Ace Combat has several, some enemy-provoked, some played-provoked:
X-49 destroying Megafloat after you spend 3/4 of the game protecting the city from every Mega Corp. who tried to militarize, capture, fought over and then destroy it.
Discovering the true nature of Nemo and his whereabouts. He's just an AI part of a war simulation and is released at the end of the experiment.
Squadron Leader/Unsung War:
The whole Osea-Yuktobania war is the work of the Grey Men, powerful Belkan politicians and businessmen who harbored a plot to push the two countries to destroy each other to get revenge for the last war. Including providing them with nuclear weapons.
The shadowy and secret 8492nd squadron that shows up from time to time to give are Belkan aces and high-ranking officers infiltrated in the Osean military, who work with the Grey Men to either help or hinder Osean progress to make the war last. Including trying to murder you and framing you for espionage and treason when you prove too dangerous for their plans.
Belka (an Expy blend of modernized Imperial Germany and Nazi Germany) becomes desperate enough that they want to end the war by dropping nuclear weapons on their own cities to stave off the advancing allied forces. Your squadron shoots down the bombers carrying the nukes and rejoice for avoiding the disaster, suddenly the music stops, a bright light blinds you temporarily and the game seems to freeze and lag for a split second. When it stops, the sky turned gray with an awfully strong wind and the graphics, radio and HUD become distorted. Then you see what looks like a second sun, eerily low, large and close to the ground... There were seven more nukes.
The introduction of the Dji Cantos in Albion counts. Shortly after that, we find out that the company owning the ship knew that the planet they are trying to destroy had intelligent life on it, and is willing to destroy it regardless. It turns out the ship's on board computer has also been programmed to use any means necessary to keep the truth about the world a secret from the crew, killing everyone if necessary.
Alice: Madness Returns has Alice's final trip into the burning house to discover who or what caused the fire that killed her family ten years ago: her current therapist, Dr. Bumby, who was attempting to cover up the rape of Alice's sister.
Later, the encounter with the Dollmaker, the Wonderland representation of Dr. Bumby. Turns out his memory alteration experiments were to make sure his patients (all of them children) didn't remember being used as prostitutes.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent slowly becomes this, as it's revealed through Daniel's later diary entries and flashbacks that he helped Alexander kidnap, torture, and murder innocent civilians in order to ward off the Shadow and in effect save his own life. And then flipped on its head when it's also revealed that Alexander was only using Daniel to obtain both the orb he found in Algeria and mass amounts of vitae to open a portal back to his home world, and that he was planning on leaving Daniel to die once he had what he needed.
Ape Escape's Trick Castle. Though it seems like the last level, no sooner do you reach Specter and Jake before they ditch you, leave you to fight an armoured warrior, you get transported back to the present day where the monkeys are already in charge of the city and the professor and Katie have been kidnapped.
Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney manages this right out of the gate with its first episode. Kristoph Gavin, someone you went into the game completely trusting as the protagonist's boss and mentor, ends up being the guilty party. The ride just keeps going from there but needless to say it's a hard-hitting way to start the game.
At the very end of the normal ending of Aquaria, the protagonist, Naija, says a short sentence about how you need to search the game more closely. The sentence ends with two little words that turn the world upside down.
"You've reached an end, but it is not all I have to share. You've become lost along the way, concerned only with the immediate facts. Return to the waters, and follow the trails hidden in my memories...the story of my childhood. Find me...before the world is lost...my son..."
In Arc Rise Fantasia, things kind of go downhill when Adelle gets kidnapped and taken to the Olquina Skywalk. You storm into the shrine to rescue her, but when you reach her, a number of things rapidly become clear. First of all, Adelle is a Diva, has chosen to follow Real's Law (in direct opposition to the one L'arc "chose"), and she is completely batshit for L'arc. Secondly, The Empire you're following has just attacked Olquina without formally declaring war, using your mission as an opening. Thirdly, Serge has been lying about his origins the whole time, and is on the Olquinians' side, and Leslie isn't exactly on your side either. Finally (and this one is a shocker to everyone present, including your enemies), L'arc's friend, Prince Alf, is a secondChild of Eesa, and quickly defects to Real's side to fight the Empire he is a prince of. In short, half your party is now against you, and your two oldest friends want you dead.
Arc the Lad 2's first scene shows the slaughter of Elc's (the game's hero) people. Then the game's makers apparently decided to beat the record of Wham Moments done in a single video game, by repeatedly punching the player.
Each game in the Assassin's Creed series ends on a deliberate cliffhanger that radically changes the plot.
Assassin's Creed I ends with Desmond discovering that he has "inherited" Altaďr's Eagle Vision through the Animus and using it to see cryptic messages painted all over the walls of the Abstergo laboratory... in blood.
Assassins Creed II ends with Ezio entering the vault beneath the Vatican in hopes of discovering the secret purpose of the Apple of Eden, only to see a hologram of a representative of an ancient and advanced civilization speak to Desmond through him and inform him that it is his purpose to help in preventing The End of the World as We Know It. This astonishes both Ezio (who of course has no idea that a long-distant descendant of his will be viewing his life via Genetic Memory as a VR simulation) and Desmond, who is said descendant.
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood ends with Desmond discovering Ezio's Apple. However, instead of having its secrets revealed, another representative of the First Civilization appears to him, tells him he is not ready, and forces him to stab and kill Lucy with his hidden blade.
Assassin's Creed: Revelations gives us the surprising conclusion to Altaďr and Ezio's stories (not to mention Subject 16's) and confirms that their purpose in life was to pass on the message of the First Civilization. However, the real whammy comes in the DLC, "The Lost Archive", which reveals that Lucy, whom Desmond was forced to kill in Brotherhood, was in fact a Templar agent.
Assassins Creed III ends with Desmond opening the door in the Grand Temple the day before The End of the World as We Know It, only to discover Juno is still alive, was imprisoned in the temple by her First Civ peers, and all her actions have been a carefully constructed Xanatos Gambit so that Desmond would have no choice but to free her to save Earth from the catastrophe, only to leave it ripe for her conquer afterwards. It's a Sadistic Choice between that and letting the catastrophe kill off most of humanity, Desmond ascending to god-like status among the survivors, and the cycle of conflict continuing after his eventual death. Desmond accepts Juno's offer and dies in the process of freeing her, in the hopes his friends can stop her plans. She does save Earth from the disaster, but now she's free to exact her plans.
Asura's Wrath Episode 12. The little girl and the village Asura was protecting is completely destroyed by Olga of the deities and all the inhabitants are dead. Asura goes even more apeshit then usual and completely annilhates Olga's fleet.
Avalon Code begins with a very schizophrenic tone—you're told straight up that the world is going to be destroyed for its wickedness, but you mostly encounter its most beautiful elements (which you're in charge of magically preserving.) Occasional hints of why the world is doomed are left in the background. Then, after the most light-hearted and most plot-irrelevant chapter, everything goes straight to hell as the No-Gear Level begins. A trusted ally betrays you for reasons that make perfect sense in hindsight, and the character he betrays you to turns out to have been manipulating you from the start. Another character gets killed off (and this varies depending on who you're dating.) You're jailed for the destruction, and every character you didn't complete a personal sidequest for comes to your cell to tell you how much they hate you. When you're busted out, the character who rescues you lists off all the weapons you've used throughout the game, and asks you if you're able to wield any of them without magical assistance, while you just shake your head in acknowledgment of your own uselessness . . . and then he teaches you unarmed combat, and the game firmly establishes its tone.
Tell Tale Games manages a few more in their recent Back to the Future series. In Episode 3, Hill Valley has been turned into a 1984-esque dystopia run by none other than Doc Brown himself from an alternate timeline. Then, as if just to one-up that one, In Episode 4, Alternate Doc Brown has a Face-Heel Turn when he realizes that restoring the timeline to "normal" will leave his wife Edna, who he still cares for despite how she tried to brainwash and torture him in the future, alone and miserable, and sets out to prevent his younger self from becoming a scientist entirely, preventing both the invention of time travel and the police state in Hill Valley while still allowing Edna to be happy. Just . . . damn.
Baten Kaitos did this very well. Various events occur that would easily be explained if there was a spy in the party, you sit through quite a few cutscenes where the party wonders who the spy is...essentially it's so blatantly obvious, you feel it is likely a Red Herring. But there probably weren't any gamers who would have expected that not only was it NOT a Red Herring, but the spy in question was Kalas, the main character.
And then there was Origins, which had an absolutely massive wham episode about two-thirds of the way through. The magnitude of the wham in question can be summarized by one simple observation: the revelation that the hero's main love interest is actually a spy for (and the daughter of) the Big Bad is most likely the least shocking plot twist.
Another one is the scene after the defeat of Baelheit, where Verus reveals himself. It puts about two-thirds of the plot in a completely different light.
BioShock. All the events in Rapture Central Control. The dev team have actually stated that they set out to make System Shock 2 again.
BioShock 2 has Outer Persephone, in which you as Delta find out that Eleanor is the one who brought you back in the first place, and that she's been watching your choices the whole time. And then Dr. Lamb suffocates her, severing your bond with her.
In Batman: Arkham Asylum we find out that Dr. Young has been experimenting on Bane's Venom, a research secretly backed up by the Joker's fundings. Also, Quincy Sharp is the Spirit of Arkham.
In Batman: Arkham City, Hugo Strange is Ra's Al Ghul's puppet and Clayface has been impersonating the Joker the whole time. Oh, and there's a psychopath walking around Gotham with Bruce Wayne's face. Oh, and the Joker dies.
In many of BlazBlue's endings, we're treated to a plethora of whams (Noel is transformed into Mu-12! Litchi pulls a Face-Heel Turn! Arakune gets captured by Relius Clover!) But the one that probably takes the cake is the True Ending, wherein supposed Big Bad Yuuki Terumi wipes out Takamagahara, the system controlling time and existence in the BlazBlue universe, but reveals that he isn't the only Big Bad. The other one? The Imperator Librarius, the head of the Librarium, revealed to be Saya. You know, Ragna's supposed dead little sister. How's that for a Wham?
Chronophantasma decides that it has to one-up the last game. So Terumi is killed by Hakumen, he kills Trinity on the way out, Saya is possessed by Izanami, the Goddess of Death, Saya brings Take-Mikazuchi down from the sky (you remember, the orbital cannon that tried to nuke Kagutsuchi?) and then she transforms Ragna into a partial Black Beast. Suffice to say, they succeeded.
Of all the games to have one, Borderlands 2does in the quest, Where Angels Fear to Tread.To sum up the mission: Angel reveals herself to be a human Siren, not an AI as previously claimed. Jack is her father and is using her to charge the vault key. She asks you to kill her to A. stop Jack and B. free her from her personal hell. Roland and Lilith help out, despite Angel's warning that Lilith should stay away. After you kill Angel, Jack shoots Roland then kidnaps Lilith, using her now to charge the vault key.
Oh, and while there had been a bit of foreshadowing for it, when it turns out Angel is actually under Handsome Jack's control and tricks you into destroying Sanctuary's shield, that's the first true wham of the game.
The last level of Braid. Especially when getting the final secret star.
Breath of Fire IV: Again, toward the end, when you learn that Elina is still alive...if you could call it that.
An early example of this: In the normal ending of Castlevania II Simons Quest, Simon dies from his wounds. The "special" ending (take more than 8 days to finish) isn't much better; Dracula is dead, but so is Simon, and in fact the entire series.
"Rebirth" reveals Mason killing Steiner while yelling he is Viktor Reznov and what else is that Reznov himself isn't present.
The level after that "Revelations" has many revelations. Hudson and Weaver are the interrogators, Reznov has been dead all along during the escape from Vorkuta, Dragovich's plan of brainwashing Mason into killing John F. Kennedy, but Reznov sabotaged him into killing Dragovich, Kravchenko, and Steiner instead.
Finally, a live-action sequence after the last level reveals that Mason most likely succeeded in assassinating JFK.
Not to mention the end of the game, when the big baddie and friends kill two and maybe three of your partners.
Same goes for Modern Warfare 2. Which level is not a Wham Level?
"No Russian" would have been a massive wham, if not for the PR-stunt/controversy regarding that particular level. Though it still managed one Wham Line:
Anatoly: We've sent a strong message with this attack, Makarov. Makarov: That was no message. (grabs the player's hand, then shoots him in the face) This is a message.
At the end of "Takedown", American radar and satellites pick up massive numbers of hostile contacts at both coasts. And it turns out the contacts on the East coast aren't fakes.
In "The Gulag" it turns out that the mysterious Prisoner 627 is Captain Price.
"Of Their Own Accord" starts in a wet and dimly lit basement that is filled with wounded soldiers and sporadically shaken by explosions on the surface. After leaving the basement and climbing out of a trench with your squad, you're faced with a panorama view of the destroyed Washington Monument before a dark sky, lit by the fires of burning Capitol Hill. Behind burning tanks and uprooted trees is the partly destroyed Department of Commerce, which US soldiers are desperately trying to recapture from Russian forces.
"Contingency" ends with Captain Price firing a nuclear missile at Washington.
"Loose Ends" ends with probably one of the biggest Whams! since CoD4. Roach and Ghost are shot by Shepherd, thrown in a ditch, doused in kerosene, and...well, you can figure. And you can watch it because Roach isn't dead yet at that point.
Can the last level surpass even the ending of CoD4? At least it comes very close. In "Endgame" you shot down Shepherd's chopper but fall down a very high waterfall just seconds later. Stumbling after Shepherd who escaped from the wreckage, you finally thrust down your knife to end it all, you find yourself on the ground seconds later with a knife in your own chest. As Price and Shepherd try to beat each other to death with their bare hands, you pull the knife from your chest to throw it into Shepherd's eye!
Modern Warfare 3...Blood Brothers... Soap is dead. No player could believe it. And to top it all off, this is minutes after you've just learned your own character worked with the Big Bad.
For the same reasons as "No Russian" above, "Davis Family Vacation".
Chrono Trigger first does this when you go to the future, a place full of ruined domed cities - there is no background music at first, and then you find people and discover they are barely ekeing out their existence in a depressing post-apocalyptic wasteland. Worse, you find out that this was all done by Lavos in 1999, and the game gains its overarching plot - you need to stop Lavos and prevent this future from happening.
When you get to the Ocean Palace, the music and atmosphere heavily imply that you are near the end of the game. You've been to all the other time periods and know the truth about Lavos, and are ready to confront him, right? Too bad, because he incapacitates your entire party with one attack (unless playing a New Game + or if you are severely over-leveled), vaporizes Crono, and delivers a sneak preview of what is yet to come in 1999. If you remembered what Spekkio said much earlier in the game, or the mere fact that in the year 600+ there are no floating continents...you were doomed to fail from the start. And not long after this, your party is captured and the Epoch stolen. It does get better in time, but at that point you have the feeling that everything you've done was for naught.
Chrono Cross has many twists in its Jigsaw Puzzle Plot. But two stand out: Fort Dragonia, where the dream that opens the game happens because Serge gets possessed by Lynx, stabs Kid and proceeds to get put in Lynx's body; and the Dead Sea, which also reveals Lavos - namely, that it's the Bad Future that the heroes of Trigger supposedly stopped, but due to the Time Crash got sent back into the time period Cross takes place.
This is taken to a whole new level in Contra: Shattered Soldier, where the worst ending has you and Lance Bean killed in cataclysmic fashion, and the men who sent you on your mission revealed to be tyrants who now have no one left to stop them. Neo Contra ramps it up even further; in the worst ending, the Big Badblows up the planet. Of course, this was simply Konami's friendly way of telling you to do a little better next time, rookie.
The Grandmapocalypse in Cookie Clicker which up to that point, the game is a hilariously over the top venture into making cookies, with such stuff as hiring a small army of grandmas who spout ominous messages, using time machines, and opening portals to other dimensions, just for the sake of making cookies. As you unlock the Bingo/Research Center, and advance more and more research, you will be getting warnings from the game advising you to stop, lest unwanted effects occur. It's not kidding, soon after getting these upgrades the grandma icon becomes more distorted and eventually the background shows a series of grandmas who slowly morph into horrific abominations, as well as worm-like Wrinklers attacking your cookie stash, even Santa is affected. All this and and the apocalyptic news messages can make one wonder if this was all worth it.
Conkers Bad Fur Day has one when Berri, the only person important in Conker's life, get's shot dead. Permanently.
Firstly, the revelation that Azariah Kyras has been a heretic since the original game. Yeah, that's right, the leader of the Blood Ravens who has thus far directed every last one of their engagements has been a servant of Chaos. Only gets more poignant when you realize also that this means that the slaughter of the 1st Kronus Liberators by Davian Thule, an act which haunted him for a great time, was ordered by an enemy of the Emperor.
Another one is the revelation of the traitor in Chaos Rising. Here's a hint, it is one of your sergeants. And you've likely built a certain attachment to a few of them, so it can be quite the shock.
Another revelation, connected to the first. It turns out that the daemon who led Kyras to evil is in fact the Daemon of the Maledictum. In other words, the very daemon of Khorne that Gabriel himself released during the events of the first game. Wham episode indeed.
From Dawn of War II, Davian Thule being killed by a Warrior Beast counts. Of course, then there's him returning as a Dreadnought. And gentlemen, it is glorious.
The original wham episode was well...in the original. When it was revealed at the end of the game that Gabriel had inadvertently released the Daemon of the Maledictum in the first place.
DoW II: Retribution. You've tracked the Big Bad to Typhon, and you've caught him alone! But he's...pleased? And then the Ordo Malleus fleet arrives..."and so I sign the death warrant of an entire world and consign a billion souls to oblivion."
Dead Rising somehow manages to have three in rapid succession, late in the game near the end of 72 Hour Mode. First, the military isn't coming to rescue anyone in the mall, but are instead deployed to clean up any evidence of an outbreak. Then, Frank's rescue helicopter is taken out. Then, Frank learns that he's been infected.
The sequel has one near the end. Raymond Sullivan is revealed to be an employee for Phenotrans and planned the firebombing to destroy the evidence.
Off the Record has the same thing except Stacey Forsythe is the agent for Phenotrans.
Deus Ex had its Wham fairly early on. Less than a third of the way in, you find out that your brother has been working for the terrorists all along. But then it turns out that the terrorists are the good guys and that you've been acting as the pawn of the Ancient Conspiracy, causing you to defect and go on the run.
Diablo III: You've taken out Belial and Azmodan and saved Caldeum and Bastion's Keep. The Black Soulstone is ready to be destroyed to end all evil forever. You know something's gonna happen though, because this is a Diablo game, and it just wouldn't be worthy of the name without your Nephalem badass getting a chance to throw down with the title archdemon, now would it? So what happens? Well...Adria, the witch who has been your ally since her rescue in Act II, reveals herself to have sworn herself to the service of Diablo himself soon after the end of the first game, just before revealing to Leah, the daughter she has subdued with her evil magic, who her real father is — the Dark Wanderer, a.k.a. Diablo himself! And then, she pulls the mother of all heartless betrayals by using her own daughter as the vessel for Diablo to be reborn, sinking the Black Soulstone, with all seven of the Great Evils that you so very helpfully put inside it, into Leah's chest. And with that, Diablo has returned. But it gets worse. Because of Adria having used the Black Soulstone in accordance with Diablo's grand plan, Diablo has become the full embodiment of all seven Great Evils in one being — the Prime Evil.
And then the true WHAM comes in: the newly resurrected Diablo, with all the power of all seven of the Great Evils under his sole command, then reveals his true goal, the one that has always eluded him — the complete destruction of the High Heavens and the ending of the Eternal Conflict once and for all! He then proceeds to open a portal to the High Heavens, curbstomp Imperius (the most powerful member of the Angiris Council) and then bring down the Diamond Gates before leading the entirety of The Legions of Hell in a full-on invasion of Heaven itself! Ladies and gentlemen, shit has just gotten real.
The worst ending of Disgaea 2 is perhaps the most shocking moment in the entire series. It has to be seen to be believed. Warning, horror taken to HSQ levels. Adell is possessed by Zenon and eats Taro and Hanako. They are crunchy.
Dragon Age: Origins has the Battle of Ostagar. Beforehand, it seemed like a fairly normal high fantasy story where the armies of Ferelden were going to triumph over the evil Darkspawn. Then, Loghain betrays the king and plunges Ferelden into hopeless civil war, leaving it helpless against the Darkspawn.
The Joining was a Wham too, for a few reasons - The nature of the Joining itself, the temporary player characters (who you've been with long enough to have developed a care for how they fare) develop a bad case of dead, one courtesy of the Joining and the other courtesy of Duncan curb-stomping him.
Same thing in Awakening, where one of the companions you start the initial quest with dies in the Joining.
The Reveal that a Grey Warden must sacrifice his/her life and soul to permanently end a Blight, and the deal Morrigan offers as a loophole. This is when it becomes painfully clear that a truly happy ending isn't going to happen — victory will have a price.
Unless you managed to turn Loghain - though in that case, you'd have gotten an early bit of Wham from Alistair leaving your group, taking his equipment with him.
Dragon Age II has a few of these, but really, what else can you say but Anders plants a bomb in the Chantry and murders all the priestesses and probably lots of bystanders to remove the only thing that kept the conflict between the mages and the templars from turning violent. As the status quo is unacceptable, he thinks its better for the mages to die trying to destroy the templars, then to slowly be killed or made tranquil by the templars one by one. This really hits double hard if your Hawke is in a romance with him.
To a lesser degree Isabellas quests at the end of Act 2. The Qunari have been in the city for all these years because Isabella stole a sacred relic from them and they know the thief is still somewhere in the city. When they find out that the thief is a companion of the unoffical representative the city has sent to negotiate with them, relations turn sour quickly and the Arishok decides the time for a discrete search is over and he has to take control of the city himself.
One of the worst is the quest All That Remains, in which you discover that Leandra's unnamed suitor is actually a serial killer, and has made her his next victim because she looks like his dead wife, whom he's trying to recreate through stitching women together through necromancy. Leandra provides the face. The game's especially brutal about giving you hope that she's still alive, right until the climax of the quest in the killer's lair. This quest also leads to another Wham Episode late in the game, when First Enchanter Orsino uses the killer's research—which he'd been secretly helping—to become a Harvester monster to fight off Meredith's templars.
While the Legacy DLC was somewhat unremarkable for most of it, the end drop a massive lore bomb, by introducing and awakening Corypheus, one of the ancient magisters who invaded the Golden City and became the first Darkspawn. This also provided a first look at the main antagonist of Inquisition.
"In Your Heart Shall Burn" drastically changes the scope of the story: You finally manage to close the Breach for good, only for the Elder One's forces to attack Haven. The Mages or Templar (which ever faction you didn't side with), have joined the Elder One. The Elder One is revealed to be Corypheus from Dragon Age II's "Legacy" DLC. Corypheus reveals that he created the Mark and therefore it is not divine. Corypheus destroys Haven, but Solas brings the Inquisition to the fortress of Skyhold. Lastly, the Herald is made the Inquisitor.
"Here Lies the Abyss", the conclusion of the Grey Warden arc, consists of a massive siege on Adamant Fortress before the Inquisitor, their companions, Hawke, and a Grey Warden ally take a trip to the Fade. There it is revealed that Divine Justinia V saved the Inquisitor as opposed to Andraste, and in the end the player needs to choose either Hawke or Stroud/Alistar/Loghain to stay behind in the Fade in a Heroic Sacrifice to let the others escape.
Dragonfable (from Artix Entertainment): Nythera apparently kills Warlic, thanks to the potions you helped her make. The fact that Warlic exists in the AdventureQuest game doesn't necessarily mean he gets out of this situation, since Nythera then shapeshifts into Warlic. Meaning she might be the Warlic we know in AdventureQuest.
Warlic eventually gets better, in no small part due to Nythera biting off a lot more than she can chew and having to resurrect him in order to take out some really nasty monsters that she can't defeat with her magic.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion does this at what should be the moment of triumph. Martin Septim relights the Dragonfires and banishes Mehrunes Dagon back to his plane of Oblivion. Then there's the realization that Martin's Heroic Sacrifice ended the Septim Dynasty...meaning there is no left who can keep the Dragonfires lit, and a war of succession is almost certain.
During the Companions questline, while you were out doing a quest for their leader to get a cure for his lycanthropy, the werewolf hunters that you'd been pursuing revenge against for the last few missions for killing one of your own decide to launch a direct attack on the Companions' home base of Jorrvaskr, killing the leader.
During the College of Winterhold questline, a Thalmor agent takes control of the Eye of Magus, and kills the Archmage effortlessly.
In the Dark Brotherhood questline, the father of one of your victims sends a small army of Imperial soldiers to wipe out the entire Dark Brotherhood.
During the Thieves' Guild questline, you are betrayed by the guild's headmaster, and it is shortly afterwards revealed that he has stolen all of the remaining money the guild had left, and is personally responsible for the guild having been in constant decline for the last few years due to having stolen a powerful artifact from the guild's patron goddess.
During the main questline, after your first fight with Alduin, you learn that he hasn't been defeated, he has simply retreated to Sovngarde, the Warrior Heaven of the Nords, to recover his strength... by devouring the souls of the honored dead.
After the Season Unending quest, where you have to broker a peace deal between the Empire and the Stormcloaks until Alduin is dealt with, the leader of one of the two factions related to dragons in the game drops a bombshell in your lap by revealing that they know about the leader of the other faction, a dragon who at this point in the game is your single greatest ally against Alduin, and cutting you off from all support from her faction until you kill him, which will permanently cut you off from all support from the other faction if you do this. And no, you can't persuade or intimidate her into seeing things your way, something many fans are less than happy with.
In Dawnguard, you meet up with one of the few surviving Snow Elves of Tamriel, those who were not twisted into the horrific Falmer by the Dwemer.
Epic Mickey has about halfway through the game the discovery of the original bottle of paint and thinner that fell into Wasteland during Mickey's original mischief. Oswald learns that Mickey was the one who unleashed the Blot, angrily jumps on the lid of the bottle and unleashes the complete Phantom Blot. Everything else, including the huge blot that dragged Mickey into Wasteland were only drippings escaping from the loose bottle. The freed Blot then pulls a Hostage for MacGuffin by threatening to kill Gus and Oswald if he doesn't get Mickey's heart, to which Mickey complies, setting the stage for the rest of the game.
Eversion's World 4 takes this to horrifying levels. The stage starts off innocently enough as World 4-1, but after hitting the first block (which you are required to do), the stage suddenly everts to World 4-5 — the backgrounds get a lot less colorful, the music becomes much creepier, and blocks now have freaked-out eyeless faces. And as if all that's not unsettling enough, now you have giant demonic hands grabbing at you from water pits.
Fahrenheit has three chapters that have revelations:
"Agatha" reveals prior to being possessed to murder John Winston in a diner, Lucas has met the Oracle, who is responsible for the murder. This is what gives him the power to see what the other can see.
"The Pact" has it when Lucas is back from the dead as an undead being and forms an alliance with Carla, one of the two cops who are after him.
"Where is Jade?" reveals Lucas didn't survive from the roller coaster fall. His body has been found and resuscitated; in order words, he is dead. The one who resuscitated him isn't Agatha, but it's an AI impersonating her after her death in her apartment.
Fallout 3. After trekking the wasteland searching for your father, discovering his role in Project Purity and eventually saving him from a virtual world run by a very creepy old man, you help him get Project Purity back online via a handful of small fetchquests. Then the Enclave show up and try to force your father to give them control over the entire operation. When the dust settles, your father is dead via Heroic Sacrifice and the Enclave have not only taken control over Jefferson Memorial, but have started pouring out into the Wasteland in their attempt to conquer it. Suddenly, the stakes are higher than ever.
Oh, and the guy your dad tried to stop by overloading the project, killing himself in the process? Oh he's fine, radioactive-proof jacket and all, and he gets to return the favor later.
Fallout: New Vegas Lonesome Road: The courier that refused the Platinum Chip job when he saw your name? He shows up as your equal and opposite, working for the Legion and having gone before you in Dead Money and Old World Blues.
Your character has a past that you don't know about: You built up a community called the Divide and then brought it down by bringing a damaged ED-E there, which detonated nuclear warheads in their silos.
You never learn your character's motivations, and the dialogue choices imply that your character still remembers most of what happened except for the nuclear warheads being detonated underground, since that happened while you were carrying the Platinum Chip.
Ulysses is a walking, talking WHAM moment. He's heavily foreshadowed, the first time you directly talk to him he berate you for destroying the Divide and his last action is to give you a disturbingly spot-on speech about how individual men can shape the destiny of nations right before nuking the NCR.
You can opt to nuke the NCR, Legion, both, or neither (in which case the second ED-E makes a Heroic Sacrifice to disable all of the rockets).
Fate/stay night has at least three. The first would be in UBW when Saber's Command Spells are stolen and she is forced to maim Shirou while simultaneously taking way Avalon's protection. They go to rescue her before her will and sanity breaks and she becomes Caster's slave, but just before the showdown, Archer turns on Shirou and Tohsaka and sides with Caster, and the two barely escape with their lives. Because Archer shows a scrap of mercy. Then they go to Ilya for help...who is brutally murdered by a third party that makes Caster and Archer look like chumps (falsely, as it turns out) and once again they only live because their opponent didn't feel like killing them. Fortunately the low point of the route, but still. The second is Heavens Feel. Just Heaven's Feel. But relative to... itself, the moment Sakura snaps and Shinji ends up a headless corpse, at which point she also turns on Shirou/Tohsaka and reveals nigh omnipotent shadow based powers and the ability to spawn infinite monsters that are all as powerful as Tohsaka. And the third...Saber's death/rebirth/shoot the dog moment. Take your pick or lump them together. If it wasn't spoiled for you there is NO way you saw the main heroine turning, and the shoot the dog was barely more predictable.
In the middle part of day 9. Inside several hours of gameplay, you discover that Sakura (the love interest) is Rin's sister and the true master of Rider, and that she's also been the victim of eleven years of horrific abuse by the Matou family in general and her asshole brother Shinji in particular. Then, you find out that, unless you kill her, she's likely to eventually go insane and kill many innocent people, and Rin decides that she will be forced to go through with it, and thus Shirou will have to fight her too.
Unlimited Blade Works, Day 14. Archer all but outright states that his true identity is none other than a future version of Shirou Emiya and his goal is to kill his past self. And then the next day, he does state it outright.
It didn't stop. Add in the first scene at North Crater where Cloud loses his sanity, gives Sephiroth the Black Materia which lets him cast Meteor, causes the WEAPONs to be unleashed, and wrapped in the candy coating that is Sephiroth has actually been dead this whole time and the one who you've been chasing around the world was actually Jenova (Who, admittedly, was under the control of Puppet Master Sephiroth).
Half of Final Fantasy IX consists of this. one city's population slaughtered in a surprise assault, another one nuked, summoned Eldritch Abomination crushes one more city... and the situation goes even more downhill from there. Every time you think "This can't be going on any more!" you get the next wham.
There's also the scene in Final Fantasy X in Zanarkand, where Yunalesca tells the party that Sin is eternal, and that every Final Aeon that defeats Sin will become Sin in its place. Tidus is simply part of a dream of the fayth, who will wake up if you complete the game. You then move forward realizing that finishing the game will essentially mean the "death" of Tidus.
The events in Home offer another good one. Tidus has a major Freak Out when he learns of the only way to defeat Sin: for Yuna to die—and everyone knew this without telling him. For the rest of the game, he is determined to come up with some other way to beat Sin.
But before all of those, you get Operation Mi'ihen. It's an attempt to beat Sin using what we would consider conventional weaponry (as opposed to the Final Aeon). It is an out-and-out massacre, including one of Those Two Guys dying. Which one of them dies depends on some choices you made earlier, which seemed pretty irrelevant at the time. Operation Mi'ihen is also the first clue that Yevon isn't as nice as it seems.
Everything after Leblanc's hideout and before Chapter 3 in Final Fantasy X-2. Also, the Den of Woe. Still freaky, even if you know it's coming. And it makes so much of the game (and Paine's backstory) make much more sense.
At the end of Chapter 1, Delita and Ramza's lives get changed in a major way.
About three storyline battles later, you learn that Gafgarion is not what he seems.
Then, in the last battle of Chapter 2, you learn what the Church is really hiding. Those are just selections. There's Wham candidates after just about every battle.
F.E.A.R. managed to have one of these at the end of the first game and Project Origin. In the first game, the final level reveals that the Point Man is the first prototype born from Alma and Project Origin reveals that the entire reason Alma was hunting Becket in the game was because she wanted to use him to get herself pregnant, and now she has what she wants.
And if you go into a bit more backstory, the whole of Project Origin was a plot by Genevieve Aristide to turn Becket into a telesthetic beacon. Why? To lead Alma away from the Point Man so Aristide can find him first.
Chapter 10 of the same game counts as even more of one, as the Plegians who saw Emmeryn's sacrifice don't want to fight anymore, and even their general wants to try to solve this peacefully, knowing full well its far too late for that. Said General must fight anyways for his family, and his soldiers now only fight for him, and not their king. Couple that scenario with music like this and this right at the start and you have Grade-A Wham Episode material.
The Freespace space sims are filled with Wham Missions. Especially the first nebula mission and the final mission in Freespace 2.
Gears of War 3 has the chapter appropriately titled "Brothers To The End." Dom sacrifices himself to save Marcus and his comrades against an unstoppable horde of Locust and Lambent.
In 2, there is scene where Dom finds Maria. After a brief shot of her looking young and healthy, Dom admits the truth: She is a broken and tortured wreck. The scene ends when he is forced to Mercy Kill her.
Ghost Trick's final chapter drops a lot of bombs. The guy you thought was you? He already "died" ten years ago and you were just the cat that followed him around until the first shot from the manipulated Lynne killed you. The lamp that explained your powers to you? The Too Dumb to Live dog that travelled back ten years just so he can protect Lynne and Kamila.
Chapter 15 is pretty wham. 14 ends with you questioning what you knew about your own identity. 15 starts with you arriving at the superintendent's office and seeing yourself giving the villain monologue to Cabanela.
The chapter where you finally discover the identity of "the man in red" and that you're not him.
Grandia II is packed to the gills with them. The evil god-fragment possessing the main character's brother? Moves to possess the main character instead. The evil god separated into fragments and sealed away? Never died and the "seals" are actually devices to infect people with the fragments. The god of light who defeated the god of darkness before retiring to rest? LOST the war in the heavens. The kindly Pope who directs your party on your quest to save the world? Actually the Big Bad who wants to resurrect and then become the god of darkness. Well done, everyone!
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has a big damn WHAM in the mission The Green Sabre. Not only are your best friends Ryder and Big Smoke revealed as working with the enemies (Tenpenny, C.R.A.S.H. and the Ballas) and responsible for the death of your mother in that fateful driveby, but your brother Sweet is shot and arrested, Grove Street goes to shit, you lose all the territory you'd captured up to this point, and you're taken out in the middle of nowhere by Tenpenny and Pulaski to kill a witness who has discovered their corrupt activities.
Grand Theft Auto IV has one near the end in which you choose to side with either Roman or Kate; the one you choose to side with gets killed in the wedding scenario.
The Lost and Damned has the penultimate mission in which Johnny finds out that Jim was killed by Niko Bellic and that Billy Grey is planning to testify against The Lost.
The Ballad of Gay Tony has the second to the last mission. In it, Rocco has ordered Luis to kill Tony. This results in him leaving Luis after saving his life.
Grand Theft Auto V has the mission Bury the Hatchett in which Trevor discovers the truth about how Michael survived the events of the Prologue ten years ago: He took a deal with the FIB to set up Trevor and Brad while he and his family are put into witness protection. Brad was gunned down, Trevor escaped, and Michael faked his death with Brad's body taking his place in the grave. The two of them confront each other at the cemetery in Luderndorff, entering a Mexican Stand Off that is broken up when Wei Cheng's henchmen arrive to capture Trevor, but take Michael hostage instead. Trevor spends the rest of the game out for Michael's blood and Michael himself is out of commission until Franklin rescues him several missions down the line.
G-Senjou no Maou: Many, many, especially as you advance in along the canonical Usami story-arc and discover more about Maou. The one that everyone who has played the game remembers, though is from the epilogue. Everything after the first line of dialogue, honestly.
Guild Wars 2 has the Battle of Claw Island. This is where the personal storyline first gets really dark, as the island fortress faces the full might of the Risen in a hopeless battle, and your mentor, whom you've been following for the last twenty or so levels, dies covering your retreat.
The Battle of Lion's Arch from the Living World. The main Hub City, and the place which your mentor died to defend, is burnt to the ground by Scarlet's forces and for two weeks the only possible reaction was to try and save as many people as possible.
The end of Half-Life 2: Episode 2 qualifies it as a Wham Episode. If not Eli Vance's death, the unambiguous confirmation that Gordon Freeman is not the only human on Earth familiar with the G-man.
"Dooctor Freeeman..." The G-man not only rescued Alyx from Black Mesa but he is seen implanting information into her mind apparently without her realising. The very deliberate use of the phrase "Unforeseen Consequences" also gives some strange meta implications as to the G-man's involvement into the very chapter names of the games you are playing. Oh, yeah, and did I mention that the G-man seems to have a way of influencing Alyx's mind without her realising.
Halo has a couple of these. The Flood introduction from Halo 1 definitely fits, and even comes with a Genre Shift. The conversation with the Gravemind probably counts from Halo 2. The entire last half of the level "The Covenant" from Halo 3 is another good one. This level (well, most of it) and the one after it arguably epitomize Scenery Porn and Scenery Gorn, respectively, more so than anything else in the entire game.
Then there's Halo: Reach. Oh boy. Probably epitomized during the fifth mission, pretty much the exact midpoint of the game anyway, when you get to watch the planet Reach's surface be burned in large chunks while the level is still going on and long before it actually ends.
The level "Exodus": you enter a large city and the first thing you notice is the many dead civilian bodies scattered about. Worse, if you look around, you find a small teddy bear backpack. And even more worse: this level is populated by Brutes.
For clarification, the game's primary concept is a dating sim where everyone but your character is a bird. The various routes include, amongst other things: a snobbish aristocrat, a narcoleptic teacher, a bookworm, and a dove with a severe craving for pudding. Bad Boys Love completely shatters any sense of silliness the others had, with the very first thing that happens is the discovery of your character's decapitated head.
The sequel, Holiday Star has The Day The Night Slept (After), though it's hinted at by the ending of the previous episode. Two words: Picture Book.
Heavy Gear: One later mission towards the end of the game has a cracker of the CNCS Vigilance landship showing Ranger Edward Scott a handheld video clip playing the full cutscene of the end of the second mission, and it reveals that Lieutenant Jennifer Brockton is responsible for murdering Colonel Arthur Janus' son in cold blood. It turns out that she is a spy for the AST.
Heavy Rain, ye gods. You finally discover the identity of the killer... One of the PCs, Scott and then proceed to have a QTE where you're forced to burn evidence for them.
The heart-breaking third mission of Homeworld. After a couple basic training missions, you return to your home planet to find your planet's atmosphere is ablaze, and you have to save the cryotrays containing the last of your people.
From the perspective of the Kushan, the entire plot of Homeworld is the Wham Episode of their existence. It begins when scientists discover an ancient spaceship in the desert, proving that they were not native to the planet Kharak.
The penultimate mission of And Yet It Moves, where the crew discovers the true nature of the Shine (it was manmade).
The final offices of the abandoned databanks are absolutely filled with these. Lacertians did not evolve naturally; they were synthesized in a lab, and Lessers were the prototypes. Ivoronus was also the first one created. Plus, the rationale behind the creation of the Shine — it was an attempt to combat entropy. And to kick it all off, latent energy (a.k.a. magic) is from a quantifiable wellspring point that appears to be a portal to another plane of reality.
The final episode is pretty much this non-stop. It begins with the Inquiry being destroyed, and goes downhill from there.
Jade Empire. When Master Li KILLS you after you've defeated the Big Bad, as you were an expendable part of Sun Li's Evil Plan. And the way he does this is particularly nasty, as he exploits the flaws that he deliberately built into your fighting style. You can see the obvious clues during additional playthroughs where a lot of the things he does and says have additional subtext and weight.
Before that, the dooming of the Doomed Hometown is pretty extreme, even if you saw it coming. (BioWareoften blows up the first zone; they don't often make you go back through and look for survivors...)
In Kid Icarus: Uprising, Chapter 18. The previous 3 chapters were a series of Bizarro Episodes where your two enemies join forces with you to fight off an alien invasion. Then you start Chapter 18... and instead of the standard opening, you get Pit stranded in blackness wondering where he is. You then start a somewhat strange sequence where you control a little girl, and then a dog, running towards a town under attack. But the Tear Jerker music and bleak atmosphere should clue you in that something is very wrong. You see centurions patrolling the streets, and Pit is relieved that they at least have the situation under control. But the Wham really hits once you meet up with Magnus and he reveals THREE YEARS have passed since the last chapter, and during that time everything has gone to hell. The centurions are actually the invaders which means, yes, the forces of Skyworld have turned evil, and the benevolent goddess of light Palutena, your upbeat, joking Mission Control throughout the whole game, has become disillusioned and gone the Kill All Humans route. At the end of the chapter, you're shown what Skyworld looks like now: a bleak, crumbing ruin of what it once was. Given that the game pretty much definedDenser and Wackier up until now, this change in tone comes as a huge shock.
Another chapter that qualifies is Chapter 22, Scorched Feathers. In this chapter, we learn of Hades' true intent throughout the entire game: he wants to cause as much fighting and death as possible so he can use the souls of the dead to expand his army. His Faux Affably Evil nature is also revealed here.
In killer7, after Sunset, the game gives three Targets that are barely plot relevant at all. Cloudman shows the power of the Yakumo, Encounter gives Dan more backstory and shows the Heaven Smile Organ Dealings, and Alter Ego shows how bad the Heaven Smile threat has become, but they don't influence the main plot. Then... we get prelude to Smile, Part 1, which is made of four rather huge moments. The first scene shows the return of Kenjiro Matsuoka form Sunset, who forces someone to strip most of his clothes and commit suicide. The man is heavily implied to be Hiro Kasai, who was a member of the opposing political party and favored America despite the missile launch. Then, we see the death of Samantha, who was most likely killed by Harman in an act of revenge. Then, Garcian walks in on Harman and Kun Lan playing chess and secretly hears Kun Lan tell a story about a man who could do anything he wanted and got satisfaction in killing... but they panic when they see Garcian, hinting at him being the extremely powerful assassin, emir Parkreiner. Then, Garcian and Mills meet up in a car that was actually plot relevant earlier, and when Mills was about to deliver a Wham Line, he was shot to death. This seven minute intro basically tells you that Smile is a very, VERY serious Target.
The ending to Killzone 2. Fan favorite Garza is dead, the ISA invasion has fallen apart, the Visari is dead (no more epic speeches), your favorite characters from the first game are dead and the Helghans are very pissed off at the death of their leader.
The Hollow Bastion chapter of the first Kingdom Hearts game. Maleficent dies (or so we think), it's revealed that Ansem (Xehanort's Heartless) is the real Big Bad and Kairi's heart was inside Sora all along, Riku loses his body, Sora turns himself into a heartless to bring Kairi back, Kairi hugs Sora to save him, and they leave Hollow Bastion but leave the keyhole open, allowing a lot more powerful Heartless to flood through.
Floor 12 of Castle Oblivion in Chain of Memories. It's revealed that Namine is manipulating Sora's memories and the Riku Sora's been fighting is a replica, while he's been playing into the Organization's hands all along.
With the release of Birth by Sleep Final Mix comes a new Secret Ending...and with that, the revelation that worlds consumed by darkness aren't destroyed...
Kingdom Hearts:Recoded's secret ending is one as well. Xehanort is alive.
Kingdom Hearts 3D's endgame is the biggest wham episode yet. Namely the cutscenes before and after Sora fights Xemnas, which basically topple the series' plot head over heel. Not only do we find out that the Organization XIII had hearts all along, but their whole purpose was to be used as Xehanort's clones. Not only this but Xehanort created the Heartless (and by extension the Nobodies) in order to gather more possible vessels. And now Sora is their next target as a vessel. They also revealed that it was because of Sora's purity and innocence that made him to perfect candidate to be taken over. Just, damn...
The reason why XIII is a huge WHAM is because it's the first time a main character is Killed Off for Real (read: "not a villain"). The next time we see Ash Crimson, it will be in a Dream Match.
Klonoa: Door to Phantomile has an excellent, Tear Jerker one. It turns out that Klonoa doesn't belong in Phantomile at all. All of his memories of living there had been fabricated by his "best friend" Huepow, and as the Dream Traveler he was simply destined to save the world—presumably, by giving him false memories, he would fight harder to protect Phantomile. After his success, Klonoa is then forced from Phantomile back to his own world thanks to a ritual that purges everything that doesn't belong, and that isn't limited to the bad guys.
Knights of the Old Republic has a Wham Level after you're found the second-last Star Map when you're captured by Saul Karath, find out that the Jedi academy on Dantooine has been destroyed in your absence, Bastila is captured by Darth Malak, and The Reveal that the main character is an amnesiac Revan.
Averted in the sequel after the final battle when Kreia chastises the player for expecting a huge twist even though there isn't one. Unless you count 'Kreia is evil' but she makes that pretty obvious throughout the story.
La-Mulana has the "Eden" field, which promises "more happiness" if you complete the puzzle. Do so and an ear-cracking scream goes off as "Eden" reveals itself to be the Gate of Illusion. It's a more effective wham moment if you're a new player rather than someone who's played the original version.
L.A. Noire with the final Vice case "Manifest Destiny": Roy Earle, Cole's crooked Vice partner, has caught him cheating his wife for Elsa, and reported it to the corrupt officials, getting Cole suspended and demoted to Arson as a result.
The newspapers would count, too.
The Legacy of Kain series has quite a few of these. Among them are Kain's realization at the end of Blood Omen that he is the Balance Guardian and must kill himself if he wants to save the world, Raziel's discovery in Soul Reaver that he and all his brothers were Sarafan before Kain turned them all into vampires, and Raziel sacrificing himself to create the Balance Reaver for Kain at the end of Defiance.
For that matter in Defiance, the fact that the heart of Janos Audron that Raziel was searching for to revive the ancient vampire (Who incidentally he himself killed as a human) was actually -inside- Kain the whole time keeping him alive. The fact that Kain doesn't need that heart to survive was pretty whammy too.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has two. The first one comes after collecting the three Spiritual Stones, and gaining access to the Sacred Realm. Ganondorf follows you in and seizes the Triforce of Power. You are then trapped in the sacred realm for seven years, and when you wake up as an adult, Hyrule is a Crapsack World. The second one happens after collecting the final Sage Medallion. Shiek reveals to you that she's Zelda, and is captured by Ganondorf immediately after. Further amplified by Word of God when Nintendo offically released the series timeline, creating much debate among the fanbase that there were not two, but THREE paths branching from Ocarina of Time, the third coming from if Link actually fails the quest. Now every game over that you see in said game makes you cringe.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess has an extra dose of shock just when you think the series is getting predictable. It's more of a surprise in how it came about rather than its presence, because everyone knows Zelda games have more than three dungeons! Not 60 seconds after you collect the final Fused Shadow, Zant appears, curbstomps Link and Lanayru, takes the Fused Shadows, curses Link to so that he's permanently stuck as a wolf, AND gravely injures Midna. On top of that, taking Midna to Princess Zelda to heal her results in Zelda giving up her body (and apparently her life) in a Heroic Sacrifice without Midna's consent. Oh, Crap. So what do you do now? You set out to find the series' favorite Deus ex Machina, the Master Sword, in order to lift your curse!
Link finally catches up to Zelda, and instead of simply saving her/seeing her get captured, he's reprimanded by Impa for being too late and not being strong enough to watch over Zelda, as well as having to watch his childhood friend disappear, yet again. Ouch.
When Link catches up to Zelda once again, this time after proving he has enough strength to help Zelda, you'd expect a happy reunion, but what does he get? A stab in the back when Zelda confesses she manipulated Link with his feelings for her, as well as the awfulness of having to watch Zelda seal herself in a crystal for goodness knows how long. The look on Link's face says it all.
Live A Live, at the climax of Oersted's chapter. It has the look and feel of a normal chapter... until you defeat the demon lord. The chapter continues as Oersted is tricked into killing the king of Lucretia, after which the townsfolk assume he's the demon lord. Afterwards, the princess and his remaining companions all die as a direct result of his actions. He then becomes the next demon lord, and kills everyone in Lucretia, and goes back and forth in time to become the bosses you faced in the previous chapters. Cue final chapter.
Manhunt 2: "Origins" reveals Leo is a serial killer split personality implanted to Danny.
The levels where you play as Leo really counts: having killed Michael, Danny's best friend, destroying his records, and killing Danny's wife.
Mass Effect 1: Virmire. Not only does the mission there reveal the true nature of the Big Bad, and not only is it entirely possible that Shepard will be forced to kill Wrex before the mission is over, but Shepard must also leave either Kaidan or Ashley behind to die in a massive Player Punch.
Mass Effect 2: STARTS with a wham when The Normandy is destroyed and Shepard DIES in the first five minutes of the game, then pulls a classic Unexplained Recovery. It then goes on to throw another wham in halfway through with the revelation that The Collectors are actually the supposedly extinct Protheans before the various possible endings, in one of which the entire team INCLUDING THE MAIN CHARACTER can all die and the game still ends with a "mission successful".
Also, in Mass Effect 2? The Collector General is controlled by a Reaper and the Collectors are abducting human colonies so they can melt billions of them down into genetic paste, which they will use to build a new Reaper...this one modeled after humanity.
Joker's mini-level just after the Reaper IFF is installed: Collectors invade the Normandy and abduct your entire crew. Joker also has a disease that makes his bones brittle, so you can only move at a painful walk, in addition to having no weapons and being forced to watch helplessly as the crew gets dragged away. He pretty much said it best...
In Mass Effect 3, every time the storyline swings back to the Citadel, things go awry. The first time, you learn of the galaxy-wide scope of the Reaper invasion and how no other species is capable of sending help to Earth. The second time, Councilor Udina is a mole for Cerberus and has helped them launch a coup against the Council. The third time, you're sent to Thessia where Shepard suffers his/her first real defeat complete with an extra serving of Gut Punch. The fourth time the Citadel is once again the Very Definitely Final Dungeon, the Catalyst, and you discover who created the Reapers — and why.
The LeviathanDLC is one massiveWham Episode. Shepard comes face to face with The Remnant of the race that created the Catalyst, who were betrayed by their creation and who's form was then appropriated to create the first Reaper.
The end of Club Strong's scenario in Mega Man Star Force 3, in which Joker appears and promptly kills Strong and Luna. Ace's death also triggers one of Geo's most famous Heroic BSODs.
Snake's captivity in Groznyj Grad, including, among other things Solokov's death and Snake getting his eye burnt out as a result of Ocelot's muzzle flash.
The Reveal at the end of the game that EVA was a Chinese spy sent to steal the Philosopher's Legacy and The Boss was actually a Fake Defector on a Suicide Mission who died a hero but will forever go down in history as a traitor.
Third Sun, in which Snake's Not Quite Dead biological parents die, Snake gets his face disfigured, and Liquid Ocelot incapacitates the entire US Military with a computer virus.
The dramatic conclusion to the Shadow Moses level, including Naomi's death, Snake piloting REX fighting Ocelot inside a RAY unit, and Raiden barely evading death at the sacrifice of his arm.
Big Boss turning out to be alive near the end of the game.
In Metal Slug 2, the final mission pits you against aliens known as Mars People, who appear to be fighting alongside Morden's Rebel Army. Just when you confront Morden, though, the aliens turn on him and kidnap him, forcing you to square off with the aliens.
Furthermore, Metal Slug 3's final mission seems to feature a final confrontation with Morden. However, after you defeat him, he turn's out he's an alien imposter, and the Mars People kidnap your character, forcing another character to team up with the Rebel Army (since the aliens kidnapped the real Morden again) and chase them into space to free their comrade from the alien mothership.
The end of Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge and beginning of The Curse of Monkey Island. You learn that you are a child and that LeChuck is actually your brother Chucky, with whom you got into a weird "ride" in an amusement park. Everything was either fantasy or magic. But Chucky's eyes glow up strangely once... At the beginning of part three you're adult again and somewhere on the sea in a bumper car. Obviously you were tricked by LeChuck's magic.
Episode 4 of Tales of Monkey Island, featuring Morgan LeFlay's death, the revelation that the Voodoo Lady has apparently been behind everything in the entire series ever, the Marquis De Singe's death, LeChuck revealing he never had a Heel-Face Turn after all by killing Guybrush...and on top of that, Demon LeChuck is once again voiced by Earl Boen, who had been replaced with two other actors!
Especially well played considering they managed to name the episode The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood and STILL keep it a shocker. Considering this series' history, you might expect the "execution" to either be cleverly staged, immediately undone with voodoo, or a bad Pun. Nope. As of the end of the episode, Guybrush is dead.
Oh, there's so many more whammy stuff in the games than that, practically one in each game:
MK3: Shao Kahn slips into Earthrealm and slaughters almost the entire population of the planet.
MK4/MK Gold: Raiden's ascension to Elder God Status, Quan Chi's reveal that he slaughtered Scorpion's clan and family and has the true amulet of Shinnok's, and Kitana's peace treaty between the Shokan and Centaurs.
And that minor detail is just the tip of the iceberg. About halfway through the story, the game kicks WHAM into overdrive and never looks back. Raiden's knowledge of the future and his actions to change it still do nothing to stop the events of MKA, arguably making them worse. The younger Sub-Zero, instead of Smoke, is captured by the Lin Kuei and automated into a cybernetic warrior (fortunately, he quickly regains his humanity thanks to the efforts of Kabal and Jax). Later on, as Liu Kang rescues Kitana, Kung Lao (who has just defeated Shang Tsung, Quan Chi, and Kintaro) has his neck snapped by Shao Kahn. And unlike MK3, he's not Faking the Dead. He's dead dead. Liu Kang is driven into a furious Roaring Rampage of Revenge and ultimately kills Shao Kahn...or so it would seem. Then, Raiden and Liu Kang go to speak to the Elder Gods to request their aid; the Elder Gods turn a dejected Raiden down. While that's going on, the automated Lin Kuei warriors attack the heroes' stronghold, and then Sindel comes to play cleanup, enacting a No-Holds-Barred Beatdownthat leaves most of them dead. Nightwolf manages to narrowly defeat Sindel, but only by sacrificing himself in a Taking You with Me moment. Only Kitana, Cage, and Sonya are left, and Kitana soon succumbs to her wounds as Liu Kang holds her in his arms. By this point, Liu Kang has had enough and calls out Raiden for the futility of everyone's sacrifice. Raiden, having crossed the Despair Event Horizon, decides to head to the Netherrealm to make a Deal with the Devil with Quan Chi, and it is only then (after fighting the corrupted spirits of his fallen comrades) that Raiden realizes that his future self's final words, "He must win.", refers to Shao Kahn. The only way to prevent Armageddon is a realm-wide Sheathe Your Sword; if Shao Kahn takes over Earthrealm and merges it with Outworld, the Elder Gods will then punish Shao Kahn for not following the rules of Mortal Kombat (the only legal way he's allowed to merge the realms). When he returns to Earthrealm, he tries to convince Liu Kang to believe in him, but the Shaolin warrior has lost all faith in Raiden and tries to attack Shao Kahn, ignoring Raiden's pleas. Cue a Fighting Your Friend moment, where Raiden accidentally kills Liu Kang. In his last breath, Liu Kang curses his former mentor. Ultimately, Raiden's revelation is the key to Earthrealm's survival, but it is a majorPyrrhic Victory. And then, the Sequel Hook sets up the return of Shinnok, the Big Bad of 4.Sweet Elder Gods, the WHAM quota has reached oversaturation.
Mother 3. Chapter 1. The first level of the game is a Wham Episode that sets the game's surprisingly dark tone.
And the end of Chapter 8, though there are more which are not as shocking. As for the prequels, even though not that dark and sad, bosses in the endgames tend to be whammy.
The death of Wheely Engberg in Myst Online certainly qualifies: trapped underground for a few days, kept alive by a beast who the players weren't sure was helping her or just keeping her alive, then brutally slaughtered moments before rescue. Yeeeah.
Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark has a pretty nasty one at the finale of the second chapter. Archdevil Mephistopheles frees himself from servitude to the Valsharess, kills her, moves out with an army of his own to take over the surface world, and imprisons the player character in Hell.
In Neverwinter Nights 2 when you discover the primary enemy is not behind the Luskans and Githyanki who have been chasing you the entire adventure. And when you discover the secret of the Spirit-eater curse in Mask of the Betrayer.
The final act of NieR is a nonstop string of whams. Nier, his friends, and every human left are actually Replicants! The Shades are the real humans! The Twins were Evil All Along! The Shadowlord is the real Nier from the first five minutes of the game!
No More Heroes has a few of these, including the rank 6, 5 and 3 battles. But the rank 1 battle is the most shocking of all.
OFF has a couple. The most important ones would be when you find out how sugar is made, when you confront the Queen, when you return to one of the zones you've purified, and the entirety of the Room.
In Ōkami, there's a series of "Wham" moments after the Water Dragon dies. First you learn that the dragon was actually the King of the Dragonians. Then Otohime has a vision of Rao being attacked by a monster. You run off to save her, discovering a tunnel leading to the queen's palace from Rao's temple. When you reach the throne room, you discover that Himiko has been murdered, then that the Rao you've known all along is actually the Demon Lord Ninetails, who killed the original and replaced her, and you played straight into his hands by retrieving and giving him the Fox Rods. Finally, after a boss fight with him, he declares that The Battle Didn't Count, and escapes to Oni Island, which is now inaccessible because the Water Dragon, who could break the barrier around the island, and Himiko, who could determine where Oni Island is, are both dead. Well,crap.
BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE! It then turns out that Queen Himiko has been conducting a Thanatos Gambit all along in order to locate Oni Island, and make it visible until sunset. Otohime becomes the new Water Dragon, allowing her to bridge the gap between the coast and Oni Island, allowing Amaterasu to reach it and put an end to Ninetails. It's also implied that Ammy knew about Himiko's gambit all along. The Holy Shit Quotient in this game is pretty silly.
The sequel, Ōkamiden, also manages to deliver a few times, most notably with Kurow's betrayal, and the revelation that Kuni is Akuro's vessel.
In Opoona for most of the game Landroll seems to be a pretty nice place, besides little signs of corruption and bureaucracy. Once you reach four-star rank your finally able to go to Sanctuary where your parents are recovering, and meet with the planet's leader. At which point he suddenly blasts you both with an energy ball and turns you into Stepford Smilers, requiring your missing sister to come to the rescue. Not to mention finding out, at the same time, that the entire upper government is literally under The Corruption, and people are being Released to Elsewhere to empower a sentient Artifact of Doom.
The ending of the cargo ship level in Mirrors Edge reveals that the runners have been sold out to the cops by other runners who decided to rather submit to corrupt government than to die fighting a battle they cannot win. In an unusual subversion of La Résistance, Les Collaborateurs may actually be right.
Persona 3 performs a hat trick: in October, there's Shinjiro's death and the revelations surrounding him and Ken. In November, not only do the characters realize they've failed to put an end to Tartarus and the Dark Hour, they find that Ikutsuki was just using them to bring about the end of the world; he nearly sacrifices them all and does murder Mitsuru's father. And in December, they learn that their buddy Ryoji is the avatar of Death, their efforts have caused the end of the world and there's no way to stop it, and their only options are to wait and watch it happen, or kill Ryoji in order to forget it's coming and live a few more months in ignorance.
The first is when Nanako gets kidnapped in November.
The second is on December 3, where she apparently dies, and you have to talk down your team, especially an increasingly revenge driven Yosuke, to spare Namatame, the man whom they think killed her. Or, you can kill him, but that won't lead to the third revelation…
Of all the people in the game, the killer is Adachi! But there's one more…
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice For All, case four. Not only is the true murderer one of the most vile people in the series, with an unexpected personality revelation, but he's also your client, which also serves as a Wham Episode to Phoenix himself. The case also brings back Miles Edgeworth, previously thought to be dead.
And the fifth case of Trials and Tribulations. The first part of the final trial reveals that Iris was indeed in two places at once. One of them was her channeled dead sister Dahlia.
The fourth case of Dual Destinies ends with you proving your client's innocence with a decisive piece of evidence… only for that evidence to immediately implicate Athena as the real murderer. The case closes with her arrest.
By the end of chapter 4 of Professor Layton Vs Ace Attorney, Layton has been supposedly turned to gold, and Maya is presumably burned to death. They come back in the middle of an unknown location halfway through the following chapter, though.
Planescape: Torment contains quite a few of these lovely little moments, usually when some plot-critical detail gets broken to you. The encounter with Ravel Puzzlewell is probably the best of the considerable lot.
Doubly applies here because after this point, the game setting, pace and style changes so completely that, on returning the Sigil, it doesn't seem the same.
Portal contains a Wham Level, which replaces the pristine test chambers with the dusty, decaying backstage, and the AI that was previously at least somewhat helpful is now just plain out to get you.
Similarly, the sequel smacks you with similar wham episodes. Some of the whammiest, organised by chapter:
"The Escape": More running around behind the scenes, which ends with Chell deposing GLaDOS by hitting the Stalemate Resolution Button and sticking the (now-recovered) Wheatley in charge. He thengoes mad, turns GLaDOS into a potato battery and punches you both into a pit after one too many whacks to the Berserk Button.
Professor Laytonand the Azran Legacy has no less than the biggest whams in the prequel trilogy, if not the entire series: Emmy was a mole for Targent all along, monitoring Layton and Luke's progress. Descole is Layton's brother, "Hershel" is his real name, which he gave to his brother when the Laytons came to adopt him, and their father is Leon Bronev, the leader of Targent. Holy shit.
Prototype's Web Of Intrigue videos go from interesting background to holy-shit-mindfuckery in a single sentence: "Tell me about PARIAH."
The reveal that Alex Mercer not only released Blacklight, but also really did die. You're just the virus animating his corpse and using his memories.
Phantasy Star II: There are several, some of which have become pretty common in RPGs since, but one stands out. Midway through the game, you completely fail to stop the Big Bad and a Colony Drop utterly destroys the setting's primary homeworld, killing 90% of humanity.
Not to mention the three lakes arc. "Oh, that organization with the silly dress code is up to no good? No worries, just point me in the direction of their secret base and I'll go take care of them after this next gym—wait, what was that tremor just now? Sweet mother of mercy, did they just blow up Lake Valor?" At that point, the game proceeds to repeatedly sock you in the gut as you try and fail to protect the Lake Trio. Then you learn why Cyrus went after them in the first place. Compared to these guys, Team Rocket was a bunch of Rule Abiding Rebels.
Also back in the first generation, though this is now standard knowledge amongst even the most casual of fans, the fact that there is a final boss beyond the Elite Four, and that it's your Rival, likely caused some jaws to drop.
Remember how the Elite Four and championship run usually goes in these games? Well it doesn't go so smoothly in Pokemon Black And White. You see, after defeating the Elite Four, you then go to take on the champion, Alder...who has already lost to the now champion N. Then a gigantic goddamn castle rises out of the ground. Then his version's legendary shows up to take you on. Just then, yours awakens, forcing you to catch it. After this, you battle and defeat N. Story over? Not quite. Then Ghestis shows up and tells N that he'd been a tool his entire life for just the purpose of fulfilling the requirements of the legend and basically throws him out. Then Ghestis battles you, after which he disappears and N flies away with his dragon.
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Explorers Of Time/Darkness/Sky has a rather (in)famous one. The game starts off with you mysteriously becoming a Pokémon and deciding to help your new friends rescue other Pokémon and arrest small-time crocks. And then you find out that the God Of Time is going insane, you're from the future, one of the criminals you're trying to arrest is your former partner back when you were human...Oh, and an unspeakable evil wants to KILL you so that he can plunge the world into eternal darkness.
Chapter five is one hugeWham Episode. In summary, the major points are:
Munna is a Decoy Damsel and sent out that distress call at the beginning of the game to lure you into a trap so she and her friends (Among them the Pururgly and Toxicroak from chapter three who seemed like random crooks) could get rid of you.
That vicious Hydreigon is the cause of the world's imbalances. Except not really. The vision of him that Munna showed you was fake, and everything she told you about him was a lie. He's actually one heck of a Nice Guy, is the one who called you into the world, and most importantly, is not a Pokemon; in actuality being the physical form of the Voice of Life, a nature spirit who embodies the world's will to survive and acts as one of its guardians. He proves his goodness by saving you from the villains in his first appearance in the flesh, then later goes out of his way to help rescue your partner after they get captured by the same bunch.
Courtesy of an Exposition Break from the aforementioned character, you learn that your purpose is to destroy the Bittercold (Which embodies the negative emotions of all Pokemon and will destroy the world if nothing is done about it), that you're actually the last of multiple humans called into the world, and that said humans were all hunted down by Munna and her gang, who are working with Kyurem to ensure that the end of the world comes to pass as he's foreseen by eliminating any threats to the Bittercold's existence (Humans being the only ones who can even get near it).
The final chapter opens with another one, where a surprise appearance from Kyurem results in Hydreigon being frozen andsmashed to pieces and you being stomped senseless, with only your partner's pleas for mercy sparing you from demise. He then proceeds to state that You Can't Fight Fate, pointing out that those mysterious lights in the sky from earlier were the humans who had attempted to do so but failed, and that while he'll permit the existence of one last human, he'll devote every resource he has to destroying both of you if you continue in your efforts to change the world's fate.
The ending throws one last one in, with Hydreigon (Who turns out to be immortal) revealing that you have to leave your friends behind and return to your world, and all their memories of you will be gone once you depart for home. However, to both his and your surprise, they manage to defy the laws of the world, as they stillremember you.
Persona 4 Arena. While this is mostly based on speculation, if it proves to be true, then in the end, it turns out that Nyarlathotep is back after being sealed by Tatsuya and company in Persona 2: Eternal Punishment… and that he was also behind Nyx, Erebus, and Izanami from the previous games.
Radiant Historia has an in-universe example. At one point Stocke randomly pulls his party off the beaten track to fight off someone they all know has no business being this side of the continent, thus rescuing somebody they don't even know yet, and prompting Stocke to dump two-thirds of the plot's worth of reveals on them all before telling them he won't remember any of it the next time they meet and vanishing into thin air. From Stocke's (and therefore the player's) perspective, he found all this information out in due course after much legwork and foreshadowing, but when he jumped back in time to head off a Butterfly of Doom, dispensing such future information was the only way to make sure everyone involved would cooperate.
In the more standard meaning of the trope, the end of the Alternate History. In very swift succession, we learn that a) Stocke is really Prince Ernst with his memories altered, and when Eruca said she might need his help for the ritual she meant she might need to rip out his soul to stop the world from ending; b) the wielder of the Black Chronicle is Heiss, who is also Stocke's uncle and the previous sacrifice; and c) said Big Bad's real goal is to save Stocke's life, then recruit him to help bring about the end of the world.
The first (and therefore, most prominent) is "To Ascend", the final quest of chapter 3. Up until that point, the story reads like a fairly typical Heroic Fantasy adventure story, with a few hints of a greater, overarching plot and only a few very serious moments. You'll probably think that it'll maintain the fairly carefree, happy-go-lucky vibe the heroes have going on. Well, at least, until Metzinogets thrown off the Faithall Tower, you fight your first boss fight with a human character (who dies bloodily), and the entire mess ends in a giant Downer Ending revealing that the characters were Unwitting Pawns the whole chapter and their efforts were meaningless. It's also immediately followed by interlude 3, which is filled to the brim with Tear Jerker.
The second is interlude 4, the resolution of Dehl's backstory that delivers on tons of foreshadowing dropped throughout the game. It starts off innocuously enough, with peaceful humans arriving on Dehl's island, and Dehl then going off to find his father. In the process, he discovers his father's secret 'laboratory', which is swathed in blood and has bloody Sikohlon corpses chained to the walls. Dehl's father rambles about how he killed everyone to try and isolate a cure for the Blue Plague, and Dehl is just barely able to come out alive through the manifestation of his pseudo-magic powers — which causes his father to be graphically impaled by a sword and die. Then Dehl makes it to the mainland and accidentally infects Skint with the Blue Plague, who then causes an outbreak when he is stabbed In the Back, since the Plague is spread by bloodshed.
Finally, there is chapter 6, wherein the entire plot goes Off the Rails as the Watchers are murdered, ten years pass in the blink of an eye for the characters, and the world ends. It happens very late in the story, though.
Area 4. So you just finished defeating Cancer, when a Boss Warning Siren comes out of nowhere and a Wave Motion Gun finishes off Cancer, causing it to fall to the Moon. In the process, the Valkyness lunar base is destroyed offscreen. Cue ZODIAC Virgo's appearance.
Resonance: Alright! Our heroes have made it to the vault at last, Bennet (the guy most likely to be the traitor) is tied up and Anna is about to make the choice that'll possibly decide the fate of humanity...except she won't! It turns out most of the clues leading to Bennet were Red Herrings set up by the real traitor, who turns out to be Ed, the guy you've been rooting for since the beginning of the game, who proceeds to shoot and kill Anna before she can even make the choice. Not only that, but he was also in cahoots with a group called the Eleven Foundation, who seek to use the resonance devices as a means to cause explosions that would be mistaken for terrorists attacks, so that the government would instate their Sinister Surveillance supercomputer Antevorta. And just when you think the game ran out of whammies, Ed betrays them when he realizes what they were really up to and now seeks to use the resonance devices one last time to destroy the Antevorta supercomputer... which is located in a hospital. Remember when he said he wanted resonance to be used for the benefit of mankind?So many morals just took a dive out a ninety-nine-storey window!
What happens after you defeat Rouge or lose to him in SaGa Frontier and when you return to Magic Kingdom, the entire region is in ruins and you learn that you were just an experiment needed to master all magic so you can defeat the Lord of Hell. It gets worse though in the ending as you were only needed to stall for time so Hell can be sealed in stasis once more, a Double Wham Episode, although it states in the supplemental material that Rouge was saved at the last minute though.
Each game in the Saints Row series has at least one Wham Episode.
Saints Row 1: The ending cutscene, "Saints and Martyrs", features the Playa learning that everything he had done was to help a local politician, Richard Hughes, gain power over the city by wiping out the rival gangs, then eliminating his competition. Just as Hughes is about to shoot the Playa, though, the yacht they are aboard explodes...
"Bleeding Out": Jyunichi, a lieutenant in the Ronin, trap Johnny Gat's girlfriend, Aisha, and try to lure Gat and the Boss into an ambush. When Aisha tries to warn them of the trap, Jyunichi kills her on the spot.
"Red Asphalt": As revenge against the Saints for scarring their boss Maero, the Brotherhood kidnap Carlos, the Saints lieutenant who helped the Boss escape prison. Carlos ends up so gravely injured from being dragged throughout the streets chained to a truck that the Boss has no choice but to put him out of his misery.
"Picking a Fight": With the other gangs wiped out, Ultor makes its move on the Saints, the only gang left in Stilwater, by attacking the Boss at a club.
"I'm Free - Free Falling": The Boss and Shaundi are kidnapped by the Syndicate and, when they refuse to kowtow to their captors, make a daring midair escape. In the resulting scuffle, though, Johnny Gat dies.
"Three Way": STAG begins an all-out assault on the Saints. In the melee, the Boss is faced with a Sadistic Choice: go after Kia, who has kidnapped some Saints members and plans to frame them in the destruction of a city monument; or go after Killbane, who is preparing to make an escape at the airport.
"STAG Film": If the Boss goes after Killbane, Shaundi and Viola die in a city bombing. STAG responds to the destruction of a massive city statue by mobilizing a flying airship to completely decimate the city.
Saints Row IV: "The Real World": after escaping from the virtual simulation they were trapped in, then escaping the Zin's mothership, the Boss, along with Kinzie and Keith David, witness the destruction of the earth.
"A Game of Clones" and "Welcome Back": Aggressive enemies flood the Steelport simulation. Kinzie determines that these enemies (consisting of Vice Kings, Ronin, Brotherhood, and Morningstar mooks) are all spawning from someone's memories, who is finally determined to be Johnny Gat. Turns out, he never died! Zinyak just kidnapped him from Loren's plane because he thought Gat would be a threat to his conquest of Earth.
Second season also does it well, revealing that an antagonist so vile they serve as upper management to Satan himself is someone who's been around since Season 1 Episode 1. Or rather, a group of three: The Soda Poppers.
Every episode ending in season 3. The skeleton, Sam discovering Max brainless. Suddenly a certain futurevision at Mama Boscos lab makes sense.
Shadowrun Returns In Dragonfall, the player spends much of the story securing a large payment for a premium information broker by the name of Alice, in order to understand the status and defenses of the supposedly dead dragon Feuerschwinge. When they finally get the money together and buy Alice's information, the immediate aftermath is a massive Wham Episode. Audran leads a group of paramilitary assassins to destroy the player, their allies, and the entire neighborhood they live in. Though they ultimately fail, Amsel, Kami, and dozens of unnamed civilians die in the process. Alice's information? Feuerschwinge is guarded by APEX, an experimental AI with almost unlimited powers within Cyber Space. But it's not until the party confronts APEX soon afterward, choosing either to kill it or set it free, that the big wham comes: Adrian Vauclair is not Feuerschwinge's prisoner.Quite the opposite, in fact.
Silent Hill 2: The fact that James had killed Mary all along and the lette**r was just a hallucination? Dang.
The Trick Twist in Silent Hill: Shattered Memories definitely qualifies. Not only do you get the Wham Moment of having been Cheryl in the psychiatrist's office, but that's coupled with the fact that you then realize that everything you encountered on the way there was something she actually experienced! Climax Studios earned its name with that one.
While flying undercover in the heart of Valua, the giant arcwhale Rhaknam shows up. The whale in question is Captain Drachma's mortal enemy, so you go pursue him. After finally using the giant Harpoon Cannon attached to your prow as an actual harpoon, a fleet of Valuan ships light your ship on fire, forcing you to abandon it...but Drachma stays behind. The enemy fleet then fires on your lifeboats causing your party to be split up and marooned in two separate locations without any form of transport.
After you journey to the kingdom of Yafutoma, delving into Mount Kazai, and recovering the Blue Moon Crystal, the Valuans invade and take over your ship, forcing you to use the imperial escape pod to journey to a remote island where the banished Prince is leading the local pirate horde. After recruiting them, you spend several hours fighting the entire Valuan fleet with a severe numerical and technological disadvantage before you can steal your ship back.
You've collected all five of the Moon Crystals! Now all you have to do is head back to Fina's home, and you win! Actually, the Valuans have discovered where your secret base is, and in the middle of the night they send a strike team led by Ramirez to burn down your base and he successfully takes all of the moon crystals from you at the same time. And there's a sixth Moon Crystal, and it's Fina's (and Ramirez's) life force.
Shortly thereafter, Fina's elders reveal that they are the ones who caused the Rains of Destruction; they called them down with the sixth Gigas, Zelos, who is sealed in the sunken continent of Soltis and can only be released by all six Moon Crystals. The entire reason behind Fina's quest was to let them call down the Rains again. Fina didn't know about this, but Ramirez did, which led him to break into the Elders' chambers right after they reveal this to you to kill their leader and take his Moon Crystal. Valua now has all six Crystals and have just finished constructing an elevator that leads to Zelos' resting place.
Now you have to stop Ramirez and Galcian from reviving Zelos and raising Soltis so you head back to Dangral Island for a second run through the Valuan base. Once you catch up to them, you're too late. Zelos is revived, Soltis is raised, you barely escape with your lives, Galcian puts up an unbreakable barrier around his new personal continent, and Valua gets completely annihilated by the Rains of Destruction. This is the one time in the game where Vysecan't figure out how to proceed.
It's worth noting that all of the events between collecting the five crystals and this bullet point happen within *a single hour* of game time. There's only one dungeon in this part of the game, and it's a dungeon *you've already gone through*.
The ending of Sly 2: Band Of Thieves has Clockwerk killed for good, Bentley crippled, Murray leaving the team, and Sly in apparent custody (although he quickly escapes).
In the fourth game, Bentley eavesdrops on one villain, the Black Knight. He mentions something about Bentley foolishly allowing him to take the plans to the time travel machine, which puts Bentley on edge. Then you reach another room, and you see somebody appear from the robotic suit of the Black Knight. It's Penelope, who is not only Bentley's dutiful lab partner and love interest, but also a valued member of the gang assembled in the last game, who helped Sly on his biggest heist. And she's sold the team out to the game's villain because she felt inferior. Bentley takes it about as well as expected. To make it worse, Penelope's disappearance is one of the driving factors behind the journey, and Bentley has been extremely worried for her most of the time.
Many of the later Sonic the Hedgehog games have these in the form of a "Last" story mode that is unlocked after completing all the other story modes.
Sonic Adventure: Chaos turns on Eggman and manages to collect all seven Chaos Emeralds, turning into a monster that floods Station Square. In the ancient past, Tikal had sealed Chaos in the Master Emerald to prevent it from destroying the world.
Sonic Adventure 2: After Eggman places the last Chaos Emerald into the ARK's Eclipse Cannon, the space colony starts to fall towards earth as part of Professor Gerald's plan to enact revenge for the death of his granddaughter Maria. Shadow realizes that Maria's dying wish was not to get revenge, but to ensure the happiness of the people of earth, and thus decides to help the heroes prevent the colony's crashing into earth.
Sonic Heroes: Metal Sonic had turned on Eggman and locked him up in the brig of his own flagship, taking on his form and stealthily gathering data on the heroes as part of his own attempt to conquer the world.
Shadow the Hedgehog: The Black Arms use Chaos Control to warp the Black Comet to earth and harvest the planet. The heroes are paralyzed by a nerve gas on the comet, but Shadow, having Black Arms blood in his veins, is immune. Also, before losing his mind with Maria's death, Professor Gerald created the Eclipse Cannon not as a weapon of mass destruction, but as a countermeasure against the Black Arms.
In a world like Soul Nomad's Prodesto, you have to be careful about traitors amongst your ranks and the game early on makes it clear that one of your characters is acting as The Mole for his boss. Eventually, we find out who the traitor is when he literally stabs your mentor in the back and, of all people, it's the dim-witted Hot-Blooded sister loving man cow, except that it turns out that he's actually the last World Eater you've been hunting down and a Chessmaster. Those unrelated side quests? They were all part of his plan to kill off your mentor, the two other World Eaters, and eventually you and Gig.
Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl has the meeting with Doctor in the Agroprom Underground, where the player learns that they are Strelok.
And the Zerg invasion on Aiur. And Tassadar's sacrifice. And the UED's arrival. And Raynor rescuing Mengsk from them. And the alliance with Kerrigan. And Kerrigan's betrayal. Not to speak of "Dark Origins".
After all the 'Romance that cannot be' between Raynor and Kerrigan, Raynor (after Kerrigan kills his closest friend Fenix) telling Kerrigan with deadly seriousness that he is going to kill her. Unfortunately they seemed to have Retconned this in StarCraft II.
StarCraft II has many:
The secret mission "Piercing the Shroud" in which we see that Megnsk is creating protoss/zergs hybrids, although it's implied that he had external help.
The third Zeratul mission, where we find that Tassadar is still alive.
And that the Overmind was good all along.
Also, the fourth Zeratul Mission, "In Utter Darkness", in which we find that there's indeed a Bigger Bad, and that Kerrigan is necessary for stopping him.
The ending would count, if we weren't told about it halfway through the game.
"The Crucible": At Zeratul's urging, and to gather power for her destruction of Mengsk (and, as Zeratul warns, the Dark Voice), Kerrigan travels to Zerus, the zerg homeworld, and becomes the Primal Queen of Blades.
"Infestation": Stukov returns! And boy, is he upset...
Spec Ops: The Line has Chapter 8: The Gate, in which the game takes a dark turn when the player uses a white phosphorus cannon to clear enemy soldiers out from an area, only to find not long after that the area was housing a group of innocent refugees, all of whom have been killed in the most agonising fashion thanks to your carelessness, as Walker stares at the charred remains of a mother clutching desperately onto her child. The scene comes as one of the biggest Player Punches in any video game, let alone with in the context of the game.
Similarly, every chapter afterwards has at least one shocking moment worthy of a Wham Episode, but none of them hold a candle to Chapter 15: Welcome, in which Walker finally confronts Konrad, the Big Bad, only to find that he committed suicide days earlier, and "Konrad" is just a coping mechanism to deal with the immense guilt of everything he has done throughout the mission, making Walker himself the real villain of the entire game. You're nota hero - you'rea killer. This is immediately followed by the game's Multiple Endings. The entire message of the game is summed up by "Konrad" with this line from his "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
Konrad: You're here because you wanted to be something you're not: a hero.
The end of the Destroyer level in The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon. Spyro and Cynder have just managed to destroy the Destroyer's crystal heart, supposedly killing it. Then it comes back to life and keeps moving to cross the Belt of Fire, which will destroy the world. Sparx, who hasn't left Spyro's side for almost the entire SERIES, has to stay behind to help with evacuations, and Spyro and Cynder go with Ignitus to cross into the Burned Lands to face Malefor once and for all. This effectively renders everything you did in the last THREE chapters useless. And, if that wasn't enough, the next chapter starts with a terrible WHAM moment when, while crossing the Belt of Fire into the Burned Lands, Ignitus realizes he doesn't have the strength to keep all three of them safe from the flames, and sacrifices himself to save Spyro and Cynder. You will be an emotional wreck after all this.
Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey: In the Very Definitely Final Dungeon, Gore, having been reborn as an Ubergestalt, reunites with the Red Sprite, where the most alignment-important scene in the game takes place. If you are devoutly Law or Chaos, or answer Gore's questions in a non-Neutral manner, Gore deems you irredeemable and fights you to the death. Following his death, the Command Room is shown to be in shambles, and Arthur suffers a terminal error in his personality matrix that forces him to self-terminate. And then, whichever sidekick you're aligned with invades the Red Sprite and brainwashes everyone into worshippers of God or beastly-minded savages; this would be even worse news...but given your now-permanent alignment at this point, this is what you wanted...right?
Shin Megami Tensei IV: After clearing Tsukiji Hongwanji and traversing the Passage of Ethics, you finally talk to Lady Yuriko, of the Ring of Gaea. And then you find the woman is, actually, the Black Samurai who's been distributing books and transforming Mikado citizens into demons, throwing the kingdom into the verge of a major schism. To cap it off, it turns out she's Not Even Human - she's the demon Lilith. Who then casually points out you really shouldn't trust The Don Tayama either, and sends you to his "production facility" in Reverse Hills to see what is it exactly that he's marketing to the demons of Tokyo. There you find it's actually a giant human farm specializing in neurotransmitter extraction and refinement, using captured prisoners, slaves, and since demand's up, they've started considering widening to children. Oh, and that machine both sides are so interested on? You probably shouldn't turn it on...
Early in Suikoden V, the night after he becomes engaged to Princess Lymsleia, Gizel Godwin sends Nether Gate to assassinate King Ferid and Queen Arshtat. The Prince, Lyon, Georg, and Sialeeds escape, and Gizel claims that Georg killed Ferid and Arshtat and kidnapped the Prince.
Then comes the reveal that Georg really did kill Queen Arshtat, to stop her from using the Sun Rune to burn Falena.
Lady Sialeeds's Face-Heel Turn, complete with Dolph stabbing Lyon in the back, critically injuring her and hospitalizing her a large portion of the game.
The chapter after starts with the heroes trying to figure out how to restore the broken Pure Heart they found in Sammer's Kingdom only to be interrupted by Dimentio, who kills Mario and his party. The next two sub-chapters take place in The Underwhere, a thinly-veiled Expy of the Greek Underworld.
Masou Kishin: Coffin of the Final: Every Lord of the Elementals were utterly trounced by a new, mysterious enemy, even with their Super Mode on, leaving only The Chick as the survivor relegated to using normal in-line mecha. Same enemy also utterly trounced The Rival's Game Breaker machine, said Chick ended up joining said Rival who became the Big Good to investigate this new enemy before La Gias faces utter destruction.
Syphon Filter. The test subjects Gabe injected with anti-Syphon Filter serum all died.
System Shock 2 has the three most shocking words ever spoken in a video game: "I am SHODAN!". It's pretty much the verbal equivalent of being kicked in the testicles. Repeatedly. With a spiked shoe. The Polito form is dead, insect!
Then there's the other one which manages to fit in fournote While Tempest had a lot of shortcomings, the number of whams per episode certainly wasn't one, where you discover that not only is the Pope Caius's dad, but he was being manipulated by the king, who is an alien. And the king also started the ancient war.
Tales of Graces: Right in the prologue: Sophie dies (okay EXPLODES) after a mostly fun light-hearted adventurous day. Asbel's brother is also forcibly leaving the family to join another. Asbel runs away to join a knight academy. Everything else afterwards just spirals into a whole WHAM game.
Tales of Xillia: Turns out the Lance of Kresnik was never meant as a weapon, but as a Cosmic Keystone to open the gate to another world. Later on, Muzét reveals Milla was just a decoy created by the REAL Maxwell and that her "mission" was all a lie, and attacks the party. This just after Milla sacrifices herself to free Jude and the others from a deathtrap.
Tales of Xillia 2: Elle is from a Fractured Dimension and has not even been born yet in the Prime Dimension because her father, Victor, is none other than a fractured version of Ludger, who killed all of the original Xillia cast save Gaius, who was crippled, and Milla and Muzet, who had returned to the spirit world and were unable to do anything. The party is forced to kill Victor to obtain the final Waymarker to Canaan while Elle totally breaks down.
Team Fortress 2 has the "Blood Brothers" comic. Redmond and Blutarch are murdered by their long lost brother Gray, who now has his sights set on Mann Co. The two teams of mercenaries? They have no choice but to pull an Enemy Mine to save the world and their jobs from an endless horde of killer robots.
Then there's the first issue of Ring of Fired. It begins with Hale losing Mann Co to Gray and the reveal that Gray has a daughter, followed quickly by the team being broken up, and ends with another reveal, this time that Spy and Scout are due to be hanged.
TIE Fighter: The minesweeping mission where your entire wing turns against you. Including the Star Destroyer. Most of the rest of the game is taken up by dealing with the treacherous Imperials. It is the only mission in the entire series where the only primary objective is to survive.
Trauma Center: Under the Knife and its remake Second Opinion. Up until the end of Chapter 2, everything seems like something out of typical emergency room scenarios: removing shards of glass from skin, fixing up aneurysms, lasering tumors, etc. Even the operation where you yank glass out of someone's heart sounds like something you'd see in a serious medical drama. So you're operating on an Emo Teen for the second time, you take care of some lacerations easy peasy, and...suddenly a laceration pops up by itself and the music changes. Congratulations, you just discovered your first strain of GUILT, which you'll be mainly dealing with for the remainder of the game.
Tron 2.0 The Progress Bar. After finding a compiler for the legacy code, Ma3a is uploading it into her system. That's when Jet gets a call from "Guest" and hits the I/O node to take the call. In rapid succession, Jet figures out that "Guest" is his father, Alan. Alan's desperately trying to tell Jet not to compile the code (too late). Thorne then crashes the place and goes One-Winged Angel in an attempt to kill Ma3a. Jet fends off Thorne until the upload is complete. Unfortunately, the code is bugged, causing Ma3a to go insane and kill Byte. The best Jet can do is activate the light-cycle and haul tail, but the chase ends when F-Con's seeker program kidnaps her, meaning that no only does he have to get the bugged code out of her, but he's now going to have to fight F-Con directly if he wants to get home.
While we're on Type-Moon Visual Novels, Tsukihime. Hisui's route, True End. Kohaku did it. She did EVERYTHING.
Ultima VII: Part 2: You finally catch up to Batlin, in order to stop him from performing the ritual to summon the Guardian. You fail, he fails, and your companions become avatars of unbalanced Chaos, bringing about near-Armageddon for the world.
This occurs during the 3rd Episode of The Walking Dead. The group is reduced by half since Carley/Doug, Kaatja and Duck all die, Lily leaves/is kicked out by the group. Ben admits to Lee near the end of the episode that he was the one who stole the group's supplies, which caused the event that led to all those deaths. And finishes off with The Reveal that Clementine's radio was now working, and she'd been talking to a man on the other end.
Episode 4's last chapter is a big whammy as Lee is bitten and Clem has been kidnapped by the guy on the walkie-talkie.
Warriors Orochi 3starts off with one, as Da Ji has summoned/discovered a gigantic 9-headed Hydra that begins slaughtering almost the entire casts ofDynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors, and the Orochi originals (not already aligned with Orochi). Only Ma Chao, Sima Zhao and Hanbei Takenaka are still alive at the end of the battle, and are forced to retreat in the face of certain annihilation, and are then sent back into the past by Kaguya to recruit the warriors before their deaths in order to kill the Hydra and prevent the onslaught. At that point, the "Excuse Plot of uniting DW and SW together in one game" evolves into a much more serious story.
The Witcher ends each chapter with a Wham, but the end of chapter four, when hostilities between sects reach flashpoint indicates just how significantly everything will change. It accelerates from there through the crumbling, blazing city.
The ending of Day 7, the final day, in which Neku starts the game all over again, and his new entry fee is Shiki. Worsening matters is his new partner, Joshua.
The ending of Week 2, where Joshua is assumed to be dead, even though he was finally starting to develop his powers. Then we see Neku's third entry fee: every other Player.
The ending of the game altogether where you find out the villain is actually very sympathetic, "succeed" in pulling an epic Nice Job Breaking It, Hero, discover that a certain character is neither dead nor anything like you thought he was, and that Neku has only convinced him that Shibuya needs to be erased.
The climax of Chapter 3 of World of Goo, "Product Launcher." 'Product Z will change the world,' they said. Ohhhh, yeah.
World of Warcraft has this in the wrathgate questline. It's extremely jarring and sends many players who don't know about it from the internet into shock for a few minutes before continuing.
Cataclysm is expected to give quite a bit of wham episodes in the story/quest arcs. Previous NPCs in Vanilla that gave you quests may die in the next or become involved in a deeper storyline.
In the recent pre-Cataclysm events, Horde gets a much larger wham. You know all those tigers on the Echo Isles you've been killing for quests? They're TROLL DRUIDS.
Possibly, some of them. To say that it was true of all of them would be a stretch.
Post-Cataclysm - the fate of Honoring the Dead. For anyone that had leveled up in the Barrens, it was possibly the most depressing quest that Blizzard has put in the game, due to the Heroic Sacrifices that those you're giving the rites to had performed.
Omusa's Spirit says: No, stay with the others. Escort them north, away from the fighting. I will stay here with the wyverns and cover your escape. Go!
In Stonetalon Mountains Post-Cataclysm, the neutral druid school (with both Night Elves and Tauren) is bombed by a Horde commander until absolutely nothing but a crater is left. While for the Horde you see it coming, Alliance has no idea that the bomb they've been chasing throughout the zone is going to be used on schoolchildren.
Dickson shooting Shulk, revealing himself to be evil all along.
The High Entia being transformed into Telethia for Zanza's army.
And the ending, where Alvis reveals that he is a computer that, along with Zanza and Meyneth, destroyed our universe and created the Xenoblade one in its place.
Chapter 9 of Zettai Hero Project turns the story's main selling point on its head. The generic, nameless, "weakest protagonist ever" is actually an Iron Woobie and one hell of a Determinator who deserved to inherit the mantle of Unlosing Ranger from the start. That Hopeless Boss Fight that you have to retry at the end of every chapter? No different from that time he saved his sister from a cannibal by letting himself get beaten up repeatedly. All those people, including his two main supporters, calling him weak? They're probably constantly reminding him of his home, where his family has been falling apart for the past eight years because they thought he was too weak during that incident. And he still fights against impossible odds for all of these people. Appropriately, this revelation is immediately followed by a Next Tier Power-Up that replaces the protagonist's pathetic-looking portrait, and marks the first time you're able to win the formerly-Hopeless Boss Fight.