This is a guest post by Comical Carrot about island quests with unsatisfying endings. Note: Spoilers abound. Enjoy!
Hi, I’m Comical Carrot!
To me, the best part about completing an island in Poptropica is the satisfying feeling of saving people or solving a mystery. Most of the islands have intense and fun endings, like the Mystery Train chase scene, or the defeat of El Mustachio in Wild West. However, there are certain islands with unsettling and unsatisfying endings, where the player is confused, frustrated, and overall sad… and that’s the topic of this post.
Bonus Quest Endings
Sometimes, an island doesn’t just end at the end—there are bonus quests! People who aren’t members might relate to the frustration, since these bonus bits are for members only.
In this island, you spend a ton of time trying to figure out the secret and mystery in the heart of the magical forest. The climax and most intense part is when the player has to destroy and slow down all the construction vehicles in order to prevent them from killing the forest and its creatures. After the player stops the construction, you feel happy to have saved the forest.
But wait! The special orb of the forest is cracked and is missing pieces. In order to collect the pieces, you have to do the BONUS QUEST!
I remember seeing this (as a nonmember) and feeling super frustrated and guilty as I saw the poor forest creatures fading away and desperate for help. The island isn’t truly finished and you can’t say that you have saved them at all. It’s not conclusive, and you pretty much can’t progress any further without membership.
In this island, you compete in an Olympic-like competition and need to win first place overall in order to beat the island. After you’ve won as many games as you can and come out on top, you are awarded the medallion. Yay! You’re a winner and the best Poptropican athlete of all time.
But wait! There’s some grumpy old guy who wants to battle you for the title! And… it’s a bonus quest. Seeing this, the nonmember players know that they haven’t really finished the island and they can’t really claim their recognition properly.
There are other islands that could fit this inaccessible bonus ending category, too, like in Vampire’s Curse when you’re hunted, or saving the oil spill in SOS Island. But Poptropolis Games and Twisted Thicket are the more frustrating ones, in my opinion.
These are the endings where you feel cheated out of your hard work and victory by another character swooping in to be the “hero.”
Here you’ve risked your life and entered the lair of the vampire, found a cure, and rescued Katya. Who gets the praise in the end? Katya’s sleazy boyfriend, Christopher!
Yes, you do get the medallion, but Katya barely even thanks you! Not only did he want to get away from his girlfriend, but he also took all the credit for your hard work? What do you get in return? A medallion that the vampire dropped and a weird hunter coming for your life. Great.
(Big Nate Island also ends like this, where you don’t get the credit for discovering the treasure, but you still at least get the medallion in the end…)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
After surprisingly getting a golden ticket, the player ventures into the Willy Wonka chocolate factory, where they pass multiple tests and save the lives of the other kid contestants. You even save Charlie in the end! So who gets the key to the factory? Not you — Charlie!
Now I know this is kind of a stretch as the player doesn’t need the factory since they are an adventurer who just wants to help others out while Charlie and his family needs the money. (Also in the original story, your character obviously isn’t in it, let alone wins the factory.) This one wasn’t as bad as the other endings in this category, I think.
I’m not even going to talk too much about this island. You do the hard work of defeating every villain in a unique and clever way, and do MOST of the work in defeating Betty Jetty. But who gets the credit and the medallion? Ned Noodlehead!
In the end, you still get the medallion, but not because the citizens of the island think you deserve it, but because you traded it for a simple hotdog. All your hard work was just as special as a plain old hotdog.
And these are the endings where you have no idea what just happened…
In Lunar Colony, after finally meeting up with Salerno and almost saving her, she vanishes into another dimension. Once you come back to Earth, you see Salerno in some other planet or world, with unsettling things in the background. Sure, she made it to her dream destination, but the player is left with the concern of whether or not she will survive.
I remember seeing this, wondering what just happened, and how she even can communicate back to Earth. But at least people are now interested in space again…?
The ending of this island wasn’t so much concerning and unsettling, but it definitely was weird. The entire statue that you worked hard to place the sacred gems back into is… an alien? Yeah, I was super shocked by this but it was kind of cool and gave the island a unique vibe.
Other islands that could fit this section would be the subpar Back Lot Island movie at the end, and the fascinating but strange ending to the Mission Atlantis trilogy.
So that’s it for this post! Let me know what other bad endings to Poptropica islands you’d add to this list. To be fair, these bad endings aren’t actually so bad, since the islands themselves were fun and exhilarating to do.
Also, I’m considering buying a membership! Will doing the bonus quests help fill the frustration from the bonus quest ending islands? Let me know!
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