The Best Finishing Moves In Games

Video games are all about that "slam dunk" moment. It's the point where the player feels the most successful and every last polygon is packed on screen trying to celebrate for your eyeballs. Some games make finishing moves the big focus, like fighters, while others feature creative or narratively interesting finishers. Here are some of our favorites:

Cyrax's "Nothing But Net" Fatality – Mortal Kombat

My favorite thing about this fatality is actually several pieces… and how it leaves your opponent in them. That's how many fatalities play out. You blast your opponent to bits, remove his arms and legs or just decapitate him or her.

But that's boring. Obviously there are scores of Mortal Kombat fatalities to choose from in discussing finishing moves, but that's been done so we're going to reach a little deeper for the next one.

Killing Kefka solo – Final Fantasy III

Kefka is known for being an awesome boss for the way he transforms and changes shape, but here's Kefka mano y Celes. Dodging attacks with Haste, refilling health with Curaga, and suddenly the end draws near. Better hit him with Ultima and enjoy those credits you fought so hard for.

Defeating Kefka solo is a herculean task only players with a penchant for grinding should take on. In fact, I think of the teammates I rolled into battle with, I may have only finished with one left. That's obviously not the same as running only Celes, so I'll shut up and let the next finishing move roll now.

Master Chief sticks Didact – Halo 4

Like many smart AAA blockbuster games, Halo 4's boss is actually a gameplay sequence well beyond anything else in the game, so when it's finally time to stick it to Didact, that's exactly what you do. Eat plasma, you bastard! My favorite part of this finisher is that now you get to sit back and enjoy a lengthy cutscene and the credits.

If you have what it takes to get to the final boss, 343 Industries is happy enough to hand you the victory over Didact. Oh, you're about to beat the game? Hold on, the boss is really tough so I better take care of him for you. 

Straight to the heart – Metroid Fusion

I'll always remember finishing off the final boss in Metroid Fusion for the way you were up against this seemingly unstoppable force, but the entire time you were wrestling with the Game Boy Advance controls too. In the end, all you had to do was aim for the chest though.

It's also a wonderful echo of Samus's past adventures, notably the way the SA-X protects Samus when she's on low health. Obviously this theme was leaned on heavily in Metroid: Other M, but we won't speak of that game and just move on to our next finisher.

Jack gives John Marston a "Beyond the Grave" medal – Red Dead Redemption

Finishing move? Maybe not, but this is one awesome beyond-the-grave medal. Normally you'd get one of those from tossing a lucky grenade before your untimely death, but revenge is a cold dish when it's been sitting out for several years.

I love the way this finale is hidden from players… at least for the most part. In order see Red Dead Redemption's true ending, you'll have to track down any remaining strangers and then follow the trail to Ross. When you're done reacting to the exploded face model of Jack's target, check out the next finisher.

Hit the yellow stuff – Star Fox 64

Chalk this up, not necessarily for being an awesome finishing move, but for its ubiquity in video games. If there's one thing I don't need games to teach me anymore, it's that there's one weak point you should look out for and focus all of your energy on.

When you get to the boss, maybe you have to scan for the weak point… or wait for the weak point to reveal itself… or target the weak point so another character can shoot it. These are all variations on "shoot the yellow" so… just, don't be stupid. Aim for the weak point and lets get this boss fight over with.

Some hidden button you didn't even know about – Super Mario Bros.

(Fast forward to 30:37). The penultimate video game finishing move on our list is one you probably didn't even think of because there's always someone better at video games than you and they told you about this trick after recess and now you'll never stop asking them about cheat codes. Do I need to link to the 20 minute speed run of Dark Souls or will this classic example suffice?

Can you think of any other finishing moves (or cliches)? Share your favorites in the comments.