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Top 10 In-Game Wars
War. War never changes. But the armies fighting in the wars do! There have been some great conflicts to grace our consoles, especially recently, but some are a little more memorable than others. Here are the Top 10 Wars in video game history, so that we can remember the fallen.
10. Wu vs. Wei vs. Shu (Dynasty Warriors): One of the few video game wars with the distinction of being real, the Three Kingdoms era of feudal China was a turbulent and highly romanticized time. Beginning with the fall of the Han Dynasty around the year 200 A.D., this strife-filled period saw the rise of the Wei, Wu, and Shu dynasties. While it was a long and complex era according to scholars, I like the Dynasty Warriors timeline much better. Everybody was alive at the same time, and if you were lucky enough to have a name, you were capable of slaughtering thousands of unnamed soldiers. Hell, Dynasty Warriors has managed to re-tell this story no less than eleven times. How's that for longevity?
9. Assassins vs. Templars (Assassin's Creed): They may hide behind multiple names and faces, but this war has been raging on for centuries. From the early days when actual Assassins like Altair battled Templars, to today's Democrat-Republican rivalry (I'll let you figure out which is which), this is a war fought over one idea: knowledge. Hide it or embrace it? Put the power in the hands of the few or the hands of the many? The Templars will tell you that knowledge is power, and with that power comes rules. The Assassins would have you believe that nothing is true, and everything is permitted. I just want a freakin' Assassin's blade. Permit me that.
8. Spartans vs. Covenant (Halo): I don't know if it was Bungie's intent or not, but I find myself more endeared to the Covenant that anything. I care more for the grunts and their adorable arm-flailing than I ever did about stupid Master Chief. Yeah, I get it Chief, you need a weapon. I heard you the first thirty times. Halo: Reach did a good job of both making the Covenant actually threatening again, and showing the true scale of the galactic war. Thankfully, the Flood, the dumbest aliens ever, were absent, so Bungie could really focus on what made Halo great. Arbiter is cool and all, but I'd much rather stomp an Elite's head into the ground than team up with one.
7. Scorpion vs. Sub-Zero (Mortal Kombat): The oldest game war on the list, and the only one-on-one war, Scorpion and Sub-Zero have fought an approximate thirteen gabajillion times. I feel sorry for Scorpion's chiropractor, because that is a lot of spinal rips. Part of the larger Lin Kuei battle, the Scorpion/Sub-Zero fight has taken on a life of its own, and has earned the right to be called a war. More digitized fighters have died in this fight than there are people in the world. Here's a question though: Has Scorpion been frozen the most, or has Sub-Zero had more tastes of the rope spear? That's what I want to know.
6. Humans vs. Locusts (Gears of War): Imagine if you lived in the Gears of War universe. Perhaps you fought in the Pendulum Wars. You return home, trying to eke out a survival with your wife and young child. You go into work one day, but on your way there, you feel the ground start to shake. Earthquake? No, an earthquake wouldn't open holes like th---Holy s**t Locust! Locust are scary because they just look like they don't give a f**k, about anything. I mean, they rip your arms and beat you to death with them. In a way, though, I kind of feel bad for the Locust. They were perfectly happy living underground and not bothering anybody, until the Lambent came and messed everything up. I for one would like to extend an olive branch of peace (aka chainsaw) to these poor creatures.
5. Quarians vs. Geth (Mass Effect): Here's a little back-story on the incredible Quarian/Geth conflict: The Quarians created the Geth to be a robotic servant race, but, in an event that would haunt Quarians forever, decided to give their robots AI. Deciding that maybe a life of servitude isn't the best way to go, the Geth rose up against their Quarian masters, eventually capturing their home planet and driving the Quarians to outer space. Now the Quarians float around the galaxy on their flotilla, while the Geth have become intergalactic boogiemen. Thanks to this senseless war, I might never be able to see Tali's face. That's the true travesty here.
4. Goblins vs. Goblins (Oblivion): In a place called Crestbridge Camp, you find a group of farmers who are in the middle of a full-on goblin war. It turns out the Bloody Hands goblins have lost their sacred totem to a rival goblin group, the Rock Biters. Like combining two ant hills, the player can cause all sorts of ruckus between these two tribes. This is so fun that eventually a mod was created, the Goblin War Mod, that allowed the player to instigate a war between any of the seven Goblin tribes of Cyrodiil. Stealing all seven totems and placing them in an empty field will set off the Great Goblin War, and is frankly one of the most entertaining things to watch in a video game.
3. You vs. The Liberty City Police (GTAIII): This isn't about GTAIII's silent protagonist (whose name is actually Claude if anybody cares). This is about you, a cheat-code enabled tank, and the futile attempts of the LCPD to control your reign of terror. Getting the hallowed six-star wanted level, and subsequently holding off for as long as possible, was a game in and of itself, and it was the first time many of us had played a game that gave us such complete control of a video game world. Many an hour of my youth was spent stalking the streets of Liberty City murdering FBI agents by the carload. It was, simply put, the ultimate power fantasy.
2. Horde vs. Alliance (World of WarCraft): For the Alliance! For the Horde! Has there ever been a more debated war than this one? If you play WoW, you have an opinion on which is the best faction. It's hard to beat the feeling of beating up an Alliance gnome, but fighting against Orcs just feels right. Orgrimmar is as great a city as any, but Stormwind is simply beautiful to gaze upon. Blizzard has done a great job making both factions feel not only viable, but complex. There is no clear right and wrong in this war, and that's what makes it unique. One thing is for sure, this battle is going to rage on for a long time.
1. Protoss vs. Terran vs. Zerg (StarCraft): StarCraft does a huge list of things right, but I feel the crowning achievement is the insanely perfect balancing of the three races. Whether it's the Terrans middle-of-the-road tactics, the brutal strike forces of the Protoss, or simply getting "Zerged", each species brings its own distinct strengths and weaknesses to the war. The balancing is so good that, even though the original StarCraft released in 1998, no single race or tactic has ever become dominant. With great characters like Jim Raynor and Sarah Kerrigan fighting the good fight as well, the StarCraft saga is one for the ages, and my number one pick for the best in-game war ever.