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A good ending is hard to find...


Mark E
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How come game endings tend to suck so badly? I've always assumed the rationale behind it is because many players will give up on the game before the ending anyway so there's no point in going overboard on that aspect for a minority of people.

 

Unfortunately this tends to create an imbalance between elaborately crafted intros versus horribly brief endings that don't please at all. Half-Life, for example, starts with that beautifully crafted intro of Gordon Freeman going to work, which is all clever and such. Then it follows up with that slack Xen climax followed by a poor-ass cliffhanger that doesn't do much of anything. You can name other games that do similar, I'm sure.

 

You deserve something for finishing a game. And more than the intro, because you create a situation of diminished returns where you put in a lot of work for smaller output than you saw before you actually started doing work. Does that make sense? No! Curse of Monkey Island, another great example. The climax is a giant pain in the ass to do, and when it's done, you get a ten second finale shot and that's it. The game is fun, don't get me wrong, but something a bit more elaborate would be nice.

 

Feel free to give other examples of games where you felt ripped off by the ending versus the promises of the intro. Oh, and I will mention the other lousy sub-genre of the crap ending: games that end with cliffhangers for sequels that will never get made. Both System Shock 2 and Gabriel Knight 3 end with major cliffhangers (the one in GK3 is a serious pisser for anybody who's followed the series through each game), yet it is unlikely we will ever see continuation in either of those stories.

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Worst ending evar: Out of this World

 

All those cool cinema style cut scenes throughout the game, and then once you beat it, you crawl off onto a dragon like creature and fly away. The End.

 

I doubt this will spoil anything even if you haven't beaten the game yet: http://screenmania.retrogames.com/snes/end...snese_0099.html

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Pretty much all fighting games have crappy endings. I cant remember the name of the game but there was this long game that was hard and at the end said "You have completed your mission, thanks for playing" and then listed the credits. i was so pissed off at that i remember taking the game out and throwing it :-)

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I suppose developers don't put as much effort into endings as they do for intros because they use the intros to lure you into the game. They need to make them good and impressive to get you interested. Once you've beaten the game, there's no need to impress you anymore. They got you to play through the whole affair. Congratulations, Mario, now here's a crummy cake for you.

 

One of the better endings in recent memory for me would have to be Conker's Bad Fur Day. For those of you who never played it, I'll go light on the details. Let's just say that they make fun of one of the common problems in the latest edition of Tomb Raider. Not only that, but it offers up a lengthy cinematic that ends on a somewhat depressing note, hinting at the possibility of a sequel. (We're still waiting, Rare.)

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Man, I just beat P.N. 03 for Cube and after about 6-7 hours of work (yes it held my interest for that long) I was rewarded with the chick saying her first two audible lines of dialog to a computer, than she walks out of a room. No story, no plot conclusion, nothing. Totally a slap in the face. Gee, like I'm gonna play through this unrewarding piece of crap again...

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BenBeats, was the game only ruined by the bad ending? What does "held your interest" mean? Were you only slogging through it to see a mind-blowing concluding cut-scene, or were you just disappointed the developers went home early on their last day of work? I ask because this game still intrigues me, despite the lackluster reviews.

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The game, I thought, was compelling and entertaining but the word repetition does not even begin to describe the games pattern. Things become very very monotonous. However, buying suit upgrades, unlocking new attacks (which simultaneously unlocks new erotic dance moves) is a blast and there's just something about playing it that is very remeniscent of old skool gaming. Reminds me of mega-man or ninja gaiden some how. People who gave it bad reviews were most likely expecting an epic (though overrated IMO) release like Resident Evil or something, considering it came from capcom. Venessa Schneider, our lead gal in the game, is extremly hot, and the game is pretty d*mn fun. The ending (on easy at least) is pretty horrible, even though you get to see her with her glasses off. Nothing else comes off, regretfully, but then again, I still have to beat it on Normal, and then Hard.

 

So in conclusion, at least rent it! -Beats

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  • 3 months later...
I will mention the other lousy sub-genre of the crap ending: games that end with cliffhangers for sequels that will never get made.

 

I am resurrecting this thread AND quoting myself, because I staunchly believe that Beyond Good & Evil belongs in this subgenre. Argh, not only did I have to suffer through an ending that wrapped up NOTHING after an awesome series of climactic fights, but then there's the whole cliffhanger at the end that won't ever get freakin' done.

 

Infuriating! I'm sick of not getting at least SOMETHING for my efforts to beat a game besides my own satisfaction. The carrot should be at the end of the game, not the start. BG&E especially irked me because the intro is excellently done AND the gameplay is so fabulous. Sigh.

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Infuriating! I'm sick of not getting at least SOMETHING for my efforts to beat a game besides my own satisfaction. The carrot should be at the end of the game, not the start.

 

Playing Devil's Advocate...

 

I've seen it argued that most purchasers of games do not play the game enough to see the ending, and it's more vital to put the eye candy at the begining of the game to make an immediate impact to "hook" the player. Why spend time, and money, on a fandabidozie ending that will be seen by few buyers of the game.

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I've seen it argued that most purchasers of games do not play the game enough to see the ending

 

And I can see where that argument comes from, Brian, actually. I think I even mentioned it in my original post for this topic. Yep, well, I said it might be the rationale. And I definitely know there are games here I've never beaten.

 

Still, you'd think that by providing an awesome ending that gets gamers talking you would have people recommending the game more to friends just so they can see this amazing ending. I know I would recommend Wind Waker on that basis alone, ditto Star Control 2. A crappy ending may not necessarily damn a good game (though I've heard a few people swear on Metal Gear Solid 2 before :P), but I'd argue a good ending can sell more copies of a mediocre one.

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Still, you'd think that by providing an awesome ending that gets gamers talking you would have people recommending the game more to friends just so they can see this amazing ending.

 

More Devil's Advocate role-playing: shortterm, it's not in a company's interest - they want you to get done with game A so you'll go out & buy game B sooner, rather than later.

 

I stress that's a shortterm viewpoint - longterm, it's better to provide a rich experience to the player to make them more likely to buy your next game or build a community (ala Half Life).

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Well, you made my counter-argument with the stuff about the long-term viewpoint ;).

 

It's really a shame, I almost wish games would start getting into the trilogy mindset that has possessed Hollywood if it meant that after three games the series was closed off with a solid whiz-bang.

 

And it's not even necessarily a long ending, just a good one. System Shock 2 has a short ending, but it ends well (minus that sequel BS). Same thing with the first Monkey Island. Ditto Link to The Past, especially with that excellent "where are they now" during the credits. Game endings that summate like that are among my favorites.

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Game endings that summate like that are among my favorites.

 

You finished Baldurs Gate II Throne of Bhaal or Planescape Torment Mark? Both have some of the best endings I've ever seen in a game and they both include the summary-like endings you'd enjoy. Especially Baldurs Gate which literally tells everything that happens to each character after the journey ends.

 

Heartily agree with the Ninja Gaiden series as well.

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I've finished Planescape twice, actually, Romier ;). My love for that game is quite boundless, though I need to play through with the Fall-From-Grace romance sometime, but I just like Annah way too much. Her last exchange with the Nameless One is particualrly touching.

 

I should finally finish off Baldur's Gate I guess then ;). I started Throne but never finished it, or played it very far for that matter. I need to start over with a kensai I think, my mage/kensai combo was cool but I only use him for fighting hand-to-hand anyway :P

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My love for that game is quite boundless

 

As is mine..as is mine. Its like reading a freaking fantastic book (almost literally at times) but with a combat system and wonderfully open ended gameplay. Its one of the few game actually allows you to make choices and develop your character as you wish by action not just dialogue.

 

Anyway back on topic....

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