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Video Game: Vexx
The fate of Astara rests in his hands.
Vexx is an obscure action-platformer that was released in 2003 for the PS2, Gamecube, and Xbox. The game combined run of the mill platforming with with some offbeat powerups and a combo fighting system. While the gameplay was nothing special, the art design and look of the game were truly outstanding, featuring ridiculous amounts of Scenery Porn.

The "plot" of the game, such as it was, was about the world of Astara, which is currently experiencing the effects of After the End. The planet's original inhabitants developed interdimensional technology, and promptly opened a portal that released demonic hordes into their realm. Seven hundred years later, the Astani are gone, and the inhabitable chunks of Astara are populated by little elf/werewolf/pointy eared critters, one of which is our eponymous hero. One day these creatures are attacked by one of the aforementioned demons and his underlings, and forced into slavery. Our hero attempts to fight back, only to have the full wrath of the demon lord, named Dark Yabu, turned on him. Vexx's grandfather Vargas attacks Yabu in turn to gain his attention, sacrificing himself to save his grandson.

That night, Vexx sneaks onboard Dark Yabu's airship and finds the magical Astani war talons, big clawed gauntlets that promptly fuse themselves to Vexx's hands and blow up the airship.

Vexx awakens in the land of Timberdale, and he is told by a wizened old coot named Darby that he must collect Wraithearts, the undead hearts of defeated demon lords, to power the ancient Astani portal system and ultimately open a portal to Dark Yabu's fortress and defeat him.


This work provides examples of:

  • After the End: Astara has basically been reduced to an asteroid field. All the worlds you visit feature floating rocks in the sky.
  • All There in the Manual: The eighth heart in "The Below" requires a three-button sequence to open a chest. If you happened to take a look in the game manual, it gives that combination to you outright.
  • An Axe to Grind: Yabu's Guard. The manual even uses the trope name when describing them.
  • Backtracking: Sand Castle requires you to go back to Timberdale in order to get a Wraitheart in Dragonreach.
  • Band Land: The mini-level inside the piano in Tempest Peak Manor.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Justified considering the tech they had available at that time. Some entrances to other parts of every level are unbelievably small.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Guess what happens if you get every wraithheart, journal entry and beat the game: NOTHING!
  • Bubblegloop Swamp: The Neverglades.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: It's implied that the Astani War Talons are these. However, Vexx never feels the need to try taking them off, so we don't know for sure.
  • Crosshair Aware
  • Darker and Edgier: Seems to be what the game is going for, what with the decidedly creepy enemy design and the fact that you're collecting floating disembodied hearts.
    • Which also counts as a subversion of the traditional hearts powerup in platformers and adventure games - not quite as cutesy and inoffensive, when it's rendered in this much detail, eh?
  • Death Mountain: Both Dragonreach and the later "Temple" level, which uses the same visual style and assets as the former.
  • Double X
  • Downer Ending: Unable to get back through the portal, Vexx throws the staff through, successfully closing the rift and thus saving Astara, but also trapping himself in the shadow realm. He is last seen roaming the desolate, wraith-infested lands.
  • Empathic Weapon: The Astani War Talons, sort of. They talk to you during the game's tutorial, but once that's over, they shut up for the remainder of the game.
  • Empty Room Psych/Missing Secret: In one area of the ring of land surrounding the main bubble in The Under, there's a strange pipe that hangs above you. You can wall jump a little ways into it, but usually, you'll just fall. There's nothing up there, you.
  • Enemy Without: The minigames that pit you against your "inner demons."
  • Evil Plan: Darby is actually Big Bad Dark Yabu in disguise, and Vexx has actually been helping him by collecting Wraithearts, opening portals to other worlds so HE can access them and take them over. Might also qualify as Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.
  • Flipping the Bird: Very rarely, instead of striking a Bring It pose just before the final fight with Yabu, Vexx will do this instead.
  • Flunky Boss: Dark Yabu's first phase.
  • Fly-at-the-Camera Ending: Vexx punches the camera (presumably a shadow wraith) in the face at the end, leaving us with just the title logo.
  • Forced Tutorial / Justified Tutorial: In a dream sequence at the start of the game, where the Astani War Talons themselves teach Vexx how to do various moves.
  • Foreshadowing: Darby inadvertently hints this when he warns Vexx, "Be careful! Wraiths are shape changers. Trust no one along your journey!"
  • Giant Spider: Dark Yabu's second phase.
  • Groin Attack: Getting one of the Soul Jars in the fifth world requires you to give one good uppercut in the crotch of a strange goblin holding it out of your reach.
  • Ground Pound: Rather than smashing into the ground himself, Vexx fires a blast of energy directly below him instead.
  • Guide Dang It: The Sand Castle Wraitheart. Honestly, who would figure out how to get there without a guide?
  • Heroic Mime: Vexx. He has a voice (he growls, grunts, and yells throughout cutscenes and gameplay), but he never actually talks.
  • 100% Completion: Getting every Wraitheart in the game, which will take your soul.
  • Interface Screw: One of the earliest Wraithearts in The Under requires you to do a simple platform jumping puzzle... while the screen is upside down. Woah... gettin' dizzy...
  • In-Universe Game Clock: The game cycles from day to night, though you only really see this when outside. At night, the enemies get stronger. You can also change the time of day using a sundial, and putting it at the right time unlocks a sundial portal, which you can use to get a Wraitheart.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: Rex in Tempest Peak Manor. The manual even says "if you think you can defeat him, here's a hint: you can't."
  • Jerkass: One of the Soul Jars in The Below is being held by some strange creature, who will hold it out of reach and laugh at you if you try to grab it. The only way to get him to drop it is to hit him in the crotch.
  • Kamehame Hadoken: Talon Blasts, which are only available when the Charged Talons have been activated.
  • Last of His Kind: Reia, and probably Vexx.
  • Law of 100: The Wraitheart shards, which, as you might have guessed, give you a Wraitheart when you collect 100 of them. You have to do this in every world.
  • Limit Break: The Charged Talons, which has a meter you fill by pounding the crap out of enemies.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: Each song for the inner-demon minigames is longer than the 30 second round limit.
    • There's a hidden song in one challenge on Citadel of Shadows that's almost 4 minutes long, but it only takes about a minute at most to get the wraithheart.
  • Lost Woods: Subverted. You'd think Timberdale would be a forest world, but there are suprisingly few trees, aside from the huge one that serves as the level's centerpiece.
  • Macro Zone: Tempest Peak Manor. It's explicitly stated to be the inside of a giant's house.
  • Magma Man: The Rock Suit.
  • Mini-Game: The fact that the minigames pit you against three other Vexxes kind of suggests that maybe the game featured multiplayer at some point in development. Shame it never made it to the final product...
  • Mirror Match: The minigames have you competing against three other Vexxes, described as being your "inner demons".
  • Nintendo Hard: Like you would not BELIEVE. Anyone who got 100% on this game without breaking at least one controller is a gaming god.
  • The Obi-Wan: Darby is this for about two seconds at the beginning of the game, until he disappears.
  • Obvious Beta: Well, sort of. The gameplay and controls themselves are just fine, and just about everything works exactly the way you'd want it to. However, there are hints here and there of a completely epic story, which the developers just plain ran out of time to complete. (Not unlikely, since Acclaim was on its last legs while this was being made.) So while gameplay-wise, it's not "Beta" at all, the way the story just kind of... drops off after a point makes you wonder...
    • Perhaps the most obvious part of this is the mysterious floating tower visible in the background of every level (except for the ones taking place entirely indoors.) It never comes into the play in the game, while one of the trailers show Vexx running around on the island it's sitting on, hinting that the player was supposed to get there eventually.
  • Offscreen Start Bonus: While most of the stages have their entry and exit portals plopped in a corner, The Neverglades has an extra little area with some lives and the entrance to a Wraithheart chamber hidden behind its gateway.
  • Oxygenated Underwater Bubbles: There are bubbles in The Below (and a side-area in Dragonreach) that refill your air. Vexx can hold his breath a long time without them, though.
  • Platform Hell: Yeah.
  • Playing Tennis with the Boss: Dark Yabu's third stage.
  • Proud Warrior Race / Proud Scholar Race: With what little is revealed of the Astani, they are hinted to be something like this.
  • Recurring Boss: Sumo Guy.
  • Ribcage Ridge: Dragonreach, in which a good portion of the level is spent clambering over the eponymous dinosaur's bones.
  • Ring Out Boss: Again, Sumo Guy.
  • Scare Chord: Happens in the night themes of the main parts of each world at sporadic times due to a Variable Mix.
  • Scenery Porn: Like nobody's business.
  • Scrapbook Story: Backstory is provided by finding fragments of Reia's journal, floating around the world.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Done once in the Hydro-Charger of The Below, where a hint node reads spouts a bunch of borderline Techno Babble before finally saying "In other words, find the button to turn off the beam."
  • Shattered World: Astara
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Frostblight Mill, which makes one wonder who would build a windmill in a desolate icy wasteland.
  • Shockwave Stomp: Vexx's Ground Pound, and also a charged move in one of his Combos.
  • Shout-Out
    If you play it clean
    Despite your lack of size
    You'll break out of the screen
  • Smashing Survival: Wiggling the joystick left and right will allow you to break free from the Hobbletrods' electric leashes. The game even indicates on screen that you should do this.
  • Subtitles Are Superfluous: Which makes you wish Reia would talk louder, particularly in the opening.
  • Temple of Doom: This game loves this trope. Most of the worlds have a temple-esque structure to explore, ranging from actual temples to abandoned mills, to ancient factories. Some of the worlds give up the pretext entirely and just have the world BE the temple.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Vexx
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Enemies aren't destroyed until they hit the ground, meaning you can beat the ever-living crap out of them for as long as you want if you can just keep them in the air while you do so. The game actually encourages you to do this, as it helps charge up your War Talons for their Limit Break.
  • Wall Jump: It's there. What else needs to be said?
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In The Neverglades, there's a special cloud that completely fills your combo meter and allows you to access your "special" form, mostly so you can shoot energy blasts for a puzzle. However, after said puzzle is complete, the "energy cloud" completely disappears. There's also only one area with a minimap, and as to why it would get one, it's not completely clear.
  • Wolverine Claws: The Astani War Claws allow Vexx to produce these to various degrees, depending on the situation.

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alternative title(s): Vexx
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