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Though normally well acted and interesting, more than a few of the dialogues in Mass Effect can become spectacularly narmtacular depending on what selections you make and what order you select them. The "dialogue wheel" usually gives you a choice between "nice" and "rude" responses (with a few "neutrals" sprinkled among them) to drive the game's paragon/renegade Karma Meter, but if you aren't perfectly consistent in your dialogue choices over the course of the game you can make Commander Shepard seem positively bipolar, oscillating between a principled and compassionate gentleman soldier and a genocidal jerkass who publicly executes unarmed civilians. The single biggest potential narm moment is probably Shepard's speech once s/he gains control of the Normandy, where you can jump between tolerant nice guy and xenophobic human-supremacist in every other sentence.
Mark Meer (Male Shepard) is very well suited to all the Deadpan Snarker and Bond One-Liner scenes that a Renegade has, while Jennifer Hale (Female Shepard) is better suited to the emotional side of things. People who play the opposite of that setup are usually the ones with the most 'issues' with the voice acting in the game.
Something like half the lines Ashley gives are narm. "Just because I can drill you from a hundred yards between the eyes, doesn't mean I can't like sensitive stuff!" And the romance storylines, oh my god...
"By the goddess, Shepard, that was incredible!"
Almost every single cutscene in that game can be narmful. The voice acting is not really the problem, but the character models are unbelievably stiff.
Pressly's wonderfully rage-tastic lines as the Normandy approaches Ilos. "THERE IS NO OTHER LANDING ZONE!"
Kaidan's post-sex freak-out: "JOKER'S WAITING FOR YOU ON THE BRIDGE! I swear though, if anything happens to you..."
"Oh Captain... my Captain." Seriously, Ashley? WTF? Double the funny for both horrible delivery and a complete lack of understanding of the poem. Which you can call her out on.
Shepard: "As I recall the captain dies in that poem."
The end of one sidequest where you're rescuing an injured quarian. So you've spent five minutes of so killing off the attacking wild animals, and you've got the poor guy in the shuttle. At the last second, one of the horrible things comes charging out of the undergrowth and leaps at the shuttle door... and Shepard roundhouse kicks the little bastard in the face. Yes, roundhouse kicks. It's absolutely impossible to watch without your mind instantly going to Chuck Norris.
The recorded screaming when enemies are lifted by biotic fields may SOMETIMES get caught on loop even after the supposed character screaming has been killed...and you end up walking around the battlefield with RIDICULOUS amounts of rather silly screaming for the next few minutes.
Although Arrival was mostly serious, there's Dr. Kenson's line: "Now I will die, having never seen the blessings of the Reapers! And you will just die!"
The suicide mission is an incredible achievement in programming and logistics, but it can be prone to a couple of moments that are laugh-out-loud hilarious:
It is impossible for Miranda to die until Shepard gives his/her final speech before embarking with a team to the center of the Collector base. Until that point, though, it's possible to put Miranda (even an non-loyal one) into hilarious situations. Having her as a support character during the "Long Walk" portion of the mission (with a bad choice made for the person to hold the biotic field) can result in her being dragged off by seeker swarms, then reappearing and almost smiling at the progress of the mission a minute later. That's only possible if you do a bit of modding, though. Normally the other squadmate will get dragged off, usually screaming. Though a few are pretty hilarious.
If an unloyal Garrus is picked to lead the second diversion squad, his death scene will be poignant, as he tells Shepard and the gang to go on and "snipe one more" Collector for him...and then his head sags and gets lodged in the damaged section of his neckplate. It kills the mood and looks absolutely hilarious!
It's important to note however, that the first time you hear some of these lines, the fact that they're so personal is horrifying, until Harbinger becomes a regular enemy and you realize that he only has about six lines that are repeated over and over again. It goes from terrifying to hilarious over the course of the first mission he's in.
The Illusive Man gives a very creepy grin in one shot.
How about the "big reveal" of the Human-Reaper. Seriously, when it comes back after being shot down, you'd half expect The Terminator music to kick in. Even more silly, why does it have three eyes? Did the Reapers forget how many eyes it should have?◊ Considering the collector's edition artbook shows several concept designs that looked much more original and outright creepy, it's really generic.
Jack has a ton. But the absolute crowner has to be her first appearance on the Purgatory, when she realizes a Cerberus ship is coming to pick her up. Her little tamper tantrum is pathetic.
Jack: Cerberus. Arrr. Grrrr.
Jack's narm may be Fridge Brilliance (her "Cerberus" moment aside) when you consider that most of her "macho" identity is an affectation that she puts on in order to conceal how fragile she really is. The reason her dialogue sounds so forced and inauthentic is because it comes from a forced and inauthentic personality.
Thane brings us this side-splitter:
Mouse: You gave me chocolate, Krios. Real chocolate.
Thane: I never gave my own son chocolate.
If you hand over the evidence implicating Tali's father during her trial, you prevent her exile but fail the loyalty mission, which results in a very heartbreaking conversation between her and Shepard after the trial. However, immediately after this cutscene ends and gameplay resumes, Shepard expresses excitement over an upgrade he/she receives from Admiral Raan for proving Tali's innocence: "WE CAN USE THIS."
Similar to the above example, after the end of the main story if you talk to Kelly, she'll thank you profusely for rescuing her and the others. If you ask her if she's okay she'll talk about her experience as a captive, sounding very haunted and traumatized, and then she says that she needs to stop thinking about it and get "back to the old Kelly." If you then ask her how the crew is, her answer will be the same as it always is when nobody wants anything, the same "Nothing right now," in the same cheerful, perky tone of voice. Well, she sure seemed to get over that quick.
Miranda's derp face in the middle of a serious scene is priceless◊.
Thane's flashbacks start out as interesting and intriguing, but as you have more conversations with him, it starts feeling like you can't ask where he thinks he left his keys without a flashback moment with the same visual and sound effects every time.
If Shepard doesn't resolve Steve Cortez's personal struggles before embarking on the final mission, an in-game cutscene occurs where Cortez's shuttle crashes, killing Cortez, and Shepard and his/her human teammates (if they were brought along) each react in the most ridiculous way possible. Freddie Prinze Jr. sounds bored trying to convey anger as Vega ("You're gonna pay for that, you fuckers! WRAGHHHHH!!! Come on! Come on! Yeah!), Kaidan screams like he's falling off a cliff, Ashley sounds like she's either passing a kidney stone or having a toe-curling orgasm, and Male Shepard's reaction is...interesting:
Shepard: (completely deadpan and with no emotion) You sure?
Mark Meer has said that he recorded various versions of calling out Steve's name, that version was only meant for if a Male Shepard romanced Steve.
To some, the Stargazer epilogue for its clunky dialogue delivered by a voice actor (Buzz Aldrin) who seems fond of calling a kid "my sweet", and delivering a blatant in-game advertisement for more DLC.
The absurd walking/running animations seen throughout the game. Anderson's floating bowlegged running animation got a lot of comedic mileage pre-release, while the background animations of citizens on the ground running away during the Earth attack (they run with their bodies tilted at a 45-degree angle) and the walking animation of some NPC's on the Citadel (looking down a level at the Presidium Commons shows at least one NPC sliding along the ground without moving his legs) end up being hilariously out-of-place.
The Kid/Catalyst, especially in the dream sequences, where his legs are moving ridiculously fast while he slowly moves forward, the fact that he often clips over to another position if the player keeps him in sight long enough, and his goofy expressions as he and/or Shepard get lit on fire. It just comes across as trying way too hard.
Not to mention that, in any of the slo-mo sequences, you turn at the normal speed. Cue Shepard randomly swiveling in midair.
There are a lot of ways to kill off the characters in the game. While most of the death scenes are well-done, some are...not so well-done. This compilation shows off most of them, including Admiral Raan nonchalantly shooting herself in the head after the Quarian fleet is wiped out by the Geth, and Henry Lawson stupidly falling off a balcony note Actually it's Oriana who throws herself off the balcony, taking her father with her
If Miranda is killed by Kai Leng, she succumbs to her injuries after killing her father, despite there being no visible wounds on her body except for a few cuts on her face. note Although just because she didn't have any visible wounds doesn't mean she didn't have any serious internal injuries or trauma.
While fighting Kai Leng near the climax of the game, Shepard can be throwing grenades/shooting/hurting Kai Leng while the two engage in a conversation
The more you watch Kai Leng smacking the ground in slow motion, the funnier it seems to get. Bonus points to his rather hammy battle cry while he does it.
Shepard: EDI, get me Admiral Hackett. He needs to—-
[Something shoots the holo-panel. Camera reveals Kai Leng]
Kai Leng: Not so fast.
Kai Leng: He did warn you not to overstay your welcome.'''
Kai Leng: Rrrrrrrghhh! [As he runs to the ground and drives his fist into the ground, uprooting the floor panels.]
There is an accidental Freeze-Frame Bonus where if you take Liara and Garrus on the mission during the Cerberus invasion of the Citadel, when Kai Leng stabs your car and it catches fire, while it starts falling and losing altitude, you can, for a very short moment, see Liara and Shepard struggling to keep the car under control, while Garrus in the back seat has his head tilted backwards with his mouth wide open, looking as if he fainted/is dying, however - it looks hilarious and is full of narm.
The scene at the Shroud is a masterfully executed Tear Jerker, but one moment is hilariously done. A huge chunk of debris falls, and Shepard yells'DAYUM!'
A glitch during some dialogs would cause the characters to begin swiveling their heads around instead of looking forward. It's impossible to take a conversation seriously once this begins.
From the Destruction epilogue in the Extended Cut: If you end up killing off ALL your squadmates, plus Cortez, but avoid vaporizing Earth, then Joker and Traynor are the only ones left to mourn you in the memorial scene. Traynor is the one who places Shepard's name on the memorial wall. But here's the real kicker: in this scenario, Traynor is invisible due to a glitch. And as a result, you have what looks like a floating name plate attaching itself to the wall while Joker looks on, meaning that either the Normandy is haunted, or that Joker has suddenly developed telekinetic powers.
Female Shepard's recitation of the "I'm not losing anything" line during the conversation with the Catalyst is rather hilarious and over the top: "I didn't fight this WAR, so I could GIVE UP everything I HAVE."
If romanced, in the Citadel DLC a ghostly Thane inexplicably appears to Shepard at the end of the DLC to say goodbye to her. Similar to the Tali moment below, some Thanemancers found it heartwarming if cheesy, but it's pretty impressive that one of the few scenes intended to be serious in a DLC filled with intentional crack and Rule of Funny manages to be unintentionally hilarious to so many people.
Tali's singing in Citadel is unintentionally hilarious to some. It doesn't help that Man Shep's expression is hilariously similar to the time in Mass Effect 2 when Mordin famously sang Gilbert and Sullivan filk. Though it's still kind of cute anyway.