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Hotline Miami is one of this year’s best…..and bloodiest titles.

Many people tend to be opposed to violence in video games, and for good reason. With technology improving on a yearly basis, there is potential to show increasingly gruesome and realistic action, making these people even more squeamish. However, I am not one of them. While there are several games that use blood and gore as a crutch for poor gameplay, there are many good games that have utilized gore to make them better. Here are 5 examples, none of which are for the faint of heart.

Note: This article was planned before the senseless massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School two weeks ago, and in no way is it intended to make light of the shooting or disrespect the victims or their families.

5. Soldier of Fortune(PS2, Dreamcast, PC)

The original Soldier of Fortune was built upon a modified version of the Quake engine which allowed individual parts of the body to be destroyed. Therefore, a well placed shotgun blast blew off an arm, a well placed magnum shot decapitated an enemy leaving a bleeding stump where his head used to be, a knife slashed off fingers if timed right, and a microwave weapon can even burn enemies to death. The game’s missions gave you a healthy variety of enemies to use the weapons on, including Yakuza thugs, Russian Soldiers, and white supremacists. The gore effect was toned down for the mediocre second sequel, and was bought back for the horrendous third game. The original SOF remains the best in the series.

4. Sniper Elite V2 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)

Remember that movie Romeo Must Die? If you liked it, it was for one of two reasons: The late great R&B songstress Aliyah, or the martial arts of her co-star, Jet Li. In a few scenes of the movie, Jet Li would break a bone, or damage a vital organ, and you’d seen an x-ray effect. Now wouldn’t it be awesome if they did this in a video game? It appeared in the horrible Death by Degrees, but Sniper Elite V2 takes it to a whole new level. Taking place in the days following WW2, you prevent German secrets from falling into Russian hands. Relying on stealth to make your kills, you set traps and rely on the environment to make the perfect kill. When you do, sometimes you get to see an X-ray effect of the bullet hitting your target. You’ll see it destroy bones, shred tissues, and obliterate vital organs. You can increase the frequency that this happens. Best of all, one of the DLCs is an imaginary mission where you can assassinate Adolf Hitler, so if you’re lucky, you can see this happen to one of history’s biggest douchebags.

3. Ninja Gaiden 2 (Xbox 360)

Team Ninja’s sequel amped up the blood to a new level. Ryu’s sword can slash limbs off the demons and ninjas you encounter in the game. Unlike SOF, the maiming factors into the gameplay, as enemies still remain dangerous even missing their limbs. In some cases, they get even more dangerous, so you can’t just play around with your food before eating it. Instead of being grisly per se, the blood was stylized, kinda like Kill Bill. The fun and joy was on the Xbox 360 version. An Itagaki-less Team Ninja released an enhanced version for PS3 (thereby telling everyone who had purchased the game on Xbox 360 that they were stupid for doing so) which contained new characters, new game modes, bug fixes, and……toned down blood and gore.

2. Mortal Kombat (Xbox 360, PC, PS3, PSP Vita)

Where would any list about bloody video games be without Midway’s classic fighting franchise, Mortal Kombat? The newest entry in the series does not disappoint. The fatalities are more gruesome than ever, chief among them being Sub-Zero’s familiar spine rip, bought back as a preorder bonus. Almost as brutal are the X-Ray attacks, which use the Romeo Must Die effect to show your opponent suffering some extremely brutal damage. Thanks to today’s console graphical power, they look even more realistic than ever.

1. Blood Storm (Arcade)

Of course you were looking at this list and immediately thought of the game proceeding this didn’t you? After Mortal Kombat made its debut, other fighting games tried to copy its formula. However, most of them were horrible. One of the most notorious was Time Killers. It had a gimmick where players could hack off the limbs of a fighter during a match, forcing the fighter to finish the rest of the round without their limb. Blood Storm, a little known arcade game from the same company, was a spiritual successor of sorts. While it was only slightly improved over Time Killers, Blood Storm was basically Dishonored/Borderlands 2/Halo 4 compared to clunkfests like Survival Arts and Way of the Warrior. While it retained Time Killer’s maiming gimmick, it added some neat things to the formula. First of all, a player would gain the power of their defeated opponent, and they could save their character via a password. It was like a gory version of Mega Man! There were also several hidden characters which you could even play as if you unlocked them. It was a shame that Blood Storm didn’t have a wider audience.

There are certainly other games that utilized blood and gore to make themselves better. What are some of your favorites?