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Five in-game deaths that actually made us sad

Game: Lost Odyssey
The deceased: Lirum Argonar

The first time the player actually gets to meet Lirum Argonar in the 'flesh', as it where, is when she's lying on her death bed. Until that point she's only glimpsed using flashbacks, which is the way Lost Odyssey reveals the backstory of its 1000 year-old immortal protagonist, Kaim Argonar. Lirum is Kaim's daughter - a daughter he thought he'd seen perish several years earlier. So it's a particularly cruel twist of fate that the two are only reunited as Lirum is drawing her last breaths. Press play to watch an edited version of the emotional reunion.

But while the death scene is moving and tragic and affectively glum-inducing, it's the subdued post-mortem preparations and 'sending off' ceremony that really make Lirum's death so sadly poignant and memorable. We can't recall any other game that has actively involved the player in a character's religious funeral or, indeed, dwelled so ponderously upon it...

By tasking the player with picking flowers to adorn Lirum's body and with lighting symbolic torches at the ceremony, it crafts a sense of solemn significance and produces a palpable atmosphere of mourning. Her appearance in the game may be incredibly brief, but Lirum's departure is treated with a touching sobriety that proved to be a powerful influence on our mood.

Game: Advance Wars: Dark Conflict/Days of Ruin (UK/US)
The deceased: Captain O'Brian/Brenner (UK/US)

Proof that it's not just the Gig-spitting machines of near-cinematic magic that can tickle the blue chords with genuine feeling, this DS gem surprised us by making us feel suitably down hearted at the death of one of its lead characters, Captain O'Brian (Captain Brenner in the US). We've got no movie to illustrate the event, but watching static illustrations out of context wouldn't effectively convey the anguish that anyone who played the game would have felt.

For that you would need to have played the game from the start, where your character, Ed (Will in the US), is rescued by O'Brian. The Captain becomes Ed/Will's mentor and the narrative quickly establishes O'Brian/Brenner as a heroic, humane and compassionate soldier that follows an unwritten code of honour on the battlefield. The Captain's penultimate action before his death halfway through the game is a characteristically chivalrous one, effectively sacrificing himself so Ed/Will and the rest of his men can escape a certain crushing defeat at the hands of a merciless enemy.

And while the picture of a beaten O'Brian/Brenner slumped against a wall (which was displayed using both the DS' screens) was the only visual tool for illustrating his demise, it was an incredibly poignant image, and made us realise - with a touch of surprise - that we were properly sad about the Captain dying. Testament surely to the game's great characters and affecting narrative.

106 comments

  • embyrz - December 31, 2013 11:35 p.m.

    AERITH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • phoenixwright13 - June 25, 2013 9:48 p.m.

    (SPOILER ALERT!) What about Augustus Sinclair and Mark Meltzer and... yourself in Bioshock 2?
  • RaenefEclipse - May 25, 2011 4:22 a.m.

    !!!SPOILER ALERT!!! What about Jak's dad at the end of Jak 3?
  • RogueHippie130 - May 24, 2011 12:23 a.m.

    Look on the bright side: Price is still alive. How could he possibly get vanquished while in possession of that epic 'stache of manly British-ness?
  • Recon4165 - May 22, 2011 1:33 p.m.

    Big Bosses death at the end of mgs 4 made me shed a tear
  • hullonotna - May 21, 2011 7:10 p.m.

    One more moment that I would personally add is Captains Price's first death ever in COD 1. Sure the characters weren't to developed but his death on the German ship was shocking especially because it doesn't register right away. As you walk down the ship cargo his dot on the minimap just disappears, and you're left with finishing the mission. You don't realize he is dead as you don't think that he is supposed to die. He just dies like any random AI in the game and that makes it the more tragic because he deserved an epic death. Sgt. Waters statement that Price was a good man and its a shame that he is gone when you jump inot the boat really nails it home and tells you that yep that body from who you grabbed the MP30 actually was captain price. That death put me in shock and made me feel dirty becasue I thought that he died because of a mistake I did. Only after the 2nd playthrough I finally understood that he is gone. :( COD 4 deaths are also deserving the spot on the list, especially Griggs. Seeing that bullet blow a hole in his head as he tried to save me left me speech less. The end came to fast and unexpected.
  • sohaibifikhar - April 21, 2011 5:45 p.m.

    What about mayu's death in fatal frame..???? To think that we we through all that shit in the village just for this.. Although afterwards i realized that it was for the greater good and all... But it was still so friggin sad...
  • MassEffective - March 12, 2011 2:44 p.m.

    the first time i beat mass effect 2 tali and gunt both died... and a little piece of me died too. :(
  • Guardian88 - March 12, 2011 7:27 a.m.

    heres a list of deaths were sad. Im sure everyone will agree. Trish Daily from InFAMIOUS EVA and Naomi from MGS4 Zach, Angeal, and Genesis from Crisis Core Think about it. :)
  • Michael-x15 - March 12, 2011 5:30 a.m.

    If u keep walking in COD, if you go far enough, you can actually hear children laughing and giggling.....brought a tear to my eye...
  • insertdisk - March 11, 2011 10:50 p.m.

    Although choppers death in ace combat 5 wasn't actually so sad to make me cry the aftermath where you have to continue to fight off the enemies regardless was very moving. Not only that but the way your squadmates fall silent except for a few strained grunts as they fight through tears was also great.
  • tifanity - March 9, 2011 midnight

    Um, if I am wrong then I apologize but I could have sworn that Price is alive. He fights with you at the end of Modern Warfare two.
  • greenwolf248 - March 3, 2011 9:49 p.m.

    This list is desperately missing Steve Burnside from RE:CV and Harry Mason from SH3. Both of those deaths made me want to cry.
  • ThundaGawd - January 6, 2011 7:36 a.m.

    What about when Lavitz Slambert died in "Legend of the dragoon"? the interaction between him and Dart was so well done, what with the harmless jokes and teasing remarks during cutscenes. But when they save the King from the prison and lavitz morphs into a dragoon and jumps towards The Hooded Man in a fit of rage, only to have the guy pull out a magical sword and impale Lavitz then calmly walk away, I shed a few tears :,(
  • JosephMichaelConway - November 29, 2010 6:23 a.m.

    What about john marston in red dead redemption.
  • pintofbeer786 - November 27, 2010 9:12 p.m.

    john marston???
  • Overlord153 - November 27, 2010 6:06 a.m.

    I really didn't feel the impact of the ending of COD4 because i killed by the two guys with guns. But come on how is The World Ends With You "death" (I think) not on here. I found myself crying along with Neku.
  • AppleIQ - November 27, 2010 4:02 a.m.

    I thought you would have Eli Vance's death from Half-Life 2 Episode 2 up here...
  • EricGirasole - November 26, 2010 4:48 p.m.

    Emmmmm Aerith in Final Fantasy 7 ANYONE !!!!!!
  • sveini22 - October 26, 2010 8:42 p.m.

    Ghost ?

Showing 1-20 of 106 comments

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