You know, recently I got to thinking about just how wrong the concept of alternate endings became in one particular game.
For a while now I've had a detest of games with alternate endings, especially ones from Konami. Often unless you played a game on the worst possible difficulty setting there wouldn't even be an ending at all. Others still, often many of them from Konami, would have the most ridiculous snags that could only be overcame by being completely illogical in your actions. Oh sure, let's just wear these glasses in the middle of the fight with Richter Belmont in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Although it probably became pretty clear that something was fishy when you just killed him, then again the game was probably telling you that you were at or near 100% complete so may you didn't think it was that fishy at all (I mean, Castlevania seems a likely series for a grim ending like that). Or how about the point in the remake of Resident Evil where you have to choose whether or not take Barry's gun away when you're confronting him just before Lisa shows up? If you're new to Resident Evil, you're probably going to get Barry killed. This makes the entire rest of the game more difficult than it needs to be. Then there's getting the best ending in Valkryie profile which more or less involves doing a lot of things counter productive to the stated goal of the game without there being any hints to do such.
I'm not even going to discuss Taito's Bubble Bobble as that's far too painful to even engender the notion of thinking about for more than a few seconds.
Alternate endings in Chrono Trigger weren't so bad because if you followed the logical course of events you'll either come to the ending at the Black Omen where you unlock the New Game+ (which isn't the canon ending), or you'll come to the canon ending where you travel directly to 1999 via bucket or Epoch. It actually takes great effort to obtain any of the other endings, and you most likely won't see them until after you've seen at least the Black Omen's "Searching for Mom" ending. Those other endings are fun rewards for continuing to play, not punishments to prevent you from seeing a good ending because you didn't do some anal activity early on or crank the difficulty up to impossible.
Now where as some games had some truly arbitrary thing to be done for a good ending, few get as weird about it as Survival Kids did with its 8 different endings. For those of you who don't know, Survival Kids is best described as a survival themed action RPG released for the Gameboy Color by Konami. In many ways it played a lot like a pre Ocarina of Time zelda game with the added element of having to find food and water (and far fewer dungeons as well). There was also a real time day/night system where, unless you used a light aid, you couldn't see anything at night (not that you'd ever want to be up at night 90% of the time since you'd suffer if you didn't get good rest).
So you start out by finding yourself on a deserted Island after the cruise ship you're on, in celebration of your birthday, sinks during a storm. From here you have to gather food and water as you explore the Island, building tools from what you scavenge along the way that help you in exploratory endeavors, until you eventually find batteries for a Radio. At this point you put in the batteries and you hear about a helicopter coming in for a landing. If you rush to the beach you'll be picked up and go home. This is the obvious thing to do. Hurray, you won the game... but you just go the stupidest ending in the game and missed 2/3's of the game...
What you should have done was missed the helicopter on the purpose... No, really... then shortly after you miss it the Volcano on the Island becomes active and you have to devise your own escape plan. So you build a raft. Now if you don't bring along enough food with you when you depart on the raft you'll get an ending where you die at sea from starvation (yes, it's an ending, you get credits). However, if you bring enough food along, you'll be at sea until a storm hits and you pass out... when you come to it seems that you're on another Island (although it will soon turn out, as you explore it, that it's actually the back side of the Island you were previously on but couldn't reach at the time due to lacking the proper tools).
So while exploring the back side of the Island you'll find the Acient abandoned temple with a treasure ship on it. It is kept docked by these eight locks each needing a key stone. Find the eight key stones and you can leave the Island in your new pimp ride. The first seven are just laying around the Island (and the truly enterprising may have even found one of them before the Volcano became active earlier), where as the last one requires you plumb the depths of a massive ancient temple that has everything you can think of down to a section with a maze of invisible walls between you and the final key stone.
So you get all the keystones and leave the Island with the treasure ship, secure in riches for the rest of your life. You're awesome! Right? Wrong!
One of the Keystones you'll find just laying in a swamp, and if you pick it up you will be penalized by not being allowed to see the BEST ending. Instead of picking it up go explore the Island until you find two camp fires that you didn't make, suggesting that someone else is there. After you find those go back to your Cabin and you'll find someone else trapped on the Island collapsed and unconscious just before you get to the cabin (again, so long as you don't pick up the swamp key stone). You'll take her back to your cabin and find that in her hand is the key stone you would have found in the swamp. Congrats, you rescued the girl. Now let's get the rest of the key stones and get out of here to Victory...
If you don't spend time nursing the girl back to health she dies on Treasure Ship ride home. The final message you will see is, "And she never smiled at me again". Okay, at least that one should have been obvious. She's sick, bring her food. That one isn't rocket science and, unlike not picking up the swamp keystone, makes sense when you actually get there. I'm just including it to show how many outcomes this game actually has.
So anyways, we get the keystones (while nursing her back to health) and then we leave the Island together! OH HAPPY DAYS! YOU'VE JUST SEEN THE, GET THIS, PENULTIMATE ENDING! No, I am not jerking you around... this is ONLY THE SECOND BEST ENDING! Okay, so what you should have done after nursing the girl back to health is go to the part of the swamp where you would find the keystone that prevents your from finding her. After nursing her back to health you'll find a pendant there. Give this to her and you'll be more than just friends.
But wait, that's the ending I got last time! Be patient, let the credits go by and... THERE IT IS, THE WEDDING MARCH KICKS IN! You get to see them become married years later and promise that whatever they do for their honeymoon, it won't be a cruise. Now you have seen the best ending.
But there's still TWO WHOLE OTHER ENDINGS! If you don't get off the Island by day 100 you'll live the rest of your life there. This will either be by yourself, or with the girl depending on whether or not you found her. Bringing us to a grand total of 8 Whopping Endings! Living the rest of your life on the Island with the Girl doesn't seem to be the worst possible outcome, but living there by yourself makes the starvation at sea ending look better by comparison.
If you watched all 8 endings you unlocked a picture of the Boy and the Girl along with their pet monkey they found on the Island (each ending added a piece to the picture). You also then got to play a harder version of the game with the boy wearing a coon skin cap the entire time. Wheeee!
Don't get me wrong, I loved the gameplay, I really did enjoy the game... but I hate this aspect of it of which forces illogical actions. I shouldn't have to go to gamefaqs just to not get 2/3's of the game hidden from me because the helicopter is the OBVIOUS choice for any SANE PERSON. I shouldn't have to go back again to learn that there's a Girl to find instead of picking up the keystone in the swamp. It's just nuts. Thankfully its spirital succesor, Lost in Blue, started you out with the girl as soon as you wake up on the beach and (as far as I know) has only one ending.