Deltarune Oct10

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Deltarune

By Max-Vader

Dog her like Mike Vick, I’ll make dyke bitch like dick
Right bitch? It took a minute just to write this

-Snoop Dogg

 

A lot of great artists of our time struggle with reaching the same heights that once made them as famous, to capture that elusive lightning in a bottle for a second time. Eminem actually seemed to pull it off through The Marshall Mathers LP 2 before falling off a Trump-shaped cliff via Revival and then spectacularly crashing and burning in a fireball of self-immolation with the aptly titled Kamikaze. All to often the thing that motivates creators to try and regain their past glory isn’t genuine inspiration, good ideas or that burning need to see their vision realized but rather just fear of losing their relevance, to being relegated to the dustbin of art and entertainment. The crowning irony is that their desperate struggle for another shot at the spotlight does nothing but speed up their decline and prove their obsolescence to everyone still in doubt about it.

All that said, Toby Fox obviously isn’t the same as Eminem. There are important differences between the indie game developer and the aging rapper – most notably, Eminem actually used to be good before starting to suck harder than a woman applying for a voice acting gig at Funimation. Not to mention according to Fox himself, Deltarune was planned for many years before Undertale was even a thing. Although he was never the most honest guy to begin with, so take that for whatever it’s worth.

Before we get into detail talking about this product of a fever dream (that’s not a joke, Fox actually cites this as his inspiration for Deltarune and oh my Lord does it explain a lot) I’d like to preface this by giving my opinion on Undertale and it’s creator both so everyone knows where I’m coming from, and that people who are fans of his games can grasp for it as an excuse to dismiss everything that follows. Toby Fox is an insipid, unfunny hack who couldn’t come up with an original idea if his life depended on it which is why he plagiarizes from anything and everything while brazenly lying about it and mocking the things he stole from. His ideas are unoriginal and poorly executed, his writing is shockingly incompetent pretentious tripe, his characters are annoying, hypocritical and unlikable and the gameplay is shallow and overly simplistic. He is a self-absorbed, arrogant idiot who bought into his own hype, a moron who is convinced he is a genius, perpetually impressed with his own imaginary cleverness. Everything he writes both in his games and outside of them oozes with condescension and idiotic attempts at seeming either cute or smart. I don’t know who has their head more up their own ass, him or the people who think these sub-par games are masterpieces.

So, Deltarune. I’d be lying if I said my experience with the game wasn’t at least somewhat entertaining, although that is only because I live-steamed it for the AO Discord with all the ensuing banter and jokes that entailed. The distraction they provided is also why I forgot to take screenshots of this game and there is no way in hell I’m replaying this thing in order to take some.

So I decided to replace the screenshots in this article with cropped Deltarune porn. If I’m miserable, everybody’s miserable. You’re welcome.

 

Well, chalk is pretty dry…

Shockingly, the game is already pretentious before you’ve even started playing it, because the installer reads “YOU ACCEPT EVERYTHING THAT WILL HAPPEN FROM NOW ON.” instead of the usual license agreement. After booting it up, you are greeted by a disembodied voice that is probably the easter egg pretending to be lore known as Gaster. You create a character that is immediately discarded once you’re done. “No one can choose who they are in this world.”, a new voice mockingly screeches at you before letting you play the actual main character, Kris. In case this incredibly subtle bit of writing went over your head, Fox is trying to hammer home the theme of this game: You have no choice and nothing you do, as the player, matters. It’s supposed to contrast with Undertale but is immediately ruined by virtue of the fact that “Cave Story for verified Twitter users” is the furthest thing from a fountain of player choice. I’d find it almost refreshing that Fox is being honest this time that your input regarding the story is not required if he wasn’t so goddamn pretentious about it.

Our protagonist Kris lives in the creatively named “Hometown” with his adoptive parents the Dreemurrs – yes, that means the goat monsters from Undertale. Kris himself is essentially what you get if you take the glorified jumpscare Chara, remove the only thing approaching a character trait from him – his homicidal insanity – and make him the main character. At least until the end of the game where he frees himself from your control by tearing his heart out (again, subtle) and pulls a knife from nowhere while grinning. He is sullen, speaks very little and has hair that covers the upper half of his face in shadow, bringing to mind the equally verbose and psychotic male leads of the kinds of anime that places like ResetERA like to pretend to be outraged by after furiously masturbating to them. This hilarious coincidence (or is it foreshadowing Fox actually managed to sneak by me?) is where I got the idea for this article’s colorful illustrations from. And I do mean colorful, because by contrast Deltarune itself is lazy as all get-out in the visual department. Colors are mostly drab or simply uninspired and tilesets range from acceptable to borderline non-existent. You feel like you’re playing a shitty romhack half the time, which I suppose is appropriate given Fox’s origins as a games developer. I would almost feel bad for how little he has actually progressed from his Earthbound Halloween Hack days, but as mentioned before he is so unlikable that any spark of sympathy I could muster is instantly extinguished.

 

All Cops are Black Sharks.

While I’m on the subject of the game’s presentation, let’s quickly go over the music. Even by the standards of Undertale fans who confuse a pile of songs that are all leitmotifs of each other for a proper soundtrack, Deltarune flounders. I have my issues with Undertale’s music, but at the very least some of the tracks were memorable, foremost among them being the incredibly overhyped Megalovania. (Although Fox doesn’t deserve any credit for that one, given that he stole it along with a ton of other things from Square Enix’s RPG classic Live-A-Live, a fact that he admitted to. For fuck’s sake, the song is even called Megalomania.) Deltarune, however, is so forgettable that I couldn’t name you a single song without having to look it up – with one exception. The theme called Don’t Forget that plays during the credits is unique in that it contains lyrics. It also distinguishes itself by being terrible rather than merely mediocre and quickly forgotten. You would think the guy that was one of the big contributors on Andrew Hussie’s music team would be able to at least churn out a decent song or two, but this time he either screwed up or was phoning it in even harder than usual.

The story goes like this: Kris the hentai protagonist goes to school. There, the player is treated to a classroom full of one-note characters, most of whom are irritating. Because he is late, he has to work on a class project with the other person that thinks being on time is something that happens to other people, resident school bully Susie. Your fat lesbian dinosaur teacher Alphys sends the two of you to hunt for spare chalk in the supply closet. As it turns out, Susie had pilfered the classroom’s supply and begins to eat it in front of Kris as soon as they are out the door. After threatening to bite his face off before not going through with it after all, Barney the Dinosaur’s edgy daughter drags him to the closet to find the chalk or maybe play seven minutes in heaven, whatever. Unfortunately for them, said closet turns out to be the portal to Narnia a world of darkness populated by playing card-themed enemies whose designs Toby Fox stole from from some guy’s Tumblr. (No joke.)

A few obstacles later, Kris and Susie meet Asriel Dreemurr Ralsei, who explains that the three of them are the “DELTA WARRIORS”, chosen by some ancient prophecy to bring balance to the force and save the world. Kris continues to be as bored as the player while Susie doesn’t give a damn and just wants to go home. Like a shitty DM’s railroading, this involves going along with the world-saving heroics anyway and sealing the second fountain of darkness that recently popped up. Apparently one is necessary so that the “Darkners” (We’re all adults here Toby, you can just call them Negroes) can keep their forms but this new one is threatening the balance between light and dark.

 

The gang’s all here. Also known as “The $!$? Squad” (canonically).

Ralsei gives you a tutorial, mirroring Flowey’s little spiel at the beginning of Undertale, even right down to him saying that in this world you don’t need to kill anyone. The gameplay is fairly bare-bones RPG fair, retaining the timed hits, items and unique actions for each opponent from Undertale while adding spells for the two non-human characters. It is still possible to end battles non-violently. Toby Fox being Toby Fox, he ended up shooting himself in the foot once again. Following the theme of “your choices don’t matter”, you are incapable of gaining experience as even beating the monsters will just cause them to flee. Aside from a very slightly altered ending there are zero consequences for being violent, so you literally have no reason to screw around with trying to spare anyone when beating the living shit out of them is more satisfying, faster and more efficient. Susie seems to agree, as you can’t even control her for the longest part of the game and she just hits enemies with her huge axe for massive damage. At one point you go through an area that has no enemies because she had already beaten them to a pulp before you got there.

Susie actually occupies a unique position for me regarding all of Toby Fox’s output: She is the first character he created that I can actually stand. Her attitude of solving fights with (shock, gasp) violence and unwillingness to play along with the other characters bullshit is positively endearing compared to entities such as Sans “I fucked your mom” Undertale, Chara the Killer and Asriel “check out my cool final boss DeviantArt OC” Dreemurr. She helps the local despot’s retarded son polish his Snidely Whiplash impression, which leads to him becoming friends with the group and her eventually mellowing out a bit. Oh well.

 

I like big axes.

 

Lancer, the retarded son of the King that I just spoke of, is the closest thing the game has to a villain for most of it. You encounter him constantly and every single interaction with him boils down to the same joke: He wants to be evil but is really, really bad at it. I could forgive that if the jokes were actually funny, but they aren’t. Humor is of course one of those wonderfully subjective things where people will never see eye to eye when they have a disagreement. If you don’t believe me, try convincing an unfunny person that they aren’t hilarious. In case you disagree with me, you can always repeat to yourself that this is just my personal opinion and pretend that makes it sting less. Either way, I found Deltarune to be about as funny as Mind of Mencia. To give you an example, there is a character in the final area who calls himself the Duke of Puzzles and wants to block your progress with them. He also has exactly one joke, unless you count butchering Old English as a joke (and I don’t). Are you ready for this one? He’s really bad at puzzles! The first one he gives you is a box-pushing puzzle where the box is right next to the switch! Then you confront him again and wait for it… this time the box is one space removed from the switch! Hilarious!

Fucking shoot me.

Finally, the party confronts the King on top of his castle. He then refuses to talk things out, begins strangling his own son and tries to throw him off the roof. The battle is at worst mildly annoying. If like me you’ve played the Touhou games (or any other SHMUP) before, you won’t die a single time playing this game. Supposedly the bonus boss is more difficult, but I couldn’t be bothered jumping through the hoops necessary to unlock him while I was streaming it. Once the King’s ass is sufficiently kicked, he pretends to surrender and see the light. Ralsei heals him, earning him and the rest of the party a one-sided beatdown as thanks. Depending on whether you were pacifist or not, his own subjects overthrow him or he gets put to sleep via a spell instead of justly being killed. Problem solved (?), fountain sealed, Kris and Susie go home and you faff about some more in the town, the end.

All in all, Deltarune is bad. Worse than Undertale, arguably. Granted, this is only the first chapter, but if that is any indication at all Toby Fox should have quit while he was ahead. One wonders why this game was even made to begin with. Did he really need another gold-plated yacht that bad? I guess it doesn’t really matter, I’m not going to buy any future installments.

Before I leave you, I have some advice for Toby Fox. Not meming or joking with this either. If you really want to continue with Deltarune, barring a sudden emergency talent transplant, here is my hot tip:

Just make it porn.

You’ve already got the market cornered with furries and a bunch of other people, the characters and writing are porn-tier anyway, and it’ll be more popular and a lot less pretentious. Plus, it’ll make you more money.

Anyway, that’s it. Have a nice day, everyone. I’ll see you in the next article, same Deltarune time, same Deltarune channel.

I guess what I was trying to say was: This game sucks harder than Susie does Kris behind the Fuddruckers.