To say that video games don't really conform to the rules of traditional storytelling is a bit of an understatement. In fact, there are no rules at all -- from heartfelt final scenes with our favorite characters to abrupt black screens that say "CONGRATURATIONS," you really never know what to expect after the final boss goes down for the last time.
But even then, some games still manage to surprise you. Mainly because their endings are so completely out of left field that you wonder if the whole game leading up to it had been one big prank on the player ...
#5. MDK Throws You into a French Music Video
Depending on who you talk to, MDK stands for either "Mission: Deliver Kindness" or "Murder Death Kill." The former is the official name according to the manual, and the latter is what everybody who played the game called it. It's kind of crude, but it also made sense, since the game was really violent and forced you to do nothing but kill aliens to death in a murder-esque fashion.
The boner bar in the upper left is almost maxed out.
Your character, Kurt Hectic, runs down all the aliens and then chases their leader, Gunter Glut, back to his home planet and kills him, probably after mocking him for being named Gunter Glut. Kindness has been delivered, and the world is saved! Or at least Hectic thought it was. Little did he know that he had doomed humanity to a fate worse than death.
The WTF Ending:
After free falling onto one final alien ship, Hectic realizes it isn't a war zone so much as an arena. And the headlining act is Billy Ze Kick, a French pop band whose biggest claim to fame is, well, this. They perform a rollicking little number called "Non, Non, Rien N'a Change," which translates to "What in the Name of Holy Fuck Am I Staring At?"
And something about crepes, maybe?
While the vocalist alternates between singing on the ground and singing in the air, a bunch of bosses you murder-death-killed earlier in the game act as her band, because this ending would have made no sense if it was just a girl singing with nothing around her to make the music.
As she keeps singing and flying and n'a change-ing like she just don't care, Hectic begins to slowly go crazy. So utter destruction and hundreds of dead bodies don't faze him, but a pop star with crazy eyes, warbling words he does not understand, is what brings out the PTSD.
The German version of "99 Red Balloons" once made him burn down a school.
Then, just to give Hectic one more reason to scream, the alien band comes back to play again, all while scenes of their deaths play like a Vietnam flashback. Finally, after what feels like 500 years but was actually just over three minutes, Hectic collapses in a heap, the song begins to skip, the screen fades to black, and we're left to stare blankly at our television and wonder if our lives have meaning.
#4. Super Fire Pro Wrestling Special Ends With Your Suicide
Super Fire Pro Wrestling Special is a pro wrestling game, although you might not have deduced that from its enigmatic and confusing title. You work your way up the ladder against famous wrestlers with names changed to protect the company's wallets. After you beat the tar out of Axe Duggan (Hulk Hogan) and Astro Blaster (Ultimate Warrior), you get a shot at the Champ, a Ric Flair ripoff named (seriously) Dick Slender.
Quick, what's Japanese for "WOOOOOOO"?
In the end, you beat Slender and take his title. You're on top of the world! And the game immediately pushes you straight back down.
The WTF Ending:
Well, there you go. No more ever needs to be said.
Slender is more than a wrestling villain named after something Bart Simpson would prank call Moe with. No, he's a murderer. Consumed by hatred over your rapid rise up the ranks, he resorts to "accidentally" killing your trainer AND tag-team partner, and then laughing about it. Also, he mocks you after you accidentally (for real this time) kill a friend of yours during a match.
Oh, walk it off, drama queen.
In the midst of all this, your girlfriend leaves you, because if you're aiming for tragedy, you might as well go all-out. So you're world champion, but then you realize a sobering fact: That's ALL you are. A guy with a belt. All your friends are dead (one at your hands), your girl is gone, and your fans only care about you because you're winning. Outside of the ring, you're all alone. You have no one to share your glory with, and there's nothing left to attain.
Suddenly, this ceases to be a victory pose and becomes a man cursing the heavens.
Three days later, the game zooms in on your house. A single shot is heard, and the camera fades to black. Yes, you've just committed suicide, which we assume will hinder your ability to defend your title anytime soon.
Holy shit, even in a survival horror game dealing with psychological torture and madness, having the main character off himself would be an unexpected punch in the gut. This is a game about men in tights who pretend fight each other! Although, considering what goes on in the actual world of pro wrestling, it's shockingly appropriate.
#3. Indigo Prophecy Has You Fight the Internet and an Ancient Mayan, With No Warning Whatsoever
Indigo Prophecy is a combination psychological adventure game and proof of what happens when deadlines meet creative thought and beat the living shit out of it.
Your character, Lucas Kane, wakes up from a random blackout to learn that he's randomly murdered somebody, which, as anyone who's blacked out and randomly committed murder knows, tends to wreak havoc on your plans for the day.
"So much for hanging around this bathroom and soliciting sex."
Other than that and the occasional hallucination, the game is actually an exercise in normalcy and boringness. In fact, doing boring things in a boring way is how you keep your sanity level down. Take a shower, play some guitar, drink wine, pick your nose -- those are your objectives the entire time.
The WTF Ending:
There are actually three, but none involve being a square and returning to life in the slow lane. However, they all do involve superpowers, Mayans, and evil Internet creatures, none of which was foreshadowed in the least.
With less than an hour to play in the game, the following out-of-nowhere twists do a giant pig pile on your ass: Lucas dodges bullets and jumps hundreds of feet in the air. A Mayan Oracle is revealed to be controlling Lucas' blackouts, and the world. Lucas eats a giant bowl of death stew. Yellow creatures from the Internet (bafflingly called the "Purple Clan") revive him. Finally, the Yellow Purple People reveal plans to freeze Earth, and only an autistic girl called the Indigo Child can stop them.
His name is "Red."
Depending on which ending you choose, the Indigo Child dies and the Mayan rules the world in secret, the Mayan wins and then goes away, or the Internet creatures steal the child and freeze the world. You'd think everyone being a Popsicle would make life difficult for a man-made system like the Internet, but remember that this game was released back before anyone really knew how that confounded Series of Tubes actually worked in, uh, 2005.
The point being, not one stinking bit of this is ever hinted at prior to the ending. You're just moseying along, trying hard not to cross over into Kooky Land, when, BAM! You get thrown head-first into it, with no hope of escape. If you gave up on the game after eight-plus hours of drinking coffee and taking showers, you would have seen none of this, and would have no idea what the title's promised prophecy even was.
Or who dropped LSD into your coffee.
Why all the clutter? Because the game's developers, Quantic Dreams, had visions of the game being released in 12 parts. They wanted to experiment with an episodic approach to gaming, one that would have revealed the story at a much slower and far more detailed pace. Of course, selling a game as "slow" is akin to throwing giant bags of money into the wood chipper, so the deadline was ultimately sped up. This forced a lot of buildup to be cut, and the climactic reveals were thrust in our faces like a cream pie that turns out to be full of tiny clowns.