangerous animals of the west, and could be relied on to get you out of trouble fairly quickly. Sadly it was not invulnerable, and could fall prey to bears and cougars, or in my own case, a panic stricken rifle shot, aimed at a pack of wolves attacking me and my horse. Such was my attachment to the animal, and my feeling of guilt, I reloaded the previous checkpoint to resurrect my trusty steed. In honor of "Binky", as I named him (thank you, Terry Pratchett), the horse from Red Dead Redemption makes it on to the list.

3 - Rollerhawg - Dead Rising 3
Top 5 Vehicles

Fellow survivors of Los Perdidos might recall that first sight of the highway flooded with the living dead. That initial vision of a sea of zombies stretching as far as the eye could see. It genuinely looked like the whole of city's population had been turned into flesh-eating undead. Getting around the city was certainly not going to be any picnic despite the number of abandoned vehicles in the streets. With even muscle cars and trucks occasionally struggling to overcome the multitude of walking corpses, players would have quickly discovered the crushing power of the steamroller, even though it was slow and left the player vulnerable. Luckily, early in the game, the player discovers a blueprint for the RollerHawg; a combo-vehicle made from a steamroller and motorbike. The crushing power remains, combined with the speed from the motorbike, and with the addition of flame-thrower at the front. All-in-all, it's as mean and as brutal as it sounds, and horribly efficient at dispatching zombies in droves. Whilst there are plenty of other combo-vehicles in the game, most of which are based on familiar ideas, there's nothing quite as unique and crazy as the RollerHawg. For that reason, the bike with the widest and heaviest front wheel ever, makes it onto the list.

2 - Warthog - Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary
Top 5 Vehicles

It was inevitable that the workhorse from the Halo franchise would be on the list somewhere. The futuristic jeep-like vehicle has been in the series from the start, and almost symbolizes the franchise as much as Mjolnir armor worn by Master Chief. Looking something like a military grade dune-buggy, the M12 Force Application Vehicle, to give it its full title, has become iconic enough to make the move into other franchises and mediums; drooled over by the BBC's Top Gear presenter, Jeremy Clarkson, in Forza Motorsport 4, and featured in the Web Series, "Forward Unto Dawn". Although the Warthog might not be the most heavily-armed vehicle in the series, nor the most powerful, it was fast and agile, and moved players across the game areas quickly. In reality, the lack of cover for the driver and gunner might be a problem, but in the game, given the player's own regenerating shields it was less of a problem. As the series evolved, so did the number of variants of the M12, and although they equipped with different weapons and loadouts, each one kept the iconic angular form and chunky tires. Responsible for aiding millions of players through single-player campaigns and carrying them into multiplayer battles. Love it or loathe it, the humble Hog is quite possibly the most widely recognized four-wheeled vehicle in gaming, and for that reason it makes it into such a high position on the list.

1 - SSV Normandy - Mass Effect
TA Top 5 Vehicles

What else could really top the list? Having a superior stealth spaceship at your disposal has to be the ultimate ride. Without distinguishing between the variants, the Normandy found a special place in the hearts of all the Commander Shepherds that had the pleasure of steering her throughout the universe. Sleek and elegantly formed, the ship provided the stage on which much of the intrigue and widely documented romances played out. It also played a pivotal role in a number of the epic battles in the series, and eventually saved the universe. Equipped with a dazzling array of weaponry and technology, all at the disposal of the player who was able to command the vessel as he or she wanted. Such is the draw of the ship, that it has achieved an almost iconic status, frequently being mentioned alongside other great Sci-Fi vessels such as the Serenity, the Nostromo, and the Millennium Falcon. Whilst not the most ideal for nipping down to the shops or picking up the kids from school, it still has to be one of the best ways of getting around most galaxies.

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!
Andrew Ogley
Written by Andrew Ogley
Andrew has been writing for TA since 2011 covering news, reviews and the occasional editorials and features. One of the grumpy old men of the team, his mid-life crisis has currently manifested itself in the form of an addiction to sim-racing - not being able to afford the real life car of his dreams. When not spending hours burning simulated rubber, he still likes to run around, shoot stuff and blow things up - in the virtual world only of course.