With Hitman 2’s release, many of us have picked up the fiber wire once again and resumed dunking heads in toilet bowls as Agent 47. But for the less squeamish of us, there are also other, more colorful ways to dispatch your targets. In gaming there is no shortage of brutal contract killings. So, to honor the bald guy with the barcode on the back of his head, here are our picks for the most ruthless assassinations in gaming.
** This list contains spoilers for Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Grand Theft Auto V, God of War 3, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 **
An Unfortunate Accident (Dishonored)
If you’ve ever been scalded, you’ll know how painful this one is. In Dishonored, players take on the role of supernatural agent of vengeance, Corvo Attano – a man determined to return the princess to the throne, taking out anyone who gets in his way. So, when players encounter one of the princess’s kidnappers at a bathhouse, slave-owning aristocrat Morgan Pendleton, players can turn up the pressure to burst the pipes and burn Morgan to death with hot steam. As Arnold Schwarzenegger would say, “Let off some steam, Morgan.”
Bound Until Death (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim)
As an assassin in the notorious Dark Brotherhood, you, the Dragonborn, are contracted to kill a young woman at her own wedding. As you sneak into the ceremony, you’re presented with a variety of ways to slay the blushing bride. You can pick her off with a well-placed arrow, walk right up to her and give her the Dark Brotherhood’s sincerest regards, or dispatch her with a quick fireball. Of course, you can always opt for the environmental route and loosen the stone gargoyle hanging directly over the bride’s flower-wreathed head, dropping it on her with a sickening crunch to whiten every face in the audience. It really gives a new meaning to “head over heels.”
Ghost in the Machine (Hitman)
In the final mission of Hitman (2016) you can conduct one of the most gruesome kills in the game by turning a HAL-like artificial intelligence into a rampant killing machine. This is because your target is receiving a heart transplant from the A.I. Sabotage the core console, and the whirring, scalpel and drill-laden robotic arms will cease their delicate operating and suddenly start stabbing your target mercilessly throughout the chest and abdomen until the floor is slick with blood. It’s not a route for the faint of heart.
Albert Hall (Sniper Elite 4)
This one is a low blow. Sniper Elite 4 is bursting with cringe-inducing kill shots thanks to its X-ray feature, but when it comes to Hitler, a bullet to the brain is too easy. No, when it comes to the Führer, you need to make it special, and nothing screams special like a one-way shot to the family… jewel? In Sniper Elite 4, Hitler only has one testicle, which is allegedly either true or just war propaganda. Either way, you shatter Hitler’s testicle with a fast-moving bullet and it’s gnarly.
Retribution (God of War 3)
Before Kratos was a dad, he had a lot of anger issues, mostly because of his own dad. When the God-killer finally gets his hands on Zeus, one punch is not enough, nor two, nor three. No, as Kratos, you pummel Zeus’ face into a bloody pulp and don’t stop until the screen is completely red. While there have been plenty of other jaw-dropping kills at the hands of the Spartan Ghost, this one is without a doubt the most personal, which puts it above all the other eye-gouging and decapitating kills that have helped make the series so special.
Something Sensible (Grand Theft Auto V)
At the end of GTA V, playing as Franklin, players are posited with a choice: to betray a friend, or take on the world. Should players choose to off Trevor, the ending of this otherwise light-hearted GTA gets dark. Really dark. What begins as a car chase ends when Trevor finally crashes his truck into an oil tanker. As the psychotic Canadian meth-dealer crawls out, screaming Judas and bloody murder, you take aim to put him down quick-and-clean, but unfortunately, it doesn’t go down like that. Instead of killing him, the bullet ignites the gasoline pooling all around his body and Trevor is immediately engulfed in flames. As your former friend screams and writhes in agony, you can only watch, sickened, before the tanker finally explodes, ensuring that Trevor isn’t getting back up again. Say what you will about the pipe-hitting degenerate, even he didn’t deserve to go out like that.
Medunamun (Assassin’s Creed Origins)
In Assassin’s Creed Origins, the main protagonist Bayek is a bit more, shall we say, “impassioned” than his past brethren. It’s reasonable though, considering that his targets are partially responsible for the death of his only son. When it comes to Medunamun, the first target that players whack, Medunamun mocks Bayek, and Bayek responds by smashing the murderer’s face in with the iconic Apple of Eden orb. When life gives you apples…
Dust to Dust (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3)
While Modern Warfare 2 does tell the better story, Modern Warfare 3 serves up the more over-the-top kill. The level description says it all: Kill Makarov. After pounding the terrorist’s face in, you tie a cord around his throat and deliver a haymaker that sends you both hurtling through the glass ceiling where you land safely, and Makarov promptly hangs to death. As he chokes, dangling like a macabre Christmas tree ornament, you light up a cigar. It’s cold-hearted and ridiculous, and easily the most savage kill in the series.
Tesshu Fujioka (Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven)
Tesshu Fujioka is a doctor by day and a hyper-lethal ninja by night, using his hands and acupuncture needles for precise, devastating assassinations. But his most spectacular kill is also his most bloodthirsty. When you sneak up on an enemy from the front, Tesshu reaches his hand into the victim’s chest and removes their still-beating heart with a spray of blood Indiana Jones-style. Can anyone say Kali Ma?
Epilogue (Wolfenstein II: Shadow of the Colossus)
The personal ones are always the most gratuitous, and the most satisfying. When you finally corner the deranged Frau Engel on a live talk show of all places, you plant your hatchet square into the Frau’s trembling face, whispering to her ever so gently while she struggles to breathe. When you wrench it out, you cleave her skull in two and pop her eye out of its socket. It’s savage, and disgusting, and pretty much exactly what everyone loves about this series. It’s excessive Nazi-killing fun, and with Frau Engel, it’s more than deserved.
That concludes the list. Did your favorite assassination make the cut? Let us know about it in the comments section below. And for more colorful and ruthless kills, be sure to check out our review for Hitman 2 where we cover all you need to know about Agent 47’s latest blood-spattered mission.