A version of this article was originally published in October 2013.
Ain't love grand? Actually, in the cases of these twisted tales of woo... HELL NO. Not every romance in games enjoys the breezy affection of Nathan Drake and Elena Fisher. Sadly, if you're a virtual hero looking for Mr or Mrs Right it's more likely you'll end up with a prehistoric kidnapper than a tall, dark and handsome stranger who opens doors for you.
So if you're looking for relationship advice, completely ignore the example set down by these couples. Whether it's the zombie saviour of humanity seducing a cop, or a GTA protagonist trying to have sex with anything that moves, the following romances are oh so wrong...
And if all that reading isn't for you - let's face it, you've already got through two paragraphs of the stuff - check out our shiny new video version of the article. That way you can hear the words, and the pictures move.
Bowser + Princess Peach (Mario series)
Talk about King Kong syndrome. I don't really have to spell out the 36 different shades of wrong that go into this tremendously creepy melting pot, right? Even if you take the whole 'decades of increasingly elaborate kidnapping' thang out of the equation, you're still left with some serious, shall we say... anatomical incompatibilities.
Now, I'm not one to judge a 14-foot glorified iguana's infatuations (ok, I clearly am), but pairing a mentally unhinged dinosaur with dainty human royalty is like throwing a pack of howler monkeys onto The Bachelorette and expecting a happy matrimony to come out of the flea-picking equation. Quite how Bowser thinks Peach is going to fall for him and sire mini Koopas when she has the world's most athletic toilet-jockey as her beau is anyone's guess. But as those who've read erotic Jurassic Park fan fiction will attest, dino-on-human lovin' doesn't go. Give it up Bowser, eh pal? I hear Birdo is looking for a big, strong man.
Lucas Kane + Carla Valneti (Fahrenheit / Indigo Prophecy)
Nothing screams healthy, well-adjusted romance quite like some impromptu, undead intercourse. The Indigo Prophecy's tale of zombie boning starts off like any old fashioned love yarn. Boy meets girl... alright, murder suspect is eventually caught by lead detective on the case, whereupon both parties immediately have sex... in a freezing cargo train... hours before what could be the Apocalypse... while one of them is dead. Okkaaaay.
Not only is Lucas technically not with the living when he bonks Detective Valenti, but the pair seem to make love for apparently no other reason than David Cage really likes polygonal nipples. Terribly written, completely needless and undermining what was otherwise a thoroughly interesting interactive whodunit (giant imaginary insects aside), Kane/Carla is wrong on all the levels.
Trevor Philips + Anyone he encounters (GTA 5)
Uh-oh--contains some spoilers
Oh Trev, you little, mass-murdering scamp. Not only has the CEO of TP Industries offed more men than syphilis, but the copter-loving psycho has a higher sex drive than Glen Quagmire and Austin Powers combined. And no one in GTA 5 is free from his unwanted 'romantic' overtures. Fitness-obsessed cougars, a kindly grandmother figure/semi-willing hostage or the significant other of a certain member of The Lost--poor Mr Klebbitz... Trevor's libido knows no bounds. Spare the largest dollop of pity for one Floyd Herbert, though.
He's the well-meaning cousin of Philips' pal Wade. Our bank robber soon ruins (and... eh, ends) the unassuming Stevedore's life. Whether it's going all Wire season 2 on Floyd by exploiting his job at the docks or switching to Trev just as he's finished vigorously spooning his terrified roomie, there's no danger of this twisted Los Santos love story getting a Snow White ending.
Otacon + Sniper Wolf (Metal Gear Solid)
"Do you think love can bloom on the battlefield?" Yeah, that'd be a no, Hal. Sorry to burst your lovey-dovey bubble, but romances between scientists with crippling bladder problems and sociopathic snipers rarely work out. What makes the Otacon/Wolf tryst so wrong, and ultimately sad, is the fact it's almost an entirely one-sided infatuation.
A romantic entanglement has a pretty short shelf-life when one of the lovebirds would rather spend her nights snuggling with Alaskan wolves than cuddling up on the sofa with her fella. A fella who's essentially a hostage. Wolf has almost no regard for Otacon, yet Snake's watery-eyed sidekick thinks being allowed to feed her hairy friends treats is akin to going steady. Sorry, Doc: you're a serial loser when it comes to love. But hey, at least you're dang good at building big-assed robots.
Ada Wong + Leon Kennedy (Resi series)
Will they/won't they? The sizzling/extra backstabby relationship between the sultry agent and badass zombie-killer isn't exactly Ross & Rachel. Mainly because Ms Wong would rather double-cross Leon at every opportunity than let him steal second.
Initially appearing to be an ally of Kennedy on his first day on the Raccoon City beat, Ada's duplicitous intentions eventually rear their beautifully moisturised head. After returning from (what looked like) certain death, Wong's motives are even murkier in Resi 4. One minute she's making Leon's efforts to rescue the President's daughter a nightmare (a nightmare about questionable M.D.s in burlap sacks), the next she's saving him from Las Illuminados. Maybe one day she'll give up all the T-virus scheming to settle down and raise an undead-bashing family with Kennedy.
Max Payne + Mona Sax (Max Payne 2)
The path to true love was never going to be easy for the world's most manic-depressive law enforcer. Of course, falling for a deadly, incredibly deceitful hired gun doesn't help matters, either. In Max's sequel, the cop's love for Sax leads to him shooting a fellow NYPD detective so his criminal crush can escape.
Payne's prison-courting actions are then rewarded with the knowledge that the Russian mob has taken out a hit on his life, and of course it's Mona who's taken up the contract. Though she ultimately decides against doing in our bullet-time hero, her actions are merely rewarded by a swift death in Max's arms. Stick to a life on the bottle, Payne. Kong Whiskey will never cheat on you.
Wander + Mono (Shadow of the Colossus)
Unlike most of the lovelorn gentleman/overweight lizards on this list, the near mute hero of the piece here at least has noble intentions. Too bad that nobility in trying to resurrect his dead love leads to the slaughter of 16 unbearably sad, stone-faced giants. While Wander and Mono's love may have been pure when she was still in the union, the subsequent loss spawns a dark obsession that ruins a long deserted land.
Making a pact with the Devil (or at least his disembodied voice of a cousin), Wander seeks out and murders a series of essentially innocent, distinctly tragic leviathans. When his demon deal subsequently goes moobs up, the adventurer bows out with a cursed fate, leaving a pile of adorably miserably behemoth corpses and one seriously disorientated (but at least alive) girlfriend. Ah well, at least Mono can comfort herself in raising a horn-headed child, who might one day have his own game.
Sonic + Princess Elise (Sonic the Hedgehog 2006)
Dear lord, just NO. If you really need to know why the budding fling between a three-foot-tall hedgehog and a delicate teenager is wrong, then you're clearly taking dating tips from Buffalo Bill's Guide to Weaving Your First Skin Suit. Uh, here comes the vomit again...
If lovin' you is wrong... well, it just is
Hopefully, you've stopped vomiting now. Just try not to think of hedgehog on lady action, and the nausea should pass. If you can think of any more wrong-headed love stories in video games, then please keep them to yourself. We don't want that kind of filth here. Oh, ok, tell us about them in the comments.
If you need to scrub your brain clean, here are some morally uplifting features to restore your faith in love. Here's the Top 7... Greatest Love Stories In Games. Aww, that's nice. Bizarrely, it also features Wander and Mono. And here's the Top 7... Game Characters We Fell In Love With.