10 Video Game CYBORGS That Stretch Human Limits

<i>By <a href=http://twitter.com/seth410>Seth Robison, Newsarama Contributor</a></i> <p>Adam Jensen, the protagonist of <b>Deus Ex: Human Revolution</b>, the prequel to the landmark hybrid FPS/RPG <I>Deus Ex</I>, is a former SWAT team member turned corporate security officer. He is also a cyborg, a human being augmented with robotic parts in order to replace or improve existing biology. <p>While the arguments in the ethical debate over such actions range from humanitarian necessity to the potential to create a race of men who have surrendered their humanity to machines, cyborgs make great video game heroes. Beyond the storytelling potential, robotic parts allow for progressive advancement in ability, allowing developers to add new gameplay options to keep a game from getting stale as players move to completion. Cyborgs are among some of gaming's most popular player characters and as you'll see can trace their origins from today back to some of the earliest games. With the announcement of new DLC coming to <b>Deus Ex</b>, we thought now was the time to take this look back. <p><i>Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's <a href=http://www.facebook.com/Newsarama><b>FACEBOOK</b></a> and <a href=http://twitter.com/newsarama><b>TWITTER</b></a>!</i>

STEVE HERMANN (Shatterhand)

<B>Enhancement:</B> Both arms up to the shoulder <p>After losing both arms in a skirmish an evil general and his army of world-conquering robots, police officer Steve Hermann is given a pair of cyborg replacements with massive punching power in order to gain revenge and save the planet. These new arms can not only lay waste to man and machine alike, but allow the player cling to background objects and even harmlessly punch enemy bullets right out of the sky. <p><B>Shatterhand</B>, a game that might have languished in cult obscurity forever (along with its bizzaro world twin: <I>Kick Master</I>), is now best known as the source for one of the video game inspired band names in the <I>Scott Pilgrim</I> comic book series.

LADY X (Rumble Roses)

<B>Enhancement:</B> Both eyes, both arms, both legs, torso <p>The champion of the all-female Rumble Roses wrestling league is the mysterious cyborg known as Lady X. Her skills are augmented by not only mechanical arms and legs that strike with greater force than her fully human opponents, her mechanical torso allows for full 360 lateral movement. This gives her a potent spinning attack and the ability to counter holds that for normal human physiology would be painful and inescapable. Despite her expansive enhancements, her cyborg parts don't keep her from showing the request amount of skin in the nature of the franchise.

NATHAN "RAD" SPENCER (Bionic Commando)

<B>Enhancement:</B> Left arm up to the shoulder <p>In this current-gen follow up to the 1988 NES classic, and ret-conned in that game's down-loadable 2008 remake: <I>Bionic Commando: Rearmed</I>, Nathan "RAD" Spencer's entire left arm up and to the shoulder is replaced by a massive grappling mechanism. In a twisty story that is a hallmark of the franchise in the 2009 <B>Bionic Commando</B>, Nathan is released from military prison and given his bionic arm back in order to battle a terrorist army in Ascension City in exchange for learning what happened to his missing wife. This 'bionic arm' allows him transverse broken ground by way of firing off the arm's claw and reeling in the connecting cable. Nathan can also use this claw and wire as weapons, sweeping away foes in a large radius from him or to fling large objects like cars and explosive barrels.

GODOT (Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials & Tribulations)

<B>Enhancement:</B> Both Eyes <p>The vengeful prosecutor with a seemingly unsatisfiable thirst of coffee, Godot attacks, rhetorically anyway, Phoenix with as much zeal as those Phoenix defends from his legal wrath. As it is revealed in the course of the game, Godot was himself a defense attorney, but was poisoned with a substance that left him in a coma for years and robbed him of most of his sight. Wired directly into this brain, his Geordi LaForge-like visor grants him vision as well as an intimidating visage.

KANO (Mortal Kombat)

<B>Enhancement: Right Eye</B> <p>A criminal mastermind with no compulsion against getting his hands dirty (or filled with the still-beating hearts of his enemies), Kano participates in the Mortal Kombat Tournament with the aim of looting Shang Tsung's palace of its wealth. Though it is not disclosed how it happened or why, at some time in his past his left eye, and some surrounding bone/skin, was replaced by a glowing red cybernetic one. This new eye not only bestowed upon him low-light vision but the ability to shoot a potentially fatal heat/laser beam. <p>Though only tenuously attached to the Mortal Kombat Tournament's background involving inter-dimensional intrigue, Kano never-the-less remains active in the series throughout its existence, rarely being excluded from the roster.

YURI (Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2)

<B>Enhancement:</B> Neurological enhancement <p>Another side effect of Albert Einstein's time traveling adventure to undo World War II was the development and deployment of psychic soldiers on the battlefield. The greatest of these was Yuri, who through his mental manipulations ultimately usurped power over the Soviet Empire and launched his own campaign for global domination. <p>Yuri's technologically enhanced brain allowed him on the battlefield to levitate, control the minds of human enemies and launch a deadly psychic blast at range. As a commander his psychic-power based army used cloning and generic manipulation to counter the technology of the Allies.

RAIDEN (Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots)

<B>Enhancement:</B> Both arms, both legs, organ replacement, fused exoskeleton <p>After his surprise seizing of the leading role in 2001's <I>Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty</I>, and the resulting popular backlash, it seemed that Raiden was headed for obscurity, but his return in <B>Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots</B> as a full-fledged cyborg ninja (a staple of the series since the landmark original <I>Metal Gear Solid</I>) changed opinions of him world-wide. Not only had his pretty-boy 'bishonen' appearance been replaced by a grim android-like visage, but his role as powerful ally to the ailing Solid Snake, and not a replacement, was welcome. <p>As demonstrated in a lengthy, brutal cut-scene battle with the seemingly unkillable Vamp, Raiden's new body enhances his strength, agility and allows him to absorb a massive amount of damage. The story of his transformation, and likely more information about his ability, will be revealed in the highly anticipated but undated release of the <I>MGS4</I> prequel: <I>Metal Gear Solid: Rising.</I>

BARRET WALLACE (Final Fantasy VII)

<B>Enhancement:</B> Right hand <p>His right hand destroyed by the security forces of the SHINRA global energy concern, Barret Wallace had it replaced by a Gatling-style mini-gun and began a campaign of revenge and eco-terrorism in the city of Midgar. In true <B>Final Fantasy VII</B> fashion, Barret is conflicted with his responsibilities to his daughter, his need for revenge and an existential crisis over the prospect that he's had himself transformed, even just partially, into a human weapon and now had no other purpose but to fight. <p>During the adventure that he is largely responsible for initiating, he'll confront his issues while constantly improving his attack power with bigger and better attachments for his gun-hand.

COMMANDER SHEPARD (Mass Effect 2)

<B>Enhancement:</B> Nano-tech life support, endo-skeletal restoration <p>Regardless of whether or not a player's custom Commander Shepard was a biotic implanted with a power-enhancing microchip in his or her brain, when the circumstances of the early moments of <B>Mass Effect 2</B> play themselves out, Commander Shepard becomes dependent on technology to maintain his/her life. Largely invisible to gameplay, these enhancements are used to allow for passive improvements to Shepard's offensive and defensive statistics. <p>Player interactions regarded by the game to be along the 'renegade' track will cause the nanomachines in Commander Shepard to reveal themselves as glowing red facial scars.

MASTER CHIEF (Halo: Combat Evolved)

<B>Enhancement:</B> Musculoskeletal enhancement <p>For all the benefits that the MJOLNIR series of armors provide: life support, holographic heads-up display, regenerating shields, a slot for AI storage and room for up to eight grenades, it's also very heavy. <p>Lucky, children kidnapped by the military for indoctrination into the SPARTAN-II project (including the six-year-old who would survive to grown up to be <I>The</I> Master Chief), are operated on to allow their bodies to withstand the rigors of combat from inside the MJOLNIR armor. Their enhanced muscles and bones give them increased strength and the ability to survive in both high and low gravity environments.

10 Video Game CYBORGS That Stretch Human Limits

Date: 22 September 2011 Time: 08:48 PM ET