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Your Princess Is In Another Castle / Video Games

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Examples of Your Princess Is in Another Castle! in video games.

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  • Abobo's Big Adventure: In reference to the Trope Namer, Toad appears in a secret area within the Zelda level, to inform Abobo of this. Unfortunately for him, Abobo is looking for someone else, so he gets a Bullet Bill in the face for his trouble.
  • In the Action 52 game Lollipops, since it is unfinished like most of the other games, you never actually find the princess you're supposed to rescue according to the manual. All of the Magical Mystery Doors in the third level lead back to the first level.
  • In Advent Rising, you think you've won the game, cue credits, and then another boss fight.
  • Agarest Senki: If you think killing the guy who started the mess was going to be the finish line, you're wrong.
  • Antichamber: After every gun upgrade, and at some points without gun upgrades, you often go by the exit door. It usually just has a wall with a quote about progress and endings immediately behind it. After playing this straight 4 times however, this is inverted in the very end, where if you try to ignore the exit door like you would before, the other door would lead you to a wall and a quote about how you should move on.
  • In Arc Style: Baseball!! 3D, you're told that Team Crystal is the final challenge in Tournament mode... But there's one more: the Arc Stars, which is an exhibition of the company's best known characters.
  • In Ar tonelico: Melody of Elemia, things happen in such a way that you can actually declare that you're not going to continue through another castle for the princess, and if you do, the princess won't blame you for that decision. However, if you want the best (and canon) ending, get your castle-breaking equipments, for you're in for a serious ride.
  • In Assassin's Creed II you fight a climatic battle with the Big Bad in Venice. In time all your allies appear to help you. Then, the Big Bad escapes.
  • At the end of the arcade version of Astyanax, after defeating the Big Bad, you have to infiltrate a Xenomorph-style alien hive and take out their queen, who is the Greater-Scope Villain.

  • Happens in Baldur's Gate II. You defeat the Big Bad and everything is fine and dandy, right? Wrongo. Because he's got a chunk of your soul inside him he drags you down to hell with him.
  • In Banjo-Kazooie, the titular characters manage to rescue Tooty from Gruntilda upon clearing her game, although Gruntilda escapes. With Tooty rescued, everyone decides to go back to Banjo's house and throw a party, with a number of side characters thanking you. However, during the party, Tooty barges in and admonishes everyone for celebrating when Gruntilda hasn't been punished for what she did. You'll end up back inside Gruntilda's Lair with the new mission to reach the top and defeat her once and for all.
  • Batman: Arkham City: You've found the MacGuffin!—oh, damn, the Joker stole it. Repeat.
  • The Lava Caves in Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean. Though rather obvious because the time to enter the dungeon comes not too long after a disc change.
    • In Baten Kaitos: Origins, this is done a little more faithfully. After defeating Verus, the party will begin to leave Tarazed when Wiseman shows up and uses Verus's body to turn into a giant griffon-like monster. This may or may not count, however considering it only happens if you went back in time and defeated Wiseman at Atria before fighting the final boss
  • In Bayonetta - Balder's been killed, Cereza's been taken back to her own time, and Luka's alive, so everything's back to normal, right? Nope! Turns out Balder wanted the older Cereza - Bayonetta herself - to recover her old memories through caring for her younger self, so that she could take her place as the so-called Left Eye of Jubileus herself! But then Jeanne shows up, freed of Balder's mind control, and frees Bayonetta so that she can fight Jubileus, and later helps destroy the god's corpse so it can't still destroy Earth in death.
  • In The Binding of Isaac, your mother is the main antagonist. So you make it to the deepest level of the Creepy Basement and defeat your mother. Game over, right? Well, no. Then you get to climb down into a deeper level, titled "The Womb", implied to be your mother's body, where you get to kill your mother's heart. Okay, now it's over, right? Nope. Keep going down into Sheol, or the underworld, where you'll fight Satan. Well, that was a suitably epic final boss...that is, if Satan was the final boss at all. Back at the Womb, you can go forward instead of down to enter The Cathedral, where the final boss is...yourself? Wha...? Okay, so you kill...yourself. Mind Screw aside, that HAS to be the final boss, right? Ha ha ha, no. Enter THE CHEST. This nightmare can only end one defeating the "dead" version of you, implied to have committed suicide by suffocation in The Chest. THAT is the very truly final boss.
    • ...And then Rebirth comes along. So, you completed The Chest and vanquished the Blue Baby? Good for you!...Except you're not done yet. Now, Sheol has its own equivalent to The Chest, The Dark Room, where you'll battle The Lamb. So that means you're done, right? Did you notice the large golden door in The Chest and The Dark Room now? You need to unlock it by bombing the statues in the Angel Rooms and taking the halves of the key from the angels guarding them. Once you unlock the door, you'll face the game's ACTUAL actual True Final Boss: Mega Satan. Only when you defeat him will the game be over.
      • ...But then there came Afterbirth which added Greed Mode. But that's more its own thing. What really is the final boss is Hush, the decaying "dead" Isaac that was the final boss of the original game turned into some hideous blue mound of flesh... Or it would be if it wasn't for the fact that the REAL final boss was actually in the Afterbirth+ update in the form of Delirium, some mental abomination that transforms into the various bosses encountered during the current playthrough and is as hard as you'd expect from the constant power usurping. Beating it gives an ending labelled as the "Final Ending" and the game means it.
  • In the TurboGrafx-16 version of Bloody Wolf, the President is rescued at the end of the fourth stage, but the getaway helicopter has only one seat available. Thus a new challenge is presented to the player: are you a bad enough dude to rescue the guy who saved the President?
  • In the Wii A Boy and His Blob, the final boss comes at the end of the eighth level of the fourth world. Since all the other worlds up to that point had 10—for an advertised 40 main levels—it's clear that things over yet. Suddenly, the very first world gets two extra levels, and you get an 11th-Hour Superpower...
  • BioShock. Your "final confrontation" with Andrew Ryan only leads to discovering that "Atlas" is actually an alias for Frank Fontaine, and that you've been a mind-control Laser Guided Tyke Bomb the whole time. So now it's off to find the antidote for the mind-control and kill Fontaine.
  • Braid has this message at the end of every world except for the last one, where it turns out that the princess was running away from you all along. Played with in World 4, where time advances when your character walks towards the right side of the screen, reverses when you walk to the left, and freezes when you stand still, causing the message to end up "Sorry, but the princess is in another... hey, where are you going?"
  • In Breakdown, a game by Namco for the Xbox, once you get to the penultimate boss and beat him, he gets right back up and kills you, placing you in a room you'd probably forgotten about. The twist that follows turns out to be the defining moment of the plot.

  • In the arcade version of Captain Silver, after apparently defeating the title character, you open the treasure chest, only to read: "Imitation! Go back and find a real one." Then you have go through all the areas again.
  • Castle Crashers by The Behemoth occasionally does this. You'll chase down the bad guys dragging the princesses along, and go through several bosses before finally beating the end-level boss to fight for one princess while the others escape to be rescued another level.
  • Castlevania:
    • Symphony of the Night uses this with a second Dracula's castle that is basically exactly the same as the first...only inverted.
    • Aria of Sorrow. We fight the reincarnation of Dracula, the day is saved, and then... surprise!
    • Portrait of Ruin. Let's fight Brauner and finish this game off once and for all, okay, he's been defeated, and—did Death just finish him off and reveal that Dracula is back and ready to go?
    • Harmony of Dissonance in a way too; you've filled in almost all of the map, clocking at around 80% coverage... and then Death reveals that there are actually two overlapping castles and you're less than half done exploring them.
  • In Catherine, throughout the entire game Vincent kept being told that the nightmare sequences will last eight days, and after that he will be free if he survives. He was given freedom and the plot seems to be resolved (even if the ending seems to be less than ideal), until the Plot Twist arrives and this time he voluntarily gets the nightmare for one final night which is the final stage.
  • Done twice in Cave Story. The first time's highly obvious; you've been sent to the Sand Zone to stop the Doctor getting his hands on the Red Flowers. Of course, You Are Too Late. You immediately get fed a Climax Boss when the Doctor decides to test out the Red Flowers on Toroko, and then get dumped in the Labyrinth. After slogging through the Labyrinth and picking up exposition along the way, you find the heart of the island, which The Mentor has told you to destroy. You defeat it in battle... only for the Big Bad to show up and save it before it explodes, and then teleport out leaving you in a flooded room with no way out. Crap.
  • The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay has the eponymous character escape from parts of the game's also eponymous prison complex, every time seemingly ending the game, only for Riddick to be apprehended and thrown into a more heavily guarded block. Notably even after the player escapes from the last one (where the prisoners are stored in a cryonic state) the game still pulls this trope by throwing in a last Boss Battle.
    • The game also lampshades this during the first level/tutorial where Riddick manages to get away before he even enters the jail. The catch? He was dreaming.
    • Assault on Dark Athena features the entire Butcher Bay campaign (remade with 7th-gen technology) and has a gigantic Not So Fast Bucko by way of the ending leading directly into a new campaign of equal length to the original game.
  • Chrono Trigger has several points like this, particularly the first battle with Magus and the Ocean Palace. The latter is particularly clever, as the main character, Crono, is likely close to getting his final ability, or will get it by or during this dungeon. On the other hand, if you've been Level Grinding like mad or are playing a New Game+, you can win the Unwinnable Boss Battle and end the game.
    • Likewise for its sequel Chrono Cross, which has several points like this, particularly the first battle with Lynx.
  • Commander Keen IV requires the player to rescue eight Gnosticene Elders. One level, the Pyramid of the Forbidden, is much more difficult than any other level, and it turns out that the person you rescue at the end is merely a janitor, thus making the level a Bonus Dungeon of sorts. That would have been nice to know beforehand, since the only way back to the main part of the map is to meet said Janitor. Can't sleep, blue guys will fucking melt me...

  • In an odd variation, some songs in Dance Dance Revolution do this. So, you think the song's over, huh? Well, don't relax yet, there's one last note waiting to ruin your score when you miss it!
  • In the Christmas Episode of The Darkside Detective, after the Krampus has been defeated and Santa rescued, the "Case Closed" caption appears and the usual outro music plays — and then there's a shout for help from offscreen, and there turns out to be one more puzzle to solve.
  • Dark Souls II interestingly pulls this off with a king of all things. The game is gearing you up for a final showdown against King Vendrick in Drangleic Castle. When you battle your way through his most elite knights and directly into the passage where he's supposedly sequestered himself off from the world, you realize he's not there and has long fled the castle. The next part of the game is the process of chasing him down. And then when you finally find King Vendrick... he's long since gone hollow, reduced to a decayed, near-naked zombie shambling mindlessly around his chamber. While you can fight him if you want to, all you need to do is grab his ring from his pile of discarded equipment and quietly leave, because Vendrick never was the Final Boss.
  • Lampshaded (along with everything else) by Mao in Disgaea 3, where he pulls of his wicked theft of the Hero title from the hapless Almaz, and apparently goes to face the final boss at the end of the first chapter. Disgaea 4 does it so often it becomes a Running Gag, in how episode 7 and everything after it is labeled as the "Final Episode", and the stakes just keep getting raised every single time it appears that the heroes have won. The game doesn't actually end before episode 10, which is aptly labeled as the "Real Final Episode".
  • In Dodonpachi Daifukkatsu, after you've beaten the first loop, you're given the possibility to go through a second loop. After doing that, you see your Battle Unit returning to its mother ship and flying through the Time Travel Gate while the Credits Song is playing. Cue the warning of an incoming unknown threat. And then suddenly a giant laser beam appears that destroys your mother ship shortly after you managed to escape with your own battle unit. Guess what that was. Right, it's General Longhena, sitting in his Hibachi unit, ready to kick your ass. He will!!!
  • In the Game Boy remake of Donkey Kong, the final world has Mario defeating Donkey Kong in a final battle, with dramatic music playing at the top of the tower...until DK falls off the tower in the cutscene, grows gigantic due to some Super Mushrooms and attempts to finish off Mario once and for all.
    • Similar things happen in the spiritual sequels Mario vs. Donkey Kong.
    • Donkey Kong Country's Final Boss starts playing Fake "Kredits" right before he Turns Red.
    • Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest: When you arrive at Stronghold Showdown, you'd be expecting a grand battle. However, all you see is Donkey Kong tied up, and you'll get a Kremkoin as if you've already won. Donkey Kong is quickly taken away by Kaptain K. Rool and you're forced to go through one more level until you can take on the Kaptain himself. By the way, the free Kremkoin is only for the original SNES version. In the GBA re-release, you will have to defeat Kerozene before earning that Kremkoin.
    • New Super Mario Bros. for Nintendo DS has a variation of this where you defeat the "final" castle, only for a new path to suddenly reveal itself and lead the way to the true final castle.
    • And New Super Mario Bros. Wii pulls the Donkey Kong gambit with a defeated Bowser suddenly becoming super-sized.
  • In the original Doom, in Episode 2, Mission 6, "Halls of the Damned", you go through a long corridor, up to a room with an "Exit" sign and a switch, that when you throw the switch the floor collapses into a room with a whole bunch of nasties; it was a trick to make you think it's the end of the level.
    • A much better example would be Episode 3's secret level "Warrens": it's an exact copy of the episode's first level, "Hell Keep", right down to weapon and monster placement, except significantly easier as you start with more than just the pistol. When you reach the end of the level, the teleporter doesn't bring you to the stat counter - it drops a bunch of walls, revealing new areas filled with new monsters - such as the Cyberdemon standing directly in front of you.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Dragon Age: Origins: The PC arrives at the fortress of Ostagar, meets the king and is told that an epic final battle is on the cards. Sure, thinks the player, who's done less than an hour's play in a BioWare game, final battle, right... Of course the battle is a slaughter due to a betrayal and things get a lot harder.
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition: After allying with either the rebel mages or the templars, you close the Breach, supposedly fulfilling the goal of the game. However, it comes off as anticlimactic, and it's obviously too early into the plot for it to be the end. Then Corypheus reveals himself and attacks Haven.
  • Pulled off brilliantly in Dragon Quest VIII, with the battle against Dhoulmagus. Even though it obviously can't be the Final Boss fight due to the around half the map remaining unexplored, the game does such a good job of matching the feel of a genuine Final Boss battle (multiple forms, extreme difficulty and all) that that while you're fighting it's easy to forget it's not one. The dungeon you explore to get to him is also creepy enough to give the impression of a final dungeon as well.
    • Dragon Quest III does this as well. After defeating Baramos, returning to the king, and watching a celebration in your honor (this being a common ending theme for DQ games), Zoma suddenly nukes the partygoers and challenges you to come to his world. It's especially effective since your characters are quite powerful by this point, you've (most likely) explored the entire world map, and even have a means of flight. This set up the Dragon Quest tradition of traveling to a Lost World in the final act, though sometimes this is done without a fake final boss.
    • Dragon Quest VII has one as well; it might have been better received had there not been an entire disc of game left.
      • A much smaller example with the Nottagen plot, which pulls this twice. First off it seems you've rescued the town... yet dispelling the gloom blocking out the sun caused a plant monster to wake up and destroy the town again. Then when you save the town from the plant, hellworms invade and destroy the town.
  • In Dragon Slayer, after defeating the dragon, the remaining task of carrying the four crowns it was guarding back to your home should be simple. But it isn't: ghosts immediately scatter the crowns all over the dungeon, and your home is now surrounded by Mook Makers.

  • One quest in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has the player traipsing deep within an undead-infested tomb to retrieve the legendary Horn of Jurgen Windcaller. At the end, you finally reach the coffin itself, to discover nothing more than a note from 'a friend' telling you they've already taken the Horn, and want you to meet them.
    • Later on the main quest you learn the Dragonrend shout to defeat Alduin, find an Elder Scroll to summon him and engage him in an epic battle atop the Throat of the World. Great you just beat him! Oh wait he flew away and it turns out he can only be defeated in Sovngarde.
    • One quest has a kid who was summoning an assassin to kill an evil orphanage director who beats and starves the kids and even refuses to let people adopt them. So even though you aren't an assassin, you can kill her anyway, the kids rejoice and the one who issued the quest gives you his most prized possession... quest over right? Actually it turns out that since you weren't an actual assassin, you took a mark that was rightfully theirs and they are pissed. So it's either join their guild or die, or take down the entire guild killing them all. Regardless, joining them starts an entire long chain of quests which ultimately ends with you killing the Emperor of Tamriel himself.
  • The Steam version of Eversion references this trope with its "The Princess Is In Another Castle" achievement which you get if you complete Stage 7 without getting all the gems, to make clear that this isn't the game's true ending. It might also be a reference to this popular Eversion fanart (link has spoilers).

  • In Fallout: New Vegas, you spend the first half of the game tracking down the man who shot you and stole the package you were supposed to deliver to Mr House. But when you finally accomplish this, the brewing conflict between the NCR, Caesar's Legion, House and the mysterious Yes Man comes to a head, and you become caught in the middle of it due to that Platinum Chip you just recovered. Whose side are you on?
  • One in the second Fantasy Quest game takes the form of the actual princesses being in a different castle.
  • Final Fantasy:
  • The Fire Emblem series does this frequently. In some games, the game does not continue past the "fake ending" if you haven't collected all the Plot Coupons.
    • Mystery of the Emblem: You've defeated Emperor Hardin! Wait... he was just Brainwashed and Crazy? And Gharnef is still out there, planning to resurrect Medeus again? Oh, Crap!. (In the remake, the leader of the assassins working for Gharnef is still at large too, further hinting that you can't be done yet)
    • Genealogy of the Holy War: An extremely cruel example. You've defeated both of the corrupt nobles plotting to seize power, Arvis even turned on them and helped you defeat the last one! And the stage is set for Sigurd's triumphant homecoming... wait, did Arvis just sentence Sigurd to death for treason? And are those mages preparing to execute your entire party?! Guess their descendants will have to fix things after a Time Skip...
    • The Binding Blade: You've defeated the Big Bad... but his literal Dragon is still out there, and is continuing with his plan to "free the world" because Undying Loyalty is basically hardwired into her. And she's not really evil after all, and Roy might know a way to save her...
    • The Blazing Blade: Eliwood finally gets to the Dread Isle to save his father... just in time for him to die in his arms. At which point you find out there's a greater plot involving the Big Bad that you have to stop.
    • The Sacred Stones: Ephriam's route only. You get to the capital of The Empire and kill the emperor... except he was just a reanimated corpse all along, and his son Prince Lyon is the real Big Bad.
    • Path of Radiance: An interesting example because it only counts In-Universe. Ike's army reaches the incredibly ominous looking Daein Keep and prepares for the final battle with King Ashnard. All the characters in-story think this is the end... but the player knows that Ashnard has long since left the castle. Ike doesn't even find out until you have him move into the throne room and not find Ashnard there like he expects, while as a player you can clearly see the chapter's boss is someone else entirely the moment you begin the battle. The chapter is even titled "Without a King".
    • Radiant Dawn itself makes the ending of Path of Radiance one. You thought defeating Ashnard would prevent the Dark God being released from the medallion? That was only the beginning... and later in Radiant Dawn the supposed Dark God is released... and it turns out things are a lot more complicated than they seem.
    • Awakening: You've stopped Validar's plans to revive the Fell Dragon Grima, and averted Chrom's fated death! Hey, remember that Hierophant you were introduced to 10 chapters ago? Turns out that's Grima from the future, and he revives his past self and teams up with him. Oh, Crap!.
    • Fates: Conquest: You've finally put down the Big Bad Garon, and everything's going to be OK! You've saved Nohr and Hosh— [twang, as an arrow of pure darkness passes inches away from your head] ...Uh, oh... Takumi's back, he's possessed, and he's madder then ever! Cue Final Boss battle.
  • First Encounter Assault Recon does this constantly, starting from the very first mission where you are sent to assassinate Paxton Fettel, only for him to club you on the head and escape.
  • In The Flame in the Flood, you finally make it to the "evacuation site" at Angel Yards, though Scout nearly drowns in the process. It turns out A.N.G.E.L. Yard is a space center, and the only rocket left is long out of commission. Scout's only option left is to keep going down river and hope she makes it to "the Kingdom".
  • In Flying Dragon: The Secret Scroll, after winning the World Tournament and defeating Dargon, the leader of the Tusk Soldiers, you're told by your Old Master Juan that the Dargon you just defeated was a fake. You then have to play through all of the stages (except for the fighting tutorial) all over again and look for four crystals hidden in statues in the platforming stages to complete the Mandara Talisman and defeat the real Dargon once and for all.

  • Gears of War does this. At the end of the third act (out of five), you plant the Resonator to map the Locust tunnels. And... it doesn't work. Luckily, the main character's dad has a complete map at his lab.
  • Multiple times in Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter. The President gets recaptured, your ride gets blown up/shot down, the nuclear football gets stolen and moved several times, and so on.
  • Ghosts 'n Goblins is the quote provider. After defeating the Final Boss it turns out the battle was "a trap devised by Satan". The player is then forced to replay the entire game on a higher difficulty level before finally reaching the true final battle.
  • The Sega Genesis port of Golden Axe has the players defeat Death Adder and rescue the king and princess just like the arcade version. Here, however, the king mentions the fortress Death Adder appears from, leading to another (even harder) level and a showdown against Death Bringer.
  • In Golden Sun, Isaac and friends have finally cornered Saturos and Menardi at the top of Venus Lighthouse and demand the last of the Elemental Stars so the power of Alchemy can be sealed again, along with the hostages. Nope! Saturos gave the Jupiter Star to Felix and sent him ahead with the hostages. Better yet? That's the end of the first game. Damn you, Saturos!
    • The Lost Age pulls one of these on you in the final boss battle with the Doom Dragon. Damage from summons is decided by the size of the foe's hitpoint meter, so most bosses, even Memetic Badass Dullahan, can be taken out by spamming summons all at once. The Doom Dragon is unique for having three forms, each with its own hitpoint meter. Instead of ending the boss battle quickly, a summon rush just kills the weaker first form and begins the far stronger second and third forms, with your party massively debuffed from spending all their Djinn on those summons. Oops!
    • Beat Briggs? Congratulations, you've cleared Piers's name, but now his Black Orb has been stolen by the Kibombo and he's gone to retrieve it.
    • Just made it to the top of any of the Rocks? Nice job, but now you have to go through a whole interior labyrinth about twice as long to complete the level.
    • At the Jupiter Lighthouse, you should make it to the aerie a bit sooner than you'd expect for such a climactic level, but you'll probably have a feeling you're missing some stuff... wait, why is the shaft covered? And then you learn why the lighthouse had those side towers on the world map.
  • Gradius ReBirth, Stage 4. Hey, it's the boss of Stage 1, he's going down! Hey, why won't he die? And why is he charging in my direction and going into the background...oh crap.

  • In Half-Life 2: Episode 1, you board a train out of the Citadel, having just completed a puzzle-level worthy of being a finale. You think you're out of the city... and the train is derailed by a very large explosion that catches up with you. You then have to fight your way out of the zombie-infested darkness with Alyx to reach the surface and evacuate with the other refugees.
  • Heavy Weapon pulls one off after you defeat the "final stage". Your tank driver is about to celebrate the defeat of the Red Star forces, but then he gets a transmission showing that the first 9 bosses were a diversion and that the enemy had amassed an army 10 times greater. Cue the first 9 stages again, except with tougher enemies...

  • In Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja, you'll believe you've won the game after defeating Takushiki (the leader of the six gods), as everyone you've helped out in the village thanks you one by one as you exit his dungeon. Only problem with that is Izuna's Grandboss still hasn't returned (in The Stinger, he's shown touching the same sacred crystal that Izuna saw outside the shrine at the beginning of the game), and there's one path leading out of the village that you haven't been able to visit up until that point. This path leads to a forty-floor Final Dungeon.

  • In Jade Empire, you've worked your way up the command chain to discover that, instead of being a puppet controlled by Death's Hand, the Emperor is truly behind everything that's happened. You defeat the Emperor, rescuing Master Li, and then Master Li walks over to you, congratulates you on how far you've come, and kills you with a few well-placed punches, revealing the plot to be a Gambit Roulette. Cue the lengthy final chapter of the game.

  • Kid Icarus: Uprising pulls this. After defeating Medusa, NES-fashioned credits scroll on, the characters relieved that they stopped her once again, then BAM, Hades, the TRUE lord of the Underworld, is revealed to have been behind everything, including the revival of Medusa.
  • Killer7 pulls this off at the end of Smile, Part 1. The whole level has various characters building up this chapter as the big climactic finish, and when you finally get to the end of the stage, instead of finding the person you were looking for, you instead find two shadowy figures (Young Harman and Dmitri Nightmare) who just dismissively tell you he's not here and you should go somewhere else.
  • Kingdom Hearts II: You beat Xemnas in suitably epic fashion, albeit with relative ease, along with a good, long cutscene with characters ready to head home. Anyone who took a look at the OST would know that there's one more boss theme left...
  • The Kirby series, on occasion:
    • Kirby's Adventure: All the pieces of the Star Rod have been retrieved and King Dedede's been defeated! Now Kirby will go to the Fountain of Dreams and restore everyone's dreams, and I'll get to see the happy ending! What the? "Level 8"? How can there be a ...? Oh no.
    • Kirby's Return to Dream Land: Kirby and company retrieve the broken parts of the Lor Starcutter in the span of five worlds. Then Magolor takes them to Planet Halcandra, where they must retrieve the Master Crown. Cue Worlds 6 and 7.
      • The same game pulls it yet again. After retrieving the Master Crown from the creature you were meant to destroy, Magolor is revealed to have been evil all along. Cue Gradius-like shooting level and then the REAL final boss.

  • In Left 4 Dead campaign The Sacrifice, you activate the generators and lower the bridge, allowing you to escape from the undead hordes unscathed...right? Wrong, the bridge stops short and somebody has to restart the generator, sacrificing himself to allow the others to escape.
    • The custom campaign "I Hate Mountains" does this on a somewhat larger scale. The second level is engineered specifically to look like a finale stage: relatively short length, a defensible location chock full of items, and a means of calling for help. But after you summon the helicopter and run all the way from the top of the mansion to the helipad, the zombies crash the chopper. No nice clean endings here!
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • LEGO Marvel: Avengers: One quest in Asgard has the player solve a puzzle to unlock Laufey. Just as they do it, the actual Laufey rushes in and nicks his own character token, requiring the player to pummel him a bit so they can get it for real.
  • Even Limbo pulls this off. A decent way through the game, you find yourself emerging from an industrial factory area into a little forest with a treehouse and the girl the protagonist is looking for—but then a Brain Slug hops onto your head and forces you to run the other way. If you get the slug off your head and run back, the treehouse and forest aren't there any more... (and you might have guessed the game wasn't going to end yet if you noticed the chapter archive for the various areas).
  • Little Busters!: In a rare example where the revelation that the ending was fake is actually a good thing, at the end of Refrain Little Busters comes to an apparently conclusive (if extremely depressing) Downer Ending, and it's only after three minutes of credits (and, likely, sobbing on behalf of the player) that the game goes black...and then gives you one final choice, which leads to the epilogue and the true ending. (Or, if not the true one, at least a much happier one.)
  • Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals provides an in-game situation where the party think defeating Gades the God of Destruction will end everything until they realize a few years later that there are three more gods to fight.

  • Mass Effect:
    • In Mass Effect 3, the Crucible had been activated, Shepard and Anderson having a view of the Earth and for a moment it seems like the game will soon end. But as it turns out, the Crucible is not activating and Shepard ended up getting taken up an elevator and has to make a final choice out of 3 options that will decide the fate of the galaxy.
    • Mass Effect: Andromeda: The visit to Meridian. Ryder and squad fight their way through hordes of kett, along with the Big Bad's main henchwoman, learn a few shocking facts, and find... they're not actually at Meridian, they're just at the control hub. The real Meridian is A: Much bigger, and B: Missing, thanks to its creators suffering a case of "Oh, Crap! Let's get out of here!" After a quest of figuring out where it's gotten to, it looks like everything's going to work out... only for the Archon to suddenly steal the Hyperion, SAM, and Ryder's sibling, and nearly kill Ryder in the process.
  • In Max Payne 3's first chapter, you rescue Rodrigo and his Trophy Wife Fabiana, only for the latter to be captured again in the second chapter and taken away to several more "castles", before ultimately being Stuffed into the Fridge.
  • In MechAssault, the Wolf's Dragoons were sent to Helios to disable the Word of Blake's orbital guns so a full invasion can commence. Right after the orbital guns are destroyed, they receive new orders.
  • Mega Man X Command Mission pulls this off VERY effectively. OK so you defeated the Big Bad who turned out to be a Well-Intentioned Extremist. And you've secured the MacGuffin. Time to go home. Wait... What the fu—? Why is our transport shooting at us?!! Our commanding officer turned on us?! WHAAAAAT?!!
  • Mega Man Battle Network 3. Okay, so we've got the super weapon and tracked down the Big Bad and defeated The Dragon...wait, what's Bass doing there? Craaaap.
  • In Mega Man 4-6, you have to go through one castle that has the fake villain. After that, you have to storm over to Dr. Wily's castle to defeat him. Worse in 6, because Mr. X is a poorly disguised Wily and you still need to go through two castles. The Game Boy/World spin-off series (except for V/World 5) does this as well, only in a different way. Just when you think that you're getting close to Dr. Wily, he escapes to his second castle (which is usually in outer space).
  • In the obscure NES game Mendel Palace, after clearing all of the doll houses and 9 of the eponymous palace's levels, you are about to face off with the witch...only for her to whisk you off into another palace in the sky.
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. You've nearly finished the Virtuous Mission and just need to get to the extraction point. Then one of your Mission Control characters betrays you and after a long cutscene, the opening credits run. Well, Metal Gear Solid did this with the initial sneaking in, although it was much shorter; and Metal Gear Solid 2 did this with the Tanker mission, although it was significantly longer. They've always been more of a 'pre-credit sequence' than a fake ending, though.
  • Might and Magic VI pulls this twice in quick succession. For the first half of the game you're trying to speak with the Oracle, which requires the approval of all six lords of the land. After running all their quests, it turns out that one council member is still voting no in defiance of his lord's wishes, and you have to run another quest to expose him as The Mole.
    • Then, after meeting the Oracle, she won't speak to you until after you've run four tough dungeons. (The reason being that the Oracle is actually an ancient supercomputer that has been sabotaged. The four dungeons contain spare parts that you need to repair it.)
  • In Modern Warfare 2, it looks like Task Force 141, after heavy losses and a mad dash from Makarov's safehouse, are about to secure the intelligence on Makarov which will spell the end of his entire operation. They reach the extraction point, where General Shepherd and a small army of his troops are ready to evacuate them. Then Shepherd shoots Roach and Ghost to cover up what happened, dumps them in a pit, and sets them on fire. The game continues from there, with Price and Soap setting out to hunt down and kill Shepherd.
    • In the mission "Heat" from Modern Warfare 1, you fall back from the advancing Ultranationalists to the planned LZ at the farm, only to find out it's too hot due to SAM's, then you have to push back through the lines to get to the new LZ at the bottom of the hill.
  • In the NES Monster in My Pocket game, you defeat Warlock and then watch TV as peace has been restored. Then he shows up again, providing the Victory Fakeout quote.

  • The heroes of Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch believe that they have defeated the Big Bad and brought peace to the land, only to learn that they had only taken out The Dragon and that the true Woman Behind The Man has moved up her plans for global destruction. In this case the trope is applicable only in-Universe to the characters; cutscenes throughout the game showed The Dragon meeting with the actual Big Bad (the eponymous White Witch, whose presence is also essentially given away by the game's title) so players knew that the in-game celebrations were premature. Then the game goes and plays it completely straight at the end: after talking the actual Big Bad into a Heel–Face Turn, her "council" — previously revealed to be a projection of her own mind — reveals itself to have somehow developed its own independent and malevolent will, leading to the final battle.
  • No More Heroes: It seems like you're finally the number one assassin; finally defeating everyone else. I guess it's time to use the potty... then before you know it, an assassin busts in and cuts your head off. Unless you get the good ending, where you have to fight your brother.

  • ObsCure: The Aftermath combines this with The Stinger, going so far as to actually roll the end credits before the big twist. Just when you think you've beaten the Final Boss and killed the mortifilia outbreak at its source... Professor James reveals himself to be The Mole working for a Greater-Scope Villain and kidnaps the surviving protagonists. Then you find yourself stripped of your weapons and running for your life, before facing the True Final Boss.
  • Ōkami has two false climactic dungeons: Orochi's Cave one third of the way through the game, and then Oni Island, at about roughly the two thirds point. While before you enter these areas the game heavily portrays them as being The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, once you're actually inside, they have a curiously lighthearted and unhurried atmosphere. The real final dungeon on the other hand is treated with the appropriate amount of melodrama and gravity.

  • In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, you've defeated Bowser and Kammy after beating Grodus, it must be over right? Not so fast, bucko! It seems that Grodus has survived and has taken Peach to a secret chamber! Things can't get any worse, right? WRONG!!
  • Happens in Perfect Dark, after you've blown up the undersea superweapon and saved the world. Time to put on your best dress and meet the President! Whoops, change of plans... time to defend your headquarters against a surprise invasion, get kidnapped, and single-handedly defeat a warlike alien race on its own planet.
  • At the start of Persona 3, you are told that you have "one year" to save the world. You get told that you can do this by defeating all of the Arcana Shadows. You manage this after seven months. Surely nothing can go wrong now.
    • Persona 3 doubles with Interface Spoiler and Late-Arrival Spoiler in numerous ways: you haven't finished maxing multiple social links (it would be impossible by that point); fusion should reveal personae that are still out of reach due to your level (while the game simultaneously punishes you for grinding, so why are they showing you personae and even a whole new arcana if it's game over?); Tartarus has dead-ended and not all of Elizabeth's 100 requests have appeared; and if you've so much as checked a single strategy guide due to invokedThat One Boss, then you know the game's not over. The game does attempt to mislead you by having two social links max out, suggesting that the endgame has begun, but by the time the "celebration" starts with two crucial characters missing, you should know what's going on. The fact that you're told you have "a year" at the start of the game is another clue that you can't end it all in October. The fact that you were actually building the second castle all this time is when the HSQ goes over 9000.
    • Then this happens a few more times in Persona 4. The first two are easy to see coming (the random guy spying on Rise isn't the real murderer, and Mitsuo was just a copycat). But THEN if you realize that Namatame's Shadow is acting suspiciously and stop the others from throwing him into the TV it still turns out you haven't caught the right guy. And even after you catch the actual culprit, you can only get the True Ending if you invoke this trope during the ending sequence. In fact, this is basically the theme of the game - you're looking for the truth, and if you stop before you've answered every question (in this case, finding out who gave the culprit the powers he used to commit the crimes), you don't deserve the best ending.
    • Persona 5: Masayoshi Shido is the head of The Conspiracy, the guy who got you on probation for his crime, and a personal enemy of several other teammates. Surely he's gotta be the Final Boss, right? Except The Conspiracy keeps going after you take him down. Cue Mementos Depths and a showdown with the Greater-Scope Villain, the Holy Grail/Yaldabaoth/"Igor", who at one point flat-out says "the game isn't over yet".
  • In Case 2 of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations, after you prove your client innocent of theft by proving that he was in another place at the time. Right after the verdict, it is found that at the same time as the theft, there was a murder exactly where you proved he was. At which point you then have to prove that the guy that you've proven as the real thief is actually the real murderer, despite the fact that he did indeed pull off both crimes, which happened at the same time. Phoenix understandably freaks out several times. A very memorable case.
    • Don't forget the first game. Despite a bit of interference, you manage to prove Edgeworth isn't the murderer... and then it turns out the whole trial was a Batman Gambit by Manfred von Karma to get Edgeworth to confess to his own father's murder 15 years ago.
  • At the end of P.N.03's first mission, Vanessa faces Sonnenblume, but after hitting it a few times, her client deems her not powerful enough and teleports her out. You finally get to destroy it in the third mission.
  • Pokémon:
    • In Pokémon Red and Blue, the dragon master Lance is set up as the final boss. As even casual fans know by now, he isn't; the true champion is Blue/Green/Gary/Asshat/Whatever the heck you named him. Likewise, in the sequel, both Lance and Blue are set up as the final boss at separate points, with Lance qualifying as a Disc-One Final Boss as well. There is actually little indication that the the true final boss awaits at the top of Mt. Silver, where you meet a trainer that greets you with "......". Cue the collective shock of millions of children during the height of the Pokémon craze as they face Red, the player character from the original games, with the highest-leveled mons in the entire series.note 
    • In Ruby, Sapphire, Diamond, Pearl and especially Emerald and Platinum after you beat the game, you have a small island to explore. Also, if you beat the Champion 20 times in D/P/PL, your rival's Pokémon gain multiple levels, in Platinum even if he is the most leveled NPC in any Pokémon.
    • Due to Black & White being a semi-throwback to the original games, you once again defeat the Elite Four, climb the suitably epic ascent to the Champion to find... N (the antagonist) has defeated him with his new uber-dragon. He then raises a GIANT castle, forces you to catch a giant dragon, and fights you. It then happens AGAIN when Ghetsis takes over for the FINAL final boss fight. And then there's the whole rest of the game where you fight the real Champion, Cynthia (champion of Sinnoh) and Shigeki Morimoto, one of the developers. All of whom are much, MUCH stronger than you'll be after you beat the game.
    • Well, Nascour... who's facing "the humiliation of total domination" now, bitch? Hi, Mayor, as you can see, I have the situation under... wait, what?
    • Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 does a fair job of averting it, though you do find out you can board the Team Plasma Frigate one more time after you surf over to the P2 Laboratory, and battle Colress again. His Pokémon took a few levels since the last battle, too. (Although the game does have Bonus Bosses up the yin-yang.)
    • Lampshaded in Pokémon Sun and Moon. Technically, the first time you beat the Elite four, you are the champion... and Kukui comes in and mentions that even though the player is the champion, s/he technically has to fight one more person for it to count, thus Professor Kukui becomes the True Final Boss.
    • In Pokémon Gold and Silver, Team Rocket takes over the Radio Tower in Goldenrod City and kidnaps the director. Upon reaching the top floor, the director is actually a Rocket Executive in disguise. The real director is kept in an underground warehouse in the city.
  • Test Chamber 19 is not the end of Portal. Assuming you realize it and can react fast enough. The fact that the demo of the game featured more than half of the test chambers might have been a tip-off.
    • In the sequel, Chell and Wheatley successfully replace GLaDOS's head with Wheatley. Wheatley calls up the escape elevator for Chell, she gets in, and the elevator starts rising. Guess what happens next?
      Wheatley: I can't get over how small you are, but I'm HUGE! *Starts laughing, which turns into evil laughing after a few seconds* Actually... why do we have to leave right now?


  • Razing Storm, Stage 3. So you've sniped off all the Mooks, the Kill Sat has killed the Big Bad, and "Mission complete!" appears on the screen. Wait a minute, that was it? Nope, you now have more Mooks and a boss to deal with.
    • And near the end of Stage 4: One of your comrades, after all the enemies in the area have been destroyed, gloats "Ha ha, total annihilation!" Given that a "WAIT" prompt shows up over this bit of dialogue, this isn't fooling anyone: a few seconds later, the enemy's mothership-like carrier shows up from above.
  • Although The Reconstruction doesn't actually wrap everything up when the twist is pulled, it looks like it's on a fast track towards doing so. However, just when it looks like you're about to have some climactic final boss fight and Save the World, Qualstio screams in horror as he finds that the Watchers have all been slaughtered. Also, you failed to stop Donz from activating the pillars, so civilization has been nearly wiped out. So, instead of going along with Fell's advice, the rest of the game revolves around stopping the Big Bad and trying to reconstruct civilization.
  • Red Dead Redemption: The end of the New Austin missions, Mexico missions, and West Elizabeth missions are all made out to be the end of the game, so when the real ending does come it's quite surprising.
  • After defeating the initial Big Bad in Red Faction II, your CO declares himself dictator, becoming the new Big Bad.
    • In the first Red Faction, the miners' escape shuttle takes off just as you arrive at the docking bay, then immediately gets shot down. "Maybe being slow isn't such a bad thing", says Hendrix.
  • Happens many times in the Resident Evil and Dino Crisis series. If you are escaping by helicopter, train, or plane, it will get shot down (Dino Crisis, Resident Evil 3, and Resident Evil 4), attacked by mutants (Resident Evil 2), or redirected to the enemy base (Resident Evil – Code: Veronica, and Resident Evil: Revelations).
    • Of them all, Resident Evil 2 easily has the most well-done example. The starting "A" scenario for each character ends with a touching moment on their getaway train followed a cut to black. Playing through the same character's "B" scenario continues past this point with them being interrupted by an ominous jostling of the train, and then comes the real climax and ending.
    • In Resident Evil 4, Damsel in Distress Ashley Graham gets recaptured at least twice.
  • Rogue Galaxy, where the hero actually announces "This...will be our Final Battle!" before the boss fight against Mother...whoops! Another character gets to say the exact same line a few minutes later, as the three Goldfish Poop Gang villains and their Cool Ship get sucked into a pit of volatile magical lava stuff and emerge as The Demon Battleship.

  • Happened twice in Saints Row. Finally defeated all those pesky gangs and took over the city, what's that? Being blackmailed by the police chief into doing jobs for him? Managed to kill the bastard, nothing left to do but enjoy- huh? The mayor was really responsible and is planning to destroy the Saints? And then the boat trip happens.
    • Again in the sequel but a bit more expected. Destroyed the gangs and reclaimed the city? Time to fight the massive corporation that's been dicking around the entire game.
  • Scratches: So you finished crafting the sacred totem, you then used it to confront the cursed mask and exorcise the curse from the mansion, your work here is done, let's leave this place... Wait, what's that sound?
  • A minor version of this crops up early in the Hell Dimensions arc of The Secret World. Basically, after spending an action mission trying to stop the demonic invasion of Earth from progressing beyond its beachhead, followed by an investigation mission spent trying to find out what happened to Theodore Wicker, players finally get a Dungeon: they have to venture into Hell itself in a desperate attempt to end the invasion at its source and rescue Wicker - who is actually being used as a Living Battery for the demonic army's portals. For good measure, you're led through the Dungeon by a female voice claiming to be a Damsel in Distress allied with Wicker. After a long uphill slog, players finally reach Wicker and unplug him from the machine, with the expectation that the invasion will be over and their target can now go home to all the factions that have been trying to recruit him for the last few decades... only to discover that Wicker doesn't want to leave: now a Demon of Human Origin, he wants to start a revolution among the demons and restore Hell to greatness - and guess who has to help him out over the next few dungeons before this arc's finished? As if to add insult to injury, the voice that's been leading you through Hell is revealed to be Saccharissa, a succubus in Wicker's service, who actually has the gall to taunt you by remarking "Your princess is in another castle!"
  • This happens repeatedly in Shadow Hearts Covenant. So you've unsealed Yuri's Amon fusion, defeated Grigori Rasputin/Asmodeus and destroyed Idar Flamme, that means you've saved the world (again), right? Wrong, now Nicholai has fused with Astaroth and wants to destroy it. OK, so you've kicked Nicholai/Astaroth's ass, surely THIS time the world is safe? Wrong again, now Ouka's death has driven Kato over the edge and HE wants to destroy the world too. It was arguably one too many, as Kato made for a pretty unsatisfying end boss.
  • At the end of Shockwave: Operation Jumpgate, the Omaha has successfully pushed the invading aliens out of the Sol System and back through the eponymous jumpgate. All seems well until the last thirty seconds or so of the ending cutscene: The Omaha's commander, believing the jumpgate's existence to be too great a risk, decides to disobey her orders and destroy it. The Omaha gets a single shot off before the jumpgate's automated defenses retaliate, blasting the Omaha to hell and back, causing it to fall through the gate itself to parts unknown. This is picked up on in Shockwave 2.
  • Silent Hill 3 has a self-contained example in the Borley Haunted Mansion. After making her way through a series of nerve-wracking but mostly harmless rooms, Heather comes to a door marked "EXIT", and the narrator pipes up with "There's the exit." She steps through the door, and... "That was supposed to be the exit." Have fun running from the red mist of doom!
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006): "It looks like the Princess was moved to another location." Really?
    • Sonic Unleashed: "Oh yay, I put all the continents together using the Chaos Emeralds except for one of them! Let's seal that last one-" (Dark Gaia becomes fully powered.) "Aw fu-!"
    • Sonic and the Black Knight, too. Complete with ending credits before it's revealed that the "Princess" has been in another castle all along.
    • Sonic Generations: the goal of Crisis City Act 1 gets stolen under your eyes in the most trollish way possible.
  • Space Quest 3 tricked the player like this when you managed to free the Two Guys from Andromeda (the pen name of the game's authors). The game gave you a large chunk of points (used to indicate how many of the puzzles you'd solved) and starts to congratulate you. Then the walls opened up the big, bad, evil guy and his troops are behind them. Your points are docked back off you and the game continues.
  • Near the end of Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow, you've disabled seemingly all the ND133 virus bombs and captured Big Bad Suhadi Sadono, but The Dragon, Norman Soth, has escaped with the last "pox box" and is preparing to detonate it at LAX.
  • One of the endings of The Stanley Parable uses this trope, where the Narrator finishes a playthrough by resetting the game, but subsequent playthroughs continue toward the actual ending. The ending only comes from the game resetting itself after the Narrator finds out he was being Railroaded into completing this ending. The fact that one Loading Screen reads as "THE END IS NEVER THE END IS NEVER THE END IS NEVER THE END" is fairly prophetic...
  • Star Fox:
    • Star Fox pulls this with both of the Venom Surface levels, where the boss you fought in space returns, goes down in a few hits, only to turn One-Winged Angel.
    • Star Fox Adventures pulls it twice, though the second time isn't that far from the end. The first time, Fox figures that all there is to bringing the planetary chunks back together is... saving the queen's son. Yeah, right. Later, the placing of the four Spellstones does bring the planet back together long enough for him to prematurely declare the mission accomplished, only to find that it's not, and he discovers that those Spirits he's been collecting and releasing are actually important to the mission.
  • Street Fighter II The World Warrior surprises first time players by introducing three (non-playable) bosses to the world map after the first seven matches against the regular roster. The last of which is Sagat, the final boss of the original Street Fighter and the presumed final boss of the sequel. Upon defeating him however (no easy task), the game returns to the map screen and another boss appears: M.Bison. This is averted in later updates where the bosses are playable and the sequence which introduces them is skipped.
  • Streets of Rage 3: You're going to defeat Mr. X and it's only the fifth level! Oh, it was Actually a Doombot and you have to keep going (well the latter isn't surprising). Unless you're playing on the lowest difficulty, in which case you get Easy-Mode Mockery.
  • In Suikoden V, you kill Gizel Godwin and liberate Sol Falena. But since the game doesn't seem to be ready to end right away, what else could there be? Marscal Godwin stole the Sun Rune, and has fled to a temple where he is going to use it to melt a glacier, flooding the Feitas River. Better go take care of that. It figures that there would have to be a Nintendo Hard boss battle before the end.
    • Suikoden has a liking to do this. Suikoden II has the Hero defeating the Big Bad Luca halfway through the game. Given the time it gets you to reach this point, you might be led to thinking this is the end of the game... but you haven't yet recruited the 107 Stars, have you?
  • Super Mario Bros. series:
    • This trope gets its name from the original game with the Mushroom Retainers (Toads) saying the well known line that actually goes: "Thank you Mario! But our Princess is in another castle!", forcing you to go through four more stages and seven more worlds. Then the Princess also symbolically does this at the end of the game by informing Mario that he was finally successful but there's another quest waiting for him. (Actually the same game with all goombas replaced by beetles and the enemies moving faster.)
      • And in the Famicom and Virtual Console versions of Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels you have to play through the game seven more times without warping to reach the final four worlds and the true ending.
    • Super Mario Bros. 3: Parodied when the Princess herself says it as a joke. Also, the entire World 8 is technically this trope. Your original mission was to save the kings of seven different kingdoms from Bowser. You do that and you're supposed to think the game's over, only to find out that while you've been out saving kings, Bowser has taken the princess and you must travel to his world to save her.
    • The phrase was actually used in an early draft of the Super Mario Bros. movie.
    • In New Super Mario Bros. Bowser Jr. actually drags Princess Peach from one castle to the next (which is subject to quite a bit of Fridge Logic of its own).
    • Super Mario Land had Mario rescue a fake princess after every boss, which quickly turned into a monster (based on the theme of the world) and ran off.
    • In Super Mario 3D World, once the seventh and final Sprixie is saved, Bowser pulls back the red victory screen, recaptures all seven Sprixies at once, and takes them to the real final world.
    • Played for laughs in NES Remix, during the mission where the Super Mario Bros. 2 incarnation of Princess Peach has to rescue her Super Mario Bros. 3 counterpart after the battle with Bowser. Upon entering the room, SMB3 Peach tells SMB2 Peach that she is in another castle.
  • The Super Mario World hack "Super Mario Infinity" does this about FOUR times over the course of the game. First you're fighting through normal levels, and having to defeat Bowser. After getting through the final world, involving fighting him in every other level, it turns out Big Boo and Kamek were plotting against everyone including Bowser; cue another world with boss battles in every level, and a level with TWO 16 stage Marathon Bosses. After this, it still doesn't end, cue an airship and prison level. Then a Pit of 100 Trials. It's at this point some previously unknown great evil has been plotting to destroy reality, so when that plot point becomes known, there's another world to explore, complete with a 100 floor tower and ANOTHER Marathon Boss. Then you get a star in the box at the top of the screen, which allows you to return to the first level and fight a Bonus Boss... In case that was too lengthy, the ends of these videos show what we mean:
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Hooray! You defeated Galeem, the Big Bad of Adventure Mode. Surely, the heroes now stand triumphant- Wait a minute, is that a goddamn crack in the sky?

  • Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 4: The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood seems to wrap everything up...until you realize there's a fifth chapter. It involves getting killed and wandering around the afterlife which includes several rehashed elements disguised as portals. Naturally, you have to enter the real world, return to your body and face the Big Bad again at the end.
  • The Tales Series does this a lot.
    • The ending of the Journey of Salvation, the pact with Luna, the attack on the Tower of Salvation, and the foray into the Treant's Forest in Tales of Symphonia. Each time the characters are absolutely convinced that this battle will be their last, and each time they are utterly wrong. Of course, most of these occur in Disc 1, which is a dead giveaway that there's more to come.
    • After defeating Dhaos in Tales of Phantasia. Right at the point where the party members are saying their goodbyes and preparing to go home, having defeated the Big Bad, excitement happens.
    • Tales of Vesperia does not let you down in this area either. Interestingly enough, you can be sure that Alexei isn't the final boss, but not because of a lack of skills and equipment or because the world map is largely unexplored (quite the opposite for both), but because plotwise, there are still a ton of unanswered questions. You didn't really think they were just gonna forget about the Adephagos, didja? Or that Duke would ever be left unexplained?
    • Tales of Hearts initial plotline is retrieving several MacGuffins, scattered fragments of a main character's soul. When this is done, the actual plot suddenly bursts forth from it, and the hapless gamer finds that he has about 20 more hours of game to go. (As it should be; the Spirune arc wraps up around the 25-hour mark.)
    • Tales of Destiny doesn't disappoint either. So you've chased Lydon all around the world, finally cornering him and ending his plans. The Eye of Atamoni is secure beneath Darilsheid castle, the Swordians have gone back to sleep, and our hero says his goodbyes and returns to his tiny hometown. The world is safe once again, right? Cue the second half of the game.
    • Tales of the Abyss has it, too, in epic fashion. Despite parts of the world being unexplored, you might actually believe it's the final dungeon — it's the longest one in the game, or very nearly so, and the true Big Bad is waiting for you at the bottom, and you sure do (seem to) kill him at the end of the fight, followed by saving the world using the plan you've devised, changing the face of it forever. You've resolved the main plot so thoroughly, there's actually a month-long timeskip between that and the last third of the game.
    • Tales of the Tempest - yay, we've defeated the Pope, so humans and Lycanths can get along, right? No, the Pope was being controlled by the king, and we still have a pile of plot twists to get through.
  • This Is the Only Level. "But is the level over?"
  • The first Time Crisis game sets up the main villain as Sherudo Garo, a knife-throwing, somewhat effeminate gentleman who has kidnapped the President's daughter. Strangely you do battle with him in only the second act (of three). After killing him, you go to release the captive before realising she is now in the possession of Sherudo's Dragon, Wild Dog, who you battle in the final confrontation.
  • The fourth case of Touch Detective. You manage to figure out that it's not a murder case, manage to get all the evidence that points to this being true, convince Penelope that it's safe to come out of her room, start watching the credits, and Penelope barges in saying "the case isn't solved yet!". Did you really think that this case was only going to be one part long when all the others are 2 parts?
  • Trauma Center does this with Episode 2-9, "Please Let Me Live". You open up the patient, suture a few incisions, and... experienced players restore vitals before they suture the last one. Because when you do, new lacerations burst into view. Meet Kyriaki, the first GUILT virus.
    • That scene may cause shouts of "IT'S A FREAKING PTERODACTYL."
  • The Trouble Shooters game (Battle Mania in Japan) has a rare fake ending in a non-RPG, where the credits actually start rolling before the villain interrupts them; the real credits appear after the next level.
  • Tsukihime: After killing Nero Chaos, Shiki assumes that all the vampire problems are over. Arcueid points out the obvious fact that Nero didn't leave corpses and couldn't have been the vampire responsible for most of the incidents. And the savvy reader realizes the story is way too short otherwise.

  • A very frequent trope in Uncharted, where Nate will sacrifice life and limb to get to the end of an ancient ruin where the reward might be... only to discover another crumb in the trail, or that it was never there (maybe even moved), and almost certainly means he has to go to yet another far away locale. It's especially prevalent when the characters wind up in the actual city the reward is stowed in, but then practically turn it upside-down in the process of finding it. This trope is especially frequent in the third and fourth games, where the folly of doing this is a central theme of the plot and, in the latter's case, the backstory too.

  • Valkyria Chronicles 4: You reach the enemy capital, resolve the situation with the Fantastic Nuke, and even exchange some civil words with old enemies. Then a giant submarine appears out of nowhere, and you have to defeat it. Then the sub spawns an amphibious tank, and you have to defeat that.
    Marie: You're cleared for deployment, Squad E. Please, let's end this once and for all.
  • Veigues: Tactical Gladiator has a cutscene that looks like the ending until a huge battleship starts to rise from the ocean.
  • In Vigilante, the hero must rescue his girlfriend from a street gang called the "Skinheads". Whenever a boss is fought, the truck holding her captive is right there, but every time the boss is defeated, it drives off, and the hero must continue to the next stage.


  • Played for laughs at the end of Zuma's Revenge when the fake "final boss" dies in one hit, followed by partial fake credits, only for the real boss to reveal that you'd actually just "defeated" his cook. After that you get to fight his "final form," followed by his true final form, followed (and completed) by a dark mirror version of your character.


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