Insane video game endings no one saw coming

For much of gaming history, the story of the hero has been pretty standard fare: Be a hero, save the world. The moral ambiguity of saving a princess or defeating an evil space emperor was never in question, but as games evolved into more advanced storytelling devices, anything became possible. Even the original Nintendo is peppered with a few greatly twisted tales, but game endings have only become weirder, twistier, and morally grayer as time goes on. Here are some of the most unexpected game endings we've ever played.

Dragon Warrior (1986)

Vintage Nintendo didn't offer many big surprises, but the ending of Dragon Warrior allows you to make a very challenging choice. When you finally reach the Dragonlord, the evil dude who's been shadowing the land with evil, it's not just a simple hack-and-slash conclusion. Seeing how powerful you are, the Dragonlord asks you if you'd like to join him in ruling the world. You can obviously say no, but if you choose yes, you're promised half of the world, and the screen almost immediately gets bathed in red. Your experience and gold instantly drain to zero, you get immortality … and the game freezes, like even your NES is disappointed in you. It's the original video game creepypasta.

Metroid (1986)

As space pirate Samus Aran, it's your mission to hunt down the homeworld of the invasive, life-sucking Metroids, and just shut that whole thing down. At the end of your mission, you fight the pulsating Mother Brain and rush to escape the collapsing planet. If you do a good job, you're rewarded with a pretty unexpected ending: Samus removes her helmet. Yes, her: Samus was a badass woman the whole time and you, young man, just learned a lesson in gender politics. This lesson is immediately muddied if you beat the game in under an hour, because Samus basically strips down to her undies, weirdly incentivizing victory for little boys everywhere.

Batman: Arkham City (2011)

Rocksteady Studios brought their Arkham trilogy of games to places that Batman's comics never dared venture, and broke numerous Bat-rules in the process, such as revealing Batman's true identity to the world … and letting Joker die. At the conclusion of Arkham City, even Batman thinks that he's going to save Joker from the toxin ravaging his bony little body, but at the last moment, Joker stabs Batman in the shoulder, forcing Bats to drop the antidote. The Clown Prince of Crime still dies on his own terms, laughing about how hilarious the situation is, and Batman doesn't violate his ethics. Even though it's a video game, it's probably one of the best Batman stories ever written. Take that, Frank Miller.

Portal (2007)

Valve created the ultimate physics playground with their Portal series, making a world that no other game has really been able to replicate. As you fight against a tyrannical computer AI that's descending into insanity, one might easily anticipate the game's ending; you destroy the computer and the facility which houses it. You wouldn't be wrong. The unexpected part comes when the computer flickers back to life, reboots its version of DOS, and sings you a song about how it survived, and it's sarcastically happy for you. It's an unexpectedly moving ending to a weird game. Even stranger — a later patch for some versions of the game includes a scene where the player is dragged back into the facility after their escape, leading to …

Portal 2 (2011)

Four years later, Valve returned with a Portal sequel, which was just as awesome as the first, but with more Stephen Merchant, which is always a good thing. The game is more of the same, traversing levels as competing computer AI programs fight their own battle behind the scenes and alter your environment as they do so. Through a series of awesome events, most of the bad stuff is sucked into space through a portal on the Moon. Even more surprising, the robot that's been trying to kill you for two games just decides to let you go. The robots again sing to you, and it's just as spectacular as the first time, which is a surprise in itself.

Far Cry Primal (2016)

The ending of Far Cry Primal is not in itself very surprising. You conquer a prehistoric land, raise the orphaned kids of a rival chief, and burn another lady alive in the fire that she worships. It's pretty much all basic stuff you do when you don't have Netflix to keep you busy. A bit after the initial release of the game, Ubisoft released Survivor Mode, which brings your hero's nearly superhuman abilities back to Earth and makes the game incredibly tough. Worst of all, if you die … that's it. You have to start over from the beginning of the game. Ubisoft repeatedly implied that if you beat the game on Expert Survivor Mode, you'd get an amazing reward. Maybe something like a sci-fi raygun, or the crazy fire and ice weapons from your various visions, or maybe a real-life dump truck filled with real-life money?

Nope. You get a video of the developers saying thanks. Big dang freaking deal, guys.

Dark Seed (1992)

If you ever want an evening of absolute creepout gaming, dig up a copy of the obscure game Dark Seed. H.R. Giger's graphics are pretty eerie, and the game's limited palette, discordant soundtrack, and awkward animation all add up to one terribly wonderful creepfest. As the hero, you point and click your way between Earth and a fleshy, veiny parallel dimension, all while some kind of alien baby gestates in your head. After you save the world and return to your quiet little town, you still need to somehow get this space fetus out of your skull … so you take an aspirin. That's it. Must've been Extra Extra Strength. The story gets partially redeemed in Dark Seed II, except most of that game makes even less sense.

Bionic Commando (2009)

The original 1987 Bionic Commando is notable in that it's the first platforming game that used a grappling hook mechanism, which would later show up in countless games as an invaluable tool. The 2009 sequel is notable for completely different reasons. At one point near the game's final sequence, the secret location of hero Nathan Spencer's missing wife is revealed … and it just happens to be in the bionic arm he had grafted onto him years ago. He's had a weird version of a robot wife attached to his shoulder all this time and didn't even know it. This raises many more questions than could possibly ever be answered, so its probably best we just never ask them, period.