Two words that signify that you're a failure at video games and should pick up a hobby where you won't suck so much. Well, that's one way to look at it. But the Game Over screen can also be viewed as a means to spur you on to do better.
Welcome to Game Over, an on-going feature where we take a look at the numerous screens that show you've reached the end of the line. You might find some of these to be humorous while others can be quite unsettling.
Strider Returns (GEN)
When you lose your last life in Strider Returns, you get far more than those two famous words. The man under the big bad shows up and starts talking trash. After sending you to Hell, you then get to see what appears to be Strider's lover, battered and broken, telling Strider to live for her. Pretty sure they don't do too much living down in Hell, so I don't think he's gonna be able to fulfill that request. Strider Returns isn't the best outing of one gaming's greatest ninjas. It wasn't even made by Capcom but that Game Over really, really stings. I don't think failure has even been rubbed in one's face so much. This is really one of those things that has to be seen so you can view it here.
Final Fight (Multi)
In order for arcade cabinets to make a hefty chunk of change, they had to make the games punishing and Final Fight was no exception. The original arcade version can surround the heroes with up to eight Mad Gear flunkies at once, even with a second player on the screen, meaning you'll be seeing much of that Game Over screen. And man, is it a dozy. Something about seeing your character tied up, tying desperately to blow out a stick of dynamite is enough to make you as frantic as they are. These days, having Guy, Cody and Haggar get blown to bits is an easy enough fate to avoid since most emulated versions give you unlimited continues. But if you played a stand up arcade and were out of quarters or your folks were heartless, then having Jessica's would-be saviors die a horrible death probably kept you awake at night.
Alfred Chicken (Multi)
At the continue screen, Alfred takes a nap on, of all things, a bomb. Rather than die in his sleep, he wakes up just before the bomb explodes. At the game over screen, we can see that he's been cooked. What did you think the bad guys were gonna do with him? He is a chicken, after all and even baddies gotta eat.
Donkey Kong Country (SNES)
Often times we see our protagonists die by fire, spikes, getting crushed and countless other means. Seldom do we get to see their crushed spirits after taking a beating. This isn't the case in the original Donkey Kong Country. Donkey and Diddy Kong look like they've been put through the ringer. Diddy has one nasty black eye and Donkey Kong's face palm shows that he's clearly had enough. Never have I seen a pair so completely and utterly defeated.
Ninja Giaden (ARC)
Most people are familiar with the ninja exploits of Ryu Hyabusa through the NES trilogy and his Xbox revival in 2005. But there's actually an arcade version of Ninja Gaiden and it's game over screen is enough to produce nightmare fuel. Ryu is tied down with a buzz saw descending towards his chest, all the while his enemies watch for their entertainment. When the countdown reaches zero? Fade to red as Ryu lets out a scream. Three words: scared for life.