Player Punch

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
"It's a shock, you know? I mean, I knew the Sith were evil and all, but the reality of it kind of slaps you in the face."

There's some times when playing a Video Game can be a little dehumanizing. After all, if your character is The Faceless, then there's no cinematic depiction of his grief that his Doomed Hometown was wiped off the map. And to the player who doesn't see it except if they possibly read the instruction manual, it's not that motivating.

Enter the Player Punch. The script gives our hero a Sidekick or supporting character who is given a good degree of characterization or is just plain adorable. Over time, the player begins to take a liking to them when suddenly BAM! The villain displays a startling And Your Little Dog, Too action in killing them off (usually in a non-resurrectable Plotline Death), or worse, forcing the player to kill them by kidnapping them and turning them into a Tragic Monster. It isn't just personal now for the character. The player has been drawn into the situation because they liked Skippy the Adorable Airedale, and now that villain is going down. HARD.

Can also be utilized by making the villain into such a smug jerk that the player wants to rearrange his face, or by suddenly having a former ally commit a Face Heel Turn.

See also Death by Newbery Medal, Dropped a Bridge on Him, Stuffed Into the Fridge. MacGuffin Delivery Service is one way of doing this. Contrast Moral Myopia. Related to The Computer Shall Taunt You.

As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.

Examples of Player Punch include:

Action Adventure Games

  • In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, when Zant injures Midna. You then have to go see Zelda, who sacrifices herself to restore Midna, over Midna's protests. In the final battle,Ganodorf rides up with Midna's empty helmet in hand, and with an evil laugh, crushes it.
    • In the ending, Midna, now fully restored to her true self, returns through the Twilight Mirror to the Twilight Realm. Knowing that, with the mirror intact, that the events of this game are bound to repeat themselves, she gives a heartfelt goodbye to Link as she sheds a single tear which, after she transports, destroys the mirror, severing herself from Hyrule, and Link, completely. This combined with the implication that she, not Ilia, is Link's true love interest, makes the punch pretty damn hard...
  • Link's little sister Aryll is adorable -- that's when the bird comes to take her away—come on. You know you were cheering for Link when he killed that bird in cold blood later on. Everybody was.
    • In the same game, Tetra, despite treating Link like dirt for most of the time is a character who obviously loves her freedom, but you are forced to lock her away in Hyrule Castle, a hundred miles under the sea, so Ganondorf won't strangle her to death. And just to put the icing on the cake he later on (surprise) kidnaps her regardless, apparently either knocks her out or drugs her off-screen, places her in a bed and says and does some... uhm... interesting things while she is sleeping. Oh yes, it felt satisfying as hell when Link and Tetra finally arrowed and stabbed that Complete Monster to death.
  • Pandoras Tower will deliver these continuously if you dawdle around the dungeons long enough to let Elena's curse progress for more than two thirds.After the endless heartwarming moments you can have with her, watching her slowly fall prey to the curse and still try to go on as if nothing happened ("The floor is wet, mind you don't slip...") can be rather heartwrenching. And God forbid you let her humanity drop below the red treshold...
    • Expecially if you cut the dungeon's first chains without much time left. You get to see Elena's condition all the same, except she is alone.The less time left, the more desperate she becomes.
  • Saria. Link's only friend among the Kokiri, the girl who filled his childhood with smiles. Saria. The reason why Phantom Ganon is going DOWN.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask may have you find a little girl when Romani Ranch opens on the third day sitting on a crate, looking a little zoned out and wondering who you are. Once you can access the ranch from the first day, you get to know the girl, and she becomes an anchor for Video Game Caring Potential in one of the most horrifying games ever released by Nintendo. Then, going through her quest, if you fail, she's dragged through the roof of the barn, screaming in fear, and the third day cutscene if you fail to unlock the ranch (and especially if you fail to hold off the aliens, since it doesn't change) takes a heartwrenching twist. And it's all thanks to your incompetence.
    • Let us not also forget the way you acquire the shape-changing masks. And during the ending, when The Deku chancellor is in the cave you first came from, looking at a small tree with a face-like pattern on it (heck, when you passed it, Tatl will notice that it looked like a rather sad tree), and you realise that this is (probably) what happened to his son, and that the rest of him is locked inside the Deku Mask you're carrying and using to become a deku scrub!
    • In fact, plenty of things in this game are smaller or bigger degrees of player punches, such as seeing the last remaining people in town on the third night, especially if you haven't helped them out as you should have, because then they will usually be miserable. Or such as being there when the poor sweet lady in the bomb shop was robbed, but failing to stop the thief. Or even worse, watching a monkey being boiled alive!
    • The game, especially in the early stages, is designed to be one continuous player punch. Literally everyone you meet has had their life ruined somehow, directly or indirectly, by the Skull Kid and his Mask, at least by the omnipresent threat of the falling moon. The cyclical time scale of the game means that you can easily, and often, unintentionally, see the horrific results of his 'pranks' without your intervention, and serve to fill the player with increasing resolve to ensure that things never happen that way again.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening uses this for it's Bittersweet Ending. Mid-way through the game, you discover that the island you are on is nothing but a dream, as are all the people living there. This happens after an adorable cutscene with Marin, who has feelings for Link and is unwittingly trying destroy herself and the island by waking the Wind Fish. Redeemed a little at the end if you win with no deaths - you see her flying away singing.
  • Shadow of the Colossus has a particularly poignant example of this. Just before you get to the final colossus, a collapsing bridge causes your faithful horse, Agro, to drop hundreds of feet down into a fast-moving river after throwing you from his back onto the cliff edge in a Heroic Sacrifice. The incident left players with a cold mix of anger and grief all throughout the final battle, summed up by a near-constant mantra: "The Dormin have taken everything from me. I'll complete my quest. This colossus will die."
    • The very first time you kill a Colossus. It's big, it's trying to shake you off, it's none too happy, and when you finally kill it the mournful music and slow, stately, sad way it falls to the ground and dies is especially tear inducing. Some subsequent Colossi are less sympathetic, some even more, even considering your brief time with each one. This is, of course, one of the subtexts of the game.
  • Cave Story takes this to a terrible, terrible extreme. Balrog force-feeds Toroko red flowers under the Doctor's orders when King shows up and smacks him off. His attempted revenge on the Doctor is spoiled, leading to terminal injuries. Cue the player's arrival, and the Doctor bails after telling the three of you to "have fun", and the task of prematurely ending a frenzied Toroko's rampage is thrust into the hands of the player. King passes his sword off in the aftermath of the fight just as he dies.
    • A second example, if you follow the path towards the normal ending rather than the "good" ending. At the end of the level where Curly joins you in combat, Misery casts a spell to fill the whole room with water, and Curly gives you her air tank in a Heroic Sacrifice, which of course means she stays there and drowns to death. Especially hard-hitting because of how unceremonious it is; your character wakes up from near-death and sees Curly lying there motionless. When examining her, the description simply reads "There is no response" and all you can do is leave the room and move on.
      • Furthermore, during the ending sequence, you get shown a little cinematic of various locations around the island as it collapses. This includes a glimpse of the Core's chamber, complete with Curly's lifeless body, which is still in the exact same spot you left it.
    • There's even a second, arguably lesser example in the endgame. Just before the final battle, Sue Sakamoto and Misery are possessed by the distilled floating variant of the Psycho Serum and forced to fight against their will alongside the final boss.
    • But you know what's worse? Not the deaths of Professor Booster and Curly Brace, but the fact that you could have actually saved them if you knew how.
  • American McGee's Alice does this a lot, and it's especially potent if you have any emotional connections to the original novels. The Mad Hatter crushes the White Rabbit and tortures the Dormouse and March Hare into insanity with his cruel experiments. The Jabberwock kills the Griffin, which is the final straw that triggers Alice's Heroic BSOD. And right before the final boss fight, said final boss kills your faithful companion the Cheshire Cat. By the time you hit the Red Queen, it's very, very personal.
    • Additionally, the Automatons you've been battling all through the Mad Hatter's asylum turn out to be created from Insane Children...
  • In the Xbox game Breakdown on your way to the core you see Stefiana Wojinskai, a scientist you met shoved off a cliff, the badass Gianni who is the only guy in the military who isn't trying to kill you slowly dies in front of you because you couldn't get there fast enough. Then after you kick the ass of the boss who kidnapped and tortured your love interest, he powers up easily beats you down, and your love interest sacrifices herself so that you can survive..... Don't worry though you fix things with your awesome glowy fists of justice.
  • Several in The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena. First up would be finding out that the Ghost Drones are actually the inhabitants of the ships the Athena captures, with several parts of their body replaced with circuitry and robotics and their brain overridden with rudimentary AI, used as cheap labour and expendable Mooks. This becomes worse when you speak to Miles Redknox, who is undergoing the procedure when you find him but still has his vocal cords and his brain intact. Then, Silverman, one of the only likeable characters in the game and somebody you're planning to escape the ship with, is shot and killed by Jaylor. To make it worse, he then talks about molesting her corpse during the ensuing fight with him. Shortly afterwards, as you finally reach the escape craft and see Dacher, who's been helping you through most of the game, sitting in the control chair, you find that he doesn't greet you. He's had his throat slit by Revas who is waiting for you, using his body to bait you into a trap. And after you defeat her and get into a smaller escape pod, to round it off nicely, Lynn, a child no more than eight years old who's been hiding in the vents, makes her presence known and starts hammering at the glass screen of the pod, crying "Take me with you!". Revas then reveals that she isn't quite dead, gets up and grabs her just as soon as the pod drifts off into space. Shortly afterwards, Revas informs you via radio that Lynn is in for a world of hurt while Riddick is drifting towards a doomed planet with a missile from the Athena on his tail. Riddick might not be moved very much, but the player sure is.
  • While he doesn't die right off the bat, the brutal beating and kidnapping of Pey'j in Beyond Good and Evil has much the same effect. While he's put in peril a few times during the first portion of the game, nothing truly bad happens to him—until he and Jade decide to separate for just a few minutes during one part of the second dungeon. Just as Jade returns, she hears him crying out in pain—and is only just quick enough to see him get beaten unconscious by a pair of Alpha Section soldiers and dragged off through a door that slams shut in front of Jade as she tries to save him. For a game that's been fairly lighthearted up to the point, it's shockingly violent and depressing.
  • Legacy of Kain Soul Reaver 2: The Sarafan bastards had to go and cut out Janos's heart.
    • Unfortunately you can't do that as it would've resulted in a Time Paradox. You'd already consumed their souls in the future, so things could get a little awkward.
  • Okami has Rao, a Priestess who was murdered and possessed by Ninetails before the game started.
    • What's worse is that, after discovering the deception, you can if you so wish head to the place where Rao was shown being murdered in a flashback. Do a bit of poking around and an unpleasant surprise awaits you...
    • The sequel is far crueler. Your first partner is eaten by a giant carp in front of you, and just when you think you've successfully rescued him, the boss decides to pull a Taking You with Me and you promptly get separated again by a flood, leaving you to assume he's dead. Another one of your partners does not handle the Awful Truth about his origins well and has a Face Heel Turn. Making it worse, they both reappear at the end... but one is possessed by the Big Bad and the other one has, as mentioned, joined him. You successfully rescue your first partner, but Kurow winds up sacrificing himself to seal away said villain by letting it possess him and then trapping it. And you have to kill him. Didn't expect THAT from the adorable protagonist and E rating, now, did you?
      • You also find out how that creepy haunted ship from the first game sank in the first place, and for added ouch, one of the sailors will mention his son... who you may have encountered previously, asking when his daddy will be coming home. Oh, and watch Shiranui die, with all the residents of the village crying around him. This game does not hold back on the Tearjerkers
  • NieR is pretty much nothing but a long string of Player Punches, starting from the end of the first act, all through each of the Multiple Endings. And that's just the main plot, most of the sidequests are equally as heart-wrenching, to the point where it's more of a shock if someone actually gets a good ending out of it all. It would take a block of spoiler text stretching over most of this page to recount every single punch in this game.
  • In Famous 2's evil ending. Zeke has been spending the entire game redeeming himself as your friend, and coming to represent Cole's conscience. Even evil!Cole has qualms about killing him. Oh, and better yet: the player isn't let off the hook to let cutscene!Cole do the dirty work. They have to attack and kill Zeke themself.
    • Making Zeke's death even worse is the fact that you're restricted to your first, basic bolt, you can't headshot him, you can't overkill him, you can't do anything to make it quick, you hit him with your weakest bolt, and he keeps getting up until the third time, when he just barely struggles to reach for his gun before the final blow is landed.
    • Trish's death in the first game can count too. The Punch hits even harder if the player has a girlfriend.

Action Games

  • Yakuza 3 has a MAJOR one when Rikiya dies. Kazuma actually breaks down in tears when it happens, as have many fans who were playing the game at the time.
  • The creators of God of War said they considered having Kratos carry around an adorable dog to act as both a reminder of better times and a humanizing force for the somewhat...troubled player character. Under this plan, the player would be forced to kill the dog at a late point in the game once it became Cerberus. They eventually rejected this as slightly too horrible for one of the more bloody and brutal games in recent memories.
    • And then in Chains of Olympus, they make you push away Kratos' daughter, for whom he had just given up everything, in order to save the world, and they make you do it with the same button mashing minigame you've been using to dismember enemies.
  • In Mafia II, one mission involves Vito and Joe being hired to kill a person as a "favor" to another family. The two treat this as an utterly trivial thing, comment on the fancy red car loaned to them for the job, and on the way to the target Joe explains that said target is a guy who "ratted out the family" before being put into Federal protection. The instructions also include giving the target a message (which Vito doesn't read aloud) before killing him. Players of the previous game may pick up on all these hints and come to the horrifying and subsequently confirmed conclusion: the target is none other than Tommy Angelo. The mission's ending cutscene is even a shot for shot remake of the ending cutscene of Mafia I.
  • The ending of the battle against Alice Twilight in the second No More Heroes game. All the subtle Character Development Travis went through is capped off here, she's one of the first assassins that really connects with Travis. She isn't evil, just wants to leave the assassination scene. Close-ups of the pictures she burns show she was friends with Margaret, who you killed a couple missions ago, and had an unaccounted-for son and husband. At the end, she just asks Travis to remember her name. Then Travis tells Sylvia off for making him go through the ranks again. Midway through, he looks down and sees that his beam sword is burning her hand.
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day ends with a spectacular Player Punch. Conker's girlfriend, Berri, is brutally murdered right before the final boss battle. Evolves into a Downer Ending when Conker spends his only chance to rewrite the story, with the aid of the game programmers, to beat the last enemy. Later, he realizes the programmers are already gone, and he can't bring Berri back.For such a humorous game, this ending, allied with the extremely somber ending theme, certainly slaps the player right in the face.
  • Asura's Wrath. Chapter 12. After all the time you protected the little girl that looks like just like Asura's daughter Mithra, and her village, it ends up being nothing in the end, when Olga sends her fleet of ships and bombs the village and kills EVERYONE IN IT! Among those, is not only the little girl, but the little baby she was taking care of are now dead, thus having Asura himself under go a transformation filled with so much rage and pain that it mutates his body.

Adventure Games


"The sad thing is, I was really supporting (the Big Bad) until he killed Trevor. That bastard."

  • Shannara had THREE particularly nasty Player Punches closer to the end of the game:
    • 1) At the Dragon's Teeth Mountains you meet with Allanon, your mentor throughout the entire game. After a strangely banal (for Allanon) talk you have to cross a chasm. Once you do it, the "Allanon" starts trying to kill off everyone he can, and is revealed to be the Shifter, disguised in the form of your mentor. If that wasn't sudden enough, he will injure the most lovable character in your party, Shella, to the point of near death. You then have a choice between using the elfstones to heal Shella, or finishing her sufferings by finally killing her with your sword and using the Ritual of Release to save her from becoming Brona's ghost. However, using the elfstones is a nonstandard game over.
    • 2) Just before the last area of the game, the Allanon (the real one) will reveal that the Shifter is STILL ALIVE, despite falling into a near-bottomless chasm. No matter what you do, Davio will do it and die along with the Shifter.
    • 3) A prelude to this is this: Shella and Davio die, Geeka leaves, Telsek leaves, Brendel cannot climb and you're forced to leave him—you enter the final battle alone. Then, you pull out the Sword of Shannara, the "mirror of inner truth". What it actually is, it's a long "dream sequence" where you meet up with Allanon, Brendel, Shella, Davio, and Telsek, not in that order, but I don't remember the real order. Each of them asks one of these hard-to-answer questions (like Shella's "Why did you kill me, Jak?") and you have to choose one of the four answers at the bottom. Despite the fact that you cannot lose, it's one of the most emotionally draining moments of the game.
  • The Interactive Fiction game Zero Sum Game gives you an adorable sidekick named Maurice. Naturally, he must die in order for the player to win. To be specific, the player has to murder him.
  • Heavy Rain is made of this. The game is specifically designed to draw you into the character's, making their suffering hit you that much harder. Noteworthy examples include:
    • Jason's death at the beginning. You know it's coming, and there's nothing you can do about it, but at the same time, you can't help but feel that if you had somehow managed to get there a little faster, you could have saved him. Compounded by the fact that rather than just seeing him in cut-scenes, you've actually played with the child.
    • Admit it, you winced when you had to make Ethan cut off his own finger.
    • Some players felt this way when they found out that Shelby is the Origami Killer.
  • The outcome of the epic battle of the Big Robot Bil in The Neverhood:

Willie Trombone: Bil, hang on!

    • And if that wasn't enough, you can backtrack to the room where Willie was leaving hint messages for you and enjoy reading letters from Klogg, who even bothers to taunt you about Willie getting killed off. Ugh.
  • The end of Sam and Max: The Devils Playhouse, when Max goes far beyond No One Could Survive That by exploding in deep space, taking out a few other characters. And then Momma Bosco's Hope Spot sets the player up for a one-two combo. The grueling closing credits give the player plenty of time for that to sink in.
  • In the penultimate episode of Tales of Monkey Island, Lechuck kills Guybrush. The protagonist. And he does so just after Guybrush is starting to believe that Lechuck has made a genuine Heel Face Turn. And unlike practically everything else in the entire series, it isn't played at all for laughs. It's played entirely straight.
  • This is the entire point of the classic Interactive Fiction game Photopia. At first the game seems overly linear, but this makes the climax all the more emotionally painful: the player realizes what's about to happen, but no command can stop it, only propel the story forward.

Fighting Games

  • The first major battle in Super Smash Bros.. Brawl's Subspace Emissary mode forces you to choose who will live, between Princesses Peach and Zelda. The other gets turned into a statue, and can't be used until close to the end of the mode.
    • A more powerful Punch would be when you first encounter Master Hand in Subspace, previously the greatest force in the Smash Bros. universe, get defeated by a wave of the hand, and NOT get turned into a Trophy. He just lies there, bleeding. In a single moment, Tabuu went from some random Tron-looking guy to the most hated Nintendo character ever.
  • Mortal Kombat 9 has quite a few. One of the biggest ones being Raiden's accidental killing of Liu Kang. Shao Kahn's casual murder of Kung Lao probably counts, too. And that's not even getting into the actions of the Elder Gods.

First Person Shooters

  • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption took a stab at it. Early in the game, you are introduced to fellow bounty hunters Rundas, Ghor, and Gandrayda. Upon completion of the Norion mission (and infection by Dark Samus), all three are sent to different systems. Who thought that being forced to fight the corrupted hunters, and then watch Dark Samus assimilate them when it was all said and done, was unbelievably tragic.
    • It's even worse with Rundas, considering he saved your life after you beat Ridley. Ghor isn't much better, though you'd have to read his backstory in one of his Logbook entries; he's such a good person that you can't help feeling terrible for having to put him down.
    • Made even worse by the fact that at the end Samus reflects on meeting, and then eventually killing the hunters, and you get to see all their deaths one after the other (especially Rundas'). Tragic.
    • And of course, it's implied in cutscenes that Samus is very angry at the one responsible (Dark Samus) and the player is probably feeling the same. Naturally, the ensuing Roaring Rampage of Revenge that ends with Dark Samus erased from existence along with all the Phazon in the universe is probably very satisfying for the player.
  • Call of Duty 4 employs a variation: at the start of the game, in accordance with Call Of Duty tradition, the player controls two characters, a British SAS operator and an American Marine. During the Marine's segments, he and his commanding officers are established as sympathetic and heroic characters, even going so far as to risk their lives to stop and rescue a downed - and similarly sympathetic - helicopter pilot in a city where a nuclear warhead has just been discovered. The Dragon ends up detonating the warhead before either character can escape, allowing the player to experience the Marine's slow, agonizing death from radiation poisoning in first person.
    • At the end of the game, after escaping the Russian missile base and evading the Ultranationalist pursuers, the bridge gets blown up, and you get to watch as Griggs gets ventilated while trying to help you to your feet and Zakhaev executes Gaz. The wounded Captain Price slides you his sidearm, which you use to kill Zakhaev. When the cavalry arrives, you then get to watch as a medic tries to resuscitate Captain Price while you're loaded onto the helicopter. MacTavish (the "you" in this POV) does survive for the sequel but dies in Modern Warfare 3 (more on that later).
      • Modern Warfare 2 was even worse. If the death of Private Allen wasn't bad enough, the scene where Roach and Ghost are shot by Sheperd and set on fire (In Roach's case, WHILE STILL ALIVE) is like being kicked in the balls.

Shepherd: "Do you have the DSM?"
Ghost: "Yes sir. Got it right here."
Shepherd: "Good. That's one less loose end." (Gunshot. Gunshot.)

      • Near the end of the game, members of Delta Company, Sandman, Grinch, and Truck, sacrifice themselves in a Siberian Diamond mine so Price and Yuri can escape. In the final level, Yuri (who you're not playing anymore) is killed by Makarov.
  • Speaking of Call of Duty, Black Ops gives us the death of Dimitri Petrenko. The mighty hero of Russia, who stormed Berlin and took it from the Nazi hands, is poisoned by Nova-6 and dies with his face melting into blood, quick and yet painful. Though people who haven't played World At War won't get why this is a Player Punch, those of us who have pretty much agree with what Reznov has to say about the situation.

Reznov: "Dragovich... Kravtchenko... Steiner... All must die."

  • The end of Half-Life 2: Episode 2, when Combine Advisors kill Eli Vance in front of his incapacitated daughter and the player. It'll be hard to create better marketing for Episode 3 than the desire for vengeance created by that scene.
    • Listen to Merle Dandridge getting choked up in the commentary track for an amplified Player Punch.
    • The beginning is almost as bad - at first, when you're trapped under the trailer/building and are forced to watch Alyx get impaled by the hunter.
  • In The Darkness video game, Jenny's death was a brutal player punch that not only made players want to kill Paulie Franchetti, but also got him to see the titular Darkness as not just a case of Cursed with Awesome, but cursed with plain old curse. "Awww, what did they do to Jenny?" Bastard!
    • The most punch-esque part about that scene? The fact you're right there, and the Darkness is physically restraining you.
    • And all of that hatred towards Paulie Franchetti leads to a big letdown. In the comic, Paulie's death is horrid. Expectations of ripping the fat bastard apart with your darkness powers are dashed when he holes up in the top of a lighthouse and you have to simply shoot him. In a way, not even getting to make him really pay for Jenny's death is another Player Punch.
  • Halo 3 does this twice; the first is when Truth kills Commander Keyes, and later when Spark fatally wounds Johnson.
    • A non-death-related version of this takes place in the level "Cortana," where Cortana, her voice audibly shaking from the brutal trauma she suffered at the Gravemind's hands, begs you to blow up High Charity. It isn't necessary from a storyline perspective, but letting Cortana get payback after what she's gone through feels damn good. "Hell Hath No Fury" indeed.
    • Halo: Reach. Where to begin? Was it Jorge's death? Or was it Kat's? Perhaps it was Carter or Emile's? Or Six's? What about that level where you attempt to escort civilian transports safely, only to see each one explode in front of you? Or possibly watching your entire fleet being blown to bits as you watch?
    • What about ODST and Reach? They both have something in common: you have to kill the innocent (and freakishly adorable) Engineers. If you've read the novels you already know that they're harmless and only interested in repairing things (one even saves Master Chief when he's in a tight situation), and if you haven't ODST reveals it anyway. And you have to slaughter them.
  • BioShock (series) manages this by making the Big Bad Andrew Ryan blow up the wife and kid of Atlas, the one character who had extended a helping hand to the player. Later on, this trope really does make things personal because that whole wife and kid thing was just a lie by the real big bad, Frank Fontaine, who was just using you from the start!
    • Then you meet Andrew Ryan and he reveals your true identity, and the realization that both the player character and the player have been mindless pawns for the entire game. What's worse is, even if you replay the game knowing all this... you still can't do anything about it.
    • On a slightly more generic note, it can be utterly crushing the first time you bring down a Big Daddy and have to watch as the Little Sister it was protecting sits at its side, shaking its massive, lifeless face-dome and begging it to Please Wake Up. Even if you're doing the noble thing of not harvesting the life out of the mistreated little moppets, it really kicks you in the teeth the first time you see it.
      • Possibly the worst is the very first time you do such a thing, because what is playing in the background? None other than Lady Day singing God Bless the Child
      • Players take on the role of a Big Daddy for an Escort Mission. Protecting the Little Sisters throughout is almost impossible, and though there is no gameplay consequence, watching one die, and the subsequent guilt trip from Dr. Tenenbaum, delivers a fresh new Punch.
    • Bioshock 2 had another particularly cruel one: in Fontaine Futuristics there's a Big Daddy that looks and acts like any other one you encountered thus far, and probably the last you'll deal with. Of course, if you're playing the game normally, you kill him. Then you go loot his corpse...and you discover that said Big Daddy is Mark Meltzer, captured by Lamb and faced with the choice of being executed or becoming a Big Daddy and protecting his daughter turned Little Sister. This is particularly painful for people who followed the "Something In The Sea" ARG, which detailed Meltzer's efforts to find Rapture and rescue his kidnapped daughter. And then, in the final level, she does the same thing with Augustus Sinclair.
    • If you Harvest a little sister, the subsequent ones respond to Delta with fear, saying things like "Oh, no! Daddy's home! I-I've been good. Promise" and "You're never gonna hurt me, right?"
      • Bioshock 2 can even end with a player punch if you decide to kill Grace Holloway, Stanley Poole, and Gilbert Alexander and harvest Little Sisters. Turns out Eleanor was watching you do all this and, since her personality is being shaped by your actions, she becomes a ruthless monster, just like daddy.
  • Clive Barker's Jericho has Simone Cole and Xavier Jones, who are the "smart ones" of the group. Cole is given a decent degree of characterisation over the course of the game, and, while little is revealed about Jones, he seems to have a warm, likeable personality. So, imagine utter horror when, close to the end of the game, they are mercilessly blown into bloody chunks by the main villain in a flurry of gore, and not even the squad's two healers are able to bring them back from the dead. OUCH.
  • SHOGO: M.A.D. sees the likeable plump mechanic, who saved your posterior before, get killed for his troubles. Oh you are going down, evil bad guy...
    • To put it in the words of the protagonist:

Sanjuro: Ryo is going to die, and it's going to be bloody.

  • In Prey, your abducted girlfriend gets attached to the body of a cybernetic spider-thing and the player is forced to kill her. She is completely conscious and aware of the happenings, but can't do a thing. This is a turning point of the story - until then, the PC only wanted to escape from the spaceship, now he wants to destroy, or to be more accurate, kill it.
  • F.E.A.R. featured Alice Wade, the only genuinely good character to be involved with the evil corporation, who had prior to the game events been trying to dig up exactly what happened in the secret weapons project. You rescue her, only to have her run to try and help her dad out. Instead, you find her dead and partly eaten by the big bad, who is also her nephew.
    • F.E.A.R: Extraction Point (the expansion pack) has the player fight with the team's Demolition Expert, Holiday, for several missions. Only for him to be brutally ripped to shreds before the player's own eyes.
    • Perseus Mandate has Lieutenant Chen, who you spend most of a couple of levels with, just listening to him making small talk. Then one of the monsters drags him halfway into the floor and rips him apart, while he's conscious, struggling, and screaming for help. You can even grab his arm and try to pull him out, but all that happens is his arm rips off.
  • Latest Left 4 Dead 2 downloadable content reveals Bill from the first game is dead. The characters only care about the weapon he's holding.
    • The punch cranks up to 11 with the release of The Sacrifice DLC, where you get to play out how Bill dies (or anyone else in your group but in canon, Bill is the one who dies). He sacrifices his life to restart the generator so the bridge can be fully raised, bringing the other survivors to safety away from the horde and multiple Tanks.
  • Killzone 2 does it as well. Somewhere halfway through, Garza dies. He was the awesome one who you mostly teamed up with and you watched him die from a stupid bullet wound. Thank the creator there are still plenty of Helghast left to turn into bullet receptacles.
    • Not to mention that the end of the game implies that killing the leader of the Helghast will do no good, which makes just about everything you did in the game up to that point entirely pointless.
    • Which is turns into a bit of a jumping- off point for Rico, since your orders were to detain the Helghast emperor alive, and that Rico executing him is foreshadowed to be be what the conflict in Killzone 3 is over. Of course, you are kind of expecting this from Rico at this point, but it still doesn't help anything.
  • Crysis 2 The player wandering through the tunnels under Grand Central and sees the sick people there, including some guy pleading to see his sick wife. The player escapes Grand Central Station when it comes under attack, with a building is about to fall on it, and the jeep is waved down by the same man, whose wife is trapped under some wreckage. The camera view keeps alternating from the people that are trying to get the woman out (as she pleads for them to hurry) to the ever-approaching building, and ultimately the jeep you're riding in is forced to leave as the building hits, crushing them all in full view of you.
  • Another upcoming game promising to heavily feature this is Home Front, an FPS based on an invasion of the US by a revitalized and superpower level North Korea: the developers wanted the game to show the effects of war on civilian population. Thus, the game begins with you getting dragged by NK soldiers into a prison bus going off to who knows where and helplessly witnessing through the window soldiers executing a civilian couple in cold blood in front of their own child with the mother's last words being desperately screaming at the child not to look.
  • In Singularity The death of Devlin at the end of the first mission was a bit of a shock. Any Genre Savvy person knew that it was coming, but unlike a lot of throwaway allies in FPS games, Devlin was a fairly likable guy and actually managed to be pretty useful. Then Demichev shoots him in the face without a second thought.
  • Swat Four: "The Children of Tarrone" A doomsday cult plans to blow up their on compound, taking a large chunk of urban housing with them. At some point during the mission you discover they the cult members have killed all of their own children as part of their suicide ritual. This can lead to executing all of the people you just arrested, the first time you discover it.
  • Battlefield 3 is absolutely chock full of them.
    • "Comrades"; Dima's squadmate Vladimir is mortally wounded by an RPG, and must be left behind. It doesn't truly become tragic till the end, though, when they find that the nuke they'd been tracking was never there to begin with, and the real bomb goes off seconds later, rendering Vladimir's sacrifice meaningless.
    • "See No Evil"; after two missions of following Jono Miller and learning of his desire to return home to his son, he gets captured by PLR forces, and is brutally executed by Solomon in a live broadcast.
    • "Rock and a Hard Place"; pushed into a battle they were unprepared for by their inept captain, Misfit 1-3 barely manages to fight off a Russian airstrike, only to find that Campo and Matkovic were killed in the crossfire.
    • "The Great Destroyer"; Blackburn's only remaining friend, Montes, manages to help him escape from captivity and confront Solomon, only to be shot dead by him before Black could finish the job.


  • Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri manages to pull one in the Wide Open Sandbox that is the game, using the game's interlude stories. Your faction leader has a crush on one of your ensigns: so young, yet so energetic, promising, and with a great attitude that has captivated your heart. When you finally research the environmental technologies required to breed Mind Worms, your leader naturally sends her to the first tests, and once you build your first Mind Worm boil, he assign her to be its tamer. Let that mind worm boil die, and you will see an interlude, where your leader breaks down in tears, freaks out, and screams "I WILL CRUSH AND DESTROY <one of your enemy's cities>!!!". Conquer that city, and it will be automatically renamed "<Ensign's name>'s Memorial".

Hack And Slash

  • Dark Messiah features Leanna, a young mage who's attracted to the player character Sareth. About halfway through the game she appears to be killed by the main villain Arantir. The player can do nothing to help her and can only watch, this will most likely motivate the player to absolutely tear Arantir's lair apart in a fit of rage later on. It turns out she's alive and the player can rescue her, but at this point even after rescuing her the player now has a very good reason to want to slaughter Arantir and get the good ending.
  • Diablo II packs a Continuity Nod Player Punch? If you've played the first game, you were attached to the town (as the game was 5% that town, 95% killing monsters underground) and some of the characters were close to your heart. In the second game, you teleport there to see the whole town burning and infested with monsters. That's the first punch. You see Deckard Cain in a cage, being tortured in every way. That's the second punch. Then... you see Griswold, the kindly blacksmith as an incredibly tough ZOMBIE, a mindless "boss" coming to get you. That right there is a very heavy punch. Just to be extra mean, there are mangled human corpses lying in the spots that every other one of the townspeople occupied in the first game, and you can even find Wirt's wooden leg (but then, nobody liked him much).


  • In the Rikti War Zone arcs of City of Heroes, Lt. Sefu Tendaji, the Longbow agent who's generally friendly toward you regardless of whatever other issues Longbow and Vanguard have, fills this role.
    • What makes it a wonderfully painful Punch isn't that he's built up nicely as a sympathetic figure, working first as an extremely useful ally and then as an honorable (if hard to defeat) enemy. It's that he isn't even killed for a good reason. He's not a threat, about to uncover the terrible secret behind the Rikti War. He's not an inspirational symbol of how enemies can team up to challenge a greater evil. No, he's killed because Nemesis is a racist. That's the point where he goes from Magnificent Bastard to Complete Monster.
    • The game gives us a new one in Issue 17: You're given a doppelganger who at first is an opponent, but then starts working with you on your missions. At the end of the arc, they're all alone fighting off dozens of clones of you while you're taking on the mastermind behind the whole mess. You win, but the fight takes its toll on your double; they stay behind to make sure the bombs they set go off, and you race to get them out... you're forcefully kicked from the mission just as you're about to reach them and everything explodes around you.
  • In the Wrath of the Lich King expansion in World of Warcraft. Any player, Horde or Alliance, who has experienced it needs only to hear the words Angra'thar the Wrath Gate.
    • Less so on Horde side, though. Alliance loses Bolvar Fordragon, the benevolent regent of Stormwind, who had been in the game for more than two years and had saved the player character from being ambushed by the dragon Onyxia. Horde loses Saurfang the Younger, who, unlike his Badass father, had done nothing remarkable until the Wrath Gate.
      • Except that wasn't the only thing the Horde lost: Apart from the emotional significance of delivering the news of Saurfang the Younger's death to his father, the Horde must then confront one of their former racial leaders, Varimathras, who has been in the game since launch and even started quest lines for younger characters. The Horde falls under martial law, the Forsaken have to, well, forsake their home until Thrall, Sylvanas and Vol'jin can storm the Undercity with the player character (and any friends he/she brings) and put an end to Varimathras, removing him from the game permanently. And even after you tear one of the Horde's capitals down to cinders around the traitor's ears, you learn that it was still all for naught, and the Alliance king Varian Wrynn reignites the war that Thrall and the others have been fighting for years to prevent.
      • This is still a difficult quest line for the Alliance players who enjoy the lore and fleshed out story Blizzard has really put into this expansion. You first accompany Jaina Proudmoore on a diplomatic mission to Thrall about the events at the Wrathgate and find that both Jaina and Thrall are dedicated to creating peace and cooperation on both sides to fight Arthas. After you help Varian and Jaina reclaim the Undercity, Varian hears a warcry from Thrall for having defeated Varimathras and takes the fight on to Thrall and his soldiers. Wrynn then declares his goal to destroy the Horde once and for all. Jaina does stop him, but not before it's too late to stop the war. No specific player or NPC dies, just the hope for peace between the Horde and Alliance.
      • The Wrath Gate also has a.... different kind of Player Punch, specifically for Forsaken players. See, that bioweapon Putress is hocking at the Horde, Alliance AND Scourge? Yeah, every single Forsaken player had a hand in making that. There's a series of quests before you even leave the starting zone - called 'A New Plague', in which we assist the Royal Apothecary Society in the development of a new secret weapon(ized disease). When Putress roars DID YOU THINK WE HAD FORGOTTEN?, every single Forsaken on Azeroth went HOLY CRAP WE DID. It gets more evident once you reach Vengeance Landing and Venomspite, but it only sinks in after the Wrath Gate.
        • The entire Horde-side questline through Howling Fjord and Venomspite deals with the Forsaken apothecary's final preparations to bring this weapon to bear. If you ever did those zones, you were directly responsible for this.
      • The Wrath Gate comes back to haunt the player even further when one of the bosses in Icecrown Citadel turns out to be Deathbringer Saurfang. Yes, Arthas raised Saurfang the Younger after the Wrathgate incident to become his most powerful Death Knight and now the player has to kill him. Again. Alliance and Horde each even get their own versions of an in-game cutscene to beat the crap out of you even more:
        • Horde players are accompanied by High Overlord Saurfang -- his father—when he appears at the entrance to the Upper Spire and asks his father to join him in service to Arthas. The High Overlord responds, "My boy died at the Wrathgate. I am only here to claim his body." before charging into battle. After the battle, Saurfang kneels over his son's body and weeps before carrying it to the airship to take him to Nagrand to be placed with his mother at the ancestral burial grounds.
        • For Alliance players, when the fight is over, the High Overlord arrives to claim his son's body, only to be stopped by Muradin Bronzebeard. Muradin is about to resort to force when Jaina Proudmoore teleports herself and King Wrynn onto the scene. Considering Wrynn and Saurfang's history, when the King tells Muradin, "Stand down, Muradin. Let a grieving father pass," every single Alliance player knows exactly how much a Crowning Moment Of Heartwarming this is.
    • And anyone who's played a death knight needs only to hear the words "A Special Surprise" for still another.
      • Night Elf Death Knights have it the worst out of all the races. For Night Elves, the target of the quest is their caretaker while they were still an infant. DAMN.
    • For many Horde players, if they can find her, delivering the news to Mankrik about his wife can be a sobering task.
    • For Alliance players, there's Emmy Malin. Emmy is a captain in Malygos' anti-magic army and is in charge of one of the ley line foci located in southwestern Dragonblight. Player characters have to kill her to get a ring necessary for reading and recording information stored in the focus she's guarding. When looted by an Alliance character, her corpse proves to hold a letter she had written to her father, detailing how she had been forced into serving Malygos and that she had been working from the inside to sabotage the corrupted blue dragons' plans. The questgiver tells the PCs that they shouldn't feel guilty as there was no way they could have known, and Emmy's father, an Archmage in Dalaran, even sends a letter later saying that he understands the actions taken by the PCs and forgives them . . . but damn. That's still a kick in the gut.
      • The same goes in Horde version for Ta'zinni, who had a similar backstory and of course another quest requires you to kill him as well. Converse to the Alliance equivalent, Ta'zinni's sister sends the player a letter swearing vengeance on whoever killed her brother, your exact role in his death being covered up when she was informed.
    • A Horde example at the end of the Pit of Saron instance, with the death of SpartOrcus in the middle of a Rousing Speech praising the players' triumph. The real punch isn't his death though, but rather Sylvannas's posthumous mockery of him.
    • The final battle with Arthas in Icecrown Citadel is a literal player punch for the PCs. After a long, difficult and grueling fight against The Lich King, once he reaches a certain health level, he effortlessly wipes your entire raid. He tells you that he's been waiting for you to fight your way through to him and now the most powerful heroes in Azeroth will become his most powerful Death Knights. Oops. Fortunately the spirit of his father appears to resurrect your team and assist in finally beating Arthas down.
    • The Battle of Darrowshire. While we see why the Plaguelands is called Plaguelands, finding a ghost of a little girl is a completely different thing.
    • A good Punch (though not actually tear-jerking) comes with the unbelievably long quest chain (the longest in the game) in The Storm Peaks, where you basically reinvigorate a downcast Thorim to raze hell only to find out that everything you'd done for Lok'lira the Crone, from freeing her to the end of the quest chain, was actually for Thorim's Jerkass brother Loken. It's your fault that Thorim gets captured and corrupted. It's your fault that Veranus, a noble proto-dragon broodmother and Thorim's old ally, is tortured and transformed into Razorscale. This isn't a Player Punch, so much as it's a Player Instant-Hell-Murder.
    • In the old Duskwood zone, there was a very long questline you do for a nice old man living in a shack at the edge of the woods. His requests for things like ghoul ribs, plague flowers etc. aren't really that strange considering what else this game has had you do so far. And he only wants to make wacky voodoo charms to protect himself, right? Up until he hands you a note to take to the town mayor, informing them about the horrific abomination that he's created and is about to unleash on their town. Which so you kindly helped him to build.
      • Also in Duskwood is the saga of Mortimer Ladimir, the selfless paladin who spent his entire life sacrificing for the good of others, only to be caught by despair and corruption following the death of his wife and children. Also known as Mor'Ladim, the elite-level killer revenant who will appear out of the dark mists without warning to kill your ass while you're trying to complete quests in the eerie graveyard of Raven Hill.
  • In Vindictus, Ellis is a cadet who at first comes off as the "Oh I'm happy to be here" cadet for the royal army. After it's implied that the royal army was the provocation of a recently destroyed village he almost breaks at the mere thought that his ideals were not those of his army's, to the point of appearing sad for the first time. When he gets permission to examine the incident, he rushes off to the village to examine. The normally Cloudcuckoolander old man realizes just how deadly that was, and warns you that you had better get over there fast. He promptly gets brutalized and then killed when you finally catch up to him.

Platform Games

  • Klonoa: Door to Phantomile has two—first, we discover that Klonoa was never a resident of the world to begin with, but is really a dream traveller destined to travel from world to world wherever danger goes, and that all of his memories of his life there were false ones implanted by his friend Huepow. Then, we have the absolutely gut-wrenching ending where Klonoa is permanently sent away from Dream Phantomile, just after Huepow tried in vain to keep him from being sucked away.
  • Super Metroid did this with the Metroid larva which imprinted on Samus as its mother at the end of the second game. Its kidnapping starts the plot of Super and when we next see it outside its little case, it's been mutated to a horrendously huge size. In a rather touching scene, the giant Metroid nearly kills Samus, but suddenly backs off when it recognizes its "mother." The Metroid is later killed by Mother Brain while rescuing Samus from her near lethal wounds. Considering you're given an ungodly powerful gun as the Metroid's last sacrifice, Mother Brain probably didn't have time to process she was vaporized before you finish the monster off.
    • And on top of all this, the Metroid gives an absolutely pitiable death cry when Mother Brain blasts it. Try to find a Metroid fan who isn't affected by that sound.
    • What makes it even more of a Player Punch is that Mother Brain reactivates and starts blasting the poor Metroid with all her power, but the Metroid refuses to flee or even let go of Samus until the latter is fully healed. The Metroid's bright green shell and crimson nuclei darken gradually as the energy drain/Mother Brain assault combination slowly kills it, and any first-time player is likely screaming at the Metroid to go away before it really dies.
      • In Metroid: Other M the scene where Ridley finally makes a full appearance and Samus flashes back to when he killed her parents, it truly drives home that while Samus is an ultra-hard, unstoppable Badass, she's that way a great deal in part because her parents were brutally murdered right before her eyes when she was just a little girl.
  • Sonic Adventure 2 has Robotnik apparently kill main hero Sonic, acting as a Player Punch for his sidekick Tails.
  • Tomb Raider Underworld: Poor Alister. And as for Amelia Croft, it's a punch to both the player and Lara.
  • The death of Dan at the hands of recurring villain Asha in Iji. There is a way to save him, but one you're not likely to find the first time you play the game.
    • For that matter, the death of Tasen Soldier KG111:PAIE and the rest of the surviving Tasen is fairly crushing. Three of them can, however, be saved.
  • Ape Escape had the villainous albino monkey Specter kidnap and brainwash the protagonist's friend Jake (the only person who would have been directly able to help him, and considering his superior jumping ability, he would have been a big help) and pit the two against each other three times, the third time resulting in a broken arm for Jake.
  • Jak 3 had that horrifying death scene with Damas. During said scene, we discover that he's Jak's father. Jak figures out right away, but Damas doesn't and he dies before he got to know the son he missed WAS Jak! Veger, YOU ARE SO GOING TO DIE! Too bad the game doesn't even give you the pleasure of beating him up; though he at least ends up humiliated.
  • Bentley being crippled by Clock-La near the end of Sly Cooper 2. It's made even more heartbreaking because you have to do the standard button-mashing sequence as Murray to get him out, but no matter how hard you try, he can't be saved. It's even worse when Bentley cries for someone to pick him up and causes poor Murray to go walk the Earth for peace.
    • Also, many players came to really love Arpeggio. But when Clockla killed him...CLOCKLA WILL DIE IN THE PITS OF HELL!
  • When Ignitus gets killed in The Legend of Spyro, you really start pulling out all the stops.
  • In the Flash game The Company of Myself, it is strongly implied that something bad happened to the narrator's girlfriend, Kathryn. It still comes as a shock when you get to the flashback level where you have to sacrifice Kathryn to proceed.
  • In Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, the Sands transform the Prince's father into a boss. Guess what happens.
    • Warrior Within: In case you didn't figure it out, that attractive woman who the Prince has been having sexual tension with for most of the game? That's the Empress of Time. And she's been trying to kill you. Oh, and you have to kill yourself. It Makes Sense in Context.
    • The Two Thrones: The Prince's father is dead, and has been so for a while.
  • Can Your Pet? looks at first glance like a harmless little virtual pet game where you get to customize an adorable baby chick, feed it, shower it, play with it and so forth. The more you do with your pet, the more options get unlocked at the bottom of the screen, leading all the way up to the bicycle at the far right.. It's not a bicycle at all. Click it and the floor drops out from under your pet, sending it falling into a black void; the bicycle icon then grows huge, flips upside-down, and reveals itself to be a pair of buzzsaws that promptly process your pet Ludicrous Gibs-style into a pile of chicken parts which fall down into a can labeled with whatever name you gave your pet. And all the while this obnoxious chicken song is playing. That's right, the game tricks you into not only killing your pet, but butchering it as well. And its title is a terrible pun.
  • At the very end of Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter,The very world you've been working hard to save for the past three games is forced to be put to an end for the sake of keeping two characters alive in the real world.
  • Mega Man X's Zero ends up being a major player punch when, true to his name, he kamikazes Vile (the planes used at Pearl Harbor were called Zeros - although this is not the origin of his name). And it also seems that X himself channels the player punch by breaking out of an electrocage, having his health refill and finally having his weapons restored.
    • The player punch feelings comes up again after defeating Vile with the conversation, and gift, that Zero will give you if you didn't get the buster upgrade.
      • By the by, if this scene is too much for someone to handle in the SNES version, do not play the PSP remake. It's much worse.
    • And the favor is eventually returned in Mega Man Zero. Elpizo destroys X's body in order to release the Dark Elf.
      • This one is worse...because Zero made it in time, but was immobilized and could only watch helplessly.
    • This scene is somewhat mirrored in Mega Man ZX, when the Big Bad takes control of Zero's ZX Expy, Girouette and forces the two of you to fight to the death. You don't get to Take a Third Option.
    • Iris. Zero's really, really pissed after this especially since he was forced to fight her. Cue Unstoppable Rage that would span the last few stages of the game. Afterwards, he even wonders if he's actually capable of saving anyone he cares for. Ouch...
  • Kwolok's demise in Ori and the Will of the Wisps is widely regarded as the saddest moment in the game: just as things are getting better and the land starts to heal itself, the Big Good suddenly gets brainwashed by the Stink Spirit that nearly killed Ori earlier and forced to fight him to the death. The Stink Spirit is brutal, literally using Kwolok as a battering ram during the fight, and all you can do is attack the visibly struggling and suffering Kwolok until he snaps out of the brainwashing and crushes the Stink Spirit himself, before dying of his injuries after a last farewell to Ori.

Puzzle Games

  • Stray Souls Dollhouse Story. The main character Danielle frees the clown, who promises to free Sam, who's locked in a cage, and she's just about to be reunited... when the clown pushes her in and it turns out to be a mannequin. That's pretty harsh...
  • The defenseless, innocent, immobile, inanimate Companion Cube from Portal.
    • Worse (especially for players who didn't get attached to the cube, or had already given up on empathy when you have to use it to block a plasma ball) is the screams of the cheerily curious little Curiosity Core as it meets the same fate as the Companion Cube.

Ooh, what's thatYAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

  • Subverted early on in Portal 2: GLaDOS crushes Wheatley, the friendly, chatty, funny little personality core that was helping you navigate to freedom through the ruins of the Enrichment Center. Being an Aperture robot, he wasn't exactly attentive to your risks, and he very suddenly pops back up in Chapter 3 to help you out again, with a cracked lense and twitching spark now and then but perfectly fine otherwise. But the real subversion kicks in when he becomes corrupt and villainous for the second half of the game, stopping your escape elevator mid-ascension. Given how he's less than compassionate even when he was helping you, his eventual fate doesn't fall into this category.
    • Played very straight with the dear old Companion Cube in Chapter 2 though, served with a hearty side of chain yanking. It's given no introduction, but players of the first game recognize it as their dear friend, and disintegrates the second you pick it up. GLaDOS taunts you about it as she replaces it with a new Companion Cube, which she also destroys, so she can taunt you again with how very expendable the Cube is as she summons a third one you can actually use. Then the Aperture Science Material Emancipation Grill in that chamber just-so-happens to be broken, so you can even smuggle the Companion Cube out of the chamber...only for GLaDOS to destroy it as you step in the elevator.
      • Made worse when GLaDOS says that the Companion Cubes do have a rudimentary intelligence, and aren't just inanimate objects.
    • The turrets. Oh god, the turrets. They have adorable voices, but you are often forced to kill them. As you kill them, they will say things like "I don't blame you" or "Good night" just to make you feel worse about yourself.
      • And if that isn't bad enough, look at the sequel. On the Turret Redemption Line, you can save a still-functioning turret, but if you try to take it into the next room, it disintegrates. When the defective turrets are flung into the incinerator, you can stand in front of it and save them, for which they will be joyful and say "Let's get this started! All right!" However, they explode shortly after you place them on the ground. Finally, when you switch it so the working turrets get flung into the incinerator instead of the defective ones, they shout things like, "But I did everything you aaaaaaasked!" and "WheeeeeeOH NO!" You also later get to see them in the moment they get crushed in between gears, still shouting.

Real Time Strategy

  • In Sacrifice, depending on which plot branch the player follows, this can happen with Shakti (arguably the most sympathetic character in the game, including is the plot branch where the player chooses to follow the banner of Stratos: After a number of levels where the player character and Shakti collaborate, Stratos decides to break his alliance with Shakti's patron, and signal the break by having Shakti murdered - and gives the job of murdering her to the player.
  • In StarCraft it's Mengsk betraying Kerrigan.
    • In Brood Wars in the Zerg missions the player has to kill Fenix.
  • In the first half of Stronghold 's military campaign, the player gets to listen to the friendly banter of Sir Longarm and Lord Woolsack in-between missions. Some time later Sir Longarm has to leave so to negotiate with the captors of the king, while you and Woolsack attack the remainder traitors in two fronts(though for what reason he of all people is sent to do such a thing while the obviously inferior Woolsack gets to smash things remains a mystery). Soon after the player character learns that while his forces were preoccupied with the Wolf, Duc Truffe has defeated Woolsack's army and put him down. Having about a second for that information to sink in before the player hears the Pig boasting about how he violently tortured the old wheezer to death doesn't help much.
    • After all of this, burning his place down twice before finishing him off seems legit.

Rhythm Games

  • In the Bit.Trip series, the players themselves are forced to kill CommanderVideo to beat the Recurring Boss Mingrawn Timbletot. Given that the series is a metaphor for human life, it's believed this actually is symbolic of the protagonist being Driven to Suicide.

Role Playing Games

  • The Conquest Ending to Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 is nothing but a string of these. In it, Nepgear has to power up a evil-slaying sword to vanquish Arfoire, which can only be done by killing off the other CPUs. You then have to fight each one and win, except Neptune who dies in a cutscene. After Ge-Ge has done all that and managed to kill Arfoire, it goes even farther by Arfoire gloating that now that there are no other CPUs, Gamindustri will stagnate and collapse, giving Arfoire the despair needed to resurrect and destroy whatever is left. If there's any consolation, it's that you get to keep the sword in your inventory if you start a New Game+.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Kingdom Hearts 358 Days Over 2. Earlier in the game, the main characters talked about going to the beach on their next day off. This never happens, for a number of reasons. At the end of the game, Roxas wakes up in Digital Twilight Town, at the beginning of Kingdom Hearts II, not remembering anything. The next cut shows him running to the Usual Spot with this line: "I hope we make it to the beach this summer!" It's sad enough for those just playing Days. It's really twisting the knife for those that have already played Kingdom Hearts II, and know what happens at the end of the prologue.
    • Also, the final boss of the game; a very sweet girl turned Tragic Monster by a Trauma Conga Line. She turns into a monster, and you have to kill her. Made worse by the fact that she gets Ret Goned right afterwards, so while you're sobbing your eyes out, none of the characters know someone who should be there...isn't... It's made even worse by the fact that Roxas forgets who she is and what had just happened while she's still dying. "Am I... the one who did this to you?" To add insult to injury, while Roxas is struggling to hold on to his memory, he takes it upon himself to remind the player that he doesn't know anything about friends other than "[those whom] I eat ice cream with." And if that's not enough, as her death scene plays out, it's revealed to ultimately be her Morton's Fork: If she doesn't die, Sora can never wake up and Xemnas wins, so she tricks Roxas into killing her, to pull her Heroic Sacrifice, while giving Roxas the motivation to turn on Xemnas. That's right, you spend a game getting attached to this girl, only to kill her so that Kingdom Hearts II happens.
    • Birth By Sleep, not to be outdone, turns the destruction of everything its three leads care for into its villains' modus operandi. The two most painful punches, however, are the murder of a weakened Master Eraqus at Master Xehanort's hand when Terra's already an emotional wreck over simply raising his blade against the man he sees as a father and Aqua's return to the Land of Departure after its destruction, carrying a comatose Ventus and remembering her failure to keep her promise to Eraqus and bring Terra back as a Master.
      • BBS was made even worse by Mood Whiplash when the characters happily promise to always be together... and then their voices tell you, in unison, exactly what happens next.

"That was the last night we ever spent beneath the same stars."

  • Sakura Wars V rolls with the Player Punches near the end. To wit: Watching Oda Nobunaga wreck New York City after having spent every mission up to that point saving it, having player character Shinjiro nearly killed by Nobunaga, discovering that the only way to defeat Nobunaga would require your love interest to sacrifice her life...
  • Lucien, Big Bad of Fable 2 goes out above and beyond the call of this trope. In order: first he kills your sister (your only family) in front of you, immediately afterwards he shoots and very nearly kills you, a decade later he enslaves you as a guard (with regular torture, of course) for ten years as a young adult, then he takes all of your allies after you escape, personally kills your spouse and children, and just to top it off he kills your faithful dog. All of this alongside his various other atrocities. At some points it seems like the bastard spends his free time looking for new ways to piss you off.
  • Phantasy Star II had Nei, the cute little biomonster-human hybrid that the protagonist has adopted as his surrogate little sister. About halfway through the game, we encounter her prototype: the brutal Neifirst who quickly disposes of her "little sister." Cue the boss music!
    • InPhantasy Star IV, where players shouldn't really get attached to anyone in the last slot in their party, because they have an average life expectancy of less than an hour for the middle part of the game. Even if they don't die, they generally leave the party almost as soon as they've joined.
    • On top of that, Alys' death was just plain undignified. She got hit with an extremely virulent attack, and spent a week dying in bed with the characters visiting her regularly. The initial punch came with the infection, then was just drawn out rather than the usual 'stab-dead-wait what?'
    • The worst part is that the story arc that comes right after Alys' wound is a desperate chase after Rune, the most competent sorcerer of The Verse. So what happens? They find a vehicle to reach the region where he is, find the guy, bring him back to Alys, and what does he say? "Nope, that's beyond my expertise, she's going to die." Yeah. The last two dungeons, and the Hope Spot when you finally found the guy? All for nothing.
  • Final Fantasy
    • In Final Fantasy II, your party has a rotating fourth slot for guest characters—almost all of whom die. Even when they don't, you're usually left to think so for a while. Few moments from the NES era are as depressing as when Josef's little daughter realizes her daddy won't be coming home.
      • Also, while it's less personal than losing a party member, the Dreadnought's destruction of several towns you've visited is a tough pill to swallow. What's worse, you don't see it happen—you just see the murderous airship take off, and then the next time you enter a town, it's in ruins. You can even talk to the few survivors, including at least one newly orphaned child. Before this event, the player probably dismissed the Emperor as a generic RPG villain. No more.
    • Final Fantasy III's Kraken would be unremarkable were it not for his cold-blooded killing of your guide, who's a defenseless maiden. The only bright side is that this comes before the fight—allowing you to take full payment out of Kraken's briny hide.
      • In actuality, he was aiming for your party leader. The maiden pushes him out of the way and gets hit. So, her death doubles as a player punch and Heroic Sacrifice.
    • Meanwhile, Final Fantasy IV gives us plenty of Player Punch fodder, and actually does so on a gradually increasing "caring" scale. For instance, one believes, unless he/she has read about the game online, that Rydia, who the player has from almost the beginning, is lost when the ship is attacked by Leviathan (who technically isn't a baddie). Later, after a fight with the second Elemental Fiend, Porom and Palom, bite it. Later, you get back Tellah, who now knows almost EVERY spell in the game, and not even half way through the story, who naturally gets his own later fighting Golbez. A bit later Yang saves the Dwarf Kingdom from a giant cannon by stuffing his body into the barrel, and minutes later the quirky engineer Cid blows himself up to block a pursuing enemy force. Then there's Edge and his parents.
    • Final Fantasy V. Galuf. Exdeath is torturing the party, they can't move, then Krile shows up and Exdeath tosses her around like a rag doll and that old man gets up and beats him down. Even though Exdeath's first attack takes him down to 0HP and he hits him with the game's most powerful spells one after another. When he sends Exdeath packing, the party breaks out every healing item and spell that they have (Cleverly averting the Gameplay and Story Segregation), while Krile breaks down and desperately pleads with him not to die. It doesn't work, and his last words are to tell them to keep going and defeat Exdeath. You will be more then happy to fulfill his last wish.
      • Earlier on, Final Fantasy V had Syldra - Faris's best (perhaps only) friend through most of the pirate's life, who's briefly introduced to the party by hilariously scaring the crap out of them. Then comes the boss of the Worus Canal...and much later in the first world, when you've thought Syldra dead and gone, she returns to save the whole party from the Worus Tower, at the cost of her own life. The cry after the screen fades to black is truly heartbreaking. Thankfully, once Exdeath remerges the worlds, she is resurrected as a Summon.
    • Final Fantasy VI had General Leo, who, despite being on the other side, was an incredibly sympathetic character, particularly in contrast to Complete Monster Kefka. Probably doesn't help that the game lets you play as him in all his overpowered glory defending innocent people right before his death. Kefka was a bad guy before (he long-since crossed the Moral Event Horizon after the poisoning of Doma,) but damned if that didn't hammer it in.
      • To be honest, the entire first half of the game exists only to establish Kefka as the most Complete Monster possible. See: the enslavement of Terra, the attack on Figaro, the poisoning of Doma, the attack on Narshe, the scenes in the Magitek Research Facility, the murder of Leo and all the Espers, the murder of Gestahl and the sundering of the world.
      • The death of Cid, assuming you let him die, which hits especially hard when you find out in some guide somewhere that it's your fault for feeding the sick old man whatever lousy fish you could get your hands on. He had just adopted Celes as his granddaughter, you jerk! But many players think that it is better for Cid to die because of the poignant attempted suicide that follows as well as being better character development for Celes.
      • One of the recurring themes in Final Fantasy VI is dealing with the tragic death of a loved one (and thus many Player Punches, even characters killed in flashbacks). Locke is hurt when he didn't get to hear how Rachel felt about him when she died (she was killed in an Imperial attack). The murder of Cyan's family (during the poisoning of Doma) would haunt him throughout the game, leading to his nightmare in the World of Ruin. Gau is literally thrown out into the world alone, shunned by his own father and forced to fend for himself until he finding his true family within the heroes. Setzer loses his friend Daryl, but finds hope in her airship. The death of Sabin and Edgar's father (due to Imperial poison) would test them as brothers. Terra loses her "guide" when Leo is killed. Cid expends all his energy caring for Celes and if he dies, Celes doesn't realize what he done for her until after her suicide attempt fails. Some characters never get over their loss, Shadow for example. While Final Fantasy VII may have one of the most famous character kills of all time, Final Fantasy VI goes deeper into the theme of tragic loss.
      • There is also a town of orphaned children, and post-sundering, virtually everyone you meet has lost a loved one.
    • Final Fantasy VII is a definite case, with regards to Aerith's death; from the cutscene itself to the boss battle following it, the characters' reactions, the funeral cutscene, revisiting Aerith's (adoptive) mother, and the continuing effect on the story even in the sequels, there's probably never been a Plotline Death in the history of videogames so clearly designed to linger with the player long after the fact.
      • To this day the first sticky on any FFVII forum has to be titled "no you can't revive Aerith". This was made worse by the fact that you could see shops selling upgrades to Aerith's staff all the way to the end. Apparently this was done to punch the players some more but everyone took it to mean there must have been some way for Aerith to survive...
      • Ten years later, they managed to repeat this with a game that is essentially a massive Player Punch just waiting to strike with Crisis Core. Every Final Fantasy VII fan already knows what is going to happen, but it still counts a Tear Jerker for a number of people who played it. The fact that Zack's death scene is meant to be complimentary to Aerith's only made it more poignant.
        • The Modeoheim mission in Crisis Core where Zack is forced to do in his mentor, sometimes considered father-figure, Angeal And later the scene/cutscene where he confronts Sephiroth, who has become one of his dear friends and gets soundly thrashed only watch then watch this same best-friend-gone-beserk shishkebab his "adopted" little trooper.
      • Remember the people in the slums? The innocents that you've been drawn to, that you're fighting for? Remember Sector 7?
    • This occurs in Final Fantasy IX to the mindless Black Mages, who resemble the main character Vivi, aboard an airship early in the game. They end up getting systematically annihilated by a boss, much to Vivi's horror, after they try to protect the party.
    • Final Fantasy X has Luzzu and Gatta, whom you encounter frequently throughout the early points of the game and observe their actions as they follow the doomed military organization, The Crusaders. Eventually one of them (whom you can choose) dies in a horrifically failed attack on near Cosmic Horror Sin. Just to rub it in, afterwards you can have another encounter with the survivor, who is invariably torn up with grief, horror, and guilt.
      • Later in the game, when it's revealed to Tidus that performing the Final Summoning to defeat Sin (which has been Yuna's goal since long before her introduction) will KILL the summoner. Made even more of a Player Punch by Tidus's extremely emotional reaction as he laments all the things he said to Yuna that now seem extremely cruel, considering she'd be dead (like offering to return with her to certain places after beating Sin).
      • The entire population of Ronso (with the exceptions of the Blitzball team and Kimahri) are slaughtered by Seymour in a brutally subverted You Shall Not Pass moment, which thankfully occurs offscreen. The Al Bhed suffer a similar fate, but not to quite the same extent, at the hands of the Guado, but you actually have to walk through their burning home.
    • Final Fantasy X-2, the sequel, has a particularly nasty one. There is one mission in Chapter 3 which may be difficult depending on answers to questions in the previous two chapters. The mission is not essential to continue the story, and you can get an accessory for skipping it - but the boss you didn't fight will commit genocide on the Guado.
    • The Face Heel Turn variety occurs with Vossler in Final Fantasy XII, after he's helped your party twice as well.
    • In Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Crystal Bearers, there are plenty of NPCs to interact with but only between six and nine real characters. Of the three female characters, Belle is a greedy, whiny, ungrateful backstabber (though she gets better by the end), Altea doesn't really interact with the player character that often for most of the game, and Amidatelion/Goldenrod is the one the player spends time chasing around as an enemy only to find out that her reasons for putting people in danger were more sound than they initially seemed (though the player may or may not agree with her actions at the point) and that she wants you to come over to her side. Plus, her VA was way more interesting and less annoying than Belle's. So it's not easy when Jegran kills her by turning her to crystal and the player character holds her in his arms while she dies telling him how helpful he's been and how much she's learned from him.
  • In Baldur's Gate II, Big Bad Jon Irenicus establishes his evil credentials in the opening sequence by torturing and kidnapping the PC's childhood friend, fan favorite and Loveable Rogue Imoen. Originally, the developers planned on having you arrive to rescue her only to find her driven insane by the tortures inflicted on her. Fan outcry was so great that the game was altered so that she got better.
    • Khalid and Dynaheir, however, were not so lucky; both got tortured and killed by Irenicus and their bodies mutilated (although neither were as well-characterized as Imoen). Also, there was that whole Yoshimo business in Spellhold, which worked just as well as perma-insane Imoen would have in making one hate Irenicus' guts. Especially as you have to cut out his heart to keep him from going to hell for all eternity.
    • The Harpers' killing of Harmless Villains Xzar and Montaron was their Player Punch.
    • How about YOU killing Ajantis?
    • In the original Baldur's Gate, having to fight the doppelgangers of the people of Candlekeep.
  • Speaking of inanimate object "death," Grodus from Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door ups the antipathy by deleting TEC-XX's files as the computer sends Peach's last (incomplete) message and tells her in a text scroll that he loves her.
    • And again in Super Paper Mario, with Luvbi. Granted, she wasn't killed by the bad guys (not directly anyway), nor was she the most likable character, but it was still a motivator. Of course, not as much as Tippi.
    • In terms of player punch inducing villainy, Dimentio's revelation of just how psychotic he is by attempting to kill the defenseless Bleck, then laughing about it when his shot hits Nastasia instead.
    • Not to mention having to essentially fight Luigi as the Final Boss, after he's been brainwashed and consumed by the power of the Chaos Heart by Dimentio. He recovers, but damn, that's harsh.
    • Or the young Squirps. Sure, he's basically like an annoying little kid for the entire level, but then you get to the very end of it, and dear god, the poor little kid is all alone.
    • What about Sammer's Kingdom? Fight your way through a tournament full of enemies, only to lose the race against time. You come back to the world to find the colorful landscape reduced to a white background and a few crumbled line drawings, and the Pure Heart is inert.
  • In the beginning of Neverwinter Nights, PC can chat with some fellow students NPCs, and even flirt with them—with the choice to make an appointment for graduation evening or spurn their advances. They have just enough quirks to be potentially interesting. However, if player liked them, hoped for Optional Sexual Encounter or just was curious, disappointment is imminent: all these NPCs will be slaughtered by evil scripts in a surprise attack on Neverwinter Academy.
    • Aribeth's defection is a really big one too.
    • The fan-made module The Bastard of Kosigan has a couple in the second chapter, at least for good players. Alex's death and the brutal murder of both of your cousins, the older one's family, and your uncle are pretty bad.
    • The first chapter of the fan-made module A Dance With Rogues feels like it is designed to throw these at you in succession, spaced just widely enough apart that you get hit by one immediately after you get over the last one. It starts with your family's death in the prologue, followed by some time for your character to adjust to her new life and start picking up the pieces, and then your good friend Caron is slaughtered by the Dhorn, followed by a few more adventures to give you a chance to get over it, and then the Dhorn find and capture the entire leadership of Master Nathan's group, starting you on the mission that forms the core of the second chapter.
    • Adam Miller's NWN Shadowlords/Dreamcatcher/Demon campaigns pull off a rather unique instance of the trope. In the first model of Dreamcatcher, your NPC partner (who has stuck with you since the beginning of the Shadowlords campaign, and who you have quite likely romanced or become very good friends with) begins to act strangely. Around this time you encounter some Doppelgangers. Enough dialogue will reveal that your partner has been replaced by a Doppelgänger, which then attacks you - and when you kill it, your partner is still missing. Cue bloody rampage until you find him/her.
  • In Neverwinter Nights 2, this occurs when Shandra Jerro suffers a Plotline Death at the hands of her own grandfather. This is not so much upsetting because the player has developed affection for the character, but because she is replaced by the aforementioned grandfather, a warlock, thereby shifting the melee/magic balance of your party.
    • And as he comes in late in the game, you don't get to spec him to your liking, and he turns out to be fairly useless. Most frustratingly, there are two cases in which he's a required party member, one of them at the very end of the game.
    • Fortunately, he had a much better personality than Shandra (who many players despised) and was possibly one of the most enjoyable party members in the game.
    • After indirectly destroying Shandra's farm and endangering her life, she joins your party, where she becomes your squire and learns the life of a hero. Spending weeks training (okay, this was off-screen) and encouraging her, helping to save each other and her effectively being a mirror to you and your life, she gets killed because of several misunderstandings by her grandfather. Who joins you afterwards. Ouch. Luckily, he's more likable than it initially seems.
  • Subverted exquisitely in Contact where the companion who's betrayed Terry, the main character is the player him/herself. Forced to fight Terry with your stylus, this makes the player hate themselves. Fantastic.
    • Hey, don't make it sound Darker and Edgier than it actually is. Terry doesn't betray the player, he just gets fed up and attacks you out of frustration after the game's Shaggy Dog Ending. And it's not a fight to the death- you tussle until he collapses exhausted, then he says Screw This, I'm Outta Here.
  • Required Super Robot Wars reference: in the Original Generation games, we meet the Colonel Badass Daitetsu. He's old, but experienced, a father-figure for his crew, and one of the few people that can keep up with Bottle Fairy Excellen. Over the course of the two games he's in, he manages to survive a hopeless battle against the Aerogators in the back story and escape back to Earth, the Kurogane drilling a hole through his ship, Gaza nearly destroying the ship, taking on several Sealed Evil in a Can entities, and encouraging his XO Tetsuya to grow and become a captain as well. Three quarters of OG 2, Lee Linjun hits his Moral Event Horizon by firing on Daitetsu's ship in a way that kills the man. The crew is devastated, and Elzam sheds his Paper-Thin Disguise for the funeral because maintaining it would be an insult to Daitetsu's honor. Tetsuya gets his revenge when he uses the Kurogane to cut through Lee's ship at the end of the game. This final moment is poignant and emotional.
    • Hey at least we may see Lee gets an even worse punishment, should he even show his face to you again.
    • There are plenty of other Player Punches in SRW, but most are spoiled by knowledge of the shows involved, and the fact that generally a fan favourite will be savable.
      • Here's one more involving the Originals: Poor Toby Watson in Super Robot Wars Z is a member of the Glory Star along with heroine Setsuko Ohara and his superior Denzel Hammer. He's separated with Setsuko after Asakim murders Denzel. For some reason, he manages to reunite with Setsuko after much hardships. And then they meet Asakim again... who proceeds to kill him in front of Setsuko. That alone cements Asakim as one of the Complete Monster amongst the original characters.
        • And to say nothing of Setsuko herself. Denzel was basically a father to her, Asakim kills him due to an unfortunate bit of irony (Denzel switched mechs with Setsuko that stage and Asakim was gunning for her). Break the World sends her away from Toby and has her lose her memories. She gets better, only to have Toby get shot down and Rand want to kill her due to a misunderstanding. One retrofit later, Toby comes back, only to shoot her down this time. Surprise, surprise, it's Asakim. He proceeds to describe how her suffering is the only way that he can die, for she is something of a Barrier Maiden for parallel universes and her despair weakens the connection. While brutalizing (and possibly raping) her. Then her alternate dimension comrades try to kill her because of misinformation from the true Big Bad. Finally, it's possible to lose her route; at which point she loses her sight, smell, and hearing before dying in absolute despair. Isn't it Sad, Secchin?
      • MX has among the most sadistic Player Punch ever Rahxephon has just averted the Bardiel incident from Evangelion, saving Touji. The tradeoff? This stage also has the same part where Ayato accidentally kills Asahina because she was synced with the Dolem Ayato was fighting. Think those guys at Banpresto would have a way to avert this sequence like so many other times? That we'd be saved a Tear Jerker Kill the Cutie and we'd have warm fuzzies seeing her live? FUCKING HELL NO. What's worse, not only does Ayato still kill Asahina, this sequence is done WITH THE PLAYER IN CONTROL. That's right. YOU have to make Ayato do the deed. Needless to say, anyone who can't stand being forced to Kill the Cutie / The Woobie is in for a kick in the balls.
      • 2nd Super Robot Wars Alpha First, The Cutie Token Loli Irui turn out to be the Big Bad. At least you got to choose either to kill her or try convincing her back. Choose latter and her alter ego takeover and become True Final Boss. When you finally defeat it, only two of protagonists can save her from exploding Physical God. The worst got to be Ibis's events. As our heroine tries to rescue her, Irui knows that Ibis's Fragile Speedster mech won't make it. So she used her last strength pushing Ibis away.]] At least the last game made it clear that she survives.
  • Tales (series)
    • Any seasoned player of the Tales (series) of games would know to expect one. The fist of such punches came in the very first Tales game of the series: Tales of Phantasia, where one of the things you first have to do in town before leaving to hunt boars is to deliver an apple to Chester's sister, who's such a sweetie. She doesn't survive when town gets leveled.
    • This is one of the earlier things presented in Tales of Destiny 2. Prequel hero Stahn Aileron is believed to be 'on a journey, and haven't come back'... but later we found out that before the game timeline, the game's The Dragon had him Killed Off for Real, and his son, the game's hero, was just in delusion about his dad's travels. Maybe Stahn was the hero of the first game, but he's more or less a supporting figure in the second game, where he was killed. (In a subversion, after this, instead of being thoroughly hated, said Dragon EXPLODED into a fan favorite villain. WOW)
      • Another is presented in the end of the game, after beating the final boss, time is fixed, and events such as Stahn dying is annulled. But this also annulled the revival of one of your party member Judas, a.k.a Leon Magnus, since he was supposed to be revived by the Big Bad. Which means, yes. He's dead again and never coming back, and his deeds of saving the world will be forgotten and he's still marked as a traitor in history.
    • In Tales of Symphonia's first Your Princess Is in Another Castle moment, you see the kind Klutzy, sweet Colette being sacrificed to supposedly save the world. After she gives her final, cheerful smile to her beloved Lloyd, Remiel starts off with an Evil Laugh. Not only is Lloyd, who is then sent into a berserker rage that lets him kick that angel's ass, but to at least a few players, a deep heartfelt hatred is formed towards that guy.
      • Then, once you've gotten your vengeance on Remiel, Kratos appears in a new outfit, and Remiel begs him for help. Kratos confirms Remiel's statement that he is one of the Four Seraphim and Remiel's boss, then just lets the angel die before fighting you. Kratos' betrayel is especially bad if you've gotten all the optional cut scenes with him, because it shows him bonding with Lloyd over the journey. It gets even worse when you discover that Kratos is Lloyd's father
      • And then, later, in the Temple of Lightning, Volt kills the cute, fluffy, Jerk with a Heart of Gold fox spirit Corrine.
        • Fortunately, there's an optional scene which shows that Corrine comes back as Verius, the Summon Spirit of Heart in the Martel Temple. Unfortunately, you can't actually summon him.
      • Hell, the second boss battle is a major Player Punch. The battle starts with the evil army invading and razing Lloyd's town and setting a monster on him and Genis. After you win, you find out that the monster is Marble, an old woman Genis had befriended. Even worse, the commander implies that she was turned into a monster because of her association with Genis and Lloyd.
      • Additionally, if you play the game a certain way and take too much effort to patch things up with an errant teammate Kratos, you end up facing Zelos, the vain Chosen One who's known all along that he was going to die a martyr and has quietly resented it his entire life. Zelos picks up on the values dissonance coming from the hero and decides to serve up some of his own. In this case, you kill him for real and never get to truly understand his side of things, while the other way everyone gets by happily and you have a chance to learn his motivations. He even jokes about his hatred with his usual feigned carelessness.
      • Arguably later in the game as well, when every single character who isn't Loyd in your party pulls a Heroic Sacrifice to allow Lloyd to reach Colette, Mithos/Yggdrasil and Pronyma. Granted it turns out they all managed to live somehow and as such it doesn't sting as bad, hence its arguability.
    • In Tales of the Abyss you expect to rescue Ion Just in Time, but You Are Too Late. True to the trope, the cut scene leaves you feeling like you've been punched, especially when you don't get to satisfyingly punch the Smug Snake who caused it back.
      • Smug Snake completely loses his mind, and is hardly the same person by the time you do.
      • Asch's You Shall Not Pass at the end of the game. After Luke makes him promise he'll survive.
      • When the Big Bad tricks Luke into destroying the mining town Akzeriuth, thus dropping it into the Qliphoth—a bubbling sea of toxic, boiling hot liquid mud—that's hard enough. But the scene afterwards, when the party is recuperating and a little boy is adrift in the matter how hard you try, you cannot save him, all you can do is listen to his agonized screams as he slowly sinks to his death. Probably one of the most horrifying scenes in an RPG.
      • Less horrifying but no less striking is the death of General Frings, the Mauve Shirt Reasonable Authority Figure of Malkuth's army, which kicks off the new plot developments after the month-long timeskip and shows that the world isn't as saved as you thought it was. Particularly painful if you went through the long sidequest sequence getting him and General Cecille together, and watched the character skits about how their romance was a symbol of hope for their two nations to finally get along...
  • Mass Effect delivers the metaphorical kick in the balls when Shepard is forced to leave behind either Ashley or Kaidan to die in a massive nuclear explosion, made worse by the fact that you have to choose which one kicks the bucket. Not to mention that, depending on your gender the one you kill may be your lover! And if you spare your lover, they will wonder if that's the reason. The only way out of this is to pursue Liara as a romantic interest instead.
    • Yet another choice during the same mission can be counted as an indirect Player Punch. Fan favorite Proud Warrior Race Guy Urdnot Wrex becomes incredibly angry and conflicted when he learns that Big Bad Saren had found a cure for the sterility plague affecting the Krogan... and that you will have to destroy it in order to defeat Saren. If your Charm or Intimidate scores aren't high enough, you will either have to Shoot the Dog or Ashley will do it for you.
  • Mass Effect 2 has at least three mighty player blows:
    • It begins with a player punch, specifically the destruction of the Normandy and the death of many of the named background characters, including your carefully hand-crafted Commander Shepard him/herself.
    • The deaths of any of your squadmates during the Suicide Mission. No matter who dies, you are going to feel it, either because the game goes a long way to characterize each one of them through Recruitment and Loyalty missions, or if only because you know that the only reason that squadmate died was because of your actions. You could have saved him or her, and their death is on you and you alone.
    • Be advised to put off getting that Reaper IFF until you're ready for the endgame. Sure, you can continue jetting around for as long as you like... provided you don't mind letting your ship's crew get ground up into bloody mush to fuel a fetal Reaper, one of them right before your eyes, screaming as she's melted. Even Cool Old Lady Dr. Chakwas, the only one left, gives you a What the Hell, Hero? for having let it happen. Even if you do head straight for the endgame after that scene, the only difference it makes for that scene is that the person being liquefied is a colonist from Horizon instead of Kelly.
    • Liara's reason for wanting to kill the Shadow Broker will probably make you want him/her/it/them dead as well.
    • Horizon is one hell of a Player Punch, especially if you spared your non-Liara love interest in ME1.
  • Mass Effect 3 puts both of its predecessors to shame, and not least because it starts out with Earth being curbstomped by the invading Reapers so hard that the explosions can be seen from space, and it only gets worse from there. Depending on previous choices made in 1 and 2, it could very well be called Player Punch: The Game. Even if you did everything right, the list of punches it doles out guarantees at least a few cracked ribs by the end.
    • Special mention goes to the Thessia mission. First, the critical data you were sent to retrieve is snatched from right in front of you by Kai Leng. Then, as he's flying away, Shepard watches helplessly as the last of the resistance on Thessia is crushed by the Reapers. Then, you get to explain to the Asari councilor that because your mission failed, her homeworld is pretty much doomed. Shepard even undergoes a brief Heroic BSOD, a Mass Effect first.
      • Thessia? How about Tuchanka earlier in the game? After being given a deal by the Salarian Councillor to fake the Genophage cure in exchange for Salarian war assets, Wrex and Eve procede to PREEMPTIVELY guilt trip you throughout the entire mission. At the end, you have to chose between shooting Mordin and gaining Salarian support or letting him go, apparently losing any chance of Salarian help and unleashing the Krogan on the galaxy once more. And unlike other sadistic choices in the games there is no third option - no matter how high your Paragon/Renegade score you can't worm your way out of it. As a bonus, Mordin dies anyway, and if you chose to fake the Genophage you later have to shoot Wrex and get called out on it by Garrus.
      • And of course, there's Rannoch. At the end of the arc, you get the choice between allowing the geth to upgrade and blast the Migrant Fleet out of the sky, or stopping the upload and letting the quarians destroy the geth. Unless you jump through a very specific series of hoops, you're going to have to choose between one of your two teammates. And even if you do get the good ending, Legion has to disseminate its runtimes among the geth to finish upgrading them.
    • This Troper had a very visceral Player Punch right from the first time he opened the War Assets interface. To see right there in stark numbers that around a third of the Systems Alliance forces were destroyed in the first game to save three politicians.... Ouch.
  • The Legend of Dragoon has a good Player Punch with the death of Lavitz, who charges Lloyd as a Dragoon when he takes the Moon Gem from King Albert, only to get skewered by the Dragon Buster (a sword that's pretty much lethal to anything dragon-like, including Dragoons, who actually USE the power of dragons, remember), killing him off in a rather sad scene which ultimately fuels the player's resolve to defeat Lloyd.
    • It doesn't help that you've spent plenty of time getting to know Lavitz; he saves Dart's life on multiple occasions and is generally a great person and friend to Dart. You even visit his mother's house, learn how he's a momma's boy at heart, and he discusses his childhood and motivations with Dart.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines has Heather Poe, whose life you save out of pity at the beginning of the game by turning her into your ghoul, a personal blood-addicted slave for whom your blood is like your home and your love and affection. She even drops out of college to spend her time with you and brighten up your bleak unlife. She is the closest thing you have to a friend, being truly grateful to you for saving her life and never trying to manipulate you like others do... AND THEN THOSE SABBATH DREGS KILL HER!!! This is made worse by the fact that if you had the willpower to send Heather away before the final chapters, she would have survived the story and eventually gotten over her addiction to you. You also get a Humanity reward for doing this...
    • Another Player Punch during The Sabbat Raid with blood splatters where Chunk should be. He survives, but it's still one more reason to hate the Sabbat.
  • Jade Empire: In a somewhat twisted and almost literal example, Master Li kills the player character by exploiting flaws in your fighting style that he deliberately placed there himself for that very purpose.
  • Mega Man Legends 2 had one of these with a not-quite death: During a boss battle on top of an airship, the boss you're fighting shoots down the Bonne's escape pod, annoyed that they're cheering for you.
  • Enchanted Arms must have read the design document for God of War, because you're forced to kill your dog who has been turned into a Cerberus. The worst part is that afterwards, you can resurrect the dog... As a completely emotionless automaton. And if you want 100% game completion, you HAVE to commit this atrocious act.
    • A slight correction: Golems are automatons, yes, but they are not mindless. Aside from the Devil Golems, Hanako (the kunoichi Golem in Kyoto) clearly had genuine feelings for that perverted lord of hers, even if the target of her affections was questionable. Similarly, the Divine Beast Golems are perfectly sentient and the canine Golems early in Yokohama are stated to act like real dogs, including getting attached to humans. Golems appear to be emotionless because the presence of Devil Golems made them go rampant again, but most are sentient enough to be pets, and some are smarter than that.
  • Breath of Fire I opened with Sara, the hero's sister, singlehandedly confronting Jade to stall for time so the rest of the hiding villagers aren't discovered, losing, and being led away. Later, you find her and think you've rescued her, but she betrays you and runs off with the Goddess Keys you had been collecting. Later still, you confront her in Jade's fortress, where she reveals she's been placed under Jade's Mind Control and has been slipping in and out of his control, slips back under control just after saying this, fights you, finally breaks free just after the fight, and dies. Finally, when you confront Jade, he mockingly asks what took you so long to reach him, saying he expected you to get through Sara faster than that. It was at this point that you decided that Jade must die, questions of who's the true Big Bad and who's the Man Behind the Man be damned.
    • Also in the original, the quest for the Time Key is heartbreaking. You finally convince Cerl (one of the villains) to give you the key by bringing her fruit that reminds her of happier times with an old friend (Alan). One of other villains appears and she holds him off while your party escapes. This takes place in a castle that reflects her mind. Just as you escape, Alan runs into the castle to save her. Then the castle (and everyone in it) disappears. If you return to the site later, you see ghosts of Cerl and Alan playing as children while hearing one of the most tear-jerking songs ever found in a game.
      • Unless you interpret the scene as being another timewarp, with Alan and Cerl being reduced to children again by the effects of the Time Key. Then it becomes far more optimistic, giving the pair a second chance at happiness.
    • Breath of Fire II wasn't much better, with a raid on the evil church's Vatican-like headquarters claiming the lives of Rand's mother, Tiga, and Ray. Also, one of the evil church's priests in the town of Gate claims to have suddenly realized what a dreadful mistake he made regarding the sealed evil and that only the thief Patty can fix it, forcing you to go find her and bring her to Gate. At that point, he betrays you, stabs Patty, and throws her off-screen, presumably to her death as she mysteriously isn't mentioned again after this. Patty chooses the moment she's being stabbed to reveal that she's your long-lost sister Yua.
          • Also, at the end of the credits after beating the game, at least for the GBA remake, you see art of someone with dragon-like wings standing on the branch of a tree, watching the Township. This is most likely Yua.
      • Not to mention that when you attack the evil machine that channels prayers into the villain's demonic god, you encounter a man trapped in it, begging to be killed along with the machine. While you can avoid killing him with great difficulty, most players don't know this and simply kill him, causing him to reveal that he is of course your long lost father in his dying breath.
      • With the bonus that killing him renders it impossible to get the good ending.
    • Breath of Fire III also got in on the action. As a young boy, Ryu lives with his best friends Rei and Teepo in the woods. After (unwittingly) antagonising the resident Mafia, they're attacked by enforcers Balio and Sunder: all three children are beaten to unconsciousness, their treehouse torched, and they're separated for years. After a Time Skip, Ryu manages to find Rei, who is haunted by the experience but otherwise unharmed. Teepo, on the other hand, has become the (literal) Dragon to resident Big Bad Myria, and you're forced to kill him. In his dying breath, he says that all he ever wanted was to be with Ryu and Rei, his family.
    • Made worse by the fact that the final confrontation with Balio and Sunder has them combining into their "true form", Stallion. The resulting boss fight, consequently, is against a Shout-Out of Ultraman rather than the sneering, brutal enforcers you've grown to hate, and is much less satisfying as a result.
    • When you finally find Princess Elina in Breath of Fire IV...The Karma Houdini Yuna pulls off, revealing IV might be a prequel doesn't help much either.
      • Whilst we're talking about this trope in IV, there's Fou-lu's entire storyline with Mami...right as it looks like they're getting attached to each other (and after no less than two attempts to kill the God-Emperor by his empire, the latter of which is rather displeased at the reawakening of their King in the Mountain) Fou-lu is forced to go on the run and Mami is captured (who ALSO ends up dead thanks to Yuna—this time being used as a human warhead for the Carronade). Her literal last words to Fou-lu are that she was hoping they could live together in a normal life—that she knew it was impossible but she still hoped for it. The latter Player Punch is what sends Fou-lu into full-blown Kill All Humans Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds mode (as opposed to being a mere Woobie).
      • And have we mentioned the manga version manages to be a Reader Punch in both of these segments in an even deeper manner than the original game?
    • The general conclusion to be drawn is that, while Ryu (the hero) in each Breath of Fire game is supposed to be a different character, it seems that keeping his siblings alive is not one of the typical incarnation's strong points.
    • Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter has quite the slap in the face at the end of the game. Throughout the entirety of the game, you have a meter which slowly fills with each transformation into Ryu's dragon form as you try to guide Nina to ground level. If the meter ever fills to 100%, Ryu dies and you have to restart the game from the beginning. Near the end of the game, you're forced to bring the bar to 100% in the very last battle, which subsequently has Ryu dying mere steps from the surface.
      • Ryu gets better. The very end of the cutscene before the credits has him talking to Odjn, and Odjn bringing him back to life. But just barely.
  • In Geneforge 2, your teacher Shanti is captured when she goes scouting ahead of you. Much of the middle section of the game revolves around finding her. When you finally do find her, she's been murdered, dressed in a slave's robe, and dumped in the woods. Definitely an It's Personal moment, and it makes your revenge against Stannis much more satisfying.
  • Not a death example, but definitely a Player Punch: In The World Ends With You, Shiki is taken as your Entry Fee for Week 2, and you spend the next two weeks trying to get her back. She comes back right as you're about to fight yet another part of the final Boss Rush... and then she gets possessed by the Big Bad.
    • Beat's Start of Darkness was also Player Punch material even earlier than that - as early as Day 4 of Shiki's week. Fate owes Neku a hundred yen. For you hectopascals out there, that's when Rhyme gave herself to save Beat from a Noise ambush.
      • Fate owes him a hundred yen? So... fate owes him one dollar?
      • And then the game goes and socks you again during the third week. Watching helplessly as Konishi grabs Rhyme as Beat's entry fee and painfully crushes her back into pin form with that horrible little smirk on her face is absolutely brutal.
      • Especially given the sound effects used in that scene. It's so sickening, it's still hard to watch, even after four or five playthroughs.
    • Hell, the scene where it's revealed that Shiki is the entry fee for the second week itself is a Player Punch, considering the fact that she won The Game and was supposed to go back to life, complete with "ascending into the heavens" imagery. By the same token, the scene the following week, when Neku realizes that the entry fee that was taken was all the other Players, making it impossible for him to play the game, much less win, prompted a whole "you bastard" sentiment towards the Big Bad.
    • Not to mention the fact that before you fight Minamimoto, Neku finally finds out how he died - not being shot by Joshua, but being shot by Minamimoto. Seeing the happy look on his face whilst looking at the mural, and then events that follow....ouch. And because Minamimoto is That One Boss, you get to see Neku's death over, and over, and over...
      • Then at the end of the game, you find out it really was Joshua who shot you. This made a lot of people hate the White-Haired Pretty Boy.
    • Talking about Joshua, just when he finally stops seeming like a jerk, Joshua gets killed trying to save you.
  • As mentioned in Kick the Dog, in The Bard's Tale - modern version, the player can be nice to a little dog who then follow the Bard and be cute. A Druid will eventually send a big flying beast to snap the dog's back, killing it. This player purposely chose the 'bad end' to spite the Druids because of this. Even though you can get a ghost of the dog later on, they still killed your dog!
  • Playing through Legend of Mana on New Game+ to be absolutely heartbreaking (but otherwise doesn't suffer from this on any other game with that feature). Something about interacting with this world when nobody other than me remembers how everything is going to turn out just about slayed me. (Then again, it didn't help that all of the major story arcs either a Downer Ending or Bittersweet Ending.)
    • The Jumi arc? An exemplary example of Player Punch in a lot of places, granted, but everybody came back, including the player character, the Jumi capital becomes an inhabited city again, and you can still take Elazul, Pearl, and Black Pearl along on your quest after the end of the arc. Doesn't sound much like a Downer Ending.
    • In Seiken Densetsu 3, one of the main characters, Kevin, is a beastman (basically a werewolf) who is a misfit/outcast because he can't transform into his beast form. As such, he spends most of his time in the forest with a wolf he raised from a pup, Karl, his only friend. Within about the first minute of starting his scenario, Karl transforms into a much larger wolf and attacks Kevin, forcing him to kill his only friend. The reason for Karl's transformation? Deathjester.
      • It turns about to have been a very convincing illusion meant to bring out his transformation though great anger. It was so convincing that the one behind it had to hurry to dig out the still living Karl from the grave Kevin buried him in.
    • And then there's Hawk and Lise's story. Isabella/Bigieu usurps the throne of Hawk's kingdom, murders Hawk's best friend, frames Hawk for the murder, threatens to kill Hawk's lover (and the sister of the murdered best friend) should Hawk tell the truth, and then proceeds to invade other kingdoms (including Rolante, resulting in the death of Lise's father and the abduction of her brother) and revive the God-Beasts, with the intention to rule the world (sort of).
    • In the original Final Fantasy Adventure, the hero has only one longtime friend - Amanda, who was in the same slave pits as the main character. Both escape separately, and he later meets up with her when she's looking to get the tears of a medusa to cure her brother's Baleful Polymorph. You confront the medusa together, defeat it... and cannot find any tears. And then, Amanda finds that she's been poisoned by the medusa and will become one herself. She then cries, making the cure for her brother, and begs the main character to kill her before she starts terrorizing innocents. Killing her is one of the hardest things to do emotionally.
      • Later, when climbing the tower to reach the Mana Tree, Robot Buddy Marcie does its best to be helpful, and shows itself to be remarkably empathic. When the Load-Bearing Boss goes, Marcie offers to throw the hero across and then jump before the tower crumbles - but reveals after throwing him that it can't, and lied because the hero would have wasted too much time trying to save it when it was impossible. Watching Marcie go down was heartbreaking - at that point, beating the game is arguably more about fighting on in the name of all those who died for you rather than saving the world.
        • Not that it helps that after all you have been through, the only way to save the world is to have your heroine sacrifice herself to become the Mana Tree.
  • Speaking of the Mana Tree, there's the Player Punch in Secret of Mana. Namely, when you find out that the main character's mother WAS the Mana Tree, and that his father was the ghost he saw after removing the sword. Oh, and lest we forget... Flammie's parents. Minor compared to the first one, but still caught you off guard.
      • And then there's the part when Thanatos forces Dyluck to kill the Girl (she got better).
  • The PS1 game The Granstream Saga gave at the end of the game the player a Sadistic Choice. The player must sacrifice one of the hero's two love interests, and there is no way to Take a Third Option to take instead.
    • To be fair, there is a "right" choice: choose Arcia. Laramee is a mere human, and will actually be consumed by the McGuffin, but the game has been throwing not-too-subtle hints at you that Arcia is not entirely human, and in fact her ending shows that she was a servant of God, and God called her back to his side after you chose her.
  • Chrono Cross. For people who had played it's predecessor, Chrono Trigger, these three words during a confrontation with FATE brought tears to more than a few eyes: "Now eliminating Prometheus."
    • To elaborate, Prometheus is better known as Robo, your Robot Buddy party member from Chrono Trigger. Now, up until that one scene in Chronopolis, Robo had not appeared in Chrono Cross at all. He was not mentioned at all. None of your party members have any way of knowing who he is. He appears out of nowhere, delivers two or three lines of dialogue, and is killed, while Chrono Cross's cast is probably wondering who this robotic voice is and why they should care. His death basically serves solely to piss off any Chrono Trigger fans who picked up the sequel, which is part of why some of those who liked the former have issues with the latter.
    • Speaking of dead characters from the previous game, Chrono Cross players can largely be divided into two groups: those who were shocked and/or outraged upon learning that Crono and Marle had similarly been killed in the intervening years during the Fall of Guardia, or those who insist that the Ghost Children aren't their spirits but some sort of manifested memory, and the two characters are still alive somewhere.
    • On a related note, the new endings for Chrono Trigger DS that help tie the game in with Chrono Cross have inspired similar outrage, confirming that yes, Guardia will fall to Porre, and Dalton of all people has a hand in it. Not to mention strongly implying that Guile, a bland, masked magician in Chrono Cross who was originally intended to be Magus in disguise, was really an amnesiac Magus all along, robbing his story of any resolution.
  • Arguably occurs in Mega Man Star Force. Partway through the third game, in a series that only has the villains bite it - and even then, not too often - you get to watch as the main character's best friend is quite literally blown to pieces. The effect would have been improved if not for the fact it turns out to be a Disney Death.
  • Fallout 3 has one(In an already Crapsack World) with Harold the loveable ghoul from the first two games has been taken over by Bob and you have to kill him to set him free. To prove you are a heartless shell of a man you can SET HIM ON FIRE!
    • ...or you can Take a Third Option and actually use the tree-Harold combination to start purifying the Capital Wastes, and when you talk to Harold he'll actually be pretty happy that now he's useful and helping others.
    • The player must also watch his own father flood the control center of Project Purity with lethal radiation in the hopes of keeping it out of Enclave control. After watching this man spend his entire life trying to bring safe water to the people, he sacrifices himself to stop a fascist paramilitary organization from confiscating it, while his only child watches. To top it off, his last action is to look the player character in the eye and gasp, "Run. Run!"
    • Despite (or perhaps because of) being just a dog, many, many players hit quickload whenever Dogmeat is killed.
      • Hence why Broken Steel introduced the Puppies perk. And then of course there is the very popular bug that makes Dogmeat nigh on invulnerable. And the players rejoiced.
      • Many, many players also broke their quickloading keys in the Mariposa Military Base in Fallout 1, where trying to keep Dogmeat alive was an incredibly arduous procedure, and reloading to revive him was a common occurrence. Even more common than how many times you accidentally blew him to pieces in combat
    • Should you broker a 'peaceful truce' in the Tenpenny Towers quest, you can come back later to find that the ghouls have slaughtered all the humans and stacked their bodies in the basement. Most Tenpenny residents are unlikable anyway, but knowing that your actions led to the death of Herbert "Daring" Dashwood, the one man who actually respects ghouls and had one as a best friend is a hit.
      • Roy is entirely to blame for this. Kill him before he enters the tower (so as to not make everyone else hostile) and no harm will come to Tenpenny's human residents.
    • There's a string of them in Fallout 2. When you reach the object of your quest, the Holy Thirteen (the vault that you start from in Fallout 1) you are not greeted by the humans you expect, but Deathclaws. Then you realize that the Deathclaw is screaming "Don't shoot" and it's actually friendly. So you make friends with the Deathclaws, do a few quests, and they reward you with the G.E.C.K., the artifact you're questing for. So you cruse back home, expecting a hero's welcome. What you get is a wrecked village and a dead shaman. You learn your people were abducted so you set out to look for them. Eventually, you find yourself in the region of Vault 13 and decde to pop in for a visit. So you go in, and "Where did all the deathclaws go?" Accessing computer records you learn that the Enclave massacred them.
  • Mother 3 kicks the player in the crotch repeatedly in the first chapter. First, Flint's wife, Hinawa, dies, and he is notified via one of the most painful Can Not Spit It Outs ever. The chapter's boss is the mother of a Drago family that was friends with Flint's children, cybernetically modified into a killing machine. After the battle, the player is shown the broken body of Flint's son Claus lying in a canyon.
    • And just to take it beyond this, it goes as far as Shooting The Shaggy Dog by making the final battle put Lucas, all by himself, against a completely emotionless version of Claus. You can win without ever making a single attack, but no matter what, Claus kills himself by shooting a deadly lightning attack at you, which the Franklin Badge will reflect.
  • Lost Odyssey inflicts the player with this trope approximately every ten minutes with their borderline-Narm "dream" short stories. Oh, and Kaim's daughter dying. And a city of people getting wiped out. And Seth sacrificing her happiness and immortality to save the others. Of course, after a while you sort of get used to it.
  • In Shadow Hearts, Yoshiko Kawashima starts off as an antagonist but later becomes a respectable ally. You leave her in Asia in the first half of the game, only to be sucker punched with the news of her supposed betrayal by her father and death, complete with it playing out on-screen.
    • Making it worse: her death is one of the primary motivators for the final Big Bad of Covenant.
    • Also gutwrenching is the true ending to Shadow Hearts. In it, it's assumed that Yuri was unable to defeat the Masks that guarded the Door of Death in his soul's graveyard, and as such Alice if forced to fight alone when the Malice comes for her soul. The game then drags it out and forces you to watch as Alice slowly loses her life force, growing weaker as the party rush to the final boss fight, but refusing to lag behind or get in the way. Then, just when everyone is settling down to a happily-ever-after and Yuri is taking her home to see her mother, she dies in his arms, and despite all Yuri's promises to protect her, there's nothing he can do.
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion: If you play through the Fighter's Guild quests, one involves helping a sweet young lady who owns a settlement near the south of Cyrodiil. Later on, you infiltrate Blackwood Company and help kill goblins at the same settlement. After this, you pass out and wake up elsewhere. When you travel back, you find that the goblins were the result of a drug-induced haze, and you actually killed the lady you helped earlier on.
    • In the quest Caught in the Hunt, a poor old man who is addicted to gambling starts borrowing money from a criminal Orc named Kurdan. When he can't pay his debts, Kurdan sends him to a fort with the assignment of finding a rare axe there. But it appears the fort is part of a hunting game on human(oid)s and the only way to escape is via a key found inside the fortress, which is filled with hunters. When you return from the fort, Kurdan kills the old man and proclaims he is free of his debt, while gloating. This is the moment where you just know Kurdan must die.
    • During the Dark Brotherhood Questline, you have to kill a sweet old lady AND her entire family. That was the only assassination in the entire quest line that made me ill. It doesn't get better with repeat play either. Oh, and if you REALLY want to be an heartless scum, you can tell to one of the lady's sons that his mother "bled like a pig" before killing him. He doesn't take it well. Not AT ALL.
      • Sadly, that is the single best way to deal with him thanks to the guard that seems to live there. He attacks you in revenge for his mother, and the guard kills him for assault. You get off completely scot free considering the guard doesn't hear the comment.
    • Also during the Dark Brotherhood questline, you'll eventually be ordered to kill everyone in the Cheydinhal Sanctuary. Everyone who was so helpful and friendly to you. Even M'raaj-Dar, who decides to stop being a jackass and be friendly to you.
      • Bonus points for twisting the knife: you don't realize M'raaj-Dar has warmed up to you until you've been given the order to kill him.
    • In the Shivering Isles expansion, Sheogorath runs out of time, and he becomes unusually unhappy. Then, he transforms into Jjyggalag and the player must fight him later on. It is the last time the player ever sees Sheogorath (besides themselves).
    • About halfway through the Mages Guild questline, just in case there was any lingering doubt that he was a Complete Monster, Mannimarco torches the Bruma Mages guildhall, and almost everyone in it. No seriously, it is literally wiped off the map, and nearly every single one of its inhabitants die horribly. The Shrinking Violet alchemist? Dead. The hilariously incompetent Pointy-Haired Boss? Dead. The laid back, fun loving, jovial Altmer jokester? Dead. The lovable Khajiit prankster? He survives, but is deeply traumatized by the experience, and its implied that Manny knew he was there, but let him live just to mess with his head. That is it. The Order of the Black Worm is going down HARD.
    • For some players, any time their horse is attacked. Especially if the horse is killed.
  • There is a brief scene in KotOR II when G0-T0 senselessly murders Remote, the adorable little training droid that follows Bao-Dur around and helps you out faithfully. Fortunately, it got better. Unfortunately, G0-T0 then is implied to murder it again on Malachor V if you don't activate the mass shadow generator. Also, Dark-side ending when everyone left on the Ebon Hawk falls into an abyss.
  • Persona 4 Nanako, the main character's cute lovely cousin got kidnapped after the main character and his uncle tossed the Idiot Ball at each other. She dies shortly after you manage to rescue her from the TV world. If you go for the worst ending, she'll be Killed Off for Real.
    • Worse yet, because the game is all one epic Mind Screw, if you give into your rage and kill the (supposed) bastard who did it, you GET said worst ending.
      • It's even worse than that. Before you can even determine your ending, you have to watch her death scene anyway, with her father only making it there after she's flat-lined. Forget Player Punch, that was a Player Hit-and-Run.
      • The eerie silence of your home for the rest of the game, especially the lack of Nanako's cheerful "Welcome home, Big Bro!", is a Player Punch in and of itself!
  • The Dept. Heaven series just loves these.
    • In Riviera: The Promised Land, there's the end of Chapter 6. So Ein, who has just spent the entire chapter freaking out over having to fight Ledah, has just done so. And even though Ledah has told Ein to kill him, Ein refuses because Ledah is still his True Companions. Oh, wait, here comes Malice, STABBING LEDAH IN THE BACK. ...But Ledah is still alive, so it'll be fine! ...Not for long, as after you fight Malice, he pulls a Heroic Sacrifice to save Ein from her sneak attack. And then, in his death scene, he barely manages to explain what's going on and why he is the way he is (i.e., he has no emotions anymore) before he dies. The entire thing is an evil cycle of worry, relief, and then trauma. Worse, it's the end of the chapter, so there's no direction for your Unstoppable Rage.
      • Made far, far worse by the fact that Ledah, being rid of emotion for the entire game, actually shows some... before he dies. Sadness ensues.
    • In Yggdra Union, two battlefields after you meet Roswell and Rosary, you are forced to kill one of the two. Then, in Battlefield 33, you have to face the one you killed again, just to rub your nose in it. Both of Kylier's deaths also count—her Heroic Sacrifice is the climax of a battlefield that's basically one continuous Tear Jerker, and then there's goddamn Battlefield 46. She Came Back Wrong, she's a People Puppet, but Milanor loves her and can't believe he has to fight her. So Yggdra decides she'd better Shoot the Dog. Thing is, Yggdra is the player character, so you're stuck with doing it. AUGH.
    • Fighting Nordische and Pisce after their Transformation Trauma incidents in Knights in The Nightmare. Especially Nordische, when you consider that the Wisp contains King Willimgard's soul, meaning that he has to fight his own beloved son.
      • Alighierie's death is one too. Again, doubly so when you consider the spoiler above.
      • The Your Princess Is in Another Castle scene is also one. After defeating Melissa (or Marietta), you and your heroine run to confront Big Bad Zolgonark only to realize you have no way to defeat him yet. When Zolgonark tries to attack you, she leaps in front of you to shield you from the blow, giving you a slim chance to escape and find your body. The last you see of her until the end of the game, she's still standing steadfastly to take a blow that whites out the entire screen, her pleas for you to escape trailing off into silence. This is bad enough, but when you finally arrive to fight Zolgonark again, you only see her faint white outline, the same as the souls of the dead. Ow, that was my heart. It's hard enough to watch Maria do this, but seeing arrogant, self-concerned Meria throw pretense to the winds and do the same was just too much.
    • The series as a whole has two huge ones in the form of Nessiah and Marietta, who are both victims of Hector's schemes.
  • Dragon Quest V does this to your dad, then to your wife, then your cat, and then tops it off by doing it to YOU! Ow.
    • It also does a few more if you don't marry Bianca (Which the game really wants you to). Gee, why did you gave us a choice then, game? Fortunately, the remake of said game averts this - while Bianca is still considered the canonical choice, you no longer need to feel like a bastard for not choosing her.
  • Star Ocean the Second Story (As well as its remake, Second Evolution) did this with the death of Ronyx at the hands of Gabriel and Lucifer. Ronyx was one of the major protagonists from the first game and was killed in a particularly tragic fashion (Thinking his son was dead and his wife hated him.)
  • Before that, we had the original Star Ocean as well as First Departure, in which Asmodeus' destruction of a small town is immediately preceded by a scene focusing on a little girl in said village that you had the opportunity to spend time with, building snowmen.
  • The Witcher attempted this with White Rayna, giving her the most dramatically extended death in the game, during a cutscene. This worked to varying degrees. Fans of the novels knew her better as the genocidal Black Rayna, and even fans not familiar with that background found her to be a throwaway Replacement Scrappy while the hero's chosen love interest was out of the plot. Reviving her as a mind-controlled zombie mutant may have been a more successful attempt at doubling the punch; at least players who took advantage of her Optional Sexual Encounter could be uneasy with having to kill her themselves.
  • Marvel Ultimate Alliance makes you choose between saving the life of Nightcrawler or Jean Grey. The ending you get from saving Nightcrawler is preferable (if he lives Jean comes back as Dark Phoenix. If he dies Professor X is assassinated by Mystique), but you can bet some fans were torn by the choice, especially since Jean is something of a Chew Toy, and it'd be nice to give her a break for once.
    • Ultimately subverted for those who decided to save Nightcrawler, as MUA 2 shows that Jean's case was resolved cleanly by virtue of her being a secret playable character.
  • Shin Megami Tensei has quite a lot of these actually. Given the post apocalyptic tone of the game, it might not be unexpected, but it is still surprisingly effective : The Mantra, although a quite brutal bunch appear at first to be some sort of Proud Warrior Race, who respect you as soon as you defeat their champions. Given the state of the rest of the world, they can be somewhat sympathetic. Then, Hikawa casually unleashes the nightmare system that wipes out most of them before including their leader who breaks down (literally) in front of you. Then, you get to the Kabukicho Prison the not that nice after all Mantra used to torture Manikins, the weak race of the game. These Manikins later gather into a small town, only to be slaughtered by the resurrected Mantra, which lets you witness just how horrible their values really were. Oh and your two human friends end up turning against you too (except if you endorse their reason, but at least one has to die).
  • Persona 3 has first the death of Shinjiro, then Chidori's Heroic Sacrifice to make the player hate Takaya's guts. Though Shinji was going to die anyway, and was almost killed by Ken, which can prove frustrating to the players who then have to have Ken in their party for the rest of the game.
    • Persona 3 pulls off one of the ultimate Player Punches in the last scene of the True Ending, where the Protagonist must sacrifice himself in order to save humanity. And then, he holds on anyway, carrying the essence of death within himself, just to fulfill his promise to his friends to meet them on the last day of school. Then, in an incredibly heartbreaking finale, he dies.
    • Even worse, he dies right when everyone arrives.
    • FES adds a scene where Chidori is revealed to have survived, probably so the player doesn't get bored with Heroic Sacrifices before the end. And, apparently, playing as the female protagonist in Persona 3 Portable allows you to indirectly save Shinjiro's life in which by doing so, he fell for her. Which just makes the last punch hurt that much more, since she won't get to spend her life with the man who's only alive because of her love.
    • In the girl's route of Portable, even if the game is slightly different, you know what's gonna happen. Considering how cheerful the female protagonist is, and learning more about your party members through the social links, you can sense the punch, but it won't help the sting. A striking one is that if conditions were different Shinjiro and Ken could have been good friends, as they make mentions of each other in their social links, and the player would notice their similarities in ideals.
    • Then there's Akinari, the Sun Arcana S.Link. Sure, he tells you upfront that "Any day now, I'm going to die", but still. The worst part is he dies having only just found a reason to be happy to be alive.
  • There's more than one painful death in Last Scenario, but one near the end that really does it is Alison's Heroic Sacrifice to save the party from Tiamat. It's made especially frustrating by the fact that Tiamat blows both of them up, so you don't even get the satisfaction of destroying her in another boss fight.
  • In Grandia II, the death of Mareg.
  • The prologue of Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume ends with a fight where you're forced to use the Plume on your best friend Ancel, who is built up as a main character and has a love interest. For reference, using the Plume turns a party member of your choosing into a walking Game Breaker capable of single-handedly winning the current battle, plus it gives you a technique that is a Game Breaker in of itself. Sounds cool, right? Well, there's also a small problem you aren't aware of at that point, namely that it sacrifices their soul.
  • Live a Live is practically made of Mood Whiplash, and pulls this off very successfully a few times over. About half of all the characters end up dead, but because it's an entirely different story each time, you'll care just as damn hard for each and every one of them. Then, just as you're sort of used to it, and you're identifying with all of the main characters so hard because of the long series of Player Punch moments in the first half of the game - you enter the second half, entirely unexpectedly, and you'll find out who was behind all of the deaths. And you'll cry. Because he turns out to be a Noble Hero who just kind of had a really bad day. And became Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds as a result. And you get to play every moment of it.
  • In Etrian Odyssey: Heroes of Lagaard, the player gets punched when they find a wounded Kurogane and realize what happened to his partner Flausgul... It's particularly jarring because they appeared to be getting set up as recurring characters you could expect to meet in the labyrinth far more often than you actually do to get see them.
    • And in The Drowned City, something similar occurs with the Murotsumi Guild—only this time, the player has to choose whether it's Agata or Hypatia that dies.
  • Dragon Age: Origins delivers one early on with the deaths of Daveth and Jory, your fellow Grey Warden recruits, during the Joining. Even the PC looks stunned when Duncan kills Jory. But the shocks don't stop there, as the game turns this trope Up to Eleven with the death of Duncan.
    • There's at least one extra one for every origin, as well, some during, some when the PC comes back into contact with their old life. Dalish Elf origin... that'll leave a bruise.
    • In addition, realizing that Lothering is destroyed, especially if you took the time to talk to everyone, especially the elf family and the little boy whose parents are (apparently) dead. Also Redcliffe, if you decide to (or accidentally) leave in the middle of the first big battle there. And the werewolves origins... and the entire game. Really.
    • If you play as a female Warden romancing Alistair, everything from the Landsmeet to the endgame can be one long sequence of player punches. If you make Alistair king, he will dump you directly after the Landsmeet unless 1) you are the human noble and already proposed to him during the Landsmeet, or 2) you "hardened" him after he met Goldanna - in which case you can be his mistress, even though he'll have to marry someone else. (If you're playing a good-aligned everyone-deserves-a-second-chance type, you may get another nasty shock as Alistair dumps you and the cause you've been fighting for in favor of revenge.) Then, after you find out the truth about why only Grey Wardens can truly defeat the archdemon, you'll have to persuade him to father a baby in a blood-magic-fueled sex rite with Morrigan, whom he hates, if you want both of you to survive. If you refuse to follow Morrigan's plan, one of you will die. Even if you intend to make the sacrifice yourself, Alistair will take the decision from your hands and sacrifice himself to save you unless you leave him at the gate.
    • The human noble origin is chock full of these. Introduce plenty of decent, likable characters, including Reasonable Authority Figure dad, unexpected Action Girl mom, Ser Gilmore, the loyal and brave knight, and even your adorably enthusiastic and naive nephew, Oren. And they all die. And you can't stop it. Even worse, if you choose to get to know Dairren or Iona a lot better, when the soldiers storm your room they'll be shot dead right in front of you before you can do anything. Howe is going to pay.
    • The Awakening Expansion has a very mean one if form of Mhairi: She helps you all the way while freeing Vigil's Keep, stating all the time how eager she is to become a Grey Warden. You can even (unlike other temporary companions) gain approval with her. Heck, she even had an own gameplay trailer. Then she dies during her Joining.
    • And later on, leading up to the final confrontation, you're forced to choose between defending Amaranthine City (where you've done quite a bit of adventuring and trading and which you have been repeatedly told is a culturally and economically important city) and defending Vigil's Keep (where all your friends not currently in the party are hanging out). If you decide to defend Vigil's Keep, you have to watch while your soldiers burn Amaranthine to the ground. This is made worse in retrospect by Guide Dang It: if you make exactly the right choices before that one, the consequences of this particular choice are made a lot less dire, but it's far from clear at the time what the "right" choices are supposed to be.
  • Dragon Age II has the All That Remains quest, in which your mother is kidnapped and mutilated by a blood mage trying to reconstruct his dead wife.
    • At the end of the prologue, one of your siblings has their head bashed in by an Ogre. At the end of chapter one, you lose whichever one remains (to death, to the Grey Wardens, or to the Templars/Circle, depending on your choices). That actually makes All That Remains all the more powerful, as Hawke loses his/her entire family.
    • Quite honestly, the fact that no matter how hard you try to prevent it, the city still falls into chaos and everybody except you and your friends ultimately goes crazy and gets killed, leading to a rather Downer Ending is a bit of a Player Punch as well.
    • Near the ending of the game, Anders blowing up the chantry can feel like a Player Punch, especially if you've befriended him and especially if you've romanced him. It's even worse if you helped him with his final companion quest, where it turns out he manipulated you into gathering the last components for his bomb and unknowingly helped him get it into the chantry. To make it worse, the game then puts it into your hands whether he lives or dies. You can either kill him, which is a pretty heartbreaking scene, regardless of how you feel about his character, tell him to leave, or keep him around knowing that the trust between you has been shattered forever. And if you romanced him? The only way you can get something resembling a happy ending is if you side with the mages at the end and agree to go on the run with him as fugitives with pretty much every Templar in Thedas out for your blood. OUCH.
    • Let's face it, the whole game is pretty much one big Player Punch. See Kill the Ones You Love.
  • Combined with Tear Jerkers and Heroic Sacrifices, Infinite Space has lots of this, although a few of them can be avoided depending on the routes you take. The most notable one is Lord Roth and Nele's death, which happens if you didn't recruit Katida, turning her into an Ax Crazy in Act 2.
  • Avalon Code drops one of these on you midgame; your best friend betrays you, and hands the Book of Prophecy off to the main villain, whose actions with it scatter your spirit buddies, majorly trash the town, AND cause the book to suck either your Ill Girl childhood friend Fana, or your love interest in whole. And if that wasn't enough, the townspeople, after pulling you out of a pile of rubble when it's over, BLAME YOU EXCLUSIVELY for what happened, instantly convincing themselves that your were the enemy all along. Subverted in that you can save your friend/lover later.
  • Dragon Quest IX has Catarrhina, who dies literally moments before you manage to seal away the evil spirit causing her town to be infected with a death disease.
  • Vagrant Story features a cultist named Hardin who is, for all appearances, Sydney's right-hand man. There is also a boy Sydney and Hardin kidnapped, Joshua. Throughout the game, Hardin receives a good deal of character development - we find out that he once had a younger brother, who was very ill. Hardin went to prison for selling weapons on the side (after betraying his fellows in the hopes that doing so would allow him to go free), and while he was in prison, his brother died. It is heavily implied that Joshua reminds Hardin of his brother. And then, at the end, we get to watch Hardin die slowly, while Joshua speaks for the first time - "No, Hardin! Don't go!" Ouch.
  • Planescape: Torment has you, rather often, encounter traces of your previous Incarnations. One of them is the walking Moral Event Horizon moment knows as the Practical Incarnation. And should you join the society of sensates, you can experience the memories and emotions of a woman you first encountered as a spirit at the Mortuary. The private sensorium that contains that stone has two others - one is actually a trap from a past incarnation and a Room Full of Crazy, the other is the experience of being masterfully tortured by an ancient hag. And they're still better than that one.
    • There's also the Fortress of Regrets, in which the party members you've cultivated throughout the game are exterminated one by one, and all you can do is watch.
      • Made even worse because each of them is given the option to go home, and they all stay to face certain death for you.
  • Alpha Protocol's final mission in Rome. Madison has been kidnapped, and Marburg is setting up The Sadistic Choice between saving her or disarming the bombs that will kill hundreds of innocents. Choose to save Madison, and the bombs will blow and she'll berate you for putting her life over hundreds of others. But disarm the bombs, and Marburg will kill Madison right in front of you, for no reason except because.
  • Valkyria Chronicles has Isara, Welkin's cute, sweet adopted sister, gunned down by an Imperial sniper halfway through the game.
    • Not to be outdone, the sequel has the Rebels attacking the military academy halfway through the game, slaughtering hundreds, if not thousands, of hapless students, ultimately culminating in Juliana being brutally murdered by The Brute, just as she finally becomes likeable. Oh, and then the school's headmaster is Driven to Suicide.
  • Ar tonelico gives you a repeated AND delayed Player Punch. The game starts with Mir, who takes control of the tower where Lyner lives and wrecks total havoc. So, the game starts with Lyner searching for a hymn crystal that will put a stop to Mir, all well right? Totally WRONG. things don´t turn out as they should and so comes the first hit. Shurelia dies. After this is solved, you can get an option to either let things stay as they are... or decide to solve the whole Shurelia deal. That is pretty much summarizing the whole thing... but in the game, and if you play both routes, you see that she is more problems than what the eyes can see. She is the reason of why Misha can´t stop singing, the reason for the church where Aurica lives to be corrupt, the reason of why Ayatane (Mir's son) fights against Lyner (his best friend) for a great part of the plot, the reason for the world to be in the state that is now, the reason for the Reyvateils to be so overworked and underpaid, the reason for Misha to look like an 8 year old... HECK!!! pretty much every problem in the game... soooooo the bitch's gotta go down right? NO!!! doing so would give you a bad ending... you then set to see her reasons... and learn that she was actually a good girl, but was so pushed out of her limits and abused that she went out berserk and killed almost a third of the world. The punch then comes when you find out (though if you completed Shurelia's cosmosphere level 5 you would still know) that she actually IS a girl (one that looks like a 14 year old at that...) so, who's the bastard now?
    • Then in Metafalica, you meet Jaqcli come on, if you don´t get that she is Mir then you got a problem... HER MIND GUARDIAN IS FRIGGI'N AYATANE!!!! and the punch comes back. In her Cosmosphere not only do you see what she had to go through, but also the fact that even nowadays she repents for what she did... even then you get hit when, if picked a route in level 6 turns out that in level 8 she's dead... no matter what you picked. So you go back and set things right and alls fine... until you meet the "No boundaries Mir" pretty much a full deredere, diabetes inducing, sheer Moe, SWEET girl.. Hell, she even openly says to Croix that she loves him in more than one occasion. The punch? you learn how was Mir before she broke out of her limits... a caring sweet child that not only loves every damn living thing and dislikes war, but also loves her human creators even after all that they did to her, even composing EXEC_HARMONIUS (they rejected that song and that was the first time she knew what hate was... it wasn't pretty...). Now... who was the one that you wanted to kill so desperately in the first game again?
    • Also, in the first game... Hama "Diying" in Misha's cosmosphere... just after she called Lyner "Daddy" (Note, not "Father", not "Dad", "Daddy", as in "sweet lovely daughter 'Daddy'" if you did not feel anything when that happened, then you, my friend, have no soul.
  • Baten Kaitos Origins does this extremely effectively when the already Jerkass Shanath kicks it Up to Eleven by ripping out Gena's (the player character's mother) Wings of the Heart as part of a political rally, an action which not only can be fatal, but leaves a survivor bedridden, concussed, and emotionally numb. Sagi himself engages in a Precision F-Strike ("Go to hell, you son of a bitch!") and suffice it to say, the player really wants Shanath to die. Later, when the player is actually given the opportunity to kill him in cold blood, you feel like a total jerk for taking it, because his five year old daughter walks in just in time to be scarred for life. And you know from the first game that that little girl is now an orphan who is raised by the military and grows up to be an emotionally numb, antisocial killing machine that eventually aids a genocide. All because of you. The real kicker? Even if you don't kill Shanath, he dies in front of his kid anyway.
  • Although the Pokémon series is pretty light on plot and characterization, and so tends to avert this, the "Nuzlocke Run" (based on a series of webcomics with the same name) is specifically designed to set up Player Punches. It limits the number of Pokemon you're allowed to catch, and turns ordinary NonLethal KOs into Permadeaths. The result is that every 'mon you catch becomes a valuable member of your team, and losing one that's stuck with you for a very long time is downright heartbreaking.
    • And let's not get started on the ending of Pokémon Black and White.
    • In Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum, you and your Friendly Rival have to try to protect the Lake Trio—three small, adorable Legendaries—from being captured by Team Galactic. You always arrive moments too late. Seeing the formerly pristine Lake Valor devastated by an explosion and your normally happy-go-lucky friend wracked with guilt for his failure are both hard enough, but when you go to rescue the Trio, you find them locked in People Jars in a Galactic lab, writhing in agony as Cyrus extracts a MacGuffin from their bodies.
      • Also Lake Valor's Magikarp population. Keep in mind that the majority of them probably only have Splash, which does absolutely nothing, leaving them practically defenseless. The Magikarp's home gets destroyed by Team Galactic so that the Lake Trio can be captured, and the Magikarp are left to suffocate. What makes this worse is that it's obvious no one even cares about them. (In most cases probably not even the player.) And even if you did care, you can't help them. You can help the Lake Trio, who are considered cute, and who have a way to defend themselves, but you can't save the Magikarp, who aren't and don't.
  • Golden Sun: Dark Dawn has a pretty heavy one, not only for one game but for the series in general. For the most part, the series is relatively lighthearted when it comes to death, limited only to the villains, extremely minor characters, or offscreen ones for those with slightly bigger roles. Dark Dawn sets itself up much the same way... until the Grave Eclipse is activated. Following this, it's easily possible to find corpses of innocents who had nothing to do with this lying around. Not to mention you can read their thoughts. One particularly poignant example is the Crystallux summon sidequest, which entails failing to save a little girl and burying her next to her deceased grandfather. Also done with Briggs, a returning character from the previous game, who gives a Heroic Sacrifice to ensure the party (including his only son, Eoleo) a chance to escape the ravaged Belinsk.
    • The second game in the series, The Lost Age, is pretty harsh when you realize that the villains of the first game were not Card Carrying Villains as you suspected, but rather Anti Villains who wanted to save their civilization from destruction. Unlike most examples, this is not an in-your-face scene, but a gradual realization on the part of the player over the course of The Lost Age, which is finally fully explored when the characters encounter the hometown of the first game's baddies as the game's end.
      • The Lost Age punches you even harder when, during the Final Dungeon (Mars Lighthouse) you have to face and defeat two Fire Dragons in a Boss Battle... who turn out to be Agatio and Karst, your Aloof Allies and part-time adversaries who were simply trying to complete Saturos and Menardi's quest (oh, and trying to murder first game's protagonist Isaac, but Karst did have understandable motives...) It gets worse when they beg you to finish their quest for them, putting their animosity to rest at last. It's Doubly worse with the rather blatant Ship Tease between Karst and TLA protagonist Felix (which has fanfic writers to this very day saving her life). Then, it's Triply worse when you flash-forward 30 years and discover that the Hero Worshipping part of the masses did make the four out as Card Carrying Villains in the textbooks, and because they are already controversial public figures for their actions during the older games, the veteran heroes can't do or say anything to give their dissenters ammunition against them in an already-divided world...
        • It can be made even worse when you realise at the end of the game that everything the heroes have done in all three games was orchestrated by the series villain, and that all of this doesn't mean a thing to him.
  • Deus Ex Human Revolution has several: Belltower's goons slaughtering innocents at Alice Garden Pods just to get to van Bruggen; their ambush in Hengsha if it leads to Faridah's death, especially if you leave the area before the VTOL explodes, which forces you to watch as they execute her in cold blood and start gloating about it and finding Faridah's corpse in the Harvesters' hideout, presumably stripped of augumentations. These three moments were rage inducing enough to make several players give up their Pacifist Runs on the spot.
  • Freeware RPG The Way has a few of these. The most painful is probably when Rhue accidently kills his girlfriend, beginning his transition from Jerk with a Heart of Gold to full-fledged Villain Protagonist.
  • Fuga: Melodies of Steel is significantly darker than previous games of the Little Tail Bronx series and runs on Video Game Caring Potential, taking advantage of it to deliver some serious Player Punches:
    • Using the Soul Cannon to instantly defeat a boss triggers an unskippable cutscene that shows just enough to make you understand that the child you chose is gone for good, and all their appearences in cutscenes from this point on are replaced by a dark silhouette covered in scribbles, as a lasting reminder of of your terrible decision. Additionally, if you sacrifice a child to defeat Colonel Pretzel, the first appearence of the girl of light a bit later will be mistaken for their ghost. If Malt or Mei was sacrificed, the reaction from the remaining sibling is especially sad.
    • Britz's boss battle after his betrayal is more heart-breaking than any cutscene could have been: the children of the Taranis refuse to fight a friend at full power and cannot use any skills or link attacks, significantly lengthening the fight, and Britz is such a pitiable emotional wreck, torn between intimidating his former allies, blasting them at full power or suddenly regretting his actions and fixing the Taranis, that you almost don't want to fight him. He reveals after his defeat that Hax blackmailed him into betraying the crew by threatening his mother and sister and, if he hadn't become familiar enough with the crew before his betrayal, blows himself up out of desperation. The game will even tell you after the inevitable Bittersweet Ending that Britz's fate could have been avoided.
    • The children learn at the beginning of the final chapter that the mysterious woman who saved them, guided them and comforted them through the radio from the beginning is the Taranis's AI, that she caused the Berman invasion, that her plan all along was to awaken the Vanargand at full power for a proper rematch as a way to fulfill her purpose as a weapon, and the children helped her do it and possibly doomed their home continent and all its inhabitants. To say they start regretting getting involved in the conflict is the mother of all understatements. The AI mockingly laughing as she admits she never really cared about the children's lives and exposes her plan now that it's too late for them to turn back only makes it worse.

Shoot Em Up

  • The flash game Viricide has you slowly but surely repair EXADI, the EXtremely ADvanced Intelligence, purging viruses from her systems. Then she asks you to do "one last thing" for her, and this turns out to be the deactivation of her Emotional Core. She explains that this will remove her self-awareness, essentially AI suicide. And the game forces you to do it. The final conversation with her consists of a few lines of text indicating that EXADI is ready to function. It doesn't help that the voice actor is superb, and the writer did The Company of Myself.
    • Made all the more poignant by several things she mentions throughout the game. At one point, she mentions her creator being depressed and taking pills to fix the problem (antidepressants). It seems innocuous, until she later relates that one day he took all the pills he had at once, said he was going away, and left. She tells you that she hopes she's happy wherever he is now. Later, as you fix her up, she starts to realize that she'd done something horrible, and she let the virus in deliberately to forget what she'd done. Feelings of guilt and sadness weigh her down so much, she begs you to shut down her Emotion Core, because she just can't bear the pain of feeling any more.
  • Panzer Dragoon Saga spends most of its third disc in and around the town of Zoah. The Evil Empire would like very much to blow it up, so you spend a lot of time foiling said plans, culminating in an epic attack on a military base and chasing after a missile after it's been fired and taking it apart before it hits the town. Barely ten minutes after this, the Empire cheerfully flies its gigantic dreadnought battleship over to Zoah and uses the ship's stupid-huge laser to blow the town to bits. Admittedly you do find out later on that most of the key NPCs from the town escaped, but still...
  • A different kind of punch is delivered in Metal Slug. After finishing the game, the credits cutscene shows you what you have been doing so far in the game. Dead bodies everywhere. The final blow is a mourning widow/daughter at a grave of a rebel soldier.
    • A happier version of this ending with most of the soldiers still alive is shown if the game is beaten with 2 players, making it sort of a twisted version of The Power of Friendship.
  • Sin and Punishment 2's 6th Stage. After defeating a Keeper, you come across its offspring. At first Isa and Kachi decide to spare it, which turns out to be a very bad idea: the hatchling takes control of a crane and holds whoever you're not playing as, and now you have to rescue him/her. Oh, and did I mention that said hatchling holds your partner over a rising sea of lava, which you must outrun by raising the platform that he and the crane is on as well as shooting the hatchling to force him to raise your partner higher? Not only that, if your partner gets too close to the lava, the hatcling will dump him/her into the lava and you get to watch as he/she falls in screaming and DIES.


  • In Nethack, you start out with a pet. This pet will help you in combat whenever it can. You can even name it. It is one of your only friends in your quest. It can become startled and instantly become hostile. Killing a long time companion that has helped you a lot can be very sad. What's worse is that you get no punishment or threats for killing them, almost stating that they were beyond hope and had to be put down.

Simulation Games

  • In Ace Combat 5, during one of the last missions of the Wardog Squadron, you and your fighter wing are flying security over a peace rally in your capital city when an enemy vanguard of fightercraft leads several wings of bombers into the area. You mop them up as the civilians evacuate the stadium, but your wingman Chopper's aircraft is critically damaged. To prevent the injury of innocents, he stays in the stricken fighter until the stadium is cleared, aiming to eject after setting a crash course for the now-empty field. Only.... his electrical systems fail, and he goes down in flames, unable to eject. Cue a final wing of enemy aircraft flying into the area, their radio chatter proclaiming that the Wardog squadron isn't invincible after all. It's a powerful, dramatic moment of Unstoppable Rage for the characters (and probably the player, too).

Enemy Pilot: What the?! They're flying even better than before?!

    • Made even more dramatic by the fact that there is no dramatic music immediately after this, and no radio chatter from your own squadron. Their missiles say more than words ever could...
    • And it's especially powerful because of just how damn noble Chopper is in the moments leading up to his death. He has the chance to ditch his fighter and let it crash, but that would mean letting it fall onto one of the thousands of houses below. The other wingmen suggest dropping it into the stadium, but he wants to wait for more people to evacuate. By the time he's able to safely dispose of his craft, he finds out that it wouldn't make a difference either way, because he can't eject. Rather than whine about it, he accepts his fate, aims his aircraft directly at the center of the field, and crashes. The whole time, everybody is pleading with him not to do it. Even Thunderhead, the AWACS Commander who has insisted on referring to him as "Captain Davenport" in every mission leading up to this, starts calling him "Chopper." In fact, he screams it. This prompts Chopper's last words:

Chopper: Heh. I'm gonna miss that voice....

  • In Wing Commander, if one of the other pilots died on a mission you would be treated to a short funeral cutscene where your player delivered a eulogy and their coffin was sent into space. What made it worse was that none of their deaths were scripted to occur, so the player knows that they could have prevented it.
    • Also, in Wing Commander 3, an old wingman commits possibly the most shocking Face Heel Turn in video game history.
    • Wing Commander 4 had Vagabond die out of nowhere in a cutscene. Though it was Fore Shadowed if you are familiar with Wing Commander's history of forecasting characters' deaths via poker games.
  • In all Harvest Moon games taking place in Forget-Me-Not Valley Nina dies once your child is born and they go to the 3 year timeskip.
  • In Free Space, your capital ship and captain for the first half of the game are blown to bits while all you can do is watch from your fighter. For the last half of the game, the menu screen is different (reflecting being on a new ship) as are the briefing voiceovers (reflecting your new, not-dead captain).

Stealth Based Games

  • In the Final Battle of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater Snake has to fight his best friend and mentor in a duel to the death. She gives a long final speech about her motives and why she is willing to sacrifice everything to fulfill her duty, and tells Snake that he has to fulfill his own. Like in most fights of the series, she's not immediately dead after being defeated and with her last words demands that Snake shoot her with her own gun. But you don't get to simply watch Snake shoot her. You have to press the fire button yourself. Which directly leads to the birth of Big Boss.
    • A cutscene in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops has the villain indirectly kill off the first soldier you collected in the game, who gets a little bit of screen-time, but has almost all of his emotional connection to the player being the fact that he'd been there since the beginning.
    • The original MGS has the death of the horribly mentally and physically twisted Grey Fox, crushed under the foot of Metal Gear REX. As an added bonus, you then get to repeatedly fire missiles into the face of the bastard that killed him.
      • Go ahead, call Revoler Ocelot's bluff about him killing Meryl if you give into the torture.
    • How often do you keep a dying villain company for his last minutes, and especially villains who repeatedly shot at your friend with a sniper rifle to lure you out of your hiding place? For Sniper Wolf you do, and it's unbelievably sad.
    • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots has multiple Player Punches. So many, in fact, that it's possible the game will seriously injure your psyche if you're not careful. Almost everyone comes out okay in the end, but man.
    • Even more incredibly hard hitting is the "The Reason You Suck" Speech given to Raiden, by GW near the end of the game. Even though it doesn't actually involve anyone dying, it makes a huge emotional impact by practically chewing out the player more so than the character.
    • Another Player Punch from MGS3 was the torture sequence. By the time it was over, I wanted to kill Volgin like no other video game character I have yet seen.
      • A slight one, also from Snake Eater, is if you let The End die of old age in your duel. All he wanted is a Final Battle against a Worthy Opponent and you couldn't or wouldn't give it to him. Even Snake was saddened by that.
  • More or less completely inverted in Manhunt. The villain in the game is a disturbing sadist who compels the player character to acts of excessive, wanton violence for his own entertainment and watches the proceedings through a series of disembodied cameras. Not many games end with the player killing the personification of the part of themself that enjoys the game.
    • A non meta example involves Cash saving different members of his family from a group of crazed hunters, only to be told at the end of the level that their deaths would be necessary, and are killed shortly after.
  • In Assassin's Creed II, the first hour of the game introduces Ezio's family, and aside from the initial fight with the Pazzi, all the missions show you that the Auditore household is solid and full of love. You hang out with affable big brother Fredrico, beat up sister Claudia's cheating boyfriend, collect feathers for sickly little brother Pettruccio, and do jobs for his Reasonable Authority Figure parents Giovanni and Maria. They look like they're going to be part of the story for a while, especially considering the detailed profiles regarding them in the database. Then his father and brothers - yes, including the twelve-year-old Pettruccio - are hanged at Rodrigo Borgia's order, and his mother goes mute from shock when the guards who came for them tried to rape her. Oh, it is on now. Those Templar fuckers are going down.
    • Made even worse when Ezio finally confronts Rodrigo, who says he only had Ezio's brothers hung to show the Templar do not offer mercy to their enemies.
    • Brotherhood has Rodrigo Borgia's son Cesare kill Ezio's uncle Mario to conclude the siege of Monteriggioni. Oh, it's really fucking on now. We're not gonna spare you this time, Borgia, you had your chance, and you blew it.
      • The siege of Monteriggioni also laid waste to your hard work synchronizing (outside of the story) with Ezio in the second game. All the renovations, all the money spent, all the collectibles... gone in a single morning. For the split-second that it's visible, apparently not even the Armor of Altair survived (intact).
      • Juno forcing Desmond to stab Lucy while Desmond can do nothing but struggle and watch is possibly the worst, the fact that it comes without warning doesn't help at all.
        • Even worse? The player is forced to do it, as well. The cutscene cannot continue until you move the control stick. One. Step. At. A. Time. And then, you must deliver the attack with the familiar "press any button" input.
      • Caterina's admittance that their only night together was all politics for her definitely feels like this. The novelization actually has Ezio angsting about this for quite a bit, even contemplating abandoning it all and running away with Caterina, only for her to reiterate that she doesn't love him. Then, just to hammer it home, Desmond in the present asks what happened to her, and it's revealed that she never got her city back, then got sick and died. While this is pretty much Caterina's fate in Real Life, it still sucks.
  • Assassin's Creed introduces you to each of the targets by showing them commit an atrocity. The first brutally stabs a man to death for talking back to him, the second has a man's legs broken because he tried to flee the hospital of horrors, one throws a scholar onto a pile of burning books because the man argued (peaceably and politely) that books are treasures to be preserved, not destroyed, and another murders an innocent priest because he thinks the man might be you...the list goes on. The player is always completely unable to intervene and has to watch these terrible things happen, even though some of them would be so easy to prevent because you're literally a few yards away from the target.
    • Then the game punches you a second time by having a long conversation with each target in which he justifies his actions, or makes the player pity him, or etc. In short, the game takes away the first punch and in doing so makes the second death another punch.
      • All of them except for Majd Addin, who turns out to be a psychopath who killed people for fun.

Survival Horror

  • In the bad ending of Fatal Frame II, the main character chases her possessed sister into the caves under the village, but will find herself forced to undergo the barbaric ritual of the village that you've been (indirectly) suffering the consequences of all game: Mio chokes Mayu to death, turning her spirit into one of the Crimson Butterflies that have been fluttering around the village. And the worst part? THIS WILL ALWAYS HAPPEN TO YOU YOUR FIRST TIME THROUGH THE GAME. The good end isn't even available unless you're playing on a higher, unlocked difficulty.
    • The real Player Punch? This is the canonic ending. And the very fact that the deliberately brutal and emotionally cruel sacrifices are supposed to be the right thing to do in the games' setting was a pretty big Player Punch.
    • Even better? That's not even the worst ending. In that ending, you just run and leave Mayu behind getting a creepTASTIC promise from Mayu and Sae that they will always be waiting for their sisters... Though, if you didn't like Mayu...
  • Even if you have already been spoiled on the truth about James in Silent Hill 2 or picked up on the disturbing implications of the anvilicious foreshadowing, the inevitable reveal is still a kick in the gut. (L0rdVega's Blind Playthrough is the perfect example of this. Listen to his muted "I knew it" at 3:12 and compare to how mercilessly he'd otherwise been mocking James' incompetence in other videos.)
    • Silent Hill 2 actually plays with this trope in several ways. In addition to what was described above, the game twists the knot on this trope with Maria, whose presence results in at least three Player Punches—and, in most cases a fourth, which you yourself must deliver. Alternatively, in the case of a particular ending, instead of Maria dying a fourth time, the player encounters his own wife, who is (sort of) alive and (completely) furious with you, and after you've spent the entire game ostensibly trying to find her, only to discover that you killed her yourself, you have to kill her again.
      • And that's after you've had to kill Eddie. Though granted he wasn't very simpathetic, but Angela was and you had to just watch as she walked away into hell. Having some actual people around just to make terrible things happen pretty much highlights what a twisted place Silent Hill is.
      • Then, of course, we have the "In Water" ending, where James commits suicide, and the full text of the letter from his wife (which was a posthumous note) was read by the VA... and we find out that she wanted him to live his life.
    • In Silent Hill 3, Harry is killed specifically to piss off Heather (and by extension the player). Vincent's death is also a pretty powerful Player Punch, the charming bastard.
      • Agentjr discovering Harry's body in his playthrough is pretty much how most Silent Hill fans felt. The aftermath to the player punch is also very bitter.
        • The original Silent Hill also has Harry pushing away and running from a desperate and horrified Lisa Garland.
    • The Good ending of Silent Hill delivers a huge Player Punch by making you kill Cybil, only to later find out that the innocuous red liquid you picked up in the hospital and forgot about four hours ago could have saved her.
    • The Wicked and the Weak ending to Silent Hill Shattered Memories.
  • In Dead Space, you find multiple logs from Temple and Cross, two people who survived a while and are built up as quite sympathetic as you hear from them... but they're probably already dead. You find out they're not, just in time for the evil Mad Scientist to brutally kill them while a security lockdown keeps you from doing anything but watching.
    • Even worse; NICOLE IS DEAD. Sure, it was foreshadowed heavily, but finding out that Isaac's entire reason for being there, the one reason he kept going, had killed herself before he even arrived and the rest was all just a Mind Screw kinda hurt.
    • Hell, even Hammond's death. It's easy to go back on forth on him throughout the game—is he a good guy, is he a backstabbing bastard like Kendra is saying? But that tends to fade after he puts his all into helping you get the ship back together and encourages you to keep going, and even nearly dies from toxin inhalation. Then you finally meet up with him again, only to watch him be viciously torn apart by a Brute.
  • The original Resident Evil and the REmake has this with Richard. The original had him dying even if you got the serum for him in time, and in Remake, he lives long enough to get eaten by something. Chris's scenario is the worst of the two, as you can actually watch over Richard while he sleeps.
  • In the case of Eternal Darkness, maybe this could be called something along the lines of Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu And Cthulhu Punched Back, as eleven twelfths of the game take place within the chapters of a book of the fight against an Eldritch Abomination God on the rise spanning history, each chapter focusing on a different character's efforts. Every one of these characters was a perfectly ordinary (essentially) and usually quite lovable person who just had to get mixed up in the whole thing, often by being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and even though they usually strike a blow, it's at a dear cost. Say, life or sanity. Some of the hardest punches are when Ellia, a dancer seeking entertainment in a temple to Kali, finds out that the temple houses yet another Eldritch Abomination God and is made to hold its essence - which keeps her from dying even when she's killed for knowing too much, the last bit not something you know until another character over a thousand years later finds her remains and she passes it on to him and Anthony, a messenger for Charlemagne, gets blasted with a curse meant for Charlemagne that slowly turns him into a zombie and, long story short, by the time he gets to Charlemagne to tell him of impending treachery he finds out he's too late and is left zombified, unable to die, and alone for centuries until the player, as yet another character, is forced to put him out of his misery themself. And he still whispers "Charlemaaagne!" and lets out this pathetic moan now and then, too. That Anthony played by wonderfully talented Cam Clark helps.
    • The Lovecraftian themes of Eternal Darkness lend themselves well to the player punch as only four of the playable characters come out merely scarred for life with most of their mental faculties intact. For another example there's Paul, the very sympathetic priest, who has to fight Anthony later as an enraged zombie. He prays for Anthony's soul afterwards which, although arguably futile given the Lovecraftian universe the game exists in, helps bring some closure to poor Anthony. Then what happens? You get to the end of the chapter and meet a giant . . . thing that either eats Paul's head or makes it pop like a balloon and there's not a damn thing you can do about it because it's a cutscene. Peter Jacobs gets to take that blasted head-eater down later, thankfully.
  • Penumbra: Overture has the player crawling through a dark, crumbling mining complex filled to the (cracked) rafters with Eldritch Abominations and once-living creatures, all the while being lead by a seemingly kindred spirit known as "Red" who is clearly insane from isolation. However, he befriends the player in a one-sided way, and you'll likely get attached to him as well. However, in the final moments of the game, to open the door and move on, the player must incinerate poor Red, who is laying in an oven, to get the key to move on, as Red had been suffering alone for so long, and had convinced himself, in his madness that he could not take his own life, as "That was against the rules". The second you get your guts up to start the machine he screams bloody murder. Cue My God, What Have I Done?, Heroic BSOD on the PLAYER end, and ending it all with a Tear Jerker from being Player Punched so hard.
    • It gets worse in the sequel, Black Plague. There, you befriend Amabel, a scientist that needs your help to escape and find a cure for a virus that's going around... which, incidentally, infects you and results in Clarence's snarky comments echoing in your head for the rest of the game. But the topper is when you finally reach Amabel, and are greeted with an Infected instead, which you then have to kill by dropping a crate atop it... only for Clarence to say "Gotcha" and reveal that it was Amabel the whole time.]] The exact phrasing used in that scene can be found under Nice Job Breaking It, Hero in Penumbra's page.
      • Not to mention that any Genre Savvy player that kept their wits about them knew it was her, only makes the Player Punch that much harder.

Third Person Shooters

  • Gears of War 2. Tai Kaliso's suicide, and Dom being forced to kill Maria, both due to the inhuman treatment they suffered at the hands of the Locust. If you're not coming out of that wanting to paint the Locust Horde's walls with their own entrails, you are not human.
    • Gears 2 you also gives us Benjamine Carmine. AKA, the little brother of the "voted most likely to die first" guy, Anthony Carmine, from the first game, and the rookie besides. Cue expectations of a running gag of Carmines dying the first chance the story gets. Then he doesn't die, and actually lives through most of the game, making him grow on you (and the main characters), having a few good moments along the way, making you think he might not die after all. Then, after getting a bit too enthusiastic, he gets himself shot, but lives (hey, he's not going to die after all)... long enough to slip out of the helicopter transporting the squad, fall into the mouth of a giant worm, get mauled by a parasite living in the worms stomach and get partially digested by stomach acids. Next you see him, there's only half of him left, and he lives long enough to tell the squad to tell his family he loves them. Gears 2 was very good at that sort of thing. And we've got two more Carmines (two more sequels) to go. Hoo boy.
  • In Oni, Konoko starts off partnered with Shinatama, a remote AI who monitors Konoko's progress (among other things). When Konoko starts attracting the attention of the Big Bad Muro, he has a squad of Mooks kidnap Shinatama, whom he then Mind Rapes for information. When he's done, he tortures Shinatama for the sheer novelty value, then abandons the near-dead body for Konoko to find when she goes a-gunnin'.
    • What's worse is that when Konoko eventually finds Shinatama, her Self-Destruct Mechanism is activated by Konoko's boss, Commander Griffin. After the player escapes the Earthshattering Kaboom, the player ends up pissed at both Muro and Griffin as a result.
      • Which is made even worse when Konoko later confronts Griffin and finds that he's salvaged Shinatama's remains and hooked her up to an automated Death Trap, forcing her to defend him from Konoko, who she regards as a sister.
      • Wait, not done yet. It gets worse. In order to reach Griffin, Konoko has to overload Shinatama's mental barriers while avoiding her defenses. And how does poor Shinatama respond to this? She repeatedly apologizes and begs you for forgiveness.
      • After all that, do I dare mention the part where Shinatama wrenches her twisted form out of the aforementioned Death Trap and attempts to attack Griffin? Or how she is promptly gunned down for her trouble?
  • Army of Two: The 40th Day. The choice at the end, and in a more minor fashion, every f%$&king choice in the game, will have you curse yourself. Especially the ending, which has you choose between your best buddy and the possibility of seven million deaths.
  • In Gun, when The Dragon unceremoniously murders the love interest you just met and protected from hordes of indians on the way to the city. Right in front of the hero, too.
    • And oh, you make him pay. And you get to listen to him pathetically beg for his life.

Cole: for Jenny. *blood spatters face*

  • The moment in Max Payne 2 when you discover that Vlad, whom has been thoroughly likeable and very much on Max's side since about halfway through the first game, is the Big Bad.
  • Two in Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine. Realizing that Inquisitor Drogan set you up, and watching Nemeroth stab Sidonius to death with his power claws.

Turn Based Strategy

  • Marona in Phantom Brave is a sweet, kind-hearted young girl who gets All of the Other Reindeer reactions by the very people she tries to help to the point that, to quote one editor, he "has never actually wanted to commit genocide on a fictional world before."
    • This is shown most powerfully in the first episode where, after eliminating demons from near a village, a small child offers Marona a candy...and then its mother snatches the child away and basically shouts "What were you doing to my child, you evil little monster?" And this is said in a tone so fearful and full of hate not even people in horror movies performing Heroic Sacrifices would use it. To a thirteen year-old orphan.
    • The remake for the Wii gives another in the form of Carona's backstory: what's the one thing they could do to make Marona's childhood even worse? Take away Ash, leaving her completely vulnerable to the raw hatred of the world, then have her lose to Sulphur, then be enslaved by a dark god who holds her entire world hostage and forces her to travel to alternate Ivoires and kill, betray, and enslave other Marona's.
  • The Suikoden series raises this to an art form; the back of the boxes promise death, war, and betrayal, after all. In the first game in the series, Gremio, the Heroic Mime's axe-wielding nanny sacrifices himself to save the party. The player gets to listen to Gremio's last words as he's devoured by flesh-eating fungus. This scene led to more than a few tears from the series' fans. It's happened many times since, and longtime fans are wary of liking a character too much, since they tend to up and die or switch sides at a dramatic moment.
    • Oh by the way, on Gremio's killer, Millich? You have to forgive him for the kill or you get barred from the best ending. As if giving you another indirect punch for requiring you not to take righteous vengeance.
      • In Millich's defence, he was Brainwashed and Crazy at the time and can't really be held justifiably accountable for his actions. That, of course, arguably makes it worse - in most games the person who does something like this is an unlikable Jerkass and deserves to die (case in point being Luca Blight). Sometimes, you can praise the depth and moral complexity of a story whilst simultaneously cursing it for not giving you a free escape clause where the heroes are pure and good and the villains are clean-cut evil.
    • The first Suikoden also features the Heroic Mime's older friend Pahn fighting a duel against the protagonist's father. The first time you play the game and if you haven't been using a guide, you probably opted not to use Pahn when he came back through the Face Heel Revolving Door. By that point he's pretty far under-levelled, his weapons need a massive investment of funds to get up to par, and his Boar Rune kinda sucks anyway. Plus, by this point, his awesome teamup attack with Gremio is obviously gone. It's actually a three for one player beatdown. The first is when Pahn dies to hold off General Teo. The second is when you read a guide and realize that you could have saved him. The third comes when you realize that you needed him alive to bring Gremio back. Ouch, Konami. Ouch.
    • Suikoden II has several Player Punches. During one of the last missions of the game, your sister Nanami is struck by an arrow from one of the guards of the treacherous leader of Rockaxe (who were trying to kill both the hero and Jowy while they were fighting). What makes this scene more of a Player Punch was Nanami's major role in supporting the hero and after she is struck, she tells the hero how happy she was to be his sister. Whether she dies for real or survives but leaves the war is up to whether the player recruited the 108 Stars of Destiny or not.
      • Whether Nanami survives or dies also depends on two other factors, strangely enough. One, the player needs to be fast about a dialogue selection that occurs (though which option is selected doesn't matter). Two, Nanami needs to have a defense of 121 or greater to survive the blow (in order to trip up Genre Savvy players who already know what's going to happen and unequip her armor to keep it from being Lost Forever). Decent armor is a must.
      • Pilika is Player Punch fuel. This five year old is easily the most tragic character in the game. She not only has her village burned and her parents killed by Luca Blight, she is almost killed by him as well. This event renders her mute for most of the game. She is apart from her dear friend and caretaker Jowy (who she rescued early in the game) for much of the game and it made her feel lonely. In the end, a Tear Jerker scene shows Jowy telling Pilika that when he leaves, it's good bye forever.
    • Attempted to invoke it in Suikoden III, but it unfortunately failed. Hugo's best friend Lulu (he's male, incidentally) dies at the end of the first (and second) chapter. It's supposed to be sad, and indeed Hugo is wracked with grief. However, since Lulu himself is whiny, irritating, not that bright, and pretty much useless in a fight, the player is generally something other than sad to see him go—though, in some cases, since the average player is quite fond of Hugo, his own grief can serve as player punch material on its own.
    • Suikoden IV can be quite brutal at some points where there's a But Thou Must! if the player gives the wrong answer. Not getting the 108 Stars of Destiny also can cause a bit of a Downer Ending.
    • Suikoden V pulls this and all, repeatedly - including once during the game's prologue when you're led to expect something nasty to happen to the happy status-quo anyway. The hero's family is so carefully set up and portrayed that of course the player will come to like them... and then the assassination attempt comes. And then it looks like they're actually going to pull through - the family evaded the sleeping poison by pre-empting it with an antidote before the meal, and then the Queen and her husband proceed to make mince-meat of the horde trying to kill them by sheer weight of numbers. Except the Sun rune drives the queen beyond sanity again, and when someone says something to her, she snaps, rounds on them and wipes them out as she had been the assassins...only to discover too late that it's her husband in the energy sphere, and is only able to prevent it killing him long enough for him to tell her he loves her before being unceremoniously wiped out. Everything just goes wrong from there.
    • Suikoden Tierkreis has its own fair share, such as when the player's forced to watch the brutal results of Cosmic Retcons unfold. One of the worst, however, is learning that your friend Cougar suffered this, and not even his own people realized it he'd been Ret Goned at first.
      • What? No tears for the Magedom of Janam???
  • The scene before the final battle in Disgaea: Hour of Darkness features Seraph Lamington "killing" the adorable Love Freak Flonne by turning her into a flower. She either stays dead, is resurrected by Laharl's Heroic Sacrifice (a Player Punch in and of itself), or is revived as a Fallen Angel (which, despite how ominous it may sound, is a Mega Happy Ending. This is Disgaea, remember?)
  • Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War has an example that's particularly haunting. Halfway through the game, Sigurd's former ally Lord Alvis betrays him and orders his mages to slaughter nearly every playable character in Sigurd's army, at least a few of which the player must surely have developed attachment to at this point. Alvis also reveals that he has taken Sigurd's wife (who has been brainwashed) as his own before personally murdering Sigurd with the legendary Fala Flame spell. The rest of the game takes place 17 years later, starring the children of the slain protagonists.
    • Cuan and Ethlin beforehand. They arrive with a contingent of Lance Knights to assist your army, and were (slowly) crossing the Yied Desert until a contingent of Thracian Dragon Knights appear at the rear. Armed with lances that are super-effective against mounted units and unfettered by movement penalties (which sand terrain does on ground units), they proceed to slaughter the entire army, culminating with Cuan and Ethlin. Additionally, if Ethlin dies first, the leader of the Dragon Knights holds her daughter hostage, forcing Cuan to disarm himself so they can kill him more easily. Oh, this also happens in-game, so you can send your flier down and try to rescue them, but you'll end up breaking the game.
    • Blazing Sword: When Leila was slaughtered on Ephidel's orders, then her mutilated corpse was left out for you to find and Ephidel mercilessly teased you over her, has caused many players to cry Matthew's heartbreaking moodswings between being drastically, flat-out dead-depressed and acting optimistic and pretending that nothing was wrong, compounded with how he talked to her like she was there...that cued another tearfest.
      • Ninian's death. Especially if you maxed out her support level with Eliwood. That one is such a punch that it needs some expansion. To start: One of your party members is the Mysterious Waif dancer Ninian, a Proper Lady who dances for the group, whom the young Lord Eliwood seems to grow very fond of.. Later on, however she is taken away by the Big Bad Nergal, having offered herself as a hostage to protect her brother Nils, forcing Eliwood and the others to find a weapon to defeat Nergal, namely the titular weapon, Durandal. But just after claiming the weapon, a dragon appears. Eliwood easily takes it down, but then he learns from Nergal himself... that the dragon he fatally wounded... was really Ninian. This is pretty painful on its own, but if you've gotten their A-Support conversation, or, at the least you are an Eliwood/Ninian shiper like me, that makes it even worse... Imagine killing the person you love and not knowing it until it's too late, and not only she doesn't blame you, but she's glad that she didn't harm you while in Dragon state, and then begs you to keep on fighting and save your land too...
      • Eliwood's father, Marquess Pherae's death was a huge punch after beginning Eliwood's quest in chapter 11 with the goal of searching for him. Then, enter the Big Bad Nergal, who then kills him to open the Dragon's Gate. Cue dramatic music and the following cutscene makes for many tears.
      • Hector's death in Sword of Seals counts as one for anybody who played Blazing Sword first, especially since it was orchestrated by Zephiel, the once-kind-hearted-prince of Bern that you had to rescue in the prequel.
    • What about Myrhh in The Sacred Stones? You can force her to kill her own freakin' father, Morva! And none of the main characters (except for Ephraim - and only if you're playing his route) will ever know until after the battle! Nice job.
      • On the same note, you can force Nino to kill Lloyd or Linus. Again, more of an example of Video Game Cruelty Potential. The worst part is, they don't make any attempts to attack her on enemy phase, making them very easy to defeat and one of the easiest ways to level Nino fast. ...Am I going to hell for that?
      • Actually, Linus does attack her. And it obviously doesn't make things better.
    • Because of the excellent characterization, this can happen with just about any character death, depending on how much you care about your troops.
  • Jeanne D'Arc, being about Joan of Arc, naturally deals with the whole "burning at the stake" bit. Only, in this case, it's Jeanne's childhood friend and almost-sister Lianne who is captured and sold to the English, due to her having been made to impersonate the real Jeanne while the latter was presumed dead. Made even worse in that you're set on a course to rescue this character, the enemy deliberately blocks your way (not to defeat you, but merely to slow you down) and you make it just instants after Lianne has been burned at the stake. A third Player Punch comes when Roger, who has been trying to save Lianne on his own (and almost succeeding, too) takes this personal against you, and promptly pulls such a hard Face Heel Turn he actually turns demonic.
  • Similarly, La Pucelle features a chapter where the party ends up a hundred years in the past and meets the girl Croix keeps seeing when he looks at Prier. The girl, unlike Prier, is sweet and kind, and a devoted follower of the goddess Poitireene... during a time when they're being persecuted. On top of that, she happens to be Croix's fiancée. Then the plot happens. She gets sold out by another villager jealous that she chose Croix over him, and your party has to race to stop an execution you already know is going to happen, since it was shown in a flashback (plus complications that make this a bit of a Scrappy Level). Unfortunately, You Can't Fight Fate, and to make things worse, the Croix from this time period also arrives too late. The shock of seeing his (pregnant) fiancée unjustly murdered (for a second time, in one case) triggers both Croix to merge and become the Dark Prince, the archenemy of the Maiden of Light.
  • Tactics Ogre, The Knight of Lodis has one hidden in the canon Downer Ending. Turns out that having your best friend and love interest killed/sacrifice themselves does nothing for your Wide Eyed Idealism. The character you've been playing, turns out to, as a result of YOUR choices, become one of the main antagonists of the sequel. There's a reason why the 2nd best ending is generally preferred (Hero lives, love interest lives, both walk off into the sunset and out of the history books).
    • When the original Tactics Ogre gets revealed, a new character, Ravness Loxaerion, a Lady of War, is introduced. However, when you had to make the decision to burn or spare Baramus... If you choose NOT to burn Baramus, then as a 'bonus' of Vice's Face Heel Turn, he kills Ravness on spot, made more painful if you have finished the game with the Law route first where she lived.
  • What happens to Karen in the first Front Mission will made you want to kill Driscoll, revive him, then kill him again. Thankfully, the game actually lets you do that.
    • It's revealed she survived being Stuffed into a Fridge, and was working at a hospital...just in time for Driscoll to kidnap her, and turn her into a CPU CHIP! She is re-kidnapped in around the fifth mission, but not revealed as dead until MUCH later. You use this chip to kill Driscoll. He turns HIMSELF into a Giant Killer Cyborg. You kill him AGAIN.
  • Arc the Lad 2 has quite a few player punches: First, when Elc has to kill Mariel, his first love interest, right below the playground where they played together as children. Then there is the fact that Arc finally found his father, after literally YEARS spent looking for him, going into exile while being framed as a terrorist, and he dies 4 minutes after that. Finding his father was the reason he started his quest. Then you can add the utterly screwed up backstories of most playable characters, and finally the events before the last boss: the characters have destroyed bit by bit the Romalian War Machine, freed most if not all of their puppet states, and have conquered its capital. Cue the king of Romalia breaking the seal of the Big Bad: it turns that the key of the final key Big Bad seal was that a human being had to willingly chose to free him. Cue the king snapping because his kingdom is collapsing under his feet and pushing the red button. The Big Bad then proceeds to kill the King of Romalia (no big deal), kills Arc's girlfriend and unleashes the apocalypse over the world. Then you see a sadistic scene of the cities explored by the heroes being flooded, burned down, while most of the world population dies: not only were all the good deeds of Arc, Elc & co for nothing, but you are at the end of the game. No opportunity to fix anything, and if this was not enough, Arc commits an heroic sacrifice after the last battle. Really, do not be fooled by the anime and 16 bits era graphics: this game's story is a cross over between Rwanda and WWII.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics - Algus was already an unlikable, classist jerk, but he seals the deal when he shoots Teta at the end of the first Chapter for no reason other than "her life has no meaning to me".
    • This game is made of this trope. Algus crossing the Moral Event Horizon is just the first. Then you learn that Ovelia, who Ramza has just stormed an execution site and then a castle for, has decided to take the Shrine Knight's offer. Then Ramza's sister gets kidnapped. Then you learn that Rafa hates Barinten not just because he killed her village, but because he raped her, which Ramza discovered right after finding out that killing all those guards was useless, because his sister is already gone. It doesn't get any better when Ramza finds out that his sister has actually been taken to Hell itself, and that if he wants to follow to stop the apocalypse it's going to be a one way trip. The worst part is that you know Ramza's struggles are ultimately for nothing, since Delita Hyral is going to wind up king while Ramza's deeds are going to go completely unrewarded. At best, Ramza fades into obscurity at the end of the game. At best.
      • Somehow even "made of this trope" doesn't quite do Tactics justice. That character you like? S/he dies. Ramza and Alma might live, depending on interpretation. Aside from those two, of about 50 characters in the game, FIVE survive, and Delita is the only major one among them. The ending to the game is one of the nastier punches out there.
    • When put in conjunction with other Ivalice games, this game has a very different kind of player punch. Final Fantasy Tactics Advance gives us a different kind of Ivalice, where strange races abound and everything is magical, it's a false world, but one that bases itself on something magnificent. In Final Fantasy XII, we are properly introduced to the world of Ivalice past, a heartbreakingly beautiful place of airships and magic woods, with several interesting races and it's own unique society. We can't help but fall in love with the Moogle Mechanics, Magical Viera and Brutish Bangaa who populate every corner of this magical world. Final Fantasy Tactics A2 takes this further by dropping dramatics with a much lighter tale than FFXII, about a boy going into a book and having an adventure. We even get to play our old favorite races and some more! Then you go back to the first FF Tactics, which chronologically, takes place after all of this... All of the other races, all of the airships, everything is gone. By Vagrant Story, Humes can't even remember magic anymore. Talk about a Crapsack World.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics A2 has a painful player punch for one mission where someone requests some zombie powder so that they can die and end their misery. Luso learns from the Witch of the Fens that taking the powder in large doses over time will not outright kill them, but will turn them into a zombie while they still retain their memories. Luso then learns from Ezel that the alternative to this is to make a draught where the user will lose memories instead. From there, you have to make the ultimate choice in the mission; do you do what the requester asked you to do or do you do the opposite and get him something different so he can still live? Doing either option still makes the mission completed, but the choice you make won't easily be forgotten.
  • Super Robot Wars MX. Reenacting the Vibrato battle in RahXephon. You are in control throughout.

Visual Novel

  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: in Trials and Tribulations case 5, when Dahlia Hawthorne starts cackling about Maya's apparent suicide, and how she can't be punished for it because she's already dead. Even given that you've most likely figured the true plot out already by this point, the anger generated by this scene is part of what makes Mia and Phoenix's resultant Hannibal Lecture such a Crowning Moment of Awesome for the series.
    • Dahlia is also responsible for another Player Punch earlier:
    • Also, Case 2-4 becomes a Player Punch right off the bat, but the salt is only sprinkled in the wound later on:

Matt Engarde: How do you do, Mr. Lawyer? I'm Matt Engarde.

    • Mia's death near the beginning of the first game works this way too. It's a bit different from this trope's norm in the sense that you don't really get a sense of how awesome she was until after she dies. In any case, Redd White is quite likely the most hated villain in the series who isn't a final case villain.
  • Planetarian It comes to punch you in the eye when you're already attached to Yumemi/Reverie
  • In the Heaven's Feel route of Fate/stay night, you're forced to select the choice that kills Saber in order to obtain the True End.
    • Choosing to let Saber live has fatal consequences for Rin, who, as a result of Saber's timely intervention, gets absorbed by Sakura as a result. She then proceeds to inflict a re-enactment of her experiences in the Matou household on Rin, and the utter horror of the scene is compounded when Sakura lets Shirou know in an arrestingly deadpan manner that Rin was a virgin, and that she's "already crying on her first day."
      • Doesn't change the fact that it's difficult to stomach killing off Shirou's first love for seemingly no reason. The related bad end is something of a Diabolus Ex Machina, coming the hell out of nowhere.
    • If that wasn't already bad enough, the True End route also has Ilya sacrifice herself; this is non-negotiable on your first play, and the worst part of it all? That innocent little jingle of hers plays as she does so, increasing the tear-inducing factor of the scene by over nine thousand.
      • Worse than this, when you do get the choice, choosing to prevent Ilya from sacrificing herself leads to the Normal end, which apart from being exceptionally depressing doesn't mention Ilya at all, implying that she probably returned to her castle to live the rest of her (short) life alone, since Shirou is dead and Sakura is far too depressed to possibly look after Ilya.
  • Visual Novel example: Clannad. When Nagisa and Tomoya want to confirm Fuko's situation by trying to get her older sister Kouko to meet her, Kouko ends up staring straight through Fuko and she says to Tomoya, "That girl stopped breathing yesterday."
    • And then there's Nagisa herself. There's a reason why the Anime decided to follow her route.
  • Early on in the survival horror visual novel Corpse Party, Naomi and Seiko unwittingly step into a pile of gore. It's played for dark laughs, but later on, we find out that the body belongs to their friend Mayu.
  • Katawa Shoujo: Basically every bad ending is this, and the game really chews out the player for it more than Hisao.

Wide Open Sandbox

  • Grand Theft Auto IV: Either Roman or Kate must die to end the main storyline. Then when you get The Lost and Damned expansion pack, you meet the biker gang that Niko has run-ins with during IV, and characters that you (as Niko) killed are the Player Punches. It's somewhat lessened with Kate, as she was introduced too late and made less sympathetic than intended.
    • If you go after Playboy X, it's a standard battle to get to him, but Dwayne? One guy with a baseball bat is between you and Dwayne. The punch comes when you get to Dwayne, who offers no resistance, besides making you feel like a horrible person. Then you call Playboy X, who calls you "cold", gives you the money for the job and never speaks to you again. If that wasn't enough, Dwayne was probably the only character that Niko clearly respected, and one of his few actual friends.
      • Fortunately, unlike most examples of this trope, it's actually possible to avoid killing Dwayne. And if Playboy X being such a completely unlikeable character that you probably wanted to kill him at that point anyway wasn't enough, you get a decidedly better reward for killing him than killing Dwayne (Playboy's apartment as an extra safehouse plus Dwayne's friendship reward vs some cash, which isn't really significant by that point).
  • In The Godfather: The Game, your Love Interest Frances "Frankie" Malone gets abducted and murdered by Tattaglia goons, complete with a Hope Spot where Aldo briefly thinks she's made it... Nope. Okay, Tatty bitches goin' down hard.
    • Then followed by Monk's Face Heel Turn and your having to put him down.
  • Red Dead Redemption has Luisa, a naive young girl, who Marston begins to take a liking to, rush at three armed men with a knife to save her love, who is being held by the men, and get shot three times, killing her instantly. This appears to smash Martson's Berserk Button.
    • And then finding out that Luisa's "love" didn't even know her name? And that he turns out being a worse tyrant than the man Luisa and the rebellion were attempting to bring down? Ouch.
    • And how has John Marston's death not been mentioned? Watching the character you played as for so long being gunned down by the law for no reason other than protecting his own family was heart-wrenching. Anyone who doesn't admit to having felt some kind of loss in that scene has no soul. It's made slightly better in that playing as John's son, you can hunt down the man responsible for payback. What makes the punch even worse afterward is realizing that Jack is now living the very life John was trying so hard to protect him from.
      • Even when you play as Jack, there is a giant, John-shaped hole in the game. The very fact that you are no longer playing as John is a punch. After an entire game of hearing John spur his horse, suddenly you hear Jack shouting "Hyah, mule!" It's a constant reminder that John is dead.
    • Every single stranger mission can end with a rather bleak outcome for the people John tried to help, or instead learning that the outcome was bleak from the start.
    • And pretty much all of Undead Nightmare. At the very start of the game you are forced to kill Uncle, and tie up your now zombified wife and son until you can find a cure.
    • Other then that, we also get to see the already Crapsack World be and even bigger crapsack, with recurring characters dying, or already dead characters being zombies.
    • The Birth of the Conservation Movements Stranger mission has Marston riding around Tall Trees killing Saquatches while under the false impression they eat babies. When Marston finds the last Saquatch, it turns out he's been killing peaceful, sentient, and docile creatures, which Marston tries his hardest to deny until the last Sasquatch begs for the Marston to kill him. The player can then decide to kill him or not.
    • If all the survivors in a town under siege by zombies die, the town and its save point will be Lost Forever.
  • There's a moment midway through Dead Rising that involves a side character and is therefore not plot-important, but it's unexpected, unpleasant, and potentially downright depressing nonetheless. Said side character is Cliff, a miniboss and an obvious Shell-Shocked Veteran who thinks Frank is Vietcong and attacks him on sight. Upon his defeat, the player is treated to a proper death scene as usual. Of course it's not until he's dying on the floor that he comes back to his senses, gives Frank a photo of his family, and explains that he went back to the war when he saw his granddaughter get devoured by the zombies. At least you can take his Weapon of Choice (a machete) afterwards and chop off a few heads for him, eh?
    • Also, if you get the real ending by doing everything right and fully investigating the mystery, you wander out onto the helipad to see if the affable helicopter pilot Ed has returned as promised. Ed spots you from another rooftop and gets all excited that you made it and that he's going to share the rewards of your success, and in comes the cavalry, cheering and waving at you. And then a zombie that crawled into his chopper at some point pops up behind him and tears his throat out. Poor Ed...
    • There was also a mission involving a woman who is hiding behind the counter in a jewelry store. When you talk to her, she says that she lost her baby. Frank, along with a lot of players, assumed that you'd probably have to go find the baby and bring it back to her safely. But no, she then tells you that the baby is already dead and that the zombies ate her right in front of her. "I've never heard her cry like that." She's so traumatized by this that she attacks you as if she were a zombie herself and needs to be calmed down before she'll actually go with you to safety.
  • Dead Rising 2 has a punch for those who saw the survivors they were rescuing as just mini-quests. The very first survivor you have to save is your daughter and she's been bitten by a zombie, so you need to find the cure or your daughter will turn into a zombie. And parents around the world have an entirely new nightmare to contend with.
  • Midway through the Brotherhood campaign in Saint's Row 2, Carlos, the guy who helped you break out of prison in the prologue gets kidnapped, and the mission consists of chasing the truck dragging him around by a chain. In the cut scene after completing the mission, you put him out of his misery.
    • The beginning has plenty of these too. The Saints are gone, Dex has become an enemy and Saints Row has become gentrified to the point of being completely unrecognizable. Then comes the death of Aisha, the brutal deaths of Kenji and Jessica and watching as your character murders Julius can all hit pretty hard in a game that is largely about goofy escapist fun.
    • The punches come harder in Saints Row the Third: Johnny Gat dies in the second story mission, and the real ending also kills off Shaundi. The only remaining original members of the Saints left are the Boss and Pierce.
  • The Legend of Heroes: A Tear of Vermillion: After a happy Hope Spot that suggests everything will go happily ever after, the main character's beloved sister (resident Living MacGuffin) is kidnapped and the main character's childhood friend who the story has been characterizing for the past 20+ hours of gameplay is apparently dead. And then the NPC's that you met earlier ask where your friend is. Ouch. At least he gets better though.
  • Hellgate:London attempts this with the late-game death of your Mr. Exposition.

Non-videogame examples

Anime and Manga

  • During the virtual reality filler arc in Yu-Gi-Oh!, the heroes are fighting their way through a horde of Duel Monsters when the Fairy Companion throws herself into the path of an oncoming attack on Yugi. He can only hold her and watch as she smiles weakly and dies, driving him to tears and a frustrated cry of "I've had enough!" before Yami steps in and starts getting dangerous.
  • For Issei in High School DxD, it's losing Asia in Volume 6 when she got teleported to the void though Ise didn't know it at that time. He then ate Shalba with the use of his Juggernaut Drive and was howling in despair at the sky.


  • In Mockingjay, Prim's death most likely qualifies as the saddest moment in the series.


  • Played for laughs in this Penny Arcade strip
  • Captain SNES: In a flashback to the 8-bit days, Mother Brain has taken almost all of Captain N's power, called Omega Energy, and used it to make a pit which can defy the inherent innocence of Videoland and kill someone permanently. She initially planned to drop Lana into it, but Captain N uses the last of his power to pause time and save her. He explains that his power can't be taken so simply, as it comes from his friendship with the other characters, including his best friend Duke(a dog)...

Mother Brain: Omega energy is greater than your idiotic friendships! And I'll prove it!
Captain N: Um, we already won, Mother Brain.
Lana: Yeah, I think it's already been-
[Mother Brain knocks Duke into the pit]


Web Original

  • Non-game example (albeit in a series about video games): In Life in A Game, it's bad enough that the various Jackals have been harassing and attacking Guy since he came to the Game, but when one of them murders Subplott, that's when he finally loses it.
  • In Kickassia, when The Nostalgia Critic kills Santa Christ. Santa Christ, he who reads to sick orphans, fights monsters for fun, will mend your curtains for free, and makes really good fondue. And even though the Clap Your Hands If You Believe sequence is played for laughs, Critic's broken look as he realizes what he just did will stay with you for a while.
    • Suburban Knights does it again with the death of Ma-Ti. He was little more than a living Running Gag, appearing throughout multiple videos to shout "Heart!", got his butt kicked by everyone in the Brawl, and his first appearance established that he wasn't even the real Ma-Ti. But SK portrays him as The Woobie who just wants to be involved with the rest of the group, but is treated like dirt. His Heroic Sacrifice is genuinely tragic, and the Critic is crushed.