5. Heavy Rain
The level: Scott Shelby's childhood sections
“Sacré bleu! Come quick my American papa! Ma seebling eez drowning!” Horrendous quasi French/American accents aside, Heavy Rain’s Origami Killer flashbacks are pretty affecting. Taking you back to the murderer’s days as a down on his luck nipper, the flashback starts with him and his brother John being kicked out of their caravan home by their alcoholic dad. They then spend the rest of the day playing in a rain-filled construction site in a scene which must make health and safety bods everywhere weep into their lukewarm camomile tea.
Above: Hands up who wanted to deliberately bugger up all these sections
Chasing John through the boo boo-bringing site is one of the game’s most exhilarating QTEs. Still, performing semi heroic jumps and being a big cheat at hide and seek is only all fun and games until someone gets stuck in an open pipe. An open pipe that’s quickly filling with storm water. Ah well, not to worry. Surely previously mentioned ol’ booze jockey papa will come to the rescue…
Why it’s a fab flashback: It’s a brilliant reveal of the Origami Killer’s identity.
Hearing John ask ‘Scotty’ not to forget him reveals both Shelby as the kid-killing fiend, and deftly casts light on his motivation for said kid-killing. The trials he sets up for Ethan and the other folks of the children he offs are meant to filter out a parent who could do what Scott’s father could not. Namely, save their child from dying a horrible watery-based death.
Above: Look, he's kinda got a reason for being a youngling-murderer, alright?
The transition from Scotty holding his dead brother’s hand to the now adult private eye mournfully burning evidence that would implicate him as the killer is beautifully done. And for all Heavy Rain’s creepy-ass accents, shoddy scripting and massive plot holes, there’s no doubt the flashback and reveal was one of 2010’s most emotional gaming moments. Bloody hell, we’re tearing up here. JOOOOOOOOOHHHHHNNNNNN!!!
Above: We'll forgive the wonky accent, John. Just come back!
4. Hitman: Contracts
The level: The Meat King’s Party
As some semi sociopathic woman probably said way back when, ‘there’s no better way to a man’s heart than through his stomach’. Moving past our half-assed (possibly made up) philosophy, food is certainly the way to Campbell ‘the Meat King’ Sturrock’s ticker. Tasked with infiltrating the grotesque Glaswegian’s hellish abattoir-cum-opium den, Agent 47 has to rescue his client’s daughter who’s been kidnapped by Sturrock’s brother and also take out the saggy Scotsman.
Above: Turns out, 47 isn’t as good at saving folk as he is stabbing them
Even though all of Contract’s levels (aside from the SWAT shootout at the end) are flashbacks, the Meat King hit was easy to single out for praise. Combining the grottiest level IO has ever designed with one of most ingenious hits in the series, it’s a killer mission from every angle.
Above: What a charming place for some wet work
Why it’s a fab flashback: It lets you murder a man with a chicken.
While you can carry out Campbell’s hit in a variety of ways, easily the most satisfying is death via roast chicken. Disguise yourself as a chef and you can sneak into the abattoir’s decidedly unhygienic kitchen. From there, it’s simply a matter of stuffing your trusty Silverballer into the deceased poultry’s ass and then cutting through Sturrock’s opium party to get to his private bedroom.
Above: He may be a tad overweight, but the dude definitely knows how to live
Apparently, no one’s ever tried to kill someone with the assistance of a Sunday roast before, because 47 easily strolls past security with his deadly meal. Once you’re inside the Meat King’s boudoir, the hulking crook gets so excited about the prospect of stuffing his face with drumsticks, he barely takes any notice when you pull the gun out of the bird. Cue a chicken-assisted assassination, one dead Scot and 47’s most pleasingly lo-tech but brilliant job.