The Top Ten Tragic Relationships in Video Games

Evan Slead ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Assistant TV Editor
Video games not only bring players hours of intense and entertaining gameplay, but also create characters that build the experience into art. The main character is always the window to which players can view the entire world created, but it’s the added characters that build the bridge between reality and fantasy. The relationships on screen can feel relatable due to their reminder of love in real life, and sadly, the more tragic times. As memorable as the dynamic relationships in games like Mario and Princess Peach, there have been countless relationships that have made players drop the controller and grab the tissues. Not always lovers, sometimes familial ties, here are the top ten tragic relationships in video games. Warning of spoilers ahead.

10. Zero and Iris – Megaman X4

The battle between Mavericks and the Repliforce forces comes to a head in Megaman X4. Zero and Meagan being Maverick Hunters had already dealt with Colonel during a Repliforce raid, beginning a bitter rivalry. At the same time, Zero meets Iris, Colonel’s sister. She is a kind and loving character that Zero falls in love with despite her being from the opposing side. Once Zero kills Colonel though, Iris’s anger takes her over and she attacks Zero in rage. Defending himself and wanting to save Iris from her newly transformed being, he kills Iris. Before they get a chance to express their true devotion for one another, Iris dies in Zero’s arms.

9. Claire Redfield and Steve Burnside – Resident Evil: Code Veronica X

Claire is investigating the Umbrella Corporation and her brother’s whereabouts when she’s captured by Umbrella grunts and taken to a prison island. While there, another outbreak of zombies begins and Claire must find a way off of the island. She meets young and cocky Steve that had been imprisoned with his parents on the island by the Ashford twins. Claire does her best to protect Steve but he is ultimately captured and experimented on to make a new titan strain. Before Claire can get off of the island, she must escape titan Steve and ultimately end his life to keep him from being a monster forever.

8. Dracula and Alucard – Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

The Castlevania series typically follows a member of the Belmont family and their journey to defeat Lord Dracula. It is in their bloodline to defeat the new iteration of Dracula so the world will be protected from his dark desires. Symphony of the Night however takes that typical premise and turns it on its head. Alucard comes on the scene after the previous Belmont failed to defeat Dracula and was possessed by a shaman. Once the shaman is defeated, the final journey to Dracula begins, but players learn that Alucard is not a Belmont, but rather, a vampire. Not just any vampire either, but the son of Lord Dracula. Rather than join his father’s ways and live forever, Alucard sides with the humans and kills his father and seals himself away to protect the world from vampires. The father and son relationship isn’t completely developed in the game but the context and possibilities make it a brilliant play.

7. Master Chief and Cortana – Halo 4

From the beginning of the Halo series, Cortana and Master Chief have had a professional yet flirtatious dynamic. They’re an unlikely pairing seeing as how Cortana is a digital AI for Chief. Despite their spatial distance, the pair manages to take down all of their enemies in battle. That is until the events of Halo 4. A drama in space, Master Chief realizes that Cortana is continually falling deeper and deeper into an insanity she won’t escape. She is just a machine but she feels human to the Chief. Eventually she sacrifices herself for the good of the Chief line, but not before Chief accepts his affection and love for Cortana.

6. Naia and Naiee – Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

An interesting indie game that ends up being brilliant, Brothers tells the story of two brothers that lose their mother to a drowning. Once their father becomes deathly ill, they set out on a journey to find a cure and save the last parent they have. The developers of the game made the control scheme part of the story by making each half of the controller correspond to each brother. The player gets used to controlling the whole game by utilizing the whole controller, but by the final act of the game, that scheme is ripped away. The elder brother falls for a seductress and is ultimately killed. Once players are back in control, only the young brother is left to take the cure back to the father, but the controller only works with the young brother. Players not only feel the emotional loss of the elder brother, but mechanically as well. A beautiful love story between two brothers.

5. Cloud and Aerith – Final Fantasy VII

Being one of the most complicated entries in the Final Fantasy series, FFVII still manages to have one of the most memorable scenes of tragedy. Cloud and clan are hunting down Sephiroth to keep him from creating the ultimate weapon and destroy the planet. The focus around the Black Materia comes to a head when Sephiroth possesses Cloud’s Jenova parts and forces the Materia to be given back. Aerith steps in and summons Holy to defend from the Black Materia’s power. Sephiroth stabs his sword through Aerith, leaving a shattered Cloud to carry her body into the water. The relationship between Cloud and Sephiroth could have easily made this list, however the love between Cloud and Aerith is much stronger and creates more tragedy. The theme of sacrifice runs deep in Final Fantasy games but Aerith’s is one that lives on in player’s minds.

4. Roxas, Xion, and Axel – Kingdom Hearts II / Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days

While there are countless relationships and complicated ties in the Kingdom Hearts universe, the model of three is one that runs in each generation. Sora, Riku and Kairi are the main three to begin the saga as the boys fight over Kairi’s hand. One layer down is Roxas, Xion, and Axel. It’s learned in KHII that Roxas is Sora’s nobody and must be destroyed to bring Sora back from his deep sleep. Axel is also a member of Organization XIII, being the rebel of the group. However he still develops a deep bond with Roxas which drives him to try to save Roxas from being killed. In his attempt, he does fail to stop Sora from being awoken, and also loses his own life in the end. Xion in KH:358/2 is also part of Sora’s conscious and realizes her fate by the end of the game. Roxas tries to do the same thing that Axel did for him, but realizes that Xion’s fate is already set in stone. A group of three that deeply love one another, but can’t do anything about staying together.

3. Tidus and Yuna – Final Fantasy X

Tidus is a fish out of water once Sin attacks his home of Zanarkand and drops him near Besaid Island. Seemingly the same world, Tidus soon learns that it’s almost like a parallel time where his modern home is just a pile of ancient ruins. His mentally abusive father disappeared years before and Tidus learns that he too spent time in this new world. With the guidance of Auron, Tidus meets young summoner Yuna who is being her pilgrimage to gain the final aeon and defeat Sin. Along the journey, Tidus and Yuna build an unbreakable bond. Their love is tested with the inclusion of evil Maester Seymour trying to force Yuna’s hand in marriage, as well as Tidus learning that Yuna will have to die to summon the final aeon. The group finds a way to keep Yuna alive, however Tidus dies once Sin is defeated due to his connection to it. Just as the world comes to peace, Tidus begins to fade away and Yuna finally utters: “I love you.”

2. Wander and Mono – Shadow of the Colossus

The story of Wander and Mono’s love is one that runs deep. Mono was sacrificed, leaving Wander to feel the heartache of her absence. Requesting the help of Dormin, Wander seeks a way to bring Mono back to life. The crux of the game comes in defeating the colossi throughout the land. Sadly, once they are all defeated, Dormin reveals that he was using Wander to gain power. He does resurrect Mono, however, and then promptly possesses Wander whom is then killed. Mono and Wander don’t even get to have a proper reunion when one is brought back to life while the other is taken away.

1. James and Mary – Silent Hill 2

As a whole, Silent Hill 2 is a game all about fractured relationships. James receives a letter from his wife Mary to meet her in her favorite place: Silent Hill. The odd thing is that Mary had died recently after being severely sick, but as a player, it’s not completely known if she may still be alive. Along the way he meets Maria, a woman that looks extremely like Mary, only more sexually empowered. James Sunderland’s deeply harbored sexual aggression manifests itself in the form of Pyramid Head that repeatedly murders Maria in front of him. In the end, James finds Mary’s death bed and the truth that he killed her rushes to him. The love of the husband and wife is deep and real, but the human issues they share have kept them from truly expressing that love.

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