5: GTA IV: The Lost and Damned
We considered 'That Special Someone' from GTA IV for this list, but on looking back at it, Niko actually shoots Brevic about 20 times. That's not a one-hit kill. But there is a particularly surprising one-hitter in the expansion story The Lost and Damned.
Above: Eleven, twelve... how many bullets are in this gun? Niko's execution of Brevic is NOT a one-hit kill
The scene is set up nicely for an epic encounter as Johnny calls for backup before starting an assault on a prison, where - sure enough - a massive firefight takes place. It's surely all building up to a shoot-out between you and Billy Grey - your former friend turned supergrass.
But after the shootout to actually get to Billy, it's a surreal, rather sadistic occasion. He's just standing there, totally unarmed. That's not to say it isn't still a moment of extreme satisfaction. Rockstar has done a great job of making your on-screen character's emotions run through your mind as you start to squeeze the trigger. This guy used to be your friend. You shared so much... But nobody crosses Johnny Klebitz.
See it happen:
4: Resident Evil 4
You could argue that this isn't a one-hit kill because it happens after what you'd normally call the boss fight. But the fact remains that Lord Saddler is alive, kicking and totally ready to eat you (or something) when you're handed the rocket launcher by Ada Wong. You get to align the sights. You get to pull the trigger. Some say it's the easiest boss fight in any Resident Evil game and they're probably right. And maybe it is cheesy for one of the greatest action games ever made to conclude with a grenade launcher. How very Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
Above: Pretty-boy Leon clearly wasn't pretty enough for a Sarah Michelle Gellar-style close-up
But you can't deny, it's still damn cool. Leon is way better than Chris Redfield - his arms are proportionate to the size of his head, for a start. To see quietly awesome Leon just get the job done with one shot is a fist-pumping moment. He undoes the good work slightly by proceeding to turn down the amorous advances of the President's daughter. Honestly, he's saved her from certain death, blown up an evil mutant with a grenade launcher and escaped on a freakin' jet-ski while the island goes bango. Even the most professional operative is allowed a minor indiscretion after all that, right?
See it happen (the one-hit kill, that is, not a minor indiscretion):