The 5 Most Sadistic 'Game Over' Scenes in Video Game History

#2. Beat Batman: Dark Tomorrow and You Still Destroy the Planet

Kemco/Warner Bros.

At the end of Dark Tomorrow, Batman corners Ra's al Ghul in his stronghold, where the villain reveals his plan to blow up the North Pole, which will cause massive tsunamis that wipe out Earth's coastal cities. Ra's sensibly uses a multimedia presentation to explain all of the advantages to his plan, but Batman is notoriously unswayed by even the best designed of villainous PowerPoint presentations and attacks. This leads to a climatic sword fight, and if you lose, Batman gets run through and you get to watch him die while the world floods. It's grim, but this is Batman, not My Little Pony. Rainbows aren't going to shoot out of his gaping chest wound.

Kemco/Warner Bros.
"Talia ... I've always loved boob."

Don't wanna watch Batman die? Don't lose, sucka!

So you hit "continue," grit your teeth, step up to the bat (ha!) again, swing for the fences this time, and win! Here's one of the endings you might get: Ra's acknowledges his personal defeat, but the celebratory Batoosi is interrupted when he whips out a gigantic TV remote to activate his doomsday device.

Kemco/Warner Bros.
And delete Bruce's DVR.

That's the North Pole exploding. Generally considered "a bad thing" by fans of the environment and breathing oxygen instead of water. Then you're treated to a montage of city after city being devoured by tidal waves.

Kemco/Warner Bros.

Kemco/Warner Bros.

Kemco/Warner Bros.
Somewhere a young boy named B.P. Exxon vows to fight the oceans that killed his parents.

Batman watches with growing slack-jawed horror as the world dies, eventually falling to his knees and screeching out a "Nooooo!" that would make Darth Vader proud. The game even throws a spotlight on him from out of nowhere, you know, in case you were having trouble appreciating the dramatic significance of the apocalypse.

Kemco/Warner Bros.
Fin.

Aaaaand roll credits. Congratulations! You ... won?

Gamers were understandably confused as to why Batman's adventure "successfully" ended with a global disaster. Unbeknownst to them (because the game didn't bother to mention it), the player has to disarm a signaling device before starting the final boss fight, so that Ra's device can't send its signal. Oh, you didn't think to search out and block potential radio signals before your big boss fight? Psh, the real Batman would have.

#1. X-COM Writes a Damn Novel About How Much You Let Down Humanity

2K Games

Winning at X-COM, a strategy game about humanity repelling an alien invasion, requires both tactical prowess and mastery of the raw thrills of budget management. Fail at either and it's game over, because extraterrestrial threats are no excuse for deficit spending. If you lose, you're treated to a slideshow that explains, in specific and seemingly infinite depth, what your failure meant for mankind exactly. First you learn that your failure means humanity will have to accept alien invaders, then you're told that the aliens have no intention of honoring their treaties, then it's further explained that the aliens began to exterminate humanity by poisoning the air and water (at ... at a slightly quicker pace than we're accustomed to, we guess).

2K Games

2K Games
"Detroit, Cleveland, unaffected."

A normal game would have thrown up the "retry" option after the first screen. But X-COM ain't even finished yet. It's not enough to tell you that humanity has devolved into terrible mutants. You need to see and learn about those mutants and their awful fate, and be further reminded that the whole project was for nothing, and that the entire Earth is screwed because of your failure:

2K Games
"Us remaining mutants speak great legends of you, the one they call Asshole."

When the game was ported to the PlayStation, they actually set aside some dollars and a good chunk of their employees' time to rework the failure slideshow into a full animated cutscene. Because X-COM's entire core gameplay philosophy is and always has been "Fuck you, the player, personally and with great vigor." That extra dev cash could've gone to new game modes, better graphics, or a fuller score -- but no. X-COM got their hands on that sweet port money and shunted it right off into the "Make the Player Feel Like Shit" fund.

First we see a sinister UFO hovering over the United Nations Building.

2K Games

Inside, humans and aliens sit across from each other at the negotiating table. Well, OK, it always sucks to be on the losing side. But they're signing some kind of treaty, indicating that the aliens have at least the barest respect for their defeated opponents. Maybe there is a bit of hope after all.

And that's when a group of armed aliens burst into the room ...

2K Games

... and put a gun to the already defeated delegate's face.

2K Games

And you watch his blood drip straight onto the peace treaty.

2K Games
The aliens then use the blood to finger paint a picture of you getting gang-probed on it.

X-COM took the abstract concept of subtlety out to the shed and bashed its face in with a shovel, then burned the shed down and pissed on the ashes.


Gavin hopes the SimCity novelization prequel reveals how the mayor gained earthquake and tornado powers. He has a Twitter.

Related Reading: Video games tend to have a history of disappointment. Just ask anyone who enjoyed the awesomeness of GoldenEye, only to battle the equivalent of a child at the end. Or had to suffer through bizzare Tekken endings. Sometimes, though, they do hit the mark, like these games that created truly horrifying enemies.

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