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Video Game / Assassin Blue

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The titular assassin keeps running below the menu screen.

Assassin Blue is a freeware story-heavy platformer created by Wishes Unlimited founder Greg Lobanov ("Banov") in 2009. Besides pure platforming, it has an added focus on swordfighting, which allows you to block and break enemy guard in addition to attacking, as well to eventually unlock combo attacks.

The story takes you to a war-torn world, where the titular assassin, who is only known by his codename, lost his family as collateral damage was 14. He now serves a shadowy leader he only knows as boss, who uses him to eliminate the leaders of all opposition. Blue justifies the dozens of deaths on his hands by believing that each one brings the war closer to an end, and therefore saves more lives in the long run. However, he can't lie to himself forever, and his orders keep nagging at the back of his mind more and more as the story goes on.

This game provides examples of:

  • An Arm and a Leg: After wounded Red attempts to stab Blue in the back, he cuts his arm off, and promises to take another if he ever hears of him again.
  • Action Commands: These appear during every boss battle, usually in two series: one halfway through, after which the boss will ente
  • Aloof Big Brother: Red is this to Blue.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: There are mid-boss checkpoints.
  • Artifact Mook: While most of the Boss Castle level is dominated by the elite samurai guards, you'll eventually stumble across both the forest denizen enemies from the previous levels, and even former President Riley's guards from the very start. It's implied that they joined your boss' side after he took over their territory, following your assassination of their leaders.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: The first boss is the president of an unnamed country and is much tougher than the guards you fight on the way to him. He does say that he has been training for this battle ever since he assumed command (which was five weeks ago), because he knew an assassination attempt was inevitable after the same fate befell both of his predecessors.
    • Averted with an unnamed senator, who runs and gets killed offscreen by Red, with you only stumbling across his body, and Blue and Red's boss, who simply kneels down when you finally corner him, knowing that he can't outfight you.
  • Badass Cape: Blue wears a red one to contrast the rest of his clothing. He gets called out on this by Red.
  • Big Bad: Your boss, who forces his assassins to kill and intimidate rival territory's politicians to expand his own.
  • Boss-Arena Idiocy: Tomb Guardian is invulnerable unless you flip the switch on the top of his head, sending him crashing down to the ground and letting you wail on him for a while before he is able to get back up. Thankfully, his arena lets you climb on both the walls and the ceiling.
  • Boss Rush: An unlockable feature.
  • But Thou Must!: Your boss simply kneels down when you finally confront him, aware that he can't defeat you. In theory, nothing stops you from moving on...besides the two invisible walls in front of and behind you, which ensure you have to kill him to advance.
  • Charged Attack: The combos are about first simply attacking with X once, twice or three times, and then holding down C for the actual combo finisher.
  • Combo: You can buy additional ones in the bonus shop.
  • Concussion Frags: Grenades thrown by one "green enemy" type and Gunther have a tiny explosion radius.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The "battle" with your boss is this: the room it is in is completely dark, and both of you are reduced to silhouettes. The only exception is the pure white light coming through the enormous window running along the wall.
  • Doomed Hometown: Blue's motivation for vowing to end the war at all costs.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: An unusual example, where Red is entirely loyal to his boss, to the point of fighting Blue for killing him but since this is a game about assassination and not the politicians who employ them, all we ever see of Blue and Red's boss' talents is his ability to send them to kill whichever targets are in his way.
  • Dragon Their Feet: Red, who shows up right as Blue strikes the final blow on their boss. Granted, that was boss' own fault, who sent Red away to kill Blue, not realizing that Blue is not going to lay low like his other targets, and is already about to storm the castle and kill him.
  • Dual Wielding: Red fights with two swords.
  • Elite Mooks: The Samurai-trained guards on the final level have similar health to Blue, attack quickly, and often have unique attacks as well, be it a Spin Attack or a Shockwave Stomp. The ones who guard are still vulnerable after a guard break, but they'll recover very quickly from it as well.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Both played straight and subverted, by Blue and Red, respectively.
  • Evolving Attack: Shockwave Stomp of President Riley, various Eye Beams of the Tomb Guardian, and the sword charge of Red all add extra phases halfway through the battle.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Your boss ultimately does this. After realizing he can't outrun Blue, he simply kneels on the floor and lets Blue cut him down, which takes a while because he still has boss-sized health. Perhaps he hoped that Blue would show mercy to an unarmed opponent, but he was either too late, or too early, given that Blue refuses to kill again afterwards.
    • Red also does this once you finally defeat him, even asking Blue why he hasn't killed him yet. However, Blue refuses to kill him, and settles on cutting his arm off after Red still attempts to backstab him.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: The setting appears to be advanced enough to have invented grenades, and to have a political system with presidents and senators who wear modern-style suits with ties, yet nobody uses guns.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Subverted with the grenades thrown by one enemy type: those grenades will not hurt them if they themselves drop them at their feet, but they will kill them if you knock them right back at them. Moreover, their grenades will always kill any unfortunate allies who happened to be near.
  • Grenade Hot Potato: There are grenade-wielding enemies in the forest and tomb levels. Some of them are on the ledges, and can only be defeated by deflecting their grenade back at them.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Blue's brother did this to save him before the game started. Subverted; he miraculously survived and eventually became Red.
  • High Turnover Rate: Once you get to President Riley, he reveals that his predecessor was assassinated five weeks ago, and his predecessor was assassinated two months after assuming position. He thus began training up to face you as soon as he got the job. Unfortunately for him, he wasn't quite good enough, and he failed to get good guards as well.
  • I Will Fight No More Forever: Blue swears this at the end of the game.
  • Invisible Wall: These lock off parts of the level you are not supposed to get to. They also pen you in during the "battle" with your boss, preventing you from either retreating or running past.
  • Just Following Orders: Blue's excuse for killing. Of course, he begins to take responsibility later on.
  • Mood Whiplash: The forest level ends with a silly moment where you powerslide down the mountain slope, knocking off about a dozen forest guards who were trying to climb up. Then, it transitions to a battle with the Senator's bodyguard, who is practically a personification of Punch-Clock Villain (if he's a villain at all). Then, it outright leads to Red killing not just the hapless Senator, but also his wife and child to leave no witnesses, with Blue powerless to stop this.
  • Nietzsche Wannabe: Red outright says that he sees no difference between killing a fighting combatant and an unarmed child because to him, all lives are equally worthless and he can only feel the satisfaction of a job well done. Blue inverts this after their battle, saying that Red made him realize all lives are worth saving, even if they are of those as far gone as Red.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Blue to his boss at the end.
  • One-Hit Kill: Blue can do this to normal enemies after breaking their guard or right before they attack. The latter takes inhuman reflexes to pull off consistently.
    • Spikes of Doom and spinning flame jets in the Boss Castle are the only things in the game that'll instantly kill Blue. Everything else will just take off one section of his health bar, out of six.
  • Pink Mist: What the death of everyone but Blue and the bosses looks like.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Gunther, the bodyguard used by the Senator in the second mission, says nothing important or interesting during his battle, and mostly just grunts. It was clearly all just a job for him. Given that we know so little about him, or the one he protected, the "villain" part may not be true, especially next to Blue himself.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The colors are completely inverted with Blue and Red.
  • Sad Battle Music: The penultimate "battle" against your boss, who doesn't actually fight at all, simply reuses the main menu theme, which sounds like this. The final boss battle track is also anything but cheerful.
  • Secret Test of Character: A villainous example with Blue's third assassination target, who was an innocent man, selected by his boss purely to see if he would still obey his orders once he realizes the truth. It backfires badly.
  • Sequential Boss: Every boss in the game.
  • Shadow Dictator: Your boss. He talks to Blue from the shadows, while Blue and Red are lit up by offscreen projectors.
  • Shield-Bearing Mook: Some of the forest denizens that protect the Senator in level 2 fight with shields and daggers. Like the two-handed sword wielders in the previous level, their shield will block all attacks unless their guard is broken with C.
    • Ironically, that makes them the easiest enemies to kill, since the guard-break is just as fast as the normal attack and it stuns them, while the follow-up kills them instantly. In contrast, normal enemies take multiple strikes to kill unless you pull off the One-Hit Kill above, and they will not be stunned by the first hit either.
  • Shockwave Stomp: Every boss has an attack that sends pulses of energy along the ground, forcing Blue to jump several times and/or climb onto the conveniently placed ceiling vine to avoid them.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Subverted by Blue. He's about as awesome as he claims to be.
  • Spikes of Doom: These show up late in the game, in the level 7 (out of 10, including the boss battles as separate levels). There, they are all uniformly covered in dried blood, and some even have complete skeletons left on them. They reappear in the final level, without the skeletons, but still covered in blood.
  • Spin Attack: One of the elite Samurai guards in the final level can do this.
  • The Stoic: Gunther, the bodyguard hired by the Senator, says very little during his battle, and mostly just grunts, even when he's about to die.
  • Temporary Platform: Appear in the two final levels of the game. They are made of grey stone that'll start cracking as soon as you step on them.
  • Turns Red: After you get a boss' health down to about half, a cutscene plays and they start to use an additional attack. Fittingly, Red does this multiple times.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Your boss may have genuinely believed that he is doing good by expanding the country's territory as far as possible, and that regular assassinations are the cleanest way of doing so. However, his idea of testing Blue's loyalty by tricking him into killing innocent people finally pushed him too far, as Blue genuinely believed until then that his boss wants to end the violence, not instigate it until he has killed everyone opposing him.
  • Wall Jump: Essential for getting through the game's levels. Near the end of the game, there's a moment where you have to wall-jump off of temporary platforms, which have rows of spikes behind them.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Blue initially believes that by killing his targets, he's bringing the war closer to its end. He then turns into a full-on Knight Templar when he rebels against his boss.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Blue is against hurting civilians, let alone children and turns against the Boss after he deliberately tricks him into targeting a normal civilian to test his loyalty, but appears to have written off any guards in his way as collateral damage long ago. Red calls him out on this during their battle, claiming that a murder is a murder, and all lives are equally worthless.
    • If you want, you can try roleplaying him as a "clean" assassin and attempt to jump past every non-boss enemy in the game. Even if you get hurt a couple of times by them, the health refills are frequent on all but the final level, and will completely restore your health. However, you'll still have to do at least one non-boss kill when the key to Boss' castle is obtained by killing the Samurai guard outside it.. It's practically impossible to get through the moments where you are climbing on the walls or ceilings and there's an enemy waiting for you there without kicking them off, which is always lethal, even if the height wasn't actually great and you would have made the same fall safely.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Red cuts down the wife and child of the Senator who is your second assassination target to leave behind no witnesses: something Blue refuses to go through.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The boss attempts to pull this on Blue, ordering Red to kill him after it became clear he is no longer going to assassinate anyone he orders him to. However, Blue was one step ahead and already about to kill the boss, and that order simply sent Red away right when the Boss needed him the most to protect himself.