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Video Game / DeathSpank

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Justice For All!

DeathSpank is a two-part Action RPG designed by Ron Gilbert, developed by Hothead Games, and published by Electronic Arts. It is centered around Idiot Hero Extraordinaire DeathSpank, self-proclaimed "Hero of the Downtrodden, Dispenser of Justice and Vanquisher of Evil". The first half, Orphans of Justice (or simply just DeathSpank) has our hero on a quest to obtain The Artifact, and later, rescuing orphans from Lord Von Prong. The second part, Thongs of Virtue has DeathSpank traveling to various locales to defeat those corrupted by the Thongs of Power. Both parts were released in 2010, first on PlayStation 3, and then on PC and Xbox 360.

A sequel known as The Baconing was released in August of 2011 for the three aforementioned platforms. Taking place after DeathSpank killed Sandy and established the land of Spanktopia, DeathSpank must once again save the world, this time from the Anti-Spank, created when DeathSpank wore all of the thongs at once.

If you've ever played a Hack and Slash, you'll know how to play this game.

DeathSpank contains examples of the following tropes:

  • 20 Bear Asses: Pretty much every mission except for boss fights and the slight handful that involves a puzzle. Forgivable because they can by and large be completed in three minutes, and their humorous tone.
  • Anachronism Stew: The first game takes place in a medieval-inspired setting, but one of the quests has you buying a cellphone for a particularly insufferable Orphan, and when talking about movies with some Punch Clock Villains, DeathSpank decides to just BitTorrent the film on his own time. Thongs of Virtue, however, moves onto a somewhat more modern setting.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: "A tale of blood, and steel, and bacon..."
  • Artifact of Doom: The Thongs of Virtue. There were supposed to be 9 of them, but only 6 were made due to executive meddling. Thus, they became corrupt. They are:
    • Justice, worn by DeathSpank.
    • Courage, worn by Lord Von Prong.
    • Compassion, worn by The Nun (she has a name, but it's absurdly long).
    • Cuisine, worn by Wortten Wandelranger.
    • Generosity, worn by Santa Claus.
    • Peace, worn by Sandy Bravitor. Her grandfather was the forger of the Thongs, and her plan was to have DeathSpank retrieve them all so she could destroy them, and ultimately kill him as well. You can submit to her, but The Baconing reveals that DeathSpank killed her instead and took all 6 Thongs for himself.
  • Ax-Crazy: Sandy becomes delusional towards the second game, obsessed with killing all the Thong bearers for a good cause she never follows through if she wins.
  • Bad Santa: Santa is one of the villains of Thongs of Virtue.
  • Bag of Spilling: Thongs of Virtue starts with DeathSpank being captured and put in a P.O.W. camp, presumably with his stuff looted.
  • Based on a Great Big Lie: The games always start with a message stating that they're based on a true story. At the end of each game's credits is a message admitting they aren't.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • DeathSpank will beg the player to "Block, you fool, BLOCK!" if he takes too many hits without blocking.
    • In Thongs of Virtue, DeathSpank and other characters occasionally call out their character types.
  • Chekhov's Gun: It turns out that the artifact was actually a power source/crafting ingredient that could be used to forge a legendary piece of armor... but since they already created six pairs of armor and needed millions of similar artifacts to make one, it was useful but pretty much vendor trash on its own. In The Baconing, you find caches of artifacts that are being used as power sources and sacrifice them to undo the curse planted on five of the armors (DeathSpank was stupid enough to wear all six pairs at once).
  • Clothes Make the Superman: The plot centers around the Thongs of Power, granted to six individuals who have all gone corrupt from their power save for the possessor of the Thong of Justice.
  • Combos: Most of the gameplay revolves around using multiple weapons to raise a damage multiplier, which in some cases are the only way to feasibly beat King Mooks.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: A second player can enter the game as Sparkles the Wizard, sharing the same life bar as DeathSpank. The sequel has Steve Von Prong, ninja and son of Lord Von Prong, as well as Tankko the Warrior in the DLC. The Baconing introduces Bob from Marketing as well as Roesha, One Bad Mutha.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist:
    • When you die, you're sent back to the nearest outhouse and without a handful of your money... that you can get back by returning where you died to pick it up. Since the enemies don't respawn if you don't change maps... The only downside to dying is that you come back with a small amount of health, and whatever you were fighting will have full health again.
    • The ending of Thongs of Virtue reveals that this is one of the powers of the Thong of Justice. For DeathSpank to truly die, he has to legally relinquish its power.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The Cleaver of Cleaving, the Bladed (something) of Blades, etc.
  • Destructive Saviour: The intro of The Baconing shows DeathSpank defeating evil monsters, all the while getting the Distressed Damsels killed, either intentionally or otherwise.
  • Everyone Has Standards: DeathSpank refuses to touch the Thongoliths, despite being stupid.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Sandy turns out to be the Final Boss of the original duology.
  • Fallen Hero: The possessors of the Thongs have all ended up corrupt, save possibly for DeathSpank. This is implied to be due to his stupidity.
  • For Great Justice: DeathSpank describes himself as a "Dispenser of Justice". And he will not stop boasting about it.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • The Rudolph glitch. Sometimes Santa's top reindeer won't show up due to a bug, and you're required to kill him to get a special helmet in order to progress. If you kill all of the lesser reindeer in the area when Rudolph is missing and save, Rudolph will never show up again, and the game becomes unwinnable. However, if you allow yourself to die while at least one lesser reindeer is alive, Rudolph will come back when you do. If you're playing the PC or PS3 version, Hothead can fix your save file if it happens. If you're on 360, you're boned. What makes this glitch especially bad is that this takes place 95% of the way through the game.
    • The Baconing picks up on that tradition. The game has a high chance on crashing at the penultimate boss fight and corrupting your save file. No Fix is known for that. Even worse, the penultimate boss takes forever, which is treated as a gag.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The main quest of the first game soon becomes saving orphans, whom you collect with an "Orphan Bag" you stuff them into.
  • Gotta Kill Them All: Thongs of Virtue is about DeathSpank taking down those corrupted by the Thongs of Power.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The Leprechaun Mafia, a minor group of villains from the first game, appear to be allies in The Baconing, to the point that their Don makes DeathSpank an honorary leprechaun.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: An interesting partial example, DeathSpank is obsessed with altruistic ideals and heroism, but he is also a confounded imbecile with a skewed moral compass. He will accept quests from genuinely evil people (Such as the Wizard and the Barnacles) at the drop of a hat as long as they have a quest marker above their head. And after a day of acting as an orphan's father, complete with a heartwarming montage, he ignores her feelings and stuffs her in a bag (though the fact that the girl was also a brat who previously made him buy a series of fancy crap for her probably didn't endear her to him).
  • Hive Mind: Possibly shown by the Mind Barnacles by DeathSpank when he infects the protectors of the wells to get the quest required item they carry. Although they could just have a lot of information stored in them and speak on behalf of the mother barnacle instead.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Parodied with a prostitute who literally has a golden heart. Which you have to take.
  • Humiliation Conga: Eubrick was once a great hero, until he fought Lord von Prong and got his ass kicked twelve times. Not only did he lose very quickly, Lord von Prong describes him as his easiest foe he had ever faced.
  • Idiot Hero: DeathSpank, whose favorite number is... plaid.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: DeathSpank has a large chin, and is obsessed with justice.
  • Large Ham: DeathSpank is very bombastic.
  • Level Grinding: Even players who complete every single quest are unlikely to reach the level cap of 20. If you want the achievement, you're gonna have to spend an extra half hour killing Unicorns, the only enemy that gives significant XP at that point.
  • Love Freak: If you couldn't tell, DeathSpank is absolutely obsessed with Justice.
  • MacGuffin: The Artifact, which is actually a strip of bacon. DeathSpank does get it early on, but he gets it mugged from him. Sandy states that it's really not that important at the end, despite being the one who sent him on the quest. In her moonbase, you'll even see stacks of Artifacts.
  • Medium Awareness: DeathSpank and NPCs alike tend to refer to in-game elements such as hit points and the quest log. At one point, a quest giver claims to have gained experience points for the quest you just completed by turning it into him.
  • Multi-Melee Master: Up to eight weapons can be equipped at a time, each mapped to different buttons.
  • Multiple Endings: The ending of Thongs of Virtue either has DeathSpank sacrifice himself to Sandy or fights her, putting an end to her madness. According to the canon set by The Baconing, DeathSpank killed Sandy.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: DeathSpank is a parody of such names. Possibly a play on how players tend to name their characters something along the lines of SkullAssassin in games.
  • Narrator All Along: Sandy, though you should be able to guess it out when she's referred to as "the mysterious, but quite attractive woman".
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • The Primp VIP achievement/trophy in Thongs of Virtue. If you open the chest in her brothel before viewing all 20 of her costumes, it's gone because Madame Primp will become hostile. The game saves as soon as you open it, so quitting out via dashboard won't save you. Also combines with Guide Dang It! because you don't know Primp will attack you, and the fact that it's in plain sight, begging you to open it while Primp is changing costumes, doesn't help.
    • The Konichiwa achievement/trophy is also potentially missable. You have to talk to the Japanese judge in Wortten's office to get the "Learn Japanese" book to appear in the library. If you begin the cookoff without doing so, Wortten may kill him during the battle (she kills judges at random), preventing you from spawning the book.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: From The Baconing:
    Zeus: For I name you...God. Of. ORPHAAAAANS!
  • Puppeteer Parasite: The Mind Barnacles take over the mind of their host.
  • Sadistic Choice: At the end of the second game, after Sandy goes mad due to the Thong of Peace, DeathSpank must choose between sacrificing himself to save her, or be forced to kill her. There is no third option. According to The Baconing, the latter is canon. Though it might not be so sadistic since the sacrifice is in vain and DeathSpank dislikes Sandy.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: The Sacrifice ending is actually the worse ending, as your sacrifice goes in vain. The Thongs are not destroyed by Sandy.
  • Sequel Escalation: Of a sort. The original game had a medieval fantasy theme, the second game introduced modern era aspects, and The Baconing brought futuristic sci-fi to the table.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • Upon defeating Von Prong, it's revealed that the source of both his and DeathSpank's power are their thongs. Sandy then sends DeathSpank after others with thongs.
    • The Baconing ends with DeathSpank commandeering AntiSpank's time machine and going into the past.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The Sacrifice Ending in The Baconing, where after killing DeathSpank Sandy is unable to bring herself to properly destroy the thongs and instead hides them away as she grows old and in regret.
  • Shop Fodder: Anything you don't need goes to the Grinder in your inventory, which reduces items down to money.
  • Spoiled Brat: Annie the Orphan, who makes DeathSpank buy all sorts of crap for her. However, her final demand is for a daddy, which DeathSpank decides to be for a while. Before stuffing her into a bag.
  • Stealth Insult: Lord Von Prong's opera singing can smash a hourglass and is his strongest attack, able to paralyze DeathSpank.
  • Verbal Tic: Lord Von Prong might burst into a SOOOOOONG! Amusingly, he fully controls it in the final battle, not bursting at all during the dialogue right before, but using it to stunning effect in the battle itself.
  • Wicked Cultured: Lord Von Prong is both of these things to a ridiculous extent. He kidnaps orphans just to bait DeathSpank, and uses opera to murder him.

Alternative Title(s): The Baconing