Category Archives: Top Ten
One of the (many) reasons I love both KotOR and KotOR 2 so much is the characters. They’re well written, interesting, and more often than not pretty funny. So here are my top ten favourites. Note: spoilers, duh.
Kreia is a former Jedi Master, turned Sith Lord, turned companion to The Exile. While she may be controlling and manipulative, she’s an excellent buffer to have in your team, due to her ability to apply any buff that would normally only be applied to herself to the Exile also! Invaluable, if your Exile is no good at the force.
9. Carth Onasi
Carth is your first proper companion in the original KotOR, and he’s actually not too bad. If all you need is a gunslinger to back you up, Carth’s your man. He’s pretty paranoid about being betrayed (he would not get on well with Kreia). His standard setup is dual wielding blaster pistols and donning heavy armour. While he lacks a decent skill set and intelligence stat, he can defend himself well enough in melee, so he’s likely to stay alive long enough to be of use. Fiercely loyal to the Republic, and a hardened veteran of the Mandalorian Wars, he’s a solid choice, if at times a bit dull and whiny.
8. Bastila Shan
Just as loyal as Carth is to the Republic, Bastila is to the Jedi. She is adamant that she made the right decision not joining Revan to war with the Mandalorians. Although she is quite preachy, she’s a useful asset to have with you in KotOR, as having balanced stats helps a lot; she will be equally as good using force powers as with her double lightsaber. While she’s available to use, again, a reliable choice.
The R2-D2 of the KotOR era, T3 is the first companion on this list to feature (as a playable companion) in both KotOR and in KotOR 2. Although he can technically be a ranged fighter, if you really wanted, his main skill is his skills. They’re pretty awesome. As you might expect, if you need anything breaking into, or a computer sliced, T3’s your guy. While in the original films R2 had an amazing personality for a character who never spoke a word, T3 is slightly less charismatic.
If you’ve gone down the consular/force user route for KotOR, then Juhani may well prove to be invaluable. Her setup is simple; single lightsaber, decent strength and dexterity stats. It’s probably not even worth telling her to use any force powers, just get her to power attack anything in your path, and you’re sorted. Given that her homeworld was devastated by Mandalorians, she’s been plagued by idiots being xenophobic, and finally slavery, she’s still one of the best out there.
5. Atton Rand
If T3’s the R2 of the series, then that would make Atton the Han Solo of the KotOR world, albeit with a darker backstory. A soldier who fought under Revan in both the Mandalorian War and the Jedi Civil War, he eventually ended up as the first companion of The Exile in the Peragus mining facility. In classic Han style, he’s rogue-ish, wisecracking and handy with a blaster. He is essentially “Carth 2.0” (ie Carth but with skills).
4. Canderous Ordo
Yet another veteran of the Mandalorian War, Canderous fought for the Mandalorians (you know, being a Mandalorian). He’s the only character to really be suited to the heavy ranged weapons of the games, both as “Canderous” in KotOR, and as “Mandalore” in KotOR 2. But, with a great strength stat and the ability to regen health, he makes a good tank too. Like T3, he makes an appearance in both games, and each time to great effect.
A Zabrak, Bao-Dur appears in KotOR 2 only. He served under The Exile in the Mandalorian War, and is renowned as an expert mechanic and engineer, responsible for the creation of the Mass Shadow Generator at Malachor V. As a companion, he’s skilled in anything mechanical, suited towards blaster rifles, and has the unique ability to destroy any force field due to his crazy arm (see below).
On top of all that, he creates The Exile a lightsaber, and (also due to said arm) excels in unarmed combat. Would you really want to be punched by that?
Everyone’s favourite killer robot/comedian! HK-47 is, put simply, an assassin droid, and an evil one at that, making him one of the best purely ranged fighters either game has to offer, using a blaster rifle to destroy anything and (if he had his way) everything. With enough skill in repair, you can upgrade his functionality too, for things like boosted dexterity, and health regeneration.
1. Jolee Bindo
Everyone’s favourite cranky old man/comedian! Jolee Bindo left the Jedi after they refused to punish him for secretly training an apprentice/wife (who went on to turn to the dark side). He considers himself something of a “grey Jedi”, finding both the Jedi and the Sith equally annoying, probably part of the reason he lived on Kashyyyk in the forest for so many years, isolated from either group. While he might be slightly more prone to the light than dark side of the force, he is a master force user, able to use light side buffs and stuns, along with devastating dark side attacks with ease. Unless you’re playing as a consular yourself in the original KotOR, Jolee should always be on your team, if only for some crotchety old man wisdom/rants.
So, who do you think should have made the list? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Note: Most of my Elder Scrolls experience comes from Oblivion and Skyrim, so that’s the perspective from which this is being written.
10. Mace of Molag Bal
This mace is given out by the Daedric prince Molag Bal in Oblivion for provoking a pacifist into murdering you, and in Skyrim for beating and killing a priest (Molag Bal isn’t a nice guy). However, this mace is worth it, as it will attack the victim’s melee and magic capabilities.
9. Mehrune’s Razor
Yet another Daedric weapon here, Goldbrand features only in Oblivion this time, and is rewarded for competing in a tournament against every race in Tamriel. This sword holds the distinction of being the most powerful one-handed weapon in the game (Umbra has a higher base damage, but Goldbrand’s fire enchantment makes it a generally far more effective).
The first non-Daedric weapon on the list now, and the Dragonbane, featuring in Skyrim, does exactly what you’d expect from a game filled with dragons, kills them good. Found in Sky Haven Temple, this Akavari katana will do an extra 40 damage to any dragons, and an extra 10 points of shock to anything else that gets in your way. Useful, even if you’re not fighting dragons.
Another Akavari katana, Northwind is more or less a more conservative version of Dragonbane (though this features in Oblivion, not Skyrim). 20 points of cold damage to all opponents is no bad thing (frost damage being my favourite, just saying).
A weapon that looks absolutely demonic, Volendrung is the two-handed mace of the Daedric pring Malacath. While in Oblivion it drained health, paralysed and was a beast of a warhammer in terms of sheer damage, in Skyrim it was toned down a little, absorbing stamina instead.
4. Blade of Woe
This little ebony dagger starts out from humble beginnings, with no enchantments at all, but by the end of Oblivion’s dark brotherhood questline will be your go-to-melee-sneak-attacking weapon of choice.
3. Ebony Blade
Another ebony weapon, what can I say, they’re good. Ebony blade was good in Oblivion (absorbing health and silencing spell-casters), but it got great in Skyrim (absorbing more and more health the more people it slays).
Although it was a bit bugged, when it was working properly this bow was, for my money, my favourite weapon in Oblivion. Perfect for taking out foes at range in any scenario, it did extra damage to health and magicka, turned the undead, and applied a weakness to poison as well. Truly a great bow.
Seeing as I said my favourite Elder Scrolls element was frost, it should come as no surprise that this would top the list, a glass sword tinted pale blue as ice, instead of the usual stock green. While in Oblivion it was a perfect shortsword for most situations, dealing plenty of frost damage to take out anyone and anything (and being light and quick too), once again the weapon was beefed up in Skyrim, gaining the paralyse ability too. A must-have.
Any other weapons you think should have made the list? Let me know in the comments below!
7. Dog (Resident Evil 4)
6. Peter Puppy
4. Dog (Fable II)
3. Dog (Dragon Age: Origins)
Strictly not called a dog but a “Mabari War Hound”, these vicious beasts are loyal and deadly, being used by the protagonist and the Fereldan military alike. (Mild early-game spoilers in this next clip.)
I almost feel like taking back what I just wrote about Arcanine, because Okami’s Amaterasu is truly legendary. The sun goddess, Amaterasu paints the world good again, quite literally. The art style in this game is fantastic, along with the music, setting and feel of it. A majestic place for the top dog (pun intended).
So, that’s it! Were there any dogs you think should have made it into the top ten and didn’t? Comment below and let me know!
10. Sniper Rifle
The weapon of choice for the single, isolated zombie, the sniper rifle requires skill, but is all but useless in close-range.
9. Cricket Bat
Strong, durable, and with a good weight behind it, a cricket bat is a must-have if fighting in London. Or if you’re near a shed and have run out of old records and cutlery.
Many people love the chainsaw, and with good reason, it sure is effective at slicing up zombies (or Leon Kennedy). I would have ranked it higher, if not for a little thing called fuel.
7. Golf Club
This one is similar to the cricket bat, but can be swung faster and is made of metal. Can’t be a bad thing. Plus, look dapper while surviving? Must be a plus.
Never forget, a car is not just used for transport. A zombie in the middle of the road? Getting out is a risk, so run it down!
The plants are on our side, at least. A team of mutant sunflowers, mushrooms and flowers will stand you in good stead. Presuming you have a garden to put them in.
Nothing better than a good sidearm. The last thing you want is to be stuck needing a reload and having no backup weapon the the zombie who’s all up in your business.
Let’s face it, the shotgun is your best friend come the zombie invasion. Powerful and easy to use, good at close to mid range. It’s a must have.
Any good ones you think I’ve missed? Let me know in the comment below!
I have a soft spot for martial arts films, and not necessarily because they’re good films, but because more often than not they’re enjoyable. Which is what it’s all about, am I right? Be warned, the clips I put up my have some mild spoilers in, and the odd bit of violence (what did you expect?), so you have been warned! So, without further ado, let’s jump into it…
10. The Protector
Kham (Tony Jaa) travels from Thailand to Australia to rescue his elephants, ’nuff said. This film goes down into legend for its epic single shot inside the restaurant.
Not only epic awesomeness in terms of the quality of the stunts and fighting, but in one take? Brilliant.
9. The Matrix
Back in the day I used to have this on VHS, and every watch was a treat. Combines old-world martial arts fist fights beautifully with new-world gun-play. Not much to be said here, this film is a classic in its own right, and not just as a martial arts film, it’s a solid feature all round. If you haven’t seen it yet, what have you been doing since 1999? Here’s Neo fighting Lord Elrond.
Neo (Keanu Reeves) discovers that the “real world” is actually the matrix, a computer simulation created by sentient machines. Good on so many levels.
8. Enter The Dragon
If I had to pick one martial arts film that made me feel nostalgic and classic, it would be Enter The Dragon, starring the legendary Bruce Lee as Lee, a martial artist hired to spy on a crime lord during a tournament held on a private island. Seeing as Bruce Lee died so young at 32, and never got to make as many films as he should have done, this films stands out as his lasting memory and the last film he ever completed.
Half the fun of this film is the crazy sound effects, as shown in the above clip.
7. The Raid
The Raid is definitely one of those films which you are never quite sure if it’s great or terrible. Essentially, it breaks down to this: SWAT team gets trapped in a block of flats filled with tight corridors and uptight gangsters, who understandably aren’t too happy to see the fuzz. Here’s a typical scene from the film (NB the video stops a second before a pretty awesome/gruesome death).
What follows is fast paced, fast kicking, fast hitting action. The plot isn’t anything to shout about, but that’s not the name of the game with this kind of film, we watch it to see fools slapped down by ludicrously skilled madmen, and this film delivers.
Okay, this is a bit of a loose one, because you could argue that Oldboy is more about drama than fighting, and you’d be right. The plot follows Oh Dae-su, his mysterious imprisonment and even more perplexing release, in what is some tense drama. But I couldn’t leave this off the list:
Never has a hammer been used so effectively. Also note, one continuous shot down the hallway. I haven’t got too much to say on this as it’s not a martial arts heavy film per se, but nonetheless a truly great film. A remake starring Josh Brolin is in the works, so let’s see how that goes…
5. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
It would be a crime not to add this film to the list, as it has become the defining film of the genre. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is set in late 18th century China, revolving around three central characters: The retiring warrior Li Mu Bai (owner of the legendary Green Destiny sword), his friend and fellow fighter Shu Lien and a governor’s daughter Jen Yu. This is the fight scene between the latter two.
It really is hard to fault this film. Great, atmospheric score, and the same fight choreographer who worked on The Matrix. This is two hours of epic, martial arts romance.
It sure is useful having working eyeballs, as most of us do, but Zatoichi shows that true skill needs no such things!
Travelling to a town full of gang members and generally bad people, Zatoichi (masseur/swordsman) begins to shake things up. For a blind man, he does a damn good job.
Here we are, top three. Hero is set in China before unification, and stars such veterans as Jet Li and Donnie Yen on fine form in the sweeping, artistic epic.
This has got it all. Flying around, duels, and twists and turns. This film will leave you thinking.
2. Kill Bill: Vol. 1
I’ll admit it, I love Tarantino films. Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Inglorious Basterds. Hell, even Django Unchained wasn’t that bad. But for my money, it’s the first part of two about our favourite arse-kicking woman, The Bride (Uma Thurman).
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 is stylish, has good pace, and even some anime thrown in there. This definitely deserves a viewing. But there’s one film which I think just has the edge on it…
1. Ip Man
Starring Donnie Yen (seen above in 3. Hero) as the man who would later turn out to become Bruce Lee’s (seen above in 8. Enter The Dragon) mentor, this film is set primarily around the Japanese invasion of China in 1937. As essentially the most skilled, polite and rich martial artist in town, Ip Man is loved by all. Here he is dealing with some ruffians.
I find it hard to fault this film on any level. The music is distinctive and well executed, the character of Ip Man is so loveable, the plot is solid, and the fighting is amazing to watch yet not too unbelievable. Truly a marvel. I have seen the sequel to this, centred around Ip Man’s life in Hong Kong under British Rule post-WWII. Both good films, but this one is the classic.
So those are my top ten martial arts films. Which ones do you think deserve to be on the list? Let me know in the comments below!