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The Top 7... Games with mega plot twists you never saw coming

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.


Honourable mentions

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?


7. Metroid

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.


6. Modern Warfare 2

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…

Seems fair.

66 comments

  • Metroidhunter32 - December 5, 2010 4:54 p.m.

    The identy of the killer in Persona 4. That is probally one of the best kept secrets in a videogame. They even have a guy who is clearly the killer, but isn't. Also, you have to select the killer from a list of EVERYONE in the game right down to your little sister. So if you missed the 1 vauge clue that they gave in the middle of an intense cutscene so you wouldn't notice it then you can't win.
  • ensabahnur - November 21, 2010 7:58 p.m.

    Bioshock was a good twist
  • flk - November 19, 2010 12:03 p.m.

    KOTOR # 1 = HELL YEAH! I remember playing that game. Something felt out of place but I wouldn't have guessed that the character was actually the biggest bad-ass of the galaxy, Revan.
  • barrage7667 - November 18, 2010 11:26 p.m.

    EXCUSE ME!!! how about azimuth killing ratchet in a crack in time?!?!? no one saw that coming right? RIGHT??!??!?!?! oh wait...
  • Zeb364 - November 18, 2010 7:31 p.m.

    I would have swapped Bioshock and KOTOR but they're both amazing. This was an awesome list. Although I think it's a little unfair to call Heavy Rain's ending a plot twist when it is in fact just an unplausible ending. I mean, you know it wasn't him because you know he couldn't have killed the watchmaker. I would have pulled that one in favor of Red Dead because that ending hit me like a shit ton of bricks. I mean honestly, who saw John's death coming? If you must include Heavy Rain then put it in the notable mentions where Red Dead was.
  • Crypto140 - November 18, 2010 4:06 p.m.

    After looking at the last Raiden picture, I suddenly got more self conficence.
  • Vader999 - November 18, 2010 3:51 p.m.

    Revan fucking deserves No. 1
  • JADENkOTOR - November 17, 2010 8:44 p.m.

    KOTOR is the best game EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • ryno - November 16, 2010 8:57 p.m.

    Where's Enslaved: Odyssey to the West?
  • CanadianBeaverHunter - November 16, 2010 6:36 p.m.

    Still remember being shocked by the Metroid ending. Good times.
  • Syncmaster - November 16, 2010 5:07 p.m.

    ah Raiden is not really a plot twist. its a gameplay twist thats all. But MGS2 had a ton of plot twists, learning that all thats happening there is just to make you gamer (as Raiden) become a badass like Snake was a genius play. too bad most ppl never got it
  • philipshaw - November 16, 2010 11:36 a.m.

    Great article, I personally would have Bioshock at number 1 because I played the game a year after it came out and somehow managed to avoid the big spoiler
  • sleepy92ismypsn - November 16, 2010 4:43 a.m.

    Great Top 7. I've beaten most of the games on this list and the others I will most likely never play.
  • spideralex90 - November 16, 2010 4:23 a.m.

    Awesome top 7. Bioshock and KOTOR justly deserve the top.
  • phoenix_wings - November 16, 2010 3:54 a.m.

    The little girl in the one picture that just found out her dad is a cross-dresser looks like she's about to laugh and say "I told you so, Mommy!" LOL Aaanyway. Good list! Pretty much all of these made me go "Wait...what? Oh, DAMMIT!" A game that wasn't mentioned was L4D...>>> Although it isn't revealed in the game itself, the comics (which are cannon) show that all of the Survivors are actually carriers of the disease. I know that I should have realized that, and facepalmed myself for not realizing it, I still thought it was awesome and unexpected.
  • Zeipher - November 16, 2010 3 a.m.

    Once again, no one wants to admit that Andrew Ryan killing himself in Bioshock makes absolutely no sense. I understand its a shocker to find out you're basically a robot, but they ruined it by injecting an unnecessary plot device. Think about it. Why did Ryan use you to kill himself?
  • hanktherapper - November 16, 2010 3 a.m.

    From the beginning, I knew the Atlas twist in "Bioshock" because it was set up just like System Shock 2.
  • yetanotherCid304 - November 16, 2010 1:40 a.m.

    @kennytheinsane: nah, i kinda figured that out before namine told us, it was shocking tho'.
  • yetanotherCid304 - November 16, 2010 1:38 a.m.

    Great Article GR! You articles is awesome! (Turning in CATZ) Would you kindly keep writing more?
  • Markstone - November 16, 2010 1:37 a.m.

    The KOTOR twist simply blew my mind :D

Showing 1-20 of 66 comments

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