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Insulting Video Game Endings We Can Never Forgive

Any gamer who finished Mass Effect 3 knows what it feels like to waste hundreds of hours of their life on a story, only to be "rewarded" with a lazy, dirt-poor, cynical, thoroughly insulting video game ending. It's not just Mass Effect though–the gaming industry is chock full of titles that completely dropped the ball in the final act, crafting godawful endings that we won't soon forget or forgive.

Metal Gear Solid 2

Metal Gear Solid 2's story was virtually nothing but twists and turns. You started playing as Solid Snake, then got some emo shampoo model named Raiden (which was like being promised a John Wayne movie and getting The Ridiculous 6 instead). Then, the leader of the terrorist group you're fighting winds up being the ex-president of the United States, who is also Solid Snake's clone. Then, your general and girlfriend turn out to be AIs representing a super-powerful organization called the Patriots, who secretly rule the country, and who reveal your mission has been a twisted VR program designed to test how much the Patriots could control how people act. Confused? You won't be after this episode of Snake.

Then there's the ending. Snake and his scientist buddy Otacon learned one of the Patriots' leaders was actually their biggest financial contributor. Also, all the Patriots died a hundred years ago. That was certainly more than a little head-scratching. But as it turns out, it was just a slap in the face to MGS fans, because the series never followed through. Metal Gear Solid 4 actually retconned 2's ending as a red herring, with Snake commenting, "The data we got...was a load of crap. Twelve founders who've all been dead for a hundred years...Give me a break." This made almost everything you did in Metal Gear Solid 2–and the headaches its plot likely gave you–utterly pointless. If you're going to blow minds with a crazy twist ending, it's beyond unfair to later pretend it never happened.

Asura's Wrath

When it comes to downloadable content, or DLC, the best of the stuff tells a whole new story, lets you play as new characters, or simply gives you something new and fun to do in a game you love. The worst kind of DLC is like Asura's Wrath's, where the developers simply don't finish the story in the main game, instead making you pay an extra $5 to $20 for the whole thing.

Wrath's main part–the game you paid $60 for–ended with Asura beating the Big Bad and returning to his daughter, Mithra. But just to be a jerk, one of Asura's ex-partners, Olga, tries to kill Mithra, until a creature called the Golden Spider appears, kills Olga, takes over Mithra's body, and calls itself "the true God, the embodiment of the wheel of life, the spinner of all Mantra." At this point, the game does what any story should do after introducing a new evil to conquer: it ends. Wait, what?

That's right, Wrath simply fades to black, throwing up a screen that says "...Asura's anger still remains. His quest to cull his wrath continues on...but that is a story for another time." It's a safe bet that literally every single player disagreed, and they'd rather get the story now.

But sadly, Capcom chose to release the rest of the story later, as a $7 DLC. Instead of charging seven bucks for extra content, they made gamers pay what they should've gotten on day one. No matter how cool the "real" ending is, this kind of cynical nickel-and-diming sours the whole experience.

Super Mario Bros. 2

It's all but impossible to pull off an "it was all a dream" ending without looking like you got lazy and didn't bother to write a real final chapter. Super Mario Bros. 2, the beloved NES classic, is no different. Its ending is nothing more than a cop-out.

After beating the main villain, Wart, by force-feeding him vegetables until he dies, the liberated citizens of Sub-Con parade his corpse around while singing the praises of Mario and friends. Then, our perspective jumps to Mario who's...sleeping. This wasn't him sleeping after a busy day of saving everyone–he's actively dreaming the celebration at Sub-Con, meaning he was dreaming the entire time. Nothing you did mattered, because this insulting video game ending was all rumblings from the subconscious of a plumber who probably ate too much spicy lasagna before bed.

The "dream" ending gets extra insulting when you see the ending to Doki Doki Panic, the Japanese game Nintendo re-skinned and turned into Super Mario 2. There you fight kill Wart, free the prisoners, and are celebrated as heroes, just as with Mario. But then, you jump out of a storybook, proving your quest was real, albeit in another dimension. How hard would that have been to replicate for Mario? He's already a Brooklynite transplanted into a world of mushroom-men; it's not like jumping into a book to save a kingdom of bee people is any less surreal.

Fallout 4

As an open-world experience, Fallout 4's ending doesn't actually end the game. You can keep playing and fighting and completing quests to your heart's desire, but the main quest does have a definitive ending. The problem is that it's terrible and less satisfying than a bowl of rotting bloatfly meat.

In the game, you can join any of four factions, and pit them against each other. Your choice doesn't actually change the end of the game, however–just the quests you undertake to get there. No matter what route you take or what organization you side with, your son, Shaun (who is now twice your age, because thawing out a cryogenically frozen child decades before the parent has consequences) dies. Then, you get a black-and-white slideshow about moving on and how the Wasteland is your home now. Also, war never changes, in case you forgot.

Perhaps Bethesda "ended" Fallout 4's main story this way as a statement about how, just because the Soul Survivor reached their goal of finding their son, it doesn't mean the story of their life is done. But it still feels like a let-down to put a hundred-plus hours into your quest, only to wrap it up with "well, guess life goes on." If we wanted that, we'd turn the game off and deal with, y'know, real life.

Super Fire Pro Wrestling Special

How many wrestling games end with anything other than "you win the title"? Super Fire Pro Wrestling Special certainly does, though its ending will make you feel even worse than you did when Earthquake broke Hulk Hogan's ribs.

Throughout the game, tragedy keeps striking your character: your trainer dies mysteriously, you accidentally kill your friend during a match, and your girlfriend skips out on your relationship before she's next. Then, the World Champion–a Ric Flair knockoff hilariously called "Dick Slender"–kills your tag team partner and then confesses he killed your trainer. After he's properly punished for these multiple murders by you beating him in a wrestling match and taking his belt, you pose in the ring with your newly-won title...and everything goes to Hell.

See, rather than celebrate because you've avenged your partner and coach, all your character does is ruminate on how lonely he is. Everyone he loved and cared about is either dead or gone, and he's completely, totally on his own. After a depressing image of him sitting on a throne with nobody around to celebrate with, the story advances three days, panning over to his house. After a few seconds, we hear a loud bang, and everything goes black. Your character–the new World Champion, the guy you just beat the game with–has killed himself. While death is certainly the ultimate ending, that doesn't mean anyone playing a silly pro wrestling game wanted to see it.

Psi Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy

It's bad enough when a game gives you a terrible ending, but the worst of all is games like Psi Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy, where there's no ending and likely never will be.

At the end of Psi Ops, your character–a telepathic soldier named Nick–defeats an evil general by sending him into a portal generated by a huge psychic machine. The general's soldiers arrive via helicopter to collect the machine, and they're willing to kill Nick to get it. Nick responds by destroying one of the choppers with telekinesis, but before we can see anything else, the screen fades to white, then black. Then, we get that dreaded "TO BE CONTINUED" text, the perfect cure for a story that was just starting to get good.

Clearly, Midway was banking on continuing the story with Psi Ops 2, which was a terrible idea for two reasons. For one thing, concluding Part One with a total non-ending is the worst possible way to sell people on shelling out cash for the next installment. Secondly, Midway's assumption they'd be around to make a sequel proved a faulty one, as they soon started bleeding money, after years of being a top gaming company. In 2009, five years after Psi Ops, Midway filed for bankruptcy, liquidating their assets the next year. If you're a Psi Ops fan and truly want to end the story, you'll just have to write it yourself.

Battletoads

Any old-school gamer will tell you, probably through clenched teeth, that Battletoads was perhaps the hardest, most frustrating game they've ever played. Those who actually beat it have another reason to be frustrated: their reward for doing so was absolutely nothing.

The final boss is an evil space vixen named the Dark Queen. After you beat her, she doesn't die, nor do you bring her to justice. She simply escapes to, as the game puts it, "the shadowy margins of the galaxy to recoup her losses." That you failed to do anything but briefly humiliate the villain after spending untold hours crashing in the damn Turbo Tunnel is bad enough, but you don't even get a parade in your honor or anything. All that happens is your spaceship's pilot happily points out success clears sinuses somehow. He then collects the Battletoads and the princess they saved, and that's literally it.

If a player didn't know any better, they'd assume they just conquered another mid-game stage, and the final battle with an even stronger Dark Queen will test them much later. Nope. It's the equivalent of saving thousands of people from a burning building and being rewarded with a dollar bill and a handshake — a truly insulting video game ending, to be sure.

Half-Life 2

Perhaps the only thing ruder than a game with a terrible or nonexistent ending is one that teases an awesome ending, only to yank it away just as things were getting good. This brings us to Half-Life 2, the "we interrupt this program to bring you something far less interesting" of video games.

After finally destroying the Citadel and ending the Combine's reign of terror, everything around Gordon Freeman and his companion, Alyx, begins to explode and collapse. It looks like an epic escape, followed by an epic ending, is about to commence. Alyx tells you to run for it, yelling "maybe we still have–"

Then, everything pauses. A familiar voice asks, "time, Dr. Freeman?" The G-Man appears, congratulating you on your success. He removes you from the exploding Citadel, leaving Alyx's fate frustratingly in the air. G-Man hints that several "offers" have reached him regarding Freeman's services, and he may accept one in the future. Until then, he places Freeman in stasis, vaguely hinting that everything will make sense someday. He then walks away, leaving Freeman in darkness and the gamer feeling massively dissatisfied.

As it turns out, Valve had DLCs in mind, releasing Half-Life 2: Episodes 1 and 2 in 2006 and 2007. But in case fans were starting to feel good about the series, the planned Episode 3 has yet to materialize a decade later, and Half-Life 3 may never happen at all. It appears that time, rather than story, is all Valve really cares about.

Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver

For the amount of money they cost, video game sequels should be actual new stories, not excuses to charge more just to wrap up one chapter. But that's exactly what games like Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver did, stopping the story midway through to collect money before continuing.

At the end of the game, your character Raziel tracks down and defeats Kain, that rare character they named a game after despite being the bad guy. But beating Kain doesn't mean he's dead, or even hurt. Instead, he escapes through a time portal. And after Raziel's Elder God warns him following Kain will mean he's no longer under the God's protection, Raziel enters the portal. He's then confronted by a sinister-looking character who cackles "welcome to your destiny." At that, the game ends. Rather than let you do anything post-portal, Legacy displays some cryptic-sounding word salad about "the fate of the planets" and how time is "a loose stitch in the universal clot." It then pie-faces the poor player with the dreaded "TO BE CONTINUED."

On the plus side, the story did continue–with Soul Reaver 2. That doesn't change how Eidos artificially cut the tale in two and charged full price for each. Had Soul Reaver 2 been the second half of Legacy, this might've been one of the best games of the PS1/Dreamcast era. As it is, it wound up being an early reminder that, all too often, money overrules art.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided was a really cool first act of an awesome game. The problem, however, is that they never bothered with Act Two.

After you stop a terrorist leader named Marchenko, it's natural to expect more gaming. He was the first boss, after all, and it had only taken 15 hours to reach him. Plus, a ton of plotlines had yet to be resolved, so you'd expect a new baddie to be revealed and for the game to soldier on. Not so–Marchenko was also the final boss. What's more, as Forbes pointed out, the ten-minute plot dump of an ending was mostly sound and fury, signifying nothing. A ton of plot threads remained dangling, but not in the fun cliffhanger way. Instead, side stories and major characters were seemingly forgotten, after hours of getting built up as major deals. It didn't feel like a complete chapter in an epic series, but rather like reading a book whose second half was smudged to illegibility.

Overall, Deus Ex's insulting video game ending stunk of artificially selling a fraction of the tale, all in hopes of selling the rest later through DLCs and sequels. It didn't help that this non-ending came after numerous attempts to sell microtransactions–some of which, according to Eurogamer, could only be used once, despite the player paying real money for them. All this pointed to Eidos and Square-Enix using Deus Ex not to tell a gripping story, but to take your money and immediately demand more.