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Right When You Think It's Over: Gaming's Best Fake-Out Endings

Plenty of video game stories are predictable from beginning to end, so it's satisfying when developers try to shake things up a bit. In this feature, we take a look at points in games when you think the story is over - but there may be some more twists in store.

Note: Spoilers follow for Red Dead Redemption, Ghosts 'n Goblins, The Binding of Isaac, Dragon's Dogma, Dead Space 2, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Resident Evil 2, and Dead Rising.

Red Dead Redemption

With Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar managed to encapsulate everything good about classic western tales and revitalize them for a modern video game. The flawed protagonist, the varied villains, and the tragic story arc all worked seamlessly in this game. By the end, we've come to understand and sympathize with John Marston. He was far from a perfect human being, but he had motivations that we cared about - which made it all the more heartbreaking when he met his demise at the hands of a man he once trusted.

After his death, the screen fades to black. It's easy to assume that the game would be over then. But before the credits roll, the game cuts to his son Jack and his wife Abigail on horseback. Controlling Jack, you ride back to find your father dead. Fade to black once more. Is it over now? Not quite, as Jack and his mother visit John's grave. This seems like a fitting place to stop, but another fade to black is followed by Jack standing over both of his parents' graves. From there, you control Jack as you hunt down your father's killer. Once John Marston is avenged, you finally see the credits roll.

Ghosts 'n Goblins

Notorious as one of the most challenging games ever made, there is no doubt that many-a-controller has been thrown in frustration on its behalf. The biggest and most glaring of these moments would be at the end of the game. You plodded your way through a myriad of difficult enemies and platforming sections to confront the final boss - and by some miracle you win! Your moments of joy and relief are whisked away in an instant when you find out that you didn't actually beat the final boss, and that you would need to beat the game again - on a higher difficulty, no less - to fight his true form. It's one of the most infamous screw-overs in gaming history.

The Binding of Isaac

The Binding of Isaac is known for its difficulty, as well as its depth. The assortment of enemies, bosses, and items sucked many into the roguelike. The first dozen hours or so of playing result in you learning what weapons do and how to efficiently kill most enemies and bosses. However, the game's seemingly final boss, Isaac's Mom, is difficult and different from anything you've previously fought. The entire game is set up so that you think defeating Mom will be the end of the story.

But you would be wrong. After Mom is slain a second time, a new area opens up with bosses, enemy types, and items to discover. Another cellar door opens, and entering it sends you to the Womb, a difficult level where the final boss is Mom's Heart (reaching this boss fight again replaces the heart with It Lives, a slightly altered version of the fight). Even then, the game isn't over. After fighting It Lives, you can enter a new area known as the Cathedral, an even harder level. The boss of the Cathedral is none other than Isaac - you - himself. After completing the Cathedral six times, you get the opportunity to find the Polaroid item. If you defeat the Cathedral using the Polaroid, you can enter the true final level of the game: the Chest. Every room in the Chest is a boss fight, culminating in a fight with "???", a boss that looks suspiciously like Isaac and fights similarly to the previous Isaac encounter. In a difficult game like The Binding of Isaac, satisfaction is nothing more than a fleeting hope before more trials and tribulations.

Dragon's Dogma

In Capcom's fun and dangerously addicting action RPG, your quest is to recover your heart, which was stolen by a dragon. Now that we've suspended our disbelief, suffice to say that you eventually find the dragon, slay him, and recover your heart, that being your quest for the first 25-30 hours of the game. The game seems to be over.

However, upon returning to the capital city of Gransys after the fight, you find a dark, mysterious cloud and a giant crater. From here, a new and practically unrelated story forms, pitting you and your companions against the toughest monsters in the game, followed by an elaborate and confusing final ending sequence many hours after the dragon was slain.

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