The Top 7... Badass beheadings

2. Neck Rip

The game: God of War III

Of all the Greek gods that get torn to pieces over the course of God of War III, Helios is one of the more satisfying. Not because he particularly deserves it, or even because he tries to trick Kratos into obliterating himself in the Flame of Olympus. It’s because he’s got this faintly arrogant, golden-frat-boy thing going on that makes the more mean-spirited players desperately want to take him down a peg or two.

Above: To be fair, you’d probably be a little arrogant too, if your job was to drive the goddamn sun around all day 

What Kratos does takes him down a lot more pegs than that, of course. After shooting the sun god’s chariot out of the sky with a huge ballista, Kratos allows Helios and his horses to be crushed in the hand of a giant, lava-skinned Titan, who then hurls the whole mess into a distant cliffside. He then eviscerates all of Helios’s surviving guards, repeatedly stomps his face, and then slowly, excruciatingly pulls his head off.

Apparently he does this just to be a bastard, because he had two perfectly good blades the whole time. Not that we’re complaining; Helios’s decapitation, with its stretching strands of skin and tearing flesh, helped God of War set a new bar in videogame gore, and also managed to be one of the standout gaming moments of 2010. It’s so incredibly brutal that, no matter how many times we see it, it never, ever seems to get old.

1. A Promise Fulfilled

The game: Duke Nukem 3D

In the end, it could only be this one. Out of all the many, many decapitations games have seen over the years, this is unquestionably the most badass – not just in the sense that it’s raw and exhilarating, but also in the sense that a very bad thing happens, and it involves ass.

Above: Out of bubblegum, perhaps, but not out of ass 

There’s nothing particularly remarkable about the fight against the Overlord at the end of Duke Nukem 3D’s second episode. The thing barely even resembles a proper boss, looking more like an unimaginative piece of crap with a huge, toothy head and rocket launchers strapped to its hunched back.  However, it’s the threat that Duke yells at the start of the fight – “I’ll rip your head off and shit down your neck!” – that makes this so special. Mainly because, once the thing has been pummeled into submission, he does exactly that.

We’re not about to argue the relative shitting-venue merits of traditional toilets versus messy alien tracheas, or waste any time thinking about just how much Duke must have had to wipe before it was safe to put his pants back on. It made a point, and it helped cement Duke3D’s status as the silliest, most kickass game of its generation. What’s more, this wasn’t just a nasty decapitation – it was the first instance of a game hero defiling a corpse AND taking an on-camera dump, making it something truly historic.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody!

Feb 14, 2011

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Top 7


  • JackSkellingtonsSkin - February 14, 2011 10:51 p.m.

    So romantic
  • Thegynecologistwithchipmunkcheeks - February 14, 2011 10:52 p.m.

    Perfect for valentines day
  • Genocide4Jawas - February 14, 2011 11:02 p.m.

    I've played through RE4 a few times, but I've never seen the Dr. Salvador chainsaw death because I NEVER let those creepy fuckheads get close enough for that noise
  • Outlander - February 14, 2011 11:16 p.m.

    Wow. I had never played Duke Nukem 3d... I never knew he literally ripped someone's head off and shit down their neck. That's what valentines day should truly be about.
  • Hullonotna - February 14, 2011 11:17 p.m.

    Brilliant. The last 2 were epic, and the duke still has it. Can't wait to see what he does in DNF
  • Nin10DOH - February 14, 2011 11:20 p.m.

    I hope they have some of that badassery in Duke Nukem Forver. I'm sure it will though...
  • RicePuddingUK - February 14, 2011 11:21 p.m.

    Ha! I love how Duke Nukem is coming back everyones like "OMG Duke Nukem! Best series ever" and completely forgets everything else, like sheep! Never spoke about it before.
  • BigDannyH - February 14, 2011 11:22 p.m.

    RE4 bag head dude sawing off my loaf of bread is hands down the scariest thing I've experienced in a game. Agree with G4J, when you hear that saw ... peg it!
  • Yaro - February 14, 2011 11:30 p.m.

    @ RicePuddingUK Well to be fair the series was pretty much dead for the last decade. Anyway, awesome top 7 Mikel. I spit my drink at: Natural enemy: a helicopter. =)
  • juicenpancakes - February 14, 2011 11:38 p.m.

    Happy VD everybody! Yeah! The videos do so much for this article. Thanks for going the extra mile, Mikel. Here are some loving valentines for you that I found on some fantastic website:
  • batmanboy11 - February 14, 2011 11:39 p.m.

    Awesome list!
  • CancerMan - February 14, 2011 11:40 p.m.

    I personal favorite decapitation omitted from this list were the glaive decapitations in Dark Sector. Satisfying slow motion gore that never got old. Also that Legend Decapitation is fucking Metal!
  • fetalspray - February 14, 2011 11:48 p.m.

  • wiitard07 - February 15, 2011 12:10 a.m.

    I was hoping Eddie's decapitations would make it up to number 2 or one, but I love helios and Duke's! Also I think that the rapid tap A kills in Dead Space II where you put the Puker's head over your shoulder and rip it off, and the one where you pick up the pack and punch its head off deserve some love. Also from Dead Space II *MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT* The one where you fail to correctly use the Needle machine and it lifts Isaac's whole head off and the one where you javelin off Tiedman's head.
  • NightCrawler_358 - February 15, 2011 12:17 a.m.

    Awwwwwww, lovely! These were all great entries, I couldn't even think of some that I would've added! WAIT! the Demoman's Highlander sword in Team Fortress 2 decapitates every enemy it hits, so thats a pretty cool one too.
  • WickedSid - February 15, 2011 12:24 a.m.

    Eddie's was awesome, Kratos' was awesome, Duke's was the best and he tops it off with whistling his own theme song.
  • trojan12 - February 15, 2011 12:24 a.m.

    Duke doesn't lie when it comes to kicking ass!
  • deadpool125 - February 15, 2011 12:29 a.m.

    @#5: When the Gatekeeper to Hell asks you who sent you, Tell 'em it was Gunnery Chief Ashley Williams. I've been on a Mass Effect binge and only just noticed that Ashley and Shinobi have the same voice.
  • Pruman - February 15, 2011 12:45 a.m.

    No Dead Space? Something like 80% of the death animations in the game are decapitations. The Brute one in particular stands out as the most brutal for me.
  • 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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