Finally, the mystery of Total Carnage's weird ending has been solved, over 20 years after the release of Midway's arcade game. Regardless of whether you actually got the treasure from the "Pleasure Domes" area, the ending would tell you "you failed to pick up all the cash and prizes sitting in the Pleasure Dome." After all that, the game had the temerity to suggest your carnage was less than total.
Polygon spoke to Dan Filner, who worked on the port of the ultraviolent Robotron-esque game for the PS3 and Xbox Midway Arcade Origins collection, and who uncovered extra data related to the ending. He discovered that there was originally a version of the ending without "the ladies." They were supposed to appear only if you completed the Pleasure Domes, and the "you failed" text was only to appear if you didn't – and yes, writing about this suddenly makes us embarrassed about participating in the '90s at all.
Designer Mark Turmell remembered that Total Carnage's predecessor Smash T.V. also had a false promise regarding Pleasure Domes. The ending mentions them, but they weren't actually even in the game at first. After enough angry, confused fans lamented their inability to find the Pleasure Domes, the room was added in a new EPROM shipped to arcades.