June 6, 2019 at 11:38 am #15486
So, to be clear on what this is: I was playing through Pirate’s Curse today and getting… frustrated. This brought me back to a problem I’ve had with the games so far that they ooze personality and charm… but man do I wish they were in a genre that played better to their strengths of writing and illustrations more than a platformer does. As such, this is my story pitch of a Shantae RPG: Shantae and the Dungeon of Dreams.
The game starts with Shantae clearing out junk from her uncle’s workshop and stumbling upon a note that was addressed to him a long time ago to search for the Dungeon of Dreams. It claims to even have a lead on this famed dungeon. After all, it’s the one everyone has heard about as being able to grant any wish. To hold anything and everything one could desire. To have so much power you could conquer the world with your pinkie. And her uncle, the famous dungeoneer, seems to have turned it down.
Cue Shantae talking to her Uncle about it and the Uncle saying that he had actually tried back when he first got it, but it’s a fool’s journey. It’s too hard, too long, and the likelihood of it actually existing are next to none. Bolo walks in during all of this, asks for a clarification, Shantae explains in a huff because she can’t believe any dungeon could best her uncle, and Bolo immediately gets excited at the prospect of it. The two start talking, the Uncle forbids it, and the two teenagers get all the more excited. They go recruit Sky, who is all too happy to join in for her own dreams, and there is your starting party!
So comes the first dungeon, you beat it up nice and good, there are some jokes had at RPG concepts and overall keeping the tone light. Once they get to the end though, they do indeed find a clue, as well as confirmation, theoretically, that this place indeed exists. The clue is to another island, and there is a man in the dungeon, shrouded in shadows. He awakens as the seal of the chamber is broken, party wipes you all like any good big bad in an RPG while you’re at level 5, and takes off, claiming that he’ll find a way to get his powers back at the Dungeon of Dreams.
The party gets back and talk to Uncle, who changes his mind at the news and says that he is indeed going to join them. He has been on the sidelines too much, and these kids need a mentor to keep them in line. Someone who knows what they’re doing!
Move on to the next island… But wait, OH NO! It’s Risky Boots. She does a skirmish with Shantae with her Tinker Bats before remarking that Shantae is acting strange (due to not doing platforming fighting) and gets the info out of them that they’re looking for the Dungeon of Dreams. She pauses at that before saying if she can join. When asked what she wants, she merely replies: “To steal the dreams of every fool on this planet of course!” Shantae isn’t about to turn down help right now, especially if her Tinker Bats can try to harass the shadowed figure and give them a place to rest outside of Scuttle Town.
That gives us five, and it’s at the end of this second dungeon that we meet party member six: Rottytops. She’s in the boss room, swinging her legs as she plays on the net before stopping as she sees everyone… and then sighs as she gets ready to fight. And she doesn’t join after the fight, but instead goes to the shadowed man. When asked why she is going with him, she refuses to say.
This is the plot of act one and part of act two theoretically. All the way to the midboss Shantae and the gang are growing closer, hunting down clues, and trying to figure out why Rottytops is working with their enemy. Then, the SQUID BARON! But of course! He’s born to be a midboss, and even in the new format, he can be the mid boss! Beat him up and he actually even mentions this, thanking Shantae for giving him his dream… Which tells the shrouded figure that when Rotty said the Squid Baron was their best bet, it was a lie.
So part two of the fight starts as a cage is dropped, and the shrouded figure shouts that if the thing inside does not rid him of his enemies, he will personally destroy Rottytops, who he grabs by the throat and lifts into the air. The creature within grumbles, “Rot….Ty….” Before tearing its way out and hefting it up onto its shoulder to use as a weapon.
And to reveal that it’s in fact the one zombie brother we haven’t seen yet (as Poe acts as the figure’s mechanic) Abner. He isn’t looking too good as part of him has changed to purple, one hand is now clawed, and noxious fumes escape his lips with every breath. He is rotting away, becoming nothing more than any other zombie that Shantae beats up that rises from the grave. Well, and one that is a seriously difficult boss who pushes the party to their limit, but is beatable. Once that happens, Shantae apologizes for having to do this, runs at him, whips her hair back, Rotty yells no, and Shantae strikes Rotty instead. Abner goes to Rotty to check on her, roars, and then charges at the party, who now use his original cage to slam it down on him and stop him peacefully.
Poe tries to go, but the shrouded figure says he’ll fire his cannons from the airship he’s using if Poe goes, but he’ll spare the pawns now if he stays. He agrees and leaves, and we get the first confession of what a character wants from the Dungeon, which outlines the character stuff going on while the hunt for the figure comes closer and closer to an end and they get closer to the Dungeon. Rotty wasn’t looking for brains, but instead looking for a cure. Something that could make it so that her family never wanted, or, more importantly, needed to eat brains ever again. She also says she didn’t work with them because the figure told her that, at best, it could grant two wishes, so by the end they would need to decide whose would be fulfilled.
So, since that’s much of the real plot of the rest of the game, let’s go into those dreams:
Shantae: To see her mother again. Simple and classic for her, and I’m sorry if it’s incongruent with Half Genie Hero. I haven’t had the budget to play it.
Sky: She claims its for the ultimate egg ever, but that’s only half true. What she really wants is the nest that would come with it: The Roc’s Nest. A nest that would make any egg or bird that rested in it be blessed by the Roc, which would make them survive all the way to the end of most human’s lifespans and, well, Sky knows that Wrench isn’t going to live forever and she wants to not have to say goodbye to her friend. Probably stopped by others sharing tales of strength they’ve gained from losing loved ones, or how it’s not right to possibly harm Wrench with whatever consequences may come from such an item or gift.
Bolo: Claims to want a stable joke, almost as a joke, but his real desire is to have the courage and the traits needed to not only ask the girl he loves (Up to the creators who that may be, though a canonical character would be best for this) to marry him, but also to get told yes. The Uncle would tell him tales of his brother courting a genie and all that took, and encourage him to just go ask the girl, which could even lead to rejection if so desired.
Risky: Yeah, she genuinely meant what she said. She has already had a big story dedicated to her, she’s just here to be a pirate. As such, what better steal than one of the only wishes in the Dungeon of Dreams? Besides, she could use some time away from her Tinker Bats.
Mimic: Claims to want nothing. However, his isn’t so much something it can give. After all, he would rather the place be gone, permanently. After all, it is one of the worst fates he has seen for Dungeon Delvers. If you die early doing it, than your life was wasted. If you spent your whole life looking and found nothing, your life was wasted. He would rather it just be gone, for good.
Anyways, back to the main plot: It would start getting hinted after Rotty joins that the Dungeon of Dreams may actually contain a dark genie of some sort. No, not a half genie or a genie devouring device. A full fledged, evil genie. At the Dungeon, it is revealed that the shrouded figure was actually the evil genie, attempting to claim his powers. He gets to the entrance to the treasure first, throws it open, and…
There’s a photo in the middle of it of Shantae’s mom and her dad, with the back saying, “We know you probably miss us Mimic, but we hope we gave you one last, good dungeon dive on us. Sorry we couldn’t scrape together something more valuable.”
Uncle starts going on about how there’s nothing more valuable before the big bad LOSES HIS **** and goes into the final boss fight, claiming he’ll settle for killing all of them. One multi-form boss fight later (likely due to transformations he takes on) and Rotty comes in, asking if there’s anything else. The final boss, sitting there, beat and dejected, sighs and raises a hand, draining his evil magic from Abner so that he can be himself again, and explains that there never was such a thing as rotting. He just needed a minion and saw an opportunity. With that fixed, and forgiveness given to the depowered genie, the gang leave, ready to celebrate back at Scuttle island, each with some version of their dream fulfilled, such as Sky getting an egg of Wrench’s next hatchling, Bolo getting a kiss on the cheek from the girl he likes, Risky claiming she took the actual treasure before anyone got in there and they’ll never find it, and Gizmo and Shantae putting up a blown up picture of their brother and mother respectively up at their place.
So, what do you all think? I know I’m missing some specifics, but these are the broadstrokes of what I would possibly pitch for a Shantae RPG plotline. It still keeps to a Shantae sort of story structure, but with a bit more forward momentum, and never needing to break into other game styles that just make my eye twitch. It allows for the characters to be as charming as they ever have been, to get fleshed out, and for some real emotional twists too. At least, to me, and I’d love to hear all of yours thoughts.
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