Gaming's most (literally) heart-breaking moments
A real heart-breaker
There are plenty of scenes in video games designed to break our hearts--hell, some even have the sternest of men and women crying like babies. Carly's [SPOILER] in The Walking Dead, or Jenny's untimely [SPOILER] in The Darkness spring instantly to mind. However, those sad scenes aren't what I'm looking at here. These heartbreaking moments are a bit more... literal.
Today, I'm not honoring the saddest games, or the most upsetting games. Instead, I'm looking at games where hearts are getting literally broken, squashed, ripped, stamped on, and generally eviscerated. Let's just say, these hearts aren't being mended any time soon.
The literal 'heart-ripping moment' - Mortal Kombat
Perhaps the most famous of heart-breaking moves belongs to Kano, the Mortal Kombat warrior and apparent Phantom of the Opera enthusiast. With a simple button sequence, Kano can reach into his opponents chest and pull out their still-beating heart, holding it high above his head for all to behold.
As the years have gone by, Kano has added some new death moves to his repertoire, but none of them compare to the classic heart rip. In the newest Mortal Kombat game he has TWO heart rip moves; one where he reaches in from behind and crushes the heart with his hand, and the other where he takes the heart out and replaces it with his opponents head. Not really sure why he does that...
Heart-break from the inside - Gears of War 2
When Marcus and pals first see the Riftworm in Gears of War 2, you know there's plenty of... unpleasantness just around the corner. After dodging it for some time, and just when they think it's safe, the COG team is swallowed by the behemoth and forced to fight its way out. It seems like too large a beast to ever crush until... they see it.
The Riftworms giant, beating heart stands before them, arteries ripe for quick removal with Lancer chainsaws. As the room fills with blood, the team doubles its efforts, knowing that they're causing damage. One heart down. Now on to the second, larger heart. Doesn't matter how big the Riftworm's ticker is, Marcus and the boys make swift work breaking it.
The heart-break from outer space - Contra
After fighting your way through the ridiculous difficulty of Contras main campaign (no doubt using the famous Konami Code for extra lives like we all did), the final battle takes place inside of Red Falcon, the alien invading Earth and starting the whole mess. That damn alien needs to pay for whats he done to the world, and youre going to make sure his heart stops beating by shooting it yourself.
Yes, the final boss of Konamis piece of 8-bit masochism is the beating heart of the main antagonist surrounded by tiny minions who do everything they can to just piss you off. Those little buggers come fast, and you need to destroy the pods theyre coming from to finish your mission for good. Once thats done the heart explodes, and youve officially conquered one of gamings most trying titles.
Heart of the nation - Grand Theft Auto IV
Ah, the Statue of Liber, Happiness. Standing watch over Liberty City in all of her majestic glory, this beacon of hope for a great life in the GTA IV world holds an interesting secret. By piloting a helicopter close the statue and jumping out at the right time, Niko will find a door that he can walk through, leading to a hidden area inside the statue.
Once inside, climb the ladder to find the heart of the Statue of Happiness, held in place by giant chains. Only this isnt a heart made like the statue; this is a large and creepy human heart thats actually beating. As with anything else in GTA-land, anyone who finds it tends to shoot an RPG at it to see what will happen. This heart cant be destroyed, but blowing it up does net you one of those damn pigeon collectibles. I guess thats better than nothing.
The hearts of darkness - Resident Evil 5
As no doubt intended by Capcom, the Lickers in Resident Evil always give me the willies (strange choice of words - Ed). Creeping towards me with their insides out and their outsides in, their long tongues like whips trying to make a meat-snack of my intrepid hero's body theyre the things of nightmares, come to life in video game form. Oh, then Resident Evil 5 comes along and Capcom makes an even stronger Licker called Licker B. Fantastic!
These are bigger, faster, and stronger Lickers, but they have a big weakness: their hearts. If you can manage to stun one and knock it onto its back, stand over it, activate the prompt, then you can watch Chris or Sheva unsheathe his or her knife and plunge it right into the sick bastards heart. I wish I could keep doing it after the first stab, once for every minute of sleep lost to those fiends (seek help - Ed).
Some assembly required - Castlevania II: Simon's Quest
I dont envy Simon Belmont. The man kills Dracula and saves the day, but a terrible curse is brought upon him. How can he fix it? By resurrecting Dracula and killing him again! Hooray! The only problem is, Draculas body parts have been scattered around the massive world and must be brought back to his castle for re-assembly, and thus Simons Quest is on.
Among the collectible items is Draculas nail, eyeball, and of course his heart. Each piece is housed in a giant mansion, and ol Simon needs to collect them and put Dracula back together again. Basically, Simons Quest is all about re-assembling one of the most evil characters in gaming JUST TO PLUNGE THE STAKE RIGHT BACK INTO HIS HEART.
The fog of, er, heart-break - Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen 2
Blood Omen 2 starts with Kain, the vampiric face of the franchise, able to stealth his way through levels by turning into a fog of some kind. As a bonus ability, once he morphs he can sneak up behind his enemies and dispatch them with no effort at all. How does he kill them? BY JAMMING HIS FIST THROUGH THEIR CHESTS, THATS HOW.
Somehow, from this murky disguise Kain can produce just his fist for the purpose of some chest-bursting action, producing the poor chaps heart and throwing it onto the cold, dark floor. Youd think he might, y'know, drink the blood from the heart he just extracted from some thug. He is a vampire after all; blood-drinking is his thing. Is there a five-second rule on hearts that touch the ground?
The song and dance - Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure
Take one of those turn-based strategy RPGs like Final Fantasy Tactics or Tactics Ogre, inject a little Broadway theater, and youve got Rhapsody: a Musical Adventure on the DS. I'm not kidding; cutscenes in this game are sung rather than spoken, and the entire game plays out like Wicked or Once Upon a Mattress. Its also much easier than other turn-based strategy games, making it a great way to get into the genre if you can deal with the singing.
In one section of the game, amid all of the joyful crooning, the hero and her merry band of friends must defeat a worm by going inside of it and killing its spiky heart. Seriously. In the middle of a game where characters literally break out into song, Rhapsody does it best Gears of War and sends players inside a giant worm for some heart-breaking. It seems a bit out of place, but hey ho.
The heart of the earth - God of War III
Well, we all knew in God of War III wed have to take out Gaia eventually. Kratos rage spares no one, not even the mother of the planet herself. We didnt know what wed have to do to take her down, but once we saw the old girls heart early in the game, we knew wed be back to cut it down. Sure enough, during the final battle with Zeus, Gaias heart meets its fate at the edge of the Blade of Olympus.
Personally, I didnt want to kill Gaia, but like everyone else outside of Aphrodite she turned her back on Kratos and vengeance had to be carried out. No one calls Kratos a 'pawn' and gets away with it, not even Gaia, so she has to go. Conveniently, Zeus lead Kratos into the perfect spot to take her out. Maybe the ruler of the gods isn't a complete jerk after all.
Heavy metal heart-break - Brutal Legend
The main antagonist in Brutal Legend is one ugly and evil demon, voiced by the incredible Tim Curry (Rocky Horror Picture Show). Doviculus wields a staff with an axe on both ends (!) and the Hydra, an electric guitar with four necks that he uses to summon a giant Black Tear monster. Somehow hes able to do all this without being able to see, as his entire head is covered by leather. Not sure how that works, but it's probably best not to ask him too many questions.
During the game's climatic final battle, Eddie finally corners Doviculus in his cathedral, and after a lengthy fight he downs Doviculus with an axe to the neck and a forceful removal of both of the hearts in Doviculus chest. Two hearts for the price of one! What a deal!
The one that literally makes a devil cry - Devil May Cry 3
Theres a theme in this article it seems: heroes getting swallowed by mammoth creatures, then needing to find and destroy the creatures heart in order to escape. Dante suffers this fate in Devil May Cry 3, falling into the belly of the giant demon whale called Leviathan the Evil God-Beast. Thats a hell of name, even for a demon.
Dante fights his way out of this Evil God-Beasts stomach towards its heart. However, the heart of this monster is protected by its lungs, which makes this the first entry on this list thats not only a heart-breaker, but also takes the breath away. Boom, boom! Ah, I always knew Dante was a romantic.
Ye olde heart-break - Medievil
Sir Daniel Fortesque, the brave skull-headed knight that most kids under the age of 10 had never heard of until PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, finds himself breaking a foes heart right in the beginning of his first adventure. A giant demon made of stained glass serves as boss number one, and the glassy enemys weak point is, of course, its glowing heart.
Sir Dan has to wait until the heart separates itself from the demons body, but when it does he wails on it with ranged attacks like throwing knives and crossbows. Of course, if the heart is allowed to be separated for too long it can charge a very powerful attack, so our hero has to work quickly in order to defeat it. Now that Ive given you this brief history lesson, go back and play Medievil; youll be glad you did.
The heart of oak - Fallout 3
Look, I really feel sorry for poor Harold. Where other ghouls just become horribly mutated but continue living normal lives, Harold here becomes a human tree as the series progresses. Eventually, you find him in the Oasis of Fallout 3, wanting nothing more than for his life to be ended and his suffering to go away. The player is presented with a choice, and oddly enough all three involve Harolds tree heart.
The player must choose one of three paths: siding with a man named Birch and limiting Harolds growth to nothing but keeping him alive; choosing a woman named Laurel who thinks Harold should grow across the land; and choosing Harold himself... who just wants to die. Birch gives you a sap to stop growth and Laurel provides a liniment to accelerate it, but if you choose Harold you destroy the heart and end Harolds life. Theres no real right answer here, but the merciful among you may want to ease the pain of this familiar face once and for all.
Hungry (for) hearts - The Darkness 2
Jackie Estacado learns to harness his super-natural powers in The Darkness II and use the tentacles that sprout from his body to do his bidding. The Darkness is very much part of Jackie, which explains why he rips the hearts from his fallen enemies to restore his own life-force. It's his version of eating a sandwich.
Throughout the game, Jackie blames The Darkness for much of his cruel deeds, but to be honest, I reckon he just develops a taste for human hearts. They taste a bit like pork, apparently. Probably. Please don't call the police.
Breaking Mom's heart - The Binding of Isaac
The Binding of Isaac is truly in a class of its own when it comes to breaking hearts. Sure, other games let you destroy a giant beating heart, but how many of those others games give you the heart of the characters mother to destroy? Binding of Isaac does, and the fight inside The Womb is--like the rest of the game--utterly crazy.
The heart attacks Isaac by summoning monsters into the arena, then disappearing. It wont re-appear until the monsters are dead, making Isaacs task that much harder. There are a few ways to take out Moms Heart, but the fastest is by using a particular item: The Bible. The holy book of Christianity takes out Moms Heart in one shot, no resistance whatsoever.
What broke your heart?
You've seen a lot of hearts literally break in this gallery, but that doesn't mean I've included all the heart-crushing scenes. What say you, GamesRadar faithful? Let me know in the comments below what I missed.
For more love-themed lists, check out Gaming's Most Cringeworthy Pick-up Lines and the Top 7... Sexy Video Game AI Characters.