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Best Videogame Endings Discussed 126

Thanks to InsertCredit.com for their lengthy, semi-gonzo, spoiler-containing feature on the evolving nature of game end sequences. They ask "Why should an ending be a time to 'relax'? Why should an ending be something long, and complicated? Why should an action game, really, even have a final 'boss'? Do we need these conventions anymore?", while charting classic game endings from Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros. through Metroid Prime. They finish things up with the top 11 game endings of all-time, from "an alcoholic cartoon squirrel" to "the collapsing Death Egg."
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Best Videogame Endings Discussed

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  • It seems obvious... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Quicksilver31337 ( 541929 ) <kariudo @ g m a i l . com> on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @07:03AM (#6742621) Journal
    Everyone knows that crono trigger has the best endings, being one the first RPGs to experiment with multiple endings depending on how you played and finished the game.
  • Final Fantasy VII (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cloudless.net ( 629916 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @07:08AM (#6742666) Homepage
    It had the most advanced graphics in video game at that time, end the ending was simply amazing. I still remember the music of the final boss!
    • The lyrics of the final boss music were mostly taken from various songs from Carmina Burana, a collection of Latin poems written in the middle ages which were set to music by twentieth century composer, Carl Orff. The songs they took the lyrics from weren't really relevent to Sephiroth, Cloud, or anyone else.

      "Estuans interius" is the first line of a poem in which the speaker laments the fact that he is more interested in worldly pleasures than salvation. While there are some dark and brooding parts that m
  • by Nice2Cats ( 557310 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @07:10AM (#6742689)
    "...and shit in your neck." Man, I thought he was just joking when I heard that the first time, but no, that is exactly what he did. Damn, what a cool game.
  • And the game was so short it was easy to get all the endings... at least I think it was.
  • Loom gets my vote (Score:4, Informative)

    by Domini ( 103836 ) <lailoken@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @07:23AM (#6742801) Journal
    It had crappy graphic and crappy sound, but there was something almost mystical about the ending...

    Must be the fact that it was based on a propper work of prose.
  • My dad, back in the day, thought he had "beaten" Missile Command. After the game got so fast, it got extremely slow. He said you could take a bathroom break, come back, and the missiles still wouldn't have fallen.

    How are you supposed to reach this "The End" screen, anyway? Maybe it doesn't slow down on emulators?
  • Or did anyone else find that they would've enjoyed Metal Gear Solid 2 more, ending included, if they had just skipped through every cutscene in the game instead of trying to make sense of the so-called plot?
    • I think that I will enjoy MGS2 more the second time through knowing that the story line is all messed up. The gameplay is great and now that I've taken six months off I think I'm ready to give it another go. One thing I don't like is that the only other Metal Gear game I've played is the first. So I'm a little lost as far as Who is Liquid and the other references to earlier games. All in all, great game though, I'm ready for the next one.
  • My votes (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DavidLeblond ( 267211 ) <me@david l e b l o n d . com> on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @07:58AM (#6743081) Homepage
    The Gabriel Knight series and the 7th Guest had my favorite endings. I'm not sure if I agree with world 8 on Super Mario Brothers being a "cool ending."
    • What tops world 8 of Super Mario Bros is world 9 of the Japanese Super Mario Bros 2 (Lost Levels here in the US).

      One level features every land enemy in the game (i.e. goombas, turtles, hammer bros) in a water stage. You can just swim along the top of the water through the whole thing, but it's cool to see.

      Another stage is basically an outdoor castle. It's like a castle stage, where all the blocks are made of castle blocks. But there usually isn't a ceiling, it's a blue sky, the normal Mario theme, vines t
  • Why should an ending be something long, and complicated?
    You wanna see me play.
    I always end up dead, [anzwers.org] and I don't waste any time getting there.

  • What about the ending to Soul Reaver? It was very uncomplicated, and left an opening for a sequel. I know, I hated it too.
    • I was so pissed off when I beat Soul Reaver for the first time...but it made me crave Soul Reaver 2 like a heroin addict in rehab, so I guess it worked as intended. Soul Reaver 2's ending, on the other hand, left me more confused than when I started the game.

      Despite the crappy gameplay on occassion (LOK 2 comes to mind), I freakin love the storyline of the whole Kain universe.
  • Let's not forget... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    the best videogame beginnings [planettribes.com]

  • syberia didn't make it to the list? neither did grim fandango?? both were some of the greatest advanture gams i've ever played, i almost cried while watching both endings :/
  • by stardeep ( 66237 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @08:24AM (#6743343) Homepage
    My favourite game ending is that of Monkey Island 2, where everything that has gone on before (including the first adventure) is put in a new light.

    I have always despised the concept of end bosses. Why, for example, did a beautifully balanced game like The New Zealand Story have such monstrous bosses? They were so hard to beat that you were bound to lose that wonderful, rela-axed feeling playing that game gave you when faced with that floating walrus.

    In RPGs I find the concept of end bosses even more despicable. Worst example? The last third or so of Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Baal, where the designers have obiously run out of ideas (and the overly combat-oriented rule system has been taken to its limits) and the game just ends up throwing countless nearly-unbeatable, often regenerating enemies at you. Where's the roleplaying in that?

    (And speaking of disappointing endings: the 'good' ending is identical to the 'evil' one, only with a different voice-over!)

    Planescape: Torment got all of that just right: here was a game you could finish without fighting the end boss at all, if that didn't fit your character. I wish they'd make a sequel to that one...
  • I remember when I first saw (or should I say heard?) the intro to "Blood Money" by Psygnosis on my Amiga. It blew me away. And the opening to Shadow of the Beast II? Awesome.
  • One of many reasons why Black Isle Studios' Planescape Torment [interplay.com] is my (and many others') favorite computer RPG is its haunting ending. The nameless protagonist, having finally achieved self-knowledge, descends unresistingly to his ultimate fate. The single cutscene made sense regardless of whether you played the game as good or evil. An exceptionally nice work, that game.

  • Interstate '76 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Demon-Xanth ( 100910 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @08:46AM (#6743527)
    I can't believe they left this one out. It's THE BEST game ending ever.

    Hero walks upto the bad guy who is now stuck in his burning car

    Bad Guy: Help, you gotta get me out of here.

    Hero throws dice (long story) at bad guy, takes key to nuke. Looks over and sees a ghost of his sister standing there.

    Hero: Don't get out of the car, never get out of the car.

    Hero pulls out his .45 and proceeds to empty it at a range of less than 2' into the chest of the bad guy.

    Now, how many games do you get to play where the end guy doesn't take the "soft" approach and ends up letting the bad guy live if he has the choice? I can't remember too many, that made this one original.
    • Just the ending??
      That whole damn game was great.
      The intro, and tutorial (listening to your dead sister on tape telling you how to drive her car was a brilliant beginning), all the cut-sceness were perfectly placed (if a little shoddy in the graphics detail department), and the ending...

      Simply a superb game.
  • by Metroid72 ( 654017 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @08:54AM (#6743611)
    What makes a good ending? Is it a surprise twist on the storyline? Is it a rewarding sequence after a hard game?

    My personal best (In no particular order):
    -Starfox (SNES) - Very underrated, great ending sequence, especially when they show the specs for each boss... the music is great too!
    -Final Fantasy II/III (SNES) - I personally think that SQUARE used to make better endings with less resources than now... Anyone agrees?
    -Ninja Gaiden (NES) - This is a classic!

    -MegaMan III - Here comes Protoman.. it opened the mistery of this new character
    -Earthbound - Masterpiece!
    -Bionic Commando - The bad guy is... Hitler!!!!

    Other great endings: Metroid, Super Metroid, A link to the Past, Link's awakening.

    What makes a bad ending? Is it a hard game with a disappointing/unrewarding final sequence? or is it a highly hyped game with a great story where the developers ran out of gas at the end? I've noticed that arcade conversions make very bad endings.

    The worst (In no particular order)
    -TMNT (NES) -You get just GAME OVER in colored letters
    -Axelay (SNES) - Axelay II never came... damn Konami
    -SFII (All) - I personally never liked the endings. The gameplay makes it up.

    Hard games with unrewarding endings:
    Jackal (hard mode), Battletoads (All), Ultima Quest for Avatar, Solar Jetman, Dragon Warrior, POW, Batman (NES), Blaster Master
  • Try "Tales of Phantasia".

    Superb game! The intro sequence is a FULL VOCAL song in this SNES game. It then starts you out on some sort of a boss scene where 4 guys cleans up on some boss.

    And at the end, he then explains why he did all what he did throught the game. I'll leave out what he says...

    And this wasnt made by Square.. It was made by the the football game kings, Tecmo.
  • Wolfenstein 3D final "boss". Now THAT is a mother-freakin-ending. Open a door, piss your pants, get mangled by dual gatling guns.
  • What exactly happened in the ending of FFVII? I never was quite able to figure it out. Is it supposed to be everyone in the world is dead? Sure, the game is a thinly veiled allegory for environmentalism, and one would expect that every human would die at the end, but come on.
    • Broken down:

      After the party escapes from the crater where they killed Sephiroth, you see that the Meteor he summoned is just about to hit Midgar.

      Holy activates to stop it, but it looks like it's too late, as Meteor just keeps going. Then when it looks like you're screwed, the lifestream (aka all the souls of dead people, assumably being led by Aeris by the picture of her that flashes at the end) seeps out of every damn hole on the planet. The lifestream then helps Holy and obliterates Meteor.

      Fast forward
      • It's been a LONG time since I played FFVII, and I only played it once so I didn't get to go back and check this...

        But wasn't there some Really Important Place in the game called the Temple of the Ancients? And didn't it look an awful lot like what Midgar looks like in the future? I thought maybe it was some big cycle repeating itself. But again, I haven't played it in years and I never went back to confirm what I thought.

      • Red XIII is not human. Holy will determine what threatens the planet and eradicates this threat. It was humans that had abused the planet and the lifestream. Even though Cloud and company proved that good exists in humanity, it's up to the gamer to decide if the humans survive or not.

        I personally have yet to decide what happened to Cloud and company. I think it doesn't matter too much, because even in death, you exist on a spiritual level in the lifestream with everyone else.

        • Well, my reasoning for humans surviving is pretty simple. Red XIII is not human. Red XIII was on the airship. Red XIII cannot pilot the airship. So obviously, Cid or some of his crew survived (at the very least) and landed the airship--if they hadn't then Red XIII wouldn't have survived either. It's pretty simple logic.
    • If nanaki lives then surely some people could too don't ya think. Did you totally miss out on all the happiness in the ending? There is not much happiness when everybody dies. The only real thing that happend is the planet was healed. It's really great and yet annyoing because there is no explanation of what became of anybody but nanaki, though a direct sequel is rumored ala FFX-2. A sequel would rule, as this is still my favorite game.
  • All that time to find out that I had been commanding a girl in a bikini... who then took off her space suit to show off that lovely piece of kit!
  • Ninja Gaiden (Score:3, Interesting)

    by techstar25 ( 556988 ) <techstar25@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @09:15AM (#6743807) Journal
    I always thought the Ninja Gaiden series on NES had some of the coolest endings, and some of hardest final bosses. They really set the bar high with all thier animated cut-scenes between levels leading up a long scene at the end.
  • ... and it did. Damn that was a great game!

    What was best about the ending about this RPG is that you got a sense of where everybody was going to be after the story ended. Something you don't always get in RPGs.
  • Bah! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JMZero ( 449047 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @09:47AM (#6744114) Homepage
    No "Star Control II"? I guess they just didn't play it. That's literally the only possible explanation. If you haven't, go download it now - it's available free as "The Ur-Quan Masters" from sourceForge.

    • Minus the amazing ending, sadly enough. Apparently, it's giving them problems hacking the good PC version ending onto the 3DO version's codebase. Here's hoping they fix it up and include it soon.
    • Star Control II was an awesome game. I even ended up replaying it with "The Ur-Quan Masters" a few months ago. BUT, I'll always remember it for the in-game story line rather than the ending. Actually I had pretty much forgotten the ending. So I ended up hitting Google for it. Here's the 3DO StarCon 2 ending [classicgaming.com]. Many people have said that the PC version is better, but this one seems ok to me.
  • Super Zaxxon...you must fight the dragon. Sweet.

    If you want a game with no 'boss' to fight at the end, then may I present to you...720 Degrees (the skateboard game that hurts the wrist). Yes, indeedy.
  • by Torgo's Pizza ( 547926 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @09:59AM (#6744223) Homepage Journal
    Best videogame endings? Hardly. Maybe it should be titled "Best videogame endings of the games I played all time according to me even though I've never touched a computer."

    It is a very, very sad list. No mention of Ultima IV, Planescape, Wing Commander III, Baldur's Gate, Planetfall, Zork, or any of the myriad of games with *REAL* endings.

    Hint: If you want to make a "all-time" list, do yourself and your readers a favor. Spend a lot of time doing research. That means interviewing and polling friends, people on the street, reading reviews and visiting a library. Then write your article.

    • Best PC game ending for me was from "Might and Magic IV: World of Xeen".

      Worst PC game ending for me was the Bards Tale game where you get to the end, kill the last mob, it rewards you with the standard "you found a (magic item name)!" and before you can ever even see what the item is like, it cuts to a 'cut scene' and you see words scrolling letting you know that yadda, yadda, yadda, there will be stars in the sky named after you, yadda, yadda, yadda.

      When I played, during that last encounter I saw "Yo
    • You hit the nail right on the head. I was hoping to see some variety in there, however I we see is some list of console games that people have played and finished. Are we strickly a console based game generation? Not that I know of, so the title should really read:

      "Best Console Videogame Endings Discussed"

      IMHO I think there should be some mention of one of the Ultima's. VII my fav, I could hardly wait for part 2, and the animation at that time was just breath taking. I couldn't belive the 3d effec
    • by LiberalApplication ( 570878 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @12:08PM (#6745705)
      ...console games of the pre-memory-card past have not been about storytelling, they were gruelling, punishing exercises in devotion and patience. Few had saves, and most were incredibly repetitive. There really should have been a reward at the end. The same expectation holds for PC games, but they have traditionally been more storytelling interactive experiences than console games. Of course, things have changed now, such that most (good) console games revolve around an intricate plot that deserves resolution, but think about it:
      • How many people played all the way through 100 ridiculously difficult levels in Zillion for the SMS?

      • How many people even finished Super Mario Brothers? Talk about repetitive, punishing, and unrewarding.

      • How many people finished any of the MegaMan games prior to battery-powered memory?

      Point being that the endings of the old world of console games were much more important than those of PC games because you had to go through the entire thing in one sitting, performing nearly perfectly, for upwards of three hours, following god knows how many prior attempts that ended in failure. If there wasn't much of an ending, it made you want to toss the damned thing out the window.

      This isn't to say that PC games were less important, but that the ability to save your progress and the general nature of PC games made the experience itself part of the reward.

      Put it this way: Playing console games was like having sex with the added requirement of five hours of foreplay. If it didn't end happily, it was pretty annoying. Playing PC games was like... um... huh. I can't think of an analogy. Multiple orgasms maybe? Somebody help me out here.

      • After getting the NES my parents put a condition on getting new games. I had to beat the one that came with the NES first, Super Mario Brothers. No problem I thought after playing a bit, there are warp zones that'll get me to the end quick. I used them and my mom told me I cheated.

        So I can honestly say that I beat all 8 levels of 4 boards each, no warping, in Super Mario Brothers. No continues, no saves, just hours of stomping baddies and eating mushrooms. Luckily I was rewarded with another game in additio

        • That's nothing. It was the only game I had for a long time, and I beat it once without ever getting hit. First mushroom, first fireflower, and never getting touched - the perfect Mario game?
    • Hey, now, it's a console game site.

      . . . Well, mostly. It's mostly console-centric. There's one little piece [insertcredit.com] of an article about Neverwinter Nights back from January, and that's about it. Other than that, the author prefers to keep PC games to himself.

      The name of the site is "insert credit," which implies something of an arcade/console concentration. Few PC games require the insertion of a credit, unless you're talking about Everquest or Magic: The Gathering Online, and the "credit" in those cases
      • Then perhaps it's just a case of mislabeling. But then again, since www.insertcredit.com is the one that submitted the story in the first place, you really have only yourself to blame for any misdirected anger coming your way.

        To be fair, it's a good list of console games and Tim Rodgers did a good job of writing, with several little twists, even if he only mentions the games that he himself played. But even if we stick to the focus of "arcade/console concentration" that you mention, there aren't any arca

    • Amen. Infocom's Trinity had the best ending of any game ever.
    • It is a very, very sad list. No mention of Ultima IV, Planescape, Wing Commander III, Baldur's Gate, Planetfall, Zork, or any of the myriad of games with *REAL* endings.

      Did it occur to you that when you see a list of "top 11 videogame endings", and every single one of them is for a console game, none of them for a PC game, that they're probably using the word "videogame" to mean console games, as opposed to "computer games"?

      Or do you prefer to think that they just all hated the endings of your favourite

      • Set your filter a notch lower and read the rest of the responses and the continuation of the thread. Note that I was complaining mostly that the title of the article was misleading. The ISDA lumps PC games and console games into the "videogame category".

        Secondly, I listed three RPG games, two text adventures and one space flight-sim in my quoted statement. I don't know where you're getting the idea these are all CRPGS.

        Also note that the website administrator and I talked about it and feel that it was pr

  • Metroid for NES. I mean... WOW! What a surprise!

    OK, a good surprise is one that just TOTALLY blows you away and you weren't even thinking anywhere NEAR that. Metroid could have ended with a "The universe is saved!" or even a big explosion or some badass mother-brain-lived thing.
    But out of nowhere, he... is a she! Go Samus! That girl kicked major ass!
  • HALO. No I know you are thinkin wtf are you talkin about buddy it wasn't particularly great. Well thats because I'm talking about the after the ending ending aka Red Vs Blue. [redvsblue.com] It's ok I forgive you for doubting me.
    • Although the end itself in Halo was pretty average, the final level, with the warthog romp was an awful lot of fun - definitely felt like a good finale.
  • OK, maybe not the best, but I thought it was really cool. Duke has that bloodied-but-not-quite-dead alien on the ground, with his boot on its head. Before he blows the alien's head off with his 10-guage, the following lines are spoken:

    "Who are you?"

    "I'm Duke Nukem, and I'm coming to kill you alien bastards"
  • Ico has one of the most beautiful endings. It rocked. Too bad the US version had the replay mode yanked out of it, so you couldn't replay and understand what the hell everyone was saying.

    Other good ones: Final Fantasy Tactics covered a lot of loose ends in its ending and tied a considerable amount together. Rhapsody had some interesting twists right at the end. I liked the music from Legend of Mana. I agree with the author, Final Fantasy 6's ending was perfectly done with wonderful music.

    The most rec
    • Ico has one of the most beautiful endings

      Aye, I nearly cried. I didn't realize until witnessing the ending just how much I had become involved with the characters- the ending evoked a complex mixture of sadness and joy. Yes, from a video game. When was the last time a movie did that?

    • I agree. Ico's ending was the best ending of any game, ever. Ico is in my list of top 5 video games of all time.

      It's especially nice because there is an ending *after* the ending, after the final sequence and credits play and you control the boy running around on the beach.

      You did see it, right?
  • Since so much of RPGs are story, the endings provide the climax to all of your vested interest and time. My vote for the best endings go to Fallout, Ultima6, and the Final Fantasy series.
  • Probably the most unfufilling ending I ever experience myself was Zero Wing (of "All your base are belong to us" fame). It's not the hardest side-scrolling shooter, but it doesn't take it easy on you either......and I was rewarded for my hours of diligent play by what I could only describe as knock-off California Raisins dancing by the word "Congradulations". A big let-down, since I ws hoping for an ending as entertaining as the beginning was......."You have no chance to survive make your time....."
  • What happened to the Doom ending??? Does anyone remember that cute lil rabbit?? :-D
  • by Anonymous Coward
    My apologies, but that's got to be one of the most ameteurish articles that I've ever read. Not only was it laid out poorly, it was, at best, scatter-brained. If they wanted to talk about two (or three!) games per bullet point, they should have made two (or three) separate lists with clear-cut categories.

    For that matter, why should I take their word for it? Most other top-10 ("Ours goes to Eleven!") lists at least poll the audience. This one sounds like it was born of some random pipe dream.

    *shakes his he
  • *No* ending (Score:2, Informative)

    by satyap ( 670137 )
    Plenty of games out there with no ending. Not just arcade games, either. MMORPGs, for example.
  • This dude writes like a fifth-grader. Maybe he is really a Halfdim scholar, and somebody fucked up. One of the most messed up articles I have ever seen.
  • No mention of Karateka? The game where you fight through a gazillion bad guys to rescue the girl. But, when you finally get to her and forget to drop out of fighting stance, she boots you in the head an kills you.

    Now, that's an ending!

    I'd give a runner-up position to Diablo. You fight your way through all the demons of hell to get to the Big Guy himself. You kill him. And, in the ending cinematic sequence over which you have no control, your character shoves the bloody soulstone into his head, beco

  • The Link's Awakening ending I totally agree with. One of the most fun games I'd every played on Game Boy, and definetly one of the creepiest endings.

    FF7's ending made plenty of sense to me, and I loved the sequence, but one thing bothered the hell out of me... Nanaki is the last of his race! How the F*ck did he end up with kids?! Nanaki being RedXIII. Bah.

    Other good endings? The Freespace series has never dissapointed there. And with some of the best in-game sequences too. (Who didn't have a brown-trouser
    • Actually, you didn't have to play with two players to get the good ending, but you had to be better than normal to do it. When you get the big guy in the bubble after hitting him with countless lightning bolts pause the game and hit select. If you have at least one spare life it will give it to your buddy, player 2. I don't think you have to be playing two player mode to do that at the end guy even. If so, simply continue in two player mode and give the life at the end the same way. Both players are then al
  • This guy didn't understand the ending to FFVII at all which leads me to believe he barely played the game or didn't understand the game. The "beams of light" were the visual of the Holy Materia/Holy Magic being used by Aeris. If you recal the game stated that only holy could destroy meteor that is why Aeris had to sacrifice herself in order to save the world (yeah yeah it's been done before in other games).
  • Pretty much all forms of media follow the same basic idea. There's a building of tension, a climatic scene, and then a denouemont. I'm sure most of you have been shown in school the distored bell graph ploting out the tension in a generic storyline. More advanced stories will have mini climaxes scattered throughout the plot, but the same general trend is still followed, with the biggest climax near the end and the resolving of tension afterwards.

    If there's not some kind of climax, it's not going to be a v

  • Natuk [proudft.com] is a great shareware RPG dungeon crawl game.

    Spoiler alert:

    You play a party of selfish orcs. At the end of the game, there is one final battle to kill the king.

    After a very difficult fight, you win. The party now realizes that only one person can be the new king. You pick one member of your party, and play him as the game degenerates into a deathmatch. The last surviving party member becomes king. A shocking and hilarious way to end the game.

    • I personally prefered the game dynamics of Nahlakh, the precursor of Natuk. I never did manage to beat the game but I was pretty deep into the second island before I just couldn't get any further. Sadly the game doesn't seem to want to run on my current hardware.

      I tried the trial of Natuk that cut out at some point and wasn't quite as impressed. I've since gone back to Nethack for my fix of computerized dungeon crawling.

      • I also enjoyed Nahlakh, at least up until the point I got stuck :)

        They're very similar, although Nahlakh is much harder.

        I found the Natuk interface was a bit more streamlined, and there's more of a plot.

        It's a real shame that more people didn't register those games, the author hasn't put out anything new in years because he had to go back to his day job.
  • "Gordan Freeman in the flesh. Or rather in the Hazard Suit. I took the liberty of relieving you of your weapons. Most of them were government property! As for the Hazard Suit, I think you've earned it."

Our OS who art in CPU, UNIX be thy name. Thy programs run, thy syscalls done, In kernel as it is in user!