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- 1For many of us, The Legend of Zelda is probably the first game that ever made us feel any kind of a sense of story. There are goblins, dungeons, weapons, fire-breathing monsters, and the theme song. Oh, the theme song. This theme song makes us sad for the prospect of a film adaption of this franchise, because if they don't live up to the greatness of the theme, our dreams are dead. Even just hearing the intro to it, no not the chorus, the intro from the 8-bit opening screens, brings a tear to our eyes... which is why we felt so betrayed at the end of this otherwise classic and timeless accomplishment.
You see, you go through all these dungeons, all these quests, monsters, weapon upgrades, and arguably the best music in video game history... only to hit a "Thank You" screen.
There have been many games that end with Thank You screens, but this one is by far the most disappointing. You see, a "Thank You" screen is not appreciated by real gamers. We want to thank YOU, the programmers, for giving us this wonderful game to which we have established an emotional connection. At the end of The Legend of Zelda, they robbed us of our involvement with the character and story by rubbing our faces that to the makers of the game, this was just a lark.
Battletoads had essentially the same problem, but Battletoads was so hard it was like signing up for a boiling acid bath with a sandpaper sponge, so the "Thank You" was offensive in an entirely different way.
- 2Halo 2 is one of the best action first person shooter games of all time. There. We said it. Haters can be hating all they want, but the controls were flawless, the battles intense and the storytelling pretty flawless until the PIECE OF S**T ending of this game.
You know what? It wasn't even an ending. It was a trailer. It was a trailer for Halo 3. We spent a really long time playing through a glorified trailer.
The game ends with Master Chief flying through space towards what appears to be the last level in the game. All the pieces are in place for the epic conclusion of Halo 2. And when he's asked, "Master Chief, do you mind telling me what you're doing on that ship?" Chief says, "Sir... Finishing this fight."
Uh, no, you're NOT finishing this fight. You're ending on an abrupt, and even worse, a cryptic cliffhanger that provides no emotional satisfaction whatsoever to your enormous and devoted audience. We appreciate that there's another Halo game coming, what we do not appreciate is shortchanging Halo 2 just to sell more copies of Halo 3. Newsflash, assholes. We're already BUYING Halo 3 anyway.
- 3The games in the Half-Life franchise are regarded as some of the best games ever made. The story, main character, gameplay and tone make the games some of the most engrossing gaming experiences in existence.
But how does Half-Life 2 end? Getting zapped out of the frying pan right when the poop hits the fan... Man...
Even Valve (who's responsible for the game) admits they didn't get the ending right, which is why they created episodic continuations of HL2 instead of just working on Half Life 3.
In one of the best first person shooters ever, you fight your way through zombies, aliens, hard as crap to kill tripods, fight your way through a giant factory, only to get to the lamest boss battle of the game and a quick cut to, "You've done your job. Let's get you out of here before this place blows up. Oh and we're leaving your friend behind." BYYYEEEEE!!!
This may actually be the biggest rip-off since Columbia House. It's like the developers just said, "Screw it. If there's one thing audiences hate it's a strong denouement." But of course, the only thing audiences hate about a strong denouement is having to pronounce it correctly.
- 4Scroll to 2:16 for the "ending."
The Lion King game came out at a time when movie tie-in games were NOT universally awful. Like the critically-acclaimed Aladdin video game before it, The Lion King was a fine example of a challenging, lusciously animated (particularly for the time) platformer that didn't insult the audience of either film or the game. Until the end, of course.
You see, a movie tie-in video game actually has something of a handicap in the story department, since you probably bought the game because you're a fan of the movie, and as a fan of the movie you know how the story ends. Scar is thrown off of a cliff, Matthew Broderick becomes King of Africa (which we were okay with, for some reason), and the supporting cast looks happy. It's the 16 bit generation, so we'd be happy with a nice shot of all of the lovable Lion King characters looking happy in the luscious African wilderness.
Instead, we get... THIS. It's weird and uncomfortably long shot of Simba roaring for a while, and then a weird still frame of him standing triumphant while somebody doing a pretty lame James Earl Jones impression provides a COMPLETELY non sequitor line of dialogue from the movie. Credits.
We never thought we'd actually prefer a "Thank You" screen, but YEESH.
- 5One of the most classic and enjoyable, quickly-beatable, hilarious, kind of racist, and fun-packed games to ever come out of the NES, Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!! really made a mark on all of our childhoods. We got to walk up to some of the greatest foes we've ever faced, figure out their rhythm, then beat them senseless. If you make it past all the actually-kind-of-hard-to-beat later fighters, you even got to fight the legendary Mike Tyson, who can pretty much knock you out with one punch, and who at the time the game was released was still considered pretty cool.
After a heart-pounding cavalcade of rounds which meant that surely you would NEVER make it to the end, you beat Mike Tyson. With no cheats. AWESOME. Surely, confetti will rain, the announcer will announce you as the winner, your coach will congratulate you (I mean c'mon, the guy even biked while you ran, that's a GREAT coach. Who does that anymore?) and hot ring-girls will come and offer you their numbers. No? Oh wait, there IS something! Oh, it's the guy we've been waiting to beat the whole game. He thinks we're a good fighter... yeah, cause HIS opinion really matters. WE JUST KICKED HIS ASS. We KNOW we're a better fighter than him!
After he calls you a good fighter, we get a roster of everyone we beat throughout the game. 'Cause after an exhausting and amazingly impressive fighting tournament that's JUST what people want to see, the guys who almost killed them. Even Metroid gave you a picture of a hot chick!
- 6Bioshock is to videogames what a funhouse is to life. It's crazy, melodramatic, maybe a little cheesy, but really fun and actually really f**king creepy. It has the best and most organic ambiance of any game that's come out in the last few years. The gameplay is amazingly fun and it really takes first person shooters to an amazing nightmare world that rivals some of the most oppressive survival horror games out there.
BUT...the payoff was obviously the halfway point. You know the one we're talking about. It would have been an absolutely awesome conclusion, but then the game kept going and then the "real" ending came along.
Last level: You spend the whole day (it's hard as hell) working your ass off killing Fontaine just to get a crappy cut scene about either A) Splicers taking over the world or B) Raising the Little Sisters as your own daughters. The ending you get depends on whether or not you killed the Little Sisters over the course of the game. Sigh...
Each ending is less than a minute or so long, and neither of them actually resolves your story or give you anything you actually would have wanted to happen with the character. The story you've spent the whole game investing your heart and spine into is sent into the crapper because they spent a long time designing one of the greatest videogame storylines ever, and but couldn't decide on a single decent ending so they gave you two half-assed ones instead. Dudes... Weak...
- 7KotOR!!! Knights of the Old Republic II is a fantastic game that puts The Force Unleashed to shame. Sure, Force Unleashed LOOKED awesome, and you get to play a pretty neat Sith apprentice, but it just didn't have the story and heart to pull it off like KOTOR II was able to.
You spend the entire game collecting great items, weapons, power-ups here and there... but above all... allies. This game is largely about collecting great allies and then playing with them throughout the game. At the last level, this bomb is detonated, but instead instead of having some kind of satisfying conclusion where we get to be with our allies, or at least see what happens to them, we're told what "PROBABLY" happens to them by Kreia.
Kreia. Oh, Kreia. Wise, boring, lame duck of a character, Kreia. She tells us that some of our allies have become one with The Force and some other vague innuendos of hers which we're supposed to take on faith... then it ends.
We couldn't have gotten a cool sequence where we actually see all this happen, or maybe even a level where we have to make a decision to sacrifice our allies and are forced to? Maybe they're alluded to in this level beyond this passing reference? Yeah, maybe we should give the developers a little more credit and take a second look at this... Wait, no? Really? God damn it...
- 8THERE WAS CAKE?! The whole time...THERE WAS F**KING CAKE?!
At the end of Portal, the facility blows up and you've escaped into a big, open world that may or may not be in the middle of an apocalypse (maybe). Oh, and maybe you're even dead. That's fine. It's enigmatic and in-keeping with the tone of the story.
But after all that, the machine lives and has cake? What the hell?!
Everyone has just played, thought and lived through one of the most brilliantly designed puzzle games of the last decade thinking there was no cake and that the whole time the cake was a lie and we were fighting for our survival (which we were)... but at the end, there was CAKE? Who f**king baked that s**t?! Wouldn't the ingredients have gone bad by now? Is it strawberry? Because if it's strawberry we don't even want a piece of that f**ker.
For a cerebral game like portal to have a completely lame-ass ending like this kind of annoyed the crap out of us. Sure, we get Still Alive, one of the funniest and catchiest songs in the history of gaming, but the conclusion to our story is kind of a slap in the face of the experience.
And what, no UTENSILS?!