Decades of videogames have brought us a veritable cornucopia of beautiful and bizarre firepower. We've seen it all: from Turok 2's nasty Cerebral Bore to the improbable homing shark launcher from Armed & Dangerous. However, when you desperately need an enemy to die in the quickest and most gratuitous way possible, there's only one boomstick that can possibly do the trick.
Gaming's most ubiquitous weapon is also its most useful. With your trusty shotty clenched firmly in hand, the forces of hell, nazis, alien armadas and your online opponents are reduced to greasy piles of meat in short order. We'd love to pick a single shotgun to illustrate our love affair with the beautiful and brutal equaliser... but there are just too many to count. To this end, let's take a look at some of gaming's most memorable shotguns- and why we love them.
Doom: Hell Is Your Bitch!
Doom started it all. The original fully-featured FPS packed a lot of fun firepower, but its shotgun stands tall as the connoisseur's weapon of choice. A single shot is enough to shred a possessed hell-zombie where he stands, and to pop an imp like a hairy over-ripe kiwi fruit. As any id Software veteran knows, a few shells are an infinitely more useful pickup than any amount of armour or health- and worth wading into the fray with fists flying just to snatch.
Most shotguns are useless at anything but point-blank range, but Doom's legendary offering sweetens the deal with ridiculously tight buckshot scatter. Smug enemies on the other side of large arenas won't be laughing so hard when their internal organs leave their bodies at breathtaking velocity.
Put simply, Doom's shotgun makes hell your bitch. What's not to love about that?
Double Your Gun, Double Your Fun!
The insane Serious Sam series is one of our favourite FPS franchises, and we can't wait for more details on Serious Sam 3: BFE. But we already know which weapon is going to monopolise most of our time. The mighty Coach Gun.
Sam Stone's signature double-barrelled shotgun is capable of smearing smaller opponents across the Egyptian scenery with gleeful abandon and can put massive dents in even the biggest foes. However, we love it because of the big brass balls you'll need to use it properly. MENTAL's ferocious forces descend on you in massive hordes, and weaker gamers frequently resort to rockets and cannons out of sheer panic. Keep your cool, though, and you'll be able to annihilate your foes when you see their hollow sockets snap into tight focus.
A Kleer Skeleton may look intimidating, but his vicious scythes look much less threatening when they're bouncing along the sand. You'll need nerves of steel and surgical precision to pull it off, but that's why we love it.
Worms' Sniper Shotgun: Fun At Any Range
We're all massive Worms fans here at Dealspwn. It's the best of British - and it delivers a huge number of both conventional and completely inexplicable armaments. There's a gun (or explosive animal) for any situation... but the humble shotty provides players with a surprisingly versatile option.
The rangefinder provides precision at even extreme range, and its unique double shot functionality means that there's nowhere for your enemies to hide. The first salvo cracks your foe's cover. And the second wipes him out. Sure, a well-aimed grenade or bazooka bank shot could do the job with a little more finesse, but when the game's on the line, the shotty can guarantee you that last sweet kill.
We love the fact that Team17 didn't make the shotgun a boring, stereotypical close range bruiser. And we love the look on our mates' faces when we knock their last worm into the water from the other side of the map.
Online: "Whores" And Heroes
When playing online, there's often a rush for the shotgun as soon as players spawn. It's a bona fide power weapon that makes light work of cramped quarters, and you'll frequently hear phrases like "shotgun whore" being bandied about as the kills rack up. If you're not saying them yourself, that is... or have the coveted boomstick in your possession. You big noob, you.
But in games like CoD, Battlefield: Bad Company or Breach, the shotgun is a badge of honour that denotes you as someone who's willing to trade range for split/second judgement and skill. We still don't condone hiding under stairwells for easy kills, but we salute the brave players who rock this controversial weapon under overwhelming odds.
Running from cover to cover, avoiding sniper fire and assault rifle bursts, taking hits from all sides... just to get close enough to deliver the final perfect shot? We love it.
Right. We know that you love shotguns too... and it's high time you got involved. What are your favourite gaming shotties? When were your best moments- both on and offline? Open fire in the comments!