10 BEST STORES IN XBOX GAMES
We love a bit of retail therapy in games, and trading gold or looted old crap for sweet gear is a true RPG-ing pleasure. Here are our favourite stores to be found in Xbox games
10 THE MERCHANT – RESIDENT EVIL 4
As if there isn’t enough that’s creepy in Resi4, what with Dr Salvador and Spanish villages full of weird cultists with chainsaws, you have to contend with this weird masked trader. He lures you into dark places with a gravelly voiced, “Over here stranger!” then proceeds to growl things like, “Got some rare things on sale stranger!” And, even creepier, especially out of context, “Stranger! That’s a weapon!” He also has a shop, which can only be accessed via labyrinthine tunnels and a secret entrance in a place rife with Las Plagas parasites. You’d think a High Street might be a better choice of location for a shop. All in all, this bloke has given us more nightmares than the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
09 PORKRIND’S EMPORIUM – CUPHEAD
This porker looks about as untrustworthy as any shopkeep you’re every likely to meet. Maybe it’s the curly moustache, or the pirate eye patch, but either way, he’s got a look about him that says his trotters are about as reliable as, well, the Trotters. But trust him you must, because this swine is the only one who can sell Cuphead the charms and weapons needed to aid him in those hard-as-nails boss fights. As the only non-boss NPC who speaks, Porkrind does sound suspiciously like the Merchant from ResidentEvil4, another of our entries here. He’s also named after pig-snacks, aka pork rind, aka pork scratchings, which if you ask us is a ham-fisted way of reinforcing the fact that he’s a pig.
08 GENERAL STORES – RED DEAD REDEMPTION II
Enjoy the beginning of the American capitalist dream by spending your dollars and gold nuggets in the many wonderful shops to be found in Rockstar’s Western. You can go straight for the Rawson & Wheeler catalogue, or pick up cheese, ‘baccy or booze from the stores’ actual shelves. For a truly cosmopolitan shopping experience, head to the sophisticated city of Saint Denis, where you’ll find the most stylish boutiques. The tailors might sound the same, but take a moment to peruse the game’s different stores and you’ll find unique details and differences between them, from the taxidermy in the window of the Blackwater general store to the guy locked in the basement of Rhodes’ creepy gunsmith.
07 YOUR SHOP – MOONLIGHTER
If you’ve ever fancied actually running your own shop, this lovely indie from last year allows you to do just that, but without any of the boring stuff such as liaising with suppliers of, say, cheese, and keeping on top of refrigeration and ventilation, because that cheese is going to stink. Instead, you get the inside track on every RPG merchant you’ve ever traded loot with. By day you’re a mild-mannered shop assistant, by night, in order to keep your shop stocked, you’re fighting dungeon denizens and stealing their treasure. Don’t underestimate shopkeeping though, it’s actually by far the hardest part. Anyone can swing a sword – finding and maintaining that delicate balance of retail economics is the true challenge.
06 THE GATES OF HELL – BAYONETTA
We always knew Hell would have the best shops. The Gates Of Hell (prop: one Mr Rodin) stocks everything except clothes, but since ‘Netta makes her own clothes out of her hair, there wouldn’t be much point in that anyway. With its sleazy neon vibe, Rodin’s bar is the perfect place to hang between missions, as well as pick up guns and gear and learn new moves. He’s also a keen collector of vinyl records. Not because he’s a DJ, but because the gold platters you bring him are Angelic Hymns LPs – recordings of angels which he uses to lure out demons, trap their souls and put their powers into new weapons. Plus where else in this world or the next could you buy a pair of killer heels that shoot bullets? Nowhere, that’s where.
05 OZZY’S CHOP SHOP – BRUTAL LEGEND
Double Fine’s Xbox 360 action adventure stars Jack Black as a roadie who is transported to an openworld fantasy setting whose look is inspired by heavy metal album covers. Here he must do battle against the forces of evil with a Flying V guitar. Black’s star power helped bring in such rock luminaries as Lemmy, Lita Ford and Judas Priest’s Rob Halford. So imagine the need to trade and upgrade gear in such a world, and finding that the merchant from whom you can buy upgrades for your Hotrod not only does business from inside a volcano, but is in fact Ozzy frickin’ Osbourne. Oh yes, Ozzy runs a chop shop, the coolest in any game, ever. So stop looking for a cooler one right now, because you won’t find it.
04 THE BARBER – THE WITCHER 3: WILD HUNT
Okay, so you can’t buy trainers or shop for phones in TheWitcher series, but you can probably get potions distilled from purest leeches to cure your medieval boils, buy monster-hunting gear or retire to a hostelry for an ale, a game of Gwent and the company of a lady of dubious moral reputation. Considering the land is war-torn and filled with roaming monsters, you’ll likely have a bit of coin to spend, and the shops and taverns of cities like Oxenfurt and Novigrad are well-stocked with consumables and boast extensive services. Our favourite store has to be the barber. Here you can completely remodel your facial hair, and shave off or instagrow your locks into a real lady-pleasing coiffure. You white-haired strumpet, you.
03 THE SUPERMARKET – SUPERMARKET SHRIEK
Inspired by an old gameshow in which an orange man asked dumb questions of stupid people eager to win a trolley dash up the processed meats and crisps aisles, this game has been in development for 30 years. Back then it was called SupermarketText, and you controlled a supermarket trolley by texting ‘left’ and ‘right’ via dial-up modem. And in development hell it stayed until the advent of online gaming and decent mics. The trend for screaming into your headsets at inept squad members is now being put to good use, as you control a trolley with your voice. The game had to be rebuilt to allow for modern shopping essentials like kale and quinoa, while all the plastic packaging has been replaced by wood. Stuff like that.
02 CLUCKIN’ BELL – GTA SAN ANDREAS
In 2004, Rockstar threw the kitchen sink at players when it came to filling out the world of San Andreas. The city’s stores were completely functional, and clothing and hairstyle options were extensive. The game also gave you a wide range of fast food restaurants, so you could do drivethrus as well as drive-bys. Each menu at the various, typically American, eateries were ranked 0-4 for calorie-intake. A salad option was available, but we loved the Cluckin’ Huge fried chicken meal from Clucking Bell and Full Rack pizza from Well Stacked Pizza, while Burger Shot was the perfect place to pile on the pounds and make ‘Fat Carl’ via a couple or three Beef Stacks, washed down with a Sprunk soda. Luckily you could burn it all off at the gym.
01 SPORTING GOODS – DEAD RISING
The king of Xbox shopping games has to be Capcom’s zombie slayer, which gives you an entire mall full of shops. Although you can’t technically exchange money for goods and services at the Willamette Parkview Mall, you can utilise its merchandise for some entertaining zombie splattering. There are toy stores, bookshops, camera shops and clothing boutiques, and you can happily shop for new outfits and pick up items to use as weapons in all of them. Our favourite store is the sporting goods store, in which you can find baseball bats, golf clubs, skateboards and bowling balls, all of which can be put to good use separating undead head from shambling body. Dick’s Sporting Goods is the first place we’re headed in a zombie apocalypse. Although the music store would be next, because smacking zombies with fretless bass guitars is our favourite thing to do.