Musing: Undertale, a Special Holiday Post, Part 6 Hope?

 

I wrote this post on New Year’s Day and while I don’t usually put spoilers in my posts I’m warning you right now.  Do not read this post if you intend to play the game ‘Undertale’.  What is Undertale?  A roleplaying game that takes about 10-20 hours to complete to its full capacity.  I’ll mention Star Wars a few times in it, but you’re safe with that.  Nothing I say will be any more revealing than the trailers, so your mileage may vary.

Now with the obligatory warning, let me go on with my tale.

One of the crucial differences between the ‘Genocide’ route and the ‘Pacifist’ one is the ability to deepen your friendship with bosses.  Not only did I not kill Papyrus, I stopped progressing, doubled back and visited his house.

This was soul crushing.  I realized someone I killed with a single button press ended up being my favorite characters in the game.  More than just a few antics, Papyrus showed me he’s not just a funny guy, but he has dreams and aspirations.  (Even beyond his outward goal of being a Royal Guard)

Our newfound friendship inspires him to put my safety over his chance to get in good with Undyne.

When our ‘date’ was over I pressed on to the waterfall.  To my surprise, Undyne seemed just as focused on killing me.  Badgering me through the area with her trademark laser spears.   During the quiet times, though, I got a warm reception and even stopped to smell the flowers to learn a few things about the word.  You’ll have to play it yourself to get the fine details… it’s wonderfully convoluted (in a good way!).

More than that, I got the chance to send a weird cat thing to college.  Oh, excuse me.  ‘Cool leg’.

The little monster kid was handled in a different way, too.  He/she even asked me to demonize myself to make it easier to hate me.  Instead of threatening the child, I helped keep them from falling to their death.  Undyne witnesses the whole thing and puts off killing me to drag the kid to safety.

Interestingly enough, the answer to ‘sparing’ Undyne wasn’t just flinging sappy nonsense at me.  She came there to kill me because my soul was the last component to the salvations of her friends.  I had to swallow my pride and run away.

In fact, if not for the oppressing heat of the neighboring Hotlands, I like would have had two choices.  Fight or die.

She focused so much on catching me, she succumbed to heat stroke.  Being the good sport I am, I gave her a glass of water.  Baffled by my actions a second time, she stormed off back to the waterfall.

 

date

Evidence of his ‘discreet’ exit.

I could have left it there, but Papyrus insisted I hang out with her as I did with him.  A desperate attempt to forge a friendship from the fires of war.  This lovable idiot arranges some time alone with her with his own brand of tact.

 

Undyne is a great example of a female character that doesn’t let her gender define her and I was glad to know I could make this right by calling her friend.

She even showed up on the title screen with Papayrus and sans, a reminder of the good I’d accomplished.  Previous to that I thought the screen was supposed to be empty.

From there, the trek into the Hotlands was very VERY different.  The first person I met, a meek dinosaur woman named Alphys admitted to monitoring my adventures and offered to help me on my final steps through the Underground.

One little problem, she’d already set up a human killing robot turned T.V. Star—one Mettaton—to stop any humans from carving a path of violence through her friends.

gameshowHm.  Justified paranoia or Karma?

It’s not all ‘Hunger Games’, though.  The resort (abandoned in the Genocide run) was full of fun characters and sans told me a story about Toriel (without knowing it was her he spoke on).  After hearing it, I felt one thousand percent worse about killing her.   Specifically, he mentioned a promise with an old lady behind a door.  Any human that comes through he would protect.   Suddenly his words in the hall of judgement ‘Sorry Lady, this is why I don’t make promises.’ came with some clarity.

He also said: “If not for that promise *cue nightmare sans* You’d be dead where you stand.”

Hm.   Justified paranoia or Karma?

After I shook off the willies, I had a chat with one underpaid fast food employee, Burgerpants.  (Yes, there’s a reason he’s called that.)  I sorted out his cynical issues with Bratty and Catty and stocked up on provisions.

mettaton

This made me chuckle.

After that I pushed on through the core, full of puzzles and befriendable monsters.  Alphys’ robotic contingency plan made the trip dangerous and a little fun.  They even go so far as to add a nod to one of my favorite moments in game history– a certain scene from Final Fantasy 6.

Long story short, things work out.  To defeat the invincible robot, Alphys supplies a protip to weaken it (via a giant switch on his back, lol) and I’m thrown into a real boss battle with Megatton.

I’ll leave others to explain the battle mechanics, but the means of sparing the big ‘M’ comes from appealing to the studio audience.  Eating crappy food, low ratings.  Glamourous food, high ratings.  I could boast an then dodge Mettaton’s moves for super ratings too.   Maxing out these ratings was the key to sparing him.  It was a good time.

 

alphandund

10 seconds later she dunks her in a trash can.   Lovingly?  Their relationship is complex.

I also took up an offer from Undyne to take Alphys a letter.  It let me spend some quality time with her and led to the realization the fish lady and the dinosaur had a thing for each other.   Cute.  I also had the cruel satisfaction of shattering Undyne’s delusions that Anime is indeed not real.  It’s the little things.

 

After the ‘date’ Alphys led me down the hall, speaking nervous words of encouragement and assuring me the trip was almost over.  I knew that already… because well… you know.  At the final door, she cracked and admitted I needed a monster’s soul to escape the underground.  This is a good time to remind you Asgore only needed one more human soul to free the monsters.

I was sure he’d be more reasonable this time, considering I hadn’t killed anything.  Then I came across the hallway.  THE HALLWAY.  San stood before me, that shadowy figure I’d tackled almost 30 times to beat.  But this time, he calmly explained a few things.  LV, what I thought meant level, meant love or level of violence– a measure of how much I was willing to hurt others to get my way.   EXP, which I thought meant experience points, meant execution points.  He also reminded me I hadn’t gotten any love so good on me.

It made me feel empty inside, knowing how wrong sans was.  OR maybe he knew how wrong he was.   Maybe he just knew I was trying to change.

So there was no fight, just a pep talk to go to Asgore with my head held high.  He greeted me with a friendly hello and awkward small talk.  He already knew how this had to end.

This is a good time to mention, if you kill a few things, sans calls you on it and you’re locked into what’s called the Neutral ending.  When you fight Asgore, he shatters his ‘Mercy’ button and no matter what, you fight, Flowey kills him– becoming the last boss.

 

asgore

I’ve read you can really torment the good king, depending on your choices including but not limited to eating a certain slice of pie before him.  King Dreemur’s ex-wife loved making pie…

 

However, that didn’t happen for me, as Asgore lined up to fight, a familiar fireball knocked him away.   Toriel had come to save me.

Remember what I said about my actions coming back to bite me in the ass?  Oh, it’s coming… Oh, yes… it’s coming.  I also kept talking about some parallels made to Star Wars (that I put off for six posts!)  All that will be in the final post tomorrow.

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