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Video Game Cruelty Potential: Wide Open Sandbox
  • In The Godfather: The Game, your character is capable of a wide variety of sadistic acts, including throwing people into ovens. And you get a special bonus, a fairly nice amount of money, for managing to fill out the entire list of execution styles. There are 22 for the original PC, PS2 and Xbox versions, but the ante was upped to 52 for the Wii version. The assassination sub missions also have this, as you gain a great deal more money and points for killing the targets in specific ways.
    • The Wii version gets special mention for its Blackhand control scheme, which allows the player to, through well designed motion controls, choke people and snap necks. It's a very visceral experience.
  • Grand Theft Auto: Everything from mowing down pedestrians in a high-speed bus to lighting a bunch of Hare Krishna's on fire with a flamethrower - and plenty more besides. Those games may have a central storyline and missions to play through - but we all know that they're basically one big, brutal sandbox.
    • A special mention goes to the GOURANGA bonus, which you get by flattening a line of six chanting Hare Krishna without missing any. You'd get an instant four-star rating, but it was oh so worth it.
    • Killing people will quickly spawn an ambulance, and setting things on fire will quickly spawn a firetruck - and you didn't really want to go all the way to the hospital/fire station to jack one of those, right?
  • In Grand Theft Auto IV and Grand Theft Auto V, there are ample opportunities to cinematically execute certain in-game persons using a pistol. Stand there, gun poised and finger on the trigger, listening to them beg for mercy. After hearing everything they had to say...oops, my finger slipped.
    • Oh, and some pedestrians/cops won't immediately die after you've accosted them. Sometimes they roll onto their side or back and just lay there, begging you not to finish them off. They'll eventually die, though some even try to get up and limp away. You can put a bullet in their head or a few in the chest and watch a pool of blood slowly flow from beneath them...
    • A fun thing to do in is to run around pushing as many people as you can, getting a mob on your hands... And then running around them until someone hits someone else, and seeing how big a brawl you can start.
    • Not to mention that the physics engine itself in has potential all its own, allowing you to push NPCs down stairways, down steep hills, and off balconies.
    • A fun thing to do is to steal a semi truck and drive in the opposite side of the road, crashing into any vehicle that not another semi truck. Watch as your character makes cars fly out of control and crash into walls, with the possibility of an explosion happening. Sometimes, you can even see NPCs be involuntarily ejected out of their car while you in your big rig won't suffer any damage. Best of all, as long as your don't run over anyone or crash into any cop cars, you won't get a wanted level, even if the cops are just watching you wreak havoc.
    • Said physics engine along with the AI also allows for some fun little situations, as most people won't even be bothered (beyond a few 'get out of my way' type sound clips) by you pushing them around or even standing on them... At least in GTA IV just as long as you don't actually hit the attack button. Even cops can be mercilessly pushed over simply by running up against and around them, and as long as the fall isn't hard enough for them to lose health, they'll happily tolerate a Serbian dude standing on their chest. They also won't mind you walk-pushing someone they just arrested away... Rather, they'll chase HIM down and ignore you.
    • Police in GTA IV can't get around proverbial waist-high fences — vehicles you leave parked in inconvenient spots, such as stairwells and doorways. This means having free rein to engage in some truly disturbing behavior, like visiting a TW@ during the busy hours, and not leaving until everyone inside has *ahem* logged off.
    • Due to some odd AI in GTA IV, police will attempt to get up right next you at all costs... including falling to their deaths. Just watch this video. Bonus 
  • San Andreas has a few cruelty moments that are a part of the main missions. One mission has you kidnap a music manager and drive off the docks while you jump out of the car, hearing him whine before that he can't swim. Another one has you get revenge for your sister who was harassed by some construction workers by pushing the foreman around with a bulldozer while he is inside a portable toilet, hearing him gag and yell about the smell and being splashed with his own poop. You kill him by pushing his stall in a ditch and filling it with cement, burying him alive!
    • In San Andreas, they added the ability to swim to the player, the girlfriends and some other NPCs. Note that cops are not on the list.
    • San Andreas has just dozens of examples; heck the cops and pedestrians will sometimes just kill the hell out of each other with no player involvement.
    • In most of the GTA3 spin-offs, the police will always spawn on roads, coming at you at high speeds. There are plenty of places to stand where you are close to the roads but not easily reached. Get yourself a 4-6 star rating, find one of these perches, and just sit and watch various police units damage their cars (ramming objects, ramming each other, jumping their cars through the air with no regard as to where they land...) to the point of exploding as they spaz out trying to reach you. You'll need a weapon to fend off the helicopters in later games, but in GTA3 one can keep a "chase" going forever just by finding the right spot to sit while the police repeatedly kill themselves trying to get at you.
      • San Andreas gives the player the option to do burglaries as a side mission. While the only mandatory burglary enforces stealth, the typical sidequest burglary goes like this: Enter house, kill the occupants in their sleep and then just sweep the apartment clean. Repeat a few times each night.
    • Sometimes, hitting a pedestrian in the car would not be enough to kill em. You could just park over them instead and watch the blood flow from underneath your car...
    • China Town Wars introduced the tazer as a melee weapon. The in game manual introduces it as a non-lethal repellent to allow the protoganist run away. Developers anticipated that few players would be that peaceful, so that continued tazering would set the victims on fire. It earns you one immediate wanted level.
  • Crackdown: It's like Grand Theft Auto, except you're a superpowered cop bordering on the concept of ‹bermensch. It is so easy to drive down the sidewalk screaming "I am the law!" After all, who is going to stop you? Well, the other police will try, but they don't have rocket launchers.
  • Scarface: The World is Yours never allows you to directly target innocent people for killing when controlling Tony, but that won't stop players from shoving and smacking them with melee weapons to their heart's content. My favorite thing to do was call up a henchman to bring a car over, wait for him to get out, then push him and quickly press the taunt button to get results like "Get the hell outta here!". Using explosives or running them over would also work, although these would never be fatal against civilians.
    • Since rewards are given for taunting after shooting an enemy, it's actually beneficial to shoot to wound. Oh yes, we mustn't forget how Tony's hired guns can kill whomever they want.
  • In Saints Row 2, you were offered the hilarious option of satchel charges that attached themselves to people. The developers even went so far as to code the targets with the same animation that they have when on fire. You could do this to literally anybody, leading to hilarious moments where everyone in your crib would explode in quick succession.
    • This also works in Red Faction.
    • For added fun: Set people alight with the flamethrower. Blow a train off its tracks with a well-placed rocket. Throw grenades into crowded clubs. Mow down entire crowds of people in a pickup truck. Use the pimp-slap weapon to send people flying through the air. Take some people hostage and drive the car straight into the sea.
    • Or drown pedestrians in a stream of raw sewage. This won't always kill them, but would you seriously want to survive something so disgusting?
    • Saints Row: The Third adds Groin Attacks and running takedowns into the mix, the latter of which features a variety of wrestling moves. So yes, you can run right up to a couple of innocent passerbys, bodyslam one into the pavement and then kick the other in his manhood.
      • For obvious reasons, the crotch attacks are pretty effective in combat, so you might find yourself using it a lot. Outnumbered and low on health? Just duck into a corner, wait for a goon to come around and belt 'em below the belt. Rinse and repeat, and before you know it the room's cleared!
    • Your own avatar during the "Insurance Fraud" missions. Throwing yourself at speeding vehicles to get flung into the sky and bounce into a ragdolled sprawl is addictive fun. Catch the front-end of a semi to gain the most air, and if you're lucky you can guide your plummeting descent into the grill of yet another.
    • Really want to be sick? Shoot up a hospital, like in GTA IV. You can shoot up a hospital. Filled with the doctors and nurses who may have just patched you up after your last rampage.
    • Grab an innocent civilian or cop as a human shield, watch them struggle futiley in your grasp, and listen to them try to convince you to let them go. The kicker? There's no way to do so without killing them, be it by snapping their necks, a headshot, or throwing them a ridiculous distance. Some of what they say is pretty funny, but some sound clips cross over into legitimate Tear Jerker territory, so much so you may be tempted to revive them with the shock paddles to soothe your guilty conscience.
      • Speaking of the shock paddles, you can use them to electrocute someone to death, bring them back to life, then kill them again. And you can do this for as long as you want.
    • This is lampshaded by one of the six voices you can choose for your character. In a Take That against you, one of the voices, when drunk on four beer bottles, might say "I ONLY HURT PEOPLE CUZ I'M CRYIN ON THE INSIDE!" Yup. That's you they're talking about, you angry video game nerd.
    • Saints Row IV adds alien weaponry and superpowers to the mix, allowing you to use telekinesis to pick up cars or pedestrians and throw it at one another, among other things.
  • Sleeping Dogs is no slouch in the cruelty department, either; there are plenty of over-the-top environmental executions, such as closing a market stall on someone's spine, grinding up faces on exposed air vents, and throwing people into incinerators. And all of these violent takedowns can be blissfully performed on any random civilian you come across.
  • Cole McGrath, protagonist of In FAMOUS, is gifted with electricity-based superpowers, but he can only manipulate it, not generate it. One possible option for recharging the metaphorical batteries? Suck the electrical charge out of people. One imagines this isn't good for the morality meter.
    • Another option is demonstrated in this Penny Arcade strip. A God Am I anyone?
    • Pressing any button to start the game kills a large part of the city.
    • If you play the good karma route, you can be even crueler. Innocent people love you and run after you to take your pictures. Lead them into a dead-end alley with a puddle at the entrance. Fry one person once they're all clustered around you, and then stand in the puddle. They all try to run out of the alley, through the puddle being charged by your electricity. Excellent.
    • The sequel adds many more karma events, and thus many more possibilities for this trope. One good example is the random bombs that will be stuck to walls. Cole's electricity makes these defusable with ease. Alternatively, you can fire at them at a distance, thus setting them off prematurely and killing anyone in the area (sometimes upwards of a dozen people). Then there's casting bio-leech on the wounded, dying civilians instead of healing them, "saving" a mugging victim by throwing a truck at them, and many more.
  • You can ransack and pillage handfuls of towns in Sid Meiers Pirates.
    • Pffft. Amateur. Tell the local natives/pirates to attack that huge, heavily defended colonial stronghold. Sit back, watch them get massacred, and then overwhelm the weakened defenders. Alternatively, the moment their raiding ship leaves port, turn on them and increase your standing with all surrounding governors in the process. Suckers.
    • Step 1) Get a Ship of the Line. Step 2) Find an Indian War Canoe. Step 3) Take out the masts with chain shot. Step 4) Circle around the completely helpless drifting hulk and pound it to splinters with broadside after broadside.
    • Escort a ship full of immigrants to a new city, boosting it's wealth. Then sack it.
  • So much in Prototype (Well, it is the Spiritual Successor to the aforementionned Hulk: Ultimate Destruction...). Some of the "consume" animations are obscenely vicious, and there's a lot of nasty things you can do to enemies or innocent bystanders even beyond that. Actually justified, for a change — one of the nodes you can unlock in the "Web of Intrigue" notes that the protagonist is a Sociopathic Hero, very nearly in so many words.
    "Eat an old man, take his appearance, run all the way up the tallest building, then elbow-drop 200 stories onto his confused and frightened wife! Then sneak up behind two soldiers and eat one without his friend noticing, and when the two of you get back to base, accuse your friend of being you in disguise! Then when all the other soldiers are distracted shooting him, eat them, too! If only Jeffery Dalmer had had this game to blow off steam with, a lot of young Milwaukee gay boys would be walking around uncannibalized!"
    • The Body Surf ability allows you to not just deliver a flying kick to a person's body, but to follow through and ride their corpse in a trail of gore, knocking over anyone else in your path. For extra stunt-satisfaction, it is possible to palm-strike enemies into the air and do a flying body-surf on them as they come down. Of course, all of this is for when you don't feel like bisecting whole crowds with the whipfist, mashing them with thrown cars, gunning them down with a helicopter or driving over them in a tank... all while they run away screaming.
    • There's also the fact that he's not even human, but instead an avatar of the Blacklight Virus.
    • It should be noted that the game actually gives you a trophy for going through the game having eaten less than five civilians. Not killed, eaten. There's literally no way to get though the game without killing several dozen innocent people, no matter how hard you try.
  • Bully. You can beat up anyone you want, and unless they're cops you'll probably win. More importantly, no matter how many members of a specific faction you attack, missions are the only way to decrease your standing with any of them.
    • With the motor scooter you can win at the fair, you can even run over innocent schoolchildren, although you can't kill them. For added fun, this will make the teachers run after you to send you to detention, but they can't even come close to catching up to you.
      • But that is nothing compared to the Go-Kart, which is so fast you will lose the police chasing you long before they can ever catch you.
    • Scenario: untimed mission, like 'Christmas'. Stuff all nearby prefects in lockers (yes, you ARE allowed to do this!). Usually it takes two in the area to get this going, but once you have..everyone's a target, not just teen boys. Remember those annoying little kids who love to tell on you just because you're defending yourself against an ambush? Knee in the groin on a little boy will remind them. And since Everything Fades, you can do it again in a couple of minutes!
    • In the boys dorm, throw marbles in front of the door. Then pull the fire alarm and hide in the trash can - watch as everyone says, "Oh boy! A fire!" "Who set that alarm off?" and other stuff, and then watch as they can't get past the door because of the marbles. Then throw itching powder and hide in your room and watch the riots break out.
      • Also, hide in your dorm room and fire the fire extinguisher at people as they walk past. Or just fire at people and then hide.
    • If you can find them, Kick Me Signs can be a prime source of comedy considering that EVERYBODY takes them seriously - even prefects, girls, and little kids come over and kick people with a "Kick me" sign on their back. Sadly it's quite rare.
    • Disturbing icing on the cake is that you can beat up the dog in the grass-mowing detention area until it runs away.
  • Red Dead Redemption gives you a lasso to Wreak Havok with after you help Bonnie McFarlane out a few times. You will inevitably lasso and hogtie a woman onto some train tracks and be rewarded for it, or if you're particularly sadistic, you can just skip the hogtying and drag her around until she snaps her neck on the ground.
    • Here's the kicker: The name of the achievement for tying a woman to the train tracks? Dastardly.
    • Red Dead Redemption certainly has a lot of this, while it's not as obvious as in Grand Theft Auto. The player may use the lasso to catch and tie down almost any NPC, and do whatever to them. Leave them in the middle of nowhere? Check. Shoot their knees? Oh yes. Leave them on a railroad track? Yes, and you even get a trophy when the train comes! And then there's animal cruelty... dismount your horse by shooting it in the head, hunt bears with dynamite and make the buffalo extinct (yes, you can do that).
    • At the end of the game, when players control a grown-up Jack seeking to avenge his father's death, several fans were so pissed at Edgar Ross that they not only kill him, but murder his family members as well. Here's a particular look at just how brutal you can be enacting vengeance.
  • Yume Nikki, and most fangames associated with it, usually give you at least one effect that allows you to kill practically everything up to the Goddamn Bats. That said, not EVERYTHING can be attempted to be killed without punishment, though they vary from game to game.
  • Spore is just made of this. Even though cruelty is the whole point of the game (and so a certain amount of it is necessary), there's still a boatload of unnecessary pain-infliction in each stage:
    • Cell Stage: Not so much here, since if you're a carnivore you need to eat basically every other cell, but there's one specific cell towards the end of the stage which is itself completely harmless. Should you decide to take advantage of this and gobble it up, it will (in addition to the usual amount of meat) drop several eggs... which you can then eat. Congratulations, you've just eaten unborn cells. Somehow.
    • Creature Stage: Here's where things get a bit worse. Attacking helpless, big-eyed baby creatures because they're easier to defeat? Yep. Eating other creature's eggs because the game gives you a hefty bonus for doing so? Uh-huh. And just try to tell me that you've never lured an Epic over to the nest of a particularly annoying species.
    • Tribal Stage: In your quest for planetary dominance, you have two options. Befriend every other tribe... or destroy every other tribe. Sure, if you choose the former, you can beat the stage in about ten minutes, but guess which option is more fun? Sure, if you want a red or blue card you need to annihilate some tribes, but...
    • Civilization Stage: Cruelty in this stage is more sophisticated and requires a bit more planning. For example...
    Step 1: Using an Economic city, befriend just about every other city and set up trade routes
    Step 2: Buy out a Military city
    Step 3: Cue alliance-breaking, ridiculously easy rampage
    • Space Stage: This is the real example, as you don't really have any objectives in this stage, and you're free to do whatever the hell you want. Such as... lasering, pulse-blasting and bombing innocent creatures, tribes and cities from orbit? Stealing the spice from primitive alien cities and getting off scot-free? How about supersizing an unsuspecting creature and watching it unwittingly destroy its peers? Looking for a good planet to colonize? Just wipe out whatever species is living there and you get a free, very inhabitable planet with no need for altering. With the higher-level terraforming technology, you can turn the land into a barren desert or a lava-spotted volcanic hell-scape, evaporate the oceans or freeze them solid, and even strip the planet of its very atmosphere. Colonies automatically raise environmental shields when the T-score of the planet drops below life-sustaining levels, but hey, nobody says you can't tractor-beam the locals out into the open and oxygen-robbed wasteland and watch them suffocate. And then, if all that just isn't enough or takes too darn long...there's the Planet Buster. Enough Said.
      • Space Stage essentialy transforms most players into Warhammer 40,000 warlords... or worse.
  • Minecraft has a lot of cruelty potential for the imaginative. Want to run around punching chickens, cows and pigs? You can. It's also very possible to build complicated traps to use against the mobs that come after you with enough time and resources, and once you've got the right materials, it's entirely possible, depending on the environment you're in, to start a forest fire that engulfs an area the size of a large city in flames. Assuming you can bear to destroy your own constructions, there's even more cruel fun to be had creating, and then setting off a self-destructing base.
    • It takes a special brand of cruelty to log into a multiplayer server just to burn the place down, or leave crude designs and message everywhere, though most servers have measures against this kind of thing.
    • There are also people who will build elaborate castles and the like for the sole purpose of filling them with death traps, with people under the impression that there is treasure at the end. Often times there is not.
    • Recently in Minecraft, Notch added the feature that if pigs die due to being on fire, they drop cooked pork. In his twitter he acknowledged this was probably bad.
      • 1.8 added for cows and chickens to drop their respective meats and cooked variants if on fire, the full release adds the ability to enchant weapons with fire aspect...
    • Taken Up to Eleven with the advent of auto-generated NPC villages complete with villagers. The sadistic player can easily slaughter the inhabitants, burn the houses down, and if you're feeling extra dickish, you can even bomb the ruins.
      • Except, not since Iron golems, that protect the villagers, defend them when you attack them.
      • ...Which doesn't prevent you from confining all the villagers inside a tiny space, then building a special trap within the Iron Golems' spawning radius that kills them and allows you to harvest the iron they leave behind.
  • Sometimes, dealing with the survivors in Dead Rising and Dead Rising 2 is just plain annoying - or worse, as they can sometimes indiscriminately hit you with their attacks. Others are a particular pain to try to escort to the safe room (particularly any that have to be lead by hand or carried). That said, Frank and Chuck, respectively, don't have to take it. When those times come, it can be just fun to stick survivors with an utterly terrible weapon (like a foam hand) and watch zombies overwhelm them (or for extra bastard credit in the first, take pictures of them being eaten by zombies for extra experience). Though if they really annoy you, you can also just whale on them yourself. Sure, they'll turn on you if you hit them enough, but by that point they'll soon be about to die themselves.
  • Terraria has the Guide Voodoo Doll, which will allow you to harm the guide. However, he respawns after you kill him.
    • Not if you drop him in lava in the underworld, he don't. But then you have another problem...
  • LittleBigPlanet, in spades; Don't deny that you've spent even just a few minutes torturing sackbots in the second game. In particular since they're not waterproof, you can fill a level with a few inches of water then infinitely spawn them and watch them explode within a second of them coming into existence. Alternatively spawn a cluster of them then fill the level with water and watch them all explode simultaneously like some horrific symphony.
    • There's also the Creatinator powerup, which starts off being able to produce water but can be changed so you can use it to burn your victims to ash, electrify them, erase them from existence, or nuke them.
    • In the first level of the sixth world, there's an arcade with six cabinets, two being played by sackbots, three being playable and unlocking challenges when completed, and one out of order being repaired by a sackbot. If you try to play the latter, tilting the left control stick will harmlessly electrocute him. You can do this for as long as you want.
  • L.A. Noire: Cole Phelps, the golden boy, honest, By-the-Book Cop, can gleefully run over innocent pedestrians and there's nothing stopping you from doing so.
    • Not only that, but he will also spout out the most Jerk Ass things upon hitting someone. Some of the more hilarious examples are, "A necessary casualty" and "MOVE!", but there are far too many to list here. Crank this Up to Eleven when your partner is in the car screaming at him, and Cole mimics what they're saying in a high-pitched voice. But why stop there? Jump into the driver's seat and jet away while you leave your partner in the dust. When they eventually catch up by running up to the car or getting out of another police vehicle to get to you, listen to them chew you out while you do it again! For an officer of the law, Cole has the potential to be one of the cruelest "protagonists" around.
  • In Just Cause 2, your grappling hook allows you to fasten any two objects together. While this is commonly used to climb areas or as a fast method of transport, you can also tie an NPC to the back of a truck and take them for a wild drag...
    • Chased by the army at high speeds? Attach their car to the ground and see it flip into the air.
  • Gun lets you buy a scalping knife very early in the game, but using it accomplishes absolutely nothing other than hearing an already permanently incapacitated enemy scream in pain and beg for mercy. It's rumored the game originally was to feature a Karma Meter and scalping was a means to push you towards evil.
  • You know those incredibly annoying kids who have lost their balloons in Spiderman 2? Well, grab the lost balloon, walk right up close to the kid... and then decide that you'd rather keep the balloon yourself and go swinging round the city. Nothing is more satisfying.
  • If you don't mind sacrificing some points on the Karma Meter, Watch_Dogs lets you get away with some fun "pranks" with your phonenote . The simplest is to hack any traffic light you come across. The AI will always drive into the intersection if you hack the lights and cause a big accident (usually with something blowing up and annihilating everything in the vicinity). You can also blow up transformers and take out random citizens who happen to be nearby. And of course, since Everything Is Online and connected to the ctOS, invariably you'll run across poor saps who have their bank account info tied into the system and you can simply steal their money by hacking them (bonus points if you steal money from someone who was in debt or a victim of fraud according to their profile).
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