Love’s a funny old thing, ain’t it? It inspires great works of art. It knows no boundaries, conquering race, creed and geography. And it totally forces you to fork out for cheap-ass chocolates on anniversaries. While love affairs can end a bit messily in real life, we’ve yet to see a couple with romantic woes commit international espionage or murderise a series of skyscraper-sized monsters for each other. But in video games? Hell, its normal practice for digital Cupid’s arrows. So, in the spirit of being a week late for Valentine’s Day, we thought it was high time to celebrate some of gaming’s most ruinous romances.
Warning: If thou should choose to let one’s eye holes wander down this page, one should know a series of mega, game-ruining spoilers lie ahead, including ones for recent titles like Dead Space 2.
Romantic relations are often cast in choppy waters when it comes to games. Freezing cold choppy waters… filled with man-eating sharks… that can shoot lasers from their dorsal fins. This being the case, it was especially hard to trim this list down to that magic digit that really hates the number eight.
Which is why we can only give the briefest of mentions to Cole and Trish in Infamous, Leon and Ada from Resident Evil 2, CJ and Catalina’s little murderous tryst in GTA: San Andreas, Scott Shelby and Lauren’s bleak relationship in Heavy Rain or <sigh> Cloud and Aeris from Final Fantasy VII. All these relationships were either ruined by betrayal, one party turning evil or eh… the girl in the lovey dovey equation getting skewered like a sea bass by a giant sword.
Definitely not living happily ever after in: Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
Big Boss really is quite the specimen of gaming manliness. A stoic destroyer of nuclear-equipped robots, he strikes a decisive blow for eye patch-wearers everywhere. It’s strange then, that a man so capable of killing the shit out of men made of bees or spawning super soldiers with epic mullets, should be so easily bested by a four letter word. And no, said word is not “love”. It’s “lust”, you slushy romantic dastards.
Above: It may shock monocle owners, but it’s not exactly hard
<score 93 innuendo points> to see why Snake was tempted by EVA
Throughout Snake Eater, slinky operative EVA provides Snake with useful intel, gratuitous peaks at her ass and sound advice on how to beat ancient snipers who enjoy worryingly intimate relationships with parrots. Oh, and she can totally do Ocelot-pummelling back flips on her bike, too.
Above: Hands up if you’ve got a motorcycle-related swelling in your pantaloons
Unless you have trouble reading headlines, though, the impending iceberg that’s about to hit the good ship Snake and EVA Sitting in a Tree should come as no surprise.
Why their love is doomed from the start: Because she’s a sodding triple agent more concerned with nabbing covert intelligence than bagging the love of a legendary solider.
Don’t let the above image of EVA acting all sweetness and light fool you. She might enjoy sharing a tender moment over the controls of a flying hovercraft, but she’s also got zero problem both physically and figuratively screwing Big Boss over. Though she helps him under the guise of a Soviet spy who’s defected from the US, she’s actually a triple agent who’s been working for the Chinese all along. She then steals a microfilm (detailing the whereabouts of a hundred million dollar fortune) right from under BB’s stylish stubble. Phew.
Friggin’ hell. If you’re keeping up, you’re doing better than us.
Anyhoo, it’s hardly our boy’s fault. After all, what red-blooded video game soldier could resist the combined charms of a spiked glass of wine and an exhausting stint of horizontal Mambo between the sheets? She’s not all bad, though, as she spares her lover’s life, even though she’s under strict instructions to take out all Snake-shaped loose ends. The two of them even bury the hatchet years later, when she agrees to act as the surrogate mother to Big Boss’ triplets.
And hey, when our man’s only other interest in Snake Eater does this…
We think the choice to hook up with Jenny Backstabber over Sally Compound Fracture is fully justified.
Definitely not living happily ever after in: Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne
Being bitten by the love bug (no, not the shitty VW Beetle) is never easy. Just take one Maximillian Payne the Third, as we’ve chosen to call him. He gets sucked into a shady conspiracy involving a group of contract killers and the murder of a senator, just because Mona Sax looks damn good with a .45 in her hand. A hired-gun who slipped him a sedative (which ended in bloody mafia torture) during the first game, the NYPD detective just can’t extract his head from his crotch whenever Mona’s around.
Above: Max Payne’s saucy comic style = appropriate bedtime reading
Not one to let a little impromptu drugging get in the way of a budding romance, Payne is only too willing to get caught up in Mona’s madness. During the course of Rockstar’s gritty film noir-style adventure, the Matrix-loving cop enters into countless slo-mo gunfights, ends up in the hospital and even takes several bullets for Miss Sax. Why, you ask? Clearly it’s because he’s a compassionate soul… that, or he did it all in the name of copping the almightiest of feels. Sadly, when one lovebird makes a living by murdering people for money, the odds of things ending at the altar are pretty damn long.
Why their love is doomed from the start: Hmmm, probably because she’s been paid to make Payne play Twister with the Grim Reaper.
Above: Shooty love, eh? There's nothing like it
Hormones can sure as sucrose make your brain go with the crazy-making. How else do you explain a cop and a professional assassin hooking up? Overlooking the small matters of arrest warrants and the fact Mona’s been paid to off Max, the feelings the two share for each other are undoubtedly strong. It’s just a shame death by bullet-to-the-head is stronger. Yes, Mona’s reward for refusing to honour the contract taken out on Payne’s life is a lead-sponsored facelift. Okay, so technically Mona can be saved if you finish the game on the hardest difficulty. But our gamz jarnalist thumbs are far too feeble for that.
It’s a real shame, too. Because judging by the few shots released of the long delayed threequel, losing the love of a sociopathic woman can send a man to dark places…