Video game deaths are frustrating at the best of times. Sometimes, you have come a long way in the adventure and a stray bullet kills off all of your hard work. Admittedly, more modern games have thrown in endless checkpoints, killing off the idea that death results in the painful agony of retracing too many of your steps, but it still has the power to throw you totally off your game. Below are three deaths that seem to rub this in your face, during gaming. If you have these games, then you will understand exactly what I am talking about and why they are so infuriating to experience.
3 – FAHRENHEIT – DEPRESSION
Fahrenheit is one of the earlier attempts from Quantic Dream, the company that go for story-based adventures, rather than your typical action shooters. They are the ones that brought us Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls, but Fahrenheit was a game they brought out on PS2, before they got so big. It is a fair attempt at the genre, although limitations with graphics and an audience who weren’t ready for that commitment made it a little obscure. One feature it added to keep the exposition and build-up just as exciting as the fights later on, was the sanity metre. If your character took too many knocks on the way, they would either give up, hand themselves into the police, or in some extreme cases, commit suicide, bringing the game to an early and horrid end. For example, when your female cop character faces her fears in an asylum, exposing her to too much of her phobias would send her into a helpless breakdown, climaxing in a game over screen.
But sometimes the depression metre was tragically misplaced. It kind of becomes a mini-game, where, when your character is given a chance to take a breather, you could cheer that person up with music or food. This helped build up their ability to cope with some of the more serious threats later on. However, the flip side with these moments is that you could also subject your character to unnecessary drops in mood. Turn on the TV to cheer yourself up and you could end up watching a news clip about a bloody murder, putting your character firmly in a bad mood. The worst moment was when the female cop lets a friend test his new tarot card hobby on her, which results on an incredible flurry of bad omens. The problem with this scene is that if your depression meter wasn’t in perfect condition, it was impossible to escape depression. The only way to survive the scene was to rush around your house, before he showed up, eating pizza and listening to radio. And if you didn’t please your hero enough in time, a few palm reading later and you find the hero of the story, slitting her wrists in the bathroom.
2 – TEKKEN – THE KNEE KICK
Tekken is a tried and tested formula. An arcade style game with no complications. You just put two gamers in an arena and have them duke it out until one of them passes out. Simple. No need to tamper with it. It was fun, because even a newcomer to the game could mash buttons and get lucky. Non-gamers could actually have a good crack at it, not subjecting themselves to a FIFA-esque beating. The only downside to a formula no one had bothered touching in years means that every now and again, you will spot a stupid mistake that should have been ironed out in the first sequel.
I am talking about the knee kick. Picture the moment. You are locked in a titanic fight between an opponent as equally talented at randomly pressing buttons as you. Your health bar is whittled down to its last legs, but so is your enemy’s. All it takes is a finisher and the match is yours. That is when the enemy crouches and delivers the pansiest attack to your foot. Sometimes it is a small tap to the Achilles heel. Sometimes it is a weak punch, akin to stroking someone’s ankle. But apparently that is enough to decide the game and you are horrifically subjected to watching your character, a man who has survived the last two minutes of getting punched repeatedly in the face, and being drop-kicked in the head, being defeated by a tickle to the foot. Disgraceful.
1 – METAL GEAR SOLID – CANCER
Okay, this one doesn’t really count, but I really wanted to bring it up. Why doesn’t it count? Because this isn’t an annoying death. Pointless, sure, but it is just too damn hilarious to complain about.
The very first Metal Gear Solid wanted to make its main character look cool, so in your inventory – the limited inventory of things your agent took with him on this top secret mission, no less! – you will find a pack of cigarettes. Anytime during the game, if you wanted to look awesome (I suppose it also provides limited light in pitch black rooms!), you could light up a cigarette and just take a quick smoke break. However, the developers also wanted to drum it into the minds of their young gamers that smoking is a very bad hobby. Therefore, while smoking, your health bar slowly drains. It is a miniscule amount of energy losing, hardly noticeable, but for those wanting to go into battle with every last piece of health, then smoking was a thing to avoid at all costs.
But dying randomly was just too damn funny to pass up. Everyone had this moment. A stealth mission went wrong at some point in the game. You were engaged in a massive gun fight that, by any right, you shouldn’t have survived. But somehow, due to pot luck, you made it out through the battle, still alive. But there’s a problem. You are badly wounded, on your last legs in terms of health, and you know that up ahead is far more guards. Too many of them and a very slim chance of encountering a health pack, before you encounter a fight. What’s the point in even trying? Therefore, holding your two middle fingers to the sky, you pop a cigarette in your mouth and light it up. Right there and then, you have a spontaneous heart attack, grunt in pain and die instantly. But on your own terms! And that is one of the most amazing experiences the PS1 ever gave me.
That last one was funny! I’d love that, too.