In the typical RPG, we kill Foozle, save the world (again), and then sit through whatever (usually awful) closing video the designers manage to come up with. Once in a very rare while, it’s different.

In my essay The End, I commented on games with interesting and/or original conclusions. One of those was Dark Heart Of Uukrul. In Uukrul, your party dies at the end.

It isn’t death by failure, but heroic self-sacrifice. Uukrul himself has been taken care of some time back. However, his mountain stronghold has to be destroyed and there’s no time to get out before it blows.

That was startling in its time, and remains so, because I can think of only one other game with a similar finale: Anvil Of Dawn.

In that one, at the end, you face Foozle while carrying something that can make him all-powerful. You have no hope of defeating him in combat (wow, a real Foozle, too!).

You can hand it over or chuck it into a handy pit. Unfortunately, it gets stuck on a ledge, so you have to jump after it, destroying the item and yourself, too.

The trick here was that there was a way to avoid dying, if you had two special items when you made the leap. One was hard to find and one was easy.

I played AoD twice, both times finding the obscure one and completely missing the obvious. Of course ;)

But you know, dying in AoD didn’t bother me, any more than dying in Uukrul. In both games, death is success, not failure. The world is saved (again). Foozle and his schemes are defeated.

Now, in some ways, this isn’t a “happy” ending. The character or party isn’t around to receive plaudits from the crowd. There won’t be any more adventures (or, for that matter, sequels).

On the other hand, should success be measured by cheers and parades? They certainly give us a warm feeling. Yet I think, once in awhile, it’s good for the main character (or party) to make that ultimate sacrifice, if only to prove we are really heroes.

I wouldn’t want a steady diet of that, naturally. It would be terrible as well as foolish for designers to start killing off the characters for “novelty”. For one thing, it would grow old fast and players would be turned off if such a finale became “par for the course”.

But once in awhile, to shake us up, to remind us of what a hero really is, what it means to be a hero….yes, I think it might be a good thing.

So tell me: would you mind dying?miniscorp