8 Intense Video Game Moments Where You HAD To Die

Sometimes, the sweet release of death is the only way to learn.

Edmund McMillen

Death in games is a tricky business. Whether it's the terrifying prospect of permadeath in the humble roguelike, finding out inventive ways of explaining endless character respawns over and over again - from endless automaton bodies as in Nier: Automata or storytelling hiccups in Prince of Persia - Game Over screens mean something different in every situation.

Whilst it's never nice to get the sh*t kicked out of you or fall to your inevitable doom from great heights, sometimes it's completely necessary to making a game work.

Sometimes, games want to teach you a lesson by cutting short your character's existence, offering up something unexpected as recompense. It might be learning a level layout so you can face it again in another run, or it might be a narrative compulsion to make the rest of the story work. Though it sounds counterintuitive to fun, death is often the only option.

When done well, you'll actually be thanking the game for pushing you through that mortal veil.

8. Prince Of Persia 2: The Shadow And The Flame


Before there was Jake Gyllenhaal, before there was Sands of Time, before there was even Ubisoft's meddling fingers, there was a simpler time of a Prince in Persia rendered with 8-bit kitschy graphics, fighting his way through treacherous caverns and terrible monsters to return to his rightful place beside the Princess of the land. How lovely.

In the second entry in the franchise, The Shadow and the Flame, there comes a point when the Prince must leave his mortal body to take hold of the titular blue flame to defeat the evil Jaffar.

Entering the room with said torch triggers the warning of "He Who Should Steal The Flame Must Die," and as it turns out, it's not a simple exaggeration of how much these bird people love their fire: you've got to take the words quite literally.

Instead of simply trying to grab the fire like any old peasant, the Prince must let himself be killed by the singular birdman enemy standing guard - and, most difficult of all, not skip the death cutscene. Doing so will make your soul jump out your body, set ablaze with the flame, and gain the reverence of birdmen the world over. Not so bad for purposeful death eh?

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