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Video Game Cruelty Potential: First-Person Shooter
The first Medal of Honor as well as its sequel, Medal of Honor: Underground, gives you the ability to hit certain body parts on enemies. This results in hilarious animations.
Examples include shooting an enemy in the balls while standing close to a thrown grenade, or, when they pick up a thrown grenade, you can shoot them in the arm, which results in them holding on to the grenade and having it explode in their face.
The Soldier of Fortune series made this the entire point of its gameplay. Small-calibre weapons would cause bloody wounds and suffering animations, while large-calibre weapons would rip body parts off altogether, blast apart heads like watermelons, and tear torsos open (replete with hanging intestines, natch). There was no reason other than pointless cruelty for mauling an enemy's body after the first couple of shots, because the game was fairly realistic and bad guys would drop as soon as they were hit in a vital part. Not that that stopped anyone...
The firsttwo games firstly allow you to dispense with enemies with varying degrees of sadism. The greatest cruelty potential, however, is in how you deal with the Little Sisters. Choosing to harvest instead of rescue them causes the player to tear the girl apart to rip out the ADAM-rich slug in her womb, killing her brutally in the process. The shame the player may feel over acting so selfishly is exacerbated in the sequel by the re-tooled design and voice acting of the Little Sisters ramping up their cuteness and vulnerability; oh yeah, and the way that if you Harvest the Little Sisters throughout the game, you bring about the worst possible ending, and you also have to play the final section of the game alongside Eleanor, knowing what a sociopath you've made her and not being able to make it better.
In BioShock 2, you can also shoot the unarmed nice old nanny on the face, or put a drill through her head. She's only taunting you a little bit, and doesn't try to fight at all.
Then there's Cindy, one of the little Sisters you can encounter with her biological father (who is now a Big Daddy) Meltzer. While there are exploits to avoid killing him, canonically, you do have to kill him. Cindy, being a little sister, is still subjected to the "immediate material gain" method above. Reading into the back story of her, you realised that her father gave up everything to make sure she's safe, only to have you pull the literal plug on her without a second thought.
BioShock Infinite, in addition to the usual array of cruel and unusual deaths that can be inflicted via Vigors or specialised weapons, also gives the player free reign to run around Columbia murdering random civilians everywhere they go, with no storyline penalties whatsoever. In terms of things that can be done strictly to enemies, though, the various Sky-Hook executions probably take the cake— its very first usage has you burying its spinning hooks into a poor chap's face, bloodily rendering it into hamburger meat amid a series of horrible whirring and crunching noises. Other Sky-Hook kills include catching a guy's neck in the blades and snapping it, doing the same only to grind his entire head off his neck in the process, and jamming the blades into their chests before lifting them up by it and tossing them aside. For added cruelty: do this in the vicinity of Elizabeth and she'll occasionally scream or yelp because of the sheer brutality of the executions.
In the original Modern Warfare, during "The Bog", you can stand back and watch as a fellow marine struggles with an enemy soldier. If you do nothing, then the enemy soldier will eventually overwhelm and kill the marine. Alternatively, you can save the Marine's life by killing the enemy soldier at any point before he shoots your buddy.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has the infamous "No Russian" level in which you gun down unarmed civilians in an airport while playing as an undercover agent who has infiltrated a terrorist group. Since there's obviously real-life issues about allowing players to take part in massacring civilians, the level actually makes the killing entirely optional...you can take part in it, or you can just leave it to your fellow terrorists (either way, civilians are massacred). However from a storyline perspective, it does stretch suspension of disbelief when you notice that your terrorist buddies say nothing about your non-participation. The game also allows you to simply skip the level with completion penalty, for those who might find it too disturbing.
You can also finish Rojas after Ghost tortures him, or let the favelas gangs do it, which is maybe even more cruel, depending how you do it, and kill all chickens you see in Brazil (there are a lot).
Call of Duty: World At War has a moment in the level "Eviction" where you can choose whether to kill wounded and dying German soldiers after an explosion in Berlin. Worst of all, later on, you get called evil in Chernov's diary if you kill them all when Reznov reads it after Chernov's death.
Deus Ex allowed you you to take people out non-lethally and abuse the unconscious bodies in all manner of ways until they finally exploded into giblets. Or, for that matter, just sticking them with slow-acting tranquilizers and watching them run in circles until they fell over. Drop them off high places, feed them to wild animals, or collect them into piles arranged in neat rows or spelling out short messages visible from above. You can also withhold food from a homeless child in Battery Park, walk into a women's washroom at UNATCO (making the female worker in there insult you), and freak civilians out by shooting near them. Great fun for the whole family!
While not particularly cruel, at least compared to some of the other things described here, this video is certainly amusingly brutal.
One Self-Imposed Challenge is to kill/knockout as many civilians as possible without being seen by enemies or guards. It's possible to make the Hong Kong section practically devoid of life besides a handful of plot-required NPC's through judicious use of suckering guards into fighting civilians.
Does it count as cruelty if you try to wound the enemies until they are low on HP by shooting them several times with a handgun, before using up one of the precious tranq needles? It works, but it is kind of conscience panging, seeing them run around like idiots, but at least they've stopped shooting you.
In the sequel, there's a secret one-of-a-kind sniper dart gun that, rather than knocking them out, once their health drops below half, sets them on fire. You can do this to the children in a school.
It should also be noted that this is one of the few games that allows you to kill children. In the sequel, you can even shoot up a school.
Deus Ex allows sadistic players to get very creative, especially with the world environment and the plentiful NPCs both human and animal. Throw TNT off the side of the Statue of Liberty so that it lands on someone and blows them into bloody giblet gravy? Sure. Unearth a half dozen harmless rats in piles of trash and chase them down to step on them like squealing dog toys? If that's your thing. Scare a harmless civilian or child so that they run into the line of sight of a gun turret rigged to shoot everything it sees into a bloody pulp? Entirely doable.
Talk a man out of suicide... Then kill him. Also, the groin attack takedown.
That 'any character you find' bit? It can include the grieving mother of your ex-girlfriend, your former partner from when you were a cop, and a kindly (though senile) old woman who saved your life when you were a baby and has been saving up birthday money for you ever since. To spice things up, you can choose to stay your hand and let a man die in absolute agony even though he's begging you to kill him. Of course, if you don't have the stomach for wanton slaughter, you can always emotionally destroy people instead! That grieving mother? Go ahead and tell her exactly how horrifically her daughter died. After being kind and sympathetic to an emotionally-shattered former colleague, convincing him to open up to you, you can tell him that he's a pathetic, child-murdering scumbag when he begs you for forgiveness.
The game occasionally rewards you for this as well. Multiple times, when you pay a character for information or some rare item, you can then punch them out or kill them and get your money back.
Turok 2: Seeds of Evil. Cerebral bore. Why shoot, stab, or plasma-vaporize the enemy when you can fire a self-guiding orb at them that will embed itself in their forehead and start digging, with sickening whirring and gushing noises, and then explode?
Turok: Evolution. All the cuddly cute animals roaming the forest? Most can be shot dead.
In Postal 2, in fact, it is conceivably possible to chop off a random bystander's arm, then chase them down and subdue them to self-wetting pain and terror with a taser attack, douse them with gasoline, and burn them to a hideous char before dousing the flames with urine, step on the victim's back and "ride" them as they try to crawl, sobbing, away, and finally finish them off with a dose of anthrax... and then decapitate the body, kick the head around city streets like a soccer ball (sending other bystanders who see it into hysterics), before crushing the thing with a sledgehammer like a hellish Gallagher, splattering brains all about. Yeah. And this is a game that, technically, you could complete without harming anyone.
Bonus points for making said victim puke right before decapitation. Sit back and enjoy the neck stump pumping out blood and vomit all over the pavement.
Don't forget that you can get dogs to play catch with the severed heads.
The original Syphon Filter had the Air Taser which, when used on enemies, would shock the living bejeezus out of them. And you could hold them in this state until they CAUGHT ON FIRE. Did I mention they would often scream horrifically the whole time? Also, this weapon is available from the very beginning, costs no ammunition to use, and counts as a STEALTH weapon.
Not to mention that it has infinite range. No scope, but it can literally hit at ANY distance as long as you aim accurately. Super sniper flame-taser with infinite ammo... so much fun...
Caleb in Blood 2 can regain lost health by killing hapless civilians (who uselessly shield themselves with their arms and beg you to spare their lives even as you hack at them with your knife) and harvesting their life force.
You're not supposed to be killing people in SWAT 4 (as the name implies, you are a cop), but there's no restriction on non-lethal weapons, so nothing's stopping you from hitting people again and again with beanbags fired from shotguns, pepper spray balls fired from paintball guns, tasers, flashbangs, stingers (grenades filled with hard plastic spheres instead of shrapnel), tear gas...
Alternately, you can just set the game to the minimum difficulty level, which allows you to advance to the next level with a score of 0. The only thing that gets your score below 0 is deliberately killing civilians. Shooting every bad guy in flagrant disregard of the rules of engagement? Hell, murdering suspects after they've already been handcuffed? No problem!
Because even failed or unwinnable-due-to-large-penalty operations won't be aborted, you can try to get as much penalty as possible. Kill your collegues, and shoot terrorists on sight. Or even better — cop them and then shoot them in the head, committing cold-blooded murder.
The briefing of one early mission notes that an elderly woman known to be in generally poor health is likely to be an innocent bystander at the scene. In real life, most of your less-than-lethal gear would probably kill someone like her. But since this is a game, you can feel free to pelt her with all the tear gas and pepper spray in SWAT's arsenal!
In Half-Life and its expansions, you can kill helpful NPCs for the hell of it, or in the case of Barney (and in Opposing Force, the military NPCs) kill them just to get the extra ammo when they refuse to go another step. "Don't shoot, I'm a scientist" is just begging for it, really.
In Episode 2, Gordon has to go through a Antlion nest and one thing he can do crush the larvae for a small health drop.
The Darkness gives you the possibility to go around being a dog-kickingJerk Ass slaughtering civilians, and the only thing that changes people's reaction to you is whether or not you're in Darkness mode... which is to say, random people in the subway will always be nice to you even if you've killed most of New York City in incredibly brutal ways, as long as you don't have Combat Tentacles sprouting from your back and shoulders. Which may in fact be accurate.
When a Mook manages to get lucky and actually seriously hurt you, it's oh so satisfying to dispatch him via painful and horrifying impalement using your aforementioned Combat Tentacles.
In the second game's Vendetta mode, one of Shoshanna's Executions is shooting the mook victim in the balls, then shoving her gun in his mouth and killing him while he's trying to double over.
Metroid Prime features a Metroid quarantine room in the Phazon Mines with Space Pirates studying Metroids. You have two options here: go down to shoot the Pirates yourself, or kill the power to the room, release the Metroids and have a balcony seat as the Pirates start screaming and futilely try to fight off the galaxy's ultimate predator (Really, it's only one option).
In Unreal Tournament III, it is entirely possible to staple an opponent's corpse to a wall with the Chaingun. Especially fun is stapling them with a shard in the stomach, and firing a shard into their head, making their neck the length of their body.
Far Cry 2 was already mentioned in the enemy-killing section, but let's not forget that there are plenty of wild animals running around. Hmm, a herd of zebras, and me with a jeep, landmines, and a flamethrower... The possibilities!
Officially, the point of JFK: Reloaded is to see if you can replicate the Kennedy assassination with a mouse. Unofficially, it's generally used simply to see how many people you can slaughter and how much of the ragdoll physics you can enjoy. And, of course, there's killing JFK by sniping out the Innocent Bystander driving the car in front of him, then scaring JFK's driver with a few rounds, then taking him out just as the car speeds up. Presidential car slams into the back of the stopped bystander car. Secret Service agent sprints into the back of the car, almost certainly ruining his chances of ever breeding. It's also possible, should you hit the driver at the exact right time, to end with the Presidential car embedding itself in a distant wall.
Freelance Astronauts, a crew of guys who do Let's Play videos, took it one step further, playing HORSE with the game. Some of the shots include shooting Secret Service agents in specific places, or shooting off Jackie O's hat.
Jedi Academy, where to even begin? How about the Jawas of Tatooine that you can brutalize in all sorts of manners? Or the stormtroopers that you can grab with force choke and slam from wall to wall like rag dolls?
Force Choke, which lets you hold enemies off the ground, actually gives you much more telekinetic control than push or pull, so you can throw them into each other, slam them against things, lift them over edges and release, or escort them into electrified/burning/toxic stuff. They still remain aloft after they've died of suffocation.
As your Force powers get higher and higher, you can jump above enemies and force pull. What goes up must come down! If you're lucky, you can get 'em to comedically slam against stuff. Also, there's nothing like using the Jedi Mind Trick for a Let's You and Him Fight scenario. And some of the Finishing Moves are rather un-Jedi-like, such as combining force pull and saber stab to pull them in front of you in order to shish-kebab 'em. And there's one gun that shoots a number of tiny spheres. Useless at a distance because of how far they spread, but get up close and your enemy will go flying as if jet-propelled.
Or Saber Realistic Combat? You can control the dismemberment level caused by lightsabers!
There's one level that literally starts out with crushing a hapless mook by pushing a boulder out of your path.
Much of this also goes for the previous game in the series, Jedi Outcast.
Before Jedi Outcast, in Dark Forces 2, you had the option to kill civilians in various unpleasant ways, from Force Lightning to sticking a time-delay railgun charge on them (causing them to run about in panic for a few seconds and then explode — hilarity!). This would, of course, net you a hefty amount of Dark Side points. Pushing them off a conveniently placed ledge, though? It's all fine with your Light Side buddies (as long as you don't Force Push them).
In the aforementioned Perfect Dark, there is a way of making the scientists in the weapons training facility an actual needle pad by pushing one of the crates from the hangar all the way up to the training room, jamming the door open with it, and then proceeding to throw poisoned knives or shoot bolts at the NPCs. Whichever method you chose, you could turn them into living chunks of blood, and their heads would tilt towards every direction because of the effects of the poison in the bolts/knives. Take up "how many knives can you stick on the scientist before the first one disappears?" as a hobby.
Mines also stick to people in Perfect Dark. Nothing could be more terrifying than having some secret agent stick a beeping Timed Mine onto your person, as you realize you've mere moments to live and there's nothing you can do to stop it!
Even more fun is playing the multiplayer with bots. Summon one of the bots to you, give him a nice shiny coat of remote mines, and then send him on his way! You can either detonate him yourself after a time or wait for somebody to shoot him.
Even better, throw Proximity Mines on the slap happy, disarm-using PeaceSim. When he tries to hug people, he blows them up. PeaceSim is then responsible for death, flying in the face of his beliefs!
If you go to the shooting gallery area in the lobby, stand in the doorway and start a training session, you can shoot at the invincible tech hanging out in the area. He'll eventually exclaim "JUST, leave me alone would you!". If you're feeling really sadistic, you can shoot his face full of arrows with the crossbow. The arrows STAY in his face and body. Same goes for thrown knives.
Bulletstorm not only rewards the player for being cruel, but requires it. The so-called "skillshots" involve things like throwing enemies into carnivorous plants or off cliffs, shooting them in midair, and a large variety of other combinations (and are named things such as "fourth of July", "gang bang" or "mercy", the last of which being where you shoot them in the gonads and kick their heads off to "stop the pain"). The more cruel and creative the enemy's demise the more points you get - and these points are required to buy upgrades and ammo, so a squeamish player won't get anywhere in the game. Watch the trailer and see for yourself.
TimeSplitters has a few examples. In several levels, you have the option to either fight it out with mooks, or just shoot the explosives near them and watch them all get wiped out. There are also weapons called Plasma Grenades (or you'd probably know them as Sticky Grenades). When you hit somebody with one, it sticks to them as they run away panicking for several seconds before it goes off. However, if you stick it to their feet or legs, it won't just blow them away, it will launch them several feet in the air.
Also, the monkeys were put in the game for pretty much just this purpose.
There is also a fan-made gametype where the human players are all on the same team, are all robots, all bots are fleshy non-robots, everybody has a flamethrower, and the players select a map with no water. The beauty of it is that robots are flame-proof; humans and fleshy characters are not. Watch as the bot characters scream and run around as they are helpless to their mighty robot overlords! (MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!)
In the Halo series, it's always fun to shoot your own marines. In the very first one, you can shoot Captain Keyes in the face with his own gun. This prompts Cortana to summon invincible marines to kill you, though. Which can lead to even more cruelty potential. You can't kill the marines who come in to kill you after you've killed Keyes (or anybody else on the bridge for that matter), but you can shoot and melee them, and they still bleed. You can decorate the entire flood of the bridge with their blood while they're trying to kill you.
In Halo: Reach, however, killing a civilian causes your character to immediately drop dead.
This is a Bungie tradition. You were actually encouraged to kill civilians in Marathon through hidden messages from Bungie. Their only crime was being attacked by alien slavers. In the sequel, you can kill humans as well, but this time, they shoot back if you kill two or more in front of others. What's notable is that murdering the civilians is more difficult than killing the actual alien military forces, because instead of many strong but easy-to-dodge projectiles, they shoot .44 magnums with accuracy that is only used against the player.
In GoldenEye, killing too many scientists (or civilians in the single level that they are present in) causes a mission failure, but doesn't immediately end the mission. Considering how annoying and stupid they can be, spending an entire level killing all of the scientists or riding around in the tank in Streets for half an hour crushing civilians is immensely gratifying.
Turn on the 'All Guns' cheat. Get out a DD44 Dostovel. Shoot Natalya in the face. Don't even look back, she's dead now, thank God.
In Yoshi'sSafari, it's possible to shoot Yoshi in the back of the head with your Super Scope.
The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay allows you to kill many of the inmates you encounter. You can systematically empty the entire Single Max prison wing one person at a time, and your only punishment will be a temporary incapacitation each time. You can even contrive circumstances to kill a fair number of inmates in Double Max (such as disabling the lights in the diner and then making your way back there to go on a killing spree in the dark), which normally makes this extraordinarily difficult due to being chock-full of wall-mounted gun turrets and almost every area being highly visible.
In Assault on Dark Athena a helpless prisoner on the Athena is being converted into a Drone. He asks you to kill him to spare him this fate, but you can just leave him lying there, in which case you may well imagine him as one of the Drones you kill later in the game.
The reboot of Syndicate tries to discourage this by not giving you Limit Break energy for killing civilians, but it's no actual hindrance.
Wolfenstein (2009) allows the player to be exceedingly cruel to anyone on the opposite end of the barrel. Options include simply shooting them to exploding limbs with high caliber weapons, burning, blowing up, stabbing them in the throat with bayonets or vaporizing with one of the rayguns. All of it's excused by them being Nazis (and by the looks of it the worst psychopaths from all branches of the Heer and SS).
In Metro: Last Light, a player who's going on a no-kill run can punch out a number of enemy soldiers in a sequence set on the surface, where the air is toxic. You can then yank out their gas masks' air filters for your own use while they're lying unconscious on the floor, which means you still didn't really kill them.
The whole point of Office Jerk and its variants is beaning the Jerk or Zombie with whatever object you have handy.
Clive Barker's Undying: Throwing motolov cocktails on humans will make them run around screaming until they die. The player can also amplify the Invoke magic which causes male Trsanti enemies to kill themselves against their will.