10 Heart-Pounding Moments in Video Games
People love video games for a number of reasons. For some, gaming is a great way to relax. For others, video games are fantastic medium through which great stories can be experienced. For everyone however, video games are enjoyable because of those singular moments in which you might leap for joy after finally beating Ornstein and Smough after three days tearing your hair out and crying yourself to sleep…or those moments that just get your heart pumped because you don’t know what will happen to you or to those characters you’ve grown to adore— those heart pounding moments like the 10 below. Be warned, spoilers ahead.
Batman: Arkham Asylum (Scarecrow Levels)
The Batman Arkham trilogy is known for being the best series of super-hero games, able to truly make you think and feel like the Dark Knight would. Arkham Asylum must be singled-out however, for giving us the most terrifying Scarecrow experience. Each time you were flung into that hectic world of fear and madness, your heart jumped. When the image on your screen was momentarily corrupted, you panicked, thinking that something might be wrong with your console/PC. It was a masterful moment and just part of the reason why Rocksteady’s series did so well.
Resident Evil 5 (Final Battle)
A whole Resident Evil series up until 5, led us to that point where Chris Redfield and his new partner, Sheva Alomar, went head to head against the Ouroboros-powered-Albert Wesker in a volcano, in true super-villain fashion. You struggled, shot, and prayed that you wouldn’t run out of ammo while Wesker whipped his Ouroboros tentacles at you. It was an epic battle and one that definitely had our hearts racing from start to finish.
Mass Effect (Final Saren Battle)
The citadel: home to 13 million inhabitants belonging to several intergalactic species. It’s an enormous synthetic station drifting through space. You have to remember when its serene Presidium level with its bright blue artificial sky turned a bloody red, as you burst forth from the mass relay to see Sovereign and Saren tearing your beloved station apart. The struggle toward to the council chamber was long and difficult, but not as difficult as that final battle with Saren, after he fell from his glider, when his corpse was re-animated, a vessel for Sovereign to fight you, Commander Shepherd. He zipped from wall to wall, screeching and firing his deadly red beams. You ducked and ran for cover, firing your blasters at him, narrowly wounding him until finally his body could take no more. For many, that heart-pounding moment was when they felt like saviours of the galaxy.
Skyrim (First Dragon Battle)
You’d heard only legends before that fateful day of your would-be execution. You’d made it out alive after scurrying from death at the claws of Alduin, the world eater. Now you were being asked to rid Whiterun of its dragon problem. That moment when we all ventured out amongst soldiers in expectation of a cold-blooded beast, we began to quake inside, unsure if we’d properly prepared ourselves for this fight, if we’d assigned points to the right places or equipped the right spells and weapons. Then the winged beast descended, spouting fire and a chilling roar. We weren’t sure how we were going to tackle it, but we were definitely going to try. For many, it was this first thrilling encounter that drew them in to the fifth entry in the Elder Scrolls series.
Dragon Age: Inquisition (First Dragon Battle)
When talking about exhilarating dragon battles, Dragon Age: Inquisition must be mentioned. You don’t have to fight the dragons, but you should anyway. If you’ve ever explored the various maps so thoroughly that you encountered these gigantic flying monsters, you’ll know already how terrifying they are at first and how satisfying they are to slay at the end. You’ll remember when one of these creatures landed before you and your companions, roaring and flapping its great wings in anger. You asked yourself if you were at a high enough level and realised after a few hits…no. No you weren’t.
Alien: Isolation (First Encounter)
If you’re looking for games that guarantee a heart-pounding moment, where better to search than horror games? Alien: Isolation is just one example of horror games that do an incredible job at providing you with a rush. As you explore the space station as Amanda Ripley, you’ll do your best to avoid the Xenomorph prowling the darkened ventilation shafts and hallways. Despite your efforts, you would encounter it…and what a heart-stopping moment it was. One moment you’re just at your keyboard, the next, you’re watching a giant shimmering black monster climbing out from the ceiling before you.
Metal Gear Solid 4 (Final Battle)
There couldn’t be a more epic battle than that in Metal Gear Solid 4, between our beloved hero, Solid Snake, against a villain named Liquid Ocelot. Your argument is invalid. You block and hit and fight a fight that differs immensely from the rest of the game. You two throw each other around and choke the life out of each other for the continued survival of civilisation. It’s difficult enough without your heart thumping in your ears!
Tomb Raider: A Survivor is Born (Burning Temple)
The mysterious island of Yamatai, upon which Lara Croft and the crew of the Endurance crashed, is a beautiful place riddled with horrors. As you explore it and uncover its ancient secrets, you’ll come across plenty of moments that’ll make you gasp in shock and awe. The intense tale will pinch your adrenal glands a lot, but none are more memorable than the escape from the burning temple where you’ll scale crumbling walls and leap through wooden structures set ablaze, all to make it back to your friends and escape this godforsaken place. When Lara screams in horror, you just might too.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Nuclear Explosion)
The Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series began with promise. Epic scenarios that place you directly in the path of danger, but you soldier on because you want to save the free world from those who would see it burn. Which made it that much more shocking when that nuclear bomb went off in CoD4. You thought you’d stop it somehow. It was a heart-stopping moment, seeing the world blow up before you from within a helicopter.
The Last of Us (First Bloater fight)
Of all creatures placed in our path in gaming, there are few more grotesque than Bloaters— the massive disease riddled abominations armoured in fungi. You don’t encounter them a lot in The Last of Us, in fact, there are only two instances where a fight with one is unavoidable. Nothing will beat that first fight though, when you desperately try to figure out how to hurt it. Your bullets seemed to do next to nothing and fire worked but seemed to do very little. You can’t forget that moment of panic and that heart-pounding moment when that bulbous beast finally fell.