The 17 most gruesome decapitations in video games

There's no real way to justify this, is there? No 'games are art' excuse. Just the fact that sometimes, just sometimes, gruesome violence in games can be an awful lot of fun. And it's even more fun when it's not you that's having your noggin disconnected from the rest of your body. From gory brawls to heads being whacked off like golf balls from tees, we've got all the best decapitations you'll see all year. Oh go on, don't make us go on about it. Enjoy the carnage below. Just don't lose your head

The Surge - The torso windmill

Decapitation method: You'd think chopping off someone's arm would be enough to get across the idea that you're in a bit of a bad mood. Best to make absolutely sure they get the idea, though. That means it's time to swipe that blunt-force instrument through the torso, turning that upper body into a windmill of flailing arms and blood splatter. Bonus tip: it helps to have an umbrella handy at the end. 

Outcome: One exoskeleton zombie, minus its right arm and with a severe disconnection between its torso and pelvis. 

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - The dance 

Decapitation method: Geralt really likes lopping off heads. Just look at that. The effortless resting of the blade on the neck. The brutal balletic spin. The art as the head soars into the air with a perfect spray of splattery gore. The benchmark to which we should hold all other decapitations in this list. It's well a-head of the pack.

Outcome: The head comes off. Geralt goes to do it again. 

For Honor - The defeat  

Decapitation method: There's plenty of decapitations in For Honor, each one as grim and satisfying as the last. Here you can see a Knight taking down his opponent with a flail. You can't stop watching can you? Sigh. 

Outcome: The head falls off sadly while the body slumps.

Dishonored 2 - The distraction

Decapitation method: Well here's a distraction technique for you. How to throughly confuse a guard in Dishonored 2? Lop off his arm. Then, while he's worrying about how he's going to play video games again as the stump spurts, slash his head off too. If you're the guilty sort, just tell yourself he didn't notice.

Outcome: The head comes off. Now you can attach a mine to it and throw it into crowds like a grenade. Oh God. We all need help. 

God of War III - The Helios head-pull

Decapitation method: An agonisingly slow, pornographically torturous twisting of the neck until muscle, sinew and veins eventually give way and snap like wet spaghetti, resulting in fervent spurts of the red stuff and a dripping, ragged neck-hole.

Outcome: The head comes off.

Resident Evil 3 - The hot shower

Decapitation method: An assault by highly concentrated acid. When fighting Nemesis while trapped in the treatment room towards the end of the game, Jill can drastically reduce the amount of ammo needed to put old tentacle-Hulk down by shooting various valves to dump delicious corrosion-juice on top of him. The second time she scores a hit in this way, his head will burn clean off. All of which does rather raise the question of what exactly the treatment room is designed to treat. Excessive sunburn? Particularly stubborn facial warts? Life itself?

Outcome: The head comes off, but Nemesis doesn't die. Again.

Dead Space 2 - The double-decap

Decapitation method: The Divider enemy's various body parts fall away from each other and attack independently. If the head scores a hit on Isaac it pulls his own head from his body, slithers its tentacle down his neck, and effectively body-jacks what's left of him, stumbling away on top of his shoulders like a hobo jumping a train car.

Outcome: Both heads come off. Two heads enter, one head leaves.

Killer Instinct - The pop-up surprise

Decapitation method: Self-decapitation for an ironic increase in offensive power. Robot soldier Fulgore's best fatality starts with him pulling off his distinctly-Predator-style head with his distinctly-Predator-style clawed hands. But rather than going immediately blind and taking out his opponent with an unusually outrunnable nuke, he unfolds a bloody huge great gun emplacement out of his neck-hole.

Outcome: The head comes off, and then a new one peppers Fulgore's opponent into tiny bits.

Mortal Kombat series - The triple-decap

Decapitation method: Uppercut with the power of a medieval catapult. Overzealous love of repeated uppercuts. Possibly a glitch.

Outcome: The head comes off. And then comes off again. And then comes off again. After launching his opponent's cranium clean into the stratosphere, Johnny takes another swing at their neck-stump, miraculously finds a new head attached to his knuckles, launches that, and then repeats the process a second time. None of this makes sense. But it's awesomely gratuitous, so in a way it also makes total sense.

Lollipop Chainsaw - The living decapitation

Decapitation method: Love! Juliet's boyfriend has been infected with the zombie plague. Unable to let him go, she removes his uninfected head and magically preserves it. She then wears his head as a belt accessory. Presumably Top Shop and Urban Outfitters will be full of cheap dissembodied crania once the mainstream high street fashion 'designers' get hold of the idea.

Outcome: The head comes off and survives. But maybe wishes it didn't. The motion sickness alone must be a fate worse than death.

David Houghton
Long-time GR+ writer Dave has been gaming with immense dedication ever since he failed dismally at some '80s arcade racer on a childhood day at the seaside (due to being too small to reach the controls without help). These days he's an enigmatic blend of beard-stroking narrative discussion and hard-hitting Psycho Crushers.