Games surprise us less often than movies. Whiles there’s thousands of films with double crosses, narrative shifts and twist endings, most games are as predictable as a spiky haired amnesiac in a JRPG. Whether it’s an unexpected plot twist, an unforeseen death or a shocking revelation, some games still have the power to make us "WTF" all over our screens. Here are the ten best:*Plot spoilers ahead, you have been warned!*
In Metroid you play as a girl
It’s a classic so it has to be in there. If I said to picture a Doctor with a white coat and a stethoscope, how many of you would imagine a woman? In the same way, Samus is important because her gender affects our preconceptions. The ending of Metroid showed us that (for most of us at least) if a developer, writer or director doesn’t suggest a gender then we assume male. As surprising as it was ahead of its time, it was a landmark moment in the lives of male and female gamers everywhere.
In Call of Duty 4 your character gets nuked
The moment that pushed COD4 from being a good single player game to a great one, this scene completely pulled the rug away from under the player. Brilliantly, despite everything happening around you the developer made you think that you had survived. Only when the satellite map zoomed out and you were marked KIA did you realise what a brilliant, brave plot twist Infinity Ward had achieved. What seemed like a by-the-numbers military shooter took on new life. In that perfect, emotionally charged scene you realised that the stakes had been raised and FPS’s would never be the same again.
In Metal Gear Solid 2…well just WTF generally
So many moments in Metal Gear Solid were confusing, frustrating or simply downright bizarre. Before the ending devolved into complete lunacy, there was a genuine revelation as you realised the man you were communicating with on your codec was not a man at all. Roy Campbell was in fact the antagonist GW-super computer and as a virus affected the system, Campbell’s behaviour became by turns comical then genuinely disturbing. Kojima goes on trying to surprise the player layering up conspiracies and twists, but none of them compare to the cleverness of this moment when the player is left both surprised and unnerved.
In Bioshock “would you kindly” get brainwashed
Similar to the previous entry, in Bioshock you are manipulated by the man who is secretly your enemy all along. This kind of twist is clever in that it alludes to free will and the nature of gameplay. In every game we experience, we are given instructions on screen and by NPC’s who ask us to do things to progress the story, but we rarely question our motives or the results of our actions. In Bioshock, the danger of blindly following instructions is exposed, and the whole thing falls apart faster than an Ayn Rand philosophical debate.