Our Picks: 5 Strange Video Game Expansion Packs

Gamers have mixed feelings towards expansion packs and downloadable content these days. After all, a sizeable portion of downloadable content seems to be comprised of useless outfits, painted guns and cut-content, in hopes of squeezing out as many pennies from your wallet as possible. Not all game add-ons are like this, however. These are five strange video game expansion packs that will make horse armour DLC seem like a conventional design choice.


Extreme Rise of the Triad

Rise of the Triad: Dark War was a pretty underrated game. Released in late-1994 within a modified version of the Wolfenstein 3D engine, this first-person shooter had bounce pads, drunken missile launchers, and even a power-up that turned you into a bullet-proof dog with supersonic barking powers.

It received a super-difficult expansion pack a few months later, entitled Extreme Rise of the Triad. Most of the 42 new levels are ripe with unfair tricks and gimmicks, some of which will either kill you within seconds, or render the level impossible to beat. You can expect: battalions of blokes with M60s raining from the sky; walls of rocket-spewing robots; rooms full of boulders rolling around at top-speed; and even a motion sickness-inducing mission called called ‘The Grand Vomitorium’. EROTT is nothing more than a collection of irritating, experimental maps that are predominantly too unfair and inconsistent to enjoy.

Nothing spells ‘extreme’ quite like a Firebomb launcher and oodles of enemies marching to their doom.

Metal Gear Solid: Special Missions

Metal Gear Solid’s blend of stealth-gameplay with action-packed battles, wrapped within a gripping plot rife with unexpected twists, is precisely why it is considered to be one of the greatest PlayStation games ever made. In 1999, an expansion called Metal Gear Solid: Special Missions (also known as the ‘VR Missions’ in America and Canada) was released.

There are 300 missions, some of which require you to sneak to the goal undetected, or to do a bit of target practice. Things get weirder as you progress further, as you’ll fight invisible soldiers, attempt to knock a guard into a pool of lava with a rocket, and fend off an incoming UFO. You can unleash your inner sleuth in Mystery mode as you collect clues in order to catch a killer.

Not all of these missions are necessary training for the main game, as you’re probably aware by now. That doesn’t matter, of course – this is a brilliant addition to your Metal Gear Solid experience.

You can expect plenty of tricky puzzles and challenging missions in this one.

Duke Nuclear Winter

Created by the aptly-named Simply Silly Software, Duke Nuclear Winter is an add-on for the smash-hit shooter of 1996: Duke Nukem 3D. The aliens have teamed up with a militia of feminist elves and have even brainwashed Santa Claus himself. It’s up to Duke to save the holidays.

Duke Nuclear Winter is made up of seven mediocre levels, two of which are copied from the original game and tweaked slightly. Enemies include killer snowmen, gift-dropping elves and aliens in festive outfits, like Santa hats and antlers. While you’re busy decking the halls with alien guts, cheery and annoying Xmas songs play in the background. The final battle with Father Christmas is a broken mess; he’ll spew rockets and spray bullets, zipping along like a cheetah on a sugar-binge. It’s no wonder it’s considered to be one of the worst expansion packs for Duke Nukem 3D.

For reasons unknown, this holiday-themed expansion pack was released two days after Christmas in 1997, missing out on the festivities entirely. Final verdict: it’s utter tat. Bah, bloody humbug!

The only way to save jolly ol’ St. Nick is to blast his face off with an RPG, because logic.

X-Men: Ravages of the Apocalypse

Expansion packs for the hottest games could be released by no-name companies back in the nineties. Zero Gravity Entertainment were given permission to release a Marvel-themed total-conversion mod for id Software’s Quake in late-1997. This was X-Men: Ravages of the Apocalypse.

Rather than using superpowers, you had to use some oversized weapons to destroy evil robotic clones of the X-Men, running amok in bases and laboratories. It was a notably short and buggy add-on, with some confusing map design and a very steep difficulty curve. At least it looked pretty damn awesome.

The Wolverine clones will keep getting back every time you ‘kill’ them. Watch out, bub!

Postal 2: Paradise Lost

Running With Scissors decided to release an expansion pack to their absurd, cult-classic, open-world first-person shooter Postal 2 over a decade after its release. Think of it as a true sequel to the second game, not like that other game…

The sociopathic Postal Dude enters a ten-year coma after nuking his hometown (it was a PR stunt – no, really), and as a result he hallucinates the events of the critically-panned Postal III. The Dude’s beloved pooch, Champ, has been missing for all of this time, so he sets off to find his companion. Next stop: his post-apocalyptic hometown, Paradise.

During each day, you are given a handful of tasks: buy toilet paper, visit a shaman for advice, beg for money, and so on. If you feel like you have too much time on your hands and want to do things peacefully, you can. Otherwise, you have the option to rush in guns-blazing, but this will upset the numerous factions of the game, like crazed animal rights activists, hippie terrorists, and shotgun-wielding midgets on stilts. The bizarre, crude and offensive sense of humour remains intact with this one, and it’s pretty amazing to see so much new content being worked into a dated game engine.

“I regret nothing.”

Are there any other video game expansion packs you think are particularly strange? Be sure to pop a comment below, and share this article with your friends!

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