WARNING: Mild spoilers and graphic content are contained in this article.
Death is inevitable. It gets us all in the end. As gamers, we experience the death of our beloved characters many times over, sometimes in the same evening. Whether it's Nathan Drake meeting his maker after a mistimed jump in #Uncharted4, or Trevor Philips getting wasted in a hail of bullets following a five star police chase in Grand Theft Auto V, death is an occupational hazard.
But some games delight in the end of their characters. With that thought, now's as good a time as any to look at the games with death scenes that send a shiver down our spines — or have you screaming in terror.
1. Limbo — Death By Spider
Anyone who has experienced this monochromatic nightmare tale of a lost boy's journey to save his sister will know there are numerous ways the nameless hero of Playdead's Limbo could meet his untimely demise. Impaled on spikes, dismemberment from bear traps and being crushed by crates are just a few of the gruesome fates that potentially await him.
If like me, however, you have a deep-rooted fear of arachnids, then the worst of these is the encounter with the spider. This terrifying episode is made worse by the fact that you can't even see the damn thing. It lurks in the darkness and shadows at the edge of the screen, waiting for you to amble forward, and then from out of nowhere a pointy leg lashes out and, before you know it, you're skewered like a piece of meat on a kebab.
It's a horrific moment that takes you by surprise on your first playthrough. What's more horrifying is the fact that you have to relive the moment over and over again as you try to figure out a way past the eight-legged beast!
2. The Witcher 3: Hearts Of Stone — Death By Kitchen Utensil
This particular death is not one that we have to endure as players of a game, but is a sudden and shocking moment inflicted on an NPC in a cutscene that reveals the true nature of Geralt's mysterious employer Gaunter O'Dimm.
O'Dimm is a character so evil he has his own creepy theme tune that accompanies his every appearance in the game, not to mention a haunting little ditty of a nursery rhyme, sung by small children that will make you shiver. Up until this moment, that evilness is nothing more than aura, words, and veiled threats of what could happen should you cross him.
And in truth, it doesn't take much to cross him, as the poor unfortunate in the tavern finds out when O'Dimm pushes a wooden spoon into his eye for having the nerve to come between him and Geralt during a conversation (4.10 in the clip below). This truly vicious act is made all the more terrifying by the casual way that it is carried out, as if it were something he does daily.
Which, being an evil sort of person, he probably does.
3. Until Dawn — Death By Stupidity
We've all been there. Sat watching the latest high-school slasher film as the murderer wreaks havoc at the prom/sleepover/birthday party conveniently being held in the old spooky house/abandoned mine/community center built on the site of the killer's preferred pet cemetery or Native American burial ground, screaming at the screen as one by one the victims commit stupid act after stupid act, allowing them to fall into the hands of said murderer.
"Nooo! Don't go investigate the strange sound in the basement on your own!!"
"What are you doing?! Don't run out of the house into the dark woods without a torch!"
"Are you stupid? The crumpled figure lying on the floor obviously isn't dead! Don't walk up to it and start poking it with a stick!"
Well, thankfully Until Dawn gives you the chance to direct your own horror film and set the record straight. Except that it doesn't.
Y'see, a funny thing happens when you start playing this game. You suddenly lose all common sense and start doing the most alarmingly stupid things. The game's narrative kind of demands it, as it wouldn't be much of a game if at the first sign of trouble you're given the option to just go home.
There are any number of decisions you could make, some of which will lead you to safety, and others — well, not so much. On my first playthrough I was guilty of guiding one of the characters, Ashley, into committing the cardinal sin of horror movies: Wandering off from the group in a dangerous place (dumb!), and unlocking a door with strange sounds coming from behind it (even dumber!). The result? See for yourself.
4. Dead Space 2 — Death By Everything
The Dead Space franchise reveled in the brutality of its gameplay and death scenes, and for me #DeadSpace2 was where the game was at its best. Literally everything in the game was trying to kill you. Everything.
Not content with making you battle the various enemy types that you encounter including slashers, pukers, infectors, lurkers and exploders (and yes, they are all as gross as they sound), the game will throw various environmental hazards at you, just to mix things up. Any number of the station's glass windows might shatter and suck you into the coldness of space; even the very air — or lack of it in this case — is a cause for constant concern.
And when you die, the makers of the game really want you to know about it. There are times when playing that you'll put the controller down, point to the screen and say, "This is what's wrong with the world today," shaking your head in disbelief.
The sheer number of ways your character can be killed is huge. There are so many that it's difficult to pick just one.
So take a look at them all. If you dare...
And yes, I realize the number of deaths I've included from Dead Space 2 takes us way above four, but hey, it is the season of Halloween! Tell me about your favorite video game death in the comments below.