The Top 7... most nightmarishly bad alternate game endings

Everyone likes a happy ending. As people, we like it when good things happen to us. Good things are nice. So it's only logical that we should unconsciously transfer some of that self-directed well-wishing upon an adopted avatar we've been in control of for 8 - 10 hours. Games. Happy endings. Good times.

But all of us, if we're well-rounded beings and not the kind of perma-happy, fixed-grin wearing perky wholesome types inevitably destined for cults, mental hospitals or TV shopping channels, have a shadenfreude side. The side that really wanted to see Luke join the family business at the end of The Empire Strikes Back. The side that wanted Avatar to end with a big blue tree-hippie bloodbath (okay, that was everyone). And because games are capable of more endings than other media, they sometimes indulge that side with multiple denouements of varying degrees of grimitude. And here are the grimmest of the grim.

Oh, and obviously...

So no whining, y' hear?

7. Metal Gear Solid – Meryl dies

If you initially failed the torture sequence in Metal Gear Solid on PSone then hand in your controller because you’re an idiot. Tapping X repeatedly to resist Ocelot’s torture is bloody simple but if your skills at performing the most perfunctory gaming tasks are weak then you can hit Select to ‘give up’ or in this case, ‘Kill Meryl’.

As Snake uncharacteristically bows out with a whimper, he knows only too well what fate he’s left to his red-headed sidekick – especially since Ocelot creepily remarks he’s going to ‘have fun with her’. BEAST! Anyway, it’s not until a few hours of game-time later that you see Meryl who’s as dead as disco. *Sniff*

In place of the dead Miss Silverburgh, you’re left to escape the underground facility on the back of jeep with Otacon, but not before he gives you a wrist-slitting speech about life, living forever and dealing with loss. It’s almost enough to wish the cowardly scientist was the one Ocelot was going to interfere with. Still, allowing Meryl to be sent back to God unlocks a lovely stealth suit for Snake. See every cloud has a silver(burgh) lining.

6. Singularity - You clever bastard

Singularity appears to have a choice of two endings as you stand before your scientist friend Barisov and the bad guy Demicev. It's the classic moral dilemma – take the spoils and join the bad guy, or follow the good guy's advice which means you'll have to kill yourself. Ooh, tricky.

Above: Which is it gonna be? Choose wisely...

Of course, killing Barisov and choosing the 'evil' ending would be worthy of this list in its own right, as it starts a new age of terror. But there's actually one more ending that's far worse…

This third ending appears if you decide to shoot both men. It's quite a surprise when it creates a terrible alternative timeline where you're the evilest of evil, but it is logical if you think about it… you just killed two men in cold blood. Or has CoD desensitised you that much? Here's the video…

With all memory of the Time Manipulation Device dying with Barisov and Demicev, you are left with the TMD… to rule the world yourself (insert maniacal laughter here). It's the selfish ending – and one that yields a silver trophy for being so damn clever.


Top 7


  • Kiloku - February 9, 2012 4:04 a.m.

    The pikmin actually saved Olimar's life. His air supply had just ended (that's how you reach that ending) and the atmosphere in that planet is poisonous to him. So instead of letting him die an agonizing death, they do the only thing they can to make him able to breath their air: Make him a Pikmin.
  • Kiloku - February 9, 2012 4:01 a.m.

    The Pikmin actually save Olimar's life. His air supply had ended, and the atmosphere in this planet is poisonous for him. Since he didn't manage to escape on time, the only choice was to make him a creature that could breath the same air as them.
  • sniper712 - April 14, 2011 6 p.m.

    Personally, the bad alternate endings in 999 can be just as crazy. I had my WTF? moments with those. Perhaps they can do a 2nd Top 7 on bad endings.
  • n00b - April 8, 2011 11:48 p.m.

    well that settles it i am never going to play heavy rain every since the game came out I've been bombarded with spoilers thanks
  • Pantas - April 8, 2011 12:54 a.m.

    One of the endings for Disgaea 2 is also pretty bad Once the credits roll, skip to 5:00 to see why this ending is so bad. (the reason why I post the version with Japanese audio is because the English version is censored)
  • Aardvarkk - April 7, 2011 11:59 p.m.

    I've heard of maybe two of those games.
  • Agent79 - April 7, 2011 3:50 p.m.

    I know it's not a alternate ending but Fallout 3s ending SUCKED! Awesome article, definitely have suffered through some of these endings.
  • cjw415 - April 6, 2011 11:52 p.m.

    why does meyl have to die? Wheres the point in that? So many suicides followed that alternate ending.... including myself
  • Limbo - April 6, 2011 5:03 a.m.

    The "good" Pikmin ending is even worse than that one. Olimar leaves them to die! If you can leave cute little things like Pikmin alone on a planet where everything wants to eat them you have issues.
  • bitchassafriBLAMamericANTISTA - April 6, 2011 3:16 a.m.

    this article just reminded me of how awesome pikmin is. i hope the don't make a pikmin 3DS
  • SOLAMON77 - April 5, 2011 8:47 p.m.

    I really liked the hidden ending of Singularity. It's always cool when developers fit stuff like this into a game.
  • GodofPS314 - April 5, 2011 5:48 p.m.

    Thank you for including Pikmin! (Love that game) I found both ending horrifying! Either you leave them there after they helped you so much, or you turn into a dead pikmin thingy! Very sad
  • FatherTime - April 5, 2011 5:03 p.m.

    I killed both guys in singularity on my first play through. I was pleasantly surprised when it let me pull the trigger a second time.
  • philipshaw - April 5, 2011 2:10 p.m.

    Great top 7 and one of my mates got that Heavy Rain ending
  • quincytheodore - April 5, 2011 6:12 a.m.

    I played Drakengard, got 4-5 endings... I was adamant, "There's gotta be something good here.. SOMEWHERE!" Seriously after all that giant demon babies who... that ate my ally, pedophile child killing, killing my own dragon, killing my own sister, saw people lost their voice /sight /mind.. I was certain there would be something good hidden at the end, but no... ... ... I was 15.. I froze at the screen on every ending, "What the F*ck is this shit!?" multiple by 4 times... TT
  • Shuuvuia - April 5, 2011 4:54 a.m.

    Despite myself, I laughed hard at the Heavy Rain one. They should have had an alternate ending with that creepy clown.
  • FauxFurry - April 5, 2011 2:04 a.m.

    For those who wanted Hal and Dave to get together in the end, giving in to Revolver Ocelot's torture was a win-win situation for all involved on both sides of the screen. That action girl Meryl dies in that ending is just icing on the cake.
  • FauxFurry - April 5, 2011 1:58 a.m.

    While I wouldn't expect any of of the Deception series' alternate endings to make the list (how many other people even played that series, anyway?), I am surprised that neither Chrono Trigger or Chrono Cross have a single alternate ending entry on this list. That Shenmue alternate ending really could use a "Warning: This is Canon" in it. That way, people could just let go of the hope for a sequel (unless the Yakuza series takes place after the bad ending like Nier follows one of Drakengard's bad endings).
  • IndignantCactus - April 5, 2011 1:41 a.m.

    The pikmin are the evil red sperm that forms into the floating babies of Drakengard. Its a conspiracy of depression >:(
  • peachguy - April 5, 2011 1:40 a.m.

    "All that's missing is Goodbye Horses playing during the end credits" HAHAHAHAHA

Showing 1-20 of 67 comments

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