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34 Cliches of Christmas
The Lethal Melee Attack
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 12, 2007   |   Episode 21 (Show Archive)  

   

It's that time of year again, a time when Defunct Games celebrates the holidays by posting a daily theme article that should inform and delight gamers all over the world. This year we're taking a look at the video game cliche, the type of thing we've seen time and time again in all generations of gaming. Is this cliche realistic? Does it need to go away? These are the types of questions Defunct Games will be asking over the next month. Join us as we celebrate this joyous season with the 34 Cliches of Christmas!



I'll give you that it's a crowbar, but how hard does Gordon have to hit that guy to kill him in one melee attack?
As Seen In: Halo series, Half-Life series, Call of Duty series, FarCry, and every other first-person shooter you've ever played in your life.

What Is It? Sure you can stand in front of your enemy and shoot them two dozen times, but isn't it just easier to walk up from behind and perform a melee attack? If video game cliches are to be believed then yes, the lethal melee attack is the best way to take somebody out. And I'm not just talking about knocking them out so that they won't know who you are and where you went, I'm talking about the kinds of melee attacks that are, well, lethal. These days the lethal melee attack is showing up in all kinds of first person shooters, including some of this year's biggest titles. So remember, it's better to walk up behind somebody and hit them in the head than to take your automatic weapon and unload your clip into their chest.


... and I'm sick and tired of that damn Halo theme song, too!
Is It Realistic? Not only is it not as satisfying as getting a headshot, but it's also not very realistic. When you hit somebody in the back with your gun one of two things happens, they fall forward in pain or they fall to the ground knocked out cold. You hope for the second, but it definitely leads to an awkward situation if the guy just gets hurt and comes looking for answers. But when playing Halo 3 you don't knock the guy out, you run up behind him and kill him. I'm sure there's a way to do this in real life (anything is possible, right?), but it just seems a little too easy if you ask me. What's even more troubling is the fact that in Halo 3 you are wearing a helmet, so a knock to the head shouldn't do anything at all. The company that is outfitting Master Chief should really look into this minor defect.

Is It Overused? As a gameplay mechanic it works, I like the idea of sneaking up behind people and killing them with one silent hit. It probably is overuse and when you really think about it the concept of the lethal melee attack makes almost no sense, but I like it. So people who are about to get hired to make Halo 4, make sure and leave this cliche in the game.

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