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Video Game / Darkened Skye

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Save the Rainbow. Taste the Rainbow.

"This [premise] might sound like an inane game idea based on accounting instead of good sense—theoretically, that's true, but in practice, it's a bit far off the mark. Darkened Skye turns out to be a colorful and fairly entertaining game that's surprisingly funny."

Darkened Skye is a 2002 Action-Adventure game developed by Boston Animation and published by Simon & Schuster Interactive for Nintendo GameCube and PC. At first glance, it looks like your ordinary kind of action game. In the far-off and decidedly fictional land of Lynlora, you play as Skye, a bored shepherdess, who is lamenting her fate of being bored and trying to keep track of all the sheep when, suddenly, a commotion off in a clearing attracts her attention. When she goes to investigate, she finds an ancient magical artifact; a flattened spheroid, orange, with an S in the center. She takes it to the local wisewoman, who tells her... "Why, it's a Skittles!"

"Skittles are the source of all magic (Fancy you not knowing that!) and gathering them is vital to erase the darkness on Lynlora's sky. So our protagonist, Skye, sets off on a quest to return the rainbow to Lynlora, thereby returning Skittles and magic along with it." It was specifically based on a series of Skittles television commercials.

Darkened Skye is commonly held up as the finest example of advergame, Writer Revolt, or Stealth Parody based on the accounts of one executive producer. Another producer, however, noted that the developer was paying to use the license, and nearly backed out when the game was finished (but Skittles were already very interwoven into the gameplay).

This game has examples of:

  • All There in the Manual:
    • Averted on the box. It's incredibly vague as to the actual plot of the game. The actual manual, however, mentions Skittles, complete with trademark symbol.
    • In fact, the only thing on the box pointing to the Skittles tie in is buried in the Copyright disclaimer info on the back in tiny, tiny print.
  • Ambiguously Gay: The Boss Vampyre in the Gargoyle Realm.
  • Animated Armor: Some of the enemies.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: All enemies become these when Skye uses the Shrink Spell.
  • Badass Decay: Discussed In-Universe. According to Necroth, he used to be a cosmic entity, but over time his evil ambitions have shrunk him down to a tiny little maggot.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Lampshaded by several NPCs that Skye is "she whose coming has been foretold".
  • Big Bad: Lord Necroth.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Skye has defeated Necroth and saved the realm, and Dorian was restored to his true form, but her father turned evil and was killed, and her mother sacrifices herself to bring back the rainbow.
  • Bleak Level: The Gargoyles' Realm.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Both explicitly (Skye talking directly to the player) and implicitly (Draak making silly hints of it, like having "read the script").
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The endgame turns rather serious, signified by having Skye change to an all-black outfit in the GameCube version.
  • The Chosen One: Skye.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Both Skye and Draak, but Draak just can't let up.
  • Disappeared Dad: Skye never met her father, and assumes he is dead. He's Necroth's main henchman.
  • Does Not Like Men: Skye's mom, because her husband betrayed her to Necroth.
  • The Faceless: The Big Bad's right-hand-man in a suit of armour, who was once Skye's father.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Skye's mother sacrifices herself to bring back the rainbow.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Necroth, as lampshaded by Draak:
    Let's just say he-whose-face-may-not-be-glimpsed and I have issues!
  • Hitbox Dissonance: The hitboxes usually didn't have much to do with the models...always to your considerable disadvantage.
  • Idle Animation:
    • Leave Skye standing for a few moments and she'll start doing a few things, like stretching her arms out, or examining her staff and then polishing it.
    • The best one lampshades their use of Sticks to the Back: Skye repeatedly attempts to toss her staff away, only to have it magnetically snap back every time. It's maaaagic!
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Archer Grunks can shoot volleys of arrows with deadly precision, whether far away or in close quarters, so you best stay out of their line of sight. If caught up close, use a splash damage spell fast!
  • Intangibility: Happens to Dorian, who appears out of nowhere every now and then to advise Skye. He actually became Draak, but one of Skye's spells keeps conjuring his true form.
  • It's Personal: Skye takes it personally when Necroth kidnaps all of her friends and loved ones.
  • It's Up to You: One of the many tropes lampshaded, though it takes a depressing note when everyone but Skye is captured.
  • Jiggle Physics: Skye, if you rotate the view and see her front while she's running.
  • Lady of War: Skye, and her mother.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Pretty much all of the storyline tropes are lampshaded.
  • Leap of Faith: You do this in Zen'Jai to walk towards the sun.
  • The Lifestream: The rainbow.
  • Limited Wardrobe: In the PC version, Skye has only one outfit. In the GameCube version, she has four outfits.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: The Big Bad's right-hand-man, who turns out to be Skye's father, who betrayed Skye's mother after being seduced by magic.
  • The Man Behind the Curtain: Necroth, who turns out to be a Pintsized Powerhouse such that Skye has to shrink herself in order to deal with him.
  • The Man Behind the Monsters: The Master Vampire is much more human looking than the rest of the vampires you meet in the game, being essentially a classic Dracula-like vampire while every other vampire is a gargoyle-like beast.
  • The Mentor: Ginnish.
  • Mineral MacGuffin: The Skittles, which are the source of all magical power.
  • Missing Mom: Skye's mother, Mariama, who, as far as Skye knows, is just a merchant. She is actually the leader of the rebelling forces against the Big Bad, and now a prisoner of the Big Bad.
  • Mood Whiplash: The game switches between seriousness and comedy pretty rapidly.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: The vampires in the Gargoyle Realm can only be stopped either by trapping them in their respective caskets with garlic, or using a new spell (obtained in the next level) that kills the undead.
  • Nintendo Hard: Largely due to poor game design in certain areas rather than a deliberate design choice.
  • No Fourth Wall: Skye and Draak are constantly doing Aside Glances to the player, more often than not with a cheeky Lampshade Hanging on game tropes and how ridiculous it is to have the plot centered around Skittles.
  • No Name Given: The armored figure that serves as Necroth's The Dragon is never given an official name in-game; the name "Mysterious Enemy" is used in some walkthroughs and cast lists, though it's unclear how official this is as the credits merely lists the voice actors rather than their individual roles.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Draak, who's some kind of little gargoyle thing.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: The third soundtrack of the Ogmire world.
  • One-Winged Angel: The armored figure that serves as Necroth's The Dragon turns into a giant, three-headed literal dragon in your final battle with him just before you confront Necroth himself.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: Necroth turns out to be this, as his evil magic withered him into a tiny, highly dangerous maggot.
  • Plant Person: Orlina, the Heart of the Forest in Ogmire, who is so depressed she needs to be healed using musical bugs.
  • Power of Trust: Skye trusting Dorian saves her from being killed by magic fire near the climax; the player must step where he does to avoid burning to death.
  • Recurring Boss: Necroth's armored The Dragon pops up suddenly throughout the game to fight you, usually in the middle of the level with little warning or fanfare.
  • Regenerating Health: Skye has this, as do several bosses.
  • Reverse Polarity: The Goblin scientist says this.
  • Rule of Three: Skye must defeat three dragons of Zen'Jai to earn their aid.
  • Save Scumming: Pretty much the only way to beat the game.
  • Scenery Gorn: Necroth's realm.
  • Scenery Porn: The land of Zen'Jai is pretty, as is the flying carpet sequence and the swamps of Lynlora.
  • Self-Deprecation: Skye berates herself for letting people she cares about get captured.
  • Shown Their Work: Much of the game's lore is based off of various Skittles commercials.
  • Spoiled Brat: The princess of Zen'Jai. It's actually an act.
  • Starfish Language: The Fish Riders of Ogmire speak in a language that sounds like gargling.
  • Super Drowning Skills: "I'm a Warrior Hero Adventurer Goddess who can't swim, okay?!"
  • Translator Buddy: Draak is fluent several of the land's languages, particularly in the waterworld Ogmire.
  • Troperiffic: This game is deliberately trope-heavy, and lampshades many of them.
  • Tsundere: Skye towards Dorian, though it's justified as she has no idea who or what he is.
  • Waddling Head: Necroth turns out to be a decidedly un-cute example; basically a normal-sized head with a shrunken, maggot-like worm body.
  • Was Once a Man:
    • Draak was originally Dorian, the Gargoyle Steward, who was punished by being turned into a mini-gargoyle after the real Gargoyles were turned to stone by the Big Bad. He becomes human again after Skye de-petrifies the Gargoyles.
    • Skye's father, before he became The Dragon and a Voluntary Shapeshifter.
  • Wutai: Zen'Jai, which is based on a series of Skittles commercials.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: Skye's willpower is so strong she was able to teleport Gwenella's horse without realizing it, and enabled her to see Draak's true form.