In Resident Evil 6, Piers sacrifices himself to save Chris, at the end of the campaign. After injecting himself with the C-virus to save Chris from the Haos, Piers' arm was mutated beyond return. After defeating the Haos, or so they thought, Piers shoved Chris into an escape pod and locked him in. Despite Chris yelling at him to open the door, Piers refused. This turned out to be for the best (well, arguably, because Piers' death was sad) as the Haos was not yet dead and as Chris's escape pod was rushing to the surface, Piers used one last electrical bolt from his mutated arm to destroy the Haos before it killed Chris, and presumably wreaked havoc on the world. Could be considered a Heroic Suicide.
Another example in Resident Evil 5: Lost in Nightmares. When Chris and Jill unexpectedly find Wesker in Spencer's mansion, a badass fight ensues. Towards the end of it, Wesker has got Chris by the neck, and is about to deliver a final, fatal blow before Jill tackles Wesker out the window, saving Chris but supposedly falling to her death. Somewhat subverted by the fact that she doesn't actually die, but it was still a massive sacrifice with big personal repercussions. Chris ends up saving her in the end Resident Evil 5, with an emotional reunion and another of their Just Friends? moments
Fable II. Taking a page from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, you can choose the needs of the many, the needs of the few, or the needs of the one (which is no sacrifice at all). The Needs of the Many is a particularly sacrificial in that you lose your family, dog and everyone you love so that the rest of the city can live, happy and prosperous.
Super Paper Mario feature not one, not two, but three heroic sacrifices of the other characters just before the final boss, leaving Mario all alone, temporarily anyway. They are revealed to have survived their sacrifices (saving the villains at the same time), though at least one was saved by the Xanatos Roulette-employing villainous Chess Master, Dimentio.
The game does have genuine heroic sacrifices on the part of Bleck and Tippi AKA Blumiere and Timpani.
In World in Conflict, you can see Captain Bannon and his subordinates doing this during an epic last stand against an overwhelming Soviet invasion force (large numbers of enemy tanks and infantry) with his already decimated forces long enough to let the main bulk of the U.S. defenders escape and get the Soviets concentrated in the area of effect of a nuclear tactical strike, more points for him since the sequence was neither corny nor cheesy.
After using the Dominus Glyph Union to seal away Dracula in Castlevania Order of Ecclesia, Albus gives up his soul to save Shanoa, who he had secretly loved all this time.
Nine Hours Nine Persons Nine Doors, Ace stays behind to let the others access the other two rooms. The party winds up back in the starting area, and Ace did it to make sure the others wouldn't check door 3.
Snake in the "Safe" ending, in a combination of this and revenge for Clover's death.
Galuf of Final Fantasy V. He fights Exdeath, going waaaay beyond unconsciousness. The team tries to revive him, but fails. A poignant scene.
Deliberately avoided in Final Fantasy VII. Tetsuya Nomura and Yoshinori Kitase, the game's character designer and director respectively, found the idea of "heroic sacrifice" repellently artificial and gave Aerith an abrupt death which achieved nothing for the good guys (arguably the game would have ended with them victorious if she had survived at this point) to show how awful death actually is. Although they were highly successful, a certain subset of the fanbase was having none of it, with Japanese gamers going so far as to organise a petition, and one notable Internet hoax claiming her comeback was programmed in as a secret plot branch but not activated in certain versions of the game. The 3 original members of AVALANCHE (Biggs, Jessie and Wedge) all died because they were left behind on the pillar as the Plate fell and crushed them. However, they went into battle defending the Pillar knowing they would probably die.
A less debatable example is the warrior Seto, Red XIII's father, who raced off alone to ward off the Gi Tribe. The spirits within the cave are the multitudes of warriors he bested while slowly turning to poisoned stone after being pierced by several petrifying spears. That Seto's statue sheds tears implies he was still alive and would eternally guard Cosmo Canyon.
In Crisis Core, Zack fights against a moderately sized army of Shinra Grunts knowing that he is most likely going to die.
In Final Fantasy X, it quite soon becomes pretty obvious to the player that this is what Yuna's quest is all about. Decoy Protagonist Tidus never has the slightest clue until someone finally manages to speak out the terrible truth aloud.
The above case is ultimately avoided when Yuna learns that her sacrifice would not permanently destroy Sin and would in fact provide it with the means for its eventual return. However, Tidus ends up having to be the one to make the sacrifice when it's revealed that he's a dream projected by the Fayth, and that permanently destroying Sin will involve ending the dream, and his existence along with it.
At the end of Final Fantasy XIII, Fang and Vanille become Ragnarok and save Cocoon from falling, creating a large crystal pillar that holds it up. In the process, they go inside the pillar and turn to crystal themselves.
In Jade Empire, Sagacious Zu pulls a spectacular one to give the PC enough time to escape the Lotus Assassins' fortress. He gets Death's Hand to attack him, and dodges all of his attacks in such a way that they hit the pillar they are fighting around, and lets himself get hit finally and hits the pillar, collapsing the cave on himself and the bad guy.
A similar scenario happens with Uncle Wolfgang in Gabriel Knight 1. If his sacrifice actually did what he thought it would, the heroes would have won right there and then. Unfortunately, the Big Bad is too Genre Savvy for that to happen.
Played straight in the same game with Malia Gedde, who in the good ending refuses to let Gabriel save her and sacrifices herself to ensure Tetelo can never influence anyone again.
In the Xbox remake of Ninja Gaiden, formerly villainous Alma does a Heel Face Turn and puts herself in the way of a blade to save her twin sister Rachel.
Inverted in an interesting way in God Of War II...at the end of the fight with Zeus, when you are about to deliver the final blow, Athena rushes in and tries to defend him. Athena, the only god who showed any form of compassion to Kratos. Kratos overpowers her, and tries to stab Zeus - but Athena takes the blow, and is killed. As she was doing it to save Olympus, this is probably the only heroic sacrifice for the sake of the enemy.
Played straight in God Of War III. Kratos impales himself on the Blade of Olympus to release Hope, undoing all of the damage he had inflicted on the world during his Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the gods. Kratos then dies for the last time, his final words being the names of his wife and daughter.
And I say to thee: IT SHALL NOT COME TO PASS THAT TASSADAR'S SACRIFICE SHALL BE FORGOTTEN!
EN TARO TASSADAR!
Raynor and Fenix pull one in Brood War, or would have done if Kerrigan hadn't been so intent on capturing them alive.
Grom Hellscream in WarCraft 3. He redeems himself for allowing his tribe to become corrupted by demons again by fighting (and killing) the very demon whose blood corrupted them. And in an interesting variation, the Night Elves sacrifice the World Tree in order to trap and defeat the demon general Archimonde. And with it, their immortality. Okay, the tree itself wasn't evil, but the Night Elves were responsible for bringing the demons to the world the first time.
It mustn't be forgotten that Grom Hellscream inflicted the blood curse on his people in the first place, just like how the Night Elves' ancestors were corrupted and tricked into bringing the demons to their own world. Corruption is a big thing in the Warcraft storyline, doubly so for Orcs and Night Elves.
World of Warcraft has one at the end of the final battle against the Lich King. Arthas (the old Lich King) is defeated, but Tirion Fordring knows that "there must always be a Lich King", and so he prepares to take up the sword and helmet that contain the Lich King's power, believing himself to be the only person in the world able to resist the inherent corruption, even though it will incur the cost of his own life and personality. He's stopped by Bolvar Fordragon, who'd been killed, captured by Arthas, and tortured for months (in that order). He takes the sword and helmet himself, in order to control the undead Scourge and stop them from running (even more) amok. Fordring tells Fordragon that his sacrifice will be remembered; Fordragon insists that he must be forgotten, and tells Fordring and the player characters to "go - and never return!" as he seals himself inside a glacier.
There's also Hand Of Sacrifice, a Paladin spell that transfers 30% of all damage taken by a target to the paladin, and the same class had a now-removed spell that killed the caster while putting a three minutes long shield on the target, leaving him invulnerable but unable to do anything unless he removed the shield. It also nullified the threat level of any creature attacking the target, ending the fight. You'd generally use it on a healer or someone with a resurrection spell when the fight became clearly impossible to win, to avoid lengthy corpse-runs, or for the lulz.
Questing in post-Cataclysm Badlands revolves around the red dragon Rheastrasza attempting to free the Black Dragonflight of the Old Gods' influence. She eventually succeeds, creating a purified egg that will hatch into the first untainted black dragon born since the flight's corruption. Realizing that the egg will never be safe as long as the tainted black dragons know of it's existence, she secretly swaps it with one of her own eggs before being cornered and killed by Deathwing, sacrificing her own life and that of her unborn child to ensure the egg's survival.
At the end of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, The King of Hyrule floods his kingdom with the waters of the Great Sea, sacrificing himself to give Link and Zelda/Tetra a future, as well as to drown Ganondorf, further sealing him away.
The Legend Of Zelda Twilight Princess - In the final battle against Ganondorf, Midna summons her pieces of the Fused Shadow and teleports Link and Zelda out of the castle. She becomes the Twili Arachnid and attacks Ganon, then outside Link and Zelda see the castle explode. Ganondorf appears on a black horse, holding Midna's helmet, which he crushes in his hand. It is assumed that Midna had been killed, but she later is revived in her true form.
And earlier in the same game, Midna is near death after Zant exposes her to intense light. Link, trapped in wolf form, brings her to Zelda, who performs magic to save Midna's life while fading into nothingness herself. She gets better... in time to become the first stage of the final boss fight. Fan theory is divided as to whether she passed her life essence into Midna, or the Triforce of Wisdom, or did something else entirely. Whatever she did, it worked.
In Spirit Tracks, Byrne is killed by Malladus while stopping it/him from possessing Princess Zelda's body again. Don't worry, it isn't permanent.
The Walking Dead Kenny's both possible deaths in episode 5 are heroic sacrifices.
It's also a good way to build up dramatic deaths in Super Robot Wars. Ouka Nagisa did this to kill Agilla Setme for good. Later in Original Generation Gaiden, Altis Tarl covered Folka from a deadly shot that would otherwise kill him. And thus he's killed for good. Heroic BSOD occurs for Folka for several minutes, until Sanger snaps him out.
Subverted, however, early on in the first Original Generation. In an attempt to prove to the heroes that his Face Heel Turn is for real, Sanger attacks your mothership with enough force to destroy it. An otherwise normal mechanic with an interest in gambling manages to get a larger-sized mech working just in time to intercept Sanger and takes the hit instead. Thankfully, said mech is a Mighty Glacier and ends up crippled but salvageable, and it breaks Sanger's sword taking the attack, forcing Zonvolt to call it a day.
Balthier: Vaan. A word. If something untoward should happen to me, you're taking the Strahl. Vaan: Untoward? What's this about? Balthier: I am the leading man. Might need to do something heroic.
"I, Judge Magister, Condemn you to OBLIVION"
In Tales Of Symphonia, Botta and a couple of nameless Renegades sacrifice themselves to let the heroes escape a flooding dungeon. Later on, all of the party members appear to do this in order to let Lloyd reach Yggdrasill in time to save Colette. They come back, though, because an RPG without a party to support you is useless.
Honourable mentions include Colette, although she's really more a sacrificial lamb who's been brainwashed into the whole thing, Sheena, who attempts one in the 'Otherwordly Gate' scene, wherein her childhood friend Kuchinawa turns out to be a traitor and holds a huge grudge against Sheena for failing to control Volt as a child, as well as joining the Chosen instead of killing her. However, when Sheena offers to sacrifice herself to save the group, saying, "I'm the one you despise, right? Then I'm the only one you need to kill." Zelos gets pissed and pulls her through the Otherworldy gate that convieniently activated at that moment and everyone escapes. Also Corrine.
Also seemingly done at the very end of the game by Tabatha, who becomes the vessel for Martel.
Honourable mention for Kratos, as well, who fully expects to die releasing Origin's seal. Being a Death Seeker, he actually seems kind of disappointed when it doesn't happen. It's kinda funny.
If Shadow survives and is in the ending of the game, it is also implied that he commits a similar heroic sacrifice.
In Soul Nomad & the World Eaters, Gig performs a Heroic Sacrifice in the "good" ending by going critical and destroying three gods with his full power, saving the world in the process. Subverted because, being The Grim Reaper, he simply has himself reborn afterwards in a new body. He just needed access to his full powers to be able to do it — which the main character gave to him like the sucker he/she was.
Alys Brangwyn from Phantasy Star IV took a dark blast from Zio meant for Chaz. Interestingly, she doesn't die immediately. Even more interestingly, the group's White Mage specifically mentions the game's healing spell doesn't work on her.
Super Metroid: In what is still considered one of the defining video game examples of this trope, the Metroid larva sacrifices its life during the final battle with Mother Brain. Exhausted and near-death due to being continually pummeled by MB's beams, Samus has nowhere to run. Mother Brain charges up for her final blow...and the larva swoops in, sucking the life out of the bigger creature before restoring Samus' health and weapons. Mother Brain comes back to life and attacks the duo, but not before the larva charges at it. The larva sacrifices itself to give Samus a fighting chance (and her Infinity+1 Sword in the Hyper Beam).
Subverted in Metroid Fusion. At first, it looks as if the only way to destroy the SA-X is to destroy the Biologic Space Labs, which would necessarily mean Samus' death. When Adam points this out to her, she simply says "... I know," showing that she is completely ready to give her life in order to get rid of her Evil Twin. However, Adam reveals that there's a way for her to escape — and in the process, utters a phrase that opens her eyes.
In Metroid: Other M, Adam Malkovitch shoots Samus in the back before she can enter the section of the Bottle Ship containing the genetically-altered, cold-immune Metroids. He does this so she can't stop or join him when he goes in there himself to make that sector detach and self-destruct in order to get rid of the Metroids, saying that she has to be the one to survive since she's the only one who can take care of the other threats.
Possible subversion in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain: at the start of the game, Kain is resurrected as a vampire to avenge his killers, and after the deed is done he must find a way to rid himself of his vampyric curse. It is heavily implied to him that by murdering the nine Pillar guardians of Nosgoth he might be able to restore balance to the land and rid himself of his vampyric unlife. Yet, in the end Kain pieces together the puzzles and figures out that he himself is the last pillar guardian, and that his aides meant for him to sacrifice himself so that the pillars may be healed and he be released from his curse — in death. Surprisingly, according to canon, he chooses to rule Nosgoth as its vampire king instead.
That's because he had become the last vampire in existence due to his own actions in the game, set in motion by one of the now-dead pillar guardians. It turns out that if vampires, the original makers of the pillars, become extinct, the pillars fall too. The choice was, in fact, no choice at all, so Kain chose to take the longer route and try to find a way to beat the odds.
"There are only two sides to your coin." "Ah, but suppose that one day... the coin lands on its edge?"
Played straight in Defiance with Raziel, who tricks Kain into absorbing him into the Reaver, an act that purifies Kain's sight, allowing him to see the Elder God and gives Kain the weapon that can defeat it. Raziel's Final Speech is a heartfelt vow of renewed loyalty to Kain.
To be fair, Axel is not really a villain to begin with. In fact, it is debatable if most of the Organization XIII members are true villains or not. A few of them are, obviously, like Xemnas, but some, like Axel, and, hello, Roxas, are not really.
Also, Axel technically died to save Sora, but really, he was doing it to save Roxas.
Xion may also qualify. True she doesn't technically "die" but sacrificing your independent existence and any record of your existence in order to wake up The Messiah has to qualify.
In the back-story for Icewind Dale, the hero sacrificed himself to close an open gate to hell, his blood somehow locking the gate. The Big Bad destroys this seal. The priest of the temple that was later built on the site then repeats the sacrifice, earning the heroes time to confront the Big Bad.
In Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, Frey sacrifices himself as a decoy in order for Marth and company to escape. In the Easy version this can be any of the Cavaliers, but in Hard mode, Frey is absent, making him the canonical sacrifice.
Subverted as of FE12, Frey was the canonical sacrifice but was left for dead by Gra. He miraculously survived and eventually recovered from his wounds, though he was left with a particular scar that caused him recurrent pain.
Heavy Rain gives us a beginning-type one, where Ethan basically pulls a stunt that looks exactly like the picture for this page and throws himself in front of a car to save Jason. (It doesn't work, Jason dies and Ethan lapses into a coma for six months, presumably coming out with some sort of brain damage—or PTSD, at least. Setting grim tone: check.)
Abused to the point of incurring head banging in Tales Of The Abyss, where first Ion willingly goes with Anise and Mohs to read off the Planet Score, knowing that it will kill him, but not wanting to put Anise's parents in danger. It ends up working in the player's favor, as he is able to save Tear and give the party one last clue before dying, but it's still a blow to the player. And then there's Asch, who may as well be suicidal, between the many times he's been stabbed, shot, and otherwise mutilated and didn't seem to care. His initial sacrifice is subverted by Luke at the Tower of Rem, but he ultimately meets his end buying the party time in the final dungeon, the animated cutscene driving the point home. Lastly, there's Luke himself, who spends most of the game thinking that his death would be some sort of redemption for his stupidity, and eventually succeeding in supposedly dying at the end of the game. Geeze.
The World Ends With You has these out the wazoo. Before the game even happens, Beat tries to push his sister Rhyme out of the way of an oncoming car, and just four days thereafter, she pushes him away from a Shark Noise— and it's even implied that she briefly regained her lost memories. Then, in the second week, Joshua takes the full brunt of Minamimoto's attack, saving Neku; however, this is then subverted when Joshua turns out to be The Composer, who simply warped into another dimension and prevented the blast from touching Neku simultaneously; plus, he had ulterior motives. Even a few Reapers get one: 777 as well as Kariya and Uzuki lend Beat and Neku their keypins after being defeated; 777 is killed for mutiny, and the other two soon get sucked into Instrumentality. And finally, everyone gets absorbed by Megumi, and once Megs is offed, Neku gets shot by Joshua in a game, which it turns out was what saved Shibuya from total erasure in the first place. Yeesh.
At least two cases of it in Fallout 3. The player's father gets one first, when he sacrifices himself to protect Project Purity by sealing the control room and flooding it with radiation while inside. The player (if they take the good karma route) sacrifices him/herself to activate Project Purity (the control room for which is still flooded with radiation, from the father's sacrifice).
Alternatively, Sarah Lyons sacrifices herself in your place.
Broken Steel makes a third option possible if you have one the right followers.
You can also go in yourself and survive in Broken Steel; you wake up 2 weeks later, back at the Citadel.
The main character in Persona 3. Doesn't get much more sacrifice-y than cutting the Goddess of Death off from the world... using your soul to form the seal on the the Can o' Evil.
Also, Chidori sacrifices herself to revive Junpei after he's shot by Takaya... though given that she was fighting, and cursing, the player characters a few minutes before, her motives might have been slightly less than heroic. Or maybe she's just crazy.
Shinjiro, in a completely badass fashion. He had already been shot by Takaya once, but rushed in front of Ken to save his life...also fulfilling Redemption Equals Death
Can be subverted in the Portable version of the game: if you max out Shinjiro's Social Link as the female protagonist, his pocket watch will slow the bullet enough to keep from hitting anything vital. He falls comatose instead, waking up for graduation.
In The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion, Martin breaks the Amulet of Kings, turning himself into an avatar of Akatosh to do battle with Mehrunes Dagon. Unfortunately, when the avatar disappears, so does Martin.
Also, at the end of the Mage's Guild questline, Hannibal Traven, the archmage, enacts a Thanatos Gambit by trapping his own soul in a black soul gem to allow you to confront Mannimarco without being turned into one of his thralls.
In Chrono Trigger, Crono sacrifices his body, if not his spirit, to protect his friends from Lavos in the Ocean Palace.
In Suikoden, Gremio sacrifices himself in order to save the hero and the rest of the party from General Oppenheimer's flesh-eating spores trap. Can also be considered a You Shall Not Pass as he prevents them from reaching the party.
Also Odessa dies protecting a child, and begs the hero that her death remain a secret to keep the morale of the rebel army up.
There's potentially another Heroic Sacrifice after that when Teo and his Armoured Cavalry absolutely trounce the Liberation Army in battle. The hero, Mathiu, Pahn, and Cleo are fleeing when Teo catches up to them, along with his two lieutenants Alen and Grenseal. It looks hopeless until Pahn volunteers to try and hold Teo off while the hero and the rest of the group escape. Pahn then duels Teo, and if he loses, he's executed as a traitor. However, this sacrifice can be avoided if you've trained Pahn up enough to the point where he can defeat Teo in the duel, who then allows Pahn to leave.
Later on Ted does this to save the hero from Windy and to keep the hero's rune away from evil's hands.
And in the end Mathiu dies, after abandoning his desired life of pacifism and solitude to help the army save the kingdom.
In Suikoden V, when the Armes forces are laying siege to the player's castle, Roy disguises himself as the hero to go out and fight a duel that he knows is a trap and defeats the enemy commander, Childerich. Childerich promptly orders his entire army to fire a storm of arrows at Roy, and Roy deflects most of them before being finally punctured. Jidan Guisu and Childerich mock him for getting himself killed for nothing, but then he hears a noise and turns the mockery right back on Jidan and Childerich. Immediately thereafter, the camera pans to show the newly-arrived Dragon Cavalry, who promptly attack and relieve the siege. Most players will never see it, as the game beats you over the head to keep you from taking the action leading to this, but it's still the character's Crowning Moment of Awesome.
Subverted in the Soul Series, where Siegfriedexpects to die in the process of redeeming himself, but survives in his good ending in Soul Calibur 3. As the scene fades out, he remembers Nightmare's comment "You have no right to live," and replies (though Nightmare is ''theoretically'' dead), "It doesn't matter. I will live on. To live...that is my redemption."
And again, in Soul Calibur 4. In his own ending Siegfried does indeed commit a Heroic Sacrifice that in turn gets subverted by Soul Calibur's extremism, but in Hilde's ending, he confesses to having created and once been the Azure Knight, and tells her he wants her to kill him. Instead, Hilde declares him to have atoned for his sins and that he can now live in peace.
Gray Fox destroys Rex's sensor array, rendering himself vulnerable in the process. He is crushed into paste shortly after a cool monologue.
Peter Stillman in 2.
The Boss was sacrificing herself for her country all along in part 3.
This was probablythe worst as her sacrifice would go all the way into history books and she would be remembered as one of the worst traitors in American history and a vicious war criminal in Russian history. It gets even worse than that when you realize that her death was actually planned by a deviously cunning strategist who wanted her offed.
Subverted in 4, when Snake can't quite bring himself to suicide.
Not completely subverted in 4. Raiden seems bent on doing this, fighting a legion of Gekkos twice to let Snake escape, slicing off his own arm and stopping a submarine larger than an aircraft carrier to save Snake again. It seemingly ends with him crushed and dead...Only to reveal in the next chapter he's still alive, he just lost his other arm. He's STILL bent on being a sacrificing himself to save Snake, without his arms (yet ironically still armed with a sword , He fights off a group of soldiers to buy Snake time...again. And after all this, He gets a Happy Ending.
Big Boss in 4, In a way. He knew going to see Snake would kill him due to the new FOXDIE strain, but still chose to do so, knowing he and Zero had to end it to prevent the same events from repeating again.
Surprisingly, Ocelot in 4. He subjects himself to And I Must Scream by implanting himself with a fake copy of Liquid's mind to trick the Patriots and motivate Snake to hunt him down, thus causing the eventual defeat of the Patriots. However, he also knew that the Liquid persona would lead to his death as it would mean he would face Snake in combat at the end and be killed, dying with the whole world believing that he was truly evil and never meeting the revived Big Boss, the man he sacrificed everything for. It was only revealed to Snake (And thus the Player) that all along he was one of your greatest allies in the fight against the Patriots after his death, when Snake finally met Big Boss.
Jonathan in Portable Ops.
Ash from Vandal Hearts sacrifices himself at the end to stop the Flames of Judgement from spreading.
Super Mario Galaxy. Bowser's star reactor sinks into the sun after Mario beats him one last time. This causes the sun to implode and create a massive super black hole that is sucking up everything in the universe. All the Lumas then jump into the hole to prevent it from destroying life any further. Although this may fall under Disney Death since Rosalina mentions that the Lumas will eventually be reborn.
In Dragon Quest Monsters 2, there's actually a spell that does this: Farewell. When the monster uses it, it instantly dies in exchange for fully reviving any other fallen allies. However, sometimes the user gets lucky and survives, albeit with only 2 hp.
The final mission of Hostile Waters consists simply of escorting the Cool Ship, turned into a walking (well, floating) bomb, into the heart of the enemy installation. It seems to work, too. Though the ending and The Stinger suggest otherwise.
Sometime betweenX and Zero: sealing himself, and surrendering his body to begin the study of The Virus, enabling the means to ultimately destroy said virus.
Zero 4: (a real big one, and arguably the best of all his efforts): opting to stay on board a falling space satellite instead of allowing it to crash on the last free colony of humans. On top of that, his actions finally bring about the peaceful era for humans and Reploids that he had been fighting for for a very long time. This does not bode well for those closest to him, especially Ciel, who was closest to him more than anyone else.
Mega Man ZX Advent: as Model Z, in an echo to the above, staying behind in Ouroboros to stabilize the Quirky Miniboss Squad while Ouroboros was collapsing, so his allies could escape. His current fate is unknown.
Mega Man X's final fate, as hinted in Mega Man Zero. X used his body as a living conduit to seal off and contain the power of the Dark Elf. He somehow separates his core conciousness from his body as a Cyber-Elf, presumably using some of the Dark Elf's power to appear before Zero several times. In Zero 2, it's cemented: An ego-blinded Elpizo strikes down X's body and destroys it- take into consideration he never knew the original, but the deranged Copy X. Elpizo believes it to be poetic justice, seeing him as the source of all his misery after X's twisted copy laid waste to thousands of Reploids. Without a body to return to, X no longer has the energy of the now-freed Dark Elf to maintain his Cyber-Elf form, and loses what little was left by the end of Mega Man Zero 3, fading away altogether. Given the existence of an afterlife for Reploids, it's implied he lives on in spirit.
In Fate/stay night, Heaven's Feel route, either Illya (for True End) or Shirou (for Normal End) have to do this. The first is a Bittersweet Ending as Saber and Archer don't make it either and Shirou gives up on his ideals, but otherwise good. The second is a real downer.
The second one may be a Tear Jerker, but it's very impressive, as Shirou actually diesbefore he can complete it... only to complete it after he's died.
First, Boomerang, one of the villains, impressed by the party's strength, decides to give his life to protect them from rampaging demons (or from a newly revived Berserk, in the remake). He comes back as a bonus boss in the arena though, claiming to have fought his way out of hell for another chance to fight the party.
Then, at the end of game, Asgard, a Golem befriended by the party, saves them from Ziekfried's final attack, but is destroyed in the process.
In Overlord II, during an Enemy Mine between the Elven Sanctuary and the Overlord to defeat The Glorious Empire, Queen Fay offers her own energy to the Overlord to power the Tower Heart. This doesn't kill her however, instead corrupting her and making her a Fallen Hero who serves the Overlord. If you're REALLY evil, you can kill her after her corruption, upon which her ghost becomes your mistress instead.
Midway through Cave Story, the protagonist and the Guest Star Party Member Curly Brace are trapped in a flooded room. Curly gives up her air tank, drowning in the protagonist's place. If you're on-track for the good ending, it's possible to strap her to your back, carry her out, and save her life.
In the endgame of Dragon Age: Origins, the PCs learn that the only way to defeat the archdemon is for a Grey Warden to kill it and sacrifice his or her own life in the process. As there are a grand total of three Grey Wardens in the country of Ferelden, this means that either Alistair, the PC, or Loghain must die. An alternative is offered by one of the other party members, but may or may not be worse than the other options.
Sometimes there are still only two options, and by the time you realize that, it's already too late. If you don't take the third option and keep Alistair, that leaves the choice of the main character sacrificing him or herself or sacrificing Alistair to kill the Archdemon. If playing a female who romances Alistair and your relationship survives to the end, he makes the decision for you.
Also, in the Redcliffe story, you discover that Redcliffe's problems are being caused by the demon-possessed son of the arl. Rather than let her son be killed or let the demon continue to prey on the town while you get proper magical aid, the arl's wife offers to be the sacrifice in a blood magic ritual that can send someone into the Fade to kill the demon without harming the boy.
In the human noble origin, Ser Gilmore, high ranking knight in the employment of your family, stays behind the hold the castle gates against Arl Howe's men, even though he knows that it won't keep them out forever and that staying behind means certain death. He willingly goes to this fate to buy his lords time to escape.
The suboptimal ending of Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer has your character stay in the City of Judgement for the rest of your life to make sure the spirit eater curse is destroyed.
And Shandra releasing all of Ammon Jerro's demons in the main campaign definitely qualifies as well.
In the first game, during the Endar Spire level, Trask Ulgo sacrifices himself so you can escape. A deleted ending of for a female Revan who completed the romance sidequest with Carth and then turned to the Dark Side has the PC kill her apprentice Bastila and die on board the Star Forge with Carth.
In the second game, it is possible to persuade Visas to sacrifice herself in order to defeat Darth Nihilus. In the cut content, Atton, given high enough Relationship Values, would have a one-on-one battle with Darth Sion. If he loses, he would be brutally tortured and left to death by Sion. Eventually, Aton dies in the Exile's arms. In addition, if the Exile has Hanharr in the party and Malachor V is being destroyed, Hanharr would throw the Exile onto the Ebon Hawk. Hanharr would then die with Malachor V. This is likely an easily overlooked Shout Out to the similar death of a certain Wookie in the New Jedi Order.
In the end of Xenosaga Episode III, it's implied that chaos, KOS-MOS and everyone who remained on Mictam died, which is shown by KOSMOS floating out in space. Whether or not this is actually the case we'll probably never know because the series has been cancelled. However, before this, it's played more by the book when Jin decides to go back (after almost escaping with the surviving party) and help chaos and the others try and get to Lost Jersaulem by fending off the relentless Gnosis attack. Long story short, he self destructs his Humongous Mecha (for good reasons), gets stabbed clean through the back and leg (at the same time) by a Gnosis with two BF Ss, takes the first one out of his body, and then along with his katana, kills the Gnosis that stabbed him with both swords whilst getting stabbed again by the Gnosis's other sword. Only then does he die.
In Breath of Fire III, Garr opts to stay behind on the crumbling Station Myria while the rest of the team escape.
This is less of a Heroic Sacrifice, and more of a And Now I Must Go: Garr receives his power and long life from the Goddess the party just defeated. He could follow them out of the station, but he wouldn't last long. Having achieved the quest he set out on, he decides that it's time for his life to end.
An unintended parody occurs in Guild Wars. In the mission 'Ice Caves of Sorrow', Sairdra rushes at the incoming Mursaat to delay them and give the party and Evennia time to escape. However, the cutscene where she says she will do so, prepares for it, and the 'Let her sacrifice not be in vain'-speech takes roughly 1 minute. Only after all this can the player's party start running, while you can see Sairdra attack and die in under 10 seconds. It takes some imagination to see this as a dramatic moment.
Captain Phoenix pulls one of these at the end of Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier, with a few sprinklings of Narm. At least it avoided being a Deus ex Machina by having a pretty hard fight beforehand, and you finish it off afterwards.
The DLC for Left 4 Dead does this. One of the survivors will be forced to sacrifice their life so the other survivors can escape to safety. This will play out in The Passing in the sequel, where one of the original survivors will be left out, picked randomly by the game.
Although the one who dies was supposed to be picked randomly by the game, due to problems regarding the voice actor for the character, the character who dies in the campaign is always Bill, his corpse always found lying next to a generator in the final part of The Passing.
The next upcoming DLC, appropriately named "The Sacrifice", will actually require one of the original survivors to be the sacrifice, Bill's voice actor will be available for this too.
Nia Lochlain dies after trying to stop Eremon from pursuing Yuri's ship. And shortly afterwards...
Bastian fires the exalaser cannon to blast a star, causing a supernova that effectively stalled Lugovalian's invasion of LMC for ten years, but he also gets swallowed by said supernova. His brother, Dietrich, pulls the same act ten years later while trying to buy some time for Yuri to reach SMC.
Kira gets Ret Goned after she successfully hacked the Overlords' system. She gets better at the end of the game.
In X-COM: Terror from the Deep, anyone who joins the mission to infiltrate and destroy T'leth will die when the colony ship explodes.
Deconstructed in Wild Arms 2, where a major theme is that heroes have to perform sacrifices. They're apparently not heroes unless they give up everything so that other people don't have to fight. The Sword Magess made that sacrifice in the backstory, and, ultimately, her descendants Irving and Altaecia do the same. The protagonist defies this trope moments later, and the final battle consists of spamming a Combined Energy Attack while he and all of humanity deliver a "World of Cardboard" Speech on the subject.
Ashley: We don't need a "hero"! There's no value in a world protected by such things. If everyone's hearts become one, then we can rise and stand together. We can support the world without sacrificing a "hero". Miracles can happen!
Gabriel Knight: The sins of the fathers features this in a BIG way, when Wolfgangrips out his own heart to give the hero access to the Plot Device.
Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse features TWO in its final episode. Sal, after accomplishing an important task in a radiation-filled room. Then, later, Max, through his spore-heads and optical sensors, tells the rescue team in his head to save Sybil instead of himself. Once they leave, his head is about to explode from the psychic energy in his head and the nuclear bomb in his stomach; so he teleports himself out into space before exploding to save New York.
First, Callum, the noble Dwarf who you befriended during the events of Old Owl Well and was instrumental at the Ember Trial, holds off a Shadow Reaver that was assaulting Highcliff long enough for the party to arrive and destroy it, at the cost of his own life.
Second, If the player is male and had romanced Elanee, then Mask of the Betrayer reveals that she gave her life to save the player from falling debris in the aftermath of the King of Shadow's death.
Halo Reach has three: Jorge staying behind to manually detonate a slipspace bomb, destroying a Covenant Supercarrier; Carter, flying a badly-damaged Pelican into a Scarab to clear a path for Six and Emile; and Noble Six, staying behind to man a mass driver and provide cover fire for the Pillar of Autumn to escape, and then being overrun by a swarm of Covenant.
Ultimately borders on Senseless Sacrifice, as Abigail dies a few years afterwards and his son Jack begins to live the sort of gunslinging, lonely, violent life his father lived; the very life his father tried to save him from.
Fai Dan, the colony leader from Mass Effect 1, is under the control of the Thorian, a plant creature that infects other organisms with spores and causes intense pain when its orders are disobeyed. As Dan approaches Shepard, who's trying to reach the Thorian, he draws his pistol and says that you can't imagine the pain. He tells you that the Thorian is forcing him to stop you, but in a burst of willpower, shouts "I won't!" puts the gun against his head, and pulls the trigger. Also a rather senseless sacrifice since the colonists guns have shown to be rather inefficient at killing Shepard and squad and Shepard most likely still has a few knock out gas grenades at this point.
Later in Mass Effect 1, we get a sacrifice on Virmire that has a much greater impact on the game. Either Ashley or Kaidan has to stay behind, defending the nuclear device at Saren's base right up until it detonates. That's some dedication to duty.
Mass Effect 2 begins with the SR-1 Normandy coming under attack from an unidentified but vastly superior warship. It isn't long before the crew is abandoning ship, but Shepard stays behind to force Joker to come with them. S/He gets Joker in an escape pod, but before s/he can enter him/herself, one of the massive energy beams cuts through the hull and sends the commander hurtling away from the pod. So Shepard does the only thing that s/he can do: Shepard hits the emergency launch button, sending the last escape pod out of the ship and condemning him/herself to certain death.
Mass Effect 3 is practically "Heroic Sacrifice: The Game" in how many characters give their lives for others. Prominent examples include:
At the end of livetweeting the Reaper invasion of Earth, Emily Wong rams her shuttle into a Reaper.
Mordin in the third game. If he died in ME2, it's Padok Wiks that makes the sacrifice.
Had to be me. Someone else might have gotten it wrong.
Similarly, if Shepard manages to make peace with the Quarians and the Geth, Legion will disseminate its personality to complete the upgrade that gives all Geth true sentience.
Either Grunt or Dagg has one of these in the third game. If Grunt was loyal, he'll live, but Dagg can't be saved.
Also in ME3Lieutenant Tarquin Victus was ordered to defuse an ancient Turian bomb planted on Tuchanka. Were it to be detonated, it would cause heavy casualties among the Krogan. Tarquin Victus succeeds, but at the cost of his own life—a price he was willing to pay.
Victory... at any cost.
And ultimately the ending, in which Shepard is presented with up to three options: sacrifice him/herself to combine all synthetic and organic life into a new framework, thus ending the Reaper cycle, sacrifice his/her body to control the Reapers directly, or destroy them all together along with all synthetic life. The first two options invariably result in Shepard's death, though if the player gathered enough War Assets, Shepard can live through the destruction of the Reapers.
The penultimate cutscene of Mass Effect 3: Omega involves Nyreen sacrificing herself via grenade-belt to save a group of civilians from a cluster of Adjutants. Unlike the other examples in this entry she makes no big speech of production of it, simply accepting it as a necessary move, because that's what it is to be a turian.
In Ace Combat 5, Chopper dies crashing his aircraft into the middle of a stadium in order to protect civilians.
Emil of Nie R has one of the most heartrending one in all of gaming, with his last words being how he wants to see his friends again and how truly afraid of dying he really is. Depending on what ending you choose, Nier himself will do this, erasing himself from existence (along with your save file) in order to save both Yonah and Kainé.
Deconstructed in Date Warp - in many paths, a Heroic Sacrifice will appear to resolve the immediate problem, but at far too high a cost, and the True Ending requires looking past this sort of thing to find another solution.
A certain supervisor A. Dallas in Dead Space has a particularly nasty variant of this. He leaves an audio recording saying that he knows what the necromorphs do to corpses, how they turn them into weapons...
At least if I don't have any limbs...I won't be able to kill anyone when I'm infected...(Gun charging in the background)
Sergeant Forge from Halo Wars. The UNSC officers devise a plan to destabilize the miniature star within the Dyson sphere world by converting their ship's faster-than-light drive into a bomb. The troops transport it to the elevator that would place it nearest to the star, but a group of Elites led by the Arbiter attack, and in the battle the bomb is damaged. The option of remotely detonating it gone, Forge volunteers to stay behind with it, knowing that the UNSC will need all of the Spartans they can get.
Depending on your judgment of the character's "personhood", the Neutral ending to Strange Journey has one. Arthur, the Red Sprite AI, decides that his knowledge of the future (given to him by Gore) cannot be kept if humanity is to truly be free. Therefore, he orders his personality component be left with the part of the ship being sacrificed to destroy the Schwartzweld. The crew treats it as the same as a living person sacrificing themselves.
In Ōkamiden: Kurow lets himself get possessed by Akuro so that Chibi and Kuni are able to kill it, thereby sacrificing his own life as well.
In Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, after you defeat the final boss, Pigsy volunteered to stay behind in the Leviathan during the self destruct countdown and died with the rest of the enemies in the explosion in order to pave the way for Monkey and Trip to reach Pyramid.
In Alan Wake, Alan has to remain in the darkness beneath Cauldron Lake to save Alice and the town of Bright Falls, as a straight Happily Ever After would break the internal logic of the story — it's a dark horror story in which victory cannot come without great loss and sacrifice. The DLC concerns his escape from this sacrifice.
In The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon, Ignitus throws Spyro and Cynder through the Destroyer's Ring of Fire to safety, leaving himself to perish in the flames.
In the True Ending of BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, Lambda performs one to save Ragna from getting killed by Terumi and mentions that Nu was never lonely and will always be by Ragna's side, and Ragna apologizes for the way he treated Nu. Lambda dies in Ragna's arms and Goes Out with a Smile, in the process giving her power to Ragna, which allows him to engage Lambda's Idea Engine and unleash the true power of the Azure, which he uses to defeat Terumi but spare him for that moment as he afterwards goes to save Noel from her current world-hating state as Mu.
Not to mention in the story mode, Jubei is very grateful towards Bloodedge who sacrificed himself to the Black Beast during the Dark War to buy a year's worth of time for the 6 heroes to defeat it. Bloodedge is actually the protagonist Ragna who time traveled to the past.
In Rosenkreuzstilette, Freudia freezes Graf Sepperin's throne room to save Spiritia when Iris attempts to kill her for having outlived her usefulness. Her area-freezing attack freezes Iris' attack with it to Iris' surprise, and Iris leaves for her palace to let the organization of RKS prepare itself for a final showdown. After she leaves, it is revealed that Freu had overdone the attack a little and used up some of her power to use the attack, but hey, it's a non-fatal sacrifice she made, so she's definitely alright, she's just shaken up a little bit.
TCT RPG: Kyle tries this when he realises it's lose his memories, powers, and his relationship with Alex, or leave his sister to die from the lack of medicine. Alex manages to think of a third option.
Homefront: "You see my flare? Drop the biggest fucking bomb you got on it!"
Septerra Core. Doskias and Selina stay behind to fire the Doomsday Device in the ending.
inFAMOUS 2, In the canon (Hero) ending of the game, Cole fires up the RFI which drains and kills The Beast, thus saving New Marais. However the RFI kills all Conduits including Kuo, Nix, and Cole himself, as well as conduits all over the world. After the showdown, Cole is made the patron saint of New Marais and is given the much earned respect he needs.
In Gears of War 3, during the chapter "Brothers To The End," Marcus, Dom, and their friends are trapped between an endless horde of Locust and an ever-expanding mass of Lambent. Dom then sees a way out by detonating the huge fuel bowser they'd been filling up by crashing a truck into it, creating a massive explosion that wipes out both enemy armies.
The Masked Man in Mother 3 seems to have actually pulled a Heroic Suicide.
In Baten Kaitos Origins, Sir Rambari leaps in front of a blade to save Ladekahn from Shanath.
In the final cutscene, a berserk machina seizes Sagi and crushes his heart. Milly prepares to give herself to Tarazed to release him, but Guillo dashes into the machina before she can.
In Knight's Contract, Minukelsus chose to stay behind to open the portal for both Gretchen and Heinrich to escape the villain's crumpling portal. What Gretchen and Heinrich didn't know is that the sword "Paracelsus" that Minukelsus wields absorbs its wielder's life force and eventually Minukelsus succumbed to it.
Shadow the Hedgehog in Sonic Adventure 2. He goes beyond his limit of power to prevent the Space Colony ARK from crashing into the Earth. Out of respect for his dearly-departed friend Maria, he does what she would have wanted him to do and protects the innocent people below, leaving no trace but one of his power-supressing cuff links. The characters take a few moments to mourn his loss in the ending cutscene of the game. Eventually, Shadow comes Back Fromthe Dead in his own appropriately-named sequel, Shadow the Hedgehog.
Synonymous in the respective anime, Sonic X, though plot lines and characters present differ slightly regarding his apparent death and return.
Hanako's parents from Katawa Shoujophysically protected her from the fire ten years ago, explaining her scars, her trauma, and her being an orphan.
In Demon's Souls, the Good Ending has the hero rejecting the Old One's offer of power and replacing the deceased Monumental as a living sacrifice to keep the Old One in check.
In Dark Souls, the "Linking the Fire" ending has the Chosen Undead rekindle the Flames to prolong the Age of Fire while burning for the rest of his/her existence.
The ritual used to keep the continent from turning into a wasteland requires a Heroic Sacrifice from a member of the Granorg royal family who's died and been resurrected. The last Sacrifice, Heiss, was less than pleased with this, leaving Stocke as the only candidate. He agrees. However, in the True Ending, he basically gets shoved out of the way by Heiss, who, in a last burst of bloody-mindedness, decides that if someone's going to get their soul ripped out, it's not going to be his nephew.
In I Miss The Sunrise, when the Inquiry is being destroyed, Virgil stays behind and uses the last available backup power to get Ros to safety.
Neff, Chac, Cassidy, Cole, and Ivoronus are shot down while fending off the Lesser Horde in the optimist ending.
PossiblyRos, as well. The last we see of them, they are dragging the Core towards a black hole. Other characters say that it's not certain whether or not they will actually have to pass the event horizon, but it is a possibility that they don't make it back.
The first is Yasha, who chooses to give Asura his own Mantra Reactor so he can unlock the full potential of his Wrath Mantra affinity, allowing him to stand up to Chakravartin. Doing so guarantees his death when his own reserves of Mantra run out.
In the final chapter, Asura has defeated Chakravartin, and is poised to deliver the killing blow. He is interrupted by his daughter Mithra, who begs him to spare Chakravartin, because if he dies, then the Mantra will be gone and Asura will die as well. After considering her warning, he replies that "But you will survive." and finishes Chakravartin off. Asura dies a few moments later, after telling his daughter to not cry for him, as he is at peace and his titular wrath has finally gone.
In the Swan Song, some of the Daichi give up their lives for other followers to escape.
Transformers Fall Of Cybertron in the biggest way at the end of one late chapter Metroplex sacrifices all his remaining energon to allow the Ark to launch. He falls to his knees as the ship launches, and falls over unconscious/dead as it blasts away.
In the first two routes of Duel Savior DestinySelbium pulls one of these in order to help save the day. The next two routes switch him for Princess Crea, though apparently she was dying anyway.
At the end of Perfect Dark Zero's first act, Jack and Joanna are pinned down by Mai Hem and her minions, and Jack is forced into a suicidal charge to allow Joanna's escape.
In Little Busters, Kengo and Masato risk their lives to protect Riki and Rin from danger when their bus drives off a cliff during a field trip. In one timeline, this kills them. Kyousuke also risks his life to stop the oil from exploding and so allows Riki to save several people in the meantime, which can either result in his death or everyone being saved depending on your choices at the very end.
In the first game, providing you go for the good ending, Jack ends up heavily mutilating himself (including tearing out his own vocal cords) in order to defeat Fontaine and liberate the Little Sisters.
In Bio Shock 2, after being mortally wounded by Sofia Lamb, Subject Delta uses the last of his strength to save his daughter from a literal army of Splicers.
In Bio Shock Infinite, Booker realizes that the Big Bad is in fact himself from an alternate future where he turned into a fanatical Knight Templar following his baptism. He realizes that the only way to destroy the Big Bad for good is to allow himself to die during said baptism, and he does so. However, The Stinger suggests that there's at least one universe where Booker survives, never becomes Comstock, and is able to live happily with his daughter Anna (who never becomes Elizabeth).
Elizabeth herself, or rather the Elizabeths from the mulitiverse drowned Booker despite knowing that they'll be erased from existence.
Angry Birds uses this trope as part of its gameplay, in which birds launched from a slingshot break glass, stone, and wood along with taking down pigs using variable corresponding levels of brute force as well as their character-specific abilities.