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Atari 7800 Endings Ranked

For years, Atari was synonymous with the term "easy to play, difficult to master". A vast majority of titles were score based, and no matter how well you did: imminent demise was your name. You "beat" the game by getting the top score at your local arcade. Fair enough. However, gamers' tastes changed over time. WE WANTED TO WIN! Ya know: Save the princess, kill the dragon, emote over that kid in Fortnite and wreck his self esteem for lyfe, dammit. So eventually, games started to have endings. The Atari 7800 was the first Atari console that regularly featured endings, and with homebrews added, there's quite a little collection of beatable games. HOWEVER... most of the 7800's endings leave a lot to be desired. 7800 games are hard to beat, so Atarians deserved better. Shame. Here, I will rank the endings of the all beatable Atari 7800 games and give you my quick thoughts on them.

1) Rikki & Vikki (5.0)
Rikki & Vikki is such an odd game. It came out of nowhere and blew everyone away. It doesn't look like an Atari 7800 game at all. It looks like a high end NES title or a low end Genesis game, so there is no surprise that this title has two excellent cinematic endings. The problem is, after you spend to 2 to 3 hours beating the game on one player mode, you are treated to a trick ending that mocks you for playing alone. THANKS AHOLES, I HAVE NO FRIENDS! THATS WHY I PLAY VIDEO GAMES. To see the desirable ending, you need to play with a second player. To add insult to injury, the game is much harder as a 2 player game and the puzzles are even different. This game has no saves, so everything has to be done in one play through. NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT. But, if you are a video game bad ass with a nerd buddy and 3 hours of time, you get to see the best ending in the system library if you are good enough to beat this great game. Good luck! FYI: This screen is from the bad, one player win. It features full cinematic movement, confusion, and tears.

2) Fatal Run (4.0)
Fatal Run has the best official licensed ending by a mile. Its a long game, and the launching of the missile that releases the vaccine into the atmosphere is a deserved treat for anyone who makes it to the end. Wait... You don't wanna beat the game to see it? You are a lazy SOB, ain't ya? Well... enter ATOMIC on the Passwords screen and you get to see it for free. Don't tell anyone I told you that. A jingle plays, and takes you to a useless top score screen, because no one in history played that damn long game 10 times in a row to fill up that high score screen. Whaddyadoin'

3) Dragon's Descent (4.0)
In this spry little homebrew that mixes arcade speeds and adventure game needs, those who defeat the big fugly dragon head at the end of level seven get treated to a spastic cavalcade of colors, similar, but not quite as rambunctious as Karateka's ending. After the orgy of rainbow colors, we get to see a cinematic "cast" rundown of the bad guys, where we learn that the spinning loaf of bread is called a "Janus Guard". You can't spell Janus Guard without Anus, kids. All jokes aside... not a bad little ending for a good little game.

4) Wizard's Dungeon (4.0)
After you defeat your wizard master and clean out his private stash of loot, you are treated to a congratulatory screen that runs down the stats for the game. It will display how many of each monster you have destroyed, how many types of treasures you collected, how many rooms you have visited, etc. You can then enter your initials and see where you rank on the score list. I got archmage the second time I played it. Impressed???

5) Alien Brigade (3.5)
This turns out to be one of the better endings in the library. I know... we are dropping in quality fast. Your desk jockey CO with the Freddy Mercury mustache tells you that you did well (duh) and tries to get you to buy Planet Smashers. Then, there's a silhouette of you looking blankly at the horizon... wondering why you need to buy that game since you just killed the mother alien.

6) Double Dragon (3.5)
In the sexiest ending in the library, your girl plops down from being tied to the ceiling by a rope. Hey... how did she do that? She then sashays over for a make out. A giant heart floats to the heavens, and the game wishes "May You Live Happily Forever" Credits roll over the theme music as we fade to black... because they be knockin' boots, ya know?

7) Bentley Bear's Crystal Quest (3.0)
Bentley Bear has a ton of nice touches, so its a little disappointing that Bentley just returns to his home, throws up all of the Red Crystals he just recaptured in the air, and then goes to bed. Well... he's tired. Also, Bentley may just be a bear... but he's a special bear. He should invest in a nice bungalow outside of the city. The cave is a bit homely.

8) Meltdown (3.0)
This game has two endings, a good ending a bad one. In line with Atari 7800 quirkiness, the bad ending is cooler. We are treated to an 8 bit nuclear meltdown. Both endings feature the skyline of a nuclear reactor. The good ending plays a weird tune and gives us a congratulatory message that features the name of the game animated and presented extremely dramatically. That's marketing, bro

9) F-18 Hornet (3.0)
Everyone knows I hate the 7800 flight simulators, but successfully landing the jet on the runway is exhilarating. The graphics scroll nicely and when you victoriously land, you can have a real accomplished feeling... you know... if you are a dork. The screen switches to a large map of the world and the game ranks your performance kinda like the Atari 2600 game, Star Raiders does. There is no celebratory music but the ending is still pretty nifty.

10) Scrapyard Dog (3.0)
There's actually three endings to this game, all revolving around a slow news day at the paper. The headlines read "Scraps Saved!" "Scraps Lost!" and "Scraps Sawed". Scraps Sawed......... Yes... a children's video game can end with a puppy being sawed in half if you don't solve Mr. Big's self indulgent, dumb, sliding puzzle at the end of the game in time. Weird tip man, weird tip. As morbid as this can be, the newspaper endings are a nice deviation from the norm.

11) Pac Man Collection XM - 40th Anniversary Edition (3.0)
Bob Decrescenzo is a nice, humble man. He is better known as Pac Man Plus and he makes a bunch of funktastic Atari 7800 Homebrews. In his own sly way, Bob knows he is a badass, too. Check out what he says about the ending he put in all games included in his newest homebrew: "So, I wanted to do something special for the 255th level instead of just a split screen. Being that I have a feeling most people won't see this for themselves, here is (a video) of what happens when you reach the 255th level on any of the games in this collection:" Did you pick up on that? LOL. Anyways, he posted a link to the video at Atari Age showing this: First, the clapboard says the end, and then Pac-Man and wife come out, turn to you, wave (they have hands???) and walk off into the sunset together. Cute. But after 255 levels, we deserve gold trophies covered in pizza. Bob also noted that this is the same ending to the Sega Genesis version of the game after level 32.

12) Knight Guy in a low res world Castle Days (3.0)
Knight Guy is a great game with a bunch of nice touches, but the ending is a tad disappointing. It plays the same jingle you have heard several times in the game when you unlock a door, and features you and the pet you decided to save deep in intimate conversation. It shows your remaining time, how many secrets you have discovered and how many lives you have remaining. The dog and cat are cute enough to rank this ending higher than several similiar endings in the 3.0 range.

13) Planet Smashers (3.0)
This game features a good and bad ending depending on whether or not you beat the last boss or you fail in your quest. On the good ending, you are quickly told to buy Alien Brigade... Wait... I thought we just blew up the mothership? You see a beautiful blue and green earth just being all pretty and sheee. But, if you accidentally hit the fire button you will skip the end game graphics and message. THAT SUCKS AND IVE DONE IT MORE THAN ONCE. Like Meltdown, the bad ending is better because you get to see the world start to blow up. I don't want that to really happen... but that is cool to see.

12) Ikari Warriors (3.0)
The ending to Ikari Warriors is very odd. You rush into the place where the Colonel is being held captive, but the guy is like 6 stories tall. Is he a genetic freak? Wait... are we a little person? Wait... is he a monster? Did they do experiments on him and turned him into a giant? And he's green. Why did this guy need our help? He could have torn the place apart. Anyways... you get a message about what a sweet boy you are, a million point bonus and a jingle. Not too shabby.

14) Ninja Golf (3.0)
After the dragon at the 9th hole slinks off in humbling defeat, you are treated to your golf score and a message stating that you are now a Master Ninja. The Dragon head looks really great, but the playing of the Marine's Hymn over the ending of a Japanese style end screen is just stupid.

15) Missing In Action (2.5)
There's no images at the end of this prototype... but there are FOUR screens of somewhat schmaltzy, but definitely patriotic congratulations for you to soak up. The messages are in military font, colored in camouflage, complete with the typing noise Commando has for slowly rendering messages. What's up with the typewriter noise in war games? Anyone know? I'd like to know, but anyways... FOUR PAGES OF CONGRATS? That's a lot of congratulations for an Atari 7800 game (they normally stingy).

16) Impossible Mission/ Possible Mission (2.5)
If you can beat the Impossible Mission carts using a PAL version, sorcery or voodoo, or you defeat the Possible Mission game fix, you will be treated to a sweaty Atombender looking like he's constipated and then a run down of your score. For an epic game like this that takes so long to beat, the ending is a let down. Still... you gotta love that a*hole's face, like you caught him looking at something naughty on his computer. But really, with all of these monitors, he SHOULD have prepared himself for your arrest. A great ending for this weird and backward system would him shooting you after you open the door to his room.

17) GoSub (2.5)
Its simple, but the little fish floating around a nicely rendered treasure chest on the end screen is not too shabby of a way to end a simple game. Comes complete with a congratulatory message over the bluest blue you will ever see.

18) Midnight Mutants (2.5)
I adore this game, but they mailed almost the whole third act in, including the ending. After the screen goes haywire as you free Grandpa Munster, he finally stands with you for the first time in the game. There are some perspective issues here. It looks like Al Lewis was 9 feet tall because he dwarfs you. Herman Munster must have been 14 feet tall. Anyway, just like an old person talking to a kid, he tries to be hip, waves non-stop to no one in particular and yells out AWESOME over unpleasant music that sounds like someone playing scales on crack. NOT AWESOME. We could have at least gotten a ride in his bad ass casket/ hot rod.

19) Karateka (2.0)
If the 8 bit lovin' ending in the Double Dragon got you hot and bothered and made you get up to walk around to cool down, you may like the PDA in this one too. The two long lost lovers embrace, a terrible tune plays, and the screen goes haywire and kills your epileptic nephew. That's terrible... but now you are alone. Come on, sinner. You know you want to >:)

20) Tower Toppler (1.0)
Dude, I love Tower Toppler, but anyone that defeats this beautiful and well made game, and especially the last tower deserves SOMETHING cool to see. The ride down the exploding tower is of course fun to witness, but we've seen 7 towers implode already. Congratulations? That's it? Stick it in your green ear.

21) Ace of Aces (1.0)
Congrats on returning alive. That sounds like something an ex-wife would say. Hmmmm... Weird. Anyways, airman! Here's your red screen, janky jingle, and a rundown of your stats! What? Were you expecting a parade? WE'RE BROKE FROM THE WAR!

22) Super Skateboardin' (1.0)
This puzzle game about skateboarding lacks almost all things resembling skateboarding excitement and we are painfully reminded at the lack of rock n roll during the game's ending. Rolling out on the street in time only treats you to a "You Win!" message. Not even a soda? THANKS MISTER

23) Choplifter! (1.0)
Upon completion, the game literally freezes and a bar from the Battle Hymn of the Republic plays very fast... these people that make bad 7800 games are in a hurry, ya know. Your score flashes. Also, Game Over flashes. If you save 64 people... which is a very tall task... the game finds it in its heart to at least congratulate you. Can you you handle that jive?.

24 & 25) Water Ski & Tank Command (1.0)
These terrible games have, of course, terrible endings. The game just stops and "Game Over" pops up on both screens. These games are terribly programmed and the difficulty balances are so ridiculous that completing these two titles are next to impossible. F**k you. These games suck so bad they don't deserve their own part of the article. THEY HAVE TO SHARE.

26) Super Huey (0.5)
This game is an ugly mess to begin with, but on its beatable mode you can see the game's ending. You are probably smart enough to realize at this point that the ending won't be a good one. After blowing up bases, enemies and struggling with controls, navigation, and landing, a tiny "good job" IN LOWER CASE LETTERS no less, pops up on the screen and that's that. You can barely even see it. Go get bent.

There are a growing list of homebrews and hacks that are beatable that will over time find their way on the list. Asterix is a Bentley Bear hack, there is a game called Knight Guy which looks like an awesome version of Shovel Knight that has an ending, and Frank O Dragon's crazy games: Draker Quest, Heart Manslapper and that ilk do as well. If you have video or screen shots of these games' endings, or other beatable 7800 games, send the info and files here and we will rank them with smiling faces.