In response to all the chat bandying about recently concerning the ending of Mass Effect 3 (with which I have no familiarity and to which I hold no grievance), I’ve compiled this list of absolutely fantastic game endings and one which is the total opposite, and an actual grievance, a gross act upon my person, and an unforgivable act of fictitious hatred deserving of scathing denouncement on a regional gaming blog. Naturally it’s dripping with greasy spoilers, but I’ll give you the credit of being well enough played to have sampled these delights a time or two. Waste not a second more… the table is laid with words, the forks your eyes, and the doors are locked: it’s all you can eat, Blastees, and we ain’t closing ’til your full to the gills.
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater – Snake Eater’s ending is one of those things that comes as a bit of a twist, but it’s not really like a twist, more like a gentle curve round a lake’s edge that calms you as it blows your brains clean out your ears. The game’s most satisfying relationship is that of Naked Snake and The Boss which runs the line between teacher and student, mother and son, and deadliest of enemies. Shortly after putting the final bullet into her dying frame (with a mid-cutscene player button press) the truth about her apparent defection emerges, after an entire game’s worth of pretense without so much as a single readable clue throughout. The Boss didn’t defect: she died a hero, but no one can ever know. Owing to the sensitivity of intercontinental relations, it turns out it’s better if she died at Snake’s hands as a traitor, something which she knew and accepted the moment that big electric bastard Volgin fired the nuke at the science lab. From that earliest of moments in the game the whole thing played out one way while you thought it played out another. In the last reel, Snake – earning the rank Big Boss in the process – accepts dutifully his commendation from the president and leaves silently to mourn his best friend, partner, mother, teacher and every inspiration at her unmarked grave. It’s just totally amazesome.
The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time – The last shot of Ocarina Of Time is beauty. It is what beauty is. More than beautiful – a definition in itself. After Link and Zelda’s time traveling travails they return to their respective childhoods and to a point vaguely reminiscent of a point in the game where everything had yet to go quite so completely upsetting. As Zelda spies out a window in her castle, Link blusters into the room, once more a thing all of youthful energy, before the pair’s gazes are met and they stand frozen, framed at either side as The End appears between them. They’ve lived an adolescence, won a war they’ve yet to fight, worried more than they should be capable and as they stand silent across a room from another there’s more than the best script could ever say in a scant succession of images. I’m not the biggest fan of Ocarina Of Time (that last stretch of dungeons crosses the line from challenging to punishing) but this ending has yet to be beaten. May it ever reign.
God Of War – As exciting as God Of War’s opening is – Kratos contemplating suicide, attempting suicide, before being thrust back in time to fight a hulking great Hydra on the screaming seas – nothing can compare to its final image. In fact, for an entire game as exciting as God Of War is, nothing can compare to its final image (though so, so many moments come close). Our man K slays his way through a good fifth of the Greek canon of nasties before taking the fight to the titular gow himself, Ares (or Mars, to our Roman readers). Soon after running him through with his big massive gigantosword, ironic punishment is meted and Kratos fills the vacated god’s throne with his chin-on-fist misery, as the camera pans slowly towards him to really let the sheer gutpunchery of that eventuality set in, seep in. As if he didn’t hate himself enough…
Portal 2 -The moon. That’s all I have to say.
Super Mario World – What’s all this about saving the best to last? What it is, is, it’s, it’s that that it is that that’s a saying they have..?
And so, as they say, we save the best to last. The absolute pinnacle of gaming endings and a a 100% guaranteed (though not by me – I am NOT liable) method of spreading a big buttery smile across the bread of your face. Super Mario World. The best 2D platformer of all time*. Work your way through 96 exits (no true SMW fan counts just the levels) and you’ll be treated – and I mean TREATED – to the image of Mario and his wee Yoshi buddies sauntering along, content as can be having knocked Bowser’s lights out and sent that little bouncing clowncopter to the scrapheap. As rewarding as that is, though, and just when you think things are wiiiiiiiinding down… the pace picks up again and the credit roll of baddies – THE COMPLETELY ARBITRARY CREDIT ROLL OF BADDIES – trundles along, and you get to learn how many ‘r’s are in Blarrg (2), and get to wonder why that swimming jerk is named Rip Van Fish, and get to spot the music references is the names of Bowser’s kids. It. Is. AWESOME.
But some things are not awesome. Some things are bad things, things to be forgotten or chastised or buried away in the caves of your mind. Things like these are things like finishing Alex Kidd In Miracle World after 22 years – possibly more years than you have lived – only to suffer the indignant wet slap of its wretched ending.
Alex Kidd In Miracle World – Alex Kidd – his middle name ain’t “The”, son – is bastard hard. It’s harder than diamond. Than a diamond sandwich. If you beat it, implausible as it may seem, you’ll suffer an ending in which Alex’s feckless brother is rescued and learn all about how his father is still missing and no news of his person has surfaced for months.
You have got to be fucking KIDDING ME.
22 years, Sega. I give your little game 22 years of effort, champion your shitty little monkey-boy-thing-whatever-the-fuck-he-is as your true mascot to all my scoffing ex-friends and lose countless sleepless nights for an unhappy ending? Where’s Alex’s father? WHY DO YOU THINK I WAS PLAYING THE FUCKING GAME?!!
Still, no indignity compares to the exercise in patience that is playing the subsequent Kidd games themselves, not a one of which ties this mystery up, by the way.
Anyway, that’s me. Feel free to comment if you agree, disagree or whatever the hell the inbetween is. Be excellent to one another.
And while you’re at it, read more vidyagame ‘pinions at the ever-evolving WordPress Wordfest that is Rambleast.
*Not an opinion – legit fact