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Tear Jerker: Halo
aka: Halo 4
Halo Wars
  • John Forge's Heroic Sacrifice.
    • "You got all of us out alive." "Not all of us..."

Halo: Combat Evolved (And the Anniversary edition)
  • Foehammer. For all those missions, she's one of the very few UNSC ally that isn't replaceable, that isn't just a generic soldier running to his death (and getting in your way, no less). As often as she can be, she's there to cover your back by picking up survivors, dropping off a warthog or guiding you towards an objective, and all the while with her heartening voice, full of vitality and upbeat humor. And then you watch her die while coming to your rescue, and there's nothing you can do. Even Cortana chokes up.
  • Keyes was one of the UNSC's best, a brilliant tactician and damn fine commander to boot. Every time you see him, you can tell that he's the kind of commander who can inspire the men serving under him to their fullest potential. And not only does he die an ignoble and terrible death, but it's absolutely horrifying—his body slowly mutilated and his consciousness erased by the Flood. The novelization details how he can feel each memory and thought of his own slowly being stripped away, his identity draining away like sand in a sieve. It doesn't help that Chief has to immediately take the neural chips and keep going....
    • The Anniversary edition has a terminal that shows Keyes fighting the Flood, with metaphorical tooth and nail, to keep them from taking everything. He keeps repeating his name and service number over and over, while bit by bit, his memories are stripped away and consumed. The real heartwrencher is when he remembers Miranda, and tries clinging to her memory.
  • The ending of the game. Everyone aside from Chief and Cortana (and, First Strike reveals, a few other UNSC personnel) die when the Pillar of Autumn explodes. Chief just sits there quietly and Cortana tries to convince both of them that they had no other option.
    Chief: Did anyone else make it?
    Cortana: Scanning... Just...dust and echoes. We're all that's left.
  • Some of the terminals in the anniversary edition do a good job of portraying 343 Guilty Spark as a sad, incredibly lonely being. He's been trapped on a super-weapon in the middle of space, completely and utterly alone (save for the flood), without even any wildlife to interact with. Spark spends his days fantasizing about how much better his job would be if he had been sent with another monitor, and how he could easily take a short break and fly to a nearby planet, although he would risk failing his task should the flood escape by any chance. Then finally, when sentient life actually locates his installation and he discovers that the mission he was sent on millennia ago was a success, they proceed to undo all his hard work within the course of a few days and destroy his home.
    • (Not like anyone gave two fucks about Spark anyway.)

Halo 2
  • Cortana's decision to stay on High Charity to stall the launch of the Dreadnaught for John-117 to get on board. She's stuck there until Halo 3.

Halo 3: ODST
  • The empty, destroyed state of the New Mombasa following the Covenant invasion. The music, in a noir attitude, does not help the mood of complete desolation in enemy territory, let alone the fact that many of the remaining vehicles are on fire.
  • When Sadie begs 6'10", 500 pound butcher Jonas to evacuate New Mombasa, Jonas replies that he is so large he would take up space for five people.
    Jonas: I am not worth five people.
  • Sadie's goodbye to Virgil as the subway train makes its way out of New Mombasa.
    Sadie: Vergil! You're all I have left of this place!
    Superintendent: (as Dr. Endesha) 'Sadie — Sadie — Sadie — Sadie!'
    Superintendent: (as Dr. Endesha) 'Sadie, sweetheart... You make me so very, very proud.'
    Sadie: You're all I have left of him...

Halo 3
  • The deaths of Commander Miranda Keyes and Sergeant Major Johnson. The sad music during both scenes didn't help matters.
    • Greatest Journey (the part played during Johnson's death) = the series' music for sad scenes.
    • This scene is particularly gut-wrenching because it seemed to be working up to an entirely different tear-jerker - Miranda aims the gun at Johnson's head, and Johnson calmly tells her she has to shoot him and then herself. Doubt crosses Miranda's face, and she lowers the gun, before Johnson barks "Now!" and she straightens up again... every indication points towards Johnson dying at Keyes's hand. Cue the sound of Spiker fire, Miranda's shocked expression as she sinks to the floor and Johnson desperately trying to reach her as a Brute holds him back.
  • The ending memorial scene. Lord Hood and the Arbiter talking about Chief's death, though the Arbiter doesn't believe it, even though "117" is scratched on to the monument. It is, however, helped by the following scene, that proves the Arbiter is right.
    • The above moment is compounded by Tribute, a very tearjerky musical score.
    • What makes the above even worse is that Spartans are not allowed to be listed as killed in action, so that is the only memorial of his passing that'll be allowed... Sure he isn't really dead but still.
  • The final words from John-117 to Cortana in the game. "Wake me....when you need me."

Halo: Reach
  • The last part of Exodus, where as you're flying through the city in a Falcon taking potshots at Covenant, you hear a lot of radio traffic between the evacuating ships and UNSC dispatchers, the general gist of it being that there's way too much going on for the defending human forces to handle. This eventually culminates in one ship trying to take off without clearance. They then get shot down, nose-diving into the bay. A question of whether they should search for survivors is only met with "There's no point."
  • The ending cutscene of "New Alexandria" in Halo Reach. While Kat's death by itself isn't terribly sad, what happens after that is: forlorn piano music plays, Noble Six fires helplessly at the Covenant sniper, and Noble Six drags Kat's corpse into the bunker, the door brushing Kat's limp foot as it closes. In total darkness, the piano music continues as the subtitles imply a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming in the background. The music switches into a painfully beautiful orchestral piece as you see Noble Team emerge into the burning ruins of New Alexandria - Kat's corpse in Carter's arms. As they slowly light a flare for a Pelican, the music climaxes into a mixture of sadness and hopefulness. Bonus points for incredible camerawork.
    • Also, you can hear the whispers of frightened civilians as the doors close, some of whom are trying to reassure the scared ones. When Noble Team comes out, none of the civilians are to be seen...
  • Jorge's death scene. In order to destroy a Covenant Cruiser, Noble-Six and Jorge are tasked with setting up a slipspace bomb on the ship. In the struggle against opposing forces, the bomb is damaged and must be detonated manually. Jorge immediately volunteers, tearing away his helmet, giving Six his tags, and throwing him out of the ship to the surface of Reach. As Six falls, he sees a large segment of the ship being torn away, with Jorge going with it. When Six meets up with the rest of Noble Team, Carter insists he keep Jorge's tags, commenting on the fact that he sacrificed himself thinking he'd saved the planet he loved. The fact the rest of the Covenant fleet arrives seconds after his death just makes it worse.
    • Even right before Jorge's sacrifice, there's a wham moment where the frigate that was escorting you for the entire mission (and whose slipstream drive was cannibalized to make the bomb you're carrying) suddenly gets torn to shreds right in front of your eyes. The music goes solemn right at that moment and stays that way as you're about to assault the corvette's bridge. Yeah, Jorge was the best, but hundreds of people just got vaporized simply to give you a chance of finishing your mission, and it turns out that their deaths were all just as senseless as Jorge's. Cue the blue-screen.
  • In the last level of Halo: Reach, the brief conversation Six and Captain Keyes have after Six delivers Cortana:
    Keyes: Good to see you, spartan. Halsey assured me I could count on you.
    Six: Not just me, sir.
    Keyes: They'll be remembered.
  • The deaths of the squad members, one at at time.
  • The post-credits cinematic. A shot of Noble Six's broken helmet, first showing shortly after his death, but then switching to 37 years in the future, showing the now-rusted helmet surrounded by greenery and life, showing that Reach managed to recover, while Dr. Halsey narrates how Six's sacrifice enabled humanity to survive.
  • Remember Reach. It doesn't help that the poignant music playing in the background is called "Ghosts of Reach."
  • The ruined state of Reach in the opening and closing cutscenes.

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
  • The sequence where the remnants of Hastati Squad follow the Chief through Corbulo's grounds to get to a Warthog. On the way they pass dozens of bodies while sad music plays. One especially meaningful shot is one of two cadets, one male, one female, lying together. The male's arm is around the female's body.
  • The intro scenes of Cortana's sanity unravelling are pretty unsettling to gamers who grew accustomed to her being calm and snarky.
    Cortana: (To herself) Control yourself.
    Cortana: I can't...
  • Two words from Master Chief about Chyler... I'm sorry.

Halo 4
  • Cortana's descent into Rampancy
  • Her reaction to the research station's Composition. Drives home how horrifying the act truly is
  • Following Master Chiefs defeat of the Didact, he falls to the ground, with the Havok nuke about ten feet in front of him. On the screen appears the message "Press Left Stick to ''crawl''. And he crawls. With each painful inch you hear Master Chief grunt in pain, and he actually falls down again a few feet from the bomb, only to Get. Up. Again. When he reaches the bomb, he arms it and the screen swings out of your control as John takes one last look at Earth. Finally, a new message appears on the screen: "Press Right Trigger to detonate the bomb."
  • Cortana's death
    • Chief's reaction to the whole ordeal more so, the iconic hero whom has faced tremendously overwhelming odds throughout the franchise while keeping his composure out of sheer willpower is rendered absolutely helpless to it, standing there as he repeatedly refuses and denies her subsequent death shortly after a last heart-to-heart. His voice alone is cracking, absolutely cracking from the sheer realization that all he has fought forward for throughout the entirety of the game is for naught.
      • It gets worse. Near the end of that cutscene, there are spots on Chief's visor roughly about eye-level that look a lot like tears. Chief apparently can't hold it in anymore and releases manly tears.
      • Agreed. Even I thought it was tears on his helmet! THE HELMET IS CRYING TOO!
      • Even worse when you realize Cortana has been trying to get John to accept the fact that she will die for most of the game, and that is very unlikely she will get the help she needs and suddenly becomes heart shattering when you realize, in a romantic way or not, the only person who she could touch both personally and "physically" and the one time she gets to do so is moments before her death. And even if she had survived, she would still have to be taken away from John due to her rampancy, and even if she had recovered, she would still be kept away to be studied so the UNSC could keep other A.I from becoming rampant.
      • And even worse when you realize that Cortana's still made of light, regardless of its solid state. Therefore, though she can touch John, she can't actually feel him (and he can't feel her, given he's wearing armor), which means she's reaching out just to comfort him and give him some closure before she dies. Just look at her expression of resigned contentment to have this small connection as she touches her only friend for the first and last time. Wow, 343.
      • Even worse when you consider that Cortana was given to Master Chief in order to alleviate the "sociopathic tendencies" that SPARTAN-II's were known to develop. In other words, its highly likely that Cortana was one of the only things keeping Chief sane, and considering the visions he had in Halo 3 when she was still trapped on High Charity....
  • The unmasking of John in the ending. You only see his eyes, but that part alone says so much. Those eyes since the day he was a child have been exposed to the harshest military training and genetic experimentation any human being could hope to endure. Those eyes have seen countless conflicts, countless innocents and friends dying left and right, horrors unspeakable to any normal human being (especially if you count the Flood), war and death has been all John has ever seen. John's eyes are cold and mechanical, filled with so much pain that is desperately trying to claw its way to the surface. Hasley's interrogator was right, John's humanity was sacrificed in exchange for his incredible talents as a professional warrior, an agent of death. Still, those eyes also show John's humanity, he is laid bare not as a soldier but as a man. We the player are not assuming the role of a robot, John is a person.
    • The absolute worst part about it is just how old he looks. He's 46, in a time when 50 is the new 30. The lines and wrinkles around his eyes are deep. This isn't even taking into consideration the fact that he's spent no less than 5 years, probably much more, in cryo-sleep, which stops the aging process. Four decades of death and war have stretched him too far, and it shows.
  • Tillson's death. Under attack from the Covenant, the Chief informs her that he has to blow up the station to destroy the composer. She protests about losing years of work, but eventually relents and even decides to prime the nuke so that the Chief would be able to detonate it remotely. And in the end, Chief wasn't fast enough, the Didact takes the Composer, and Tillson, and all of her fellow researchers die a horrible death via Composer. Worse, Cortana was monitoring the situation the whole time, and is practically in shock after what happened.
  • The Terminals cinematics show how the Human-Forerunner war proceeded, how the humans lost, how the Forerunners failed to stop the Flood, the first time the composer was used on humans, and how far the Librarian went in stopping the Didact. She shot her own husband to stop his madness. Look below to the Forerunner Saga for why it's such a heartbreaking moment.
  • "I can give you over forty thousand reasons why I know that sun isn't real...But for all that, I'll never know if it looks real. If it feels real." A brief soliloquy that sums up the differences between a human and an AI perfectly. For all of her vast array of knowledge, there are some things that Cortana will never be able to experience, and now, confronted with her own mortality, she regrets the things she can never have. It's subdued, quiet, and heartbreaking.
    • Even more so is her line to the Chief about it, "Promise me, before this is over you'll figure out which one of us is really the machine."
  • Cortana's outburst at Del Rio: "I will not. Allow you. To leave. THIS PLANET!!!" While the burst itself is somewhat nightmare-fuel, her immediate guilt and struggle for apology sent this troper back to his childhood where he lost his temper at his father and knew instantly that that was a very bad thing to do. She's become a child who accidentally got herself into more trouble.

Literature
  • Yayap's death. After all he manages to survive and achieve, he grabs a vehicle and a tank of gas and just starts driving, knowing full well that there's nowhere to go and nothing left to accomplish.
    • It does manage to have a Heartwarming Moment. In the end, Yayap takes a bunch of food, sits down and has a nice last meal.
  • Ghosts Of Onyx: Kurt seeing all the Spartans who have died before him, and giving him the can-do sign, just to give him the strength to say this final line" Die? Don't you know? Spartans never die." It just breaks this tropers heart, reading how he sees all the friends he made who have died, and this is while he's dying too!
    • The destruction of Spartan-III Alpha and Beta companies, particularly how broken Lucy is over it. The deaths of Dante, Holly, and Will.
  • From The Fall Of Reach: the sacrifice of the Cradle. Not to mention the actual fall of Reach, and the Spartans on it.
    • The deaths of Sam and Linda. The latter is especially wrenching, even if she eventually came back.
  • The Forerunner Saga: The entire story of the Didact and the Librarian, literal Star-Crossed Lovers. First, the Didact, in his youth, was forced to undergo a "brevet mutation", which would basically be the equivalent to going through all of puberty's worst in one stressful chunk of time before you're ready. Then, after they're married (a bond unique among their species since it was based upon their love for one another instead of political or social reasons), all twelve of his children were killed in battle with humans. Then, after a political failure in halting the construction of the titular Halos, he is forced into meditative, unconscious exile for thousands of years. When he's released, he's promptly captured by his enemies, his war spinxes (which contain faint imprints of his children's personalities) are torn apart, and he himself is executed. Luckily, he is technically reincarnated in a young Forerunner named Bornstellar, and he gets to spend a small, happy stretch of time reunited with his wife. Then, the Flood become a problem and she goes out to finish cataloging sentient life. For three hundred years she operates behind enemy lines, while the Didact uses every opportunity of communication to plead with her to return to safety with him. She refuses, and is finally trapped at earth. She sends one last message to the Didact, telling him that her work is finished, and that, for the sake of the galaxy, he must activate the Halos, killing her in the process. He then sends her this message:
    It's over. We're activating the [destructive arrayed matrix], our shameful last resort.I can picture you in your garden, surveying all you have created- surveying all you have preserved. And I curse the circumstance that keeps my finger on the trigger. Of all the fates to befall us, this is the cruelest of all. My inaction and hesitation and foolishness kept me here, on the wrong side of the line. And [300 years[?]] of our society's failure and miscalculation makes me your executioner.
    It's too much to bear.
    // ERROR - NO CARRIER OR RECEIPT
    AVAILABLE {DEAD END TRANSMISSION}
    //INFORMATION DESTROYED IN TRANSIT
    Mendicant Bias is trying to prevent us from firing the Array. He speeds back to the Ark, but he won't succeed. Offensive Bias will stop him, and I will burn this stinking menace in your name.
    And then?
    I will begin our Great Journey without you, carrying this bitter record. Those who came after will know what we bought with this [false transcendence] - what you bought, and the price you paid.
  • From the final intercepted transmissions of the AI Mack as Harvest is glassed despite all their efforts including killing his own love interest.
  • "Human Weakness" from "Halo: Evolutions" is a long one for Cortana.
  • At the end of Silentium, Guilty Spark is listening to the final sounds of the galaxy as the Halo effect completes its work. The last thing he hears is a new civilization, undiscovered by Forerunners or Flood, sending out a first "Hello there!" to the galaxy... then even that is silenced. He doesn't know what they said, what they looked like, or what gifts they could have brought the galaxy. Just like that, an entire alien race is snuffed out; soon after, select portions of Spark's memory are erased. Now no one even knows they existed.
  • After the Ur-Didact composes the Librarian's human populations, she has a complete breakdown.
    Librarian: That's all he ever does- kill my children! Why? Why?
  • The position Bornstellar finds himself in near the end of Silentium. Preparing to activate the Halos, a horrific solution, yet utterly necessary, to a catastrophe his race is nearly entirely at fault for, while transmissions stream in from around the galaxy from Forerunners, and perhaps others, pleading for a chance to be rescued and rejoin their brethren. In the end, he takes full responsibility for the murder of trillions across the galaxy, and it's no wonder why, in Cryptum, he remarks that if he'd known what was to come, he would have killed himself then and there.
  • Bittersweet tears in the "Rebirth" epilogue. Humans and Forerunners gather together as equals in mourning and celebration, and finally part ways in peace. Perhaps most touching, Bornstellar remarking that one day "Perhaps your children will make their way back, and I hope meet our children." It gives one hope that maybe humanity and Forerunners can exist together as brothers like they were meant to.
    Bornstellar: "Hope..."
  • Mortal Dictata - We get to see from the parents of one of the Spartans just how terrible it is to lose your child. Any parent will be in tears just thinking of how Naomi's parents must of felt when they couldn't find her and how she was acting so different when they did.
    • Hell, Naomi's family is just one big tearjerker. Her dad turns to terrorism to try and find out what exactly happened to his daughter, and her mom committed suicide because she felt responsible for Naomi's 'death'.

Soundtrack
  • The song "Dust and Echoes" in Combat Evolved, and its 3 counterpart "Wake Me When You Need Me".
  • The track "Black Tower", which features a tear-jerking choral version of the first movement of "High Charity Suite". Reminds me of the Arnhem Knights level of Medal of Honor: Frontline. As I thought, this is the music played during Miranda's death scene.
  • The credits music of Halo 2, with its weeping Hawaiian-style guitar.
  • Never Forget. Just the song. It's one of the most heart-wrenchingly beautiful songs ever composed, and conveys more emotion than words could ever hope to. And it fits the simple, peaceful main menu animation of Halo 3 so damn well... it makes this troper tear up every time he hears it.
  • 117 from Halo 4, that plays over the flying scene and in part over the post-credits cinematic, is so sad and heroic it's sob-inducing. Oh just the whole damn soundtrack, with an extra from Apocalyptica (The Beauty of Cortana) whose music fits the series so perfectly.
  • Green and Blue. The Chief and Cortana.
    • Also, the primary colors of earth. "Welcome home."
  • Ashes. It plays when Kat is killed, and it perfectly conveys that even though what we've seen previously were decisive human victories, we won't always win.

Other
  • Not from the games but the expanded background; spend some time on Halopedia reading about the fate of the Forerunners in the war against the Flood. It is, for the most part, heartbreaking stuff. Science fiction is littered with tales of massive interstellar wars with insane casualties on both sides. What makes this one stand out is that the ultimate victory that the good guys achieve is bought at the cost of their entire race. Only a few, relatively small chunks of their civilization and history are left behind, along with their legacy in the form of humanity.
  • As part of the ad campaign for Halo: Anniversary, 343 Industries created a short trailer for the "Living Monument". It's simple, but the speech therein that commemorates the monument, about the many costs and casualties of the Human-Covenant war and what's left in the aftermath, will almost certainly create a lasting, misty-eyed impression. Watch it here.
  • Dr Halsey had it just as rough as John-117. While her plan on kidnapping children and turn them into super soldiers is morally questionable, she nevertheless cared for them like their her own children. Plus she knew that most of them have died in combat, and even with her Mad Scientist streak, she still has parts of her humanity intact, and was totally pissed that ONI scapegoated her for the sake of their new Spartan tools, and denied information that John is alive. Worst yet is her crying in her sleep, with the knowledge of her dead biological daughter, Miranda Keyes.
  • The memorial to Dion Arroyo during the end credits of Halo 2. The brother of one of the artists, he died in a crash on September 11, 2003, so his brother wrote a simple little tribute. If that weren't enough, Dion was the first non-Bungie employee to play Halo 2, and has one marine based on him in the game.
  • Quite a fair bit of Halo Legends is this. Granted, Odd One Out is a screwball adventure, the Package is one awesome moment after another, and Origins is a concise , if somewhat inaccurate, summation of the history of the Halo universe. But there are some moments where the tears threaten to leak.
    • Prototype: Detailing the hardships one Marine has to go through. He earned the callsign "Ghost" for a reason: his entire unit died, one of them in his arms. And after she died, all his did was howl. After he was evacced, he stopped feeling anything.
    • The Duel: Showing how the Arbiter became a mantle of shame, a tile reserved for Elites who had lost their honor, and sought to gain it back by embarking on suicide missions. Initially, it was once a title of honor, presumably equal to that of humanity's General rank. But the Arbiter of that era, Fal 'Chavamee, was conflicted, wondering what the Great Journey meant. Not to mention he had a wife, who knew of the dangers he embarked on every day, and took it in stride. But when political power steps in, Haka, 'Chavamee's rival, forces his best friend to kill his wife, and then kills his friend.
    • The Babysitter: A group of ODS Ts are sent to assassinate a prophet, and are accompanied by a Spartan, who takes the position of sniper, enraging O'Brian, the squad's sniper. After he gets into trouble on two occasions, the Spartan has to save him, humiliating him in the process. But when the Spartan sacrifices their life for O'Brian, it's revealed she's a woman. O'Brian takes the shot, completing the mission, but at the cost of their ally. And O'Brian is left reminiscing on all the times the Spartan saved his life, and not once did he thank her.
    • But by far, the one that takes the cake is Homecoming. Some Spartans try and escape the enhancements, and seek to return to their old lives. But when Daisy, one of the escapees, makes it home, she sees that she's already there. Or, at least, a clone is. After they talk, the clone gives her a teddy bear keychain as a memento, and Daisy returns to the Spartan academy, alongside Ralph, another escapee she bonds with. The other three escapees, on seeing their clones, committed suicide.
      • Years later, during a battlefield, en route to the evac zone, Daisy is critically wounded, and can only watch as the Covenant slaughter her comrades, and her best friend, Ralph.
  • I honestly thought the E3 2013 trailer was kinda rampant with feels. Sure, he may seem heroic and "all that", going through a desert alone, but you can tell he feels something, as if part of him is missing. Which is immediately reflected by the chip in his hand. The same chip that Cortana was in. And then the moment instantly goes from "WOO! TAKE THAT STUPID MACHINE OUT!" to "Oh god the feels". Aaaaaaaand I'm crying again.
Half-LifeTearJerker/Video GamesHalo: Reach

alternative title(s): Halo2; Halo3; Halo 3 ODST; Halo4; Halo Combat Evolved; Halo 4 Forward Unto Dawn; Halo Wars; The Fall Of Reach; Ghosts Of Onyx
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