Deeply disturbing deaths from retro games

No, the games of years gone-by hold some truly horrific sights and sounds, providing a vertitable butcher's slab of disturbing untimely ends. Some are graphically distressing. Others psychocologically. Some are both and a whole lot more. So why don't you join me, as I host a tour through the archives of retro pain?

Kirby%26rsquo;s Dreamland 3 %26ndash; Super NES

Kirby, whatever you may think, has a tough life. Tougher than Mario, tougher than Link, tougher than a starving Victorian orphan falsely charged with murder and forced to fight through the depths of Hellusing a rotten banana to clear his name.

“But Dave, you big misguided mental!”, you may cry. “His world is all sugar-coated kittens and pink unicorns made of cushions and the innocent prayers of children! Whatever hardships could the nonsensical pastel puffball ever have to cope with?”

This. This is what. The seething, eldritch, Lovecraftian embodiment of hatred that is Zero. He’s the final boss in Kirby’s Dreamland 3, and he’s friggin’ horrible. His second-stage form sees him turn into a giant, lacerated eyeball, who attacks by squirting his own blood out of razor-thin slits in his gooey flesh. And then when he's on the ropes, and facing imminent death... Oh God, just watch it for yourself.

After years of super-happy-family-friendly-fun-time, Nintendo was to change things for the N64. More adult games were on the way alongside the usual Mario and Zelda fare, and as the last first-party game to be released on the SNES, Zero’s horrific countenance and Cronenbergian death animation were perhaps Nintendo’s way of saying “Toughen up, bitches! Soon we’re going to have Turok and Shadowman and everything!

Above: Bleak enough to make an eyeball-slicing surrealist pause for thought

Salvador Dali himself freaked out when he beat Zero, despite his antics withUn Chien Andalou.Which may or may not be true, given the fact that he was dead when the game came out.

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.