As video games have become more and more technically demanding, they have continued to find new ways to affect emotionally. At the time, seeing the Asteroids ship crumble into tiny pieces was kind of sad, but it wasn’t a visceral experience that was detailed enough.
Over the years, titles like Dead Space have shown us the harrowing effects of ship damage in deep space and lives being taken in brutal ways. It’s not a strictly sci-fi phenomenon, either: characters meet grisly ends in all sorts of ways in contemporary games, and with sophisticated storytelling and characterization, some of those losses can really sting.
Naturally, most of the time we deal with that death ourselves, in bloody shooters, mature fighters like Mortal Kombat and similar titles. Here there is some justification for this, for the enemies and the wicked are dispensed with joy.
We can cringe at some of the more visceral deaths, but when the devs inflict them on innocent characters rather than dastardly enemies who “deserved” them, that’s a whole different matter. Here are some examples of characters who received shocking and vicious death scenes that they definitely didn’t deserve.
Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, a GameCube-exclusive cult classic, is a dark story indeed. The plot centers on Alex Roivas, a young woman who unknowingly takes up the torch that her family has carried for generations: saving humanity from the threat of the Ancients.
To do this, she travels between chapters of the Tome of Eternal Darkness, each time taking on the role of a different person throughout history who has their own part to play. The protagonist of the first chapter is Pious Augustus, a Roman centurion who stumbles upon the Forbidden City and the artifacts of the Ancients. As Pious, the player must select one, and Pious is immediately killed by its power when it hits it.
But he doesn’t just die. As the game demonstrates in gruesome and extended detail, he becomes a mighty lich, running the bidding of chosen Elders and opposing the player (killing several other protagonists in various gruesome circumstances) for the rest of the adventure. It is a terrible secular end for this noble warrior.