Saints Row ‘Hell Week’: Top 5 games set in Hell
Our favorite games with unique interpretations of Hell
Enjoying your time in the underworld in Saints Row: Gat out of Hell? Well, our visit doesn’t have to end here. While Gat out of Hell gave us one unique look at Hell, as interpreted by Volition for the latest installment in their wacky series, there’s plenty of other games that take to the realm of evil and suffering. Wrapping up GameZone’s “Hell Week,” we’re taking a look at five other games that have unique interpretations of Hell.
Named after the Devil himself, the Diablo universe involves angels, demons, super humans, cows (There is no Cow level), and Diablo, the Lord of Terror himself. Depending on the game you choose to play, your adventures are all set in the fantasy world of Sanctuary. However, your journey usually contains at least one pit stop in the depths of Hell.
In the first Diablo, you travel to the lower levels of the Tristram Cathedral, which is essentially Hell “spilling over.” My most vivid memory however, comes from Diablo II. In that game you actually travel to the Burning Hells, the birthplace of demonkind. Paths made of black stone surrounded by lava are filled with dreadful monsters and forgotten sinful souls. It’s by far, one of my favorite depictions of Hell. In Diablo III, you once again return to the Burning Hells and are actually pulled into the Realm of Terror when fighting Diablo.
When you think of Minecraft, you probably don’t think of Hell. That’s essentially what the Nether is, though. This hell-like dimension is accessible only by entering a Nether Portal from the Overworld, the starting dimension in Minecraft.
Once inside the Nether, it’s about what you’d expect -- a blocky interpretation of Hell, largely composed of netherrack that forms complex platforms and niches. The Nether is filled with hazards including fire and widespread standing and flowing lava. It’s also home to some very intimidating mobs, like Ghasts, Blazes, Magma Cubes, and Wither Skeletons. You’ll also find Nether fortresses here. These are large complexes made of nether bricks, and are the only place where nether wart, blaze spawners, and wither skeletons can be found.
Not only is the Nether cool because of its unique design inspired by Minecraft’s signature blocky aesthetics, but also because of the rare things you’ll find there.
Shadows of the Damned
Shadows of the Damned invites players into one of the most unusual and colorful versions of Hell I’ve ever seen. In it, demon hunter Garcia Hotspur’s girlfriend, Paula, is abducted by the Lord of Demons and brought into the underworld. Naturally, you chase after him.
Shadows of the Damned is dark and twisted, filled with blood, gore, and sex; but, there’s also humor and quirkiness to be found here. And most of that is thanks to the Garcia Hotspur’s demon sidekick, Johnson, who also acts as his gun, torch, and guide through this twisted demon world. Shadows of the Damned offers an even more bizarre interpretation of Hell, more closely aligned with that of Gat out of Hell than Diablo.
Devil May Cry (series)
Take your pick with this one as the first three Devil May Cry games take Dante into the demon world. Devil May Cry’s interpretation of Hell isn’t as unique as, say, Shadows of the Damned, but its premise is what makes it a fun journey. The series has a heavy emphasis on fast-paced, highly stylized combat that ranks you based on combos, evasion, and style. Devil May Cry isn’t so much about the setting of Hell as it is about kicking some demon ass. I may also be in the minority here, but I actually enjoyed the reboot DmC: Devil May Cry (pictured above).
Dante’s Inferno may have received mixed criticism at launch, but that was mostly because of unfavorable comparisons with the God of War Series. One of the bright spots about the game was actually its depiction of Hell, which was heralded as both creative and graphic.
Dante’s Inferno takes you -- Dante reimagined as a Templar knight -- through the nine circles of Hell to reclaim the soul of his beloved Beatrice from the hands of Lucifer. As one would expect, the environment is filled with painful reminders of the extreme nature of Hell and its punishments. Both the setting and enemies you’ll find there will surely leave you disturbed. If you’re looking for a dark depiction of Hell, this is the game to go to.
These are just a few examples of games offering a unique take on Hell. Games like The Darkness II, God of War, and Doom very easily could've made the list as well. So let us know in the comments below your favorite interpretation of Hell in a game.