How do you stop gamers from slipping into a catatonic stupor during those dreary endgame credits? Simple. Keep ‘em entertained. Here’s how it’s done…
Admit it. When the end credits roll you instinctively hit the skip button. And who can blame you? The sluggish crawl of scrolling text was never intended to set the heart pounding with excitement. Even the prospect of a ‘secret ending’ or an additional cut-scene is paltry reward for the tedious name checking you’re made to endure.
Developers have had to up their game to keep us entertained, in some cases eschewing the traditional credits-accompanied-by-music for an interactive mini-game. As a consequence of this dedication to detail, gamers have been blessed with some truly memorable end credits. Below are ten of the best.
Forget his Oscar nominated performance in The Wrestler. Mickey Rourke’s most memorable moment is to be found after completing Rogue Warrior. Composed entirely of phrases taken from in-game dialogue, Mr Rourke’s gruff voice lends itself surprisingly well to ambient rap. Typical line: ‘I’m over here fuck face/There’s gonna be fucking asses bleeding all over the place’. Genius.
Click here to hear Rourke swear some more
Zelda: A Link To The Past
Those beautiful 8-bit synths never fail to send a prickle up the spine. Only those with the hardest of hearts remained dry-eyed as the camera panned over the eclectic cast of characters encountered on Link’s epic quest to secure the Triforce and restore peace to Hyrule. Nintendo, always keen to imbue their core titles with a sense of familiarity and history, used A Link To The Past to establish the musical core of the Zelda series. While the very first Zelda game originated the "Hyrule Overture", many recurring motifs of the Zelda scores come from A Link to the Past.
Click here for a potent dose of nostalgia
Ah yes, the undisputed king of the end credit mini-game. Crazier than The Priory at full capacity, Damacy’s success is a load of balls. Big sticky balls to be exact; or to give them their technical name, Katamari. The aim of the game? To roll your adhesive orb over every object in your path, thus creating a chaotic ball of bric-a-brac. Yup, it’s as mental as it sounds; more so when you factor in the high-octane Japanese-pop soundtrack. I've chosen Katarmari Damacy’s end credit mini-game for this top ten because it takes ball rolling to its ludicrous conclusion.
Click here to let a little sunshine into your life
Snooty film critic Roger Ebert dismissed Flower as nothing more than a glorified ‘greeting card’. If the sour-faced curmudgeon had actually played the game he so confidently criticized, his views may have been given some credence. Thankfully Ebert’s poisonous drivel has had no impact on the game’s deserving success. For the uninitiated Flower uses the PS3’s Sixaxis motion control to guide an airborne petal through the fledgling fauna that grows on the game’s beautiful grassy vistas. The interactive end credits are simply a seamless continuation of the game. Perfect.
Click here if you want to feed the troll
It’s fun to blow shit up, right? It’s a sentiment that developer Twisted Pixel has taken to heart. ‘Splosion man, the game’s endearingly psychotic hero, has but one ability at his command: the power to explode at will. Chasing down evil scientists and turning them into sizzling hunks of charred meat is just one of the game’s many twisted charms. Despite the game’s ludicrously simple one-button control set up, ‘Splosion Mab is a rock hard platformer. And that self-canabalising end-boss is a quite simply a total bastard. It’s only fair then that we’re rewarded with such a barmy end credit video.
Click here to see what really makes 'Splosion Man blow his load
Silent Hill 2
Cor blimey. You really have to hand it to the Silent Hill team. They come up with the most out-there shit on both ends of the spectrum. True masters of the bizarre. To unlock the legendary ‘Dog ending’ players are required to play through the game a patience-shredding three times, while snagging specific items in the process. Those who took up the challenge were rewarded with what is surely the most unexpected conclusion in videogame history.
Click here for Maria’s celebrity doppelganger
Any song that contains the line “God power keeps my pimp hand strong” automatically qualifies for this list. God Hand was directed by celebrated Resident Evil designer Shinji Mikami, which would explain the game’s inelegant controls, likened by one reviewer to a “Sherman tank trying to manoeuvre through San Francisco's twisty Lombard Street”. Despite the criticism, the game gained a cult following for its hardcore sensibilities and intentionally cheesy script. Oh yes, and that ending.
Click here for God Hand’s wince-inducing poster
How do you end one of the most unique games of 2007? Well, in Portal’s case with a song; a pitch black ditty as sinister as it’s funny. Sung by GLaDOS, Portal’s ominous, disembodied, antagonist, the hard part for developers Valve was finding someone who shared an affinity with psychotic robo-women to write the lyrics. Step forward Jonathon Coulton the lunatic genius who penned the words to Still Alive. When asked why he was the man for the job JC said, ‘I generally write about misunderstood monsters anyway, so it wasn't that much of a stretch for me to channel GLaDOS’.
Click here for an exclusive interview with Jon Coulton
You Have To Burn The Rope
Despite the game lasting approximately 40 seconds, Burn The Rope was a finalist for the Innovation Award at the 2009 Independent Games Festival. With tongue firmly in cheek, Joystiq praised the game for its "stunning character design and addictive gameplay". The true star of the show is, of course, the sublime end credit song, surely the ultimate feel-good finale. Altogether now, ‘you burned the rope and saved us all!’
Click here to burn the rope
A suitably epic end credit song performed by a band called Faunts. The catchily-titled M4 Part II was originally released as a five song EP in 2007 and was only available via a digital download service. If you’ve ever wondered what Part I sounds like, click here – a word of warning though: the track is even longer than its follow-up at over 9 minutes, and that wonderful riff doesn’t kick in until 3.05.
Click here for the original crab-themed music video