Films, Books and yes even video games can have a direct line to our heartstrings, messing with our emotions in ways that stay with us forever. I was recently reminded of this recently when I played a bit of Bioshock and remembered THAT ending. This got me thinking about all the moments in gaming that ripped my soul from my body and gave it a good old beating. Thought it might be worth writing them down too, so everyone can see exactly what makes me cry and can use it against me in the future… wait that doesn’t sound okay, too late I suppose!
Metal Gear Solid 4 – Snake Vs Ocelot
The culmination of nearly 50 years of events. Old Snake is dragged to the top of the gigantic Outer Haven ship and made to have one final fist fight with his arch enemy and body swap extraordinaire Liquid Snake. Of course, at this point Liquid is “possessing” the body of Snakes OTHER arch enemy Revolver Ocelot, a surprisingly jacked 70-year-old man.
As the battle goes on, the music changes along with the health bars on the HUD each change reflecting a different game in the mainline series giving closure to the fans of the franchise, you know, at least until the 5 game came a knockin’. This battle took my feelings and gave them a haymaker as I watched Snake give his all to finally end his enemy and save the world. Plus, there is the fun moment where Snake screams “LIQUIIIIDDDDD!!!” for basically no reason?
Halo Reach – Current Objective Survive
Possibly the best game in the entire franchise, Halo: Reach is an incredible journey from start to finish as you watch Spartan Noble team do their best to fend off the invading Covenant forces in a losing battle that keeps killing them off. Each member of the team who dies makes sure to rattle your emotions, but nothing hits quite as hard as the games epilogue. The last member of the team left alive on Reach, player character Noble 6, stands alone surrounded by the bodies of fallen marines and Spartans as an army of aliens bears down on him. You’re left with unlimited rifle ammo and a simple objective to survive as long as possible and take as many covies with you as you can.
No matter what you do, eventually 6 will run out of health and you have to watch a cutscene of them fighting a group of Elites until they are finally killed with an energy blade. The combination of sombre music and the knowledge that no matter what you do, this is the last moment for 6 hits like a truck and is the perfect ending to this bittersweet game and Bungies last turn at the wheel of the Halo series.
Gears of War 2 -Dom find Maria
Okay so this one took a bit of debate. I’m sure a lot of people out there would say Dom’s death in Gears 3 was the real kicker but, and bear with me on this, I find watching Dom’s pain here much harder than dealing with his absence in 3. Throughout 1 & 2 your right-hand man and co-op partner Santiago is clearly driven by his desire to find his missing wife Maria. Near the close of Gears 2, Marcus and Dom find a bunch of captured humans and exploring this large prison they finally open the chamber containing Maria. Unfortunately, as soon as the pod opens it’s clear Dom is too late, while he sees her as he remembers her the last time they were together, Marcus eventually gets through to him and Dom breaks down upon seeing his tortured and broken wife.
It’s incredibly painful to watch and as Dom cries and tries to deal with this new reality you realise what he has to do next, watching him pull a side arm and apologise to the love of his life. Continuing into the third game Dom never truly recovers from this moment and its totally understandable why.
Shadow of the Colossus – Farewell Agro
Possibly one of the greatest games ever made, Shadow of the Colossus was a piece of art more than it was a game. Travelling across an expansive and beautiful world, your mission is to find gigantic lumbering creatures and bring them down all in the name of reviving your dead lover. The colossi haven’t really done anything wrong but hey, its still easier to do that than dating again right? During your journey you are joined by your faithful companion Argo, a frankly MASSIVE horse that carts you across the map and even helps you fight a few of the giant stone beasties.
Of course, this is a list of sad moments so unfortunately it all goes wrong… On your way to fight the final Colossus, you enter a deep canyon during a terrifying storm. When you cross a stone bridge lightning strikes and the ancient masonry starts to collapse. Agro, loyal to the end, takes the initiative and bucks you off his back clear of the danger and falls into the river below. Player character Wander is devastated and left calling out for his only friend. I mean at the end of the game its shown that horsey lived, but still Wander doesn’t know that…