I'm going to let you define "the end" however you want, provided it makes some sense. End stage, end boss, or at least close enough. Whatever. Basically, you were close, but for one reason or another, just couldn't or didn't want to finish it off.
Here are a few of mine...
Bangai-O (DC) - So if you don't know, Bangai-O is a sort of mech SHMUP. It's different from a lot of SHMUPs though in the sense that there is no auto-scrolling and you can go in any direction. Also it has puzzles. Anyway, the game is relatively tough but not super hard. However, the end stage is like WAY LONGER THAN THE OTHERS, requires a very steady, slow pace (this is a game where you mess up and let too many enemies come at you at once, you're dead within an instant), and then at the end of it you get to a boss who instantly shoots like a million missiles (another part of this game is LOTS OF PROJECTILES) at you and YOU DIE LIKE LESS THAN A SECOND AFTER SEEING HIM. Now, the way the mechanics of the game work is that if you launch your missiles at *just* the right moment, you can deflect some enemy missiles, etc. but after playing the super long stage and getting to the end boss and dying within a second before I even had a chance to try to figure out the timing and then this happening like 5 more times, I just gave up forever. Right at the end.
PS. There is a DS Bangai-O game called Bangai-O Spirits that is pretty awesome if you want to check it out. And it doesn't have a cheap end boss either.
Super Ghouls and Ghosts (SNES) - This game is kind of notoriously tough, and you have to play through the whole thing twice, and blah blah blah. Anyway, played through the whole thing twice, got up to the "fake" end boss the second time, and... that stupid bracelet sucks. I can't figure out how to beat him with the bracelet, which is the only way to get to the true end boss. This is another one too where you have to play through this long stage at a slow, steady pace just to get a few shots at the guy and then do it all over again. I did use the Wii save states to "beat" him (in a really, really cheaty way) just to get a sense of how much life he had and then I went back and used the save states again to try to get consistently good at him before trying it without the save states but... I couldn't even get close to consistency, so I didn't even bother.
Super Hexagon (iPhone) - So if you don't know much about this game, it's relatively short (just 6 stages, and you "beat" each one by surviving a minute) but really, really hard. After weeks and weeks I got all the way to the last stage and got really good at every pattern it threw at me... except one. It just plain moves too fast for me to get a sense of what I am doing wrong. I even tried looking it up on Youtube and slowing it down and such, but still couldn't figure it out. So yeah, my record is about 30 seconds or so, but without figuring out that one pattern I don't think I will ever get the full minute.
Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles (GC) - I honestly forget how close to the end we were, but I remembered looking it up in a FAQ and my cousins and I were almost there. And then life happened and we just sort of went our own ways and stopped getting together for regular video game sessions so we never finished it off.
Patapon (PSP) - This is a fun little rhythm action game that has a really, really terrible design decision. You can get all the way up to almost the end just playing the game straight through, but then it requires some special moves to continue that you have to go find / level-up / I don't even remember what to unlock. Just didn't have the interest to go back a bunch before finishing off the game so I stopped.
Mighty Milky Way (DSi) - I honestly forget why I stopped right near the end of this, there was some nonsense that annoyed me so I gave up.
Punch-Out!! (NES) - Not sure if this quite counts as the end, but I am pretty sure I got to the second to last fighter a few times, just never quite finished the game off.
Ironsword: Wizards & Warriors II - Just remembered this one! Got to the end boss, which turned out to be 4 boss fights in a row (all 4 elementals.) At least I think it was 4 in a row, but I don't think I ever got past the 2nd one? In fact now that I really think about it I think the 2nd boss showed up before you even finished the 1st and so on, it might have been time based? So I just kept getting destroyed when they would start tag teaming me and gave up.
Super Ghouls and Ghosts (SNES) [...] Punch-Out!! (NES)
The Bracelet in Super GnG is so good!...until the final boss, where it's one of the more risky weapons for sure.
I too have never finished Punch-Out (NES). I managed to beat Super Macho Man once on NES, but I've never beaten Tyson. I tried again on the Wii VC, but the lag from my TV and/or the Wii remote made it impossible for me, I don't think I even beat the Bald Bull rematch.
I guess the other one for me is No More Heroes 2. I wasn't all that into the game, and then I got to the final boss. I don't remember the specifics, I just remember it being kinda bullshit, so I Youtube'd the ending.
@r_hjort I did end up finishing Dawn of the New World, but I had largely the same experience as you. But it seems we may have been playing the game wrong: a friend of mine dove into the monster ally system hard, and he said it was really deep and rewarding. Played through the game multiple times with different monster teams, and enjoyed it every time. I feel a little like I missed out, but I also feel like if the monster system was that good, it probably should have been introduced in a new game. I just wanted to have another adventure with the Tales of Symphonia cast, so obviously I'm going to keep the monsters on the bench whenever possible.
@nate38 Yeah, I think we were playing the game wrong, you're probably right about that. But I just couldn't find it in me to explore the system a whole lot. Like you say, I wanted another adventure with the same cast, not a couple of newbies and their monster pets, and on top of that it always felt like a hassle to train a new monster while at the same time trying to make progress in the game. I mean, the system itself didn't feel all that rewarding or intuitive, so dialing down the tempo in order to train my monsters and figure out which ones would be best to use when didn't feel like something worthwhile.
Jet Force Gemini Got all the way to the final boss but just couldn't manage to beat him because of the way the battle is designed, so I took a break from the game and forgot how to play altogether. I'm definitely going to revisit this as soon as I can, 'cause I quite enjoyed the game overall.
Yeah this is another one for me. Explored everywhere, found everything...I just *couldn't* for the life of me shoot enough gems into that vacuum thingy fast enough. So I was short that last ship piece and never even got to the final boss.
I'd love to give this another go if I ever get a chance to sit down with Rare Replay.
-Legend of Legaia 1&2 loved both games but never finished either seems the end game would jump the difficulty to ridiculous heights, or Dragon warrior 8 for that matter I have started that game over six times and reached the end but then just stop
-Anyone notice old school jrpg's were all about that grind?
Give up is a really strong word, especially since I plan on going back to finish them soon (though I've said this for a long time now) but Wind Waker HD and Alien Isolation are two examples of games that were utterly fantastic experiences that I got hung up on near the very end.
Both suffer from me not wanting to finish them because I got sad about the experience ending, but it was much worse for Alien Isolation, coupled with the fact that even though it's one of my fave game experiences ever, and was a true dream come true, it still managed to fail my expectations, and that's saying a lot about my expectations, and how damn close they actually came. Wow, run-on much? Plus, I somehow get this weird sad feeling when I finish an amazing game, especially a strangeish nicheish one like Alien. It doesn't help that I'm not really expecting a happy ending from it.
Give up isn't the right term hough. On hold is better.
Captain Toad has taken me a while to finish, and I'm finally at the last set of worlds. But that was a slow play through all together.
If I could finish those 3 soon I'd be really happy... or maybe sad :(
Alien Isolation I'm at what I assume is the end of the second last chapter.
Captain Toad I believe I'm on the last set of levels.
Wind Waker HD I'm at the temple before Ganon's I think.
I don't even attempt to beat most games. So the only example that immediately jumps to mind is Etrian Odyssey 2. I put up with a lot of pain to reach to that point, but fuck that secret boss. I actually looked up the solution. I just didn't feel like fighting it over and over again until I got lucky.
As Hinph mentioned, Pikmin 3 is one I dropped long ago, even though it was a fine game. The news of 4 really makes me wanna finish it now. I didn't really get close to finishing it though, I don't think I even met the WWinged Winged Pikmin.