A while back, I produced a Top 10 list of what I personally considered to be the hardest achievements to unlock on the Xbox 360. Today, the focus is still on the achievement system, but I will be looking at it from a different perspective, and analysing something that it not always guaranteed in the games industry: originality. The following achievements are excellent examples in my view of developers thinking outside the box and having a bit of fun, inviting gamers to do the same and in some cases setting a trend for other developers to follow. So with further ado, let’s get to the list
10 – Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga – Crowd Pleaser – Break Jar Jar 20 times – 20GS
The Lego Star Wars series has always emphasised fun above everything else. Sure there is usually a destination to get to as you aim to save the universe, but its too tempting not to engage in a impromptu lightsaber duel with your co-op friend, or hop in a vehicles and drive around. To top off a great game, Traveller’s Tales included the ‘Crowd Pleaser’ achievement, where you have to ‘break’ (remember, Lego doesn’t die, it just falls to pieces) Jar Jar Binks 20 times. If you know anything about the Star Wars prequels then you will be aware how hated Jar Jar is, and mercilessly destroying him over and over is a joy. Getting rewarded for it is just the icing on the cake.
9 – Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare – Your Show Sucks – Destroy all the TV’s showing Al Asad’s Speech – 20GS
COD 4 made it onto my hardest achievements list with ‘Mile High Club’, but this one is much more enjoyable to get. In the third mission where the US forces storm a small town in the Middle East (one of my favourite levels from the game), your aim is to get to the TV centre where Al Asad is broadcasting a speech and capture him. Along the way however, there are hundreds of TV’s scattered around showing off the speech in motion. Putting a bullet in everyone one of them is a tricky proposition as some are well hidden in the town, but letting rip inside the TV centre is great fun. You don’t have to take out the TV’s, but it hasn’t stopped people trying.
8 – Dead Rising – Zombie Genocider – Defeat at least 53,594 zombies – 20GS
Talk about setting a bar for the opposition. Capcom’s survival horror game from 2006 is well remembered for this achievement, where you have to kill an amount of zombies relative to the total population of the town you are stuck in. And you only have a limited time to do it. What makes this particular achievement original is that is sparked off somewhat of a running joke between rival developers, in particular Valve and Capcom; in the 2007 game Left 4 Dead (Valve’s attempt at a zombie game), the ‘Zombie Genocidest’ achievement required you to kill 53,595 infected: one more than in Dead Rising. In Dead Rising 2, Capcom literally one-upped Left 4 Dead by putting in ‘Zombie Genocider 2: Genocide Harder’ (which is in itself a reference to the Die Hard film franchise) where you have to kill 53, 596 zombies. Other developers have tipped their hats to the number as well; in Prototype the ‘Trail Of Corpses’ achievement requires you to kill 53,596 infected people, and Harmonix put ‘HOPO-cidal Maniac’ into Rock Band 3 where you must ‘kill’ 53,596 hammer ons and pull offs. This is proof if nothing else that friendly competition is a good thing.
7 – Saints Row 2 – Aww Nuts! – Hit 100 lifetime nut shots – 5GS
Saints Row is known for its lewd and OTT world, and this pretty much sums it up; you get style points for shooting enemies in the balls. Rinse and repeat a further 99 times and you can demonstrate to the world what a vindictive bastard you really are.
6 – Resident Evil 5 – Egg On Your Face – Defeat a Maljini with a rotten egg – 15GS
Move over shotgun, there’s a new zombie-disposal weapon in town, and it’s the humble egg. About half way through Resident Evil 5 in the middle of a swamp, you can find a peaceful little island where there are chickens and eggs. Simply acquire a common rotten egg, and use it to take down one of the many infected Maljini that stalk you throughout the game. Pray then, for the unlucky soul who’s undead existence was brought to an end by a projectile dairy product.
5 – Fallout 3 – Psychotic Prankster – Placed a grenade or mine while pick pocketing – 10GS
Most of the achievements in Fallout 3 are awarded for mission completion, so this one sticks out like a sore thumb. But my word does it have hilarious consequences. To pickpocket someone, you have to sneak up behind them, and then press the A button when prompted. This brings up a list of all the items you can steal from the victim, but also gives you the chance to slip a live grenade into their back pocket. Exit the menu, retreat to a safe distance, and watch as the victim quickly realises what has happened, and then gets blown to smithereens in glorious slow motion. Just don’t do it in a city…or do it. That’s the beauty of Fallout 3, you can be as pure or as evil as you like.
4 – Red Dead Redemption – Dastardly – Place a hogtied woman on the train tracks, and witness her death by train – 5GS
How many times have we seen this scenario in a Wild West film; the hero (*cough cough John Wayne*) has to help a damsel in distress who has been placed on the rail tracks by the evil, moustache twirling baddie. Fortunately, the hero gets there just in time to remove the lady from the tracks, and is able to ride off into the sunset with her. I get the feeling Rockstar got bored with this and decided to give the train a bigger role to play. At any point during the story, you can find a woman, hogtie her with rope and place her in the middle of a set of train tracks. When you see the inevitable collision, you’ll get your five points. There are some other great original achievements in Red Dead Redemption, but this gets the credit for basically sticking it to John Wayne’s film conventions.
3 – Fable 2 – The Chicken Kicker – Kick a chicken a good distance, or see one getting kicked – 5GS
Ah Lionhead, how you promised that we could do anything in Fable 2. It fell well short of this aspiration, but not before you had the opportunity to introduce the front of your boot to a feathery friend. By kicking a chicken over 30 metres, you got your 5 gamerscore, and a sad picture of a chicken crying. But don’t worry, if you don’t feel up to it, simply go online and watch a co-op partner do it instead for the same result. Again like Red Dead, there is a lot of variation in the Fable 2 achievement list and is one of the most original available on the Xbox 360, this one stuck out for me because it did it on accident; I wanted to pick up a chicken and fly like you could in Ocarina Of Time. Alas, it was not to be, and I’ve felt sorry for chickens every since.
2 – The Orange Box – Little Rocket Man – Send the garden gnome into space – 30GS
The Orange Box has the honour of having the most achievements on any one disc on the Xbox 360, with 99 up for grabs. Valve obviously decided then to experiment and put in some unique challenges for gamers. Visiting a singing Vortigaunt, throwing a can at a Combine officer, completing Episode One firing only one bullet; all of these will bring up the little achievement pop-up. The most famous one however takes place in Episode Two. While moving through White Forest, Gordon Freeman can come across a little garden gnome, hidden inconspicuously under a pile of rubble. This happens right at the start, and you must carry the gnome through much of the game with the gravity gun (this includes battles, puzzles and driving) and drop him into a rocket in the White Forest silo. Seeing the gnome’s lovable face staring back at you drove a lot of people insane after a while, but it was popular enough to make an appearance in Left 4 Dead 2 at the fairground. Valve’s unofficial mascot? You can bet on it.
1 – Darkest Of Days – Horse Puncher – Punch a horse in the face, killing it – 100GS
And finally, an achievement so bizarre and original it was never going to be challenged by anything else. Darkest Of Days is a awful game and that no-one has ever heard of, and yet it has this absolute gem within it. I mean, just read the damn description. You have to punch a horse in the face. Punch….a horse….in the face. One of mankind’s greatest challenges, digitised for your entertainment. By flailing madly in the opening mission when the cavalry goes by you can unlock this…and get the scarcely believable 100GS for your troubles. Congratulations, you just completed 10% of the list by punching a horse in the face. Truly, gaming does not get more original than this.
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