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Game Endings. The R4wk, The S4wk, And How It Can Work...
I know this has been done occasionally in the past, but witnessing Quake through for a first time in a while, including the truly lame ending (nice map, nice monsters, pity about the tiresome and unexciting puzzle to complete it), got me thinking again.

I reckon you can categorise endings in a few clear ways:

- Those which really s4wk because they're an anti-climax and there's some lame trick (Quake, FAKK2).

- Those which fairly s4wk because there's a boss combat that's generally frustrating (Half-Life, Undying)

- Those which are okay-reasonable because there's a fairly fun boss combat (Quake2, RTCW).

- Those which are pretty decent because there's some unusual or fairly dramatic ending, with or without combat, that's a fitting finale (Deus Ex, Halo).

Then, in theory:

- Those which are good because of a genuinely exciting boss / monster combat - ???

- Those which are good because of a combination of a good combat and good finale situation - ???

So, what I'm interested in is:

What examples are there of really good game endings??

What makes up a game ending - what role should combat play, what role should the general set-up / events play??

What hope is there for game endings in the future particularly with the cinematic trend??

Can boss combats be really fun??

What do you mappers do to make your map endings good and is there any analogy to game endings??
Hmmm This Is Good 
Extremely bad ending: Star Trek: Elite Force. Everything about the ending of that game was bad. The end level was bad. The boss was HORRIBLE. It was extremely easy, boring, uninspired, tedious, etc etc. The ending cinematic or whatever it was made me cry it was so stupid, cheesy, lame, etc etc. I would make a new category before "really S4WK" for this game.

Boss combat can be fun, boss combats should be important/climactic, and it should be epic. Elite Force battle was not epic. Alice boss battle was semi-ok, but made no sense to me whatsoever. Out of nowhere the Queen turned into some giant wierd monster, and you had to hop on platforms which got annoying. If it's a "puzzle" combat, it should be obvious what to do, not frustrating. I also like combats that make sense. For whatever reason Cthon had electric prongs in his lair which were perfect for killing him. That reason escapes me. So to not really answer your questions, there are more games have bad bosses/endings than games that have good bosses/endings. 
Enclave! 
Great game, good ending! 
Q2 
You can't honestly tell me you liked the Q2 ending? It was incredibly weak - I beat that boss very quickly indeed, complete anti-climax.

I know it's cliched, but the Zer ending is still the best ending of any game I've seen. 
Stuff Stuff 
LTH, I think the Zer ending was fairly original for its time. The OUM ending on the other hand.... :)

I agree that Q2's ending sucked but by then I was just so happy the game was over that I would have been happy with almost anything. :P

And uh.... am I the only person who liked the ending of Q1? Here you are slaughtering your way through the cave and you come face to face with the big bloated evil thing that just sent you slogging through four levels of hell and you kill it with a TELEFRAG and an AXE!! The two most humiliating ways to die in an FPS game!! I thought that was a nice twist at the end of the whole game because I didn't think of it as the boss being weak. I thought of it as US (beat it on coop the first time) having grown so strong after all that quaking that we could smack shub around like a bitch without even thinking about it. 
 
That's another thing: Games are meant to be played, that's where the fun is. Sometimes playing the game is the fun part, whether the ending sucks or not. The ending of Quake I thought was a letdown, but I had a blast playing through it. 
Oh Yeah... 
Both games in the Serious Sam series have really fun boss/miniboss combats, but simply terrible ending sequences. :) 
Great Endings 
FallOut -- Combat increases in intensity with a subtle upgrade in the scaling of it. It isn't repetitive, the challenge just keeps notching up better and better.

Ultima 6 -- It gives a real sense of exploration in the end game -- you speak to a gallery of enemies that have fallen at your feet. This almost makes up for the New Age bullshit that comprises the codex you open up.

Max Payne 2 -- I shouldn't give away the ending since there are those who haven't played it so this could come as a spoiler. After some very well crafted levels, the end game of dispensing with the primary villian by shooting out structural supports as he lobs dyamite at you is a bit lame because like a lot of badly done end games it becomes hellishly repetitive.

Max Payne -- Inner Peace Through Superior Fire Power -- Take that Garriot! 
Max Payne 2 
Was a great movie/comic book, but as far as games go, 2 hours worth of play time is NOT worth $50, not matter how cool bullet time is. 
Good Game Endings 
I liked the end to avp2 marine mission, made sense, genuinely fun.

Also liked SS1 end, great boss.

Only other ending I've cared for was for NOLF2, vaired tactics can be employed and it's reasonably challenging. 
BTW Nitin 
Those textures in the NOLF2 subbase looked EvilLairish don't you think? I had an odd sense of familiarity when I played that section. 
Good And Bad Examples 
Red Faction. The endgame wore you down with heavy enemies up to the endboss arena. Despite making it this far in the game playing fair, I had to use cheats or I would never have been able to kill the boss. After the boss there was a memory puzzle required to complete the game and see the end sequence which was good for closing the story. The puzzle was kind of annoying because by now, I just wanted to be done with it and it involved keyboard and mouse mashing that is nothing like the actual game controls.

With the exception of Duriel (2nd Boss), I actually had some fun killing each of the bosses in Diablo 2.

UT endboss. I made it all the way through the game and was able to beat the boss but it was quite challenging. It felt tough but fair.

In general, I don't like boss battles but it is possible for them to be somewhat fun. I actually liked taking out Max is Nehahra but Nehahra itself (the big lizard) was very tedious.

Undying boss sucked but the siblings weren't too bad although it could get tedious trying not to die and figure out the tricks for each.

I think Deus Ex was one of my favorite endgames (I played all three.) The lack of a boss contributed to that.

I have encountered bosses in user mods (especially Half-Life) that took away my guilt for using cheats. One mod is Sweet Half-Life, the other is the third They Hunger. Some mods make you wonder if the Beta testers were too proud to admit that the boss is too hard - for Normal skill.

Must be age catching up to me... 
Siphon Filter 2 End Game 
Intellligently done. Enemy's armor is nearly invulnerable so you push her into the blades of a heliocopter. Kind of a sweet kill.

NOLF had the same problem as Return of the King -- too many endings. At least four bosses in a row. It should of made the Valkyrie scene the end game. That was trippy.

NOLF was great to play overall, but NOLF2 wasnt even close. It didn't have the same spunky characters (except for the French Mime). The Japanese Sword Fighter had all the personality of a block of tofu, but I digress into OffTopic land. 
Metal Gear Solid 2 Endgame 
I am tired so I don't remember it very vividly, but the endgame to mgs2 was magnificent. Snake (main character) enters a level where the 3d graphics are designed to convey a sort of mixing of digital technology and normal reality... floors start to become transparent and Snake's various radio gadgetry starts to fizzle out, and as a player you start to wonder if something is wrong with your playstation2! Then you have to fight a couple of traditional end bosses that are just bitches to kill; you learn their moves and then defeat them with a bit of luck, living with 1hp left. After you beat the last boss, there is a number of long cutscenes that tie up the plot, and then play jazz music to a movie that is philosophical and reflective about the world. By this time you're feeling pretty "in to" the game so this sort of sentimentality is definitely excusable. I was enthralled with the story, so the endgame having alot of satisfying movie sequences was very, very nice. 
<-- 
While I found the end level idiotically hard (those goddamn herds of werebull - AAARGH!!) the best part was seeing the big bad boss first appear, towering over the pylons and other buildings.

But I'm dead sure he shrank by the time of the endgame bit.

(Which was pretty much Cthon warmed over, 'cept you can shoot the prick this time.) 
MGS2 Ending 
I would have to agree with Intertia on that one. While your fighting those sword/gun army type guys towards the end, the screen gets crazy and it appears as if you had died, but you can continue to play. I was so confused but it made so much sense as you get closer to the ending. Also ***spoiler*** I actually felt an emotional attachment to Fortune at the end, more so than Ryaden (sp) and maybe Snake too. Then the final battle outside of the sub, in Manhatten (spelling) was awesome. Anyways quailty ending. Just can't be bothered to play through it again unfortantly. 
Replies... 
Elite Force - can't remember but it obviously didn't impress me. Oh wait, was it some shitty arena with a glass dome roof??

Quake 2 - I think Quake 2 is fairly good FOR THE ERA OF THE GAME since it had a proper combat, fair arena to play in, and a surprise extra combat. Yes it was very easy if you'd whored power-ups, but at least it was enjoyable rather than frustrating.

Zer - very good. Falls under "Those which are pretty decent because there's some unusual or fairly dramatic ending".

Quake - Fern, I do see where you are coming from here. In fact that's a good perspective on it. But even so the main issue remains is that it is puzzle dependent, potentially very tedious and frustrating (I wonder how many people had FUN playing that and working it out??), and out of character with the game.

AVP2 Marine - yeah pretty cool from what I remember. Fitted in well.

UT - gave up and used cheats. Too hard and boring.

SO....

What does this tell us about game endings?? What works and what doesn't??

It seems so far that some interesting or unusual cinematic is definitely good. But as for the actual combat....hmmm... 
P.S. 
Zwiffle, if Max Payne 2 is a 2 hour game, I will personally cut my dome off and post a webcam of me eating it live on #terrafusion. The demo itself took me at least an hour (and no, that wasn't dying repeatedly).

Time for a new thread. 
Huh 
where was the surprise extra combat in quake 2? I just kept shooting things until I saw a thing that was bigger than the other things and kept shooting that thing until it died. maybe I should play the game again. 
Fern: 
Doh. You kill what looks like the Makron but is actually Jorg, then the Makron itself jumps out.

Remember this is Quake2, in 1997/8 or whenever it was. Judging it by the standards of SS2 or Deus Ex or a modern game is futile. 
Max Payne 2 
was most definitely a two hour GAME. If you count movie clips and/or comics, then extend the "game" by 4 or so hours. Cut that shit out, 2 hours game play, maybe 2 1/2, max.

Get it? Max? Fine FUCK YOU then. You don't know funny. 
Shambler: 
SS2 had a far more tedious and anticlimactic endgame than Q1 or Q2 :] 
Assuming You Meant SShock2 
and now Ssam2 
I Can't Type 
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FERN MAKES TYPO IN FUNC_MSGBOARD SHOCKER 
Hrm... 
Don't think anyone said FPS only, so...

Project Gotham 2 - As the end approaches, you have a number of races on short sections of the final 'boss track'. Eventually you complete them all and get to race on the entire thing - a marathon easily three times longer than any other race. Very satisfying. 
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