It goes without saying that the best game that Death, aka the Grim Reaper, has appeared in thus far is THQ's Darksiders II, which came out earlier this month. In that game, the dark one fights for the sake of his fellow Horseman of the Apocalypse, War, as he vows to bring humanity back from the brink, while fighting an evil corruption that has overtaken the land.
But Darksiders II isn't the first game where Death became a central figure. There have been games in the past where he's not only made an appearance, but also played a prominent part, whether he's working as an ally alongside the main hero, or standing in the way of someone's progress.
We've decided to chronicle some of the Grim Reaper's best appearances in games over the years. Some might be a little too familiar for their own good, while others may come out of left field. Regardless, he's definitely added a bit of color to each proceeding, even if it mostly in black. Hey, what else did you expect from Death, mauve?
And here now are our favorite appearances by Death in games over the years…
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Death has made some appearance or another in previous Castlevania games, and there have been times where the brave Belmonts have actually needed to do battle with him in order to continue on their quest to kill Dracula. But his most prominent appearance would have to be Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
In true "pain-in-the-rear-end" fashion, the Grim Reaper appears near the start of the game, coming face to face with Alucard and demanding that he not continue on his quest to seek out his father. When he refuses, Death has no choice but to take away all his items and force him to start from scratch, floating away and cackling as he does it. He appears later on in the game as well, just when you think you were rid of him.
Konami sure knows how to involve the Grim Reaper in its proceedings, and chances are we haven't seen the last of him. He might even show up in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow II next year, just to continue his ways of being a nuisance.
Oh, come on. You didn't really expect Death to miss out on the opportunity to jam against opponents, did you? Just look at the play list from any given Guitar Hero game and tell me there isn't a song for him to throw the horns up to. Throughout the release of the Guitar Hero series (save for Aerosmith, because, well, Steven Tyler didn't want him I guess), he's appeared as a hidden character, packing a custom-made scythe guitar and challenging players to a duel, in which he was better suited than you might expect.
Known as the Grim Ripper (a better name for a rock artist, yes?), he became a huge staple in the series, and if you own a used copy of the game, you should be able to unlock him with no problem. Play "Don't Fear the Reaper", man!
Conker's Bad Fur Day
In this amazingly entertaining, mature-rated platformer from Rare, we get to meet a softer type of Grim Reaper -- one who actually has a first name. You'll run into Gregg over the course of the game, who's short in stature, uses a British accent and isn't afraid to let off a salty word or two. He's just one portion of this ridiculous universe, and along with helping out Conker when he "dies" for the first time, he'll give our bushy-tailed hero a shotgun (you'll find him in the Spooky stage) before heading off in an effort to kill Catfish.
In addition, inputting the code "BILLYMILLROUNDABOUT" in the multiplayer section of the game unlocks him as a playable character, with or without robe. (You might want to stick with the robe -- he's not a pleasant sight without one.) He doesn't fight fair, but c'mon, did you really expect the Grim Reaper to show restraint when it comes to multiplayer action?
Good ol' Gregg -- he's definitely a hoot in Bad Fur Day, and well worth checking out.
You know those days when your job is simply trying to do you in? That's probably the message that Atari was trying to convey to game players back in 1984 with Paperboy. In the game, our news-tossing hero must survive seven hectic days on the city streets, keeping a steady supply of subscribers while doing battle with passing cars, running animals, bothersome neighbors and other hazards that could easily end his ride.
But perhaps one of the more interesting obstacles to emerge from within the game is the Grim Reaper. Passing by non-subscriber houses, you'll see their windows are blood red and their outside décor is covered in blackness, with tombstones out front. And then Death will appear, chasing after you for a bit before you're able to pedal away from him -- or until he causes you to crash. Though it's more on the hilarious side when he catches up to you, rather than being a morbid sight, you're still better off avoiding him. (It's just too bad you couldn't hand him the obituary section for entertainment.)
Track down a Paperboy arcade machine if you feel like seeing Death in action -- or if you just want to torment a poor paperboy.
Finally, we return to Atari's classic days to catch Death in action once more, this time in the top-down role-playing action game Gauntlet. Over the course of the game, players will encounter multiple enemies that dwindle away at their health, but the mighty Death is the most tormenting, as he'll chip away at you until you're eventually done for. The best way to get him off your back is to use a precious magic spell, which makes him vanish, albeit temporarily, as you regain whatever health you lost. He looks like a true bad-ass in the original coin-op game, and he also pops up in Gauntlet Legends and its spin-off, Dark Legacy. Watch out for Death!