Top 5 Most Heartbreaking Video Game Deaths
In the beginning... there was darkness. Then a small white circle raced across the darkness only to be rebounded by a white rectangle into another white rectangle and back again. Thus was the world of video games created, and for a long time it was very hard to deeply identify with your characters or feel bad when they died. At first, they were simply too small and pixilated to generate a sense of empathy. Later on, even characters as revolutionary as Mario did little more than shrug and make an "Oops" face when his life was snuffed out.
However, as graphics and storytelling capabilities grew, so did our bond with these little electronic friends and enemies, and even though video game death is usually as permanent as comic book death, we can name at least five that altered us forever.
Mortal Kombat 3 made the radical change from palette-swapped ninjas to robotic palette-swapped ninjas. Despite this being the kind of plotline a 12-year-old would come up with, it's played out well over the years.
In Cyrax's MK3 ending, he is reprogrammed to hunt Shao Kahn, and because he has no soul and thus isn't detectable by the emperor's magic, he manages to get in a sneak attack, thus ending Kahn's invasion and saving the entire Earth.
His reward for this is to malfunction and to wander out into the desert blindly searching for home. True, later games have him found, resuscitated and even re-ensouled to become a force for good, but that image of humanity's savior being swallowed by desert sands in a fatal determination to return home remains haunting and sad.
We've gone on and on before about the utter brilliance of the Legacy of Kain saga, which is the last great vampire story told, in our opinion. Centering on a vampire named Kain that fate itself attempts to trick into sacrifice and genocide of his own kind, the convoluted, time-warping story all boils down in the end to a confrontation with a gluttonous god that consumes the souls of all the realm's inhabitants.
Kain refused the sacrifice, and spends centuries trying desperately to find a way to both survive and save the realm. This included the apparent murder of his son Raziel, who would be reborn as a wraith and agent of the Elder God. Raziel pursued Kain across time and space over the course of three games, but in the end, it was he who sacrificed himself willingly on Kain's sword to empower it with the strength necessary to kill the Elder God.
The look on Kain's face when he realizes that he's been tricked into killing Raziel, losing someone who was both kin and friend, all in order to end the plot of some pissy, fat, squid beast, is deeply sad. It's clear he never wanted this, none of it, and has been forced to use increasingly brutal means to survive against the plots of the Elder God. It takes Raziel's death to finally shatter the careful, arrogant armor Kain maintained throughout the series, and show the man that was there underneath.