What makes a great twist? For me it is being left open-mouthed by the sequence of events taking place. Being left conflicted emotionally by what transpires but grateful to have seen it & ultimately to have not seen it coming!
There isn’t as many as you think but when they work, oh man they work really well.
Stating the obvious here but this article is filled with some seriously big spoilers!
10 – Super Mario Brothers – What princess?
So you’ve battled your way to the castle, beaten the best Bowser has to offer & dunked him in the lava only to find…Toad waiting for you. He utters the immortal line & sends you off to the next set of levels. Each time you think this must be the castle with the princess in it; it turns out to be an imposter yet again! By world 5 you’re beginning to wonder if you’re actually ever going to reach her which of course you eventually do.
9 – Resident Evil – Stop laughing, Chris…
So the bleach blonde dude with sunglasses on while indoors turns out to be the villain of the piece. Probably should have seen that coming, right? Especially after Enrico says there is a traitor in the S.T.A.R.S. Let’s be honest we all suspected Barry didn’t we!? The reveal was the icing on the cake of the many surprises in Resident Evil. Those with a good eye could discover a secret set of slides that show a blonde-haired man as part of an Umbrella lab-team which dented its impact somewhat.
8 – Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty – Snake? Snnnnnnaaaaaaaake!?
No-one saw this coming did they? That you would only play as fan-favourite Solid Snake for the first hour of the game before stepping into the shoes of whiney man-child, Raiden? What a brave decision & what a way to do it with Snake going down with the sinking tanker at the hands of Revolver Ocelot & Metal Gear Ray. A landmark moment in the Metal Gear series.
7 – Braid – The princess is in another castle with a restraining order!?
Wow, Braids ending blew me away. You think you’re playing a sweet little game where our hero, Tim is desperately trying to save his love from the clutches of the evil knight. Using time manipulation to avoid the many obstacles placed in his way Tim finally catches up to the princess & it is revealed that she is actually running away from Tim! Yep, the knight is the dude she wants to be with & Tim is a creepy stalker! Seriously…
6 – Deadly Premonition – Do you see now, Zack?
Throughout the game we are told that York’s father killed his mother then himself & that he has shut-out most of the memories. That is the night Zach came to him & became his life-long companion. At the conclusion of the game we get to see the actual truth behind his parent’s death. Kaysen had implanted one of the trees in her stomach & she was begging her husband, York’s father, to kill her before it took hold. He can’t & she dies in great pain….consumed by grief & guilt his father then shoots himself in the head. A young Zach witnesses all of this & gets attacked by a furious Kaysen which causes Zach’s personality split, pushes York forward & Zach retreats to safety inside his own head. It is one of the most impactful scenes I have ever seen in gaming & left me gob-smacked…
5 – Final Fantasy 7 – He did what!?
I doubt there is anyone in gaming that isn’t aware of what takes place between Aeris & Sephiroth in FF7. In case you don’t….basically Sephiroth kills her in one of the most shocking scenes of any game ever. No-one expected it & Clouds reaction afterwards summed up gamers feelings in general, devastated. A master class in story-telling….
4 – Bioshock Infinite – There is always a city….
A lot happens at the end of Bioshock Infinite & it can be tough to keep up but the ultimate revelation comes with the realisation that Booker & Comstock are the same person but from alternative realities. Add that Elizabeth is Bookers daughter who he sold to Comstock from an alternative universe to pay off his debts & that there are an infinite number of variations (including Rapture being one) & you have one of the most accomplished angles ever seen in gaming. Truly amazing….
3 – Metal Gear Solid – Thank you, Snake….
The revelation that Liquid Snake had been pretending to be Master Miller all along comes directly after the realisation that Snake hasn’t shut down Metal Gear Rex in fact he has accidently powered it up. It was Liquid’s plan all along & as Master Miller was able to manipulate Snake into inadvertently helping the terrorists. One of many brilliant moments from the series but easily the one that stands out the most for me. Getting to destroy Rex & beat the shit out of Liquid afterwards was sweet revenge for the murder of Master Miller.
2 – Silent Hill 2 – Well that changes everything now doesn’t it?
Silent Hill 2 is a masterpiece of gaming horror telling a story that leaves you guessing to the final scenes. As James Sunderland you arrive at Silent Hill to find your wife. She sent him a letter asking him to meet her at their special place…only problem is that she’s been dead for years killed by a disease (possibly cancer but never confirmed). Arriving at the special place (hotel room) you find a working VCR & are able to play a earlier picked up tape. It reveals the truth…James killed his wife after tiring of looking after her in the hotel room with a pillow. Consumed by guilt this version of Silent Hill is his punishment.
This was a twist that changed how you looked at the game & a second play through revealed the true extent of James issues now you knew the truth.
1 – Bioshock – Would You Kindly….?
Easily the number 1 eye-opening moment for me in any game to date. The revelation that Atlas was actually Fontaine & that you were nothing more then a puppet controlled by the words “Would You Kindly?”. It destroyed any notion of free-will as a gamer & made you question your own level of involvement throughout. That Fontaine would then prove how much control he has over you by forcing you to kill Andrew Ryan while Ryan tries to make you break the control was amazing stuff & one that sits long in the memory….