Death of a Jumpman
Video game characters can live through just about anything. Actually, what I mean to say is that video game characters can die through just about anything, but they'll always come back. Doesn't matter if they're shot up, torn to pieces, or even plummet into a bottomless pit, they'll reappear within seconds to take another crack at their objective. There's one important caveat, though: they still die sometimes, usually when it's the end of a trilogy (or it's time for a reboot).
So the only conclusion I can draw here is that video game characters will only die under very specific circumstances. These almost never come up throughout the course of a game, so naturally they almost never die. What exactly are these fatal circumstances for your favorite characters? Well, I'm glad you asked, because I happen to have assembled a slide deck for just this occasion...
Snake hacks up a lung
This one's obvious. Just because Snake's managed to outlast some half-dozen armed uprisings, a gaggle of super-powerful military robots, and a virus that was genetically engineered to kill his clone doesn't mean he can sneak by the third-leading cause of death in the world. That's right, the legendary soldier will be felled by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Why not lung cancer? I'm thinking all those nanomachines in his blood probably know how to seek and destroy malignant tumors, given his frequent exposure to radioactive weaponry. Nope, thanks to his pack-a-day habit, he'll just cough his way into oblivion.
Cloud wrecks his spine
Compare Cloud Strife's outfit in Final Fantasy 7 to his outfit in Advent Children. Go ahead, I'll wait. Did you spot the difference? Aside from dropping that radical bolted shoulder plate, I mean. Yep - no more weightlifting belt. Shinra was smart enough to make a lifting belt part of the standard SOLDIER uniform. After all, if you're going to have your elite paramilitary force swinging around swords that weigh literally hundreds of pounds, you'd better look after their lower backs. But it looks like Cloud got cocky after he struck out on his own. I give it five years before his vertebrae explode like popcorn kernels and he drops dead.
Kratos gets some bad business downstairs
We don't know much about sexually transmitted diseases from before the Renaissance, since medicine wasn't really a big deal back then. So I can't say with certainty which STDs the Spartan warrior Kratos would be most likely to contract thousands of years ago. I'll go with the safe answer and postulate all of those available at the time. Kratos can't go half an hour without ending up in bed with a handful of comely ladies, and I have no reason to assume that his many lovers are any more selective about their partners than he is. So assuming Kratos survives his perpetually uncertain fate, he'll still drop dead of the ancient Grecian equivalent of syphilis.... after his junk shrivels up and falls off.
Link picks his last barfight
Despite saving both Hyrule and Termina, no one else would ever sing of Link's most heroic exploits. That's the problem with grand quests to set timelines back in order - if you do your job right, you're the only one who knows you did it. So Link wanders around feeling unfulfilled. As he gets older, he takes to picking fights in taverns to prove his skill in combat. Forgetful from drinking, he doesn't remember to stock up on fairies. He loses his last fight to a mean-looking goron and comes back a few hundred years later as the Hero's Shade, where he can at least pass his knowledge on to a new hero in green (and warn him to stay off the booze).
Amanda Ripley doesn't die on Sevastopol
There are so many ways Amanda Ripley can die in Alien Isolation! It's a veritable buffet of fatality. She could be shot to death by a crazed scavenger, kicked to death by an android, or even have her noggin punctured by the alien's inner jaws, to name a few options. But don't worry, because I guarantee you she's going to be A-OK for at least the next forty years. How can I be so sure when I myself haven't actually finished Alien Isolation yet? According to the director's cut of Aliens, Amanda is slated to die of cancer at the age of 66. Duh.
Max Payne pops his last pill
Nothing can kill Max Payne. It's a sentiment that many of his enemies have marveled about at one time or another, but it's not true. Despite his miraculous ability to shrug off the massive bleeding and organ failure endemic to being shot hundreds of times, he still has one big weakness: a crippling addiction to painkillers. And yeah, he's built up so much of a resistance to the drugs over time that his body can handle enough to put down an elephant. But when he starts approaching his golden years, and the usual aches and pains of aging are amplified by ten lifetimes worth of grievous injury, he's guaranteed to go a pill too far.
Diddy Kong ends up in the wrong barrel
Whenever one of the Kongs gets taken out, they know they can count on their partner to come along and free them from the next conveniently placed DK Barrel. You can tell this particular scheme was conceived by Donkey Kong. The brutish ape turns barrels into splinters just for kicks - so obviously it wouldn't take too long to escape from one if nobody was around to free him. But what about Diddy Kong, just as an example? Diddy has chimp strength, not gorilla strength. Leave him in a product of fine cooperage for a week or so and, well, at least you already have the coffin sorted.
Nathan Drake finally pushes Elena too far
Nathan Drake is near-indestructible, but he does have a certain weakness for one woman: Elena Fisher. So it's a good thing she's a pinnacle of loyalty, tenacity, and patience, always ready to help him whenever he needs it... which is a lot of the time. But even Elena's saintly patience has to break down some time. As you can see from the existence of Uncharted 4, Drake just can't stay out of the adventuring game, and he just can't stop dragging Elena into it. She knows he'll never actually die on his dangerous adventures. So there's only one way to break the cycle of bullshit: sneak up behind him while he's making breakfast and break his neck. He'd want to go out that way.
Sonic does, in fact, die if he stops moving
You know how sharks will supposedly die if they stop moving? It's not entirely true, since most species can use suction to get oxygen to their gills when they slow down. But Sonic the Hedgehog isn't one of those species - heck, he isn't a shark at all! It's easy enough to diagnose Sonic's breathing difficulties just by looking at his shiny black nose. No nostrils, see? And the way his mouth is stuck in a permanent smirk off to one side of his face means he needs to keep running super-fast to force enough life-giving breath down his misshapen airway. That little foot-tap of his isn't attitude, it's a desperate plea for help.
Master Chief's shields finally run out of batteries
The Master Chief is unbeatable in a firefight, but it's not all skill on his part. He owes his life to his MJOLNIR powered armor suit, and, more specifically, to its regenerating shield system. It's absorbed enough firepower to scorch a small country (let's say Finland), but it always fwooshes back on after taking a few seconds to recharge. At least, it always does before the batteries run out. Seriously, it's a miracle it hasn't happened already, considering how much power that thing must chew up. One of these days he'll forget to plug it in before he goes to bed, and that'll be the end of John-117.
Jill Valentine rots in prison
Jill Valentine's seen some shit. Regular zombies, super-zombies engineered solely to destroy her, creepy parasites in cryo-stasis; she's dealt with them all admirably. Some day she'll get to leave all the battles behind. But they'll never leave her. It's only a matter of time before some poor sleepwalker sets her into a PTSD-induced flashback, only for her to regain lucidity as she's standing over his kerosene-soaked corpse. Her lawyer will try to get her off on an insanity plea, but her reputation as a "Master of Unlocking" will be enough for the prosecution to establish a criminal history. She'll spend the rest of her life wandering around, looking for the right key to open her cell door.
Immortal no more
Normally I'd feel bad for revealing all of these heroes' weaknesses, but to be honest, they've encountered so much pain in their action-packed lives that they probably feel downright deprived of the sweet release of death by now. You know of any other surefire ways to make a character croak? Let's hear it in the comments!
Do you thirst for ever more death and destruction? Are you OK? Alright, then why not try the Top 7 doomed characters who are definitely going to die and nine healing items that would totally kill you in real life.