MKK: Kitana

It’s no secret that this whole silly project got kickstarted by yours truly playing through Mortal Kombat 11 and loving the hell out of its goofy story mode. But it’s not just about the goofy! This thread was inspired by playing MK 11, and having a genuine desire to go back and “review” some of these characters from their introduction, and see if the seeds that would eventually grow into extremely ludicrous trees were always there. And Kitana is a great kharacter to examine for this purpose.

I'm a big fan


Kitana was introduced in Mortal Kombat 2. She was the female ninja wearing blue, and the sister of the female ninja wearing purple. In case you ever get confused by these “twin” sisters, Kitana is the one named after a ninja turtle weapon, while Mileena is the one that wields a ninja turtle weapon. Kitana is also the one that is actually human (well, technically Edenian), and Mileena is the one that is a horrible clone monster that wants to literally rule the world.

Kitana was introduced as “merely” one of Shao Kahn’s top assassins that might have a secret, and that secret was revealed in her ending: she’s a princess! She’s Shao Kahn’s step-daughter, and the biological daughter of Queen Sindel and King Jerrod, the previous rulers of what would become Outworld. She’s also 10,000 years old, but she was starting to get wise to the fact that Shao Kahn might not have her best interests at heart when her marginally homicidal evil clone started hanging around. You know when they hire a new guy at the office, and he does the exact same job you do, and you’re starting to get worried about your job security? Well, it’s like that, except the new guy routinely eats people and spits out their bones. It causes concern.

Digging the fan

Concerned Kitana was apparently a double agent during Mortal Kombat 2 (and let’s not get into the fact that the pretty sister is inevitably the good one), and she straight up murdered her sister before the tournament was out (which, incidentally, marks the second time in as many games that one of the color swap ninja kanon murders their opposite number). This got Kitana on Shao Kahn’s s%&$ list, so he dispatched a healthy number of agents with the express purpose of revenge murdering Kitana. Well, kinda. Jade, Kitana’s former bodyguard and friend (and hidden kharacter of MK2), is tasked with capturing Kitana, while Reptile, Shang Tsung’s former bodyguard and lizard (and hidden kharacter of MK1), is allowed to use “any means necessary” to stop Kitana. Kitana, of course, survives the onslaught, re-befriends Jade, and even hooks up with and de-brainwashes her recently revived mother. Liu Kang wins Mortal Kombat 3 by being the official victor over Shao Kahn, but Kitana ultimately accomplished the most by reestablishing Edenia as a universal superpower separated from Shao Kahn’s rule.

And she gets, like, zero credit for that.

Mortal Kombat 4 doesn’t really “feature” Edenia/Outworld, as it primarily focuses on a rogue god wrecking up Earth(realm). Kitana didn’t even participate until Mortal Kombat (4) Gold, and her only real purpose is to be kidnapped, escape being kidnapped, and then be generally annoyed at the revival of Mileena while attempting to help the good guys. By the end of Mortal Kombat Gold, Kitana is basically in the same place as the finale of Mortal Kombat 3: Edenia is rebuilding, and Kitana is either completely or technically in charge of the place (Queen Sindel’s status as an active monarch is always confusing).

Not enough MK4...

The general Mortal Kombat plot really ramps up around Deadly Alliance, so Kitana’s role in matters is technically expanded. Shao Kahn was not killed at the end of Mortal Kombat 3 (apparently), but he was simply humbled and beaten back to Outworld. Kitana, Sindel, and their allies definitely separated from Shao Kahn, though, so Outworld/Edenia was up for grabs. As such, a land war was declared between the two realms, and Kitana was a mighty general. Kitana led many different forces, including Goro and his Shokan, as Kitana was also an accomplished diplomat, and she actually became fast friends with Prince Goro. When Goro was killed in battle, she was devastated, but still led the combined forces in an effort to liberate her home dimension. Around this time, Shao Kahn was killed by Shang Tsung and Quan Chi, and, while the king was dead, there were still armies that needed to be defeated. Kitana continued to be an accomplished general, and only took a break when she was summoned by Raiden to attack the Deadly Alliance head-on. Kitana, now saddened by the apparent death of her internet boyfriend Liu Kang (they had been exchanging messages on AOL Instant Messenger since Mortal Kombat 2), left her army for a more surgical strike. She had been trained as an assassin, after all, she could avenge one cute boy, and be back in time to literally save her world.

Of course, everything in the previous paragraph happens in the backstory of the actual playable game. In Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance: For Realsies Edition, Kitana shows up to fight Quan Chi, loses, and is left for dead on the steps of a temple. The opening of the sequel, Mortal Kombat: Deception, kicks off with a pan of her lifeless corpse.

Dammit.

Kitana did wind up participating in Mortal Kombat: Deception (because it was easy to repurpose Jade’s model for the PSP “enhanced” edition) first as an undead servant of the Dragon King, and then as a revived alive person. Unlike Jax, Kitana straight up only gets a bonus from being a zombie, and recognizes Dragon King Onaga’s weaknesses from her time in his service. She doesn’t actually do anything with this knowledge, but it’s good to know she had a plan in case the actual protagonist of the story decided to take a nap or something. She then returned for Mortal Kombat Armageddon, and did absolutely nothing to impact anything. And she died again. But this time, the entire kast died, so that can be forgiven.

Not enough MK9...

Reboot time! Kitana gets a lot more screen time in Mortal Kombat 9… but it still doesn’t amount to much. She gets to participate in (new) Mortal Kombat 1 as an agent of Shao Kahn, and we actually get to participate in the exact moment when her brain snaps in (new) Mortal Kombat 2 when she discovers her monster clone sister. She has a much more active role in her own defection… but also a lot less success. In the original plot, she was able to escape Shao Kahn after learning the truth. This time, she confronts Shao Kahn directly, he says “Yeah, I killed your dad. So what? It was Tuesday,” and Kitana is immediately tossed in a dungeon, necessitating more rescuing than in the last timeline. Liu Kang rescues our favorite assassin princess, and Shao Kahn is defeated. Shao Kahn is back in business about thirty seconds later, though, revives Queen Sindel with a bit of a power-boost this time, and Incredible Hulk Queen Sindel eventually attacks the heroes. She actively disowns Kitana before draining most of her soul, and, while Sindel is defeated (by other kombatants), Kitana is left to die. She lives just long enough to explain to Liu Kang that she is on the pill, and was totally DTF for like days at a time, but she’s dead now, barf, and this is very sad for you, Liu. She is then conscripted in Quan Chi’s skeleton army, having not even gotten around to killing her sister this go around.

Mortal Kombat X features Kitana as an angry revenant damned to the employ of Quan Chi. When Quan Chi gets his goth ass murdered by Scorpion, Kitana and (also dead) Liu Kang ascend to King and Queen of the Netherrealm. Better to rule in Hell than serve under Shao Kahn? Probably. Unfortunately, the policy decisions one actually makes as a monarch of the dead are never explored, and all we really learn about Kitana herself at this point is that she is super angry at just about everything.

She's dead here

And, thus, finally, do we reach Mortal Kombat 11. In this title, Kitana is still dead and just bumming around Hell as Liu Kang’s queen. In fact, she barely even pulls that off, as she is nearly immediately recruited by the story’s latest big bad, and she’s little more than a rotting henchman for a final boss that is inevitably going to homicidally betray her later. But! We’ve got two Kitanas this time, and a younger, significantly healthier (as in she actually has health) princess pops out of a timehole to assist the heroes of the present. And she certainly assists! While most of the kast is upset over dead moms or dead other selves, Kitana immediately gets her act together, and takes a whirlwind tour of “future” Outworld. She negotiates with Sheeva, current Queen of the Shokan, and recruits Goro’s entire race to her side. Then she manages to get Baraka and his horde to agree to play nice with Kotal Kahn, the guy who literally committed genocide against Baraka’s people (they got better). Then she marches her newly formed army against (time displaced) Shao Kahn, and absolutely kicks his ass. She decides to blind her former father, not kill him, and then takes the throne as Kitana Kahn. And she pulls off this coup in the span of a couple of days. She conquered an entire dimension in the time it takes for you to wait for your Amazon order, and the people (or what passes for people in that dimension) seem completely content with her rule. When Kitana eventually ascends to godhood thanks to Liu Kang choosing his goddess bride, it seems like Kitana earned it a lot more than Liu Kang, who only beat a god or two in mortal kombat. Like, seriously, dude, anybody could do that. Stryker could do that. Kitana became a beloved global queen inside of a long weekend.

And, yes, it technically wasn’t the first time she did such a thing. In the “old” timeline, she also led an army, united different clans, and conquered (unconquered?) Edenia, but this time she actually actively did it on screen. This time she accomplished something in a manner other than a bio paragraph or two, and it actively displayed why Kitana actually kicks some ass. So, hey, good job, Mortal Kombat 11. You finally made plot Kitana match her overpowered Mortal Kombat 2 form. Please don’t nerf her in the next timeline!

Next time: The other sister

FGC #447 We ❤ Katamari

In the wake of a little green man and a giant ball wrecking the planet, let’s take a moment to cover all the news…

National
Trump Address Nation
“Our borders will be back!”

President Trump tweeted to what is left of the nation today after the attack of what is now being called the “Democrat Ball”.




He then proceeded to blame a cornucopia of races for the attack, and eventually explained the naming of the destructive sphere:

“Democrats? Who can trust them? I’m not saying they made this ball, but people are talking. They hate your number one favorite president, so they’re trying to embarrass him. We need to stop this Democrat Ball and Crooked Hilary!”

Poor NYCAt a later press conference, Trump provided no further details, but when asked what Hilary Clinton had to do with anything, responded by calling a reporter a word we cannot in good conscience reprint. It rhymes with “bunt”.

Democrat Ball relief will be sent to New York, New Jersey, and other areas our president deems worthy. When asked where President Trump would find the money to rebuild, in New York City’s case, an entire island (island included) President Trump began shouting that the economy is as good as it ever was, and anyone that claims he is not a billionaire is a liar.

In further response to the Democrat Ball, an Executive Order has been issued exiling any United States residents with, per the order, “funny sounding last names”. As of press time, the administration has declined to further define those terms.

Local
Farmer Loses Mythical Beast
“My cowbear!”

Cows!A local farmer lost his beloved cowbear yesterday, and still has no idea where it has gone.

“It just up and ran off. My prized cowbear!” balled the strange farmer. “It done flew out of its pen yesterday, chasing some flying, flaming cow, and then the whole rest of my little cows and bears ran away, too. They all followed that dang cowbear down to the racetrack, and I don’t have a dag gum clue what to do!”

When the farmer was told there was no such thing as a cowbear, and that there was absolutely no race track in the area, he simply stared into nothingness for approximately five minutes. After the long, awkward, and eerie pause, he finally spoke, saying, “You guys are no help, I’m gonna go ask myself that King of the Cosmos if he’ll help me.”

The King of the Cosmos denied comment, citing he didn’t exist, either.

Entertainment
Beyoncé, Los Angeles Crushed
A loss for the planet

Yass QueenIn sad news, Beyoncé was enveloped in the Democrat Ball. Unfortunately, she was on the outside of the ball for quite a while, and suffered more than a few hair emergencies thanks to her body being crushed by the sheer force of the rest of the items in the ball, such as cars, monuments, and marginally rabid tourists and fans. Presumably, Beyoncé is now orbiting our solar system with the rest of those lost to the Democrat Ball, making the popular singer a literal star.

Whether or not this will affect the release of Beyoncé’s next single, Love in a Partitioned Drive, is yet to be seen.

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World
Super Sumo Destroys Japanese City
Move over Godzilla!

Sumo!Downtown Tokyo was destroyed today as a gigantic sumo cannibal bowled through the city.

The unidentified sumo rolled around, presumably too hefty to walk, and was followed by a small green creature. The sumo miraculously chose not to devour the green critter, but did proceed to eat everything he could fit into his gaping maw, including people. The sumo terror grew at an exponential rate, and, while he started merely eating food randomly strung around on the street for the Metro City Memorial Festival, he grew to such a size that even the greatest yokozuna could not hope to achieve.

“Sakura and I were just sitting there, minding our own business, eating a pizza, ya know, nothing special,” said one Ryu Chan of Kyoto. “And then this brobdingnagian sumo comes rolling over, sticks Sakura in his diaper with our pizza and a bunch of giant watermelons, and then he ate Sakura! After the watermelons but before the pizza! So you know!”

The young Ryu was obviously shocked at the loss of his sweetie/pizza, but retained a certain optimism that can only originate from the blissful knowledge of having avoided digestion.

While we did attempt to interview the super sumo, we unfortunately failed when our cameraman was consumed. We accepted that as a “no comment”, and allowed the sumo to roll away, demolishing a fencepost, fence, and two dolphins on his way out of town.

Science
Are we hurtling into the sun?
Some say “yes,” others “no”

MY EYES!Scientists claim the sun is growing closer by the moment.

An independent study conducted by Ultra Tech claims the sun is right where it has always been, and it’s just a trick of the eye.

After the damage wrought yesterday by the Democrat Ball rolling across our nation and the world, certain scientists are claiming our own planet is being used as the next Democrat Ball, and it is rapidly gaining speed on its way to the sun!

Other scientists think those first scientists are gigantic loonies.

“It is unmistakable!” said one Professor Larks. “We are quickly attracting other, smaller planets and satellites, and being hurled at the sun by some cosmic entity! It’s all over, people, this is the end!”

“My respected colleague is, unfortunately, an idiot,” retorted Professor Relson. “If we were getting closer to the sun, it would start becoming remarkably hot, and all studies show that the planet is not getting warmer at all. See, the proof is in this data. Although I must admit that it is odd that the constellation Cygnus appears to be stuck in my lab assistant’s buttocks.”

While temperatures have indeed been climbing today, it has been deemed a perfectly normal, predicted heat wave, and is in no way indicative of the Earth eventually crashing into the sun. As many scientists have already concluded, the Democrat Ball was caused by Democrats, and it is currently unlikely they wish to see the destruction of all life on Earth. It would be insane for a political party to actively destroy the planet in the name of guileless greed.

Whether we actually are approaching the sun, for any reason, is yet to be seen.

This entire article is a work of fiction, and not intended to be taken seriously. All celebrity tweets are impersonated. This is parody of our own completely bonkers reality.

FGC #447 We ❤ Katamari

  • System: Playstation 2, and that’s it. Maybe we’ll see a Switch rerelease? Maybe they won’t release this one the same day as Super Smash Bros? Who’s to say?
  • KATAMARI!Number of players: I have never successfully gotten a two-player roll-out going with Katamari Damacy, but I’m sure there’s an alternate dimension where it became a competitive sport.
  • Maybe actually talk about the game for a second: I would argue that this is the truest form of Katamari, after the initial proof-of-concept that was fun, but still limited; but before the inevitable parade of sequels that wound up pasting gimmicks and general unwanted cruft to a winning formula. This isn’t to say this is my absolute favorite Katamari game, but it is one of the best in the franchise. Oh, and I played it for about ten billion hours back at its release, so I’m going to go ahead and say that it has enough content to keep someone busy…
  • Just play the gig, man: I also want to say that Katamari Damacy and its sequels are the only games for which I inevitably seek out the soundtrack immediately. I can sing a song for all who feel love! And I will!
  • Favorite Roll-up: The sweets stage, featuring a delicious gingerbread house, is my pick of the game. You really can’t lose when you’re building the world’s largest jawbreaker. Willy Wonka knew that!
  • Did you know? There is an entire cottage industry for nerds attempting to complete that 1,000,000 rose rollup challenge that is unlocked after completing the game. I simply want to point out that people did this thing before trophies were a mainstay in gaming.
  • Would I play again: I ❤ this game. Please port it to Switch, Namco? I need to have portable sumo rolling on the regular.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Mega Man X5 for the Playstation! And we’re going to throw Mega Man X4 in there, too! It’ll be a mega time! Please look forward to it!

Very Popular

MKK: Baraka

Mortal Kombat 1 took place on Shang Tsung’s magical karate island, a wonderland of fists that you would likely see in any “kung-fu movie” from Kentucky Fried Movie to at least seventeen Bruce Lee features. Mortal Kombat 2, however, was meant to showcase Outworld, the realm of Shao Kahn, Shang Tsung and, most importantly, Goro. Outworld had to be a fantastic land to feature such fantastic creatures, so, naturally, the architects of the Mortal Kombat franchise quickly defined the realm as one giant toilet.

So purple


Outworld features fabulous purple, barren landscapes. It contains acid pits and flesh pits. There are deserts aplenty, pointed mountains, and forests full of freaky-faced trees. While it has never been confirmed in-game, it is naturally assumed that Outworld smells like the ass end of an ass. People ride giant bugs through the sky. There is, like, one Waffle House, and it’s been closed for “repairs” since 1997. You do not want to spend any time in Outworld.

However, a lot of different races live in Outworld. Shao Kahn may have been trying to conquer Earth for (at least) the last 500 years, but he was actually successful in conquering other dimensions. As a result, Outworld has become a veritable melting pot of eclectic cultures and people (all trying to kill each other). Residents of Outworld include:

· Outworlders – Your basic human-esque race, but extremely long-lived, and with a greater affinity for magic. Basically elves without the ears.

· Edenians- Same, but they’re officially the conquered race of Outworld.

· Wizards- Fuggin’ wizards are their own race in Outworld, and it’s illegal to not hire a wizard just because they’re a filthy wizard.

GORO!

· Shokan – Goro’s race of four-armed people that have not yet mastered the ability to produce shirts. They are occasionally described as half-dragon or half-tiger, but are all into ponytails.

· Centaurians- Motaro’s race of centaurs. Sometimes they’re satyrs, because they’re going through some stuff.

· Zaterrans- Reptile’s race of… uh… reptiles. They’re mostly extinct, but Reptile is right there, so I think they count.

· Vampires- You’re damn skippy this franchise has vampires running around. Apparently Mortal Kombat vampires are only allergic to Earth’s sun. It seems relevant at this point to ask if ol’ Purple Outworld even has a sun. That arena stage might just have really good lighting…

· Osh-Tekk- Oh, wait, they must have a sun, because they have kinda sun gods running around. The Osh-Tekks are basically the gods of the Aztec culture, and they gain power from the sun (apparently any sun) and blood (conveniently found all over in this universe).

My heart!

· Sub-Zeros- Sub-Zero and Frost’s ancestors come from Outworld. They’re not around anymore, but they’ll probably pop back up in MK Mythologies: Sub-Zero 2: The Next Day.

· Kytinn- Insect people that work pretty much like the xenomorphs of Alien, but are, like, bugs. This is my worst nightmare, and if it is not yours, I don’t want to know what’s going on in your head.

· Naknada- Like the Shokan, but six arms, and a lot more scrawny. Though we’ve only ever seen one Naknada. It’s possible the other Naknada are buff as hell, and Kollector is just the runt of the litter.

· Dragons- Onaga the Dragon King was the ruler of Outworld before Shao Kahn, so dragons are official denizens of the realm for tax purposes.

· Whatever the hell Ferra and Torr Are- A symbiotic race where a lil’ dude rides a bigger dude and together they fight crime. Or make it.

I don't like these guys

And then we have the Tarkatans, the race introduced in Mortal Kombat 2 to further cement the “Outworld is not a vacation destination” thesis of the title. Tarkatans are all over the place on the ol’ “what’s this race’s deal” map. On one hand, they’re generally portrayed as blood-thirsty monsters that are animalistic enough to be driven into murderous rages over bottled pheromones or a Black Friday sale on knife sharpeners. On the other hand, they have their own language, are capable of using “Earth weapons”, and are widely regarded as the absolute best soldiers in Shao Kahn’s army. And their origins are equally confusing: they’re either the result of human/demon breeding, or they’re their own thing from a realm Shao Kahn conquered long ago. Meh, let’s face it: the Tarkatans are whatever the plot needs right now.

And, true to his Tarkatan heritage, Baraka is equally mutable. Baraka appeared in Mortal Kombat 2 as a fine representation of Shao Kahn and his less-than-photogenic army… but didn’t really accomplish much. He killed some monks in the prologue, and apparently there were some rumors of Baraka attempting to overthrow Shao Kahn with Milenna, but Mileena wound up dead before that plan could go anywhere. Baraka then returned for Mortal Kombat (4) Gold (not coincidentally only being proto-retro-dlc in the final game that required a motion capture actor to don a skin-tight face mask), and did the exact same thing: worked for Shinnok, and planned to betray him, but never got around to it.

Is that another Baraka?

Baraka then started working for the Dragon King in Mortal Kombat: Deception (once again, Baraka took a game off to wax his arm blades), and teamed up with Mileena (now alive again) to actually be a faithful minion for once. The duo attempted to deceive and exterminate Kitana’s forces on behalf of the Dragon King, but Liu Kang’s ghost and Liu Kang’s master beat back the Tarkatan hordes. Thanks to the overwhelming boredom of not betraying anyone for a solid thirty seconds, Milenna then attempted to kill Baraka, but Baraka sent another Tarkatan in his place, and Milenna is kind of racist anyway, so it all worked out (for Baraka, the other guy got gutted).

Baraka was officially killed during MK: Armageddon, as Kung Lao finally avenged his fallen monk buddies from Mortal Kombat 2 by slicing Baraka in twain.

Mortal Kombat 9 retkonned Baraka into being a Mortal Kombat 1 participant… but he was defeated by Johnny Cage almost immediately. Then he got beat up by the (still human) Cyrax. Then he was trounced by an old lady wielding a basket full of kittens. He got to kill those monks again, though! And then he got jobbed a few more times before not even bothering to show up for the rehash of Mortal Kombat 3. He went out for a pack of cigs while the other Tarkatans ran around with the centaur dude. Better use of his time.

Such nice teeth you have

In Mortal Kombat X, Baraka is a loyal servant to… am I reading this right? Oh, wow, Milenna actually finally got somewhere with her whole power lust thing, and she’s ruling Outworld with Baraka by her side. And then he gets killed by the bug lady. But it’s okay! He was replaced by a xenomorph with all his powers, so Baraka is still with us in spirit.

Baraka The Younger and Less Dead returns through a time-hole in Mortal Kombat 11. He learns that, since Mortal Kombat X, Kotal Kahn, the new ruler of Outworld, committed outright genocide, and every last Tarkatan is dead because Baraka supported Milenna. Ouch. Luckily (for Baraka), the Time Baddie of MK11 decides to timeport the Tarkatans back to the future, and Baraka has some buddies to hang out with between battles. And, recognizing a ruler he could almost certainly betray later, Baraka decides to join up with (time-displaced) Kitana to overthrow (time-displaced) Shao Kahn. Together, Baraka and his people join the final siege on the Time Boss that is the only reason his race even exists at all. Luckily, there is no reckoning, as the universe reboots yet again about seven seconds after Baraka gets off the boat.

In conclusion, if you need someone for your heroes to beat up, please remember the Tarkatan race. Baraka is here to help.

Like a porcupine

Next time: Mortal Kombat 2 means 2 playable ladies.

FGC #446 Odin Sphere (Leifthrasir)

Good catWhy bother with yet another beat ‘em up? Why bother with Odin Sphere?

Odin Sphere is, at its core, a beat ‘em up game. Yes, it is the unusual 2-D beat ‘em up, and, yes, it has many “RPG elements” that separate it from the typical beat ‘em up title, but it is still “only” a beat ‘em up. You move from screen to screen, defeat some enemies, and then break a few crates for items before eventually reaching the boss. Basic mooks are continually recycled between areas, the areas themselves are limited, and even bosses are fought multiple times in multiple configurations. Odin Sphere is a beat ‘em up, and, even though it is gorgeous (or maybe because it is gorgeous), it is still fairly limited. It seems like there are five hours of unique gameplay in this twenty hour game.

So why bother? This isn’t an arcade beat ‘em up that includes fun times with friends, and, while some of the “JRPG elements” are interesting, you can’t hang an entire game on shoving sentient turnips into flasks. While Odin Sphere is damn pretty to look at, graphics are not everything (or at least I’ve been told that by every lying gamer I’ve ever encountered). There’s good beat ‘em up nonsense available here, but hitting any other title that is over in about a quarter of the time seems like a better choice.

Except other beat ‘em ups don’t feature Velvet.

Odin Sphere might be a simple beat ‘em up with repetitive monsters and locations, but it contains a very engrossing story. This is not to say it is a unique story! Most of the heroes and heroines of Odin Sphere are basic operatic archetypes, and God help me if I have to deal with one more character that has daddy issues and must go on an adventure to find their own place in the world. “What is this emotion called… love?” asks the entire speaking cast of Odin Sphere. And Oswald is clearly just Darth Vader minus the fatherhood angle, which leaves us with… Darth… Nothing? But! Despite all of this, the walking clichés of Odin Sphere are a collection of surprisingly memorable lads and lassies, likely because their proclivity for Shakespearean soliloquies grants us a rare look into these protagonists’ minds (also: fun Shakespearean tropes like “I can only be killed by a tree” “Well my middle name is ‘Tree’” “Oh fiddlesticks”). Aren’t we all tired of silent protagonists? Give us more adventurers with deep-rooted psychological issues.

And the leader of the pack for these nerds is obviously…

VELVET!

Velvet Valentine. I mean, look at that idle pose! She’s got more personality just standing there glaring at a rabbit than most characters earn over the course of a 40 hour adventure.

Get 'em!

But it’s not just about classy poses, she also possesses a ridiculous whip chain weapon (that incidentally absorbs the souls of the dead). And everyone knows that in videogames (unlike in our mundane, crappy world) whips are the most powerful weapons on whatever passes for Earth du jour (Erion?). Whips have range, power, and, if you’re good, the power to command fire (Belmonts have known this one simple trick for centuries). Yes, there’s that whole bondage connotation, but who cares about that when…

Spider-Man!

Whips allow you to become Spider-Man! Who cares about anything when you can be Spider-Man? Actually, given Velvet has experience as a dancer, she’s more Spider-Gwen… and maybe that’s even better? I mean, there are a lot of Spider-Mans running around out there, but Ghost Spider is pretty unique. And, like Velvet, she has a cool costume, too.

But it’s not all sunshine and roses for Velvet…

This sucks for everybody

Velvet comes from circumstances. Velvet and her twin brother were abused by their grandfather, a man who also killed their mother in a fit of rage. Apparently Grandpappy King Valentine would arbitrarily whip his grandchildren, and force his granddaughter to dance for him for reasons that can only be maximum skeevy.

Bro!

This created an unfortunate situation wherein Velvet’s brother grew up to be a duplicitous jerk/three-headed dog monster (although Pappy Odin kind of added to those issues, too), and Velvet herself eventually became an adult with an understandable level of PTSD. And, considering Velvet is also stuck in a magical universe where anything can happen, she lived in fear of her abusive grandfather returning from the grave. When he inevitably does that and kicks off a (surprisingly successful) plan to destroy the world, suffice it to say, Velvet is not having a fun time.

Samus!

But she’s having a fun time when she’s flipping around like Samus Aran. Hey, that bounty hunter had problems with authority and dead parents, too! Samus and Velvet should hang out and play with their grappling beams together!

Such a dreamboat

And it’s not only jumping skills that will make Velvet’s life better. She has the love of a loyal prince, Cornelius, who, despite being cursed about ten seconds after his introduction, is a true Prince Charming. He fights for his country, his people, and, most importantly, Velvet. And he didn’t even need a magical sword to defend his love against his vaguely patricidal father. That’s a man worth keeping, Velvet! I can count on one hand the number of people I know that would fight a sewer dragon for their lover.

Bunny!

Oh, and she really likes rabbits, too. Rabbits, in many cases, are better than a doting boyfriend. If only there were some way to combine the two…

Now, is anything about Velvet here all that revolutionary? Nope! I compared her to three other fictional characters in the span of a few hundred words, so it’s pretty clear Velvet isn’t the most original character (that you should not steal). But she’s… fun. All these traits seem to alchemize into a perfectly golden heroine, and wanting to see what becomes of the wannabe Romani is a fine reason to fight the same stupid five bosses all over again.

Why do we play some videogames? Maybe it’s just a matter of having the right character.

FGC #446 Odin Sphere (Leifthrasir)

  • KISS MESystem: The original Odin Sphere appeared on Playstation 2, but then we saw a rerelease on Playstation 3, Playstation 4, and Vita eight years later, presumably because of phat piles of Dragon’s Crown cash.
  • What’s the difference? The new and improved Odin Sphere Leifthrasir contains a number of quality of life improvements, new skills, and the occasional area where you can jump around like an idiot for no reason. But it barely offers any new story content or “levels”, so only seek out the remake if you have eyeballs that enjoy gorgeous graphics carried along a HDMI cable.
  • Number of players: One Valkyrie at a time, please.
  • What’s in a name? The titular Odin Sphere is likely a reference to Odin’s gigantic spikey-ball thingy. Or it could be a reference to the circular arenas featured in every battle stage. Or some kind of upgrade on Wagner’s “cycle” of music dramas. Or it just bloody sounds cool. I didn’t make this game!
  • Other naming issues: Wagner the Dragon has a name that is pronounced like “Vagner”. Oswald the Unlucky Rabbit gets the proper American/English soft pronunciation of his W. I’m not one to fiddle with accents and articulation, but try to be a little more consistent, Japanese-created magical Norse creatures.
  • Favorite Character: Go ahead and take a guess.
  • An End: I very much appreciate that the final boss gauntlet initially appears as a “choose your favorite fighter” situation, but is actually deeply tied to the lore of the piece, and asks the player if they’ve been paying attention to the various prophecies floating around. However, I am not a big fan of the fact that these five (mostly) original bosses were all herded into the final moments. We could have used original content elsewhere, guys!
  • Did you know? Sheep grow on trees.
  • Would I play again: Maybe we could see this one on the Switch? The grindiness seems like something that would be ideal for a kinda portable system… but then again the same could be said of nearly every modern beat ‘em up. That’s it! Go ahead and put every beat ‘em up on the Switch! It’s the only way to be sure!

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… We ❤ Katamari for the Playstation 2! That one is sure to roll up a lot of fun. Please look forward to it!

This sucks for everyone involved