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Video Game: Poacher
Poacher is a 2D side-scrolling Metroidvania made by Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw. In a departure from his previous titles, it is his first game not to use the AGS engine.

The game stars Derek Badger, an unflappable Yorkshireman who poaches game for a living. One night, whilst out blasting rabbits with his new shotgun, he is confronted by his best friend and arch-nemesis, Archibald the gamekeeper (aka "Gamey"). When Gamey accidentally falls down a hole, Derek goes down to help him out. He finds himself in a strange Underworld, inhabited by flesh-eating rabbits and spirit beings. After joining up with a spirit named Rebecca, it isn't long before Derek discovers himself involved in something far bigger than a simple rescue.

It can be downloaded for free here.

This game provides examples of:

  • Advancing Boss of Doom: The second form of The Judge turns into this periodically when it tires of attacking you from afar.
  • All There in the Script: Gamey's full name (Archibald Stodgeley) and most of the creatures' names are revealed in the good ending. Parodied in the Golden Ending, as read by Derek himself.
  • All The Worlds Are A Stage: The final stretch of the good ending, of the Memory Lane variety, partly justified because you're exiting the Abyss and heading back up to the surface, with the final boss fight occurring on the surface outside the manor. Also occurs for the secret ending, minus the final boss, who's already dead.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: An in-universe example with Derek, due to interactions with The Judge. Derek/the player's early game behaviour is brought up near the end, with his behaviour regarding the white rabbits, zombie Bleminegs, and fighting Gamey the first time being commented by him. This also lets Derek's comment about just wanting to walk around with his twelve-gauge at the beginning of the game be either Blatant Lies or the truth.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The second form of The Judge is essentially a giant mouth. One of its teeth is suspiciously a different colour, and it's what you have to hit to damage it.
  • Background Boss: The second form of The Judge, though it will periodically try to attack you directly.
  • Badass: Derek. Dear God, Derek. An unflappable Yorkshireman with a shotgun, he starts off badass before he even compacts with Rebecca. Speaking of whom, Rebecca certainly developed her badassery by tagging along with Derek, and together, they're virtually unstoppable.
  • Badass Boast: An awesome one provided by The Judge before you fight him.
    The Judge: You had the audacity to ask me who I am. The Egyptians called me 'Anubis'. The Greeks, 'Minos'. They thought naming me would help them comprehend me. I am the Judge. The Judge Of All The Earth. I have performed my function for a million generations. And I will NOT be made a mere PAWN of PROPHECY!
  • Big Bad: The Dark Ones, lead by the Dark Lord. You kill the latter in all three endings. In the bad ending, this only gives the Dark Ones an excuse to wage all-out war. In the Good ending, killing the Dark Lord is entirely justified, because they were never planning to hold their end of the bargain in the first place, and attacked the surface world. In the Judgment ending, killing the Judge ends all evil and suffering; as the Dark Ones - including the Dark Lord - are beings of evil energy, they all die as a result.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: The Crystal Tombs. Even the Dark Ones are terrified of the place, and with good reason.
  • Blackout Basement: The Crystal Tombs are completely dark; you can create a small light around yourself, but doing so may disturb the Dead Men patrolling the area.
  • Body Horror: The things in the Crystal Tombs. Yahtzee once again proves that while he isn't the most amazing pixel artist, he can still pull off some very creepy things with pixels.
  • British Accents: Derek has a very thick Yorkshire accent that Rebecca initially finds incomprehensible. As it happens, the Blemineg have the same kind of accent, forcing Rebecca to use Derek's brain as a translator. Played for laughs, a good deal of the time. Yahtzee, being British, would know a thing or two about his home country's accents.
  • Butt Monkey: Gamey. Falling down a hole, he then gets chased by evil rabbits in the background when Derek is first exploring the caves. In a later scene, Derek can either ignore him or outright shoot him. In the Bad ending, Gamey is stuck with Magnus and never gets to go home.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Only in one boss fight, mostly because otherwise it wouldn't be much of a challenge: Gamey and Magnus use two abilities you can buy in the shop, abilities that the player can't use simultaneously. Plus, an attack that Derek and Rebecca can't use at all.
  • Decapitated Army: Subverted in the bad ending. The Dark Ones are not a hive mind — attempting to decapitate them by killing the Dark Lord only gives them a martyr and an excuse to wage another war. Played straight in the good ending, however. The Judgment ending turns it Up to Eleven: killing the Judge eradicates all forces of evil and negativity in the world, including the Dark Ones.
  • Devil but No God / God Is Evil: Depending on your interpretation of The Judge.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Well, the Dark Ones count, for starters... And then you have The Judge, who is effectively the closest known thing to a god in this game. He's even the closest thing there is to a narrator for most of the game.
  • Evil Poacher: Averted. Derek doesn't hunt any endangered species, as far as the player is aware, and he only does it to get by. In fact, he's a very nice and rather empathetic bloke who is more than willing to lend a hand to others in need. The Judge attempts to accuse him of being one of these, but depending on if you killed the white rabbits in the beginning or not, this backfires.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Dark Ones have practically become a whole race of these by this point. The Judge outright states that humans have tried and failed to comprehend him, though unlike most beings of his ilk, he can communicate on an equal level with lesser beings, and is even capable of things such as anger and pride. Turns out killing him gets rid of all the negativity in the world.
    • The Dead Men in the Crystal Tombs are probably some form of this as well.
  • Functional Magic: Rebecca and the badges you can buy.
  • Hair-Raising Hare: The Bargests, rabbits taller than Derek.
  • Heart Container: Black puddings.
  • Hostile Show Takeover: Subverted in the good ending; played straight in the secret ending. The "narrator" (the one who explains new power-ups to you, etc.) is actually the Judge, a deity who rules the Abyss. In both endings, Derek openly defies his narration, but in the good one he just escapes the Abyss with Rebecca and leaves the Judge to present the end credits. In the secret ending, Derek kills the Judge and (hilariously) presents the end credits himself.
  • Gag Sub: In the secret ending, Derek does the credits, mainly because, well, you killed the closest thing this game has to a narrator. As a result, the new credits are hilarious.
  • Go for the Eye: The weak point of the Bargest. Also the weak point of the first form of The Judge - you shoot out his eyes with the shotgun, and he spends the rest of the fight bleeding from his eye sockets.
  • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: Most of the bosses. Averted by the Judge.
  • Immune to Bullets: A couple of enemies can't be hurt with bullets, but can be destroyed with spirit grenades. The hostile flowers can be disabled for a short time via bullets, but they can be destroyed by spirit grenades as well.
  • Jump Physics: Like many platformers of its ilk, though Derek does start off with a rather realistic jumping height.
  • Jungle Japes: The jungle.
  • Just a Kid: Rebecca is treated like this by Magnus. She doesn't like it.
  • Kaizo Trap: At least some bosses can injure/kill you during their death animations.
  • MacGuffin: The Blemineg artifacts. Refreshingly, they can be acquired in any order. (Though admittedly, you'll have a hard time of it if you go for the sunken ruins first, since you'll be unable to shoot underwater.) They don't actually do anything - Derek and Rebecca are powering up by themselves for the most part. This is even lampshaded by the fact that they're kettles.
  • Mirror Match: Gamey and Magnus, with an added dose of The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard.
  • Mission Control Is Off Its Meds: In the Abyss, the narrator is revealed to be the Judge, the god of the afterlife and the source of all negativity, who judges both Derek and Rebecca. Derek begins defying the Judge's narration when it directs him to leave the Abyss without Rebecca, but whether he kills the Judge or simply rescues Rebecca and escapes depends on whether you've unlocked the Golden Ending.
  • Money for Nothing: Farming for gold is, most of the time, entirely unnecessary, especially if you know where to find chests. By the end of the game, you will likely have at least a few thousand gold left over after buying everything from the shop.
  • Multiple Endings: Mainly depending on a few factors. You need to hear the whole backstory in order to get the Good ending - the player will be outright alerted that facing the Dark Lord without doing so may be a bad idea. There is also a secret ending that is acquired by defeating The Judge.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Rebecca has this reaction when she realizes that she broke the treaty in ignorance.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Early in the game, to reach the Spirit Kingdom you must find a power-up in order to destroy a Spyrite barrier inconveniently blocking the way. Later, after making it to the Spirit King, the Kingdom is suddenly invaded by the Dark Ones, thanks to someone destroying the barrier. Oops!!
  • Noob Cave: The Burrow.
  • Nothing Is Scarier:
    • The Dead Men in the Crystal Tombs are invincible and will attack you on sight with an unavoidable stream of energy, complete with a blood-curdling scream. They can't hurt you by touch, however, if they can't see you. Problem is, the area they inhabit is pitch-black, and you only have Rebecca as a tiny light source that you have to switch on and off to avoid detection. In the darkness, you can only see their eyes. When you're in the right position so you CAN see them without getting hurt... They are still not all all pleasant to look at.
    • Most of the fight with The Judge has him mostly covered in darkness, only certain parts of his body lit up at a time. All you can tell is that his head is somewhat humanoid in shape, and he has two yellow eyes... That don't last very long.
  • Not Your Problem: The Judge tries to dissuade Derek from going after Rebecca in the Abyss, since she's the one being judged, not him. Derek, being the good-natured sort, disagrees.
  • One-Hit Kill: Colliding with the wall of father illusions in the Abyss or the second form of The Judge has this effect. So does falling off the arena, for that matter.
  • Platform Battle: The second and third forms of The Judge.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Rebecca noted that she wasn't really close with her father, partly because her father didn't want to educate her like he did with Magnus, but rather, keep her innocent. Derek notes that keeping Rebecca ignorant of the consequences of a Compact was a very stupid idea.
  • The Reveal: The ending of the game (Golden Ending, to be precise) states that Derek's wife is Gamey's sister.
  • Say My Name: The Judge when his second and third forms appear, and when he dies. (Interestingly, this is the only voice-acted line in the game; it's Yahtzee's voice with reverb and a shifted pitch.)
    The Judge: BADGER.
  • Screw Destiny: The Judge is prophesied to be killed by Derek. However, instead of simply letting him and Rebecca escape, like in the Good ending, he tries to kill Derek personally...
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: ...except this gets him killed, as prophesied. Whoops.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge
    • Minimalist Run: As of Version 1.1, there's an achievement for beating the game with only the starting three health.
    • Pacifist Run: Sort of. Killing any of the Zombie Bleminegs or shooting Gamey at the Lidenbrock Sea locks you out of the Golden Ending.
  • Sequence Breaking: It is possible to skip the entire descending elevator sequence; the only thing needed is for the player to lose one hit point, thanks to a glitch.
  • Sequential Boss: The Bonus Boss.
  • Short Range Shotgun: Averted, so very much.
  • Shout-Out: The last part of The Judge's third form's background music sounds like Zero Punctuation's theme tune.
  • Skippable Boss: The first time you "fight" Gamey. He'll go down in one shotgun blast, but you can actually run away from the fight, and he can't jump in order to follow you. This is necessary in order to achieve the secret ending.
  • Spot of Tea: At several points you meet an old Blemineg lady, who gives Derek the option to stop for a cup of tea, and getting some exposition on the backstory.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss:
    • Theridius, the giant spider, has one attack that can potentially leave it exposed, but it won't use it unless the blocks below it are solid. Exposing its weak point requires you to take the blocks out from under it after it starts the attack, but before it hits the blocks.
    • The second form of The Judge cannot be harmed unless he decides to attack you directly, which he will always do, even when he's in critical health and could easily whittle you down with ranged attacks instead. (In fairness, however, it is a very effective attack.)
  • True Final Boss: The Judge. With Ballos levels of difficulty. Good luck.
  • Turns Red: Every boss in the game gets harder as it takes damage - some get faster, some start spawning Mooks, and others improve their attacks. The first form of the Judge takes this literally; his eyes gradually turn from yellow to red as they take damage, and when one of them pops, it stops being used as a position for his "gun", which makes it much harder to reach the other one.
  • Under the Sea/Palmtree Panic: The Lidenbrock Sea.
  • Unfazed Everyman: Derek.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: When the King takes the floor out from under you, if you quickly go back the way you came, you can make the jump back to solid ground without being dumped into the Abyss. If you leave the room before falling in, the floor will come back, but the King will be gone. You have to fall in to progress, and you can't destroy the floor yourself.
  • The Unintelligible: The Blemineg and, to a lesser extent, Derek, at least to Rebecca.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Derek and Gamey, by far. Half the time they're enemies, the other half of the time they're very good mates. Turns out they're brothers-in-law.
  • Wall Jump: An unlockable ability.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Played straight and subverted. Rebecca eventually realizes that the entire conflict is her fault, because she entered a Compact with Derek, which her brother and the King call her out on. If you kill the Dark Lord without getting the whole story, the King will call her out on it and banish her. The Judge also attempts this on Derek, but depending on your actions, it blows up in his face, so to speak, and even causes a Villainous Breakdown.
    • Played straight with Gamey if you shoot him the first time you fight him.
      Gamey: You SHOT me... with a SHOTGUN!
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Seems to be an ongoing theme in Yahtzee's works. The Judge is not amused when he realizes that a prophecy that results in his death is coming to pass, and attempts to kill Derek personally... But instead, he ends up getting killed instead. This directly contrasts him with a certain other powerful entity...
  • You Didn't Ask: The reason why Rebecca doesn't give Derek the ability to breathe underwater from the get go. She needs to be reminded that humans need air.

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