Valentine’s Day is a special holiday that’s meant to remind you about love and how awesome it is to be in a relationship. Of course if you’re like me, it reminds you that you’re NOT in a relationship; for many many years in a row. For me today is just another day, except it’s one where the reason I’m getting completely obliterated later tonight has more justification than “it’s fun”.
You see, in the real world love doesn’t always turn out the way it does in Disney movies or Romantic Comedies. It’s usually a much more tragic thing. This post is a dedication to those games with romances that remind us that sometimes things aren’t always as hot as they seem on TV. Needless to say, massive spoilers lie ahead. If you want these games preserved for you read at your own risk.
BRAID – Tim & The Princess
My buddy Danl touched on this particular game this last weekend, and it’s hard to say anything different than what he already did. Once the big twist has finally revealed itself, it hits you like a ton of bricks. Tim is that guy in a relationship that is insistent that his girlfriend still loves him and doesn’t know what’s best for her. It’s a sad tale of unrequited love that I’m sure many people shared a strong parallel with at one point in their life (albeit without the whole “fine then I’m going to kidnap you!” bit).
GOD OF WAR – Kratos & his Wife
At first glance this might seem an odd inclusion on this list. We first have to remember though that Kratos is a Spartan warrior. Women of Sparta were different than most other places at the time, in that they had a voice and opinion which were allowed to be publicly spoken and those opinions were respected by their husbands. They had a true power that the rest of the world did not share. For all the things 300 took artistic license with, this part was pretty spot on.
In the games, Kratos is tricked into killing his wife and daughter by Ares. Their ashes are bound to his skin to give him the white look we all know and he was PISSED. This one act set off all the events of the three games. Kratos takes on the fates, the Gods, and Olympus itself all stemming from this one particular point.
GEARS OF WAR – Dom & Maria
Everybody in the Gears of War series is fighting for something, and for the most part that is survival and preservation of the human race. Dom Santiago is different from everybody else. His wife Maria is missing and he’s trying to find her. Sure, he’s got Marcus and the rest of his squad’s back and I’m sure he’s not exactly interested in letting the Locust win, but his primary reason is Maria. In the second game, it looks like he might have finally found her as the team is searching a Locust Slave camp. With the help of Marcus and Jack, he finally locates his wife only to find that she’s been subjected to all sorts of nameless horrors and is a fragile shell of her former self.
Earlier in the game, the proud warrior Tai was captured and subjected to these same horrors. This is a man who is a very hardened warrior. Throughout the game we’re shown that almost nothing fazes him. After what could at the most be hours of the Locust processing and torture, Tai commits suicide when rescued. Maria has possibly been captive for months, and who knows what other horrors might have happened to her.
The scene between Dom and Maria is absolutely heartbreaking. As the scene turns away from Dom, pistol in hand and we hear the gunshot, many gamers probably shared my exact sentiment. Those bastards were all going down.
FINAL FANTASY VI – Locke & Rachel
One of the incredibly numerous side-plots in Final Fantasy VI introduced us to Locke’s lover, Rachel. Due to an accident in which she saved his life, Rachel has been stricken with Amnesia and no longer remembers who Locke is. Her parents blame Locke for this, as does the rest of the town and he is forced to leave. Rachel regains her memory about a year later, but the town is raided by the Empire which results in her death. Her last words were “If Locke should ever return, please tell him that I love him.”
Locke finds out about this and returns to the town of Kohlingen. He sets out on a worldwide search for a way to bring Rachel back to life, as her body is being preserved by a local herbalist. This search finally sets him upon finding the Phoenix Esper, which unfortunately only brings Rachel back to life for a few moments.
While the ending is indeed quite sad for these two, Rachel forgives Locke and helps him overcome his grief and essentially tells him to move on. The amount of stuff this poor guy went through for his lost love is quite touching, and very tragic though.
THE DARKNESS – Jackie Estacado & Jenny
The true tragedy of the love story in The Darkness is that the two of them are very much in love. The relationship as presented in the game is no more than another defining character trait of Jackie Estacado. It is by and by a first person shooter, after all. However while most of the glimpses we’re given at the relationship are pretty small, the largest is also one of the smallest details.
At one point you go over to Jenny’s house and the two sit down to watch a movie together. After a few seconds you can get up if you choose, or you can sit down and watch the entire movie with her as the two cuddle on the couch and Jenny falls asleep. It’s quite touching and an odd (but welcome) change of pace from all the murder and mayhem.
Shortly after that, Jenny gets kidnapped by the big bad of the game, and murdered in front of your eyes. This drives Jackie to suicide, and if not for The Darkness itself, that would have been the end. But he lives to get his revenge, and never have I wanted to get it more in a game than this.
Words can not tell the full impact of these moments well enough. You can watch these two scenes to relive the tragedy here. Happy Valentine’s Day!