Splinter Cell: Conviction finally drops tomorrow! Of course, stealth kills in video games have been around for decades—Sam Fisher is just the latest, and one of the most polished, to do it. Back in the day, enemy AI was so "derp" that we couldn't tell if that idiot Barbarian in the NES Ninja Gaiden even knew we were in the room. He was probably running back and forth swinging his axe before we even got there. Was it a "stealth kill" if it involved killing an enemy who was too stupid to react differently whether we were in front of or behind him?
Nowadays though, the stealth game is a genre of its own. Enemy AI has graduated from fetus-level intelligence to at LEAST kindergarten-level deductive reasoning—so of course our protagonists have had to evolve as well. Let us tip our cap, quietly, to the men and women who always make us think twice before we loiter under a giant stone gargoyle...
RIKIMARU AND AYAME, TENCHU 3
Complex Says: When's the last time you saw a male/female duo this brutally deadly? Their relationship was never made completely clear, but if they ever hooked up they'd probably be into a hot weird vertebrae-dislocation fetish.
ALTAÃR, ASSASSIN'S CREED
Complex Says: Before Ezio took over in the sequel, there was the most badass dude to rock an umlaut since Blue Ã–yster Cult. Normally a guy running around the city in a white bedsheet would attract some attention from the NAACP, but AltaÃ¯r doesn't discriminate. A kill's a kill.
RIDDICK, CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK
Complex Says: If you tried to throw Riddick a surprise birthday party, he'd have already eaten all the cake, opened all the presents, slaughtered the piñata, and eaten all the weird-ass Mexican piñata candy before you finished yelling "Surprise!" Diesel!
SOLID SNAKE, METAL GEAR SOLID SERIES
Complex Says: Snake was one of the O.G. killers from the NES days—he'll snipe you, cut your throat, or break your neck. And if that doesn't work, he'll talk to you over the codec about old Japanese movies until you want to kill yourself.
JAMES EARL CASH, MANHUNT
Complex Says: Dude can kill stealth-kill armed thugs with a plastic bag from, like, Best Buy. Even Ted Bundy would raise an eyebrow at this guy. Recycle or ELSE.
BATMAN, ARKHAM ASYLUM
Complex Says: Don't sleep on Batman—he may not actually kill Joker's lackeys in the game, but he finds plenty of ways to work off the 'roid rage he built up before stepping into Arkham Asylum. Gargoyle Drop K.O. = "LOL, let's do that again."
PREDATOR AND ALIEN, ALIENS VS. PREDATOR 2
Complex Says: None of the AvP games had stealth kills even remotely like this 2001 release. It probably should've just been called Making Space Marines Your Bitch.
AGENT 47, HITMAN SERIES
Complex Says: We really want to see what's on this guy's iPod. Rage Against the Machine is likely, but kinda too easy. We're hoping for the irony of something like Enya, because "ZOMG it would give the character so much depth because he's an employed killer." But if he was actually into obscure moe anime soundtracks, that would... actually make a lot of sense, for some reason.