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Video Game / Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

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Ancient Chinese literature as told by Ninja Theory

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is an Action-Adventure Video Game developed by Ninja Theory. The game is published by Namco Bandai and out for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Microsoft Windows.

Enslaved is a story set one hundred and fifty years in the future where a global war has devastated the Earth. In this future, nearly the entire human race has been eradicated, but robots still plague the land. Although they are from a bygone era, they are still following their orders to eradicate the humans. The storyline is loosely based on the ancient Chinese novel Journey to the West.

The main character of the game, Monkey, is a lone wolf who's spent his entire life running from the machines. Eventually, Monkey is captured by the death machines, where he is placed on an airship for transport to the city of Pyramid. It is there that he meets a technologically adept woman named Trip. Trip manages to escape, unintentionally freeing Monkey in the process. He follows her in an effort to get to an escape pod, but she takes the last one and refuses to let him in. He clings to the pod as it launches and is knocked unconscious in the landing. When he comes to, Monkey finds that Trip has placed a slaver's headband on him in order to compel him to help her get home. She explains that she has hacked the headband so she can give him jolts of pain at will; and further that if Trip's heart ever stops then the headband will kill Monkey outright. As they try to make their way back to Trip's village they must fight robots that have been lying dormant for years. The two of them have a strained relationship at first, but in order to survive this perilous world they need each other's help.

The main game and its DLC contain examples of the following tropes:

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    Enslaved: Odyssey to the West 
  • Abhorrent Admirer: Pigsy has a crush on Trip.
  • Action Prologue: The game starts with Monkey breaking out his cell, and fighting his way through the slave ship after Trip.
  • Advancing Boss of Doom: The Dog, for the first time you see one.
  • After the End: Takes place after the Robot War.
  • Anime Hair: Monkey.
    • Lampshaded by Pigsy.
    Pigsy: So, Monkey...let me ask you a question.
    Monkey: Yeah.
    Pigsy: Do you use a lot of hair product?
    Monkey: (blankly) What?
    • When you consider that Monkey is based on the Monkey King the same as Goku, it seems all the more fitting.
  • Anti-Hero: Trip, for enslaving a stranger after locking him out of an escape pod. Though justified in that her first encounters with Monkey make him seem like a violent lunatic. Pigsy as well. All three characters fit the trope.
    • Nominal Hero: All three protagonists are downplayed examples. Trip just wants to go home, Monkey just wants to be free, especially of Trip, and Pigsy was minding his own business before the two came along.
  • Androcles' Lion: Averted. Monkey has to literally be collared into helping Trip make it to her community, and only willingly starts to help after getting to know her better, and after she's dealing with the grief of seeing her home overrun by slavers.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: About an hour into the game we get this exchange.
    Monkey: I'm going to need to find another way for you to get across. Wait in here 'til I get back. (motions for her to hide inside a metal box)
    Trip: What? You're leaving me here? (angry) How do I know you'll come back?
    Monkey: You die, I die, right?
    Trip: ...Yes.
    Monkey: So! (shoves her into the box, sarcastically) Then I'm coming back.
    • It really feels like Monkey wanted to add 'dumbass' at the end of his statement.
  • Benevolent Architecture: Oh so much climbable terrain.
  • Big Applesauce: The first part of the game is spent in the ruins of NYC.
  • Big "NO!": Monkey, courtesy of clinging to the outside of an escape pod right before it launches.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Pyramid is dead, with the implication that his machines will no longer haunt the wasteland and take anymore slaves, but so's Pigsy, and it's left ambiguous if destroying Pyramid's Lotus-Eater Machine in the process was a genuinely good thing, or at least worth losing. The tale ends with Monkey and Trip discussing whether Trip did right in killing Pyramid, while slaves hooked onto the illusion come out of the dream invariably saddened, before the screen cuts to black.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Oh so very much, between Monkey and Trip. Also lampshaded by Pigsy when asking whether or not the two are "together". And again in the very next cut scene as Pigsy looks towards the back of the boat where Monkey and Trip are standing, only to have conveniently shaped rubble form a heart behind them.
  • Boom Stick: Monkey's power staff shoots plasma bolts. And EMP bolts.
  • Bullet Time: Used in Monkey's fight with the Rhino every time you score a hit.
  • Bullfight Boss: The Rhino, you even get an achievement for beating him without getting hit by its attack.
  • Carry a Big Stick: Monkey's collapsible staff. It's even capable of shooting plasma and EMP blasts.
  • Character Development: Subtle, but it's there. Trip starts off both scared of, and naively idealistic about the wasteland outside of her community. She becomes strong and bitter enough to take revenge on the Big Bad for the death of her community, but in the aftermath, she wonders to Monkey whether she did the right thing, betraying the loss of her previous confidence. Monkey starts out angry and alone, but eventually comes to sympathise with Trip and Pigsy enough to stick with them to the end of the story, and support Trip in the aftermath of Pyramid and Pigsy's death. Pigsy starts out obnoxious enough to try and run interference between Trip and monkey in order to get Trip's attention, but eventually comes to accept and respect their relationship, and when push comes to shove, willfully sacrifices himself to save their lives.
  • Cool Bike: Monkey has one.
  • Covered with Scars: Monkey, of the decorative and generic kind. Although not explained in-game, Nina Kristenson of Ninja Theory elaborates that the swirling designs on his torso are war scars he drew on himself after major battles.
  • Crapsack World: Most of the human race is dead, the cities of the past are crumbling under lush jungles, slavers run rampant, and the world is covered in Mechanical Monsters.
  • Curse Cut Short: We hear Monkey curse out Trip for locking him away from the escape pods, but severely muffled by a sound-proof door.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Despite being, you know, a slave crown that shocks him if he gets uppity, the headband does offer a great deal of utility to Monkey, allowing him a HUD, communicator, and Augmented Reality in general.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Pigsy's Perfect 10, a DLC which features Pigsy on a quest to build himself a Fembot.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Monkey.
    Trip: So what's the plan?
    Monkey: To get you home as fast as possible so you can take this thing off my head and I can break your neck.
  • Deflector Shield: Monkey's Gauntlets generate a Deflector Shield capable of blocking attacks and bullets.
  • Distressed Damsel: Deconstructed. Trip isn't without skills of her own, but she's easy prey to the slavers and the mech. Her solution? Shoot the Dog.
  • Doomed Hometown: Trip ends up getting to her home only to find that the slavers have burned it to the ground and killed the inhabitants.
  • Escapism: As it turns out, Pyramid is one of the few men of the wasteland who remembers what a paradise the world used to be compared to the apocalypse, and decides to create a slave empire to share those memories with his slaves, effectively distracting them from the reality of the world they live in. Trip pulls the plug on him and the plan in the ending.
  • Empathy Doll Shot: A burnt teddy bear is given a close up in front of an empty swing set in the ruins of Trip's village.
  • Enemy Summoner: Broadcasters. if they aren't killed within a certain amount of time, they will send out a signal for more mechs to show up. Stunning them will freeze the countdown for its duration, however.
  • Escort Mission: Basically the premise of the game. Fortunately, Trip avoids directly participating in combat (which negates the need to defend her) and can offer useful support, and she keeps up with Monkey quite well when he's not carrying her. For that matter, Monkey can lift her effortlessly, so she doesn't slow him down, and rarely does she go somewhere he isn't going (since that would defeat the purpose of him being there). All in all, the game is designed less as a traditional escort mission and more as a game where the player controls two characters with complementing skill simultaneously.
  • Essence Drop: Tech Orbs, found in the environment or dropped by robots are used to improve Monkey's abilities and weapons.
  • Expy:
    • Monkey is Sun Wukong.
    • Trip is Xuanzang (also known as Tripitaka).
    • Pigsy is Zhu Bajie.
    • Leviathan is possibly Sha Wujing, due to his links with water and sand, (key features of the levels featuring Leviathan - an underwater base and a giant desert). It could also be a reference to the Dragon Prince/Horse, although the "dragonfly" that Trip uses as a scanning and scouting device may be a more direct nod to that role.
  • Fastball Special: Makes an appearance, naturally.
  • Foreshadowing: Early in the game, Trip and Monkey witness a self sufficient aquarium in the midst of a jungle infested zoo, with Trip using it as an example of how her own community is self-sufficient in the wasteland, only for Monkey to point out it doesn't matter how secure a community is if it can't deal with outside factors that threaten it. Seconds later, a machine crashes through the aquarium, killing the fish inside. When Trip and Monkey eventually reach her home, they indeed find it destroyed by Pyramid's mechs, the outside factor in this case.
  • Freudian Slip:
    Pigsy: This machine is more amazing than my wettest dreams!
    Trip: What did you say?
    Pigsy: This machine is more amazing than my wildest dreams!
    Monkey: ...That's not what you said.
  • Gatling Good: The trailer shows Monkey using mounted machine guns.
  • Guide Dang It!: Finding every Tech Orb in the game (there's an achievement/trophy for it). While you likely wont have trouble finding the vast majority of them (say 70 to 80% per level), finding ALL of them will require careful use of a guide. Even worse is the fact that some orbs are glitchy, and sometimes will either randomly not be there, or will disappear if you don't grab it fast enough. Finding every Mask is just as frustratingly obtuse.
  • Happiness in Slavery: Monkey. Whether this is due to him falling in love with Trip, his way of reaching out from his isolated life, Stockholm Syndrome or the slave headband working insidiously well is up to interpretation. And boy, has it been discussed.
  • He Was Right There All Along - There's a section where Monkey, Trip and Pigsy are looking for parts to repair Pigsy's flying craft. The last part they need is a power cell, which they find sitting out in an open area, otherwise occupied only by large piles of junked machinery. Monkey and Pigsy have a brief discussion about how lucky they are to just find it sitting there, Monkey clearly not believing the group's apparent luck. Only after Monkey jumps down into the area and gets the cell does Pigsy warn him to "watch out for the Rhino." Monkey doesn't know what he's talking about - until one of the junk piles shifts, and a huge mech emerges from it.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Not explicitly stated, but it is implied.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Pigsy and the Leviathan vs 5 scorpion mechs.
  • Historical Beauty Update: Xuanzang was probably not an attractive red-headed Wrench Wench. Or female. Having said that, though, the original novel stressed that Xuanzang was a very attractive young man - to the extent that in plays of the novel, the role of Xuanzang is often played by a woman.
  • Hit Stop: Occasionally used on the last in a group of mooks, as well as every time Monkey scores a hit on the Rhino.
  • Hover Board: Monkey's "Cloud".
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: She rides on his back. It's like freakin' 'Banjo-Kazooie''.
  • Humongous Mecha: Leviathan and the scorpion mechs used by Pyramid. The game also mentions that "Titans" were giant mechs used in the war that lead the world into ruin, but no still active titans are ever seen.
  • Improvised Weapon: Later in the game, Monkey can use the weapons from mechs himself.
  • Inspired by…: The novel Journey to the West, which in turn was Inspired by… the historical journey of Xuanzang to India.
  • Jerkass: Pigsy. Full stop.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Monkey is certainly under enough stress to justify his rough and abrupt attitude, but he's not a bad person.
    • Pigsy, especially after Pigsy's Perfect 10.
  • Killer Robot/Mecha-Mooks: They're the baddies of the game.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Monkey can beat the hell out of robots and lift and carry, but he's also extremely fast and acrobatic.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Lampshaded by Trip.
    Monkey: and pigs? This friend of your father's seems a bit weird.
    Trip: Well, he's been living alone out in the wilds most of his life. That usually makes people pretty weird and eccentric.
    Monkey: You mean like me?
    Trip: As well as strong and resourceful individuals.
    Monkey: Sure.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Pyramid's plan is to to use one man's pre-war memories to put people in a simulation of the world then, free from the hellish wasteland.
  • Made of Iron: Monkey survives an escape pod crash into Grand Central Station while he was outside of the pod. The fact he lands on a mattress covered in rocky debris just drives the point home.
  • Meaningful Name: Monkey, Trip and Pigsy.
    • Trip on two levels. A trip is a journey, which they're taking, but also Tripitaka (Trip's full name) was an alternative name for the person Trip was based on.
  • Minimalist Cast: In contrast to the expansive scenery and endless legions of killer robots, there turns out to be a total of four members in the main cast. Trip and Monkey spend much of the story Lonely Together, Pigsky joins up in the second half of the game, and despite his importance to the story, Pyramid only makes his appearance and says his few lines at the very end of the odyssey.
  • Mook Chivalry: The mechs attack you one by one.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Monkey. And how. A tall, gruff, perpetually-shirtless man with six-pack abs, decorative scars, warpaint and acrobatic skills topped off with gorgeous, expressive blue eyes? Sign us up.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Trip. Especially when you toss her up to a ledge; she bends over as she scrambles up, showing off her shapely rear.
  • Neck Snap: Monkey's first takedown of a turret is clearly meant to evoke this, despite the fact that he's snapping the turret's barrel.
  • New Eden: A large portion of the game takes place in breathtaking ruins of cities so post-apocalyptic that they're covered in lush greenery.
  • New Game Plus: You can play through the game again - even on a higher difficulty - with all the upgrades you purchased on your last playthrough.
  • Nonindicative Name: There are mechs called Dogs. Now, by normal video game logic, you'd expect them to be small Fragile Speedster support units for the ordinary humanoid mechs. Nope - they're hulking, razor-toothed behemoths that even Monkey is terrified of.
  • Nostalgia Filter: Used more seriously than other examples. Pyramid lived during the period before the world went to hell, and is so obsessed with bringing it back that he forges a machine based slave empire that has the slaves plugged into his memories into what the period was like. While he nearly manages to convince Monkey of his righteousness, Monkey rightfully points out that he's destroying the present and the future over something that no longer exists.
  • Oh, Crap!: That first level really starts off with a bang, doesn't it?
  • One-Man Army: Monkey extremely, taking on legions of killer mechs and even mechs the size of skyscrapers.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Monkey's voice is kind of all over the place. Sometimes he sounds like Andy Serkis, other times it sounds almost Brooklyn and still other times it sounds like Steven Blum.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Trip and Monkey are survivors trying to reach Trip's community, with talks of how the world was and what it could be generally being used as polite banter and wishful thinking. Pyramid is a man stuck in the past who wants everyone else to join him there, justifying his efforts to enslave the populace as giving them hopes and dreams they wouldn't have otherwise. When the two sides eventually meet, it feels like people of different time periods and countries trying and failing to communicate.
  • Powered Armor: Pigsy wears some, all of which are of course pig-like (a three fingered robotic hand, which doubles as a grappling hook, a plate on his head with the "ear" part resembling a pig ear, and a metal nose that looks a little like a pig snout).
  • Practical Taunt: It can either be used to draw enemies to him (and therefore away from Trip), or to goad the Bullfight Boss to run into walls.
  • Real Is Brown: Defied full stop. See Scenery Porn below.
  • Recycled In Space: A science fiction version of Journey to the West.
  • Recurring Boss: The Dogs. Four are encountered over the course of the game.
  • Restraining Bolt: The slave headbands. Minor infractions are punished with pain, major ones with death.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Trip murders Pyramid while Monkey is distracted by the simulation. She asks Monkey if she did the right thing.
  • RPG Elements: Monkey can upgrade his abilities throughout the game.
  • Scavenger World: Seems to be the case with the Slavers airship and Trip being from a wind farm.
  • Scenery Porn: It may be a post-apocalyptic wasteland, but it sure is pretty. See the scenery trailer and the main game trailer.
  • Screaming Warrior: One of Monkey's many talents - Trip makes sparkly showers of light to distract robots. Monkey just dances around and yells stuff. HEY!
  • Serkis Folk: Andy himself plays Monkey.
  • Ship Tease: Check out the scene in the opera house, right after Trip scans the dog.
  • Shoot the Dog: Trip's a resourceful person, but that won't keep her ahead of the mechs or the slavers forever. So when she happens across the unconscious Monkey - a burly guy she knows to be physically tough and skilled - with a cracked slave crown in her possession, which will ensure someone must defend her life with their life and obey her orders...
  • Shout-Out: One of the achievements is called Great Sage Equal of Heaven.
    • The little scarf thing hanging from Monkey's back pocket resembles a tail, something his source character (The Monkey King) had. Many of his movements and postures are more simian than human as well. Driven home with one of Monkey's unlockable costumes, which is a red and gold robe directly based on the robe commonly seen in other depictions of The Monkey King.
  • Shown Their Work: The game's creators claim to have researched just how long it would take for cities like New York and Los Angeles to become jungles and wrote the plot accordingly.
    • This is actually a bit of an aversion. New York City is built on marshland, and requires a functioning sewer system to avoid flooding. (This is dealt with extensively and specifically in Alan Weisman's The World Without Us.) Within a few decades of humans abandoning New York City, seepage would weaken the foundations and cause all the skyscrapers to collapse, with the arguable exception of the Empire State Building. Enslaved is set hundreds of years in the future, long enough for enormous oak trees to have grown in the wreckage, but by that point, the city should be overgrown swampland with chunks of vaguely-identifiable rubble sticking out of it.
    • Averted with the story the game is based upon. Outside of Monkey and his iconic equipment (staff, cloud, headband) and the names of the three main characters, the game leaves out many of the elements that were originally in Journey to the West, such as the remainder of Tripitaka's party, Monkey and Pigsy's transformation abilities, Pigsy's weapon (a magical rake instead of a gun), any of the monsters or foes the characters encounter, and the overarching story of a pilgrimage to bring back knowledge.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Pigsy doesn't stop reminding everyone how great he is. This annoys Monkey even more than the many other things that annoy Monkey.
    Monkey: Pigsy, if you don't shut up I'm switching sides!
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Pyramid makes his appearance only at the end of the story, and in a cutscene no less, but the machines roaming the landscape, the slave ships, the headband that Trip uses on Monkey, the destruction of Trip's community, can all be connected to him.
  • Stripperiffic: Trip runs around in a tube-top and extremely tight pants with strategic holes.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The Slaver Airship.
  • Stunned Silence: Trip's reaction when she sees Monkey in a fight for the first time.
  • Supporting Protagonist: Monkey. The entire story really revolves around Trip.
  • Take That!: In chapter 5, after the Cloud sequence, Monkey and Trip will pass through a room containing "ancient, redundant technology." The contents of the room are corroded boxes of 3D televisions (which is ironic, considering that this game has 3-D TV support).
  • Tempting Fate: Monkey sees a bunch of combat mechs lined up, ready to be deployed. "At least they're not active." Nope - but they become active moments later.
  • Totalitarian Utilitarian: Pyramid. His plan essentially revolves around forecfully hooking the people living in the wasteland on the drugs that are his memories, but he justifies it on the grounds that the wasteland is a hellhole that is unlikely to recover, so he's at least providing people with a dream of something better that will distract them from pain and infighting.
  • Unspecified Apocalypse: What exactly happened to nearly wipe out humanity is never even discussed, characters mostly focus on continuing their survival and barely question the relics of the past.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: After Trip kills Well-Intentioned Extremist Pyramid she obviously doesn't feel any satisfaction, and asks Monkey if she did the right thing.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Monkey.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Pyramid.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Trip doesn't start her relation with Monkey on the best footing. She ignores him as he tries to escape the airship they're on as it crashes from what looks very much like her sabotage, she ejects her escape pod from the airship without him even as he's pounding and howling in terror on its window, and finally, she attaches a slave headband to him while he's unconscious that forces him to protect her life and obey her orders. His threat — and attempt — to rip her head off is pretty understandable.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Monkey's voice fluctuates a lot. Sometimes it sounds almost Brooklyn, other times it sounds Andy Serkis and yet other times it sounds like Andy Serkis doing a Steven Blum impression.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: The game seems to be about Monkey getting Trip home, only for them to get about halfway through. Then they discover Trip's village was destroyed, kicking off the second half of the game.
  • Zerg Rush: The Mechs, especially on Hard Mode.
    Pigsy's Perfect 10 
  • Acrofatic: Pigsy; never has a fat man been so agile, although the grappling gun probably helps.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Name-dropped by Pigsy.
  • "Jaws" First-Person Perspective: Towards the end of the Dog sequence, Pigsy runs away from Dog while the camera is from Dog's perspective.
  • Kevlard: Completely averted. Pigsy can only take a small amount of damage before dying.
  • The Power of Friendship: The main lesson Pigsy learns by the end of the campaign - he was so busy trying to build a friend he forgot he had a loyal companion in Truffles all along until it was too late to save him.
  • Shout-Out: After using the decoy for the first time to get past a turret, Pigsy comments "my gear sure is solid."
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: While Monkey can easily tear through most of the Mecha-Mooks, Pigsy cannot take a direct hit and must rely on a mix of gadgetry, stealth and a sniper rifle to get to where he needs to.