5. Mortal Kombat series
The Mortal Kombat series is basically where gratuitous violence in mainstream video games got its start. The normal game action was bloody in its own right, but it was the Fatalities that really drew attention to the game. I still remember the first time I saw Sub Zero rip off someone's head with the spine attached; I was both amazed at how unbelievably gross it was, and at the same time extremely frustrated because I didn't have the necessary dexterity to pull the fatality off myself once I heard the announcer yell 'FINISH HIM!'. From sending your opponent into a pit of spikes via a devastating uppercut to breathing fire and turning your enemy into a flaming pile of bones, Mortal Kombat had enough gore to simultaneously offend a nation and change gaming forever.
4. Thrill Kill
Although this list consists mostly of 'mainstream' games, it wouldn't be complete without the addition of this game that almost was. Thrill Kill was set to be released for the PlayStation in 1998, but weeks before it shipped to stores, the game was cancelled; however, it did manage to make its way into the hands of fans via the internet due to leaked copies from employees who had worked on the project. For anyone not familiar with this title, Thrill Kill is a fighting game that puts players in control of one of ten damned souls that are doomed to fight for eternity. It was supposed to be the next Mortal Kombat, and the inspiration drawn from the franchise is apparent in the insane amounts of gore and finishing moves. As with many games on this list, it was a bit of a controversy at the time, but it incites more laughs now than disgust.
3. Gears of War series
Epic Games' third-person shooter has plenty of blood and guts to satisfy any gore fan. Almost anyone who has played the original or the sequel and used the Lancer's chainsaw bayonet for the first time can tell you that there aren't too many more satisfying ways to finish an enemy off. If you aren't busy sawing a Locust in half, you are probably watching them explode into a red mist from a well-placed grenade or an up-close and personal shotgun blast. The sequel added some new weapons and executions, and here's hoping that the third game continues the trend.
2. The Postal series
Developer Running With Scissors brought the original game to PCs in the late '90s, and its FPS sequel in 2003; I never owned either (Mom wouldn't allow that kind of nonsense in HER house!) but a friend of mine did, so I got to experience it for myself. Postal put players in control of the 'Postal Dude,' and you pretty much just wandered around the town, shooting and killing everything and everyone. There was a story in there somewhere, but I never really understood it, and to be honest, I don't think I ever cared to. At the time, it was controversial; but looking back now, it is more funny than offensive (check YouTube and see for yourself). All I know is that the game was gory just to be gory, and sometimes, that's OK.
Manhunt, the gore-fest developed by (who else?) Rockstar, included some of the most disturbing violence in video games to date. Players were thrown into a twisted stealth survival game in which you were rewarded for taking out your opponents in as gruesomely a manner as possible, from sneaking up behind the enemy and suffocating them with a plastic bag, to slicing their head clean off with a wire. It created a huge amount of controversy, and to this day is still banned in some countries.
There were a couple of games that deserve an honorable mention: The Fallout series and the Silent Hill series. Both have their shock value, but in my opinion Silent Hill was more disturbing than gory, and although the V.A.T.S system in recent Fallout titles allowed for some strategic mutilation of enemies, it wasn't consistent enough to warrant a spot on the list. I'm sure a few more obscure (or not-so-obscure) titles didn't get included, so let us know what you think about the top ten in the comments below.
By Jeremy Render
CCC Freelance Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*