A good plot twist in a game (bear with us now) is like being attacked by a ninja. It’s shocking, unexpected and will leave you feeling like you’ve just had a chunk of your spleen cut out with a katana. Admittedly, none of the following megaton twists spring from the shadows at you in tight fitting black pyjamas. But we still never saw any of them coming. Now, would you kindly read on?
Warning: Attention, sailor. Thar be game-ruining spoilers ahead. If you don't want to spoil such relatively new titles as Heavy Rain, BioShock and Modern Warfare 2, turn that ship around and sail into a sunset that won't make you hate us. Again, SPOILERS AHEAD!
Just so you know, we're not counting characters unexpectedly biting it as a plot twist. So anyone who was hoping Aeris' death in Final Fantasy VII would make the list is shit out of luck. Oh, and we've also done a previous Top 7 on playable characters turning evil, so don't expect to see Braid or Shadow of the Colossus in here. Now, on with the show... or, eh, feature.
This was a hard list to whittle down to that magic number between 6 and 8. Bionic Commando and the revelation that your dead wife's essence is stored in your big-ass metal arm. Controlling Jack at the end of Red Dead: Redemption. Finding out Master Miller is actually Liquid Snake in Metal Gear Solid. These were all huge twists that genuinely surprised us. Oh, and obviously discovering Albert Wesker was the most evil man in the whole wide world was a bit of a humdinger, too. C'mon, who ever suspects a man who constantly wears sunglasses indoors of being up to no good?
The twist you didn’t see coming: Samus is a chick.
The year is 1987. Popping your copy of Metroid into your shiny and highly entertaining Nintendo Entertainment System, you’re immediately struck by the sheer awe-inspiring manliness of lead character Samus Aran. A bounty hunter with abs of steel and no doubt the most heterosexual damn beard in the galaxy under that helmet, Mr. Aran seeped kickass dudelyness from every stoic spare pore.
Above: What a guy
Killing Space Pirates by the hundred, exploring perilous planets, beating the intergalactic shit out of giant brains; here was a gaming hero we could finally look up to as a shining beacon of everything a man should be. Hang on, what’s this? We’ve just beaten the last boss and something appears to be happening to Samus’ suit.
Man, we can’t wait to see that awesome bear… holy f*ck!
Above: What do you mean the manliest man in the galaxy is a girl?!
Just how shocking is it, then? Finding out your dad cross-dresses on weekends.
That’s right. 20 hours of man crush-endorsed entertainment later, and we find out we’ve been worshipping at the altar of gaming’s first genuinely strong heroine. Now that was some progressive thinking on Nintendo’s part. Metroid’s director Yoshio Sakamoto and his team had created an icon comparable with the Alien series’ Ellen Ripley.
Above: Although we don't remember Alien 3 having a secret bikini ending
Sure, it might have been shocking like finding your old man rocking your mum’s most unflattering floral skirt. But 23 years and 12 (mostly amazing) titles later, we wouldn’t have our favourite bounty hunter do anything other than representing the virtual XX chromosome in the most ass-kicking fashion possible.
The twist you didn’t see coming: Roach and Ghost get betrayed by Shepherd.
If there’s one thing Infinity Ward has taught us, other than epic handle bar moustaches are the single greatest creation in the history of mankind, it’s that you should never trust a character voiced by Lance Henriksen.
On the surface, MW2’s patriotic general seems like a stand up stars and stripes bloke. Obsessed with stopping evil terrorist no gooder Vladimir Makarov, he's determined to put the kibosh on make believe video game terrorism everywhere.
Well, that is until he puts a bullet in joint main character Sergeant Gary ‘Roach’ Sanderson and his balaclava-sporting buddy Ghost. It’s then revealed he’s actually working with Makarov in the most convoluted and nonsensical back-stabbing plot we’ve ever set our eye holes on. Not content with merely putting a bullet in your playable hero’s mute mug, he then gets his cronies to douse you in petrol, before setting you alight by chucking his really dastardly stogie at you.
Above: I love the taste of jam-tinted death in the morning
Just how shocking is it, then? Getting shot by your kindly old grandad.
Above: Everyone loves grandad Lecter
Imagine you’re a kid again, and your dear old grandad is reading you a bedtime story… possibly while trying to shove Werther’s Originals down your piehole. Then, right before you discover Goldilocks totally gets mauled by three feral grizzlies, your ancient relative pulls a 9mm on you and plants a cap in your adorable ass. That’s what getting betrayed by Shepherd is like.
Above: Mmmm, what smells like barbecued chicken wings?
Alright, so he’s never the most personable chap throughout most of the game, but he always seems like he’s got the right intentions. The moment itself also comes after an exhausting pitch battle against Makarov’s forces around a woodland cabin. It’s partly so shocking because it hits when you’re at your most vulnerable. You’ve just had your senses bombarded with constant gunfire for the last 20 minutes and when you reach Shepherd’s chopper for extraction, it’s a huge moment of relief. Well, until it starts getting all burny.
And what was all this needless death for, you ask? Apparently, for a shitting router…