12 videogame stories that jumped the shark

Tomb Raider Underworld

The basic plot: Dangerously-stacked and impossibly-waisted “archaeologist” searches for Mjolnir, Thor’s magical hammer.

Jumps the shark when: Let’s call this one a “double-jump.” First, Lara is accused of trying to kill her own friends, and only later is it clear that some kind of “evil” Lara was responsible - an evil twin with purple hair and yellow eyes. Okay, fine, we’ll roll with that… for a while. Until ZERO explanation is given for the twin’s existence, and then she disappears from the story entirely. Unless you want pay for a vague DLC rationalization, that is.

Above: If you’re gonna raid tombs, expect some (mama) zombies

If that wasn’t horrible enough, Lara later discovers her mother is a zombie. Again, no explanation, but there’s her undead mother, lurching forward to eat her brains. And then POW, Lara puts down her own mother like a broke-legged horse.

PoP: Warrior Within

The basic plot: A burned-out hero, running from his tragic fate, journeys to a mysterious island in the hope of changing his destiny.

Jumps the shark when: You fight with a corpse-skinned vamp lady, Shadee. After a loading screen that looks like a Slipknot album cover, she enters with a six second shot of her swaying, iron-thonged keister, proving that Warrior Within is very mature. But the real nadir of the segment comes after Shadee cuts the Prince’s face, causing him to yell “bitch” in his manliest, gruffest voice, tossing aside all the wit and whimsy the first game established in with one fauxmotional expletive.


What followed were hours more of Hot Topic levels of emo-irritation -hilariously described at the time by Penny Arcade - that left fans wishing they could turn back time – specifically to the moment just before they bought the game.

Gears of War 2

The basic plot: Marcus Fenix and his team of potty-mouthed meatheads are forced to continue their fight against the subterranean invaders known as Locust. A fair amount of blood is spilled in the process.

Jumps the shark when: You discover that the enemy is using a worm the size of a cruise ship to eat through entire towns and cities. No, wait… that’s kind of cool, actually. So maybe when the worm erupts out of the ground and swallows your entire helicopter, with you in it? No… still pretty badass. How about when you run through the worm’s insides, dodging enormous teeth and cutting through arteries thicker than Cole Train? No… not quite there.

And then, when you get to navigate a dark green maze of gas-filled tunnels, choking on the stench and shooting open gooey, glistening sphincters? You know, the level that is basically <wink wink, nudge nudge> the worm’s ass?

Ah yes. That’s it. Shark jumped.

Tony Hawk Underground

The basic plot: Kid wants to skate. Kid buys Tony Hawk game. Kid finds the whole experience marred with utter bullshit that couldn’t be further from the act of skating.

Jumps the shark when: You could say Tony Hawk jumped the shark by adding a plot in the first place, but if you want to see the absolute apex of Henry Winkler’s arch, look no further than getting off your board. Whereas Manuals and Reverts were welcome additions that enhanced the overall experience, “Goin’ Boardless” turned a sizable chunk of the player-vs-environment sports game into a horrendous platformer, complete with graphical glitches and pace-shattering fetch quests. It crippled the very concept the game, like if Capcom gave everybody in Street Fighter IV a jetpack.

Worst of all, THUG’s success sent a message to Neversoft that any and all effortless innovations would be tolerable on an annual basis. So, as a ceaseless torrent of unskateable activities deluded the established gameplay (usually with some kind of celebrity or sponsor in tow) Activision rode that crest of useless affectations until fan indifference literally forced them to stop. Apparently, redemption is a $60 peripheral.

Above: So stupid a CaveBam could do it 

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  • pikachu2000 - August 13, 2009 5:14 a.m.

    I own and played Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future on the Dreamcast (and still got it). Stopped playing back in mid 2001 and still got the save. The moment Ecco the Dolphin turns into a SPACESHIP to stop the FOE from screwing up the balence between dolphin and man is the moment the deep sea adventure turn into deep shit. Believe me, that adventure is an absolute bitch!!! After you undo both man's (A really screw up future) and dolphin's (a bright but still screwed up future) futures you will have to go to the FOE's hideout and face even MORE screwed up crap. And don't get me started on the lies that the crystal will give you.
  • ShadowMantis - August 12, 2009 3:02 p.m.

    WTF?! A talking plant.Fighting naked?Are they high when they are writting this?Just like the LOST writters.
  • gatornation1254 - August 10, 2009 9:15 p.m.

    Holy shit the end to Beyond Good and Evil was EPIC. LOL
  • Felixthecat - August 10, 2009 8:37 p.m.

    I agree with Sonic completely. I mean, why would some weird girl even TRUST a fully grown, male, blue Hedgehog?
  • dweller - August 10, 2009 7:36 p.m.

    I really wanted to like Indigo Prophecy. Cue apocalyptic snow storm and the rest was a chore to go through.
  • wkdtkd - August 10, 2009 4:22 p.m.

    I kinda liked THUG at the time...*blushes* Though I have to say...the thing that made me go WTF?!? must about Fahrenheit was when Lucas and Carla "did the business" even though they only knew each other 5 mins!! :O Where on earth did that come from!??!
  • Makk_Mizzy - August 9, 2009 8:54 a.m.

  • lovinmyps3 - August 8, 2009 11:14 p.m.

    I admit to being one of the people who brushed aside Beyond Good & Evil (despite owning it) due to its strange settings and characters. I wish I still had it because I've heard so many good things... other than the dumb ending.
  • crumbdunky - August 8, 2009 8:34 p.m.

    Anyone who's had the very dubious honour of actually finishing one of the Halo "novels" will understand me when I say that the plot of Halo2 is NOTHING to worry about. There's some complete nonsense dressed up as average Sci Fi literature right there! The only reason I finished one is because it was reccommended by a friend and I cannot start a book(or game) without finishing it before moving on to the next!
  • SuperBadnik - August 8, 2009 8:04 p.m.

    Um, the "Evil Lara" is fully explained in Tomb Raider: Underworld...
  • jar-head - August 8, 2009 2:43 p.m.

    wtf Gr? The Whole Franchise of Halo is that, history repeats, until the MC was like "Oh F*** That!" and Gears of war 2, Jumped the shark when the Imulsion, lava/energy/i0l stuff starts to Infect The Horde! How did you not choose moving liquid over a worm?
  • oldgrammastinkyfeet - August 8, 2009 2:57 a.m.

    Lol... Cavebam. Jack*ss is awesome.
  • phoenix_wings - August 8, 2009 2:27 a.m.

    I played San Andreas a little while ago. It finally got to a point in San Andreas where I wanted to say "You've got James Woods" whenever Toreno would show up.
  • Master_Leep - August 8, 2009 2:11 a.m.

    I never thought about CJ's humble origins whilst flying around in a jet pack, mowing down rival Ballas. He came along way, baby.
  • sgloomy - August 8, 2009 1:11 a.m.

    every time i read something about PoP: warrior Within, it makes me very happy that i didn't play it!
  • NanoElite666 - August 8, 2009 12:31 a.m.

    I nominate "Star Ocean: Till the End of Time" for this list as well. The big plot twist in the game certainly made me stop and go "Wait... what...?" when I played through it a while ago.
  • Red - August 8, 2009 12:24 a.m.

    I enjoyed reading this one.
  • Vagrant - August 8, 2009 12:12 a.m.

    That MGS2 bit was one of the best bits of the game! I'd say the shark jumped after the combat gauntlet with Snake. Wherein gameplay consisting entirely of two boss fights before the end of the game were surrounded by the craziest of cutscenes. Including not one, but THREE plot twists about what "S3" is. And the Gears of War worm thing was cool and wasn't that crazy, for my liking. I'm pretty sure the dodgy bullpoo cliffhanger ending at the start of the first game was where it jumped the shark. Aaaaand I think it's safe to say that Fahrenheit didn't completely go off the rails until crazy AI monster that was the internet or something appeared.
  • gmilf71 - August 7, 2009 11:49 p.m.

    I'm sorry. I just don't agree with any of these conclusions.
  • TURbo - August 7, 2009 11:41 p.m.

    Halo 2's talking plant was really stupid.

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