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Great Games With Diabolically Bleak Endings

Better have the box of tissues on standby...

Usually, the triumph of good over evil prevails. However, once in a blue moon, the villain of the piece has the last laugh. Today, we examine a handful of games, where the antagonist’s reign supreme. Or at least, the finale is bereft of a happy ending. So, without any further or do, let’s uncover those games which end on a somber note. Unless you are the devious type and belong to the dark side; therefore, pure ecstasy awaits.


These are the games where bad guys win the day, and lovely peeps finish last. Or, put another way, where the ending leaves you, weeping into your pillow at night. Whichever is preferable.


So-called “bad endings” manifest in several ways. Perhaps the ending is ambiguous, or the overriding objective remains unaccomplished. Maybe the loss of an end-game showdown with a nemesis alters the dynamic of the story arc. Or rather, an alternate ending plunges the world into chaos. Whatever the scenario, some games punish the player and exact great pleasure in doing so. A brief warning; the following list contains spoilers.


Chrono Trigger


First up, on our list of great games with diabolically bleak endings, we have Square’s epic, time-traveling role-player, Chrono Trigger. The critically acclaimed masterpiece heralded for its complex story, and character development is considered by many, to be one of the greatest games of all time. However, failure to triumph over the final boss triggers catastrophe, resulting in Earths destruction. Upon the Earths demise, a caption reads, “But…the future refused to change.” If that’s not eternal damnation, I don’t know what is.


Metal Gear Solid


Coming in at numero-two on our list of great games with diabolically bleak endings, is the third game in the Metal Gear Solid franchise. And, a classic example, where the actions of a player, determine end-game outcomes. In MGS1, there are two opposing endings, either good or bad, depending on player perspective. Failure to endure Ocelots grueling torture scene, which sends high-voltage shocks coursing through snakes’ body, leads to an ending where the protagonist’s romantic interest Meryl tragically dies. All the while, geeky science buff Otacon survives. After all, you can’t save everyone. You know what they say; Bro’s before…ladies.


Final Fantasy VI


Final Fantasy VI shares a profoundly emotional story, with heavy themes of loss, grief, and tragedy throughout. The struggle to find meaning, in a world cast into darkness, starkly divided by opposing forces, acts as the blackened, yet beating heart to Square’s six entry in the series canon. It’s of little wonder then that FF6’s ending is full of doom and gloom. In FF VI, Kefka, the games vile villain, not only succeeds in bringing about the destruction of the planet. But also, transforms into an all-powerful deity in the process. And, thus, proving that even great games can leave an unsavory flavor in the mouth. Deserving then, of a place on our list of great games with diabolically bleak endings.


The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask


At the time, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, got a mixed reception when it released for the N64, back in 2000. After all, Ocarina of Time is a tough act to follow. Though most of the critic’s praise was positive, it’s restrictive time-mechanic acted as a matter of scrutiny for many. During the game, players must contend with an overbearing moon, which, following 72 in-game hours, cascades down and eviscerates all in its path. Talk about pressure to perform — another sad entry on our list of great games with diabolically bleak endings.




The last entry in our list contains three alternate endings. These vary from good, to neutral, though mostly rotten at its core, and of course, down-right evil. Bioshock hosts a charismatic villain with delusions of grandeur, alongside a sprawling underwater metropolis called Rapture, making it one the most original concepts of all time. Though that may be the case, taking the unrighteous path at the end of the game, descends the world into madness. Whereby splicers and plasmids, genetically modified freaks addicted to ADAM, are set free on the planet, causing all matter of hell.


That concludes this list of great games with diabolically bleak endings. Of course, there are many candidates, and these are just a few of my top picks. But we want to hear from you. Which endings gave you that foul-feeling in the pit of your stomach? Let us know in the chat below. As always, we welcome your views. So, get in touch.





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