Karakuri Babble is a daily column by the editors of i360.com, usually on topics tangentially related to anime and cosplay.

In the past we have endorsed many things; in the future we shall support many others.

ruminations on the plot of Espgaluda II.

I upgraded my iDevice a while back, and thereby gained the ability to play games by CAVE CO, LTD. (Yeah, I like the slightly stuffy formalism of the full name.)

Of course, the first one I got was Espgaluda II. I've been playing it quite a bit -- I'm something of a fan of the genre, and CAVE CO, LTD. are the acknowledged masters of the form. Their iDevice ports are also spot-on -- very impressive.

But this is the first chance I've had to see the story, and it's kind of shocking. To tell the truth, I'm not sure the player-character is the hero.

In the first game it was much clearer: you were one of a pair of siblings who acquired terrifying psychic powers as part of the evil emperor's weapons research. You escape, leaving behind a mountain of corpses, and live peacefully with your mother. Oh, and you left the planet a wasteland. In the backstory to the second game, everyone's pretty much just been trying to survive in the rubble of the first. Nice job breaking it, hero.

In the second game, it turns out the project continued, and they're still looking for you, so of course you go kill them all. Starting with the ten-year-old prince. In stage three you see his sister weeping over his corpse, and fight her to the death. She's eleven. The last boss is formed from their combined psychic remnants, driven to a last, desperate attack. (The in-game dialogue makes it pretty clear that they feel this option is suicide.) At the end of the game, you're kind of depressed about killing them (and your half-sister,) but as a consolation, you do have these immense psychic powers. (I'm paraphrasing slightly, but that's actually pretty close to how Ageha's ending plays out.)

To be sure, there are some other kids being used for weapons reseach, just as you were, and your antagonists don't seem like nice guys -- but I'm still not sure that you can be considered heroic in any sense of the term.

words from chris, 2012-05-17 03:05:01, los angeles

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