The Most Insulting Video Game Endings Ever

What's worse than devoting one's energy to mastering the impossible, or spending countless hours of one's precious time completing an epic trilogy, only to have the conclusion slap you in the face? Not much. Here's a list of the most insulting endings we've ever experienced in the history of video games. (Also, spoilers. Duh.)

Ghosts 'n Goblins

Ghosts 'n Goblins is probably the first game with a truly insulting ending—especially when we consider that the game is, notwithstanding its difficulty, a pretty solid one.

Developed by Capcom for video arcades and commonly thought of as a Nintendo Entertainment System classic, Ghosts 'n Goblins rewards players who beat this insanely difficult title with the following text, spelling error included: "THIS ROOM IS AN ILLUSION AND A TRAP DEVISED BY SATAN. GO AHEAD DAUNTLESSLY! MAKE RAPID PROGRES!"

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If that insulting reward for your tireless effort isn't enough to put you off, players are invited to play the game again on an even harder difficulty, in an attempt to attain the true ending. What is this true ending, you ask? Surely this ending must be worth the brutal, controller-breaking difficulty, you say? Well, we'll let you be the judge: "CONGRATULATION. THIS STORY IS HAPPY END." On the next screen: "BEING THE WISE AND COURAGEOUS KNIGHT THAT YOU ARE, YOU FEEL STRONGTH WELLING IN YOUR BODY." Yes, that familiar feeling! What is the great task now required of such a valiant soldier? The final screen reads: "RETURN TO STARTING POINT. CHALLENGE AGAIN!"

Congratulation, Capcom! You win the award for possibly having the first downright insulting ending in the history of video games.

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Mass Effect 3

Not everyone was insulted by BioWare's ending to its epic Mass Effect trilogy, but those people weren't paying attention.

The result of dozens—if not hundreds—of hours of exploring, fighting, relationship building, planet mining, decision making and cringey romance, Mass Effect 3's ending presents players with essentially three decisions: control, destroy, or synthesize. All things considered, it's a bit like choosing your favorite color: blue, red, or green. That's more or less the only thing that changes in each ending sequence. Not even the most hardcore of Mass Effect fans could justify this ending as being anything more than offensive. In a game that's all about choice, agency, and practical effects of your choices, every single player experienced almost the exact same ending.

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BioWare even released a rewritten free DLC ending to try to make up for it. Here's hoping that Mass Effect: Andromeda and its all-but-guaranteed sequels give us a more satisfying conclusion on the first try.

Borderlands

Gearbox Software's Borderlands is no stranger to silliness. However, the game's over-the-top ridiculosity simply can't justify its obnoxiously offensive ending.

After 25-30 hours of often-frantic first-person shooting and role-playing—or 60 hours, if you're a completionist—Borderlands rewards players' quest for the Vault with a not-so-pleasant surprise. As we already learned, the Vault can only be opened every 200 years—and by the time we've finished dispatching the Destroyer, a monstrous guardian of the prized location, the Vault has been sealed for another 200 years. W... T... F. Needless to say, this ending didn't sit too well with fans.

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Nothing like playing through an entire game searching for pieces of a key to open a legendary vault, only to have said vault shut in your face for another three lifetimes. At least Claptrap is turned into an interplanetary ninja assassin—but we're pretty sure that's just the insulting icing on the disappointment cake.

No Man's Sky

Before you say anything, we know. No Man's Sky has proven to be one of the most disappointing games in recent memory—if not of all time. However, the game might have had some shred of a redeeming quality if, when players arrived at the Center of the Galaxy, there was a surprise there that made the entire, lonely, monotonous journey worth it. No need for a spoiler alert here: you find nothing.

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Not only is there no surprise at the Center of the Universe, as virtually all players expected—there's literally nothing at the Center of the Universe. Nothing! It doesn't even matter whether you pursue the Atlas quest line or not—we all get nothing out of it. To those lucky enough to have skipped this unremarkable title, just imagine putting yourself through hours upon hours of almost mindless drudgery, until the fateful moment arrives when you finally can click on the Center of the Universe, with the minute hope that it would all be worth it. Then imagine watching the map zoom out for a solid four minutes before beginning ... a new game? Not quite. You keep all of your stuff, but your ship is broken and you're in a new universe continuing your journey with all knowledge and experience kept. It just breaks your stuff and spits you out! That's it.

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What could possibly be a worse ending to such an incredibly disappointing game than asking players to do it all again? We give Hello Games credit for one thing—it successfully managed to insult just about everyone who played this massively overhyped project.

Halo 2

Oh, the memories of opening Halo 2 on Christmas Day! (Or earlier, of course, if you were old enough to drive yourself to the mall and pick it up at launch.) Who can forget popping that disc into that hulking black beast of a video game console and drifting away into beautiful, first-person, space-shooting bliss? Yes, those were good times ... until the abrupt and totally insulting cliff-hanger posing as a legitimate ending made us all stare at the screen, dumbfounded, and ask: "That's it?"

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Although it was apparently not the ending the creators wanted to make, players were left with an incredibly unsatisfying taste in their mouths when legendary spaceman Master Chief, secretly aboard the spaceship The Truth, responds to Lord Terrence Hood's "What are you doing?" with the awesomely badass "Sir, finishing this fight." Then he promptly doesn't finish anything. The game cuts to black. The end music plays. Have fun waiting for the next one!

Anyone who looks back fondly at this cliffhanger as an epic moment in gaming history is either living in denial or a victim of revisionist history. The game may have been awesome, but the ending sucked.

Batman: Arkham Asylum

"Are you excited, Bats," Joker asks us before the concluding boss fight of Batman: Arkham Asylum. We eagerly answer: "Yes! Yes we are!" "I mean, we've been building up to this point all night," the primary antagonist correctly continues. "Don't tell me you've not been looking forward to it." Oh, have we ever! After such a great gameplay experience, we can't help but wonder what epic finale Rocksteady Studios has concocted for us.

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Unfortunately, the ending is weak, to put it mildly. Literally speaking, Joker is anything but weak, as he injects himself with Titan, a venom which makes the infected massively muscular. (Kind of like Barry Bonds, except multiplied by a hundred.) Figuratively, however, the ending seriously lacks the punch one expects from the ending of quality AAA titles. Steroid-inflated Joker reeks of a lack of creativity, and the whole game culminates in a very forgettable boss battle. For a character who specializes at playing mind games with the caped crusader, using brute strength simply doesn't sit well. The game fails at even doing anything remotely interesting with the epic-fail of an idea.

Although the game itself is objectively very, very good, even the most optimistic of Batman fans can't help but admit that the ending is more than a bit insulting.

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Fable 2

Fable 2 is considered by many to be one of the worst endings to any video game in the history of video games.

Where to even start? First, in a lengthy, epic RPG, one would at least expect a halfway decent final confrontation, no? Sure, not every video game can have the best ending ever, but we like a little challenge! So what challenge does Lionhead Studios present players of Fable 2, in the game's epic conclusion?

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Press a button. Any button. Just press a button and Lucien—the big bad—dies. Hell, even if you don't press a button, Lucian dies. You literally don't have to do anything to defeat the final boss. Epic! To add insult to injury, Fable 2, a game all about choices, gives you a full three final choices, all of which are relatively inconsequential and none of which make much sense. In virtually every way, Fable 2 sets the standard for how not to end an otherwise-fantastic RPG.

Final Fantasy X

Unsatisfied. Confused. Bored. Underwhelmed. These are not feelings we want to experience after devoting between 80 and 200 waking hours to a video game. Yet, that's what many players were left feeling after watching what passes for an ending in Final Fantasy X.

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With Sin defeated, Tidus and Yuna can finally let the good times roll, get married, and have some babies, right? It's party time for the summoner and crew, surely. But wait ... Tidus is a ghost? Or a dream? Tidus isn't real? What exactly is happening? Even by Final Fantasy standards, this ending is more than a bit convoluted, and a whole lot of lame—so lame, in fact, that a sequel was required to even get close to justifying this insulting, anticlimactic CG disappointment.

Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords

Nothing reeks of "rushed ending" quite like a few minutes of dreadfully boring dialogue with a somewhat-secondary character about hypothetical scenarios which themselves fail to definitively detail the fates of characters one has already invested dozens of hours into. Sadly, this is what players of the otherwise excellent Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords are left with.

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KOTOR II is an all-round terrific Star Wars role-playing game, blending a great storyline with solid combat into an engaging experience. The ending, however, is anything but engaging, boring us with a load of baloney and making us wonder just how rushed the game's writing was, at the end. It's unfortunate, and more than a bit insulting, that such a great game ends with a deflated squeak rather than a bang or a lightsaber's hum.

There must be something about space-themed video games and insulting endings.

Rampage

Rampage may not have the most insulting ending of its generation (only because Ghosts 'n Goblins beat it out), but this ending still hits you right where it hurts.

Maybe your sad childhood memory here goes something like this. You stayed up all night with your best friend, determined to beat the NES port of Rampage. A relatively dull affair, even when competing cooperatively with a friend, you wouldn't turn it off until you discovered what was at the end of this nationwide disaster. This is gonna be good. It has to be! Finally, you get back to California, level every building, dodge all sorts of military-grade projectiles, and wait anxiously for your reward...

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"CONGRATULATIONS!"

Thank you, Rampage, for ruining at least five hours of our childhood.

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