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

5. Heavy Rain - Ghosts of Mars

The only possible explanation here is that David Cage, the main man behind Heavy Rain, was on some kind of lucrative bad ending commission. Either that or Mr Cage just likes making everybody really bloody miserable. Like the kitten killer of game development. There are so many utterly depressing ending permutations engineered into Heavy Rain that it's impossible to pick just one. Seriously. It's got more bad endings than Charlie Sheen in a hotel room made of hookers and hard drugs.

 
Above: There ain't no party like a David Cage party

Here are just some of the shitty scenarios ready to kick you in the stones at the end of Heavy Rain. Honest but drug-smashed FBI man Norman Jayden loses his grip on everything and overdoses to death. Not-right-in-the-head child killer Shelby makes like OJ and literally gets away with murder. Plucky love interest Madison goes back to being a petrified hallucinating insomniac that sits around in her pants all day looking anxious (but still sexy). But the worst is saved for protagonist Ethan Mars. If he doesn't find himself in another bad ending shooting his brains out, then there's a good chance he winds up doing this...

All those invested hours and your reward is the lead character topping himself in a prison cell. This would not happen in Super Mario Galaxy. And when you start wondering where the stool and length of rope came from it makes it even more harrowing. Was Ethan's life such a despairing skid mark on humanity that the prison guards actually took pity on him and supplied him with the necessary equipment to facilitate his self-termination? Dear God it's bleak.


4. Drakengard – Take your pick

Fantasy actioner Drakengard is a bleak game. Seriously bleak. You think you can guess how bleak, but you can’t. You can’t even imagine how bleak. Imagine the bleakest, most hopeless thing you can. Go on. Now put that thing on a windswept English beach in the dead of winter, after the apocalypse, when God has died and the Earth is nothing more than a barren lump of rock spinning in an silent empty black ocean, a grotesque, tragic sham of its former self, devoid of life, light, warmth or purpose, but unable to ever slip into sweet, merciful oblivion. Then imagine your favourite childhood pet is the only one there to witness it all. And he misses you. And will forever. But you’re not there. But you have to watch this scene for eternity and can never do anything about it.

That right there, that’s f*cking hilarious compared to Drakengard.


Above: This man has just spent 5 minutes in the same room as a copy of Drakengard. And he didn't even know

In Drakengard, one of your lead characters is a paedophile. Another is a child-killer driven insane by the murder of her own family who now eats babies. Then there’s a six-year-old boy cursed never to grow up. And everyone else is insane, severely damaged or doomed. Basically, this shit ain’t going to end well. The impending apocalypse by way of otherworldly god-beings is just the worm-eaten cherry on the shit-cake.

Out of five possible endings, only one is a happy one, and even that ends with the hero’s best-friend dragon sacrificing herself to endless torment to save the world. The others? All weapons-grade nightmare fuel. Our favourite involves a full-scale demonic apocalypse/demon-baby-suicide of the mad child killer/sacrifice of the six-year-old just to stop time and put the apocalypse on pause. But there’s also an ending where the hero has to kill his demon-mutated sister, only to be faced with a hundred clones of her. And there’s one where everyone teleports to modern-day Tokyo, only to be killed by a fighter jet. That one is the start point for the plot to Square-Enix’s semi-sequel RPG Nier.

I am not on heroin.


3. The Suffering - Daddy Uncool

This entire Top 7 list could quite easily have been filled with unfavourably bad endings from horror games in which lots of people die and the player is left with the sinking feeling that things did not go as well as perhaps they could've done. Silent Hill 2. Dead Rising. Resident Evil. House of the Dead. Fatal Frame II... But none of them are cold-blooded enough to compare with the brutally bad nightmarish slap in the face delivered by 2004's prison-based gore romp, The Suffering.

Playing as Torque, a man convicted of murdering his wife and two children, the objective is to kill all hideous monsters and escape the Alcatraz-alike prison island where Torque has been incarcerated. But that's not all. Along the way, Torque - who doesn't recall any homicidal activities he may have perpetrated upon his family - must try to remember the events that led to him being sent to the slammer. Did he do it? Well, if you play like an evil bastard, this is what you get. The sound quality is a bit shafted on the vid, so please mind your ears. Oh, and the content is disturbing, so watch with caution.

So to recap. With the bad ending, naughty Torque kills his family. He batters his missus despite her seeming very pleased to see him. Then he drowns one of his kids in the bath. And, finally, he grabs his other son (his own flesh and blood we're talking about here) and proceeds to chuck the poor blighter out the window and to his death. It's mega-harsh. But it's not over. He turns into a raging monster, throws a box at a man in a boat and successfully kills the man and sinks the boat. Then he buggers off back into the prison all angry like. Can there really be two bad alternate endings that are badder than this? Apparently so.

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67 comments

  • 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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02XfTf874YY 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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