Every day of our lives we’re just a single infernal incident away from all hell breaking loose on Earth.

With that in mind, it might be worthwhile to get some training in, in case demons start pouring out of the walls. There isn’t any course dedicated to demonic self-defence, but there is no shortage of demons in video games, which makes gaming a prime source of inspiration on this front.

So we’ve prepared a list of a few games that might give you an idea how to act in a demonic emergency.

Darksiders 1 - Genesis

Release year:2010 (DS1) – 2019 (DG)
Developer:Vigil Games (DS1&2), Gunfire Games (DSIII), Airship Syndicate (DG)

Darksiders is biblical apocalypse by way of 90s comic book aesthetics and approach towards mythologies. You’ve got four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, albeit different from the canonical ones. You’ve got a demonic dragon, but he’s quoting Milton, rather than scripture. There are angels with cannons, and, yes, there are scores and scores of demons eager to sink their teeth into you.

In the first Darksiders you’re acting as War, in second you play Death, and Fury in the third. In Genesis the War and Strife duo plays the leading role. You’ll spill hundreds of gallons of demons blood, much of it through pretty brutal finisher animations, performed by and on characters bearing the very recognisable stylistic touch of Joe Madureira.

Key features
  • Biblical apocalypse reimagined
  • Timeless aesthetic
  • You get to slash trough angels and demons alike
  • Epic-scale storyline involving ancient pacts and a war between Heaven and Hell

Darksiders series

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Devil May Cry 1 - 5

Release year:2001 (DMC1) – 2019 (DMC5)
Developer:Capcom Production Studio 4

The Devil May Cry series is famous for many things, including it’s cheesy, irreverent writing and its love of spectacular combat manoeuvres, but the heart of the series is in slaying demons and being stylish while doing so. The leading character is Dante, the Son of Sparda, but starting in DMC 4 a new character, Nero, became a secondary focus of both the gameplay and the storyline.

The difficulty level changes from game to game, but usually it’s high enough to provide a decent amount of challenge, and the games encourage fast and fairly aggressive playstyle, necessary to keep up the Style meter (with exceptions, like the defensive Royal Guard style) and get the S ranks all around. The latest is Devil May Cry 5, and it’s considered the best ex aequo with Devil May Cry 3.

Key features
  • Fast-paced, stylish combat with lot of aerial action
  • A rare game where you can play as a half demon
  • You’ll kill lots of demons, but they won’t die without putting up a fight
  • The skill ceiling is very high

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Diablo 1 - 3

Release year:1997 (D1) – 2012 (D3)
Developer:Blizzard Entertainment

It’s right there in the name. Diablo is the Lord of Destruction of the series’ universe, and also the big boss. You’re but an adventurer, who stumbles upon the fresh resurgence of demonic activity and decides to put a stop to this, for balance, loot, and an absurd amount of XP. All of that presented from an isometric view of a grim, blood-soaked world were regular humans are screwed.

Diablo’s formula is a simple one, but it works extremely well, and so Diablo can be pointed at as the progenitor of the genre which spawned games like Sacred, Titan Quest, or Path of Exile. Diablo will have you start with killing skeletons, and grow powerful enough to challenge the greatest demons. There is a reason Diablo has stayed relevant since 1998 – the formula is perfect.

Key features
  • Armies of demons and other monsters fling themselves at you regularly
  • Ridiculous amount of loot: armour, weapons, and various upgrades
  • Steadily expanding storyline, explored through games and supporting media
  • Several very distinct characters to pick in every instalment

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Doom 1 - Eternal

Release year:1993 (Doom 1) – 2020 (Doom Eternal)
Developer:id Software

Doom is the kind of series that’s never going to die, much like the Doomguy (or Doom Slayer as of the most recent incarnations) himself. In a way it’s a perfect first-person shooter premise. Set the scene at an abandoned station, throw in disgusting, aggressive demons, and give the protagonist a number of devastating guns. It’s simple, but executed in a way that allows skill to shine as well.

The 2016 soft reboot massively reinvigorating the series, turning out to be a spectacularly gory, brutal, and at time fairly hard dance with guns, bullets, and other projectiles. Doom Eternal even adds a BFS to the BFG, letting you rip into demonic horses with a seemingly enchanted sword. And all of that is punctuated by a heavy metal soundtrack which will get your blood pumping.

Key features
  • The new Doom games are excellent old school-style first-person shooters
  • Punching demons is rarely as satisfying as in Doom
  • The guns feel powerful even before you get the legendary BFG
  • Fast, brutal, satisfying

Doom series

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Release year:2004 (Painkiller 1) – 2013 (Hell & Damnation)
Genre:Action & Shooter
Developer:People Can Fly, HomeGrown Games, Mindware Studios, The Farm 51

Started by a Polish studio People Can Fly and kept alive by several other developers after that, Painkiller is an incredibly entertaining first-person shooter series. The very first games sends you on a murderous spree through Purgatory with a task of killing Lucifer’s hellish generals, but things gets complicated from there in a storyline filled with biblical and apocryphal names.

The sequels move the story forward, and deliver even more demons to shoot, and more weapons to shoot them with. Nothing really beats the fun of staking bloodthirsty demons to the walls and seeing them ragdoll. If you get Painkiller Hell & Damnation you’ll be treated to a remake-sequel of the original game, now with extra content and more modern graphics.

Key features
  • A devastating romp through the purgatory
  • Huge bosses
  • The storyline does a good job justifying the next bit of demon-killing
  • Several instalments full of demon-shooting

Painkiller series

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Rip and tear

The list is barely a beginning, of course, there are plenty more “demonic” video games out there, but the ones above have the benefit of being serialised, guaranteeing long hours of good fun in a few different genres, to suit different gameplay preferences.