Which video game deaths were so disturbing they still haunt you to this day?Video games have come a long way over the years. From the text-based adventures of the early '70s to the graphics-packed interactive realities of modern day. And yes, some video games took us to the highest peaks of our childhood joy. But along with those highs, some of the most violent and disturbing video game deaths we saw still haunt us to this day. Some were ridiculous. And some were truly gruesome. Some were hilarious. But others were straight-up horrific. So here are the most disturbing deaths we've ever seen in games. Now prepare to relive the darkest moments of your video-gaming life.
The new Tomb Raider featured a big update graphically from its predecessors. Even Lara Croft underwent some changes, this time depicted as equally tough and fragile. The fragile side really gets played up with some of the more nasty death sequences, such as when riding down a river and Lara’s head is impaled by a stray wooden pole, from throat to crown. It’s an especially jarring moment in a game chock full of them.
Red Dead Redemption
Like the cars in Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto series, it doesn’t pay to get too attached to your horse in the game Red Dead Redemption, as there’s always another one coming just around the corner. But if you’re feeling very naughty, you can get rid of your old junker of a thoroughbred in a very dramatic fashion by leading your horse onto a traintrack, waiting for an oncoming train, and letting the magic happen. Boom! Suddenly your horse has been dissembled for easy packing. Good luck getting it back together!
Return To Zork
The Zork computer series dates back to its text-based roots in the 1970s, but this graphics-heavy adventure game from Infocom also went heavy on the sound production and voice acting. One thing that carried over between the games, however, was the fact that death lurked around every corner. Saving, testing things out, and dying in the process were a big part of how you figured out what to do in adventure games. But this new entry, Return to Zork, made you terrified to die, because the Game Over screen was so spooky. A blast of organ music, a maniacal bass laugh, then the next thing you know you’re staring at your own casket while whatever killed you is immortalized in a stain glass window above your boxed remains.
Resident Evil 4
The chainsaw guy in Resident Evil 4 isn’t the biggest, ugliest, most mutated creature you’ll face over the course of the game. But when he debuts early in the first level, he sets the tempo for the types of terrifying abominations yet to come. Between the bag over his head, the strange gutteral groans he emits, and his trademark whirring chainsaw, he cuts a truly scary figure. And when that saw first makes contact with your protagonist’s neck, spawning the bloody Game Over screen, you’ll carry the memory of your decapitation with you long after you’ve been reassembled.
Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time
Around the sleepy town of Kakariko Village, there patrol a flock of cuccos, Hyrule’s spin on chickens. And if you feel the urge to strike one with your Master Sword or another weapon, their silly sounding gobbles might make you laugh for a minute or two. But after a while, the cutscene will begin to play. The cucco will crow. And out of nowhere, you’re completely beset by a swarm of the fowl beasts, clawing and pecking your tunic to shreds as you flee, rolling, grunting to safety. If you can find cover, you’ll live, but if not, you’ll have to live with the knowledge that you were just killed by a bunch of magic chickens.
The Walking Dead: Season 1
The Telltale games are full of tough choices, forcing you the player to make some pretty heady, story-impacting decisions over the course of your playthrough. The Walking Dead games, based on elements of both the show and the comics, makes sure to give those decisions an extra level of nastiness, often putting the onus on you to determine who from your makeshift party will live and who will die. One very memorable death can occur when, trapped in a walk-in freezer with a potentially infected, definitely belligerent soldier, you might decide to pick up a nearby salt lick and crush the dude’s head with said brick. And did we mention the dude’s daughter is in the room with you? Talk about your traumatizing experiences.
The Splatterhouse games are notorious for their gore and hyperviolence. You’re basically a monster yourself, running through a demented hellscape, randomly vivisecting other bigger, nastier monsters who chance to cross your path. A few minutes in this world will leave you pretty desensitized to most graphic imagery. But then you suddenly watch as your character runs around to a demon’s butt, plunges his arm in to the shoulder, and with a wild flourish disembowels the blighted fiend, fully removing his freaking rectum. Did we say “rectum?” Damn near killed ‘em!
Sonic The Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog is everybody’s favorite blue speed demon. But he sure can die in some pretty horrific ways. He’s always jumping on spikes, getting boiled by lava, and bubbling off this mortal coil as he drowns in chemical waste. But the deep, sickening THUNK sound that plays when he’s crushed to death just sticks with you, long after you’ve respawned.
Sniper Elite 3
Sniper Elite 3 has some really amazing looking anatomical design. When you hit a target, you see exactly where the bullet goes in an x-ray slo-mo mode, and if that target is a human body, you see all of their internal muscles, bones, and organs. It’s pretty cool and crazy accurate, but that all comes back to haunt you when you score a testicle shot. Sometimes there’s such a thing as too realistic, let’s just leave it at that.
Silent Hill: Homecoming
The Silent Hill series is loaded with disturbing imagery, grotesque body horror, and thrilling psychological weirdness. Homecoming wasn’t as beloved an entry as some of the earlier games, but it still made use of some signature visuals and stylistic choices. The iconic Pyramid Head even made a reappearance, popping up to chop the protagonist’s dad in half during an emotional climax. Even though you don’t actually witness the murderous event, the aftermath is more than enough to send a shiver down your spine.
Prince Of Persia
Prince of Persia came out in 1989 and is one of the first games to use rotoscoping instead of traditional animation. While it wasn’t an immediate success, it eventually became a truly iconic video game due to its lifelike character movements. But the death sequences might have been a little too realistic, including being stabbed by swordsmen, eviscerated by guillotines, and crumpling in a broken heap after plummeting three stories or more stories. And did we mention the time limit?
Resident Evil 6
The Resident Evil series has some pretty intense fans, but this guy is just too much. He charges at you out of the darkness, picks you up, and holds you over a set of whirring fan blades. If you push the right sequence of button prompts, you can barely escape, but the creature is so hell-bent on pushing you in he’s willing to come in after you, sacrificing his body to ensure your demise. Now that’s dedication!
Primal Rage is a weird but fun fighting game featuring claymation dinosaurs and other apelike abominations. For kids who dug both Mortal Kombat and Jurassic Park, it was the ultimate combination, and it had lots of insanely violent supermoves. One move was performed by the feisty monkey Chaos, who pees acid on the fallen opponent, causing their body to explode, leaving behind only their skeleton. In another Fatality, Chaos leaves the enemy behind entirely and just goes for a swim in a nearby lake. Like we said, it’s a weird one.
The Postal game series is known for one thing: atrocious taste. In the world of Postal, everything is either a weapon, a target, or both. Our favorite weapon is probably the Sledgehammer, which, when thrown at a person, cow, or whatever, causes their limbs to fly off at ridiculous angles. Add a smattering of blood and you’ve got a recipe for a gruesome, ghoulish good time, tastes be damned.
Phantasmagoria was a really fun but strange game that combines classic point-and-click adventure with live action video footage, bridging the gap between games and interactive movies. And say what you will about realistic graphics, the practical special effects in this game have a certain hokey charm that hi-rez renders just can’t compete with. The scene that really stuck in our heads was when a monster tears a person’s face in half like so much Play-Doh. Sometimes the stuff that would make you cry as a kid just makes you laugh as a grown-up.
Mortal Kombat 9
No list of gruesome video game deaths would be complete without an entry from the hit fighting series Mortal Kombat. The franchise built itself around the concept of brutal Fatalities, unique final moves for each of the characters once they’ve successfully decimated their opponent. And Noob Saibot’s “Make A Wish” Fatality is one we wouldn’t wish on our worst enemies. First the guy makes a copy of himself. Then, he and his twin each grab their opponent by a leg, and pull until they’ve split the victim entirely in half, like a couple of brothers fighting over the Thanksgiving wishbone. For a Noob, that guy’s got some sickening skills.
Metal Gear Solid
Metal Gear Solid is about stealth and action, lying in wait then springing when the time is right. But when the time is wrong, and action and stealth accidentally intersect, Solid Snake might bite the dust. Cue the meme-orable Game Over screen, with Snake’s radio correspondent screaming out his name over the airwaves. It might seem a little less silly without the subtitles spelling out “SNAAAAAAAKE!” with seven As, but only marginally. The raw passion of the mourner really sells the moment, especially with the swelling background music, and makes you feel bad for stepping out of the shadows when you shouldn’t have.
Super Mario 64
Super Mario 64 is a mostly whimsical lark through the Mushroom Kingdom, full of somersaults and penguin sleds and cruises over actual rainbows. But whenever the plumber comes close to, of all things, water, the game developers let some darkness in. For Mario, you see, has an absolutely terrifying drowning animation, clawing at the surface, clutching his throat and futilely writhing around. If low-res polygons can affect you emotionally, it’s the stuff of nightmares.
When this Mature-rated game came out for the generally kid-friendly Nintendo Wii console, it definitely turned a lot of heads. And while it wasn’t a huge commercial success, this Sin City-inspired black-and-white-and-red action game was a lot of fun for teenagers and older audiences. You could even get your motorcycle in on the carnage, catching enemies and dragging them behind you while you spun wheelies over their flattened domes. Brutal!
Left 4 Dead
The Left 4 Dead FPS zombie games were awesome fun with a couple of friends. But even a full team of undead hunters would have to tread lightly when they came across a rogue Witch wandering the streets or cowering in a dark corner. Startling the Witch causes her to unleash fury on your abdomen, clawing you with her sharp talons, eyes blazing. Only a well-coordinated effort can dispatch these wailing women with minimal casualties.
There’s something rather disturbing on a basic level about being eaten to death by a bunch of rats, but it’s especially injurious when someone has specifically summoned those rats with the sole purpose of making a meal out of you. In the magical steam-punk stealth assassin series Dishonored, you gain this very power, and can use it to dispatch rodents to quickly devour your hapless foes. The huge cloud of blood they stir up in their feeding frenzy might just put you off your lunch for a bit though, so be warned.
Dead Space 2
The Dead Space games are jam packed with brutal death sequences and ultra-violence, but most often you’re the one dishing it out against alien monstrosities with the help of your handy weaponized tools. But in Dead Space 2, you have to apply the tools to your own self, and perform eye surgery while simultaneously undergoing it. If you mess up, your face goes bye-bye. What’s left is not pretty, but there’s nothing you can do but reload and climb back in that self-surgery chamber.
Frogger is a ridiculously fun arcade game, the kind that benefits from its simplicity. You’re a frog trying to cross from one side of the screen to the other, easy as that. But your worst enemies, apart from alligators, steep banks, and swift river currents, are the cars. Your very first obstacle in the game is an interstate highway, and if you make contact with one of the shiny vehicles, you’ll explode on contact. Now that’s worth a quarter any day of the week!
God Of War 3
As the name implies, there’s a buttload of buttkicking in the God of War franchise. You don’t get to be the God of War without being really, really good at war. But when Kratos focuses his wrath on the sun god Helios, it’s enough to make us lose our heads. At least that’s what happens to Helios, who gets his head painfully pulled from his body by Kratos’ bare hands. But whatever guilt you might have felt as the player is quickly subsided when you immediately learn that Helios’ head makes for a handy dandy lantern.
When you get your first melee weapon in Bioshock Infinite, the skyhook, you get to learn how to use it pretty much immediately. You’ve just stolen it from a nearby guard who was planning on clawing your face open with it, and you’re kind enough to return the favor. You’re then running for your life, skyhooking guards by the dozen. Of course, since the hook was intended solely for use as a transportation device around the floating city, none of this face-clawing would be covered under the manufacturer’s warranty.