Top 8 “Gotcha!” Moments in Gaming

We look back on the top 8 twists in gaming that subverted expectations, infuriated, or just plain shocked us.

Posted By | On 05th, Sep. 2012 Under Feature

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Video games may not be movies, but that doesn’t mean designers are above donning the M. Night Shyamalan cap and yelling “What a twist!” at opportune moments. We’ve compiled our top 8 “gotcha!” moments in gaming. Some were good, some bad but all inevitably became pivotal in changing the way we looked at or played a game. Some of them outright shocked us, while others subverted our expectations of the game completely. Nonetheless, they won’t be forgotten – nor will the obviously smug developers behind them. And yes, spoilers ahead.

8. Inversion: Nothing You Did Mattered!

Inversion follows two cops trying to stop some other-wordly dudes from doing something or the other involving gravity and guns. But the main character Davis, like us, didn’t care about that crap. After the death of his wife, he simply wanted to find his daughter, whom he still believed to be alive. Unfortunately not only did Davis not survive the final battle but his partner Leo reveals the truth at the end. While Davis was mourning the loss of his wife, Leo did some snooping around the apartment and found Davis’s daughter crushed by rubble. He didn’t tell Davis however, believing that she deserved avenging more than anything. In a game that tried to beat us over the head with fantastical reveals and ho-hum confrontations, this one tragedy stuck out the most.

7. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Goes Ground Zero

It’s not the first time that a protagonist has died in a game. But for reasons we can’t fathom, it’s been a while since we recalled any other popular first person shooter that killed off it’s player character. Now, Call of Duty 4 had two protagonists, who’s perspective you shifted between throughout the game. But the way our marine went out was nothing short of shock and awe: A nuclear explosion. That our guy survived the helicopter crash but eventually died from the radiation, crawling out of the wreckage to see his entire team laid to waste, was nothing short of horrifying.

6. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night Introduces Alucard

The game begins simply as you, Richter Belmont, walk into Dracula’s castle and get all up in his business. Ignore for a moment that he looks like Bob Hope (trust us), and something odd happens. Suddenly, it’s 5 years later and you’re playing as Alucard, Dracula’s son. Considering that this goes against the entire process of having a Belmont as the protagonist of every Castlevania game, it was quite a shock at the time. We later learned that Richter was the protagonist of Rondo of Blood (also known as Dracula X) and the beginning of the game was actually the concluding moments of the former. Rondo of Blood only saw NA and EU release via virtual console nearly 17 years after it’s initial launch.

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  • Hdr

    Really? No mention of Knights of the Old Republic moment when it turns out you are Revan?

    • JuicieJ

      Forget that. What about Sheik being Zelda in Ocarina of Time?

    • Bob

      I say Sheik coming. I thought it was way too obvious. KOTOR’s plot twist is the biggest twist of any game I’ve ever played (at least I can’t think of one bigger right now). What I don’t get is why Mario is on there. That’s stupid. This list is fail.

    • Klemen

      You should play Ghost Trick then. The twist where it’s revelaed who you actually are is so sudden and shocking, I took a pause just starring at my screen for a minute before they actually explain it. I believe you can get the HD version on the Apple Store.

  • Yeah KOTOR had a great moment. It definitely was a gotcha moment.

  • KeraHinterland

    Nothing on SH:SM?! Ugh, how was that ending not a plot twist? Sure, you knew Harry was dead, but to know that you played as Cheryl when dealing with Doctor K? Come on, man…

  • COD going ground zero was pretty awesome. I know some of my friends have wanted to do a COD based Airsoft game. That would be pretty awesom i am sure we can gear up for it here

  • joyofsteak

    the monster from amnesa that you refer to as the shadow is really one of the servant grunts

  • Kane

    For Amnesia, that’s not the shadow. That was one of alexander’s servants, the shadow is the thing that ends up ripping them to shreds. Far scarier.

    • BanzaiKen

      Yeah, you meet the Shadow VERY early in the game, extraordinarily early, it’s just you have no clue what The Shadow actually is.

  • gentlejerkwad

    no bioshock?

  • What about Silent Hill when you find out that everything you’re seeing is the result of a guilt-trip hallucination from killing your wife?

  • BtoT

    I think the first Mass Effect should be here due to these impressive twists (SPOILERS);
    -Saren is not the true villain. His giant starship Sovereign is alive and it’s the true villian, the mastermind behind ushering in the Reaper invasion (also Sovereign itself is a Reaper)
    -The Mass Relays and the Citadel weren’t built by the protheans, but by the Reapers as part of a complex, brilliant trap to help them wipe out galactic civilisation every 50,000 years.

  • I thought inFamous had a pretty good plot twits/gotcha moment!

  • Yuki

    What about Bioshock? That shit was twist after twist D:

  • habedagess

    Xenogears , One of the main villains is the protagonist
    silent hill downpour and the very first instalment also had a great twist

    …aaaand resident evil 6…no just kidding

  • sasdadad

    what about ghost and goblins?

  • I seriously hope nobody got paid for writing this article.

  • Braid? Bioshock? Silent Hill 2? Assasins Creed 2?

  • Axelu

    No Etrnal Darkness’ Blue Screen of Troll?!

  • John Sullivan

    Uhhhh, the revelation of the inverted castle in SotN was a far bigger reveal than the beginning with Richter was I would say. And Richter looks like Bob Hope? What? If you actually meant that Dracula looks like Vincent Price, then I can agree with you.


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