What started as little more than a mess of polygons on a low-powered 3D effects chip became one of the most iconic spaceships in video game history. Fox McCloud's Arwing is pretty much the poster boy for modern day space shooters. Unfortunately, there aren't many modern day space shooters out there, and what modern day Star Fox games we have don't necessarily always have to do with shooting things in space. Still, we all remember the good old days of Slippy's incessant whining and Falco's bad attitudes, and, of course, barrel rolls. Wouldn't it be great if we had a modern day Star Fox game that let us get behind the wheel of an Arwing again? Wouldn't it?
For me, the Epoch is possibly the coolest video game vehicle of any kind, so of course it's going to make this list. Sure, it never really traveled through space, but you know what it did travel through? Time! In fact, it traveled straight to the end of time where nothing existed except one street corner and a weird monster dude who had some sort of fetish for making people walk circles around his room. If the Epoch can exist in a time where literally nothing exists other than a cold blank void, then I'm going to say it can exist in space. Oh, and it also has lasers—not that you ever get to use them, but it's still cool.
Mass Effect is a brilliant game, and the Normandy (all of them) is a brilliant ship. Why? Because the Normandy is much more than a mere Scout Frigate that somehow got wrapped up in an adventure to save the universe. It's one of the only video game starships that successfully makes you feel at home when you're inside it. Sure, plenty of other games let you see the inside of your ship, but Mass Effect made you feel like your ship was alive, as if people were really living their lives inside its metal walls. In a franchise that is as story-driven as Mass Effect is, this is a huge accomplishment.
I'm sure StarCraft fans will complain about how the Protoss Carrier isn't even the most powerful ship in StarCraft, and how anyone who builds fleets of carriers is playing the game wrong. But I don't care. The Protoss Carrier easily wins the award for coolness factor in RTS gameplay. The first time you saw a fleet of these come your way while tiny robotic fighters rained laser death down upon you, it was almost like poetry in motion. For old sprite-based RTSes, the carrier mechanic was one of the newest and most interesting ways to approach massive starships in battle. However, simply watching the Protoss carrier attack was cool enough. The swirling mass of tiny ships caused many aspiring RTS players to lose match after match while trying to quick-tech to the Protoss Carrier. For many, it's the first flying unit that comes to mind when someone says the word "StarCraft."
Finally, we have the ship that started it all. The Vic Viper is one of the first ships to have an actual plot written around it. Before the Vic, we simply had triangles firing at asteroids. Now, we have a true space fighter. The Vic Viper is not just one ship, but a series of ships that has been made throughout the Gradius franchise. The latest Vic Viper, the Vic Viper T-301, is even able to rip holes in the space-time continuum itself.
Angelo M. D'Argenio
Date: March 1, 2012
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*