Blood. Guts, Brains. Even the odd ripped out spine or two. As much as our mums would be disappointed in us, we can’t get enough.
From caving in a zombie’s skull and watching its decaying grey matter gracefully arc across the sky before landing with a satisfying plop, to drilling out someone’s eyes, gory games hold a special, disturbed place in our hearts.
Don’t worry, we’re perfectly stable. Honest.
Here are 10 of the best blood-filled titles to sink your teeth into. Not suitable for vegetarians:
A very graphic open-world zombie game, where you’re stuck on an island that’s overrun with the living dead. Seeing as the usual laws don’t apply when dealing with zombies, it’s open season when it comes to using vehicles, sticks, weapons and more to turn them into a meaty mulch.
Mmmmmm. Meaty mulch. Sounds tasty…
Ninja Gaiden 2 (2008 – Xbox 360, PS3)
The original (well, the Xbox 3D update of) Ninja Gaiden was a masterclass in combo-based combat. The sequels… not so much. They went mad, slapping in unnecessary levels of gore and dismemberment that distracted from the experience. Still, medical students could learn from it.
Die by the Sword (1998 – PC)
Pretty explicit in late-90s terms, in that the sword fighting game let you cleanly lop the heads right off opponents — for the win. A key concept was the way you controlled your sword arm, waving it around freely instead of lamely pressing away at a button. Swish swish.
God of War (2005 – PS2)
PlayStation’s combat franchise gradually upped the gore throughout its life, but the original, complete with bizarre soft porn arthouse sex sequences, took the biscuit. Then stabbed the biscuit and sucked the jam out of the middle, leaving nothing but a bloody mess of crumbs. Great game, too.
The Punisher (2005 – PS2, Xbox, PC)
When a game undergoes multiple edits and cuts just to get a rating of 18, you know you’re in for a lot of blood. But The Punisher goes beyond hacking and slashing. Were’ talking about grinding flesh, incineration, electrocution (with eels, no less), sawing off faces, running over people’s heads… what else, oh, stabbing of course. Nail guns too. Whatever you like really, it’s your bloody show.
Soldier of Fortune 2 (2002 – PC)
Shoot a man in the face. He’s dead. Shoot him again. Oh look, a chunk just flew off. Interesting….
A whole clip later and what used to be a face is, well… a bloody hollow mess. Try it with the shotgun and there’ll be no head to even maul.
We wouldn’t recommend watching the video above if you’re eating.
Ryse: Son of Rome (2013 – Xbox One)
The improved power that came with the Xbox One also brought a new level of explicitness to the chop-chop of pretend computer people. Ryse wasn’t a particularly exciting game to play, but the gore was something else, with impalements, stabbings, head-stomps and other such nasty stuff. All in gloriously rendered graphics. You can almost taste the blood.
Splatterhouse (1988 – Arcade)
One of the first games to have the concerned newscasters of the world questioning what these sick video games were doing to the minds of the children, Splatterhouse was your usual 1980s side-scrolling fighting game — but made nastier. Mostly comic book nastiness, though, like a Friday the 13th license.
Mortal Kombat (1992 – Arcade)
With Street Fighter II dominating the world, developer Midway built a similar combo-based fighting game but with more photorealistic characters and all sorts of limb-removing, head-squashing, brain-revealing nastiness. It wasn’t as deep as SFII, but it was definitely more of a laugh thanks to being able to pull your mate’s head off at the end.
Carmageddon (1997 – PC)
A slightly dumb driving game that papered over the gaps in its mechanics with comedy killing. Running people over won bonus time, plus a refusal by the BBFC to certify it in the UK gave it mythic status. For a while, it was gaming’s The Exorcist.