The Seven Most Brutal Drownings In Video Games

Part of the allure of video game is doing things you would never be able to do in real life.  You know, things like taking out a rival sniper from 100 yards, chain-sawing a man-sized bug in half or…drowning?

Some video game deaths are comical.  These, on the other hand, are the most brutal drownings you’ll find on consoles.  Sweet dreams tonight!

7.  Grand Theft Auto III:  The first time you actually played Grand Theft Auto III, it was life changing.  You had total control.  Rockstar created this huge, open world for you to roam at whim, and that novelty was more than enough to keep players invested for hours in Liberty City.  Part of the mystique of the game was exploring its many nooks and crannies.

So invariably, one of the first things you would do is grab a car, and start immediately high-tailing it around town.  Eventually, you’ll find yourself at a dock.  (I have a theory that, somehow, everybody ended up at the exact same dock.  The game temporally distorts itself or something.)  And of course, the only thing to do is speed off of said dock into the ocean.  As far as you can go.  You’ll lose the car, but you can swim back, right?

Wrong.  Poor Claude (yep, that’s his name) can do a lot of things, but swimming isn’t one of them.  Poor bastard just sits there, morosely, as the water pours into the vehicle, and he slowly sinks beneath the bay.  That’s the worst part; he just accepts his watery grave with a peacefulness I find a trifle unnerving.   Then, like a nightmare, he wakes up at the hospital.  Again.

6.  Final Fantasy VII:  It isn’t gory graphics or terrifying visuals that make this drowning brutal, it’s the situation it happens in.  The only time you can drown in this game is during the optional boss fight with Emerald Weapon.  Not only is she absurdly hard, but you have a twenty minute to deplete her million-point hit bar.  Apparently Cloud and Co. can hold their breath for quite a while.

The worst part is that, if you make it twenty minutes, you already have figured out a successful strategy.  She makes short work of most people, but it can be done.  Because of her high HP, you need to wage a war of attrition, however, always that drowning timer is looming.  And just when you think she has to be almost dead, you die.  There’s no dramatic drowning FMV or anything, you are just sent back to the start menu.

Of all the deaths on this list, this is perhaps the most disheartening.  You pour your heart and soul into beating that creature, only to be humiliated not by her lasers, but by your own lungs.  Unless you get the Underwater material.  You know where that is, right?

5.  Worms:  For such a cute and charming game about adorable, tiny worms working out their differences, Worms is excruciatingly violent.  In addition to blowing each other up with explosive ordinance, shooting each other with Uzis and launching sheep at one another, you can use the environment to drown each other.

And oh how satisfying it is, if you are on the giving side.  However, the other side of the coin shows a terrifying scene.  You are forced to watch, paralyzed by fear, as your killer slowly inches his way towards you, and your doom.  The method of delivery could be anything from a gentle prod to a baseball bat to the head, but the end result is always the same.

Drowning.  Notice the worms don’t even try to swim.  Of course, they have no arms or legs, but that’s beside the point.  They just look up at the world they are leaving behind, as they sink to the depths.

4.  Tomb Raider:  Lara Croft is one of the most iconic video game heroines ever.  She is smart, able, powerful and, above all, willful, woman who proved that not all females are in need of rescuing.  That makes it so much more startling when she brutally drowns…sometimes in her own pool.

I admit it, I did it.  When I first explored Croft Manor and found Lara’s sweet pool, the first thing I did was promptly see if you can drown yourself in it.  Spoiler alert: You totally can.  Watching beautiful, young Lara choke on a lack of oxygen wasn’t exactly easy to watch.  In that vein, here’s a montage of some brutal Lara Croft deaths, including a few bonus drownings.

That is just difficult to watch.  Seriously, did you see that?  Lara getting mowed down by a tiger?  Or what about breaking her neck on a sixty foot swan dive?  And people say today’s games are violent.

3.  Limbo:  Playing Limbo is already like playing through a virtual nightmare, but the guys over at PlayDead Studios decided the creepy black-and-white visuals and haunting sound design weren’t enough.  No, they had to include every fear ever.

Yep, they have it all.  Heights?  Check.  Electricity? Check.  Spiders?  Double check.  And the water.  Oh the water.  Drowning in lakes.  Drowning in rapidly rising pools.  Drowning in glorified puddles swamped with dead bodies.   Limbo offers many different flavors of drowning, but they are all unified by one theme:  they are terrifying.

Not just regular terrifying either, but disturbing terrifying.  Everything about this game is disturbing, really, but watching that kid try to claw his way to the surface only to sink back down, man.   That is just wrong.

2.  Sonic the Hedgehog 2:  One of the more iconic drowning deaths around, not to mention featuring perhaps the best drowning music ever, the Sonic series proves that hedgehogs and water don’t mix.  While more than few zones feature the dangerous liquid, I learned that particular lesson in the Chemical Plant Zone of Sonic 2.

It started innocently enough.  I was just exploring this chemical plant, freeing tiny woodland creatures from their mechanical prisons, when I came upon a pool of water, and some moving blocks within it.  No problem, I thought.  I hopped on the first set of blocks, and immediately fell to the bottom.  As I’m climbing, that music starts playing, adding an insane sense of urgency to my climb.  Suddenly, it’s a matter of survival.

However, as my timer ticked down, I knew I wasn’t going to make it.  At the end, I stopped for just a second, perhaps to reflect on my impending death, and then, the music crescendos.  Darkness.

1.  Mario 64:  Bad things aren’t supposed to happen to Mario.  You know, they just…aren’t.  Sure, he comically shrugs his arms and falls down when hit by a stupid Goomba, or he simply disappears into a bottomless pit.  But he doesn’t brutally drown in a way that will give you nightmares for weeks, does he?

Oh.  You know what the worst part of it is?  The way the painting just spits you back up when you’re finished sucking down H2O, like some sadistic nightmare.  I don’t know how Mario goes on after that.