I’m just one of the avid gamers here at HorrorCultFilms and, as a predominantly single player gamer, I love a story within a game just as much as I love a story-driven film. Games, just like films, can send you on a rollercoaster of emotions, from exhilaration to anger (yes, you lost that level by a slither and have to start again! ARGH!). There’s even games that will make you laugh until your ribs hurt. But with all the fun you can have with a game, there’s some out there that simple tug at your heartstrings and kickstart the ol’ waterworks. So in light of this, I thought I’d take a look at 5 videogames that made me cry. Okay, you can put away those onions now!
Hitman: Blood Money
I’ve been a longtime fan of Agent 47 – the baldy super assassin that has a barcode etched into the back of his skull. 47 has, for the most part, led a solitary existence though one figure has always been a constant in his working life: ICA communications handler, Diana Burnwood. Issuing 47 with his contracts, she’s probably the nearest thing to a friend for 47 even though he’s never met her… that is until Hitman: Blood Money. A gripping storyline saw our favourite hitman meet Ms Burnwood for the first time in what becomes an emotional union for all the wrong reasons. As I sat stunned, reeling in shock at events which unfolded, I was not prepared for the final act.
The game’s finale sees 47 lying in a coffin at his own funeral. Attending the service is Ms Burnwood, accompanied by an enemy of 47’s, a man who’s glad to see the back of him once and for all. Seemingly remorseful for her past actions, Diana walks over to 47’s open coffin, places his trademark silverballers onto his chest and kisses him on the lips. The sounds of Jesper Kyd’s rendition of Ave Maria, as we see 47 being lowered into the ground whilst the credits rolled, had me bawling my eyes out. No!! How could this be?! He can’t be dead!!! WHY?!!! What’s that… a heartbeat? Wiggle the joysticks, my friend. Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle.
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
A novel idea of controlling two brothers with each analog stick on the controller is what first drew my attention to Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. The story of two siblings, who have to venture out in the world to find medicine for their father, is already a tragic one, not to mention they also lost their mother who drowned at sea. If you want a game to cheer you up, this is probably not it! This sombre tale is heartwarming in places though as the brothers co-operate through fairytale lands to find the water they need for their father. Ultimately, however, the game is full of heartbreak and the first moment of which caused me to shed a tear involved a gryphon that is rescued by the brothers and flies them to safety. As it lands, it appears to pass away, and although its presence in the game is minimal, this cut me like a knife. From then on, I blubbed my way through the game as the brothers’ quest gets more treacherous with further grief along the way. Whilst it is a beautifully made game, it does have a heart-wrenching storyline so I only recommend playing it if you’re in the right frame of mind to begin with.
Spec Ops: The Line
You can keep your Call of Duty and Battlefield. Single player war games is where it’s at and none are more shocking than the headfuck that is Spec Ops: The Line.
A three-man, Delta Force team, led by Captain Martin Walker, is sent on a recon mission to find survivors after the onslaught of rogue Colonel, John Konrad, who’s believed to be holed up somewhere in Dubai after sandstorms ravaged the area. Konrad’s team, the Damned 33rd, were initially present in Dubai to help the community following the hazardous weather, but as the storms raged on and supplies dwindled, they started to take the law into their own hands with many innocent civilian and refugee casualties along the way. After the US sent in a black ops team to rid Dubai of the traitorous Konrad and his team, communications went down and Dubai was put on lockdown by the UAE. No news emerged from the city until finally a radio signal from Konrad himself was heard.
Captain Martin Walker, accompanied by Adams and Lugo, is dispatched to the area to search for the presence of survivors only. However, after being taunted by the Radioman DJ, who’s support of Konrad’s 33rd division causes concern, along with the broadcast of a CIA agent being interrogated by the 33rd, Walker decides to track Konrad down.
Coming under heavy fire at multiple points in the game, your quest is pretty much like any other war game and that’s to shoot the enemy. However, at one point, things are getting so heated that you end up using white phosphorus to wipe out the 33rd, except it isn’t just the 33rd you end up killing. Walking through the carnage, you realise your mistake as you come face to face with the mass of civilian casualties. The sight of a mother holding her baby, turned to ash, will sear into your brain. It really is a “oh fuck” moment. From then on, nothing is the same again.
In Shelter, you play mummy badger to your posse of badger cubs and your quest is to lead them through the woodland to safety. Whilst this sounds easy enough, you will soon realise the difficulties of parenthood and trying to manage and feed a group of curious baby badgers. Throughout your travels, you have to keep up their health, protect them from predators and get them from A to B unscathed.
Scurrying for our lives through the flickering flames of the forest fires and having one of my cubs taken by a swooping bird of prey caused me to sit bawling at the screen, looking upon my dwindling family. How can this be a game? This is not fun! This is heartbreaking! Needless to say, the scars have not healed and I’ve yet to return to this game to attempt another try. I’ve also decided motherhood is not for me.
Set during and after the second world war, Mafia II follows the adventures of Vito Scaletta as he is forced to pay off the debts of his late father. With help from his best friend Joe, the duo find themselves working for one of the local mobsters. When a job goes pear-shaped, Vito finds himself behind bars but is taken under the wing of a rival mafia leader. Upon his release, Vito reconnects with Joe and soon they find themselves deeper in the crime syndicate as Vito’s debts become more than just his father’s.
A riveting game set that flows through both 40’s and 50’s New York, Mafia II hits all the right notes with its GTA-esque gameplay and stellar storywriting. Even through the trickier moments, justice always seems to be delivered, however, I had not anticipated the final scene of the game. A punch to the gut, I sat gaping-jawed at the screen in silence as the credits rolled. Just when I thought everything was sorted, the game pulled the rug from under my feet and stuck a knife in my heart. Hell, I’m tearing up just thinking about it. Without a doubt an outstanding piece of storytelling, but WHY DID YOU HAVE TO DO THAT?!
Are you a keen gamer? Which gaming moments have made you shed a tear? Let us know in the comments below!