Strafe Left: The Formative Years #6

Every time I encounter a chainsaw in an FPS, the pedantic ex-forestry worker part of me sighs. Toothy STIHLs and Husqvarnas might be great for chewing through trees, but in a fight you’d really be far better off with an old-fashioned pig sticker or iron bar. Something wieldy and long. Something that didn’t blunt the instant it touched metal, or clog when plunged through anything more fibrous than an Aran sweater.

And don’t get me started on the Doom specimen. That black plastic thing between your knuckles and the business end? That’s a safety device designed to stop the chain dead the second the saw bucks or kicks. Any self-respecting chainsaw warrior would have whipped that off straight away.

None of which relates to the above cartoon which appeared in PC Gamer UK around Christmas 2003.


  1. po says:

    Perhaps one of those disk cutters road crews use, to slice up the road before they bring in the pnumatic drills, would be a bit better. Maybe even a lot better if fitted with a circular saw blade.

    I think I’d prefer the Japanese version of a weed-wacker though. 6 foot tube, with a 2 stroke engine at one end, and a circular saw at the other. I’ve seen them cut through 4 inch thick bamboo. Maybe martial artists could try some new agricultural equipment.

    However, I pine for the good old days of UT, when an impact hammer and the speed rune would see you happily running through clouds of gibs.

  2. Ryan says:

    The return of the impact hammer in UT3 is absolutely beautiful- not only will it do enough damage with one fully-charged smack to violently explode anyone with full health, it spatters the screen with blood and becomes more and more caked with gore and bits of gib as you use it. Yes, it’s almost laughably tasteless and over-the-top, and yes, it is totally awesome.

  3. James says:

    And don’t get me started on the Doom specimen.

    This does raise the question of whether a chainsaw has any applicable use in Doom’s time of lasers, phasers and flashlights.

  4. po says:

    I’m even more tempted to get UT3 now (already got CoD4, Crysis + Orange Box. Need to stop buying, but too many good games).

    It was either speed and impact hammer, or strength and shock rifle. Having an instagib weapon in a standard game was awesome, specially when you got shock combos too!

    Had an absolutely insane game of UT at a LAN. We did teleporter arena. The only things you were allowed to shoot at were teleporter beacons.

  5. Nick says:

    I think a chainsaw is sadly neglected from most modern games. It and the double barreled shotgun of course.(were iD fans of Evil Dead 2?).

  6. Flint says:

    Am I the only one who can’t understand what’s so fascinating in cutting demons with a chainsaw (or any other melee weapon against any other enemy)?

    I mean, when you’ve got an option of some melee weapon and then some lovely BOOOM!-enducing ranged guns…

  7. Chis says:

    Am I the only one who can’t understand what’s so fascinating in cutting demons with a chainsaw

    Yes you are. Chainsaw + demons + lightly tapping the move back button = tremendously satisfying kill. (Yes, I still play Doom. A lot.)

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