Playing games is hard work. We jump through portals and find secret warp whistles for hours on end. The least they can do is give us an ending worth the effort.
This week I delve into some of the worst video game endings and boss battles. You have been warned. There will be spoilers.
We all like a good story, but all good stories have to come to an end. Certain games miss the mark in that respect, however. In films, a hero can ride away into the sunset on his/her Jet Ski chariot.
In video games, don’t think for a second that will cut it. We took the time to get attached to these characters. What happened to all of them?
Final Fantasy VI is an example of a compelling ending. The story itself was epic. The ending contained an epilogue for each playable character. Maybe things don’t need to be that extreme.
As long as we don’t see any more like Halo 2, Half Life 2, The Legend of Zelda, and Super Mario Bros.
Halo 2 caused a massive amount of angst among gamers when the final cut-scene ran. The music was building. Master Chief, the tough green space marine, was heading to what looked like the final battle. This was it, the greatest challenge. Time to end the war and save mankind. As the music reaches crescendo…. credits roll…. wait, what?
Half Life 2 I’ve already touched in previous posts. Is it just that both these games were wanting to leave things on a cliff hanger for sequels? There are even differences between the closing scene of Half Life 2 and the opening scene of Half Life 2: Episode 1. Mystical aliens turn up while time is frozen at the start of Episode 1 to save you.
The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros are old games but that excuses nothing. When I defeat Bowser or Gannon I expect fanfare. Thank you for telling me I am the hero but where are the crowds? Ocarina of Time was a little better, we got to see Ganon banished, but then, “Give me the ocarina”. Zelda hits Ctrl + Z and sends you back to the past. So none of that happened? No one will remember me as the hero?
Zelda stands out from the group above by at least having a final boss fight. If you have played some of the games below you may have found the greatest of enemies a little overrated.
Final Fights Worst offenders – Fable 2, Gears of War 2, Devil May Cry 3, Goldeneye
When we fight through hordes of enemies and breach the castle/nest/spire of the big baddie we want to kick some ass. Final boss fights are a video game staple. The majority of them make a game interesting and worthwhile. If they were easy, anyone could have done it. But it’s up to you because no one else can overthrow the evil. Unless someone else gets to it first.
Fable 2 had me in a terrible rage for months. You make your way through the citadel, confront your childhood and lose years on your life. The king is giving his evil speech. I’ll hear him out then it’s show time.
Unless you waited too long.
Failure to hit the pompous git even once means the game thinks you’ve fallen asleep. Reaver decides you have taken too long and shoots Lucien. We are supposed to be the hero, you wanted to listen to the story but one of the characters you are there to save pulls out a pistol and silences Lucien for good.
Gears of War 2 was a fun game and presented a good challenge getting to the final area. The last boss involves holding the trigger and aiming. No moving, no cover based shooting. Just calling down a satellite to do your dirty work. What happened to fighting the locust general Raam? That would have been a suitable fight for a final encounter in the first game.
Devil May Cry 3. Fought Virgil again and again throughout the game. Half demon brother with same skills as Dante yet uses a different sword and pushes his hair back. Then instead of ending it there, we are treated to the real final fight. A purple bulging blob of silly putty.
In Goldeneye we knew what to expect, we saw the film. Alec and Bond have a fist fight atop a radar dish. Instead of even having a shootout or a slap fight in the game, Trevelyan runs away. As we chase him through the different walkways of a radar dish, wave after wave of henchman are thrown at us. Alec even throws out one-liners that claim he is the courageous one. Trevelyan climbs down onto a tiny platform giving himself the height disadvantage. You as Bond follow and push him off the edge. Game over.
When the final fight doesn’t stack up compared to the rest of the game the victory is hollow. We can’t help but feel cheated. Our brains are wanting the next challenge.
When we sit through a 90 minute movie we expect a quality ending. When I’m playing a game for 8 or more hours the entire time feels wasted if I don’t get an adequate conclusion. You feel like you’ve been robbed.
After all the effort I’ve gone to, can you at least bake me a cake?