Here’s a weird one: I can’t stand the sight of blood in real life and intense gore in movies makes me sick to my stomach. But violent video games have no effect on me. In fact, some of my absolute favorite games are extremely violent — and their greatness is partly due to their gratuitous violence. Weird.
So, what are the five goriest games of all time? Opinions vary, but here are my picks:
5. Grand Theft Auto
Virtually every version of GTA has caught heat from the media or wacky video game critics like Jack Thompson for its violence. And it is a violent game. In a span of 30 seconds you can carjack a civilian, blow up a gangster with a grenade, and gun down several dozen bystanders with a semi-automatic weapon.
But GTA’s violence is rarely gory — you won’t find many limbs flying across the screen. Nevertheless, given the amount of damage one can do to a GTA city in a matter of moments, it’s worth having this excellent and violent franchise on the list.
Why is it that I remember Doom deathmatches with friends but have completely forgotten most other memories from my childhood? Because Doom rocked, and it rocked largely because it was so gory: from splitting open the forehead of a red devil with a shotgun blast to carving holes in imps with a spray from the chaingun. Of course, the most violent moments took place when one pulled out the gargantuan BFG 9000 and laid waste to foes, leaving nothing but bloody husks behind.
This open-world dystopian title is gloriously gory. The limbs of enemies fly in all directions after well-placed shotgun blasts, while plasma bursts cause enemies to literally melt. But here’s what makes Fallout special: choose the “Bloody Mess” perk when upgrading your character and even a pistol blast can cause your foes to obliterate, sending shards of flesh in all directions.
Blood was just another one of those 1990s Doom/Duke Nukem 3D ripoffs, but it was one that — as the name implies — revelled in providing an overabundance of violence and gore. Blood let players kill their enemies with all kinds of crazy weapons, from a voodoo doll to a napalm launcher. This was also one of the first titles to introduce dual-wielding, allowing players to double the damage inflicted on foes. Filled with blood (surprise!) and dark, sick humor, Blood was a treat for the gory game fan.
1. Mortal Kombat
No other game has embraced gore and violence like Mortal Kombat. The series caused a media frenzy from its very beginnings in the mid-’90s, and has only escalated the violence in the years since. Last year’s update for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 is absolutely phenomenal, not just because it’s a slick and fun fighting game, but because the game integrates the violence in such an entertaining way. A new “X-Ray Move” feature allows players to inflict devastating, bone-crunching injuries on their opponents, potentially turning the tide of a match. Then there are the fatalities, which take the iconic and original idea of finishing off an enemy to a whole new level: Scorpion not only cuts his opponent in half, but he freakin’ dices the guy to pieces. Liu Kang shoves a fist through his foe’s abdomen, and Mileena literally chews her dazed opponent’s face off.
Again, this is a subjective list, and not a totally comprehensive one. So, guys, what are your favorite gory video games?