5. A Million Little Pieces
The game: No More Heroes 2
Another series filled with notable decapitations, No More Heroes has plenty that are spectacular enough to rival Mortal Kombat’s most gruesome efforts. In No More Heroes 2 alone, lightsaber-detached heads fly from damn near every enemy that crosses antihero Travis Touchdown’s path. One guy even has his head cut off and reattached, before yanking it back off himself in a grinning act of defiance.
If you’re looking for sheer, satisfying nastiness, however – and we are – there’s no death more awesome than the one suffered by Million Gunman. Part of this is because he’s an incredible bastard. Not only is his stage a pain in the ass to navigate, thanks to temp-heroine Shinobu’s horribly implemented jumping, but he’s a patronizing old dick who’s disgusted at having to fight a girl and uses “Fuck you!” as a battle cry. Even if he wasn’t such a charmer, though, it’d still be pretty cool to see him die like this:
You have to give the old bastard credit: It’s not many people who could, after being separated from their bodies, maintain the cool composure necessary for a calm “Yes, sir!” before being cut to ribbons. That Million Gunman pulls it off before having what’s left of his identity smash-chopped into flying gibs is kind of breathtaking, even in the context of a videogame.
4. Dr. Salvador’s Surgery
The game: Resident Evil 4
The rest of these entries are restricted to beheadings that are made badass largely by the fact that you, the player, are dishing them out. But this one is so unforgettable, so perfectly horrifying, that it just wouldn’t be right to exclude it.
Above: It’s also the only one to be immortalized in a game’s official art
We’re talking, of course, about what happens if you allow the chainsaw-wielding, bag-headed Dr. Salvador to get too close to you. When Resident Evil 4 came out in early 2005, game baddies with chainsaws were nothing new. So the first time we saw Sal, we figured he’d just deal out some damage while Leon – at full health – unloaded a pistol point-blank in his face. We sure as hell weren’t expecting this:
Sure, there were plenty of other decapitations in the game, frequently delivered by creatures that were arguably even scarier than Dr. Salvador. But you never forget your first, especially not when it’s this humiliating and grotesque.
The game: Brutal Legend
<spoiler>Hey guys, guess what? At the end of Brutal Legend, the bad guy dies.</spoiler> We know, we know – you totally weren’t expecting that to ever happen.
Above: Aw, we thought this lovable mug was going to stick around forever
But now that we’ve revealed that small chunk of the ending, we can get into how he dies: with the most metal execution in videogame history. After Emperor Doviculus louses up the game’s final battle with giant chicken-legged things and his own personal interference, he retreats to a cave to… hang from some chains. After doing his best to make the preceding fight miserable, it turns out Doviculus isn’t so tough one-on-one – and after he’s been beaten to a pulp, hero Eddie Riggs can finally give him what he deserves:
Swiping clean through his neck with a huge battleaxe just isn’t enough. Mirroring the end of the game’s first big boss fight, Eddie makes it stick by screaming one word in Jack Black’s signature wail – and it’s that that makes Doviculus’s head shoot straight up, spray gore everywhere and ruin all the carpets. That the whole ridiculous spectacle is in slow motion only makes it that much more gratifying.