The Top 7... Badass beheadings

Today is Valentine’s Day, and you know what that means: pre-packaged romantic gestures, depressed single people and the usual round of sappy articles from gaming websites for whom holidays are a convenient substitute for actual ideas. We’re no different, having used Valentine’s as a springboard for our own custom Valentine cards, as well as pieces on gaming’s best couples and some of its worst. But Valentine’s Day is about more than just candy and flower sales; at its core, it’s about honoring a Catholic saint who was martyred in ancient Rome.

Above: Probably the guy we’re talking about 

While there were several saints who went by the name Valentine, the one we’re thinking of was a priest who married Christian couples at a time when being a Christian was pretty damned illegal. After trying to convert Emperor Claudius II himself, Valentine was beaten and beheaded. And who else do we know that gets beaten and beheaded on a fairly regular basis? That’s right: videogame characters. And that’s pretty much all the justification we needed to do this.

7. Bloody Rotors

The game: X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Wolverine may not be the greatest movie-adapted superhero game we’ve ever played, but it’s the most unexpectedly bloody, with a digitized Hugh Jackman who cuts loose from the movie’s PG-13 restrictions and just carves dudes the hell up. As Logan does his thing, blood and limbs fly everywhere in a spectacle that’s so remarkably violent as to make the film seem cartoonishly neutered by comparison.

Amidst all the severed arms, impalements and eviscerations, there’s one moment that makes XMOW particularly worth playing, and it happens in the early moments of the game. While strolling around some cliffside ruins, Logan is suddenly attacked by his natural enemy: a helicopter. Literally leaping into action, he stabs the shit out of the chopper’s fuselage, punches through its windshield and… well, this happens:

As in-game decapitations by whirring machinery go, it’s over just a little too quickly, and the purple blood on the rotor seems like an odd step back for a game that so frequently revels in dismemberment. Still, we can’t really think of any more awesome way to dispose of an enemy chopper pilot than to feed him to his own bird. If anything, this was long overdue.

6. Three-in-One

The game: Mortal Kombat II

The Mortal Kombat series has always been rife with decapitations, each seemingly messier than the last. In MK’s 19 years(!!!) of existence, we’ve seen heads torn off (frequently with the spine still attached), sliced to pieces, swallowed whole, melted, burned, skeletonized, transformed into a vomited spume of femurs and bisected with razor-sharp hats. Choosing just one out of that awful mess is no easy task.

Above: Ew 

But even with this incredible wealth of gruesome decapitations to choose from, there’s one that sticks out in our minds more than any other: Johnny Cage’s spine-severing uppercut from Mortal Kombat II. Specifically this version:

That’s right: Johnny Cage, blue-eyed actor from Venice, California, is so fantastically badass that not only can he punch with enough force to knock off a grown man’s head, but he can do it three times (apparently creating a new head with each subsequent punch). We don’t know why it happens, but we do know there’s no feeling quite like brutally murdering your opponent three times in quick succession and leaving heads littered everywhere. Particularly at an arcade in 1993, back when that sort of thing was considered cool.


Top 7


  • Mezolitik - September 20, 2011 4:49 a.m.

    That Salvador one was horrifying. I remember being totally stunned when I first saw it. The one in the special mode (I can't remember its name; 'kill lots of enemies 'til the time runs out') was infinitely worse though; he was bigger and he could run, IIRC. Also, for sheer hilarious violence, what about the Power Fist decapitation in Fallout 3? Veronica, in particular, literally punches raiders' heads off.
  • CoppertopJohnson - February 19, 2011 9:52 p.m.

    I've always been very partial to Mortal Kombat, myself. Good stuff, Mikel.
  • Zeb364 - February 17, 2011 10:33 p.m.

    And THAT is why Duke is the man.
  • oryandymackie - February 16, 2011 12:29 p.m.

    I remember being beheaded by Dr. Salvador. I dropped my controller and sat, for about five minutes, open-mouthed, before turning off the PS2.
  • philipshaw - February 15, 2011 4:21 p.m.

    This is the best top 7 of this year, great job Mikel
  • AntistasMetroid - February 15, 2011 4:21 p.m.

    Mr.Reparaz, your features never cease to amaze. Hit me up for some dracler huntin' some time...
  • The_Tingler - February 15, 2011 1:55 p.m.

    Could you guys remove the Sponsor Ads that last twice as long as the clips? Thank you.
  • jmcgrotty - February 15, 2011 1:18 p.m.

    How do people keep dying to Salvador. By no means am I world class player, bit he's never killed me.
  • snothammer - February 15, 2011 9:56 a.m.

    Dr. Salvador's decapitation made failing in RE4 so goddamn satisfying. I don't think I've ever been so pleased to die in a videogame. My former boss has that official art poster, and it makes me jealous.
  • JBizFoShiz - February 15, 2011 8:57 a.m.

    Does nobody else think of Sunny Delight when Helios says "Feel the power *of the sun*!" I must have ripped his head off 7 or 8 times last year, and always loved the tearing of flesh and subtle product placement for orange drink.
  • Lionzest7 - February 15, 2011 6:19 a.m.

    Guess all the heads popping off in Ninja Gaiden 2 were not noted? lol
  • Genericpenisjoketista - February 15, 2011 6:17 a.m.

    I was hoping to see Brutal Legend's decapitation at #1, but after watching the two that placed higher than it... I can see why they did. This was an excellent article and I enjoyed reading every last bit of it. Especially the reasoning behind why Duke was at #1. "Because something very bad happens, and it involves an ass." Stay awesome, Mikel.
  • DangerZone723 - February 15, 2011 3:14 a.m.

    Brutal Legend should have been at least #2. I haven't laughed that hard at a game in... well, forever.
  • keltar93 - February 15, 2011 2:44 a.m.

    Once again, GamesRadar finds a far-fetched excuse to attach a great Top 7 to a special event. I fully expect the DECAPITAAAAYYYYYSSHUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUN!!!(perfectly qouted, fetalspray) to become a TalkRadar sound effect
  • theintellectual - February 15, 2011 2:26 a.m.

    nothing to fight the valentines day blues like watching somebody get their heads violently torn off.
  • Yeager1122 - February 15, 2011 1:44 a.m.

    Truely what valentines day is all about ripping peoples heads off.
  • Bitmun - February 15, 2011 1:16 a.m.

    Obligatory; what about this little number from Bayonetta? Nothing like ripping off the head of a god, especially since he's been a massive prick to you throughout the entire first quarter of the game. Still, good list, very fun read. The videos were nice.
  • 510BrotherPanda - February 15, 2011 1:09 a.m.

    Thanks Mikel; the Brutal Legend and Duke ones cheered my lonely self right up!
  • Japanaman - February 15, 2011 12:57 a.m.

    What? No mention of Reptile's fatality from MKII where he pulls your head off with his tongue. That HAS to be the best beheading ever!
  • Strangleme - February 15, 2011 12:51 a.m.

    GODDAMN this Top 7 is EXCELLENT!! I Love you mikel!! Happy Vagintines Day!!!

Showing 1-20 of 39 comments

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