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Body-Count Competition

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Riddick: Remember that favorite game of yours?
Kyra: "Who's the Better Killer?"
Riddick: Let's play.

Both fiction and real life have massive battles between enormous armies consisting of thousands of soldiers. Such a battle will invariably result in obscene amounts of bloodshed, carnage, death, slaying, maiming, slaughtering, stubbing of toes, and generally any other word for mass killing you can think of. In the middle of it all will be these guys making sport of it, it's a must for Blood Knights, and/or Psychos For Hire who want to outcompete each other.

They may be best friends or bitter rivals, or any other kind of relationship. One of them may propose a contest to see who's better. See which one of them can kill the most of the other side's Mooks. Right before a huge battle, or during one, they agree that whoever kills more Mooks is officially the better fighter, and has superior combat skills. The level of hostility in the challenge can vary from a friendly jest between comrades to the participants trying to kill each other as well during the ensuing ruckus.

It can also be done when the two are simply infiltrating an enemy base by themselves or fending off a horde of enemies that ambushed them. It is a frequent subject of mini games and contests between players in certain video and tabletop games.

Compare Back-to-Back Badasses, which may very well happen during the fight.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Attack on Titan, Thomas challenges Eren and the rest of the squad to one during their first battle. Instead, Thomas is the first member of the squad to be Eaten Alive and no one manages to score a kill before everything goes horribly wrong.
    • While they aren't shown competing with each other for Titan kills, Eren establishes Levi's elite squad's reputation to the audience by mentioning their Titan and assist kills, suggesting they do keep count like real life flying aces or snipers.
  • Beet and Slade from Beet the Vandel Buster do this on multiple occasions. Slade usually wins, but Beet takes out the stronger monsters.
  • In Black Lagoon, Chaka tries a variant by asking Revy "ever shot anyone?" then bragging about his total body-count of about 10 to lure her in a gunfight.note 
  • Ichigo and Uryu in Season 1 of Bleach. Although Uryu is the only one playing. All Ichigo cares about is saving everyone from the buttload of Hollows that were just summoned, although he does declare himself the winner when he scares off the Menos that appeared.
  • Claymore: Sophia and Noel were first seen while they were in the middle of doing this.
  • Villains Shin and Noi have these in Dorohedoro.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Taken to a depraved extreme with the Androids 17 and 18 of Future Trunks' timeline. Both are Ax-Crazy Psychopathic Manchildren who go on random mass-murder sprees, and go so far as to keep score of their kills.
    Future Android 17: [while running over humans in a stolen hovercar] Oh yeah! We're talking major points here!
  • Gundam:
    • He's not competing with anyone, but Amuro Ray has a habit of counting how many enemies he's downed in a battle.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin has a scene just before the Battle of Loum where Char suggests that he and the Black Tri-Stars settle their rivalry through such a contest: who can shoot down more Federation battleships? The Black Tri-Stars like the idea and begin discussing who among the four has the best chance... before Char clarifies that he meant a contest between him and ALL THREE of the Tri-Stars combined. (Char won.)
  • My-Otome: Haruka declares one of these just before a battle against a swarm of Slaves.
  • Naruto:
    • Suigetsu and Sasuke do this in an episode, but Suigetsu is the only one playing.
    • Earlier on, during the invasion of Konoha, Gai is the one trying to keep ahead of his Eternal Rival... but interestingly enough Kakashi keeps count of his own Mooks as well.
  • In an episode of Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, Aotabou and Kurotabou do this.
  • In One Piece, Zoro and Sanji usually compete about any petty thing, including this. When the team has its first battle while being reunited, the two argue over who did the most damage to a cyborg they simultaneously killed. In the next arc, the crew finds itself in a giant melee against over 10,000 enemies. The crew stands together to fight against those numbers, and several members are ready to do damage to as many as possible, until Luffy non-lethally knocks out half of them, and they chide him for hogging all the fun.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: Senkaku brags that he has killed 99 people. Saito mocks him, since both he and Kenshin have killed way more than that.
  • Saiyuki: Sanzo and Gojyo count up their respective kills, and Gojyo argues that Sanzo has an unfair advantage in using a gun, while Gojyo must get a bit closer to his victims.
  • In one battle in Strike Witches, Gertrude and Erica do this. Gertrude won, with 20 kills to Erica's 10.

    Comic Books 
  • Asterix
    • Asterix and Obelix in Astérix the Legionary: not actual killing, since no humans are ever killed in Astérix, but collecting of helmets of defeated Romans instead. Obélix always won, because Astérix would never bother to actually collect the helmets.
    • Astérix in Belgium has a contest with Astérix, Obélix, and Vitalstatistix competing against a Belgian village to see who could wreck more Roman forts.
  • Batman
    • Rogues Gallery villains the Trigger Twins liked to have little contests like this, though in one case where there were only two men, each killed by a different Trigger, Tom insisted that "Mine hit the ground first," and Tad answered "Mine was taller." This is in reference to the John Wayne film The War Wagon.
    • Victor Zsasz keeps an obsessive count of the number of people he's "liberated", by carving marks into his own flesh. These marks are so important to him that, on one occasion when he thought he'd killed the Bat and made his mark, he went crazier than usual when he found out Batman had survived. Ditto when he made a mark for Alfred.
  • Daredevil:
    • In his first appearance within Daredevil: Born Again, Nuke carries an assault rifle that is somehow able to keep count of the people it kills. For each mission, he tries to break his own record.
    • The first time Wolverine appears in Daredevil, he invokes this during a mook brawl.
      Wolverine: When you gonna pull your weight? I've taken down a dozen and you've only got what? Four?
      Daredevil: This is a necessity, not a contest— [PUNCH!] five.
  • G.I. Joe:
  • A recurring plot in Judge Dredd is various people going for "the record" (most murders by one person in a single day), with Dredd trying to stop them. In this case the competition is against a score set by some previous villain, who had probably been executed by a Judge shortly after setting it and is unable to defend it in person.
  • In a slightly less violent vein, the original Hourman and Atom of the Justice Society of America would often keep count of the people they beat up as a contest.
  • In Public Enemies, Robin and Batgirl are enjoying the competition:
    Robin: I got two on the side yard. How many did you take out, Huntress?
    Huntress: I wasn't aware this was a contest, Robin.
    Batgirl: [holds up four fingers]
    Robin: Four? Really? You go, Batgirl.
    Nightwing: [whispering] Robin! Keep it down. We're the stealth team — remember? You want to make noise, go up front with the "S" squad.

    Fan Works 
  • Fate: Kill: A one-sided example. Akame becomes obsessed with one-uping Selka and impressing Shirou by killing more enemies than Selka. Leone eventually puts a stop to it by pointing out she is acting crazy and judging by how Shirou attempts to avoid fighting and minimize casualties, her actions would not impress him.
  • Fate: Zero Sanity: Rider (Iskander) and Caster (Natsu Dragneel) engage in this in the battle against Avenger's army.
  • In The Horsewomen Of Las Vegas, Becky Lynch and Nikki Cross have a "murder-off" when killing members of the Vegas Irish, in the hopes of getting their new leader, Finn Bálor, to surface. May be the only body count competition where the scoring includes points for originality.
  • Lost to Dust:
    • Ruby Rose and Gray have one while fighting a group of Beowolves. They end up tied at 20.
    • Ruby later has one with Charlemagne against a group of Beowolves. Even with Charlemagne allowing Ruby to have Lobo help her and count Lobo's kills as her own, Charlemagne wins 34 to 6.
  • The Luna Cypher features Applejack getting in on the ground battling horrible monsters. Rainbow is off escorting other scouts, but that doesn't mean AJ's in the clear here ... as Rarity disputes the totals.
    "Exercise is boring, dear, so years ago I took up martial arts to keep my figure trim and found I rather enjoyed it. And, I don't mean to be contentious, but I'm sure I actually defeated several more of these unfortunate creatures than you did."
  • The Negotiationsverse: In the third story of this series, "Useless", Rainbow Dash and Applejack (who had become members of The Remnant anti-human guerrilla fighters in the aftermath of a standard The Conversion Bureau Equestria-vs.-Earth war and who are about to charge into a Last Stand against the human soldiers that found their cell) banter about doing this in order to psych themselves up. The single soldier that runs into them machine-guns them dead without slowing down his stride.
  • In The Chronicles of the Fellowship, Peter joins Legolas and Gimli’s competition in the Battle of Helm’s Deep. When Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli and Susan arrive at the Battle of Pelennor Fields, Susan briefly finds herself making count of those she falls with arrows and moans "now they have me doing it!"
  • Luffy and Zoro start a competition in Supernova when facing down the hundred bounty hunters at Whiskey Peak, declaring that first to fifty-one wins. Nami promptly joins in and declares it first to thirty-four. Luffy ends up winning because Zoro and Nami were busy taking care of the Elite Mooks while he just crushed all the regular Mooks and when they complain, he points out that they never declared the big shots were worth more.
  • Heart of the Storm: Arashi and Bakugo turn the UA Entrance Exam into one of these with the test-robots, that culminates in them charging the Zero-Pointer at the same time, and saving each other from it. They actually tie for villain points, but Arashi scored one rescue point more than him.
  • Boldores and Boomsticks: Whisper attempts to have one with Rein while fighting some Centinels, but takes too long to talk. By the time she finishes, the Grimm have all been killed, making Rein the winner.

    Films — Animation 
  • Catwoman: Hunted. When Catwoman and Batwoman are attacked by 52 ninjas from the League of Shadows, they engage in a non-fatal competition to determine who can beat the larger number. Catwoman claims victory with 27, though Batwoman objects that two of Catwoman's count were brought down by her cat Isis, so they actually came out even.
  • Starship Troopers: Invasion has a variant: Trig keeps a running tally of every bug she kills with her custom rifle, a gift from her parents. The reason she keeps the tally? She wants to kill a bug for every person in her hometown, including her family, who were killed when the Bugs attacked and destroyed it. After she is killed, Bugspray takes up her weapon and picks up the count for her, during his last stand.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The friendly version, between Stelios, and Astinos (Captain's son), in 300.
  • Riddick and Kyra in The Chronicles of Riddick (2004).
  • In The Frighteners, Serial Killer Johnny Charles Bartlett is obsessed with his own body count and constantly compares it to other legendary serial killers. This habit continues even after his death.
  • Spoofed in Hot Shots! Part Deux. During a shootout, there is a counter running which declared at different numbers to have a bigger body count as other movies. At the end, the counter declares the movie to be the most brutal ever. The numbers are a joke, but the movie's real body count was still a record at the time with 114. Although they only fall down without any visible wounds (even the guy who gets splattered over a wall lacks regular injuries), making the "bloodiest" claim a complete lie. Which may have been a subtle joke in itself.
  • Played straight in Hunting Humans, wherein 2 clinical psychopaths and methodical serial killers find themselves having to one-up each other in body-count (with the main character being more or less blackmailed to do so, ironically enough).
  • The Lord of the Rings
    • In the movies, a competition between Gimli and Legolas starts at Helm's Deep and continues on to the Battle of Minas Tirith. The Extended editions add even more to it.
    • The Two Towers has the beginning of the competition, and featured several exchanges on the theme:
      Gimli: Legolas! Two already!
      Legolas: I'm on seventeen!
      Gimli: Argh! I'll have no pointy-ear outscoring me! (kills Uruk-Hai berserker)
      Legolas:(shoots two Uruk-Hai as they come over the battlement) Nineteen!
      (later in the battle, Gimli stands between two siege ladders and kills an Uruk when it reaches the top, then kills one on the other ladder. As the camera pans away, his cries echoing throughout the battlefield...)
      Gimli: ...Seventeen! Eighteen! Nineteen! Twenty! Twenty-one, twenty-two, and twenty-three!...
      (and finally, in the Extended Edition, after the battle)
      Legolas: Final Count: forty-two.
      Gimli (sitting on a pile of dead Uruk-Hai): (chuckles)Forty-two? Oh that's not bad for a pointy-eared Elvish princeling. I myself am sitting pretty on forty-three.
      Legolas: (shoots the Uruk-Hai beneath Gimli) Forty-three.
      Gimli: He was already dead!
      Legolas: He was twitching.
      Gimli: He was twitching... because he's got my axe embedded in his nervous system! (shakes axe; Uruk twitches violently)
    • The Return of the King concludes the gag; after Legolas single-handedly killed a rampaging 60-feet-tall Oliphant, and all its riders, an irate Gimli declares, "That still only counts as one!"
  • The 2008 movie Pathology, although it has less to do with quantity and more to do with "quality" (the competitors must try to find out how the others killed their recent victims).
  • Us: At one point, Zora boasts to her family that she killed more Tethered than them. By the end of the film, the Wilsons are tied at two kills each.
  • The War Wagon: Although not strictly speaking a body count competition, this exchange between John Wayne and Kirk Douglas often gets a Shout-Out in works featuring one:
    [after shooting down two bad guys]
    Lomax: Mine hit the ground first.
    Taw Jackson: Mine was taller.
  • The Suicide Squad. While sneaking into a jungle camp to rescue Rick Flag, Peacemaker and Bloodsport end up trying to outdo each other in stylish kills. This becomes even more Black Comedy when it turns out Flag isn't a prisoner, and they wiped out a camp of rebel freedom fighters.

  • Gor: A scene in Assassin of Gor has Tarl and a group of warriors fighting some two hundred enemies. When the one of the men tries to start a competition another makes fun of him.
    Relius: I have slain nineteen!
    Ho-Sorl: Four-hundred and six.
  • The Lord of the Rings: Gimli and Legolas compete over who can kill the most Uruk-Hai during the Battle of the Hornburg, occasionally asking other characters if they've seen Legolas/Gimli to update the score. Gimli wins by a point, but Legolas doesn't begrudge it, because they were each just glad the other was alive.
  • Revenge of the Sith: During the Battle of Coruscant in the Novelization, Anakin bets Obi-Wan that he can blast twice as many vulture droids.
  • Silverwing: The opening has a bat named Shade and his friend racing to see who can eat a hundred mosquitoes first.
  • Thursday Next: In Lost in a Good Book, Thursday and Spike escape a zombie infested churchyard while seeing who can kill more of them.
  • Virgil Cole/Everett Hitch: Averted; after a gunfight when a first-timer claims to have gotten a kill, the experienced gunfighters just look at each other and one comments that it’s in poor taste counting up who shot whom, equating it to counting your money while you’re playing poker.
  • Warhammer 40,000: In the short story The Wrath of Khârn by William King, it transpires that that Khornate Champion Khârn the Betrayer has a kill-counter built into the H.U.D. of his helmet, and regularly amuses himself by conducting a body-count competition against his own personal best in every battle and campaign that he takes part in; a tally of 5,000 in a day being merely "quite good" by his own reckoning.
  • X-Wing Series
    • In Rogue Squadron, naturally the fighter pilot protagonists compete over kills. Wedge Antilles has already racked up a ludicrous kill count before the story even starts, to the point that his fighter is painted with kill silhouettes representing 12 fighters each instead of the usual one silhouette for one kill because the support staff ran out of room on the side of his X-wing (plus two Death Stars). The rest of the newly-reconstituted Rogue Squadron are fresh recruits to New Republic Starfighter Command and compete among each other for the unofficial title of "best new pilot" since trying to catch up with Wedge would be futile; though some of them have piloting experience outside the military (one as a space cop, two as bounty hunters, one as a Rebel-affiliated mercenary), only kills as Rogue Squadron members are counted for the competition. The top scores at the end of the book are 22 kills for Bror Jace and 21 for protagonist Corran Horn.
    • Comes up again in Wraith Squadron. In a Virtual Reality Training Simulation early on, a rule designed to encourage teamwork is invoked that gives credit for any kills to the pilot's wingman... which means Kell Tainer's "instant ace" five kills is given to "Runt" Ekwesh, whose Blood Knight tendency got him shot down early in the scenario. There's then a minor Running Gag where Kell doesn't manage to get any air-to-air kills for the entire rest of the book... until the final battle where he becomes an real-life instant ace, and makes a crack about Runt getting his kills again.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The 100: Grounders keep track of their kills through scars on their bodies, often bragging about them. Niylah observes in surprise that Clarke does not have any tally marks on her back, but Clarke responds that there is not enough room.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003): While never a major plot point, the Viper pilots are occasionally seen doing this. In "Scattered", Kat takes advantage of Starbuck's absence to get a high score. Admiral Cain is also mentioned to have encouraged this.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In "A New Man", this serves as a conflict point between Buffy and Riley in that Buffy outscored his season four total by the end of the first season, three years before she even met him. He's somewhere between emasculated and impressed, and on top of it now has to learn the plural of Apocalypse. The proud way with which Maggie Walsh notes he's personally taken down a bit less than two dozen HSTs only serves to underscore the humor.
  • Kamen Rider Kuuga: The serial killings of the Grongi are this. Each of them puts a set of rules on themselves when it's their turn as part of their game and are required to kill a certain amount of people. Failing can get their kills voided or boot them out of the game. The police department is not happy when they discover this.
  • SAS: Rogue Heroes. Captain Stirling is frustrated that the other raiding parties were a success, but his own target had been abandoned by the enemy by the time he got there. His men assure him that it's not a competition. At the end of episode however, Stirling sets up a blackboard showing the score of aircraft and vehicles destroyed by Mayne, Fraser, Lewes and himself, with a zero under his own name.
    Paddy Mayne: Oh, I see. Let the games begin.
  • Stargate Atlantis: In "Sateda", Sheppard gives his body count of Wraith, Teyla gives hers, and Sheppard changes his to one more than hers. This becomes a Running Gag the rest of the episode. Every time, Teyla gives him a hilarious Double Take.
  • Star Trek: Discovery: In "Lethe", Captain Lorca and Lieutenant Tyler go through a Virtual Training Simulation in which they shoot as many Klingons as possible. Afterwards, Lorca's rifle records 24 kills; Tyler claims he got 22, but Lorca checks his rifle and it reads 36. He then tells Tyler not to apologize for excellence and that he expects his chief of security to be a better shot.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Bible: A young David had to collect one hundred foreskins of the Philistines in order to earn the hand of King Saul's daughter Michal in marriage. So this is Older Than Feudalism. And then he went double for nothing and collected two hundred, which made him a cut above the rest. Given the Homoerotic Subtext between David and her brother Jonathan (2 Samuel 1:26), it might well have been fair payment...

    Squicky as it may be, collecting the foreskins of slain enemies was the surest way to tally up kills without cheating; men have two ears, ten fingers... only one foreskin. Lips and nose are one each, but they could come from women. Furthermore, Judeans were circumcised and Gentiles were not, so that meant David couldn't harvest from his own dead soldiers. This trope was actually the start of Saul's animosity toward David. At first he was impressed by David and promoted him to a high rank in the army. However, when people started to sing of David's combat prowess, saying "Saul has slain his thousands; David, his tens of thousands!" Saul didn't take it well.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Games Workshop games:
  • Comparing tally marks during play is a tradition among Warbirds players. The system forces you to keep track because becoming an Ace Pilot (ten dogfighting or ten strafing kills) gets you plane upgrades, and some options, like a rear turret or some of the better aerodynamic refits, are only available to aces or Elite Aces (50 kills), and so everyone can compare them and has an incentive to go for as many as possible.

  • Arsenic and Old Lace has the Serial Killer version. It's hilarious.
    Dr. Einstein: You cannot count the one in South Bend. He died of pneumonia!
    Jonathan: He wouldn't have died of pneumonia if I hadn't shot him!
    Dr. Einstein: No, no, Johnny. You cannot count him. You got twelve, they got twelve. The old ladies is just as good as you are!

    Video Games 
  • A meta example: Many cooperative or team-based games list stats for how each player did, and so kills may be part of an informal contest between the players. It need not be all the players; in a game with many roles, it could be only some players are focused on slaying the enemy.
  • Also meta: this is exactly what the players are competing in during a deathmatch type game, where players generally score by taking out other players.
  • The community for every online shooter in existence, to the point where your opinion usually doesn't count if someone with a better K/D ratio argues against you. PVP battleground disputes descend into this (especially on the losing faction of the particular battleground), even among veteran players.
  • Bringing both Special Weapons marines in Alien Swarm will cause competition-specific dialogue.
  • The Assassin's Creed multiplayer actually subverts this as the winner of the game is more about how well and stealthy your kills are rather than how many. So there are situations where someone could have killed twice as many as you, but will often either win or lose by a few hundred points.
  • Baldur's Gate keeps track of how many enemies each party member killed, and what was the strongest (highest XP value) enemy they killed. By the end of the campaign these numbers will be in the hundreds if not thousands.
  • There's a mission in the Crimson Skies Xbox adaptation in which you have to man a turret and shoot down Die Spinne cargo zeppelins, competing with a tourist.
  • In Darksiders, War and Ulthane's brawl is interrupted by a band of angels out for War's blood. Ulthane is miffed that they interfered in the first good fight he's had in a while, so he and War have an impromptu "pigeon plucking" contest. If War has a higher kill count by the end, Ulthane gives him a weapon enhancement as an award.
  • Dawn of War: Dark Crusade has a mission where you need to kill between seventy to over a hundred bodies before your enemy does to win the favor of a daemon of Khorne. Hilariously easy if you're facing the Imperial Guard.
  • Dead Rising has the "Zombie Genocider" achievement for killing 53,594 zombies, the equivalent of Willamette's population.
    • Dead Rising 2 also had a 53,596-kill achievement called "Z-Genocider 2: Genocide Harder", but may have put an end to the Running Gag with its "Zombie Genocide Master" achievement for 72,000 kills (that would be 1000 kills per in-game hour, actually somewhat difficult even in a vehicle).
    • And then Capcom fittingly brought the gag back from the dead with Dead Rising 3 and its achievement for 53,597 zombies killed.
    • And again in Dead Rising 4 for 53,598.
  • DEFCON: Everybody Dies's particularly descriptive "GENOCIDE" mode is about racking up the highest body count (in megadeaths) in a game of global thermonuclear war. The standard score penalty for losing your own civilians is gone; all that matters is that the commies/bourgeoisie/whatever die in a nuclear fire.
  • In Deus Ex Gunther Hermann and Anna Navarre seem to have such a competition, though it serves more to underscore how far gone they are. If the Player Character is killed by Anna, she'll sometimes say "Nine hundred and ten. I'm catching up, Gunther."
  • Though the characters don't actually keep count, Silly!Hawke and Varric have dialogue during combat that implies this is going on in Dragon Age II.
    Hawke: One more for me! We're keeping score, right?
    Varric: That's three for me! How many have you got, Hawke?
  • Any co-op game of Dynasty Warriors has the potential to turn into this. And with Dynasty Warriors Online, It's a game mode! You and 3 other players, or A.I. players, go against 4 enemies to see who can commit mass genocide first, by defeating either 2000 or 3000 helpless soldiers between all 4 on that team, and a backup condition, should the main objective of other matches not be met, is also this but with no limit. As with above, they all have an actual incentive to do it even when it's not the game mode, as you will score a little more honor if you've killed more mooks than your team.
  • The End Times: Vermintide is a co-op game where a group of heroes fights against a horde of Skaven in the Warhammer world. One proposes a contest; whoever collects the most rat tails wins. Another character shoots him down on account of how disgusting that would get, as Skaven are notorious for their status of being both unclean (in more ways than one) and numerous.
  • EVE Online has entire websites dedicated to tracking exactly who killed who with what where. They are known as killboards.
  • One early mission in Fable has your character and Whisper pitted against each other to see who can kill more goblins. The game won't proceed unless you win. If the two of you tie, she says that because she got there first, she won. So unfair.
  • Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War has Julius and Ishtar have such a competition. The problem is, they're the most powerful units in the game, and they're the enemies. They will not leave until they kill someone, and let's say without the Valkyrie staff, you start to really hate Julius.
  • In Hades, there's a random chance while going through the dungeon to meet Thanatos. When that happens, he and Zagreus will try to see who can kill the most enemies. If Zagreus wins, he gets a Centaur Heart for a health bonus.
  • Hellsinker has a kill counter on the HUD. Interestingly, killing parts of enemies rather than the enemy itself counts as individual kills. You get a special "Breakthrough" extra life at 2,500 kills, or 5,000 if you've already hit the Spirit Breakthrough. Subverted with the player base, in that those playing seriously generally ignore kill count (for purposes other than Breakthroughs) in favor of Spirits instead. Nonetheless, the fan-operated hellsinker. scoreboard displays kill counts for each entry alongside Spirit and Token counts, and can even be sorted by kill count.
  • In Hyrule Warriors, "KO competitions" are one of the mission types present in the adventure maps, mainly the Termina map. There are two variations: either you compete with the rogue forces to get a higher body count in a set amount of time (usually 7-10 minutes), or you compete to reach a certain score (which could be anywhere from 400 to 1000) before the rogue forces do.
  • Iji
    • Annihilators have these. At times, they've attacked their own forces to up their kill count. You never see that in-game because after Ciretako (the most famous Annihilator friendly fire incident) the kill counters were removed and the annihilators were given new stimulants making them more likely to attack their enemies. They were removed, then put back when it was proved how much they improve combat performance. One log you can find has the Komato who wrote the kill count display shitting himself because the counter only has four characters and will eventually roll over from 9999 to 0, and he knows how that will end for him. Apparently Iosa the Invincible reported the bug once.
    • Ansaksie plays with this trope: she has a body count competition with Iji, except the goal is to keep the numbers as low as possible.
  • Left 4 Dead
    • An amusing Bathroom Stall Graffiti version in the safe room of No Mercy 4. Each post one-ups the previous, culminating in someone posting their 53,595 kill-count (which itself had several replies calling bullshit on it). Killing that many Infected yourself gets you the achievement "Zombie Genocidest", a reference to Dead Rising's own "Zombie Genocider" achievement.
    • Two other achievements in the Left 4 Dead series also reference "Zombie Genocider": "The Littlest Genocide", which requires you to kill 5,359 infected in the Crash Course campaign, and "Z-Genocidist 2: Episode 2", added to the sequel in the Last Stand update, which is rewarded for 53,599 kills (one up from the Dead Rising 4 achievement "Z-Genocider 4: The Return").
    • A more traditional example happens as the ending line of every campaign's score summary: "___ zombies were harmed during the making of this film" which usually averages to a four-digit number.
    • From The Parish in the second game; a soldier has kept a tally of how many zombies he's killed. He's also kept a tally of how many people he's killed.
  • In Mass Effect, Garrus' visor includes an optional mode that allows him to track the number of kills he has made in comparison to teammates whose suits are synced to his (though this information is only available from his dossier after completing the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC).
    • If the player opted to romance Tali or Garrus, they can be found making one of these . Apparently it's not the first time they've done this; Tali won their last big competition, and is pretty confident about her chances in this one, much to Garrus's annoyance.
    Garrus: Shepard. We were making friendly wagers.
    Tali: Optimistic wagers, in your case.
    Garrus: A turian commando competing with a quarian mechanic, and I'm the optimistic one?
    Tali: Remember Ilos?
    Garrus: ...Yes. It was filled with geth, which tilted the odds in your favor.
    Tali: Excuses, excuses.
    Garrus: I doubt you'll be hacking any synthetics this time.
    Tali: I seem to recall killing my fair share in the Collector base.
    Garrus: I doubt we'll be in enormous rooms open to long-range fire this time, and...
    Tali: I still have the shotgun.
    Garrus: I'll be sure to let a few Reaper forces get close enough for you to use it.
    • The Citadel DLC for Mass Effect 3 has your entire squad split into two teams taking on an enemy army, and it quickly turns into the two teams trying to outscore the other... and Javik trying to outscore them both at once.
  • Overwatch has this dialogue when Torbjorn and Reinhardt are on the same team:
    Torbjorn: Reinhardt. Least number of eliminations buys the post-missions drinks?
    Reinhardt: Hahaha...Let's show these kids how it's done.
  • Then comes [PROTOTYPE], which takes it one step further with its "Trail of Corpses" achievement, the amount sitting at 53,596 infected kills. This is gonna be an industry Running Gag, isn't it?
  • Looks like it, and non-zombie games are in on it too: Rock Band 3 has an achievement, "HOPO-cidal maniac" that reads, "Kill 53,596 Hammer-ons and Pull-offs."
  • Star Wars:
    • Star Wars: The Old Republic, one of the Jedi Consular's companions is Qyzen Fess, a Trandoshan bounty hunter (and regular hunter) who keeps detailed counts of his enemies dispatched as part of his worship of the "Scorekeeper", a Trandoshan goddess of the hunt. At one point he encounters fellow companion Felix Iresso, a career soldier who values accomplishing the objective and then getting everyone out alive, and asks him which of the two has a higher kill count. Iresso confesses to the Consular that he actually doesn't know, as he considers it unimportant compared to missions completed, and wryly wonders if he should start keeping track.
    • Star Wars: Republic Commando has Sev and Scorch, two of your commando team, constantly chattering about their kill count. In the novelization, it's revealed that Sev has his heart set on getting 4,982 kills, one for each commando killed on Geonosis.
      Sev: Damn, I don't believe it!
      Scorch: What's wrong, Sev?
      Sev: I've lost count of my kills!
  • Team Fortress 2
    • The WAR update did this between the Demo and Soldier, seeing who could kill the most of the other class to decide who would be given the privilege of using the Gun Boats. Individual players were given a kill count at the corner of their HUD telling them how many Soldiers they've killed as a Demo, or vise-versa. The Soldier won. Naturally, most of the players cheated.
    The Announcer: Now, I have no actual proof that these men cheated. Lucky for me, then, that I am still in possession of basic common bloody sense. The top Soldier, for example, would have had to kill a Demoman every 2.5 seconds for a week straight, somehow circumventing respawn timers or the need to actually traverse across a map, without once pausing to sleep or go to the bathroom. In other words, he is either cheating, or he is a hallucinating sleep-deprived psychotic with severe constipation and unerringly good aim. In either event, I am confident he is ashamed of himself.
    • Team Fortress 2 has also the Strange Weapons introduced in the Über Update, those weapons are just like the normal weapons but with counters, the most common counter is "Players Killed", but with "Strange Parts" you can have more counters like "Buildings Destroyed", "Headshot Kills", "Point-Blank Kills", "Long-Distance Kills" and players of a specific class killed, changing the owner of the weapon reset the counters to 0.
    • And also Killstreak Kits, that make your weapon count kills made in a single life.
    • A variant of Strange called Stat Clocks (Based on StatTraks in Counter-Strike Global Offensive) was later added, which actually has a visible counter on the weapon in game.
  • Twin Caliber displays the respective onscreen kill-tallies of the two players, listed on the bottom of the screen. And a separate meter (red for P1, blue for P2) at the bottom of the screen displaying the amount of zombies massacred, which is constantly pushing each other.
  • Warcraft
    • In Warcraft III, Prince Arthas must prevent dreadlord Mal'Ganis from turning the sleeping occupants of a human city into an unstoppable army of the undead by finding and killing them himself first. (In his defense, they had already been infected by a plague which caused undead transformation.) A scoreboard at the top of the screen even keeps track of how many each of them has converted or culled while Arthas and his men set fire to their homes and slaughter them in the street. Is it any wonder that Arthas ends up becoming The Evil Prince?
    • A quest in Sholazar Basin from "Wrath of the Lich King". Gets treated this way. The quest has you kill 50 of any beast in the basin in a race against the quest giver. He shows up at certain milestones to taunt you with his kill count, and is ahead of you by a considerable amount, then decides to take a nap, allowing you to surpass him in the meantime.
  • Bounties in the Cambion Drift in Warframe may send you to meet Garv, a Grineer castaway who will challenge your team to a friendly competition to see who can kill most of the Infested. Two percentage bars will show up, one for Tenno and one for Garv and his fellow survivors, that fill up with every enemy killed. The bounty success depends on your team reaching 100% before the Grineer, preferably before the latter even reaches 50%.
    Garv: We kill Infested. You kill Infested. See who's best, yes?
  • Several of the Wing Commander games had a scoreboard on the ship, showing the kills of all the pilots on board. The wingmen would gain kills despite not going on missions (at least, not with you), and some were much better at killing than others. Maniac would sometimes have more kills than you even if you didn't take him with you, ever, in the later games. The manual to Prophecy mentions he had just hit 2001 career kills as the game begins.

    Web Animation 
  • Played for laughs in Red vs. Blue, Season 3, when Sarge and Caboose happen upon a pile of dead Blues while chasing Doc/O'Malley:
    Sarge: Once again I find myself torn. On the one hand, there's one less Blue in the universe. But now Doc's got a bigger body count than me! And that just won't do.
    • Sarge's body count up to that point is effectively zero.
  • Xionic Madness: In the very first episode, Omega offers 15 terabytes to the member of Bolverk Squad who kills the most in their Suicide Mission. However, things escalate from there to the point that by the time all's said and done, nobody's in any condition to receive the prize.

  • Ansem Retort: Season Two has a "murder-off" between Axel and Cloud. It ended when Aerith cheated on Axel's behalf and played "One-Winged Angel", driving Cloud insane. It also drove Axel insane. It was awesome.
  • DM of the Rings: The player running Legolas tries to start the same competition with Gimli's player at Helm's Deep as occurred in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Gimli points out that Legolas has a head start being able to pick off targets at range but will be forced to resort to daggers once he runs out of arrows, at which point Gimli will pwn him.
  • Flaky Pastry: Inverted when the normally bloodthirsty Zintiel competes with her arch-rival Mona to see who can rescue the most people.
  • Girl Genius: Seen when the Jäger Generals finally take the field. Quite a friendly competition, albeit with much quibbling about what does and doesn't count.
    General Krizhan: Hoy! Does dot count? Does killink dem ven dy iz in the air count?
    General Zog: Killink hyu enemies alvays counts.
    General Krizhan: So... Hy s'pose hyu tink dot counts too? Using dere own weapons?
    General Goombast: Ov cauze! De veapons dun care!
    General Krizhan: Und killink dem ven dey's running avay, dis also counts?
    General Gargantua: ...Vot in de dumboozle iz de matter vit hyu?
    General Krizhan: [sheepishly] Vell... Hy just dun vant hyu guyz saying I vos cheating.
    General Zog: ...How so?
    General Krizhan: ...Using dey own veapons... vile dey is in de air- [takes an enemy bazooka and blows an airship out of the sky] before dey ken gets to der running avay? So all dot counts? Den hy vin.
    [Beat Panel as the other Generals watch, stunned]
    General Zog: hmf. Is still cheating. But in der goot vay!
  • In Wily's Defense's 200th comic starts off with God demanding that his Angels go down to Earth and get them to convert to him. Somewhere along the line Death and Magdelena, the Angels of Death and Destruction, respectively, turn the trip to Earth into one of these. Death ends up winning by forecasting a hurricane at the last minute.
  • Nodwick: Yeagar and another fighter are competing on how many monsters they kill in while Dungeon Crawling.
  • Outsider: Captains Ashrain and Moonglow are introduced in the middle of a long-running wager over whose ship can take out the most enemy vessels, including some quibbling over which kills do and don't count. It's later revealed that the prize of the competition was rights to refuel and resupply first for the victor's squadron.
  • Sluggy Freelance: One occurs between Riff, Torg, and Gwenn to see who can kill the most zombies. With a running score count.
    Riff: New plan. Whoever bags the most wins.
  • The Zombie Hunters not only has a competition between characters but a points scale for the different types of zombies. (Night of the Living Mooks are worth a paltry 10.)

    Western Animation 
  • There's one between Hulk and Thor in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, to see who could destroy the most of Kang's scarabs during his invasion. Later, Hawkeye joins in on the fun.
  • In Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Batman and Green Arrow have one of these... much to Merlin's annoyance.
  • In Code Lyoko, Ulrich and Odd have the friendly competition kind ongoing about who kill the most of XANA's monsters. In episode "The Pretender", backed up by statistics, Jérémie declares the winner of the month to be... Aelita, to Odd and Ulrich's dismay.
  • One episode of Generator Rex, "The Swarm", featured this sort of contest between Rex and his buddy Bobo against a horde of Big Creepy-Crawlies. Bobo annihilated the most using firearms, but Rex won by a landslide by discovering how to cause the metal-consuming insects to devour each other, making him the winner. Knowing what a Sore Loser Bobo can be, as Rex guessed, the EVO Chimp let the News Channel expose to the entire world Rex's Goofy Print Underwear, Bonus points for the News channel mentioning it was a "smell collected from it" that saved the world.
  • Road Rovers: Although he was the only contestant, Blitz has the goal of biting one-thousand tooshies. His prize? A new flea collar.
  • Drew and Doyle on The Secret Saturdays do an inverted version in one episode, who can save the most people from an erupting volcano.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: In "Pulse", Netossa keeps talking about the number of Horde robots she's destroyed. At the close of the episode, Spinnerella gives her own tally as fourteen, at which point Netossa kisses her and admits defeat. That Glimmer then immediately suggests she and Adora compare kill totals did not go unnoticed by certain sections of the fandom.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Anakin and Ahsoka have an ongoing game about who can destroy the most droids. In "Landing at Point Rain", Ahsoka destroys more droids than Anakin but he declares it a tie because he called in an airstrike earlier. Then Ki-Adi-Mundi gets the top score.
    Ki-Adi-Mundi: So what do I win?
    Anakin: My eternal respect, Master Mundi.
    Ki-Adi-Mundi: [disappointed] Oh.
  • In the ThunderCats (2011) episode "Old Friends", Captains Grune and Panthro are Back-to-Back Badasses, quite unfazed by the long odds against them on a battlefield full of their Lizard enemies.
    Grune: If y'wanna make it ta general, you'll have to do better than that.
    Panthro: (laughs) I'm eleven lizards ahead a' you, Captain!
    Grune: (swings his mace, hitting two Lizards, laughs) Make that nine!
  • Wakfu: Sadlygrove and Rubilax have an impromptu competition in season 2 episode 9 during "Le Rush" in Rushu's world — that is, fighting 666 minor shushus as a form of execution. There's just the little problem that Sadlygrove can't count.

    Real Life 
  • Estimating enemy losses in battles is ubiquitous across modern militaries for both pragmatic reasons (it helps to determine what the enemy's strength currently is, after all) and propaganda. Oftentimes, the publicly released figure will differ from the more accurate internal figure, which itself differs from the real figure due to the imperfect methods of estimating enemy losses (these are only accurately established after the war is over and each side releases their medical records). A great example is the Battle of Khalkin Gol. According to the public Soviet official history, the Japanese took 61,000 casualties; according to the Soviet military's own estimations (kept secret), the Japanese took 29,085 casualties; and according to Japanese records, the Japanese took 17,716 casualties.
  • There was a competition between two Japanese officers during the second world war in China to be the first to kill one hundred people. With swords. Most scholars correctly point out that, realistically, the only way to achieve such numbers would be through the execution of prisoners of war rather than actual hand-to-hand combat with the enemy in the middle of battle. Modern studies concluded that the story was probably fabricated by the newspapers with the help of the two soldiers, but it still says the lot about the political climate of the era.
    • And according to one newspaper headline, the scores were so close (106-105) that they entered an extra "inning." Yes, that's the actual terminology used. And this was just a small part of the campaign commonly referred to as the Rape of Nanking.
    • This goes back to the feudal practice called Kubi-jikken, which is counting heads at the end of battle. This was important, as at the time samurai's pay was directly related to how many and who he killed.
  • Korean naval hero Admiral Yi Sun Shin was opposed to Decapitation Presentation as he believed his sailors should concentrate on killing enemy soldiers who were still alive instead of collecting the heads of dead ones. However as heads were regarded as proof of a warrior's bravery, he made sure to let his men know that he would note who was brave and mention their names in his despatches to the king.
  • In a similar example, there is an infamous story of how, during their WW2 liquidation of Croatia's Jews, Romani, Serbs, non-Catholics, and the like, the Ustaše guards (essentially the Croatian SS, although even the actual SS death camp guards were sickened by their brutality) at Croatia's Jasenovac concentration camp used knives called "Serb Cutters" in sadistic body count competitions to see who could cut the throats of the most newly arrived inmates. One of the guards, Petar Brzica, boasted of cutting the throats of about 1,360 new arrivals. Even the lower estimates put his body count at at least 800 murdered prisoners. Other participants who confessed to participating in the bet included Ante Zrinusic, who killed some 600 inmates, and Mile Friganovic, who gave a detailed and consistent report of the incident and admitted to having killed some 1,100 inmates.
  • During the Vietnam War, due to the nebulous nature of the conflict, the US Army resorted to body count of dead PAVN soldiers as a measure of its effectiveness. Unfortunately, this led to a great deal of abuse, such as counting limbs as whole bodies, or writing off dead civilians caught in artillery or aircraft bombardments as "Viet Cong." Interestingly, when the Vietnamese government finally released its official record of military losses during the Vietnam War (849,018+ dead), it was found that U.S. body count estimates were pretty damn close to the truth. Given the scale of the war, a relatively small margin of error for PAVN military losses such as 10% corresponded to roughly a hundred thousand people...
  • The strict definition of "air ace" is "a fighter pilot who has shot down a certain number of enemy fighters" (usually 5). Manfred von Richtofen's record of 80 kills was unbeaten in World War I. In all of the history of air warfare, though, the highest scoring ace is Erich Hartmann of the WWII Luftwaffe, who was credited with 352 kills over the Eastern Front. The highest scoring Allied ace is rather farther down the list of WW2 aces, Ivan Kozhedub of the Soviet Union with 62 kills (the Allied air forces had a policy of rotating out the best pilots to serve as trainers, so this isn't unexpected). Gun-cams were invented to keep track of the fighter pilots' kills, for the very reason of invoking this trope. The gun-cams had a purpose beyond kill-counts — to accurately gauge how much enemy material had been destroyed.
  • Snipers. Simo Häyhä supposedly has the largest body count of any sniper ever, standing at 705 confirmed kills (505 by sniper and ~200 by submachine gun), all of which he scored in a war that lasted less than a hundred days. The next best, Francis Pegahmagabow, had 378 kills. Which, like aircraft, is more about keeping track of how many enemy forces are left, for the spotter to find out if it is safe to go in yet or not. Snipers keep detailed notes about every kill. On Häyhä, he's another example of the above-mentioned public exaggeration in action. His official figure of 505+ contradicts contemporary sources, namely Häyhä's division commander A. Svensson and his unit's military chaplain Antti Rantama, who credited him with 219 sniper kills and 259 sniper kills, respectively. Both of these figures were likely exaggerated x2 or x3 to begin with just due to usual fog of war. The figure of 200 submachine gun kills appears to be flat-out fantasy- all of Häyhä's submachine gun action came when he was a section (squad) leader ambushing Red Army patrols, when he'd have over a dozen other men also with submachine guns hosing the same targets. In such a case it would be impossible to verify who fired the kill shot, meaning it's very likely they just credited every kill by his section (again, probably exaggerated to begin with) to him personally, another common propaganda tactic in "body count" reports. So while Häyhä almost certainly did kill over a hundred people, maybe even over two hundred, his commonly reported toll is just a very successful propaganda coup, so much so that it's still believed nearly a hundred years later.
  • Most modern Army servicemen, however, look down heavily upon anyone asking how many men they had killed in wars and often reject trigger-happy recruits who would brag about kill counts.
    • James Gandolfini did research for his role in In the Loop by going to the Pentagon and talking to some of the generals there; he encountered one who couldn't remember if he'd killed anyone. The writers turned it into a comedic moment between Gandolfini's character and Malcolm Tucker.
      • While the US Army does track confirmed kills, not knowing if you have killed someone in modern combat is not uncommon at all. Consider a common scenario; a squad (appx 9-11 people) of light infantry deploy in an ambush against a thin-skinned vehicle and destroy it and the occupants with small arms (rifles and automatic rifles). None of the soldiers are likely to know if they personally hit their targets, or if their shots were lethal.
  • In Ancient Rome, whether or not a general got a triumph was dependant on how many thousand enemies his army had killed.