15 ways to tell you’re in deadly peril in a video game

You pass a seemingly inconspicuous vent or hidey hole

Jeez, dude. You’re really in for it now. Hard gaming science dictates that 93.6% of all video game vents have something terrible crawled up inside them, just waiting to pounce and suck out your bone marrow. If said vent is slightly ajar or has a few loose screws you can raise that stat to 114%. Unless you’re carrying a machete that would make Mick Dundee’s look like a butter knife, you can safely assume whatever’s jumping out of there is making you its dinner.

Any moment where your character isn’t totally miserable in a survival horror

Your reluctant cop/space miner/enterprising schoolgirl should never at any point enjoy a single modicum of happiness during a horror game. Such a brief interlude of joy among the unremitting, wrist-slashing misery can only mean something terrible is about to happen. Most likely involving a big carving knife and your character’s crotch.

Above: Wow, cracking a smile? You’re so screwed, Sheva

You befriend/trust anyone with facial hair

If you take nothing else away from this feature, learn this: any NPC you meet with even a hint of face fuzz will invariably betray and try to murder you horribly at some point. Remember kids, only trust clean-shaven characters. OK, at a push you can befriend someone if they’ve got a really awesome handlebar moustache. Sure, they’ll probably try to kill you. But being murdered is a small price to pay for the privilege of bathing in the presence of such a magnificent soup-strainer. God, we’re hot for Captain Price.

Above: Man, that's some straight up evil face fur

A door slams shut behind you of its own freewill

Any door, gate or fancy electronic barrier you walk through that then shuts on its own accord is doing so because it wants you out of the union. If you encounter one of these sentient sociopathic doorways: beware. You’re almost certainly about to find yourself trapped inside a massive, cavernous arena, where a boss character is motivating itself for your murder by imagining you mugging its mum.


  • onewingedantista - January 21, 2010 4:47 p.m.

    First! Awesome article, guys. I lol'd lots. Beware The 'stache!
  • Doctalen - January 21, 2010 4:51 p.m.

    I love how the trees are always out to get you in games. A good example would be Fallout 3, the one place there are trees and they drug you. Not to mention Point Lookout where they drug ya and then cut up your brain.
  • banjokazoozie - January 21, 2010 5:10 p.m.

    this stuff is so true, lol at ronald mc donald with a knife
  • pimlicosound - January 21, 2010 5:13 p.m.

    The picture of a bloody-fanged Ronald McDonald is enough to frighten anyone, but is sure to scare clown-haters half to death.
  • Jacob816 - January 21, 2010 5:22 p.m.

    Awesome article. So true, yet really funny.
  • NanoElite666 - January 21, 2010 6:15 p.m.

    You forgot graveyards. Nothing good ever seems to happen when your character has to traverse through a graveyard.
  • NinjaJamez - January 21, 2010 7 p.m.

    Funny and educative.... a house mark of games radar.
  • zayleffein - January 21, 2010 7:03 p.m.

    I totally got chills when I saw Ronald McPennywise lol Great Article
  • bilstar - January 21, 2010 7:25 p.m.

    And going from a sequence of corridors or pathways into a large, open and probably pretty symmetrical area. Cool article.
  • OmNomRomRearghNergh - January 21, 2010 8:01 p.m.

    Ahh leaves, the silent killer.
  • noobeater - January 21, 2010 8:07 p.m.

    quality article guys,
  • dahsif - January 21, 2010 8:20 p.m.

    I nominate this feature for the Pulitzer prize.
  • DriveShaft - January 21, 2010 9:28 p.m.

    Lol, if you hear music YOURE DEAD if you hear silence YOURE DEAD, sad but true in survival horrors x]
  • dante1924 - January 21, 2010 9:48 p.m.

    The door slamming thing happens repeatedly in spirit tracks! I am walking around the dungeon, and suddenly, a wall springs up, and I have to fight a horde of monsters! Marcus is so screwed in your image!
  • dante1924 - January 21, 2010 9:52 p.m.

    Actually, when I think about it, zelda games have almost all of these things.
  • TrIp13G - January 21, 2010 9:52 p.m.

    I submit that Prince of Persia is the exception to the water rule.
  • garnsr - January 21, 2010 10:06 p.m.

    In the PS1 days, a sure sign that something was going to happen was when you'd hear the disc drive spin, and you knew something terrifying was being loaded, about to burst out at you.
  • speno93 - January 21, 2010 10:31 p.m.

    silence and darkness nearly always scare the shit out of me in videogames. Hell I get freaked out when the piano starts attacking you in Super Mario 64, that instrument's scary!1
  • Cwf2008 - January 21, 2010 10:32 p.m.

    That picture of Ronald McDonald about to knife that guy was hilarious! And who doesnt love Cpt. Price's i mean. Ya its cool
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