The 25 most insidious booby traps (and their victims' last moments)

The trap is set

Traps are so in this season. Spike pits in Tomb Raider, fire-shooting floors in God of War: Ascension multiplayer, electrified crystals in BioShock Infinite--it seems that the video game zeitgeist has a real thing for deathtraps as of late. Theyre awfully efficient, after all--just set up your killing machine, wait for a hapless victim, and watch them trigger their own demise!

Weve died to these traps so many times, weve become completely desensitized to automated fatalities. When you stop and think about whats really happening, the results arehorrifying, to put it mildly. These are the most sinister traps in all of gaming, and the woeful fate that awaits unprepared adventurers in some of the most undignified deaths imaginable.

25. Poison rice ball (Tenchu)

Youve been on duty for at least eight hours--the least you could do is take a lunch break. And what luck! Someone left a perfectly edible rice ball in the middle of the road. Bon appetitGURK!

24. Blade wall (Prince of Persia)

Everyone knows how agonizing it is to get your finger caught in a door. Now try to envision that instead of a door, youre caught between two sheets of toothed metal, and instead of a mere digit, that slicer is clamping down on your entire body. Were getting the chilly-willies just thinking about it.

23. Tripwire shotgun (Max Payne)

After a rough day at the office, all you want to do is go into your apartment and hit the hay. But oops--instead, youre blasted point-blank with a spray of hot metal pellets with no warning whatsoever. Honey, you got some splainin to doooooo!

22. Murder of Crows nest (BioShock Infinite)

Actor extraordinaire and all-around dynamite guy Nicholas Cage said it best: OH, NO! NOT THE CROWS! NOT THE CROWS! AAAAAHHHHH! OH, THEY'RE IN MY EYES! MY EYES! AAAAHHHHH! AAAAAGGHHH! (Or it might have been bees, we don't remember.)

21. Barnacles (Half-Life)

Whatever you do, dont look up. Because if you do, youll know that the spindly yellow thing you brushed up against was not some errant power cable, but a tongue. Youll realize that, like a fish moments away from death, you were being reeled into a gaping maw of an alien organism that is little more than a mouth. Better to just accept your fate as your torso is slowly devoured in the caustic acid of this creatures hideous throat.

20. Spike traps (Uncharted: Drakes Fortune)

Nathan Drake has a penchant for laughing off bullet wounds and near-death experiences. But even he has no witty retort when a rack of sharpened wooden spears springs into his abdomen with the force of a human-sized mousetrap. The worst is what happens to those who think this is a one-time gimmick: a Sideshow Bob-esque stumbling from tripwire to tripwire in excruciating--albeit funny--impalement pain.

19. Burrowed Banelings (StarCraft II)

Weird, must be some kind of sinkhole here. Wait a sec, somethings popping out of the gr--AHHHHHH! THEYRE EVERYWHERE! ACID! THERES ACID ON OUR FACE! ITS IN OUR SUIT! GYAAAAAA!

18. Spike walls (Dark Messiah of Might and Magic)

Some people baby-proof their homes; others ensure that fatalities can--and will--occur in every single room. And the quickest way to do that is by affixing metal spikes onto every vertical surface in sight. Its almost like the inhabitants enjoy the feeling of sharp, cold metal sliding into their back and spine.

17. Pressure chamber (Unreal Tournament)

Wuh-oh. Looks like there was no one in this room. There is, on the other hand, someone on the other side of the glass in what is now a locked chamber. They just pressed a button--and now your head feels like its about to pop off your neck. In fact, your entire body is swelling, and your bowels have been forcibly shot out of you. Moments before you explode into a fine, crimson mist, you find yourself wishing they had just shot you and gotten it over with.

Lucas Sullivan

Lucas Sullivan is the former US Managing Editor of GamesRadar+. Lucas spent seven years working for GR, starting as an Associate Editor in 2012 before climbing the ranks. He left us in 2019 to pursue a career path on the other side of the fence, joining 2K Games as a Global Content Manager. Lucas doesn't get to write about games like Borderlands and Mafia anymore, but he does get to help make and market them.