Enter the Gungeon is a roguelike, bullet hell shooter where everything is guns. From the living bullet enemies known as Bulletkin to the red ammo casings comprising your health bar, Enter the Gungeon is a tribute to the action genre. You play as a Gungeoneer, an adventurer shooting their way through the randomly-generated Gungeon to find a gun that can shoot the past. Since being released in 2016, Enter the Gungeon has become something of a sleeper hit, with developer Dodge Roll Studios releasing multiple major updates to its game up until just a few months ago.
Considering its munitions motif, Enter the Gungeon truly shines when it comes to its creative arsenal, which is comprised of 243 guns and 271 support items. Incidentally, the vast majority of these 514 weapons double as pop culture references. These pop culture references range from the well-known, paying tribute to classics like Super Mario Bros., Jaws and Terminator 2. Alternatively, Enter the Gungeon can get downright esoteric, referencing cult classics like Memento, Looper and even Twitch Plays Pokémon. Though we've only scratched the surface of the weapons and synergies comprising the Ammonomicon, we've found ten of our favorite Enter the Gungeon armaments that pay homage to our favorite franchises.
GAME OF THRONES
Engraved with the visage of a king, the Iron Coin will eliminate all enemies in one randomly selected room in the level. Upon entering this room, you'll find a pool of blood along with a note reading, "Valar Morgunis," a play on Game of Throne's "Valar Morghulis," or "all men must die."
The Iron Coin's power references Jaqen H'ghar, who gave Arya three "lives" in return for saving his life, in addition to a special coin to meet with The Faceless Man. Similarly, the Iron Coin, or "a payment for services rendered," offers threes uses to pay the iron price.
In addition to referencing video games, books and movies, Enter the Gungeon makes sure not to forget about anime. Enter Bloody Eye, a passive item that takes its namesake, look and effect from the illegal performance-enhancing narcotic Bloody Eye – or "Red Eye" – from the very first episode of Cowboy Bebop.
Just as the original narcotic granted increased reflexes and perceptions, Gungeon's Bloody Eye grants the user a perspective that slows down enemy bullets within their immediate vicinity, essentially translating to a permanent "bullet-time" effect right out of Max Payne.
GEARS OF WAR
During an early stage of Enter the Gungeon's development, a special reload mechanic was implemented, wherein your character gets a damage bonus for reloading in a timely manner. You may recognize this reloading mini-game as the "Active Reload" game mechanic from the Gears of War game franchise.
Ultimately, it was determined that Enter the Gungeon's gameplay was already hectic enough without having to worry about a reloading mini-game However, since the game mechanic had already been programmed, Dodge Roll Studios introduced a special item: the Cog of Battle, named in honor of the Active Reload's originator.
Of course, not every weapon in Enter the Gungeon is a gun that fires bullets, or a bullet that fires guns for that matter. Take the Proton Backpack, a weapon that fires a homing beam of polarized protons straight out of Ghostbusters.
Just like the original Proton Pack, Gungeon's iteration of the portable particle accelerator is super effective against ghosts, spectres and bosses. The Ammonomicon entry even sneaks in a reference to the original Ghostbusters song by Ray Parker Jr.: "Originally brought to the Gungeon by a team of investigators who suspected that something strange was going on."
RICK AND MORTY
For a pop culture reference that's less obvious, there's the Snakemaker. This handheld laser pistol has a 25% chance of turning its targets into snakes through the transmogrifying union of science and magic.
Rick and Morty fans should recognize Snakemaker's build as Rick Sanchez's weapon of choice. The snake-transmogrification bonus effect on the other hand hails from the episode "Get Schwifty," wherein Rick claims to have a watch that turns people into snakes. Granted, Rick was just pretending to turn his vaporized targets into snakes through sleight of hand, but that's a moot point.
METAL GEAR SOLID
Considering its love for the stealth-action franchise, Enter the Gungeon makes the most references to the Metal Gear Solid series. Take Patriot – better known as The Boss' gun from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. There's also the first level boss Gatling Gull, a buff gatling gun-wielding Gull-man parodying Metal Gear Solid's Vulcan Raven.
Finally, there's the hidden boss Agunim, who fights you on a rooftop with a Hind-D attack helicopter – a recreation of Liquid Snake's Hind-D fight in Metal Gear Solid. Incidentally, Agunim is voiced by Liquid Snake himself, Cam Clark.
THE FIFTH ELEMENT
One of the best parts of Gungeon are the acknowledgements to pop culture weaponry that have never received digital incarnations. Take the Zorgun, better known as that egg-shaped gun that Zorg (played by Gary Oldman) sells in The Fifth Element.
Like its cinematic counterpart, The Zorgun fires homing bullets that seek out its target. Unlike its cinematic counterpart, pressing the red button doesn't result in spontaneous combustion. Instead, the button produces a random elemental shot, reflecting the original's various firing modes. The Ammonomicon adds: "Its eggshell design allows it to be stored easily in intergalactic cruise ship compartments."
FINAL FANTASY VII
Despite not being an RPG, Enter the Gungeon pays tribute to the genre by including the Machine Fist: Barrett's gun-arm of the same name from Final Fantasy VII. Machine Fist's Ammonomicon entry details Barrett's side-quest with Dyne from the second disk of Final Fantasy VII, and the Machine Fist even makes the same sound effects when firing.
Likewise, whenever you deplete a clip of Machine Fist, the gun transforms into a red rocket fist that you can direct into enemies for bonus damage – a nod to one of Barrett's limit breaks.
Ultimately, you can't have a video game that pays homage to all things action and not mention the greatest Christmas movie of all time: Die Hard. Known as the Backup Gun, this passive item basically just tapes a gun to your back.
When equipped, the Backup Gun causes additional bullets fire from your back, loosely referencing the technique John McClane used against Hans Gruber in Die Hard's climax. Incidentally, if you snag yourself some Shadow Bullets then you'll unlock the "Gruber's Bane" Gun Synergy.
AQUA TEEN HUNGER FORCE
Out of all of the references made by Enter the Gungeon, we'd never expect a shout out to Aqua Teen Hunger Force, no less one that perfectly fits the game's aesthetic. Considering Gungeon's deliberately pixelated appearance, the Mooninites' Quad Laser is oddly appropriate.
Just like the Mooninites' original Quad Laser, firing this weapon produces a large energy pixel that slowly inches towards your target. When that pixel eventually hits, you'll discover that the Quad Laser can one-shot enemies, making it a must-have for bosses. After all, to quote Ignignokt: "Nothing can defeat the Quad Laser."