Gore in video games is nothing new: It’s been around ever since the first splattered frog in Frogger, the first bloody fist in Final Fight, the first exploding inmate/gameshow contestant in Smash TV... But no matter how many years go by, developers keep finding new ways to make gorey games more visceral, more bloody, and more controversial than ever before. Dead Space Extraction, for instance, sets a new standard for gore on the Nintendo Wii, following in the footsteps of the original Dead Space (last year’s critically acclaimed space thriller/shooter/pants crapping simulator).
Yep, pretty gross.
Looking back on all our years of gaming, there are so many titles that made huge contributions to the splatterhouse genre of gaming. Here are some of our favorites:
Gears of War
That alien is like an egg filled with rasberry jelly.
There are lots of shooters out there where you play as a grizzled space marine tasked with fighting off hordes of hostile aliens/demons/whatever. But there’s only one in which you do so with an assault rifle with a chainsaw attached to it, that you use to slowly and gruesomely saw your way through the abdomens of your opponents. Additionally, you can “curb stomp” enemies while they’re down, which amounts to crushing their heads under heavy, bloodstained boots. In the sequel, you get swallowed by this giant nasty worm thing, which you must kill from the inside by destroying its many hearts. This results in you damn near drowning in blood. Literally. Awesome!
Honorable Mention: God of War
No More Heroes
Right down the middle. Great job!
No More Heroes is more or less a video game re-enactment of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s batshit crazy acid-spaghetti western “El Topo”. It’s also exceedingly gory. Every enemy that you encounter is destined to end up as a blood fountain, shooting geysers of red gravy up into the air is if their hearts had been replaced with industrial-grade air compressors. All you really do in this game is hunt down higher ranked assassins, cut your way through their henchmen with your “beam katana”, face off against and finally execute them. However, the game is actually quite funny and stylish despite the grim subject matter.
Honorable mention: Madworld
I always thought the dangling spine was a nice touch.
Mortal Kombat was the game that was pretty much responsible for three things:
- Mainstream games would now follow MK’s lead and start including fountains of blood, gruesome executions and de-bonings like they were going out of style.
- A rating scale would now be necessary for home console games going forward.
- Nintendo would embarrass themselves with their shitty, non-violent port and finally have to sack up and start making games for adults for once.
Not too bad for a game in which the same two or three palette swapped ninjas do the same goddamn moves over and over to each other before one of them gets bored and rips the other one’s head off!
Honorable mention: Time Killers
Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain
You can’t really see what’s happening here, but I assure you, it’s gross.
This was one of the first games I ever played that really shocked me with its brutality. Not only was it bloody, but the manner in which you dispatched your enemies was particularly creative for an early PS1 title. For instance, you could flay the skin off of someone, make them implode, melt them into a puddle of toxic slime, rip their soul out of their body and play around with it for laughs, or even drink their blood from 20 feet away. Which is how you regained your health, by the way.
This may not be the most well known game out there, but I figure any game with a move called “Blood Shower” has got to make the list somewhere.
Honorable mention: Bloodrayne (series)
I realize that this pic is from RE4, but just look at it! Chainsaw to the neck!
Beacuse I refuse to give PC gamers credit for anything (what are you going to do about it Poindexter?), Resident Evil stands as the genesis of the “survival horror” classification. It’s also the first game I ever played that let you blow zombie’s heads off their shoulders with point-blank shotgun blast. Once everyone got a taste of that satisfyingly bloody “pop”, a genre was born and we never looked back. Coincidentally, zombies have made appearances in everything from Grand Theft Auto to Call of Duty ever since. But their soft, hungry little heads never got any less splaterry!
Honorable mention: Dead Rising
Plastic bags are dangerous, kids. Not for eating.
Sort of a cross between “The Running Man”, “The Warriors”, and a serial killer’s wet dream, Manhunt challenges players to sneak around killing rival gang members with all manner of unlikely weapons. Poke out their eyes with shards of glass, suffocate them with a plastic bag, or saw their head off with a wire… Really the carnage is only limited by your imagination. I’m getting sick just thinking about it. This game was so brutal that it’s still banned in several countries.
Honorable mention: Carmageddon
Freakin’ laser beams. In a Punisher game. Sure, why not?
Wow. This game is so violent it’s unbelievable. You could swap the Punisher out of it and resell it as "Hostel: The Videogame". As the Punisher, you’d think that you’d find yourself shooting a lot of people, right? And that would be gory enough. But you may be surprised to find that there are other, more “punishing” ways to dispatch villains in this game, some of which are downright horrible. Perp not talking? Why not shove him into a wood chipper? Or drive over his head with a forklift? Or dismember him on a table saw? Or put a f**king drill press right into his skull? For a game based on a comic book, even one with more adult leanings, this one really raises the bar for bloodlust.
Honorable mention: Wolverine: Uncaged Edition
Is she stomping on that dude’s junk?
This game was so brutal and disgusting that it never even saw release. Thrill Kill was a fighting game starring a cast of twisted freaks, like an amputee, a midget on stilts, a mongoloid and a dominatrix. Each fight was to the death, which could mean being drawn and quartered, beat to death with your own severed limbs, ripped apart and sewn back together horrifically, or forced to commit suicide with a cattle prod. All this is set to a disturbing industrial soundtrack and takes place in what appears to be a mental asylum.
Believe it or not, the engine for this game was actually repurposed for a shitty Wu-Tang clan fighting game, but I recommend you skip that and see if you can’t find the code for the original floating about somewhere out there in the vastness of the internets…
Honorable mention: Postal Series
Sometimes you can find the eyeballs rolling around across the room afterward...
Every time you eliminate an enemy in this game, you are treated to a slow-motion video of their head exploding and/or limbs tearing off of their body and sailing through the air like a dandelion made of ground beef. You can even acquire a “perk” around level 10 or so that makes their whole body burst like a water balloon filed with chorizo. And then you can loot their corpse for shwag. Later in the game, you get your hands on laser and plasma weaponry that reduce your enemies into tiny piles of ashes. Simulated serial murder doesn’t get more satisfying than this!
Honorable mention: Soldier of Fortune (series)
Sorta like John Carpenter’s "The Thing", but in space!
Like a sick combination of “Event Horizon” and Resident Evil, Dead Space forces you to completely dismantle your enemies into tiny pieces in order to stop their bloodthirsty advances. Shooting them in the head won’t do it. Take off a limb and they just grow a newer, even more f**ked-up one in its place. Take out their legs and they just keep crawling after you. They’re like a girlfriend that won’t let you break up with them no matter how hard you try. It’s frightening. Alas, the only way to stop a Necromorph is to tear it up like a paper doll made of bloody, disease infested meat from hell, burn the remains, scatter the ashes and be on your merry, terrified way.
This is why you’d have to be crazy to be an astronaut, by the way. You just don’t know what’s out there, amirite?
Honorable mention: Silent Hill