In Chrono Trigger, after a Hopeless Boss Fight with the Big Bad, Crono gets apparently vaporized, Schala gets absorbed by Lavos, Janus and the Gurus get scattered throughout time and the floating Kingdom of Zeal comes crashing down, destroying 90% of the planet in a huge tidal wave. It got even worse when Dalton shows up, smacks the survivors around, takes your party hostage and steals your time machine in one fell swoop. To top it all off, your equipment, items and money are all taken and you are literally helpless against the enemies in the area until you get some of it back (or unless you were prescient enough to bring Ayla with you). One of your party members even remarks, "This is depressing..."
Shin Megami Tensei II has you first awakening in a decayed, nearly destroyed slum and being coached for participation in a gladiatorial arena (which is your only chance to be moved to a better place). You will soon start being manipulated by forces of both Law and Chaos, and no matter what path you take you are forced to ultimately confront YHVH himself. Your reward? An eternal, unending "Groundhog Day" Loop in which you live for a bit, witness a tiny fraction of the war of Law and Chaos, die, are reborn into another world, witness another tiny part, die and are reborn again in another world. Ad infinitum.
Shin Megami Tensei IV first starts with you as a peasant in a bucolic countryside kingdom. Literally moments later, during a trip to the capital for a special rite, you witness the severe classism and difference between social strata. The rite ends up elevating you to the military caste, with your best friend, having just failed the same test, watching from away. It turns out the kingdom needs a strong military for good reasons... the capital is built upon a giant nest of demons. Then, after a grueling first day of combat training, said best friend makes a horrible decision out of envy, which costs him his humanity and life. After that, revelation after revelation comes crashing down, shattering the once-peaceful kingdom as their origins come to light. And ultimately, you again have the last of Humanity's votes: any and all decisions you could take to solve the final conflict will create a measure of unavoidable suffering. Cheerful games, eh?
Throughout most of Final Fantasy VI, villains are constantly one upping the heroes and making things worse. To wit: the party is separated, Kefka murders an entire castle's population through poisoning their water, Terra is morphed into a monster and flies away, the party goes on a mission to restore the character to normal, only to reveal important secrets to the Empire that only makes them more powerful, Kefka turns the party against Celes, and as a last-ditch effort, the party unleashes a horde of pissed-off monsters into the world who promptly start a Roaring Rampage of Revenge. * inhales* Things finally start to look up when this causes enough damage that The Empire surrenders and ends the war. Only they don't. Then, Kefka kills General Leo, the Emperor and assumes ultimate magical power as a god, destroying the world in the process. And that's only the half-way point of the game. Fortunately, as the world has hit rock bottom, the only way for the story to go isup.
Radiant Silvergun. Want to know what happens when a Treasure game does NOT have an Excuse Plot? Why don't we start with everyone and everything on Earth being wiped out in a flash by the just-unearthed Stone-Like, with the only survivors of humanity being on an orbiting spacecraft? Then those human survivors have to come down to the desolate Earth in about a year to replenish supplies and find out more about the Stone-Like, only to find that the planet's full of robots and other constructs trying to finish the job of human genocide, and some of those survivors start dying off. Still not bad enough? At the very end of the game, the Stone-Like sends the remaining survivors back 100,000 years in time for Stage 1, and at the end, finish them off-but not before Creator uses hair strands collected from Buster and Reana to make clones and start humanity anew in its final moments. It's so bad that humanity is apparently doomed to repeat this fate again and again and AGAIN.
The Stone-Like doesn't send them back in time. It's implied that history is literally repeating in an endless cycle - it's Stage 1 set in the past, because hundreds of thousands of years later, humanity will rise up again and the same tragedy will repeat.
To a lesser degree than the above, Final Fantasy V. First, the Wind Crystal breaks, and Lenna's father mysteriously vanishes after giving the four heroes the quest to protect the rest of them. They fail. Completely. Although you do get shiny new jobs out of the crystal shards. So much for "the nick of time." Also, most of the royalty who aren't in the party ends up if not dead, then in a very bad way as the result of Exdeath. Lenna, Faris, and King Tycoon are reunited after King Tycoon's possession by Exdeath is broken... only for Tycoon to die moments later. Then in the second half, Galuf's old friend Xezat dies. Then Galuf dies. Then the last of the four original heroes, Kelger, dies. And then Exdeath gets the power of the Void and uses it to trash the recombined world. And then he becomes an eldritch abomination of immense power and nihilism. Fortunately, being more of a lighthearted game, all of this only ends up making the heroes more determined.
Started even earlier in the franchise's history, with Final Fantasy II. The heroes are either ineffectual, too late, or both combined at the beginning...then, after the Dreadnaught's completion (which they failed to stop), people start dying in large numbers. Shit proceeds to get worse and the heroes continue to be only marginally effective (with a few hope spots for flavor) until the heroes finally infiltrate one of the Empire's fortresses and kill the Emperor...except that he predicted they would do that, and proceeded to use the opportunity to go to Hell, take over, and return to Earth. It manages a not-entirely-unhappy ending, but man.
Then in the sequel Advent Children, people start dropping dead left and right from a mysterious plague that's incurable, excurciatingly painful, always fatal, and drowns its victims in despair and depression. Oh, and Cloud finds out that he has the disease....
Live A Live takes a turn for the tear-jerkingly dramatic after all of the basic chapters have been completed. The ensuing Wham Episode is a things getting worse plot at its most concise, and depending on the character you choose for the final chapter, it can pretty much go downhill from there.
In Call of Duty 4, the mission "Shock and Awe" goes from bad to worse very fast. You start off rescuing an advance unit of Marines trapped by Al-Asad's fanatical soldiers, and right after evacuating them, the Cobra helicopter that's been backing you up all mission long goes down. You swoop in to save her, and learn that there's a nuclear warhead found in the city. After you pull her out, and are bugging out of town, the nuke goes off. You survive the aftermath....for a few minutes.
The world's apathetic response to this is what motivates the big bad of Modern Warfare 2.
The Jumi and Dragoon arc of Legend of Mana drops the game into this trope, although there are alternatives. The former has the character watch as an entire race of people are annihilated by a single individual who is constantly powered up by the murders, before your character is finally turned into a rock. The latter starts with your character being imprisoned in Hell. It gets worse from there.
Secret of Mana was, as a whole, a long series of It Got Worse. It starts off with a world-spanning evil empire. Then the evil empire wants to blow up the world, and each step they progress ruins the entire world's essence. Then, just as things look their darkest and the Heroes have found their last hope... the bad guys vaporise it in a column of light. The world-destroying weapon just finished its boot-up cycle. Now it and its organic opposite will blow humanity back to the stone age if they aren't stopped. You think stopping just the weapon would work? Now its organic counterpart will make sure that no living thing but itself can survive. Oh, and it's also the last source of magic in the world, so blowing it up will deprive a dependent humanity of magic and eventually cause the world to fall apart at its seams.
Seiken Densetsu 3 / SOM2 was this incarnate and it starts with each character's beginning story:
Lise of Rolante loses her father and her castle is taken over...and her little brother was responsible for accidentally letting the invading force in.
Angela of Altena...her mother tries to kill her...and it gets worse from there.
Hawk of Navarre finds out that his newly self-appointed king's girlfriend is an evil witch who makes him kill his best friend and threatens to kill the girl he most likely loves if he says anything.
Duran of Forcena gets his ego-filled ass handed to him by a jerk-wizard (the same one responsible for Angela's mother trying to sacrifice her).
Kevin of the Beastkingdom loses his only friend...because he accidentally killed him while he transformed into an unstoppable monster.
Carlie of Wendel finds the priest she likes get kidnapped...and later finds out she's half-human, half-elf and doesn't fit in in either society.
Oh and it gets worse after those.
To make things more clear, while the heroes do go and defeat most of the evil in their homes, they fail to keep the Mana Stones from being destroyed, which means that some Sealed Evil in a Can called the Benevodons will be released. They go through most of the game trying to The Sword of Mana to save the world, then they lose, and the Benevodons are released. They kill the Benevodons, but find out afterwards that killing them sends their power to the Sword of Mana in the Big Bad's possession, so they basically make their archenemy a GOD, though they managed to kill him in spite of that.
Likewise, Gears of War — particularly the PC port with additional chapters — is basically a series of things getting worse moments. The planet's overrun with Mooks and their giant insect-dinosaur pets, the Phlebotinum the team spent the entire first two-thirds of the game finding and deploying didn't do its job, the last-ditch nuke got hijacked by the Big Bad and oh, yes, Mission Control can't contact you with important information half the time due to enemy signal jamming.
Then we start the second game, and it kinda goes downhill from there.
Killzone 2. Oooh, boy, Killzone 2. So, Visari's dead! The war has finally concluded. Pshaw, "The madness begins", right? It turns out only a few fleeting moments later that those words are hardly a lie. An stupidly huge Helghast fleet enters out of nowhere, obliterates whatever aerial support the ISA ground forces still had in the blink of an eye, and, to top it off, the player character quite possibly resigns himself to death.
The Halo series has things get worse, then humanity makes an even more unlikely stand, but causes further worsening. First game, most of the planets of Earth's formerly vast empire have been obliterated and their military is shattered, the Covenant have crushed the only project showing any military success against them with a few hundred survivors, who through sheer heroic potency manage to wipe out the entire Covenant armada and destroy a galaxy-threatening superplague. Except they won so hard that the Covenant panicked and found Earth (now one for the few planets left) by accident and released the same superplague. Now even fewer humans manage to be in exactly the right place to destroy a good chunk of the Covenant, split its forces and ally with the best fighters, and stop them wiping out all sentient life. Except in doing so, they handed the superplague, now with added Hivemind, access to interstellar travel, meaning in a few thousand years they'll have to erase all sentient life to stop it, and pushed the Covenant into launching an invasion of Earth that kills over a large portion of its surviving population and obliterates our military. But then even fewer humans than before manage to wipe out the entire Covenant militarily, kill the superplague's Hivemind, and win the war. Oh, and then it becomes an It Got Worse for the Covenant.
The Prequel game Halo: Reach gets worse every ten minutes. There are only two tiny Hope Spots that get immediately crushed just seconds later by something much worse than the thread that had just been stopped. After all, the whole planet and pretty much all the characters are Doomed by Canon.
The plot of Half-Life is another long string of these. The major plot points, in order: Gordon Freeman, player character and MIT-educated scientist, draws the short straw and has to do hazardous materials handling for an experiment at the super-secret government lab where he works. Naturally, the experiment goes awry and Gordon gets knocked out and experiences a nightmarish vision/cross-dimensional trip. After this he must make his way through the crumbling wreckage of the lab, dealing with malfunctioning machinery. Then, he must fight off monstrous creatures armed with only a crowbar and 9mm pistol. Then, he makes contact with a rescue squad, only to discover that said squad is really a paramilitary force that's wiping out monsters and witnesses alike. Then, after evading them, he winds up having to deal with TWO different varieties of huge frickin' beast in an attempt to find his way to someplace that might be reasonably safe, while STILL dealing with both aliens and soldiers- the latter of which, by the way, are tracking him through devices in the HEV suit he's been wearing all this time. Then, he survives a shootout with a trio of government-employed Glock Ninjas, only to grab a Distress Ball and get mugged for his gear, captured, and left for dead in a trash compactor. Then, he must crawl through a hazardous waste management armed with little more than his trusty crowbar. Then, he has to flee across the mountainside chased by a frickin' helicopter gunship, then shoot said gunship down, then go mano a mano with a tank. Then, after navigating a warehouse trapped to the gills with explosives, he gets caught in the middle of a big battle between the soldiers and the aliens, with both sides quite willing to take time out to shoot at him. then, as if that wasn't enough the soldiers bug out leaving Freeman to deal with the aliens all by himself. Finally, he's roped into teleporting into the aliens' home dimension navigating some terrifying landscapes, annoying jumping puzzles, and seemingly endless aliens, en route to a final confrontation with a giant wooden idol shaped like an infant with a head that's on fire. And his reward for all this? he gets abducted by a mysterious individual who's been lurking about all game, who can apparently warp spacetime more or less at will, who is quite obviously evil, and who offers Gordon the choice of being sent into a massive swarm of aliens without any weapons- or going to work for him doing unspecified but certainly hazardous work.
Half-Life 2 plays this straight for about half the game — Gordon goes from being chased through sewers by the police force of an Orwellian dystopia to being pursued by a helicopter during a speedboat chase through a irradiated marsh, then he arrives at a safe haven only to have it attacked by the enemy ten minutes later, leaving him separated from his allies and forced to crawl through a zombie-infested ruin while throwing junk at said zombies for lack of ammo. This is followed by a road-trip down a deserted highway, still chased by the bad guys and also forced to deal with ravenous Antlions and hazards. However, after that the game starts a mild deconstruction of the trope. While the situations continue to get more threatening over the course of the game, they don't feel like it because Gordon has allies and is actually working proactively against the antagonists. Whereas up until this point he has been struggling to simply stay alive.
It's back to business as usual in the Half-Life 2 expansions. Episode One was actually hopeful, what with Gordon and Alex surviving, stealing some good info from the Combine, blowing up the Citadel, stranding the Combine on Earth, and escaping City 17 as it exploded. But then Episode Two comes along and Eli Vance gets killed by The Combine who also steal all of the rebels' secrets.
And you know that's just Gordon's week. Barney Calhoun and Adrian Sheppard likewise have their own problems that gets worse by the minute.
Yes, this is literally Gordon's week. Keep in mind that between 1 and 2 the time skip happens while he's asleep in some kind of stasis. So to him the events of all the games probably seem like it happened over the course of several eventful days. He can probably still vividly remember getting hired by Black Mesa....
Lunar: Eternal Blue starts off with a world being controlled by a Corrupt Church that claims to worship the goddess Althena but seems more focused on maintaining its own power; meanwhile, the dark god Zophar is slowly reawakening. So you have to journey to the church's headquarters to ask Althena for help. The "Althena" that the church follows is a fake who works for Zophar, as do all of its higher-ups, and the real Althena is imprisoned by a mystical seal. So you go on a quest to unlock the seal, but by the time you finish, Zophar has almost returned. Then you find out that Althena has been dead for 1000 years, and has left nothing but an inspirational message behind. And Zophar picks that exact moment to descend from the world, vaporize the ocean, and start destroying everything. So Lucia decides to absorb Althena's power and all the magic in the world to fight him. But Zophar catches her off-guard and eats her, stealing all the power she absorbed for himself. So now the world is rapidly turning into a barren wasteland, you have no magic, and you have to fight the God of Destruction who also has the power of the Goddess of Creation.
Eversion. It starts off as a cheery and cute little freeware platformer with a flowerlike protagonist that does the Goomba Stomp on cute little goombalike enemies. But as you use your eversion powers to get the gems you have to collect, things gradually get darker and darker. Soon, you're dodging evil hands that shoot up from the pits, the goombalike enemies have turned into evil one-red-eyed monsters with More Teeth than the Osmond Family, the gems you collect become skulls, the plants become lethal thorns, blood goes flying when you stomp an enemy or when you die, and the whole world in general becomes a scene out of Hell itself. And, if that wasn't enough, there's an evil Cruel Twist Ending in store...
Everything in a Jak and Daxter game goes wrong eventually. Everything. Even in the Lighter and Softer first game. Bombs able to blow up the universe? Check. Near-infinite supplies of Dark Eco kept in underground silos that are quite easy to open with the right robot? Check. Villainous aristocrats?Big ol' check. Always Chaotic Evil aliens coming to ally with a cyborg Omnicidal Maniac? Check f**king plus. And, of course, whenever it looks like the world's been saved, it goes straight back to hell within the week. Oh, and Jak spends about half his life breaking it. Apart from that, it's all good.
Fate/stay night. All three routes have quite a bit of it in that things will suddenly get a lot worse, in the order of Fate (most idealistic route; town remains mostly unmolested, only bad people (And theLove Interest,damnit!) die and Shirou wins all battles through Heroic Spirit and Deus ex Machina), Unlimited Blade Works (middle route; Caster drains and castrates a lot of townspeople (though without killing), Shirou loses Saber, Ayako is abducted, Ilya is killed and Shirou has to depend a lot more on external factors like I Let You Win and exploiting his opponent's Fatal Flaw) and finally Heaven's Feel (most cynical route; massive human casualties across town, all the Servants except Rider are killed or corrupted, Shirou loses all his ideals and his Reality Marble and becomes an Anti-Hero that must depend upon a Dangerous Forbidden Technique to win that gives him brain damage and eventually kills him). But hey, at least the final endings are all happy... Well, mostly... Screw you, Fate Route.
Dead Space. Isaac's heading to a ship to repair a transmitter and meet up with an estranged girlfriend. Said ship turns out to be overrun with some of the freakiest monsters ever. And it turns out that the ship's engines stopped, so that they're going to crash into the planet they're orbiting. Then, once Isaac fixes that, the ship's going to run into asteroids unless Isaac manages to shoot them down. Then, it turns out that something's poisoning the air, a Mad Scientist created an Implacable Man, the cure for the air poisoning won't work until you deal with a lovecraftian monster, then your attempts to get a call out for rescue are blocked by a space slug that inexplicably selected the antenna array to sit around, then it turns out the military opened a escape pod full 'o necromorph and now their ship is full of superfast necromorphs, the regenerator returns, then The Mole is revealed, then when you finally seem to have stopped the monsters the mole returns steals the marker and reveals your girlfriend was dead the whole time, then the Big BadHive Mind shows up. Then there's an ending that implies that Isaac's either freakin' insane or killed by his zombie girlfriend. Shoot the Shaggy Dog indeed.
The opening cutscene of Ace Combat 6 is a very good example of It Got Worse. You can watch it being MST3K'd here.
The RuneScape quest Hunt For Red Raktuber goes pretty much like this. The player hears from Larry that the penguins have built a submarine. The player infiltrates the penguin base and finds a group of dwarves who teach the player to disarm the submarine. The player infiltrates the submarine and finds the captain has been overtaken by the sea slugs. Then, after supposedly disarming the sub, the player lands on a tiny island south of Ape Atoll and finds the king of the penguins and some KPG agents. The dwarves are from a splinter group of the Red Axe who didn't want to wait for the Red Axe to bring down the humans, and all the player did was send the sub to the island so the King Penguin could take control. Oh, and they take Larry with them to be interrogated and leave the player to die on the island. Yep. That is, until you find the polar bear ally who is disguised as a tree and get him to give you a ride home.
In Dwarf Fortress, when several of your dwarves die to a siege, megabeast or accident, the carnage may not end there. The death of a dwarf upsets his friends and relatives, who may get angry enough to tantrum, start fistfights or, in extreme cases, become suicidal or Ax-Crazy. This results in more deaths, which make even more dwarves unhappy... The resulting tantrum spiral can destroy your entire fortress.
It does not help that the fortress guard responds to tantruming dwarves with beatings and incarceration, which makes them even more unhappy. A guard skilled enough in wrestling may even end up beating a dwarf to death for a minor offence.
Or, if the guard has a weapon, the criminal will be stabbed/hacked/lashed/etc.
This will inevitably happen to any fortress, sooner or later. Inevitably, one of the randomly generated mega beasts (titans, forgotten beasts) will be nearly indestructible and kill at least a few of your dwarves, and if your entire population isn't happy, you can expect things to go downhill very quickly from there. And if you dig too deep, well... you're dead 99% of the time.
The first Diablo features the title demon lord driving King Leoric of Khanduras insane, bringing him back as a powerful skeletal demon, and then possessing his youngest son Albrecht. He then Mind Controls the hero of the first game, who it turns out is the King's older son Aidan, into sticking the piece of Diablo's soulstone into his own head.
By the time Diablo II rolls around, Tristram, the town where the first game was largely set, has been destroyed by the demons, with most of its inhabitants either dead or corrupted, and its only survivor, Deckard Cain, being tortured in every way by the demons. To make things worse, all three of the player characters from the first game didn't make it out of things in one piece — the Rogue was corrupted by Andariel and became Blood Raven, the Mage was driven insane by Diablo himself and became the Summoner, and the Warrior? As a result of sticking that soulstone into his own head at the end of the first game, he's become Diablo's new host. The heroes of the second game go Ax-Crazy at the end of the game with the exception of the Barbarian. When Diablo is defeated again, his older brother Baal corrupts the Worldstone, forcing the archangel Tyrael to destroy it to prevent it from being used to control humanity, obliterating Mount Arreat and a good portion of the surrounding barbarian homeland with it.
And now Diablo III. As a result of a star falling from the heavens (which turns out to be Tyrael, who after twenty years of reforming in Pandemonium following the Worldstone's destruction returned to the High Heavens only to be put on trial by his jerkassed peers who don't give a shit about humanity and decided to renounce his angelic status to aid humanity directly), a Zombie Apocalypse is going down in New Tristram. Several beloved characters from Diablo II, including Deckard Cain, end up dying either before or during the game. The demon cult that killed Cain ends up wreaking havoc across the deserts of Kehjistan, including the village of Alcarnus, before being taken down along with their master Belial. But then Azmodan learns about the Black Soulstone, which Belial and every major Evil you've killed during Diablo II were drawn into courtesy of Adria, the Witch of Tristram from the very first game, and decides to invade the mortal realm in order to retrieve it. All of this, however, doesn't hold a candle to Adria's betrayal at the very end of Act III, which sees her using the Black Soulstone with all seven Evils inside to bring about Diablo's rebirth as the Prime Evil, the embodiment of all seven of the Great Evils in one being, by turning poor Leah, the daughter that she had with Aidan when he was Diablo's host, into Diablo's new host. Diablo then proceeds to unleash Hell upon the High Heavens themselves, running roughshod all over the angels who don't stand a chance against the Prime Evil and spreading his evil supernatural corruption everywhere — and not even angels are immune to it! Only your Nephalem badassery is enough to stop him from extinguishing the Crystal Arch, the very heart of the Heavens, and casting both the Heavens and Sanctuary into darkness forever, though only time will tell whether or not we've seen the last of Diablo.
Prototype: the first Hunter fight. So you've got this beastie that actually poses a threat by itself, as opposed to the Marines who need numbers. After much effort, even with Marines shooting it alongside you, you succeed in defeating and consuming it, gaining back health and a new power in the process. But wait, we're not done yet, there's two more dropping in! Alex takes one down (or runs down an invisible timer, it's not too clear), but guess what? THREE Hunters drop in, and despite Alex's bravado one can't help feeling at least a bit worried, especially if they struggled with the previous ones. Drop two more (or run down another timer?), and guess what? Five of the fuckers. Fortunately after a while your task switches to destroying fuel tanks instead of killing them all, and that's the last wave... but for what it's worth you'll probably be real tense as the situation just seems to get keeping worse.
And the entire game is a long chain of events that could be summed up as things getting worse for every human in the game. Dana? Comatose. Cross? Munched on by the Supreme Hunter. Karen Parker? ...We assume it's bad, all right?. The military as a whole? The Marines lose hundreds if not thousands of troops of all ranks, and Blackwatch loses fewer men (by virtue of having fewer men), their leader (General Randall) and their best soldier (Cross). Everyone else? Completely fucked.
In Resident Evil, Sherry Birkin's life story should be titled It Got Worse. First, she gets dumped at the Police Station with the crazy rapist police chief that her parents are paying off because her mother can't be bothered to protect her because she's too busy tramping around the sewers of Raccoon City with a gun for basically no reason. Then, she gets word that her dad's being attacked by the monsters that have started popping up out of nowhere. Then one of them comes after her because Birkin came up with a craaaazy scheme to stick his virus in his daughter's locket to hide it from the company he made the virus for. Then of course, turns out another monster is after her: Her own father, who needs to find a host to implant his embryos in. And that someone needs to be very closely related to him. Guess what that means for poor Sherry? Don't worry, though, Annette's finally going to step it up and cure her daugh- Nevermind, Birkin just killed her. Claire, once again, picks up the slack for the Birkins, and gives Sherry an abortion shot. But it's not over. Not even close. NowBirkin's eating the train which is about to blow up because Umbrella is fucking terrible at making labs that don't blow up. Sherry comes to the rescue and is finally not completely useless by stopping the train, thus killing her own father. Then, Claire, Sherry's new mommy, runs off into the sunset to find Chris. But it's not all bad. Leon can take care of her just fine. Until the government decides to take her into custody. But, whoopsie. Someone found Will's will and Sherry is put under Wesker's care. And then, he goes and gets himself killed by going all Clipped Wing Angel on us. If Sherry isn't in a padded room rocking back and forth by now, she's about to go ax crazy on someone.
Leon Kennedy's first day on the police force in Raccoon City turned into this. Then his mission to save Ashley Graham, the president's daughter.
Jill tried to warn everyone about Umbrella's shenanigans, but of course no one listened. Not half a year later the city is overrun with monsters, the very people she tried to warn are now dead or killing everyone else, and her only choice left is to escape. Then she meets a wounded and panicked comrade who tells her "he" is coming for them. Not five minutes later, she finds out who he is. He wants her and only her dead, and he isn't going to stop until he succeeds.
Most of the characters stories could be seen as this. Claire's brother goes missing, and she tracks him down to Raccoon City, only to find it overrun by Zombies. She ends up taking care of a child that is being stalked by multiple monsters, and leaves her and the one other person she escaped the Zombie apocalypse with to go find her brother. In Paris, she is kidnapped by the company responsible for the viral outbreak and sent to a prison camp. She escapes just in time for another zombie apocalypse. This time, though, she ends up in Antarctica, her love interest/sidekick is killed, but she reunites with her brother and manages to escape from another self destruct system.
Batman: Arkham Asylum. Joker takes over Arkham. Joker lets out the inmates. Joker unleashes big ass Titan monsters. Joker sends Scarecrow after you. Joker MUTATES HIMSELF INTO A TITAN MONSTER! It Got Worse: The Video Game.
Fou-lu's storyline in Breath of Fire IV. He gets summoned as a god—except the summoners manage to bugger it up, only bring half the god across with the other half ending up 600 years in future, on the other side of the planet. Then he reunites an empire only to end up as the King in the Mountain for the next six hundred years whilst the inheritors of the imperial throne become proceedingly more and more corrupt and decide not to keep that bargain with the God Emperor they summoned. When he wakes up, he discovers his own empire has been telling the army he is the "Dragon of Doom" destined to destroy the empire, ends up having increasingly extreme attempts at assassination, discovers the army is also hunting down his other half, and eventually goes Laughing Mad and generally stabby towards humanity with the third assassination attempt, which involved kidnapping his Significant Other, torturing her to insanity, and using her as the warhead of a Nuclear Weapon Expy because her connection to him would literally make it hurt more. And this is still not the end of the attempts to Kill The God Emperor (and literallyBullying a Dragon). When Fou-lu finally makes it to the capital, the acting emperor acts as if the whole thing about the Evil Empire setting him on fire, mauling him with Giant Owls of Doom, using his girlfriend as a Tactical Magickal Thermonuclear Warhead, and so on were a horrible mistake..right before stabbing him in the back with a soul-eating sword made from the results of another botched attempt at summoning a god. To say Fou-lu takes this poorly is an understatement, and it is perfectly reasonable in retrospect that he finds Humans Are Bastards as a result.
Metroid Prime's Bryyo and Elysia are all picturesque examples of how Phazon makes everything worse.
Bryyo: The Reptilicus were enlightened minds, sharing their knowledge of Bryyo and their people with other enlightened minds, including the motherfucking Chozo, and heralded the rise of Science, even as the Primals mourn the loss of the old ways. One of the Lords of Science essentially tells the Primals to bugger off, and the reaction is such that "it was as flame to a dry forest" ceases to adequately describe the backlash. The planet was literally torn apart (you think those chains are just Scenery Porn?), with only 4% remaining inhabitable, and the Lords of Science were forced into hiding from the frothing Primals. After they get their cleaning gear up and running to try to save what is left, all but one Lord of Science wind up being discovered and slaughtered with extreme prejudice. The last one lives in hiding with his custom Mogenar up until he finds a Primal prophetess seeking him to decipher the visions she had been having. A Fuel Gel explosion reveals them to the hopelessly bloodlusted savages, and the prophetess manages to flee and stave off death for a while longer while the last Lord of Science bites it. Long after the day that Reptilicus society as it was once known died off for good, the Space Pirates ravage a GFMC outpost and drop a Leviathan onto the planet. Need I say more?
Elysia: The Elysians - mechanoid beings who avoid A.I. Is a Crapshoot - were created by the Chozo themselves and gifted with self-awareness. They selflessly aided their creators until they left, and governed the facility dilligently even from sleep mode despite the horrible dreams they had. When the GFMC signed a treaty with them, they yielded their vast wealth of knowledge and gained the fuel, parts, and equipment to keep themselves going. It starts going downhill once the Space Pirates infect 313 with a virus, knocking 217 offline due to universal AU shutdown to stem the damage. Four months later, the Space Pirates show up and hang the forces long enough for another Leviathan to drop, and likely worsen 217's Phazon corruption as one last fuck you. Two weeks after that disaster, Ghor shows up and starts fixing things... and then, to utterly dash the Elysians' remaining hopes, he gets completely corrupted himself and takes absolute control over Sky Town. Somewhere in space, the Chozo are crying...
Aether had it pretty bad as well. The Luminoth are forced to fight against an entire alternate dimension of dark creatures who corrupt most of the light world, and can possess almost any living creature at will. They can't call for help because of the huge storm covering the planet, and the fact that all their spacefaring allies have been wiped out by this point. Their attempts to destroy the Ing Hive result in their robots turning against them. When they try to retrieve their planetary energy and kill the Emperor Ing, they get slaughtered. They're reduced to about five rooms out of the entire planet, and have to enter stasis pods in hopes of some miracle occurring. And while they're in there, Space Pirates arrive, and they bring Metroids along, both of which pose a threat on their own and are even worse under Ing possession. And then Dark Samus arrives. You can't take five steps in Prime 2 without seeing a Luminoth corpse. As their logs point out, the Space Pirates don't have it much better, between Ing attacks, GFMC attacks, Samus, Dark Samus, their insane science experiments, and their Metroid containment tanks constantly breaking.
First law of Metroid Fusion: Something has to break every five minutes. Whether it's a power failure or blasting straight through the station, the X Parasites don't like things working right.
StarCraft. The original game ends with the destruction of the Zerg Overmind, and it looks like more or less all is well—-the Protoss, honorable and advanced, are mostly in charge, and the corrupt and tyrannical Terran Confederacy has been overthrown in favor of a new human world order. But as it turns out, destroying the Overmind was pretty much useless, and by the end of Brood War not only has Protoss society been scattered to the winds, the United Earth Directorate been thoroughly beaten, and a new, just as corrupt and tyrannical Terran Dominion formed, Kerrigan is now in charge of the Zerg, after defeating the combined might of the rest of the sector is poised to take over the entire galaxy. It doesn't even stop there her Dragon is apparently using her for his own schemes, which she doesn't seem aware, and what's been revealed about Starcraft II says that a new threat may show up.
Command & Conquer (the Tiberium saga). In Tiberian Dawn, GDI defeats Nod and kills Kane. In Tiberian Sun, Kane comes back and GDI defeats them again, killing him again. Meanwhile, tiberium has begun to mutate substantial portions of the human population, and tiberium growth is spreading across the surface of the planet. In Tiberium Wars, tiberium has now taken over more than half the Earth's surface, rendering entire continents uninhabitable. GDI has cleaned up some areas, Blue Zones; but other Yellow Zones remain contaminated, and Red Zones are so bad that humans can't even survive there. Then, Kane comes back AGAIN, now as a cyborg, more powerful than ever. GDI uses their ion cannon to root Kane out—-this attracts the Scrin, who come to claim the tiberium they apparently seeded on the Earth before the events of Tiberian Dawn. The Scrin didn't know we were here, but they want their tiberium, and they decide to just go ahead and kill us off. If this weren't bad enough, Kane plan to use Scrin technology and refuses to fight them; thus GDI is forced to fight Kane and the Scrin at the same time. Finally, in a last-ditch effort GDI defeats the Scrin and the Scrin commander escapes, only to learn that now the Scrin are planning a full-scale invasion.
The backstory for the Enroth-located Might and Magic games have this: first either a major control centre for advanced technology got a case of robots going murderously buggy, or one of the nicer areas of the planet got nuked over a love drama (both happened, it just isn't clear which happened first). Then the planet loses contact with the mother civilization (and they are not self-sufficient). Then the Governor of the planet gets increasingly tyrannical, culminating in a rebellion. That succeeded, but the civilization still crashed to a medieval at best level of technology. Things get overall better after that, but then HOMMIV and MMIX makes all the improvements just an extended Hope Spot.The planet blows up.
BioShock's backstory has this in spades. It starts off well enough, a radical objectivist founds an isolated city of art, science and industry underwater to avoid the "taint of parasites". Things look even better when mutant sea slugs carrying a "miracle serum" are discovered and said serum gets mass-produced. Things start to go bad when a smuggler decides to monopolize the serum, making the objectivist who runs the city crack down on the smuggler and his supporters in increasingly severe ways. Things really go bad after the smuggler's faked death, as the majority of citizens go insane because they've grown to be entirely dependent on the highly addictive serum. And then there's a civil war that kills off most of the population, trashes the city into ruins and debris and starts the city's decline. By the time Jack arrives, the city has devolved into anarchy, with the population turned into violent, mutated "Splicers" and the radical objectivist desperately trying to keep his city together by becoming a totalitarian dictator, which was, ironically, the exact opposite of what he sought to become.
The Sequel Series, Mega Man Zero also qualifies. First game, you find a failed copy of X is oppressing Reploids and has led to another war between humans and reploids. Next game, war is still going even though Zero killed Copy X, and a nut from the reploid side named Elpizo tries to use a sentient program called the Dark Elf to destroy humanity. Zero stops him, but the war still isn't over. Next game, despite the reploid's side having developed a new energy source that supposedly negates the need for a war, Dr. Weil (not be confused with Dr. Wily from the original series, they aren't the same, guy, in fact in the Japanese version Weil is called Dr. Vile) has revived Copy X as a puppet. A puppet that continues the war for no good reason. Zero kills Copy X for good, but Weil wanted you to do that because it puts him in control of the human city Neo Arcadia. Even though Zero puts an end to his plans to control all the world's reploids and turn the Dark Elf good, Weil survives the game. Next game, most humans are fleeing Neo Arcadia because of how oppressive Weil's rule is, and there's only one other place they can live, called Area Zero (which, amusingly enough, is the crash site of Eurasia) which Weil is trying to destroy. Zero finds that the humans also hate him because it's partially his fault Weil rules Neo Arcadia. Most of the game, Weil is trying to get control of this super orbital weapon called Ragnarok, which he attends to use to destroy Area Zero. Ultimately, The Dragon, Craft, takes control of it and uses to destroy Neo Arcadia just to kill Weil. Zero stops Ragnorak's main gun before it can fire again, but it starts falling to Earth. Zero makes his way to the power core, and it turns out Weil survived, merges with the core, and becomes the final boss. Zero finally manages to kill him, and the explosion of the core destroys Ragnarok, and Zero with it.
It only got better if you look at things from the surface over the next few hundred years in Mega Man ZX, but beneath it all it still got worse. Several years after Ragnarok was demolished, a Resistance expeditionary force investigated some of the wreckage that descended to earth. They delivered some of what they found to the new coalition government for further research. It fell into the hands of the chief robotics and biotechnology expert, Albert, with predictable results - "predictable" in that he started having delusions of godhood. Before the first century was up, a second expeditionary force was commissioned. One amongst them, Serpent, was susceptible to the influence of the hardware, which was dubbed Biometal due to its organic qualities, and went bugfuck insane. Ciel used her last hours as the leader of this group to develop six more Biometals as a countermeasure before quarantining them and delivering an emergency message to pass the torch on to Alouette. During this time, Albert had designed his own Biometal and was engineering world politics in accordance to his own madness. Before the second century of this alleged peace was up, a new wave of Mavericks emerge and engage in mass slaughters, harvesting the Cyber-Elves left behind in preparation for Serpent's attempt at ascension to godhood and leaving scores of orphans in its wake. Two of the survivors, Vent and Aile, spend the next ten years with Giro, another survivor, before he is disposed of by Serpent, entrusting the two with the power to protect the world from Serpent's madness. They fulfill this obligation and completely demolish Serpent and his headquarters, along with the Biometal he had been gathering for his own plot. The parts Serpent had been using, dubbed Model W, had been discovered worldwide, and the hunt was on - both by varying parties, including Albert's, to gather it all up, and by the Model Z Xs and the Guardians to demolish it all. Two youths, Grey and Ashe, got tangled up in the Biometal rush, and find themselves assailed on all sides before they joined up with the Guardians to thwart Albert's machinations, dangerously close to completion as they were. But it turns out that during the whole craze, Albert wasn't the only Sage corrupted by Model W, and yet, beneath it all, one can't help but get the feeling a demon was festering inside, waiting for the chance to become exultant and exact its revenge the life that continues to taunt him.
Ai To Yuuki To Kashiwamochi seems like a simple, if difficult, puzzle game at first with a simple plot: A young girl named Ai is sick, and while she's sick, she dreams of a world full of sweets and her imaginary friend, a boy named Yuki. However, as the game progresses, the player gradually begins to realize that something is amiss, and sure enough there is. Ai isn't simply sick, she's dying of cancer. And Yuki? He's a Shinigami sent to guide her soul to the afterlife.
You think that's bad? Try Irisu Syndrome. It seems like a tale of some university students having fun, but the titular bunnygirl's role is never explained. Then spoilers happened. Starting with Edogawa going missing, and the picture of him in your game folder getting scribbled out. Then if you're not doing well enough, everyone gets scribbled out. If you do get a decent score, Irisu is shown killing Ageha, but then it's revealed to be a Scary Surprise Party for her. Except NOT AT ALL.
Every Origin story in Dragon Age: Origins eventually follows this trope. It's why your character is always left with no choice but to join the Wardens; the other options being imprisonment or death. The main plot follows it too. The supposed "final battle" against the Darkspawn ends with every Grey Warden but you and Alistair dead, the king dead, and the forces he brought with him slaughtered, leaving Ferelden's forces severely depleted. Worse, Loghain twists this to his advantage by assuming regency, branding any surviving Grey Wardens in Ferelden (all two of them) traitors responsible for the king's death, and starting a civil war with Ferelden's nobility. After that, when you try to raise your own army to battle the Blight, it becomes painfully clear that all of your potential allies have their own problems — and guess who has to solve them? Finally, after you save everyone's asses, deal with Loghain, and get Ferelden's nobility behind you...then the Darkspawn launch a full scale invasion. You then learn that the only way to end the Blight is to kill the Archdemon, and the only way to do that is for a Grey Warden to sacrifice himself/herself. Morrigan gives you another option, but that option will impregnate her with a Humanoid Abomination.
And then Dragon Age II hits. Broke your back as the Warden trying to make Thedas just a little brighter for everyone? Took the altruistic route and gave up rewards out of the goodness of your pure, wholesome heart? Too bad. Denerim is (still) in ruins, the Blightlands have consumed everything south of Lothering, and millions have either died or fled Ferelden to locales already taxed from dealing with their own problems, much less a large influx of refugees. Then, in the city of Kirkwall, shit gets real: thousands die in the qunari rampage and tensions between the mages and the templars finally reach their extreme and disastrous conclusion, with the ramifications felt in every corner of Thedas.
In Marathon, first off one of your ship's three resident AI becomes rampant and contacts some evil alien slavers who attack the ship, capture most of the crew and one of the other AIs. You spend a large chunk of the game working for the remaining AI against the rampant AI, who is working with some of the slave aliens for an unknown purpose. The rampant AI's new friends then kill the sane AI, forcing you to work for the rampant AI, since he's the only chance the humans have to escape. (Remember, he's the one that brought them here.) Things get better after a bit, but then they get worse in the second game again. I'll let someone else tell the tale of Marathon 2, but suffice to say, we find out at the beginning of Marathon Infinity that the last ditch effort to defeat the slaver aliens accidentally releases a reality warpingEldritch Abomination. This forces you to jump around the timeline, trying to fix things, but you usually make things worse until you finally make them better.
Halo is also guilty, given Master Chief always finds at least one Game Changer during his missions, all of whom are meant to make things more screwed.
The climax to Chapter 4 in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker certainly qualifies. Let's see, right when Snake enters the Communications Tower of the American base in Nicaragua, Hot Coldman reveals that he had already inputted the false data into Peace Walker, which is data that detailed an imaginary Soviet nuclear strike against the United States homeland, which is supposed to trick Peace Walker into launching a nuke at an innocent party (The Mother Base) for the final test, with the intention of having the trade winds spread it to Costa Rica to poison the fish and crop supply and thus get enough "free hands" to participate in the mass production of Peace Walker, which meant that he only had one more step: Inputting the code in his football, before he launches Peace Walker. After being betrayed by Vladimir Zadornov, who himself also ends up being betrayed by the FSLN group, Coldman, dying from his gunshot wound, activates Peace Walker (which was now targeting Cuba thanks to Zadornov), which not only created a reverse situation of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and nearly endangered America's chances of winning the Cold War, but he also reveals that he also had secretly programmed Peace Walker to transmit the exact same false data that tricked it to NORAD via a multilength frequency signal, which caused NORAD to think that the Soviets really were launching a Nuclear Strike on the US Homeland, and also couldn't be blocked out by even an electromagnetic pulse due to it being a multilength frequency signal, meaning that there would soon be an all-out nuclear war as a result of his actions. Coldman also did it at that point because he knew full well that he was going to die as a result, and planned to die before giving the Abort Code, forcing Snake and Strangelove to destroy Peace Walker itself. Even after Snake managed to destroy Peace Walker and stop it from launching the Nuke, the signal still persisted as the Mammal Pod wasn't destroyed. They also couldn't just shoot the lock off of Mammal Pod like they did with the Reptile pod since it had reinforced armor to withstand a nuclear blast. They also couldn't simply lift Peace Walker into Lake Nicaragua due to it being vastly over the chopper's carrying capacity. Snake then resorted to calling the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and after verifying his identity as well as telling him that the missile trajectory data that NORAD received was fake, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs called off the retaliatory strike. Unfortunately, the ECR did not agree to this decision and mutinied against him. Despite Snake removing the AI data uplinks from the Mammal Pod due to the Mammal Pod allowing him to do so, the data was still transmitting to NORAD. It wasn't until The Boss possessed Peace Walker and sacrificed herself/itself that the disaster was averted.
This trope was also comically invoked in the Secret Theatre film "Metal Gear Raiden: Snake Eraser," where Raiden attempts to kill Naked Snake terminator-style so he'd usurp Solid Snake's status as star of the series, only for it to go wrong. One particular example was his attempting to kill Naked Snake in the Groznyj Grad prison, but he ends up just missing him, and being locked up in Snake's place. It gets worse when Volgin pays a visit and ends up mistaking Raiden for his boyfriend Raikov, wonders why he's in the cell, and proceeds to either assault him or commit Prison Rape on him.
Warcraft. The first game was about a massive, nearly endless war between two mighty armies that was tearing apart the known world. Three games and five expansions down the road have seen the ball continue a massive roll downhill interrupted only by the occasional Hope Spot that bounces the ball into the air... whereupon it crashes right back down and picks up more speed.
This gets carried onto World of Warcraft. It starts with a cold war between two massive military powers and a world still messed up from the previous games. A Zombie Apocalypse, a powerful demi-god like beings, an Eldritch Abomination, and the remaining demonic forces from the last few invasions are the things that are threatening the world. Then the next expansion introduces a demonic invasion and a world for the two major factions of Azeroth to fight over. The second expansion pushed the zombie apocalypse even further than it was now that they are actually trying, while almost simultaneously, one of the protectors of the world decides to try and get rid of all the magic in the world, likely destroying it in the process, another Eldritch Abomination, even stronger than the last one, breaks out of his jail and tries to raise an army, a civil war breaks out that leads to open war being declared once again between the two major forces, and they were only in a cold war when they had several places where they would use military force for land, resources, and flags, along with a kill on site policy many held. The next expansion is basically the apocalypse caused by a giant dragon that pretty much messes up the world. Not to mention some of the things that happened in the novels. Its a wonder how the fourth expansion will make things worse from there, but it will if the first three shows anything.
Cataclysm takes the concept of It Got Worse and goes hogwild. Almost all the races are evicted from Orgrimmar to force a fascistic government. Elwynn Forest is invaded by the Blackrock Orcs and set fire. Thrall is enslaved early in the game. Continents are either sunk or flooded. Mass Hysteria. And the developers are hinting that it'll get even worse by the time World of Warcraft II rolls around.
In fall 2011 Blizzard announced Mists of Pandaria, the next expansion which is about... pandas. And a new continent they live on. And what's basically the Fourth War. note It's actually counted. The last one was the Third War. And the Shadows.
You know the deathclaws from Fallout? The Demonic Spiders that are really hard to kill and extremely dangerous? Yeah, in the newest game, Fallout: New Vegas, there are varieties. There's a blind one and...a deathclaw alpha.
The Darkness game of the comic is just one long string of It Got Worse moments, first off Jackies "Uncle" tries to off him, then he gets taken over by a being of pure evil. Then after taking some small revenge on his back stabbing relative he retaliates by capturing and then killing the love of Jackie's life in front of him whilst the Darkness stops him doing anything. this leads Jackie to kill himself. which only lands him in Hell. I could go through every other bad thing that happens but let me summarize it like this Jackie will be, before the game is over, tortured, blown up, sent to Hell again, forced to willingly accept the Darkness in to him self and in the end have his soul eaten by it.
The Legacy of Kain series plays with this trope throughout all the games.
Portal 2 reveals much of the backstory of Aperture Science through a combination of visual storytelling and recorded messages from its founder, Cave Johnson. These combine to chronicle a descent from being voted Best New Science Company in the 1950's and recruiting "astronauts, Olympians, and war heroes", to bankruptcy and recruiting street bums in the 70's, to testing products on the company's own employees in the 80's. As if this couldn't get any worse, earlier in the game there is a Call Back to the "Bring Your Daughter to Work Day" originally mentioned in Portal, very strongly implying that the employees' children were the penultimate subjects. Most of whom died horribly, either through testing or when the facility's life support systems ran out of power.
Left 4 Dead has a typical zombie outbreak in the northeast, but by the sequel, not only there are more special infected types, but the infection has spread all the way down south of the United States, making the entire east coast a hot zone for zombies.
The survivors from the first game get into a huge string of bad luck as they fight their way to survival according to the comic. Every rescue attempt had failed them, and just when they think the military saving them would end their nightmare, it turns out they're considered carriers of the virus, who have been turning people into zombies and unwittingly spreading it around. The military imprisons them, intending only to use the survivors to research a cure for the virus, and won't hesitate to kill them if they can't produce one. The survivors manage to get away, and find a boat to sail out to sea, but a bridge is in the way and they wind up alerting not just all the zombies in the area, but four Tanks...
Which claims the life of Bill, who was voted the most popular original Left 4 Dead character of the original survivors, and the 2nd most popular overall character in the xbox 360 20 week poll. Way to kick em when they're down!
Think the special infected was bad enough in Left 4 Dead? It goes downhill in the sequel; the Smoker now has more boils that is eating away at its face, the Boomer has more boils on its body, and the Witch gained the ability to wander about in the daylight. Then we have the Spitter, a female infected that can spit acid on survivors to block their path, the Charger who has the ability to plow into survivors to make them go flying (hope you are not near a ledge!) and grab one survivor to smash them to death, and the Jockey that force survivors to move into hazards or away from the team. Even the common infected gotten an upgrade by becoming the Elite Mook of the game depending on the map; hazmat infected can't be set on fire, clown infected attracts all nearby infected to him, mudmen blinds survivors with mud and crouch when moving, construction infected wear earmuffs that doesn't let them hear pipe bombs, and riot infected are zombies with body armor that makes them immune to damage except on its back.
In Vandal Hearts the game opens with a heavily corrupted democracy that's in two minds about everything, with an ambitious right-winger HelSpites making a bid for leadership. Fast forward three years and he's now the leader of a military dictatorship that employs the thugs you used to fight to 'keep the peace' and crush the rebellion. On top of that The Dragon turns out to be the Bigger Bad and the Man Behind the Man, who's gone and recruited his own Dragon, planted a Mole in your party and has manipulated the Empire to place its top military leaders & fighters in your path. Also, he's trying to find a magical MacGuffin in order to destroy the majority of mankind and start over cause of his daddy issues.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is an entire game of things going downhill. Even within the context of the story, the conclusion is a bit bittersweet at worst, but considering all the horrific fallout that occurs years later due to Ganondorf's rise to power (in what is now three timelines, according to Word of God), the ending can hardly be called happy. For one, in the Downfall Timeline Ganon couldn't even be defeated, and for a time he imposed reign of terror like no other, only being reverted in A Link to the Past. In the Child Timeline, preventing his initial ambush within Hyrule Castle only delayed the inevitable as he and Zant came into full force to invade both Hyrule and the Twilight Realm in Twilight Princess. And in the Adult Timeline, Ganon managed to return while Link couldn't as he had returned to his original era, meaning Ganon was left unopposed which forced the gods to sacrifice the entirety of Hyrule via the Great Flood to seal it with Ganon inside, setting the events of The Wind Waker into motion.
Okay, Kuchiki Toko getting hit by a truck in Kara no Shoujo is bad enough. How can we make that worse? I know! We'll kill off her friend, then we'll reveal she has a really rare blood type and can't get a transfusion. Hm, something's missing. Oh, I got it. We'll cut off all her limbs in a surgery to reduce the amount of blood she needs and then have her get kidnapped. And for the crowning glory, let's have her get killed off in every ending except one, where she's still horribly off.
In Freespace, once the Shivans appear, the story gradually follows this direction, culminating in the Shivan SuperdestroyerLucifer glassing Vasuda Prime.
The sequel takes this direction again when the Sathanas Fleet appears.
For the most part, Persona 4 is a very happy game. But then, November and December happen, which are just one long downhill slide. First, Nanako gets kidnapped, Dojima gets seriously injured, and one of the people struck off the suspect list at the start turns out to be the killer. Then, you save Nanako, but she;s really sick. During this time, the fog from the TV - which is very toxic to non-Persona users - starts leaking into Inaba. Then, NANAKO DIES. She gets better, but she's still critically ill. You then work out who the real killer is, and it's freaking Adachi, who it's very unlikely that you suspected at that point. He gets into the TV... and reveals that he's trying to turn humans into Shadows! That all gets fixed, but then March happens... all of this will happen again in fifty years' time unless you destroy Izanami, a goddess of death who very nearly manages to kill you.
This trope is referenced and lampshaded prior to a fateful decision in Slight Hope. Makoto's memory of world history doesn't match up with what everyone else is telling her (due to her being in an alternate timeline, but she doesn't know that), she's apparently gone back in time, Hazama tried to kill her, Jin is seriously injured, Tager and Kokonoe don't recognize her or her "gnu" password, and then Jin goes missing.
Bang: One of our men saw him in the company of a man in a half-mask... and they appeared to be heading for the upper levels. Makoto: Man in a half-mask? (Let me guess... Colonel Relius Clover! He's the one mentioned in the report about the 12th Prime Field Device... the one that looked like Noel... This is going from bad to worse - I can feel it! There's not a moment to waste!)
after the sacrifice of Martin Septim, the Empire was deprived of both a political leader and the bearer of the Dragon Blood, which is the equivalent of both a decapitation and being hit in the nuts with a hammer. Since the Empire unified all the countries of Tamriel, some immediately saw an opening for independence. Enter The Thalmor, Nazi-like high elves who think only their kin should dominate the world and prove so by going at war with the Empire after founding the Dominion, a fusion of Summerset Isles (the High Elf nation), and the annexion of Valenwood (the Wood Elf nation) and Elsweyr (the Khajiit nation). Despite some great victories, the Empire is sacked eleven ways to Saturday and is forced to negotiate the White-Gold Concordat, which basically makes the Empire the Thalmor's bitch, culminating in the ban of the worship of Talos, one of the gods and the first Emperor just because the Thalmor hates the idea of a human better than an elf. This causes both Hammerfell and Black Marsh to secede from the Empire and go their own ways (Hammerfell fights back until the Thalmor basically says "Kthxbye" and Black Marsh invades the remains of Morrowind both to make the dark elves pay for centuries of argonian slavery and because Morrowind has become a wasteland after Red Mountain erupted). Reduced to Cyrodiil, High Rock, what remains of Morrowind which isn't an argonian annex and Skyrim, the Empire finally can breathe, lick its wounds and reorganize to get back at the Dominion.
Enter Skyrim's civil war between the supporters of the Empire and the Stormcloaks, Nord separatists who want to secede from the Empire (which they perceive as being weak, corrupted and toyed with by the Thalmor) due to the worship of Talos (one of Skyrim's greatest heroes) and go bash as many elven skulls as possible. With both Skyrim and the Empire at war, what could go worse?? Cue the dragons and Alduin the World-Eater. Not ending the Skyrim crisis, killing Titus Mede II for the Dark Brotherhood and Paathurnax for the Blades is guaranteed to make things even worse for everybody with or without pointy ears.
And if you doDO pick a side, you end up making things worse anyway! Joined the Stormcloaks? Talos worship is reinstated, but now the Empire - the only force that could have held off more Thalmor aggression - is weaker than before. The Legion Commander - right before you kill him - bitterly states that you've done nothing but play into the Aldmeri's hands Joined the Legion? Congratulations on preserving the Empire! Except Talos worship is still illegal note Even if apparently, everybody that isn't giving handjobs to the Thalmor worships Talos in secret, and since Talos is the only god who's keeping the world together and Gods Need Prayer Badly... So either way, The Thalmor WIN.
The whole Elder Scrolls 'verse culminated with C 0 DA, the comic about Morrowind II: Men are dead. Nirn is destroyed. Time isn't anymore. Numidium came back and stomped on Time. Akatosh is just a serpent with wings. Thalmor end up winning completely and utterly by having their creation Jubal-Lun-Sul (reach) Amaranth. Amaranth (both noun and verb) means (creating) a new dream, so it technically got better. Amaranth happened by marrying Vivec's female portion after killing Vivec's male portion who had been his best friend. Oh, and they lived on the moons. But yeah. Thalmor win, Men die, Time isn't.
Max Payne. His entire life is one big downward slide from the first level of the first game onto the last. He loses his family, the closest thing he gets to a girlfriend and almost all of his friends die in front of him, assuming of course they don't betray him. Usually as victims to ever-escalating criminal plots that just get more twisted the more you learn about them.
In Parasite Eve, it begins with a terrible fire that kills just about everyone attending an opera in Carnage Hall when a girl suddenly mutates into "Eve". It gets progressively worse as Eve's attacks begin to get more brazen. She converts the entire audience of another concert into a biomass that she can control and use to mutate more of the city's animal population, openly attacks an NYPD Precinct, picks a fight with the U.S Military and is largely winning before Aya kills her. Well, the day is saved right? Wrong. Turns out that "Ultimate Being" you hear so much about did get born. It's got enough power to decimate a U.S Carrier fleet and nearly kills Aya. Good, yeah? Turns out, killing Eve did not kill all of her monsters, which are now running around the country causing havoc. Good news; the government is getting a handle on it and has killed most of them by Parasite Eve 2. Bad news? New, artificial monsters are now showing up, created by Evilutionary Biologist whack-jobs who want to turn people into bestial monsters. Said Evilutionary Biologist whack-jobs apparently include The President of the United States. By 3rd Birthday? Reality itself has broken down and Eldritch Abominations—more so than even the freaks Eve churned out—pretty much destroy most of the United States within months. Aya spends the game trying to fix that.
Prior to the events of the game, the city of Dubai is besieged by sand storms. The U.S 33rd Infantry Battalion (later known as The Damned 33rd), led by Colonel John Konrad, defy orders to withdraw and volunteer to evacuate the citizens before a massive storm buried the city. Six months later, a Distress Call is picked up from the city, and a three-man team led by the protagonist Captain Martin Walker are sent to find Konrad and find out if there are any survivors. The situation is, of course, not what it appears to be, and by the time Team Delta realize there's far more going on (namely, that the 33rd voluntarily stayed in Dubai and employed martial law to stop the city from sliding into further chaos, evidenced by the dead bodies hanging from lamp posts), they're already embroiled in a war with their fellow American soldiers. As the team press on, further atrocities are committed (including the use of white phosphorus, and the game lets you see the aftermath of it, not just on the soldiers you condemned to a painful death but the 47 civilians they were trying to rescue), the CIA uses the team to destroy the water supply of Dubai to stop word getting out of what Konrad did (thereby dooming the survivors to a slow death by dehydration), and you end up losing your comrades. Even better, throughout the game, it's hinted that Walker - the protagonist you're playing - is mentally unstable, becoming increasingly violent, brutal and irrational as the game wears on, especially after the white phosphorus incident. And to finally cap it off? The Big Bad you've been hunting and has been taunting you throughout the game, Colonel Konrad? He's the personification of Walker's guilt, self-loathing and insanity. The real John Konrad killed himself because he couldn't live with the things he'd done in Dubai. Walker sacrificed what was left of his sanity, his teammates, and doomed an entire city for nothing.
You can also choose to make the game end on an even more depressing note in three ways. The first is by either letting 'Konrad' shoot Walker, or letting Walker put his gun against his head and kill himself. The second is by attacking the search team sent to find Walker in the epilogue and letting them kill him in a Suicide by Cop bid. The third way is to slaughter the search team in the epilogue, at which point Walker - broken, insane and beyond all hope - picks up the radio and more or less tells the remaining U.S troops to come and get him before he grabs a gun and heads back into the city, resigned in the knowledge that he's not leaving Dubai alive.
Muv-Luv. Suuure, Extra was the light-hearted harem series... cue Takeru waking up in Unlimited's timeline, the world locked in a fight with the Horde of Alien Locusts and whatnots. It goes further downhill from there.
Final Fantasy III's endgame seems to be constantly trying to one-up itself in how brutally unfair it can be. First, there's the ever-present fact that you can only save on the world map, which can make dungeon crawling a huge pain in the ass. Then, there's the fact that before you can start the dungeon, first you have to clear a dungeon before it (with boss fights a-plenty.) And then there's the optional dungeon inside the final dungeon that you have to clear if you want the most powerful jobs in the game (and you probably do.) Oh, and during all this, you don't get a single chance to save unless you feel like backtracking all the way back out to the world map. And once you beat the final boss, you're pitted against the real final boss, who proceeds to effortlessly slaughter you. And before you can start cussing at the screen, you're whisked away to the real final dungeon, and from this point on you don't even get the luxury of backtracking to the world map to save any more. And before you can beat the real final boss, there's still four more boss fights, one of which qualifies for That One Boss status and can easily destroy you if you don't know to fight him properly.
Final Fantasy XIII-2 plays like this. First, Lightning is erased from history which totally screws up the timeline. Then after spending the whole game piecing the real timeline back together, it's revealed that Serah has the Eyes of Etro. Immediately after defeating the final boss, she and Mog die. Then, as a result of killing the final boss, the goddess Etro is killed and time itself is completely destroyed. And then, in the full completion stinger, the final boss is revealed to still be alive.
Every arc of Umineko no Naku Koro ni is like this since Beatrice's "game" has the people on the island killed one by one. However Episode 5 really takes the cake. First, it turns out Beatrice was a Death Seeker the whole time, but Lambdadelta makes it so she can't die, making her an Empty Shell. As she is no condition to pursue the game, Lambda takes her place, and since Battler only wants to fight Beato, he lets Bernkastel take his place. That wasn't a good idea. Bern brings her own piece on the game board: Furudo Erika, a sadistic super-detective who helps Battler to solve the epitaph. Once it's done, she gleefully watches the family jump at each other's throats over the inheritance. That's only the beginning. Then, 5 people die, Krauss is abducted, and Natsuhi starts to receive threatening calls from a man who pretends to be her "son" from 19 years ago. In the end Natsuhi is declared the culprit of the game, and Battler is killed after failing to prove her innocence. Then in the Tea Party Bern and Erika celebrate, and announce their intention to completely detroy Beatrice's world. Finished? Nope. After that Beatrice, who regained consciousness, walks in the chapel, only to discover Battler's body impaled on a giant sword. She cries, apologises and disapears. As Battler finally reaches the truth of Beato's game and wakes up, all that remains of her is a pile of dust. And then, finally the tide turns, but that Episode is still pretty damn depressing.
X-COM. The first game ends on a happy note. The second has the aliens appear again, and destroying their headquarters also ruins Earth's biosphere. The third and fourth have more aliens striking the decayed Earth.
Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep has this in spades. Terra especially was a victim of this. First he fails his Mark of Mastery exam, which was his greatest ambition, then he makes messes in other worlds for Ventus and Aqua to clean up due to being overly-trusting, then he has a spat with said friends upon realizing their master sent Aqua to watch him, then he causes some more trouble in other worlds due to his overly-trusting nature, THEN in a desperate attempt to protect Ven from being killed by their master, he beats their master to the point were it took only one more blow from Master Xehanort to finish him off. It gets even more worse when Terra uses his anger and the darkness that had been built up over the course of the game to defeat Master Xehanort. It was enough to allow him to pull a Grand Theft Me on Terra and take possession of his body, leaving behind his Keyblade and his hollow armor that is brought to life by his lingering will. Sure, the armor defeats Terranort but in the end, his will has to wait for more than a whole DECADE before he can finally get his heart and body back. And with Xehanort having completely defeated Terr'a heart by that point, it's not going to be easy is possible at all.
One of the main draws of Cookie Clicker is seeing how much worse your cookie empire can make things. It really starts in earnest with minor chocolate-based environmental damage from your cookie farms, and ends with the destruction of all life on Earth in a grandmaocalypse, all matter in the universe becoming cookies down to the subatomic level, demonic incursions, places being Ret Gone'd, and time travel usage causing assorted historical figures to become sentient talking lumps of dough.
The three games of the Mass Effect series go for this. In the first game, you're figuring out what happened to an ancient race, and when you find out, you have to stop an invasion that would cause the death of galactic society. The second game STARTS OUT with your character dying (you get better), and ends with you just barely (again) forestalling the invasion... at the expense of destroying an entire solar system in the process. And then in the third game, all your efforts to prevent the invasion are for naught. The invasion happens, and Earth is the first planet to fall... Whether or not the series has a final happy ending or ends with the cycle of destruction starting over in the future is up to the choices your character made throughout the series.