Fantastic Voyages 3 : Under (The Tale) Tale

undertale

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Tracey Tracey: “Undertale”! How can I sell you guys on one of the quirkiest, funniest, most surprising video game successes of our time! Do I even HAVE to sell it? If you don’t get what’s special about this gender-neutral journey through a magical underground where pacifism, neutrality, or genocide are yours to choose, then maybe you’re even more broken than Mettaton the Glam Robot. Programmer Toby Fox’s nearly-one-person show proves that you don’t need hundreds of cooks and millions of dollars to make a gaming experience for the ages.

SO a human child has fallen into the world below, and their way back to the surface (and yours!) involves interactions with memorable MONSTERS as diverse as the flip-flopping flower, Flowey; the skeletal brothers Papyrus and Sans; the bad-ass wonder warrior Undyne; the scientifically sapphic Alphys; and the maternal Toriel. It will take more than one playthrough for all the jokey details to sink, and you might find yourself wandering about your mundane, non-“Undertale” life days later, when an revelation strikes you: “TORIEL! As in TU-TORIAL! Genius!”

Cousin Franz Cousin Franz: The innovation goes beyond the cliche-defying, heart-engaging story. Every pixel explodes with charm and inventiveness. Every puzzle rewards and tickles the cerebellum. Every fight (or peaceful confrontation, if you so wish) becomes its own thrilling visit to the arcade. “Undertale” is the true spiritual sequel to the Super Nintendo’s funniest RPG 1994’s “Earthbound,” which remains a highly quotable masterpiece of subversion. “After all, it would only cost you your life, and you got THAT for free.”

earthbound

If Nietzsche was into gaming, I’d like to think he would have dug “Earthbound”… and “Undertale” by extension. Hilarious quotes in here too:

“Knock knock.”

“Who’s there?”

“Dishes.”

“Dishes who?”

“Dishes a very bad joke!”

sans

Grandpa Felicius Grandpa Felicius: Nietzsche did cherish a good knock knock joke. He once regaled me with this one:

“Knock knock.”

“Who’s there?”

“God.”

“Can’t be. You’re dead.”

friedrich_nietzsche_quote


Father Hank Hank: Cousin Franz, I see your “Earthbound,” a.k.a “Mother 2,” and I raise you the original, never-released-in-the-U.S. “Mother.” I spent the summer of 1990 home from college, hunched over a malfunctioning Famicom, painstakingly trying to translate a smuggled copy of “Mother” with my tattered Japanese-English dictionary. “Undertale” brought back fond memories of those epic days spent eating Hostess Ding Dongs and avoiding the threat of sunshine. What I’m trying to say is: “I’m very lucky babe let me date her.”

Beatricia Beatricia: You are, Hanky, you are. As for this game, while I can appreciate that the skeletons twins are called Papyrus and Sans, I feel that any game set in an underground world had better involve some spelunking, and “Undertale” disappoints on that regard. Fortunately, “Spelunky” is ALREADY a video game.

Trent Trent: Hahaha!!! There’s a villain called ASS GORE!!! Brilliant!!! Cherry!!!

undertale2

Grandpa Felicius Grandpa Felicius: The fact that the nascent field of video-gambling is already cannibalizing its own history by going “retro” fills me with disgust. Why, it was only a few months back that Steve Russell at MIT invited me to try out his new groundbreaking electronic diversion. My critical contribution? I recommended he change the original, much-too-fanciful title (“Two Disembodied Penises Fight to Fertilize an Egg Against the Black Backdrop of an Uncaring Universe”) to the snappier “SpaceWar!” Luckily for the video-gambling industry, he acquiesced.

spacewar

Beatricia Beatricia: Nope. That happened almost 60 years ago. If it ever happened at all.

Blurbarella Blurbarella: “Tell Me More– About Mettaton– The Glam Robot.– Is It Single?”

MettatonEX

4 out of 6 Cherries

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