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"Death is not a hunter unbeknownst to its prey. One is always aware that it lies in wait. Though life is merely a journey to the grave, it must not be undertaken without hope. Only then will a traveler's story live on, treasured by those who bid him farewell. But alas, my guest's life has now ended, his tale unwritten..."
Most game developers are comfortable with just giving players a generic Game Over screen to inform them that they lost. However, some particularly cruel game developers aren't satisfied with just telling them how badly they lost — they have to show that the player failed them through an alternate Downer Ending in which players are forced to endure the terrible fate that awaits the characters they were supposed to be helping. They didn't just get a Game Over where they can reload and everything's fine - they FAILED. They failed and now they will live just long enough to see the Big Bad claim victory and to see the END OF THEIR CIVILIZATION. This has the effect of getting players so upset that they are inclined to Set Right What Once Went Wrong and retry the game.
Tends to be a source of Nightmare Fuel or tears, especially for younger gamers, and thus a very strong incentive to not die. May however be very annoying when the game is hard and requires the player to try and fail over and over.
Sub-Trope of Nonstandard Game Over. Compare Have a Nice Death and Shoot the Shaggy Dog. Not to be confused with Fission Mailed, which is non-sarcastically wonderful. This is for game overs, for just dying see The Many Deaths of You.
This is a death trope. Expect lots of marked and unmarked spoilers ahead.
- Dark Earth had three different Game Over endings:
- The first one, if you died in the first half of the game, just quickly hinted that It Got Worse after your death.
- However, if you died in the second half of the game, you were fully shown the horrible fate of your city...
- Which was nothing compared to the Nightmare Fuel-esque and creepy ending you would get if you were to let the darkness take over you...
- If you fail The Legend of Zelda Majoras Mask, you get to see the moon fall and destroy everyone.
Zelda: AAAAAH! LINK!
- Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge (not the Game Boy one, but a custom quest for Zelda Classic, a recreation of the original The Legend of Zelda game with an editor program for making your own games) has a scene where Dr. Wily steers a massive asteroid into the Earth, destroying it. This is shown from the viewpoint of people on Earth witnessing this seconds before it happens. One of the ways to trigger this scene is by simply walking into Wily's Tower without having all the Triforce pieces collected.
- Castlevania: Aria Of Sorrow and its sequel, Dawn of Sorrow, had the bad endings where Soma becomes the new dark lord, and Julius comes into the throne room promising to "fulfill [his] promise"; Dawn takes this a step further, the bad ending is the backdrop for the game's playable Julius mode.
- The arcade version of Rainbow Islands, a sequel to Bubble Bobble: if the True Final Boss hits Bub/Bob with one of his bubbles, he ends up Floating in A Bubble (an orange one, in fact) heading off above the screen, instantly transformed into a bubble dragon. If the player was on the last life and this criteria is met instead of touch-dying as usual, instead of the game over screen being blank, it shows the character float all the way up into and get locked into his rightful place in The Alcatraz with eleven other victims in small individual jail cells in eternal tragedy as a green bubble dragon.
- The odd thing is, even if the 2nd player loses this way, the character is still revealed to be a green bubble dragon. And in other games, Bob (the 2nd player's character) turns into a blue bubble dragon.
- The bad ending of It Came From The Desert: The mutant ants swarm off to take over the planet, and the H-bomb goes off. Radio operator asks: "Is anybody there? Anybody at all?" (This is a Shout-Out either to The Day After, or the radio version of The War of the Worlds.) Followed by text "THE END?" and credits.
- Okami: When Amaterasu dies, she doesn't just revert back to a statue, she freakin' shatters to pieces!
- In Bugdom 2, if you run out of lives, it shows the game's antagonist flying off into the sunset over a landscape of flowers. Really gives the impression that someone died.
- Otto Matic - which is by the same people who did Bugdom. When you die in that one, you get a video of the humans that you try to rescue from the evil Brain Aliens throughout the game being converted into even more Aliens to serve the Big Bad.
- While only in the beta version, this unreleased game over screen from Luigi's Mansion (seen around 2:37) can scare you like no tomorrow no matter how brief it is.
- Beyond The Forbidden Forest: even for an 8-bit era game (1986), the 'bad ending' music still remains Nightmare Fuel, thanks to the ominous cacophonies and equally ominous ending message, "The game is lost".
- In Demon's Crest, you can go off the rails and fight the final boss early. See Nice Job Breaking It, Hero for the startling Bad End this triggers.
- In Hello Kitty Roller Rescue, failing to stop the giant robot in the final mission results in a Downer Ending where Block-O succeeds and the Earth and all of its inhabitants are turned into a cube.
- The Game Over sequence of the Ninja Gaiden arcade game showed your character tied down under a descending rotary saw, shaking his head no-no-no while the "Continue?" countdown cycled.
- Warhawk (1995 video game) had a variety of different failure messages depending on what stage you die on, including the heroes getting burned alive in their destroyed cockpit, a rather unpleasantly detailed description of their canopy getting crushed in the deep sea, and the big bad dying from choking on a chicken bone while laughing at your defeat.
- The NES Friday the 13 th game, in a subversion of the Never Say "Die" trend among video games at the time: "YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS ARE DEAD. GAME OVER." The Angry Video Game Nerd plays this up for laughs in his review of the game.
- During the fight with Ares in God of War, you must defend Kratos's family from mystical clones of himself during the second stage. If they die, Kratos falls to his knees in despair, at which point his clones jump in and slaughter him.
- In the second game, during the Atropos fight, she goes back in time to destroy the sword-bridge Kratos used during the last phase of the fight in the first game. If she succeeds, Ares kills Kratos in the past, and the present-day Kratos seizes up and collapses slain in the present.
- If you die in the Flash game series Drakojan Skies, the games give you this message: "MISSION FAILED. The failure of this mission resulted in the deaths of hundreds of innocent Drakojans. Many more could have been prevented."
- In Star Wars: Rebel Assault, if you die on the final mission, the Death Star blows up Yavin IV. "And the Alliance was defeated".
- Batman: Arkham Asylum has these in spades. Usually it's the Joker taunting you (in one Funny Moment, he says: "I salute my fallen enemy!", then blows a raspberry at you while walking backwards laughing and trips over his own feet!), but if a different boss defeated you (like Scarecrow, Killer Croc, Bane, or Poison Ivy), they come along to insult you and/or finish you off.
- Conversely, die as The Joker and you get Batman or Aaron Cash instead.
- This is continued in the sequel, this time with villains ranging from The Penguin and Hugo Strange to Two-Face and Ra's Al-Ghul.
- Brutal Legend has several, ranging from Mangus screaming to Eddie as the bus explodes, to Drowned Ophelia drowning Eddie in the Black Tears. The best, though, comes from Doviculous in the final battle, only made better by the fact that he is played by Tim Curry: Eddie, defeated, falls to the ground before Doviculous. The POV switches to Eddie's. Doviculous declares "You have your mother's eyes. And so will I... on a necklace, I think..." right before reaching forward to tear Eddie's eyes out.
- The Sega Genesis game Red Zone features a cutscene and description of a Class 6 Apocalypse, which is made even more cruel considering the difficulty.
- In the 1992 Adventure game Wax Works and is the game over screen you get if you fail to avoid the police (who believe you to be Jack the Ripper, who happens to be your evil twin) in a Stealth Based Mission. And it's only one of many horrifying examples. And out of all of them, it's probably the least disturbing.
- Infocom's Sorcerer (the second part of the text adventure Enchanter trilogy) has an example of this in the endgame. If you exorcise the demonic Big Bad from your mentor, but neglect to protect yourself from possession, the demon will not only take over your body, but show you a vision of the future. He shows you a world where the demon, in your body, has taken over the world and parents offer their children as sacrifices to him. And, worst of all, it is you who embodies the demon, your image that adorns the temples and sacrificial altars, and your visage that is associated with so much misery and death.
- In the SNES game SOS, you're inside a sinking ship and must escape before the timer counts down (from an hour). Getting hurt (i.e., taking damage that would be lethal to an NPC) sets you back about five minutes, and to get the best ending(s) (or really, any ending at all), you have to rescue at least one person. This is especially bad if you're playing as Luke, the crewman, whose implicit task is to rescue as many passengers as possible, and he's also the only character who starts out with a map. If you reach the top of the ship without rescuing anyone as Luke, the shaming you get from his rescuers is enough to make you want to immediately start over and try again the right way. Another survivor (an old man) makes it to the top of the ship and gets outside, before dying on the hull due to fatigue. Another man's "ending" (if you could call it that) sees him getting to the top of the ship, but instead of exiting to the outside, he enters a room with a dead end and no other way out. He ends up futilely banging a pipe against a wall in order to summon help...
- Alternatively, let's assume you are still in the process of figuring out how to leave the ship, or making your way there, and you have about a minute or so left before time runs out. If you're nowhere close to leaving the ship, you've essentially entered a playable death sequence as the ship begins sinking down completely. A morbid, tragic music that embodies hopelessness fills your ears as cruelly as the ship is filled with water. You swim about, with absolutely nowhere to catch a breath of air anywhere. You swim for a minute in the most futile attempt to make it out. And then the game finally gives you the game over screen.
- Dying or reaching 0 mental stability in Fahrenheit (2005 video game)/Fahrenheit (2005 video game) gives you a Film Noir voiceover of the current viewpoint character saying how they died or why they gave up and what happened afterwards, ranging from leaving town due to being unable to get over one's claustrophobia, accidentally committing suicide (alcohol and pills don't mix), being viciously murdered by inmates at a facility for the criminally insane, and many many other things. Most of these end with the viewpoint character moodily reminiscing on how they'd never find out what happened that night, or how the world thinks them a murderer.
- At one point, the developers even subvert it: it looks like Lukas has been once again cornered by the police and we are treated to the standard Game Over message... but then he enters Tranquil Fury mode and proceeds to escape in a manner most awesome. Also, the bad ending (out of three) is pretty much an Apocalyptic Log.
- One of the worst is if you don't choose to save the little boy and walk into the cop from the restaurant even after the main character says who he is. His speech has changed a bit though it ends on the same note.
Well, that's where my story ends, because by the stupidest of chances, I happen to run into the cop from the restaurant while he was making his rounds in the park. It was one chance in a million, and I bought the winning ticket. I'll spend the rest of my days rotting in prison.
- In The white chamber, there are four ways to die before the ending Cutscene: opening a door leading to outer space one too many times, neglecting the smelly fridge for too long, failing to stop the electrocution scene in time, and choosing to stay in the quarantine room. Each of them shows what happens to your character with not-very-pleasant images and a pithy line about the ending you brought on yourself ("You're waiting for the Decaying ending," "You couldn't escape the Electrocution ending," and so on.)
- The bad ending of Laura Bow: The Colonel's Bequest and its sequel The Dagger of Amon Rah. In particular the one in the second game, which explains in discordantly cheerful detail the fates of everyone and their corpses, thanks to your failure. Then you get murdered and your father commits suicide, and the reporter who wanted your job becomes rich and famous. The end.
- In Quest for Glory II: Trial By Fire, a standard death (by attack or low stats) will usually just give you a punny death message and let you restore and get back to the game. However, if you fail the task of capturing the Elementals or die anytime after Ad Avis steals the evil genie Iblis' lamp, you are treated to a long cut scene of the city being destroyed or an even longer cut scene of Iblis escaping the lamp and wreaking havoc upon the world. The first time, it's creepy, but after the third or fourth time, it gets annoying. And it's a Sierra game-- you die all the freaking time.
- Since Trilby's Notes are presented as having been found long after the events portrayed within happened, you get a "cheerful" little subtitle that the notes up until the point where he dies is all that they can find of said notes.
- In Obliterator, your death is followed by a text screen that reads: "YOU HAVE FAILED IN YOUR MISSION. YOU ARE DEAD AND THE EARTH IS DOOMED. SO ENDS THE MISSION OF THE LAST OBLITERATOR." This is followed by a shot of the player character's skeleton, still wearing his space armor, floating in orbit around Earth.
- The Fourth Protocol, the game of Frederick Forsyth's novel from 1984, revolves around a Soviet plot to explode a nuclear bomb near a US Air Force base in Britain to influence the upcoming British elections by shocking the voters into electing an anti-NATO, anti-American, anti-nuclear, pro-Soviet government. Mess up the defusing of the nuke and you are told that the plan succeeded, the Russians were invited into the UK and began working on Europe from both fronts. Alternatively, things go even worse: the bomb leads to a limited nuclear war, destroying both sides and making the northern hemisphere uninhabitable. This comes "From the annals of the Australio-Indonesian Empire..."
- Zork: Grand Inquisitor has an interesting one. If you do anything that would cause a Game Over, the game switches to a text adventure (a throwback to Zork's old days) and inputs the command you just did, followed with the results of how you died/got totemized/whatever. Interestingly, this also happens if you win the game (after the satisfying ending Cutscene, of course).
- Each method of dying in the game Total Distortion has a different clip. To make it worse, all are accompanied by this song: You are Dead. Dead, Dead. It doesn't help that the song is rather catchy to boot...
- If you die in Police Quest: SWAT, a video is shown of your funeral, complete with a 21-gun salute, while Amazing Freaking Grace is played on bagpipes.
- If you do just about anything that's outside of SOP for SWAT you'll get a cutscene where two other officers lead you away from the scene.
- Shadowgate for the NES included graphic descriptions of your death and several ways to commit suicide, all leading to a creepy picture of the Grim Reaper. This video features almost all the possible deaths in the game.
- In Maniac Mansion, there are several actions that can lead to a meltdown. You see the mansion explode, followed by a message that the nuclear explosion has destroyed everything in a 5 mile radius. (It's never made clear how far the mansion is from the town.)
- Shows up in two games from Homestar Runner: "Where's an Egg?" and "Dangeresque Roomisode 1." In "Where's an Egg?" failing to find the egg will result in the main character being banished to the Siberian tundra and subsequently freezing to death, while in "Dangeresque Roomisode 1" getting the task wrong will result in Dangeresque being sent to the "HOOSEGOW."
- In the original Zork text adventures players who were eaten by a grue or other such cruel fates would find themselves with no items in a random part of the world. The game appears to be continuing normally until it becomes apparent that you can no longer pick up items or perform other interactions. It is never stated, but it can be inferred that the player is now a ghost. As the games revolve around inventory based puzzles this leaves players nothing to do but endlessly roam the world.
- The game over screens of Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade and Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis include a brief text about Hitler and the Nazis taking over the world once Indiana Jones is not there to stop their plans.
- Bayonetta has a horrible Game Over screen, but it's not as much frightening as it is depressing, demented, or, then again, scary. if you choose to continue, okay ("The shadow remains cast!"), but if you choose not to, she screams in agony as about twenty or thirty hands grab her from all sides and pull her down into Hell.
- The Final Fight series is similar, using timed sticks of dynamite, descending ceilings laced with Spikes of Doom, a room quickly filling with water, and whatnot.
- Lose in Cadillacs and Dinosaurs and the first boss Vice (Or the recurring Walther Mooks you face) taunts you while standing over you, gun in hand. When the "Continue?" countdown runs out, he opens fire and the screen gets covered in little blood splats.
- The Punisher arcade game has a continue screen where Microchip (One of Frank's allies in the comics) is performing CPR on him whilst Nick Fury's continue screen has Alexander Pierce attempting to while Kathleen Neville looks on. Obviously, their success depends on your willingness to deposit another quarter.
- Dying in Comix Zone showed you a short Cutscene of Mortus either complaining that it wasn't fun enough (and giving you another chance) or using your death to make himself a body somehow and ominously looking down at the city.
- In Streets of Rage 3, failing to beat the Final Boss in 3 minutes, earns this ending.
- The Japanese version makes it worse by showing a picture of the city that was destroyed by the bombs. The U.S. version cuts the image out, reducing the impact of the failure.
- Splatterhouse 3 kills off your wife or child, if you take too long to rescue one or both of them. The endings reflect these failures ("Daddy, where's mommy?" "Where's David? No... NO!!" or just plain old "your family is dead").
- In Daytona USA, after a multiplayer race, each player has a little scene of the car attempting to skid to a stop. The first place car does it successfully, the second place car spins out, third place runs headfirst into the wall, and anything below crashes and ends up upside-down. Pretty dramatic if your arcade has 8 machines hooked up.
- The most common way of losing a life in F-Zero is by running out of energy, resulting in Critical Existence Failure. But you can also die by failing to cross the finish line with the required position or higher, or falling into 20th place, which is accompanied by a downer jingle.
- "Broken down! Too bad, you lost your machine!"
- F-Zero GP Legend: Fail a mission or die, and depressing music plays.
- Road Rash 64 taunts you if you lose all your lives by saying "Dude, you suck!"
- In APB (the arcade game, not the MMO game), the game over screen reads "Too Many Demerits - YOU ARE FIRED", and shows other cops pulling you out of your patrol car and either throwing you into a paddy wagon or literally canning you by stuffing you into a trash can.
- The Mario Kart series has failure screens that occur when you finish the grand prix in 4th place or lower:
- Super Mario Kart has your character off to the side of the ceremony stand crying.
- Mario Kart 64 has your character drive away from the ceremony and gets stalked by a mobile bomb, which proceeds to explode and send your character flying.
- Mario Kart Wii shows your character parked on top of a cliff a good distance away from the ceremonies, watching from afar. If you lose a VS Team Race this way, the entire team is shown on the cliff.
- Oregon Trail: "Everyone in your party has died. Many wagons failed to make it all the way to Oregon. Do you want to write your epitaph?" The beautiful part is that every time you play, you get to pass the graves of your previous failed attempts (which can lead to a contest to see who can leave the earliest grave on the trail).
- Tekken 5 does this if you quit after losing to Jinpachi. Jinpachi is completely unfair, by the way.
- The Tag 2 game has the POV of the K Oed character gazing helplessly up at the intermediate and final boss levels, with the intermediate boss one switching to a back-turned view when the intermediate boss eats you.
- Street Fighter Alpha 3: Lose to M. Bison in the final battle in Arcade mode, and you can't continue. All you can do is watch as he stuffs your beaten character into a machine and uses the Psycho Drive to blow up a city, ensuring his dominance.
- Conversely, losing the final fight against Ryu when playing as Bison shows Ryu's ending.
- In the Soul Edge knockoff Mace the Dark Age, each character has a "good" ending if they defeat Asmodeus and claim the Mace, and a "bad" ending should they fail (ie, run out of continues). The bad endings for the evil characters tend to have a ring of poetic justice to them, such as the despotic ruler Lord Deimos deposed by his subjects, or the sadistic Executioner tortured to death (assuming he died in the end...) by Asmodeus. Those of good characters are depressing and/or disturbing, such as the lost princess Namira going insane in a dungeon, or Ragnar turned into a powerful, ravenous wolf sent to kill the last of his family and friends, completely aware of what he's doing.
- Mortal Kombat 4/Gold had this as a Game Over sequence wherein your beaten fighter ends up falling down into a spike pit.
- Shaolin Monks had a nice comprehensive set of IAWDs, but only if you lost to the bosses. Most range from classic Fatalities ( Kano ripping your heart out, Kitana finishing you with a kiss of death), to the unnecessarily brutal ( Scorpion spearing you into the lava rivers of the Netherrealm and then pulling you onto a pillar where skeletons rip you to bits, or Baraka impaling you and then lobbing you into a furnace)
- Interestingly, losing to Shang Tsung or Kintaro near the end of the game would get you the Shao Kahn fatality scene where he BAMS you with his hammer twice. Logically you get this when you lose to Kahn, too.
- The home console game of Street Fighter: The Movie has a "Movie Battle" mode where the player, as Guile, must fight your way to General Bison through different Street Fighter characters under an expiring time limit. If the player does not reach Bison within the time frame (once the timer reaches zero), once the current fight is over, Cammy will tell Guile there is no more time left and Bison needs to be found immediately and the bad ending starts. As a result of a failure to reach Bison in time, the AN is forced to pay Bison the ransom, Guile is court-martialed and Bison uses the ransom money to finance his operation to turn his entire army into Perfect Genetic Soldiers, allowing him to rise up and seize control of the world.
- In The Light and the Dark if you fail then you have to watch two children slowly turning to corpses like the villain at the end of Last Crusade, but much more gruesomely and realistically before hearing the voices of the elders casually conferring with each other that, "The chosen one has failed? Well, give him another chance!"
- Eternal Champions: If you don't win the final battle, the text is subtle about your fate.
- And even less so in the Challenge of the Dark Side on Sega CD.
- In the JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Capcom fighting game, losing a match in one player mode showed your character in their dizzy animation whilst minor villain Daniel J. D'Arby sat in the background, daring you to continue complete with requisite countdown timer. Choose to, and your character would get up triumphantly, and D'Arby would shout his Catch Phrase, "GOOD!!" whilst not doing so resulted in D'Arby's Stand, Osiris, compressing your character (Their soul, mainly) into a poker chip.
- In Marvel vs. Capcom 3, should you fail to beat the final boss, Galactus, you are treated to a victory screen (for him) where he destroys the entire world. The planet explodes and you arrive at a blank, white 'Continue?' screen.
- Even worse, should you choose not to continue on this specific fight, you can view his ending. He states "Your interference has only briefly postponed the inevitable. Do not mourn the loss of your worlds. Their energy will feed my hunger, and Galactus is eternal."
- On another disturbing note, the aforementioned victory screen shows the Earth blazing red before it is destroyed. If that isn't creepy in itself, sometimes, while fighting the final boss, should the player take too long, the planet (which is seen in the background) will start to turn red by itself. This reddened Earth is still visible if the character wins, though, the ending sequence progresses as if the planet had been saved quickly. Seeing the Earth decay before you even lose is just plain creepy.
- Losing in the Genesis version of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers treats the player to a shot of the five (or six) Rangers looking helpless in front of a blazing fire and the only way to save the Rangers is to continue.
- You have two options in Blaz Blue's arcade. Either see the Big Bad's plan go through and be faced with Mu-12, or see Hazama get torn to pieces... by the other Big Bad. And either way, you still don't win.
- Halo: On The Maw, fail to escape the Autumn in time; cue Cutscene of the ship exploding, taking you with it. This is probably more of a Nonstandard Game Over though, it doesn't go to the credits.
- System Shock had a Nightmare Fuel failure display if you died without being regenerated. You would be turned into a cyborg under computer control.
They find your body and give it new life. As a cyborg you will serve SHODAN well.
- In the Half Life series, if you manage to render the game Unwinnable (e.g. by letting a major NPC die, or by losing your vehicle) the screen goes black and a small message appears. In Half Life, Opposing Force, and Half-Life 2, the messages are cold, official "reports" by the mysterious G-Man, which note e.g. "Assignment: Terminated - Subject: Freeman - Reason: Failure to preserve mission-critical resources".
- In Blue Shift, the message is something along the lines of "Employee: Barney Calhoun - Subject is presumed to have perished along with rest of the staff in the Black Mesa incident", since the G-Man has no interest in Barney.
- In Half-Life 2: Episode Two, the messages are poetic and depressing statements by the Vortigaunts. "So it ends / The Freeman has failed to preserve a life required for victory / Such are the shapes we see in the Vortessence"
- Rise of the Triad plays this for laughs. Defeating the final boss, El Oscuro, without finding and killing all his spawnlings in that level will earn you the first part of the victory celebration (namely, seeing the boss you just defeated on a tombstone). Then, however, the game informs you that since some of his spawnlings survived, "Twenty years later, one of them rose to power and destroyed the world, but nice work anyway." Then you see the earth exploding violently.
- Fail your objectives in Team Fortress 2, and not only does The Administrator contemptuously berate you, your character model goes into a gesture of surrender and all you can do is taunt and run at slower speeds while the winning team gets a speed boost and crits on each attack. (The Soldier even gets an achievement for killing five surrendering enemies.)
- You don't even get a break for Stalemate: both sides simply act as if they failed.
- For losing teams on Defense in Payload, you also get to watch the bomb you didn't stop make a big boom.
- Even winning Payload teams aren't safe - just don't stand too close to the cart you're, er... supposed to stand next to.
- Most Red Faction deaths are just a simple "You have died", but if you get a plot-critical NPC killed, the game explains in detail how everything proceeds to go to hell from that point on. (Amusingly, you still get one of these for killing a certain character mere moments before he's scheduled to die.)
- Die and refuse to continue in Area 51 (arcade), and you get a CGI of your character morphing into one of the alien mutants. Overlaps with Have a Nice Death.
- In the Silent Scope games, if you miss the final bullet, you are treated to a Downer Ending of some sort (The President gets blown up or Laura falls to her death, or the like.)
- Terminator 2 for the SNES and Game Boy have their variations, and both only give you one life, making matters worse: In the SNES version, if the Terminator dies, Judgment Day begins, complete with a picture of the fiery explosion from the movie and the date August 29, 1997. In the Game Boy version, if John Connor dies, a picture of the barren and destroyed landscape is present, along with the text:
With John defeated, Skynet was able to overpower the resistance thus insuring [sic] the extinction of all human life on earth.
- Sin and Punishment 2: In Stage 6, fail to keep your partner, being held by a crane, above the rising lava, and he/she is dumped into the lava, resulting in a Game Over.
- Space Gun: In the Continue screen you see the protagonist walking blissfully ignorant to the giant alien monster creeping from behind. If you don't continue or run out of continues you see a scary pic of the protagonist lifted by the monster and ripped open with lots of blood flowing on and dripping from his body with a laconic "You received a lethal wound" screen text. Nightmare Fuel indeed.
- Operation Wolf: "Since you are out of ammo, you must join the hostages".
- Did you fail to reach the goal in a Katamari Damacy game? We are so disappointed. Really, it is Our fault for leaving this task to Our incompetent, pusillanimous Son. Our fans will be devastated, surely! Run, little Prince, run! Our Royal Eye Beams will hit you and shock you no matter what! It's no use looking so crestfallen, begone from Our sight!
- In Blast Corps, letting the missile carrier touch anything makes it explodes in a red nuclear blast, destroying everything.
- Banjo-Kazooie's Game Over is an ending cutscene in which you have to watch the Wicked Witch / Vain Sorceress Gruntilda succeed in stealing the beauty of Banjo's younger sister Tooty and turn her into something like Frankenstein's Monster. She even demands a talk with Banjo immediately for this travesty. However, for some, this was offset by Grunty's newfound hotness and the fact that Tooty was The Scrappy. For others, this scene was Nightmare Fuel.
- The problem with this is that the scene plays every time you save and quit, too. It's almost as if the game is slapping you across the face for not playing it start to finish in one go.
- However, if you die before even reaching Grunty's lair or after passing her game show, then they will simply show the words "Game Over" over the scene where you lost your last life.
- Believe it or not, Liquid Kids, a platformer from Taito with cute characters, also does this with its continue screen. Here, Hipopo (the player character) has one of the bomb enemies bouncing on him with the clock counting down (and a cuckoo clock sounding) with each bounce. When the timer reaches one or so, Hipopo will call out "Help Me!". When it reaches zero, the screen fades to black, and the sound of an explosion can be heard...
- Two occurrences in the Commander Keen series:
- Episode 5: The Armageddon Machine ... The arc this episode is part of is named "Goodbye Galaxy" for a reason.
- To make things worse, the music played on the Game Over screen sounds like it's mocking you.
- Episode 5: The Armageddon Machine ... The arc this episode is part of is named "Goodbye Galaxy" for a reason.
- In Contra: Shattered Soldier, if you don't have a high enough ranking when you beat Mission 5, you get a Downer Ending where the island is destroyed by a Kill Sat, killing everyone - including the heroes.
- In the original Prince of Persia, if you run out of time, you are shown the princess's room with an empty hourglass, and the princess gone... implying that she's either dead or being forcibly married to Jaffar.
- Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness: Overlaps with Nonstandard Game Over. In Margot Carvier's Apartment level, after the dialogue choice, the police will be on their way to the apartment (regardless of what you said to Carvier). Lara has a time limit to do what she needs to and get out of the apartment (which would be look for the notebook if you were rude to Carvier, in which case your job is made harder). If she hasn't left by the time the police get inside (after two cutscene warnings), she surrenders and they arrest her. Game Over.
- The Metroid series has had a series of variations of this:
- Metroid simply shows her exploding and then the game over screen.
- Metroid II: Return of Samus simply has her fizzling out of existence.
- Super Metroid, Metroid Fusion and Metroid Zero Mission have Samus exploding out of her armoured suit. Sure, it's Fetish Fuel, but still...
- The Prime trilogy, however, must have the most gruesome game over sequences. Firstly, you hear Samus' agonized scream as the whole screen blinks out like a broken TV. Then, depending on the game...:
- Prime 1 shows a close up of Samus' visor... only the glass is cracked badly, and a message saying "Life Support: Critical" begins to flash as "failure", the screen flashes red, and Samus's head begins to sag to the side. Easily the scariest.
- Prime 2 has a close up of Samus's chest and an X-Ray view of her heart, its beating slowing to an eventual stop. Yes, a pretty damn accurate depiction of Cardiac Arrest. FROM THE HEART'S POINT OF VIEW.
Both of these are accompanied by the sound of a heart monitor, quickly going from normal to distressed to flatlining.
- Prime 3 has what is possibly the least visually nasty: It merely shows a red splotch of liquid expanding, possibly blood. HOWEVER...
- If you stay on Phazon Hyper Mode for WAY TOO LONG, you see a short cutscene of Samus transforming into Dark Samus. After that is a nice new variation of the Game Over screen. This time, the liquid splotch is now blue, possibly to represent Phazon, and under the words GAME OVER are the words "TERMINAL CORRUPTION".
- Prime 3 has what is possibly the least visually nasty: It merely shows a red splotch of liquid expanding, possibly blood. HOWEVER...
- Metroid: Other M has Samus's Power suit phasing out as she collapses and yells, with Adam asking you what's wrong, only to be cut off by the radio going out. When Adam loses communication with Samus, all that's left is the suit phasing out.
- In Bionic Commando: Rearmed, after beating the final boss, you need to escape from the final level, which is sinking into the ocean. Whether you actually escape or run out of time, you end up watching the same lengthy cutscene of the base sinking into the ocean. You don't find out until the end of the scene whether you escaped or went down with the base.
- If you choose to join the villain in Wizards and Warriors III, the scene then shows the villain having taken over, with the hero chained to a pillar as his prisoner. It cuts to a picture of the kingdom being overshadowed by the villain in the background.
- That's actually the standard game over. The player can be just Too Dumb to Live by siding with him.
- In Terramex, if you die, you get to see the meteor hit the Earth.
- Donkey Kong Country 1 had a bruised and battered Diddy and Donkey Kong standing in an empty void while the words "GAME OVER" were spelled out in broken wooden planks , DK 2 has Dixie and Diddy Kong locked in some kind of animal cage evocative of animal testing facilities, and DK 3 has the protagonists locked in a dark room, in a cot.
- In Knuckles Chaotix, they don't recieve a death per se, but if you fail to collect all of the Chaos Rings, you will have the bad ending in which the upgraded Metal Sonic hovers over the burning remains of a city. Probably one of the darkest endings to a Sonic game to be made so far.
- For that matter, Sonic CD, but only in the US version. Yes, it is nothing but a game over screen, but it's the Nightmare Fuel inducing music combined with Robotnik's laughter that makes this so disturbing. Especially considering the fact that if you don't touch the controller for three minutes, Sonic will actually give up and run away.
- And for yet another scary Game Over screen, there's the one from the actually-pretty-damn-good Licensed Game for Toy Story 2. It features Buzz on his knees, just as he was after failing to grab Al's sky blue car, overimposed on a purple screen, beneath the caption "GAME OVER" written in the Buzz font. Which isn't that bad by itself... until you hear the music. Dear God, the music!
- Believe me, this is nothing, NOTHING!, compared to the Game Boy Color version.
- Another example is on the 16-bit games of Beavis and Butthead, after dying in the SNES game Beavis and Butthead complain about their new status in hell until a camera flash goes off, while on the Genesis game they go to hell after dying and Beavis is seen saying "I think we're dead or something" while Butthead says "This sucks dude!"
- In Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, dying on the Boss Rush game mode yields this game over screen.
- One humorous example occurs in Aladdin Virgin Games for the Sega Genesis; if Aladdin runs out of health he's seen against a black background wobbling while Abu fans him with the carpet, he then falls on a stool while Genie appears and starts rubbing his shoulders and then a boxing bell sounds. It gets more menacing if you lose all lives and continues and then you hear Jafar cackle while you see his head over the words "Give up street rat". Finally in reference to the film, the words "THE END" appear and the Genie lifts up a flap and says "Made you look!"
- Conversely, it's much more tragic in the SNES and Genesis games of The Lion King. Die as a cub and sad music plays while Simba struggles to stand only to then collapse, while as an adult Simba falls over on his side motionless. Running out of lives and/or continues has a black "Game Over" screen while Rafiki looks disappointed; his mood will lift only if you continue.
- On the Game Gear game though, the more limited audio means the loss of a life doesn't seem as sad, but it gets highly nightmare inducing if you run out of lives (and there's no way to gain continues); the final shot is a silent still pic of a menacing looking Scar--it's enough to make you want to either succeed every time or turn the power off if this happens.
- Super Mario Bros 3's Game Over screen has you return to the map, except that the words "Game Over" are superimposed over it, and a dead Mario fall between the two words.
- Losing to a boss on your last life in Rosenkreuzstilette results in the boss getting a monologue depending on your actions up to that point before humiliating you with a reference to a classic game. Here's a complete list of said monologues below:
Freu: (in Opening stage) Rest in peace, Tia...
- Alternately, in the side-game Grollschwert:
Freu: (Opening stage) Such a shame...
- Riven has several bad endings, complete with their own credits. It's possible to trap yourself before finding Gehn; provoke Gehn to shoot you; trap Gehn, then release him and trap yourself; trap yourself in the rebel hideout; or trap Gehn and release him in the rebel hideout... while trapping yourself. It's also possible to open the Star Fissure and destroy the world without first trapping Gehn, or without first rescuing Catherine and the rest of the Rivenese, or both. If you're very lucky, you can even guess the combination that opens the Star Fissure without interacting with anyone else in the game and earn yourself a No Ending.
- The Bad Endings for Myst V are noteworthy in that they all wind up with you stranded in the ruins of Myst Island, where the game series began. Dedicated fans of the series sometimes seek out these endings on purpose, just for the experience of exploring the deserted, forsaken isle.
- Bejeweled 3's Ice Storm mode literally gives you the cold shoulder. Make matches to keep rising ice columns on the board from hitting the top. Some of them shoot up wicked fast, and once they hit the top (with a thumping sound much like a giant sledgehammer burying itself into a snowbank), a red pressure pulse goes up the column with a very bad sounding warning sound, giving you one more chance to push it back. Fail that, and red glowy stress fractures occur on the column, the gems vibrate with pressure for a moment, and then... the whole interface flash freezes into a giant ice cube! Game Over! It's a very chilling game over screen.
- The Butterflies mode has a much briefer but still creepy failure effect. Let one of the butterflies reach the top and the spider is upon it very quickly, with a rather unsettling 'biting' sound effect. The feeble waving of the captured butterflies' legs adds a disturbing little touch. If you are arachnophobic and unlock this game, you will regret playing it.
- And the damn thing is unwinnable. There's no way to beat the spider (e.g., save 100 butterflies and she gives up). This is one Bejeweled mode where you want a way to win, not just break even.
- The Butterflies mode has a much briefer but still creepy failure effect. Let one of the butterflies reach the top and the spider is upon it very quickly, with a rather unsettling 'biting' sound effect. The feeble waving of the captured butterflies' legs adds a disturbing little touch. If you are arachnophobic and unlock this game, you will regret playing it.
- Most of the Game Overs in Ghost Trick are just running out of time before your subject dies, meaning you have to go back four minutes before their death and start again. However, in one case, you also have to avoid being detected by Yomiel. Since he knows about ghost tricks, any suspiciously moving inanimate items will alert him to your existence and he'll directly address you, telling you that there's nothing you can do to stop him.
- Getting Tanya killed in Command and Conquer: Red Alert will result in a game over FMV where a camera pans from her marked military grave over the thousands of other dead soldiers. In the mission where she is captured and tortured, this can occur before she is freed, which has rather painful implications.
- From the same game, if you fail to stop the Nuclear Missile from reaching its target, you're treated to a shot of the Effiel Tower as a giant mushroom cloud and screams engulf it.
- Most of the early Command and Conquer games had two end of mission cutscenes; one for victory and one for defeat. Many looked pretty damn cool (Nod Soldiers raising a flag in the middle of a burning base?)
- Tiberian Sun actually has a few cutscenes where you succeed, but feel like a complete monster for doing so. In one, the Nod Soldiers are walking through a devastated base, a lone GDI soldier, apparently surviving the carnage, crawls out and limply pleas for mercy. The Nod Soldier simply shakes his head and fires his gun. The base is the one you attack in the previous mission.
- In Red Alert 2, during the Allied mission to recapture St. Louis, if the timer runs out and Tanya is mind-controlled, there is a special cutscene that shows Tanya having been taken over and quite enthusiastically favoring the Soviets now.
- In addition to Olimar's notes of hopelessness, you also get to see the ship crashing and the Pikmin turning Olimar's (presumably dead) body into one of them if you fail to get the 25 required parts by the end of the first Pikmin.
- Starcraft II example: when the Protoss base is destroyed in the mission "In Utter Darkness", the closing cutscene shows the star system being outright consumed by the Dark Voice. Of course, this is the victory ending - you're guaranteed to die in the mission. It's a vision of the future that you have to prevent.
- Elite Beat Agents has alternate endings for failing a mission in which the story resolves badly. Particularly cruel is A Christmas Wish, in which the girl goes into her teenage years continuing to cling on to false hope that her dead father will return one day.
- In the Groove gives you a Nonstandard Game Over if you fail the boss song in either game: ROUND FAILED with a skull overlay for Pandemonium, and ROUND FAILED^2 for Vertex^2.
- If you fail a song in the Guitar Hero or Rock Band games, you get booed off the stage.
- pop'n music 16: Normally, if you fail a song, the announcer comments, "Uh-oh!" or "Too bad!" Fail a song with exactly one block of life short of clearing the song, and she cries out, "Oh my God..."
- DJMAX Technika 2: [shutters crash shut] YOU FAILED. GAME OVER.
- If you receive a game over in Chrono Cross, you'll also get a cheerful message that you've managed to erase Serge from existence altogether.
- Chrono Trigger had one too — fail against Lavos, and you get to see exactly what happened on the day he erupted from the earth.
"But... the future refused to change."
- And in the DS remake, if you fail against the time devourer, Schala proclaims something about erasing everything and you see the same shot of Earth at the end of the above game over but.
"In the end... the future refused to change."
- In Raidou Kuzunoha vs. the Soulless Army, the previous Raidou Kuzunohas whisk Raidou the 14th out of whatever dangerous situation gave him the wounds he fainted from, heal him, then wake him up. They then proceed to thoroughly chew him out for slandering the name of Raidou Kuzunoha, telling him how shameful his failure was, as they gather around him. Raidou's eyes dart from spirit to spirit, terrified (keep in mind, this young man is very much a Stoic). As they leave him with a final "Begone!", he holds out his hand in protest, but they vanish, and Raidou falls to his knees in shame. (The implication being that Raidou the 14th is no longer Raidou, and that is possibly the worst disgrace to inflict upon him.)
- Some fans assume that his soul got sucked out in punishment - proving that player imagination can make it all the worse.
- In the often overlooked PS1 SRPG Vanguard Bandits, if you failed to achieve a fairly sizable set of conditions regarding the main character's level, what stat boosts you gave him throughout the entirety of the game, and the average morale of the rest of the party, one of the endings had the final boss mind-controlling the main character, leaving you the option to get killed by your friends, or watching them all get killed by the final boss. As one last kick, the ending scene has your character 'waking up' just in time to witness the boss completing his takeover of the world. D'oh.
- The Tales (series) has "And they were never heard of again...", usually against either a sunset over or a faded picture of a bleak, barren landscape.
- Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne gives you a twist on this where the Demi-fiend apparently goes to Heaven. Considering what kind of guy YHVH is in SMT, that probably isn't a good thing.
"The comfort of death will come, for men and demons alike...by the guidance of the Great Will."
- Die in Persona 3, and Igor will recite a poem about how though death is inevitable, one will live on in memory... before adding that you are an exception. Interestingly, dying in Persona 4 has Igor recite something that goes against the meaning of the last game.
- If you die in "The Answer", Igor recites another poem, about how the Main Character sacrificed his life for you and that you dying was a waste of his death. Gives you the warm fuzzies, doesn't it?
- And prior to any of that, you get to hear your character groan his last breath, along with Mission Control ordering you to get up or crying out for your life. Made even more poignant if you've been building up your Mission Control's Social Link and getting intimate with them.
- Failure to rescue one of the victims of the Midnight Channel before the deadline in Persona 4 results in a game over where a party member calls you to inform you of the victim's demise. Failure to meet the final deadline results in Shadows leaking into the real world, with you hearing Naoto getting killed by one. Igor will allow you to travel back in time a week in either case.
- Shin Megami Tensei Devil Survivor: Partway through the game, the heroes find a man named Honda and some survivors trying to escape the Tokyo Lockdown. They can escape with Honda, but a lightning storm will later kill everyone still trapped in Tokyo, and humanity will be subject to instrumentality.
- If you get killed in Arcanum of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, you're treated to the sight of your grave, complete with a dramatic chord played. If you ally with or get killed by the Final Boss, you get an "end of the world" scene instead.
- All the Geneforge games except the first give this for overuse of canisters. 1, 2, and 5 give it for Refusal of the Call, and 5 gives it if you render the game Unwinnable. There's also a "standard" one for just dying, but it's a single screen rather than the length of a normal ending.
- In Fallout and Fallout 2, the image of the player's skeleton set against the dead wasteland background is made worse by the narrator telling you just how many people were depending on you. This can be downright eerie if the death came unexpectedly (e.g., via radiation poisoning), because the shift from the gamescreen to the deathscreen is so goddamned sudden.
- That's not even the worst of it: if you betray the Vault's location to the mutant leaders, you are dipped in the FEV in a disturbing scene that contrasts the consensual nature of your turning. To add Nightmare Fuel to the fire, you then get a cutscene through the Vault's security cameras of the mutants storming the vault, having easily ripped the thick metal door off the hinges, blasting harmless civilians without provocation, and a drawn out Gatling Good battle with the Jerkass Overseer protecting the last uncontaminated humans the Unity seeks. With mutants falling left and right to the gunfire, there is a tiny glimmer of hope that he will succeed, which is then dashed as he is suddenly ambushed by supermutants climbing onto his command chair to deliver a vicious beating-to-death as the camera pans away to show only eerie shadows, before it fails entirely and goes dead. Game Over.
- If you say "Yes" to the Dragonlord in Dragon Quest... the screen goes immediately to black. Angry, angry, black. With red text. "Take a long, long, rest. HAHAHAHAHA..."
- In Baldur's Gate, when you die, it shows a hand (presumably the player) whose flesh is turned to dust and blown away, leaving only bones. (This is actually the Protagonist's essence going to fuel the resurrection of Bhaal.)
- In Final Fantasy X if you die whilst trying to rescue Yuna from the Al Bhed city, the last surviving character will let out a cry of "Yuna".
- The final fight against Sin. Failure to stop its Giga Graviton attack obliterates the airship and your party and possibly sets the area the fight took in into irreversible ruins since the attack can cause land masses to shift. Not even using your Aeons as a shield will stop this.
- In the sequel, failure during the Final Battle will result in the antagonist successfully firing Vegnagun, which shows a short cutscene of Spira being utterly destroyed from within.
- If you allow the birdbots to break through the gate to Nino Island in Mega Man Legends 2, the game will immediately switch to a cutscene where the mayor goes nuts and screams "NOOO! I'LL NEVER LET YOU HAVE THE KEY, NO! WE'LL TAKE YOU WITH US!!!" and then presses the Big Red Button, blowing up the island.
- Phantasy Star: Alis' hope cannot overcome the power of Lassic. The adventure is over.
- Eternal Sonata has a weird one: if the player loses to the final boss, Frederic Chopin, Chopin wakes up from his terminal illness in the real world. He closes his eyes again, though, and it's not certain whether he goes back to sleep or dies anyway.
- Saying Yes to the "Let's work together and take over the Earth" request from the final boss in Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door treats you to a short bunch of dialog boxes describing how you and the boss took over the world and darkness enveloped it forever. Then it shows the standard Game Over screen, depicting a dead Mario.
And so the Shadow Queen engulfed the world with her foul magic... For Mario... For Peach... And for the world, it was...
- In Jade Empire, the Big Bad Sun Li offers you to be remembered as a hero, if you surrender and let him kill you. If you accept, the game treats you to a Cutscene with him sitting on the throne and laughing.
- An interesting case occurs in Hammer & Sickle. If the player causes or fails to prevent World War 3, the game doesn't end right away. Instead, the player is given one more mission where you have to secure a bridge. Then the game ends, and you are shown a cutscene (with some authentic black-and-white footage mixed in) about the course of the war and how your characters died in it (most of them die heroically). The war ends in the Soviets capitulating after the US drops nukes on several major cities (Moscow is mentioned to have been saved by a Heroic Sacrifice of a fighter pilot).
- In Mass Effect 2, if you don't upgrade your ship, don't earn the loyalty of any of your teammates and stall before entering the Omega 4 Relay, everyone on the Normandy (except Joker) is killed during the final mission: your team members die in increasingly brutal deaths, the rest of the Normandy crew are liquefied and turned into fuel for a half-human prototype Reaper, and Shepard falls to his/her death after attempting to jump onto the ship during the endrun. Unbelievably, the ending keeps going, as Joker successfully pilots the Normandy out of the system (set to epic music), confronts the Illusive Man and looks out the window after reading the datapad on the Reaper fleet, completely unsure of what to do.
- It's better in the DLC "Arrival": if you screw around in the mission so you don't destroy the mass relay before the time given to you on the countdown is up, you're treated to the arrival of the Reapers and cutscenes showing just about everyone you know being indoctrinated/dragged off to be made into Reaper Chow.
- In Mother 3, normally, a Game Over screen is preceded by your party running out of HP, with the messages "[last surviving member] got hurt and collapsed... / The party was defeated..." But this isn't the only way. There's an enemy called the Ultimate Chimera, which appears in two sequences, that is outright impossible to battle; getting tagged by it causes the screen to turn sepia, which is then followed by a CHOMP! sound, implying a gruesome fate, followed by a Game Over.
- Also, in Osohe Castle, you progress through one area by knocking into a statue, forcing the ball on top to fall off, falling through the floor. If you knock into it from the side, it falls, though... SPLAT, Game Over.
- Die in Earthbound, and a mysterious voice comments that "you must have had your head handed to you" and asks if you want to retry from your last save. If you say no to that, it will ask if you're really sure. If you say yes, it tells you that it must've all been just a bad dream, and bids you farewell.
- Die in Shin Megami Tensei Strange Journey, and you're treated to a cutscene where the Schwarzwelt covers the entire globe, followed by the message "Mission Failed".
- In Live a Live, losing against a normal enemy leads to a short scene of someone reacting to your death and failure. In some scenarios, you get presented with another ending if you lose to one of the final bosses. A special mention goes to the final chapter, where losing to Odio means you get to see something similar to the alternate Armaggedon ending, but from the other characters' point of view. Playing AS Odio is two variations of this: Triggering the mentioned Armaggedon (from a menu command), or Oersted left to wander alone in an abandoned Lucretia forever.
- Boktai, a series created by Hideo Kojima of Metal Gear fame, also has several failures that cross onto nonstandard game overs. While monsters and bosses have no special game over screens, there is a chance for you to serve the Big Bad, embracing your vampirism and bringing about the end of the world. Then there's another time that you can be eaten by the Last boss and bring about the end of the world as well.
- Neverwinter Nights 2 has a different closing narration depending on various decisions you make throughout the game, especially regarding the King of Shadows. If you join him and kill the rest of your party, it talks about how a mysterious general led the forces of darkness against Neverwinter and a large swath of the Sword Coast descended into shadow.
- In Marvel Ultimate Alliance, after beating the game, Uatu the Watcher looks back at various plot points in the game which could have been failed or chosen differently without resulting in death: for instance, saving Nightcrawler or Jean Grey, and destroying Galactus's drills. Depending on how you chose, failed, or succeeded the Watcher will tell you how various factions were affected by your actions. if you saved Nightcrawler instead of Jean Grey, she comes back as the Phoenix to take revenge, whereas choosing Jean over Nightcrawler leads to his angry mother Mystique killing Professor Xavier, leading to the disbanding of the X-Men. If you didn't destroy Galactus' drills, he comes and uses them on the Earth.
- In Golden Sun, your main character is given the option of choosing to quest to save the world, or denying this responsibility. Should you choose the latter, and walk out of that building, the game informs you that you just doomed the world. Funny enough, this choice is presented within the first hour of the game, meaning you can literally beat an RPG within an hour. As long as you don't care for that 'saving the world' hullabaloo.
- Gets confusing when in the second game you learn that the Designated Villain is the good guys, and you being an Unwitting Pawn most of the game
- The exact words were "and the world drifted towards its fated destruction...". The world IS falling apart on its own, and if you don't go, the Designated Villain fails their mission to save the world. (You actually finish their mission after defeating them.)
- Gets confusing when in the second game you learn that the Designated Villain is the good guys, and you being an Unwitting Pawn most of the game
- Radiant Historia does this each time you make a poor decision.
- If an essential NPC dies in Morrowind: "With this character's death, the thread of prophecy is severed. Restore a saved game to restore the weave of fate, or persist in the doomed world you have created." The sequel, Oblivion, made essentials unkillable instead.
- In Recettear, failing to meet a payment deadline will result in a scene where Recette is kicked out of her house and laments having to now live in a cardboard box. However, your next attempt will start with Recette waking up on Day 2 and starting over, but still keeping all of her items from the previous attempt, making the next try easier.
- In Adventure Quest Worlds, if you betray Artix in the Doomwood Part 1 finale, you allow Vordred to become the Champion of Darkness without him having to slay Artix himself and he unleashes a Zombie Apocalypse on the world starting with turning you undead. After the credits roll and you go back to the starting section of the Vordredboss area, you unlock the Bad Ending shop which contains the Holey Warrior armor and the Backstab Blade sword. And to sum up this wonderful failure, here's what the Backstab Blade's item description has to say: "How could you? Artix was your friend. He trusted you! I hope you're happy now. Traitor."
- Paper Mario games have these as well. In The Thousand-Year Door, if you fall for Hooktail's promises of rewards in exchange for forgiveness, she will just bite you instead for five damage points.
- Also, if you answer no to Don Pianta's offers, his boys will come over and beat you up.
- At the end of the game, when the Shadow Queen asks you if you'd like to become her servant, agreeing to become so results in a tale being told that the world was shrouded in darkness forever, and as for Mario and friends, it was Game Over.
- In Super Paper Mario, refusing to go on the quest Merlon offers to you to defeat Count Bleck twice results in an early Game Over. And what's worse? Since you can't save at that point, it sends you back to the start of the game again.
- Also, near the end of said game, when Dimentio offers you a chance to join him in overthrowing Count Bleck and taking his place, agreeing to do so has you join his side and results in another Game Over.
- In Cybernator (Assault Suits Valken in Japan), allowing the asteroid colony to strike the Earth in a Colony Drop scenario or failing to destroy the enemy's reinforcement shuttle gets you a Downer Ending where the main character returns to find everyone on his ship dead and the war having degenerated into a bloody stalemate. It ends with a message basically telling you that you messed up, are stupid, and need to try again.
- Missile Command. Two words: THE END. The devs claimed that they actually gave themselves nightmares of nuclear armageddon with this screen.
- Homaged in this Flash short.
- Die in the first true final stage of Raiden Fighters Jet and it is implied that the right-wing terrorist group's stolen nuclear materials crater a city when you finish the next stage.
- In the unreleased beta of Star Fox 2, if Corneria takes too much damage from Andross's forces, the game ends with a cutscene showing his ships destroying the command center, complete with a voice sample of someone screaming "Emergency! Emergency!!" just before the whole thing gets nuked. Then you see Andross's ugly mug and in burning letters, CORNERIA FELL. The incidental music for that last screen makes it all the more depressing.
- Depleting the Dragoon's entire shield or failing to destroy all the Spark Bits in time during the final part of Galaxian^3 Project Dragoon results in a cinema sequence of the Cannon Seed firing and shattering Earth into fragments smaller than California. (Good luck, team.)
- And in the sequel, Attack of the Zolgear, failing to destroy the Zol Stone results in a cinema of the Dragoon J2 exploding inside Zolgear, and then the Earth being shattered into fragments smaller than California.
- Fail to defeat the Final Boss of Thunder Force V within the time limit, and The Guardian implores you to self-destruct your ship... oh wait, you can't, because your ship's systems are dying! Now history is forced to repeat itself and you are doomed to die of oxygen deprivation!
- R-Type Final gives a nightmarish Game Over music if you die with no more chance to continue, implying the ultimate doom for Earth.
- The R-Type series from Delta onward featured freakish failiure music.
- In A.S.P. Air Strike Patrol (A.K.A. Desert Fighter), if you fail the final mission in any way, you get treated to a nuclear holocaust. The ending monologue states the Earth is conquered by aliens soon after.
- In Novastorm, running out of lives shows a cutscene which progressively get longer depending on how far you are in the game, starting with your fighters being shot down, continuing with the destruction of your headquarters, and finishing with your home planet being blown up by a laser.
- The Sega Mega Drive/Genesis shooter "Death Duel's" Game Over screen had images of your mech's rusting remains lying in a scrapyard lorded over by some vaguely Death-like ominous figure. It then goes on to describe how "The Federation slowly collapsed" and "your rotting flesh shall serve as a reminder of the price of failure".
- Blazing Star: "You Fail It!...", if you run out of time during a boss fight.
- The extremely melodramatic failure messages from the Trauma Center series. The dev team tells you, roughly, "WELCOME TO CLINICAL DEPRESSION, MOTHERFUCKER!!".
- There is one logical exception - fail the bomb mission in the first game, and you just get an explosion, as Derek has been blown up into itty bitty bits.
- "That didn't help at all!"
- In New Blood, you must operate on a dog. Failing this operation gives you the same "Ashamed by their failure, the doctors left medicine forever..." Game Over screen, the same as if you'd failed to save any other (human) patient in the game, which is kind of taking it too far.
- Even worse in Trauma Team, where at the Game Over screen, you hear your doctor characters lamenting how life sucks, their ideals suck, and wondering why they even try.
- There is one exception, and it makes sense, as well. It's a simple medical examination. Failing it has the doctor basically go "well that was bad, let's go again".
- Even WORSE than the voice clip, failing Naomi's final mission has ROSALIA exclaiming in despair about how she wanted to help everyone.
- Every Wing Commander game has an ending depicting the results of losing the campaign.
- The losing ending of Wing Commander III shows the Kilrathi landing on a ruined Earth.
- In Wing Commander IV, if you fail during the final sequence (which is entirely conversational), you end up shown being put before a firing line, to be executed for treason.
- Fail several times in the first few mission sets, they'll show Blair back at the bar in Nephele after he's been booted from the service, watching a newscast of a declaration of war against the UBW.
- In Prophecy, the aliens end up destroying you, your carrier, and presumably the last hope of staving off the invasion.
- In the last level of Free Space 2, it doesn't matter if you successfully escape at the end. Most of the ending cutscene is the same, with the narration either mentioning your miraculous survival, or your outstanding sacrifice.
- Consciously averted by the 1980s geopolitical sim Balance Of Power.
You have ignited a nuclear war. And no, there is no animated display of a mushroom cloud with parts of bodies flying through the air. We do not reward failure.
- The Game Over screen of Theme Park for PC shows an office desk with a framed photograph of a happy family. In the reflection of the glass covering the photo, you see a silhouette of the theme park owner jumping out the window to their death because of their bankruptcy.
- Though he changes his mind and goes back up after a second or two. Still, this detail is easily missable, specially if you're trying to stomach the (up until then) disturbing sequence.
- The SNES and Genesis versions on the other hand had neither the storage space nor video decoding capability to include that clip, however. As a result, they used a still picture of the owner in mid-jump, making the implication even more disturbing than what PC players would have seen.
- Going bankrupt or otherwise losing in the Sim City-alike Constructor leads to a delightful CGI cutscene of the player character being buried alive.
- Aerobiz: If another airline beats you to achieving the scenario goal, you are treated to "scary-music" and screen-shots of a people pointing in terror as a huge, ghost-looking guy descends on your corporate HQ building. So the other airlines had an insidious plan to build a Humongous Mecha to unleash on your HQ after they won?
- This can be especially grinding if the AI only eked out a technical win while you were kicking everyone's ass in profits, total passenger counts and were a bigger airline when it happened.
- If you reach the end of the scenario and no one has reached the goals, you are treated to somber music and a screen-shot of a withered old man throwing flower petals onto the surface of a pond. Just as above, this occurs regardless of the actual situation in the game when the deadline hits.
- Losing a scenario in Railroad Tycoon 3 would trigger an FMV with the Railroad's former chairman (you) walking down the tracks as a hobo whilst a dialogue box suggested you try again.
- NBA Jam: Going for a dunk instead of a shot as time runs out in a quarter will have the announcer yell out: "BAD DECISION!"
- Die in Metal Gear Solid 2 Sons of Liberty, and you get the usual "Snake? SNAAAAAAAAKE!" or "Raiden/Jack, answer me!" messages. Die to Solidus Snake, on the other hand, and the Colonel AI laughs at you, and insults you on subsequent game overs.
- Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven, if Tesshu fails a mission, the camera pans down to reveal his now-severed head sitting on a post.
- Rule of Rose has a particularly nasty one, talking about just how miserably Jennifer died and how meaningless all her efforts were, ending with a mean-spirited and creepy narrated "And they all lived happily ever after."
- In Resident Evil 2, when you ran out of health, you had to sit through a small cut scene of your character being brutalised by the monster that killed you.
- In Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5 certain powerful enemies will trigger a special animation upon killing you, having you die in a special and usually brutal way rather than just collapsing from your injuries. These include being decapitated by chainsaw, devoured whole or dissolved by acidic vomit. If you die in the first chapter of Resident Evil 5 you get a special game over screen from the POV of your character as they are stomped, hacked and bludgeoned to death by the angry villagers.
- Dead Space had some of the most gruesome death scenes in gaming as you watched the monster destroy your hero. Which ONE? Oh, take your pick.
- Eternal Darkness has a stock message for 10 of its playable characters: "(Name) has perished at the hands of the Eternal Darkness. With no one to stop their diabolical plans, humanity will surely be annihilated." If you die as Pious, however, since he would otherwise become the villain, the game-over message just laments that he failed to fulfill his Emperor's command to find the artifact. And Anthony, thanks to his curse, can't even die until Paul gives him Last Rites.
- Alex gets an extra cutscene, though, if she dies during the final boss fight; Pious will spit on her corpse and gloat.
- In Second Sight, if you die in the playable Backstory, you see the main character in an interrogation cell, being coerced by the Big Bad in various ways. What he says varies depending on what level you were on and how you died. For example, if you die after finding an assault rifle and killing someone in the training level, he'll say "What made you think you could get away with just shooting people?"
- In Winback, if you take too long, the GULF Kill Sat fires again, and you get some sort of Downer Ending.
- In the Crusader series, if you get killed or take too much time in certain missions, you will get a video--usually a newscast saying that "Yeah, things are awesome now that those Rebels are all dead!", but a couple of times you get to watch people at your base being slaughtered.
- Oddworld - Abe's Oddysee; If you don't free at least 50 Mudokons, the game ends with the Big Bad dumping Abe into a meat grinder.
- It's a regular trend in the Oddworld series- in Abe's Exoddus, the "bad ending" shows Abe getting electrocuted to death, and in Munch's Oddysee, Abe gets ripped apart by the Fuzzles he failed to rescue, and Munch gets kidnapped by mad scientists who want his valuable lungs, and gets them surgically removed while he's still alive, complete with a shot of a heartbeat monitor beeping rapidly before flatlining.
- In the Metal Arms: Glitch in the System missions that take place in Droid Town, sidetracking too far will result in the Colonel calling you and warning you to turn back or else. If you continue anyway, then eventually he'll call you again and bash at you for your failure. This is followed by a cutscene of the Mils having taken control of Droid Town and massacring said droids, rendering wasted all of the effort put into the rebellion.
- Nanosaur: Since the plot of the game involves traveling back in time to right before the extinction of the Dinosaurs, you're being timed. And if the timer runs out - or you run out of lives, You get treated to this wonderful screen.
- While losing a fight is normally a minor setback in the Suikoden series (unless you lose one of the Stars in the process), losing certain battles in Suikoden V lead to alternate endings. For instance, lose your fight with Roy, and he gets to take your place just like he wanted... by pretending to be you while the Prince is comatose. Then he gets killed, the Godwins take over your stronghold, your forces scatter, and Sialeeds bitterly muses that it might be better if you never wake up.
- Even worse, earlier in the game, if you choose to go along with lord Barow's plan to become king, you will be treated with this very depressing scene.
- Another lovely one involves choosing to stay behind and defend the castle as Roy and losing to Childerich, wherein on losing, he slits Roy's throat and gives a disturbing, ranting order to kill everyone in sight to his men. Then there's a small portion where you control Kyle, where losing shows the two Knights you lost to asking why you couldn't have been on their side before leaving you for dead. Kyle's last words are an apology to the Prince and Princess.
- Star Wars Rebellion ended either with your forces destroying the enemy flag ship, or with a hostile fleet appearing next to your ship and shoting it to pieces.
- Super Robot Wars occasionally does this when you're on a level which would be the conclusion of a series with a Downer Ending like Baldios, Ideon, etc. They usually have some method to their madness, such as the Baldios ending being a re-enactment of the final scene in the series with a Tsunami wiping out all life on the planet.
- The 9th and 10th Fire Emblem games make the death quotes much darker than previous games. While not technically game overs, most people restart when met with one thanks to Perma Death.
Micaiah: I can't... Not when our goal...is still......so...far...... Sothe...
- In Star Control 2, if you don't blow up the Sa-Matra before the Kohr-Ah reach Earth, they kill everyone and then broadcast a message to you, telling you that you failed.
- The original X-COM: UFO Defence... if you failed - either by losing your last base, having your organization's funding withdrawn, or by getting wiped out during the final Mission to Mars - you got to see what happened to Earth as a result... humanity reduced to slaves of the alien invaders, slowly mutating into pitiable monsters due to the radiation and pollution leaking from the alien's colonies... the sun blackened by dark clouds... and stuff like that.
- In the PS 1 version of the game, you got to see the aliens burst in and murder the President while signing a peace treaty with the aliens.
- X-COM liked this trope. In Terror From the Deep,
CthulhuThe Great Alien awakens and destroys the world. In Apocalypse, the aliens pull Earth into another dimension.
- And that's the bad ending. The good ending in Apocalypse saves Earth, although Megaprimus lies half in ruins. In Terror From the Deep, you destroy the mothership of the abomination, which in turn poisons Earths atmosphere, makes a lot of people die and quite a lot of Earth uninhabitable. This in fact is the reason to build the megacities, like Megaprimus in Apocalypse. Also, your whole expedition dies on the ship. You know, the ones you trained for months, the ones you loved... just gone in an instant. Apparently, it wasn't received all that well, so both Apocalypse and Interceptor have much more positive good endings. And Interceptor? Well, if you fail, Earth is destroyed by a death star. If you manage to destroy the death star but not escape in time (or have your way home destroyed), you're dead along with your wingmen but hey, you saved the Earth so it's kind of victory, right?
- Fate Stay Night makes heavy use of these, usually through a first-person narration of your messy and painful death, or being trapped in a doll, or killing your emotions, all your enemies and a good number of your old allies (not to mention letting the girl you're falling in love with be killed by her own sister)...
- The one that probably fits the trope best is the infamous Mind of Steel ending where Shirou allows Sakura to be killed. Unlike the vast majority of bad endings, nothing really terrible happens to Shirou. Instead, Kotomine Kirei congratulates him, absolutely convinced that Shirou will now win the Grail War by any means necessary which will naturally include going after Tohsaka in the next five seconds and killing her as well as taking out Ilya, who Shirou has grown very close to. Because, as Kotomine notes, they can't really be trusted with the Grail anymore.
- In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice For All, there is a point near the end where screwing up will not cause you to just get a guilty verdict and Game Over, but instead a not guilty verdict for the oh-so-evil Engarde and Phoenix running screaming from the courtroom and quitting as a lawyer
- Unsure if it's the only case of non-standard Game Over, but in Apollo Justice, failing to get your last client a "not guilty" verdict means she dies in hospital mere hours later.
- Ace Attorney Investigations plays the trope straight: every single situation you could get a game over in has its own scene, ranging from Edgeworth being kicked off the investigation to the killer laughing in your face before walking away free to the wrong person being arrested.
- Strangely averted in Kanon: Succeed in a girl's scenario, and you get to find out all the horrible things that happen to her. Fail? "Every day is perfectly ordinary..." No mention of how badly you screwed up, other than Yuuichi's vague reference to his missing memories. However, he does acknowledge, if you fail late enough in their scenarios, that he never sees Ayu or Shiori again.
- Due to the structure of Remember 11, not only will the game go into great detail about your final moments of freezing to death (quite common in its Bad Ends), but when you try to take the other protagonist's route, you will usually catch his/her last moments as well floating over your corpse and summarizing what happened. This actually serves a useful purpose, since some of bad ends (especially Kokoro in Satoru's body eating and making his body suceptible to the effects of the MAOI) have the ending occur several days after the deciding choice, with the choice not being incredibly conspicuous. However, it's still really depressing.
- If you somehow manage to screw things up so badly in Act 1 of Katawa Shoujo that you fail to get on any girl's path, you are treated to a depressed Hisao, having nothing better to do, skipping the festival in favour of a "manly picnic" on the roof with crazy neighbour Kenji and a bottle of whiskey, during which he reflects on all his squandered opportunities. Then Hisao falls off the roof and dies.
- Didn't earn the love of a bird in Hatoful Boyfriend? Have fun when the sinister Hawk Party condemns the heroine's failure to mend human-bird relations and commences plans to exterminate humanity! Coffee, anyone?
- Failed to stop Carlito's bombs in the 7th Act of Dead Rising? Congratulations! You just destroyed every living (and nonliving) being inside the Willamette Mall, and also released the deadly virus that turns people into zombies upon America, if not the entire world, essentially dooming humanity. Way to go, champ. You deserve that Ending F.
- If you lose to the final boss of Prototype, you get an alternate ending showing New York getting nuked.
- God help you if you fail to catch the Briskster in Lego Island: You are treated to a vision of all of your island friends sitting around and weeping under the control of the Brickster. Good job, hero.
- Well, to be honest, The Brickster finds out that ruling everything isn't all that cracked up to be. Also, it IS LEGO so they would be able to reconstruct everything easily.
Infomaniac: Well it's not as bad as it looks. Well maybe it is. No, actually, you can just start again, or come back later if you want to! We'll be able to reconstruct. Err, maybe. Oh who am I kidding? Of course we can! We're the citizens of LEGO Island! So, start a new game, or exit through those doors, and come back when you want to visit again.
- Minecraft. Hardcore mode. Die and instead of the usual "You died! [Respawn] / [Title Menu]" screen, you get a message telling you that you cannot respawn, and you see only one button labeled "Delete world". The game technically doesn't delete your world upon death, as it's still there and you simply can't move anymore. No, it makes you activate the process of deleting your world.
- If a hardcore character dies in Terraria, you return to the world, where you died, as a ghost. You then get to look around the world your character is leaving behind before you exit, at which point the character gets deleted, and all the stuff dropped despawns when the world unloads.