In video games, you're always going on impossible, violent adventures. But when it comes to determining how manly something is, it has to be more than just violent: it has to be a magical combination of brave, idiotic, and violent. Shooting a zombie isn't enough: you have to do it shirtless with a flamethrower while smoking five cigars as Psychostick drunkenly wails in the background. Because the essence of the male video-game protagonist is glorious stupidity, and there's a lot of bros out there to upstage.
4. Snake Escapes a Russian Prison with a Fork
Metal Gear Solid 3
As everybody knows, everything is worse is Soviet Russia. That especially applies to the prisons. But this is Snake we're talking about: he spent the whole game before this eating raw animals and killing Spetznaz in the jungle. He sets the manliness bar pretty high by default. So to make things interesting, they tortured him, tore out one of his eyes, took all his stuff, made him shirtless, and gave him nothing but a fork.
True, he had some other items to work with, but there's something about giving him something so seemingly harmless as a fork that lets you know, immediately, that he is about to do really nasty and awesome with it. And what do you know: Snake breaks out of prison and goes on with his mission like nothing happened. Because that's what Snake does, Smash Bros invitation or no.
4. Conker Whacks a Giant Robot's Balls off with a Frying Pan
Conker's Bad Fur Day
Normally I say taking a shot at a man's special place is a bitch move, but when you're a tiny red squirrel up against a giant boiler-robot you've got to work with what you're dealt. Namely, a literal pair of giant brass balls.
That vicious ginger bastard dumped raw sewage on the robots head, then pounded the poor guy's over-sized nuggets with a pair of bricks and a frying pan until he fell over and died. That's brutal, man. Note to self: never provoke a squirrel with a hangover.
3. Zangief Wrestles Bears on the way to the Tournament
Super Street Fighter IV
OF COURSE he wrestles bears. In Russia, everything is more manly. If their cosmonauts have to fight wolves in Siberia, then they've got to throw something a little more imposing at the Red Cyclone. In this case, huge Russian bears.
It's all for the children.
2. Cole Scores a Touchdown with a Bomb
Gears of War 3
In a game about huge men eviscerating lizard men with chainsaw machine guns, Augusus Cole stood out as being especially macho. He's ripped, he's loud, he's fearless, and he really loves killing Locust. He has a lot of great moments, but this one tops them all.
In this scene, he shows us why everybody calls him the "Cole Train" by grabbing a satchel charge, charging through several armed, combustible Lambent, and sticking it on a giant Lament stalk in the endzone and blowing it up. In that one segment, he got to score a touchdown, tackle some aliens, and blow something up. That's three ultimate American dreams accomplished is only a few seconds. Cole is the like the Flash Gordon on the Gears of War universe. God, I love him.
1. Kratos Punches Zeus in the Face
God of War 3
There is something very special going on when the main character ditches his signature weapons just to wail on his least favorite villain with his bare hands. That's the time when the hero decides to express his loathing in a very personal and intimate way. And there is no better way to do that than a good-old fashioned punch to the face.
But Kratos was always a "go big or go home" kind of guy. In this case, "home" is "the depths of Hades" and "big" is "punch the King of the Gods in the face until you're blinded by his blood and grey matter".
He does this on top of Mount Olympus, during the apocalypse, and after brutalizing through virtually every other god and demigod on earth. Except for Aphrodite, whom he had sex with right before impaling her husband with his own blacksmithing equipment. But I would not call any of those other boss fights manly (except for boning Aphrodite, because that's worth bragging about). THIS fight was the manliest because a mortal man decided to take the kill-everything swords off and beat in the skull of Zeus himself with nothing but his fists.
What do you think? What are the manliest moments in video games?