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5 Times Games Let You Be An Absolute Scoundrel

3. Jade Empire: Against Their Will

Bioware again, those peddlers of RPG depravity, with Jade Empire. Released immediately after Knights of the Old Republic, Jade Empire eschewed the black and white morality of Star Wars’s light and dark sides, leading you into far murkier territory. Hence, some of the decisions you were able to make in Jade Empire were far from clear cut.

Jade Empire had you fighting the forces of a corrupt emperor in a pseudo-Chinese overworld. One of the Emperor’s key assets was Death’s Hand, an undead warrior bound to his cursed armour. Upon defeating him it’s revealed that he’s been under the direct control of the Emperor, unable to exert his own will. You were then given the choice to release his spirit or take control of him yourself.

The latter may have seemed like the straight-up evil option but if you received the game’s ‘good’ ending, it was revealed that Death’s Hand went onto redeem himself. While still clad in his armour, he went on to roam the land as a warrior of justice. Good for him!

But not so good for one or two of your other companions. They threw a spanner in the works by objecting when you seek to take control of the undead warrior. The only way to keep Death Hand’s in your service was to use your magical willpower to force them to comply. This act, despite its noble aims, had some truly hideous consequences.

While the game wasn’t entirely specific as to how this heinous act works, the jist of it was that your two companions become near-passengers in their own bodies, able to voice their loathing but incapable of acting against you. I tried to convince myself that, given the goal, my actions were just, but it didn’t work. I ended up using those two NPCs a lot less since I knew just how much hatred they harboured for me.

4. Undertale: Being the Bad Guy

Much as I love Undertale, the highly-acclaimed action RPG, I’ve never once been able to complete a genocide run. As grim as it sounds, a genocide run involves roaming through the game, slaughtering all the monsters you stumble across. That might not be such a big deal in more traditional RPGs, but the problem with Undertale is that the “monsters” are so damn likeable.

Undertale actually turns many video-game tropes on their head. Their virtual nature aside, the foes you encounter in many games are often so poorly realised that dispatching them feels entirely inconsequential. Yet in Undertale their appealing nature and fact that you’re an intruder in their domain makes you feel like an utter heel if you kill even one.

Continue along your murderous path and the game continues to make it clear just what a monster you’ve become. The normally non-hostile NPC characters start to clear out as they retreat from your wrath. I quit my genocide run after killing Papyrus, the game’s amiable skeleton warrior. Even at the last minute, he was convinced I would change my mind.

I didn’t and regretted my choice so much that, using a save game manager, erased all trace of my activities from my computer. Under normal circumstances, the game remembers your choices and will remind you of your crimes on subsequent playthroughs, even if you restart. When it became apparent that I was the bad guy, I just couldn’t go any further.

5: Disaster Report: Solo Escape

While the aforementioned choices may have been questionable at best, reprehensible at worst, the game that really drove home what a wretched individual I’d been was Disaster Report. Furthermore, it accomplished in this in the space of a mere five minutes.

Disaster Report, also known as SOS: The Final Escape, is an odd game. Originally a Japanese release, it was westernised by giving the bulk of the characters blond haircuts and is chock full of badly-voiced dialogue. You played an earthquake survivor, trapped on a man-made island that, while already heavily damaged, could sink beneath the waves.

Along the way, you encountered fellow survivors including Karen, who became a fast friend and accompanied you on your perilous journey. Played from beginning to end, the game was about five hours long. However, there was a way to “finish” it in under two hours, and it required you to be an irredeemable scumbag.

You made your way to a waterlogged park, marked as an evacuation point. Leaving Karen behind, you escorted one of the survivors to the rendezvous point, narrowly avoiding being crushed by a falling building. When you reached the rescue dinghy, the driver asked you one question.

“Are you alone?”

And so, curious as to what would happen, I answered in the affirmative. Moments later I was in the dinghy, being transported to safety, leaving Karen to die. It would have been less affecting if the game had chosen to focus in on Karen, still waiting. Instead, you were treated to a view of your character, sitting, head in their hands, as a speck appeared on the land behind you.

It was Karen.

Running, with no hope of catching up, you never saw her face, and as you sailed out of range, your last view was of Karen dropping to her knees in despair. I can only imagine what was going through her head, abandoned by the man who risked his life to rescue her.

Minutes later, I reloaded and reversed my decision. Yet still, it remains one of the most haunting and depressing moments in any game.

Those, then, are my less than honourable gaming moments. Has a game ever made you make a decision that left you feeling like the lowest of the low? Did you try to justify your decision, or just reload? Why not comment below?

Weekend Editor // Chris has been gaming since the days of the Acorn Electron, which was allegedly purchased to 'help him with his homework'. You can probably guess how well that went. He’ll tackle most genres – football titles aside – though he has a taste for games that that are post-apocalyptic, horror-oriented or thought provoking in nature.