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Video Game / Nefarious

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Being bad has never been so good.

"Be the villain! A traditionally animated side-scroller where you get to be the bad guy! Kidnap Princesses! Thwart heroes!"
—- Nefarious' Tagline

Ever wonder what it would be like to play a traditional 2D Platformer like Mario, but instead of playing as Mario to rescue Princess Peach, you're playing as Bowser, and trying to kidnap her?

Nefarious takes that concept and runs with it. In this game, you play as Crow, the leader of a villainous group who treats kidnapping princesses like it's a job, and takes his role as a Card-Carrying Villain rather seriously. Crow's ultimate goal is to Take Over the World, and he's not about to let some do-gooder heroes stand in his way. Determined to kidnap every princess he can, no matter how eccentric they may be, will Crow manage to finally cement his role as one of the biggest bads there ever was? Or will he end up an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain? Only time will tell.

Nefarious was started on Kickstarter, just barely managing to reach its Kickstarter goal by the skin of its teeth in its final hour. Supporting a cast of developers from many different web projects, such as Matthew Taranto from Brawl in the Family fame, the game seeks to humorously explore the princess-kidnapping aspect of games of old.

Supporting a cast of many different princesses for Crow to kidnap, some of which aren't going to sit idly by while Crow kidnaps them, Crow will have to use every bit of his abilities if he wishes to further his goal. Some princesses, like the Energy Being princess Farrah Day, will have rather odd effects on Crow's power suit like supercharging it, while others will force Crow into some rather tricky situations. At the end of the day though, it all comes back to you fighting the princess' normal heroes, but with a twist... You are the end boss battle at most levels, trying to stomp out The Hero with Crow's Humongous Mecha.

The development team has also opened a paypal for anyone who wishes to further along the project to meet the stretch goals offered during its Kickstarter run. Some of these include a musical stage, additional princesses to kidnap, a New Game+, and co-op modes.

The game was released on January 23, 2017. An online comic was released nearly a year later, picking up where the game left off. See here for its tropes. Crow himself also appears as (fittingly enough) the Final Boss in the crossover game Indie Pogo.

Now has a character page.

Nefarious contains the following tropes:

  • Affably Evil: Crow seems to be a decent boss to his minions, and a surprisingly considerate kidnapper to the princesses.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Though Crow's prosthetic hand is canonically his right hand, it becomes his left hand any time he's facing left.
  • And Then What?: Becky is initially confused as to what happens now that Mack has given up dealing with Crow. Crow has to remind her that, yes, he does have a plan for Mayapple and the other princesses.
  • Artificial Human: Princess Farrah Day was made in a lab.
  • Art Shift: Heartless Abyss is depicted as solid-color silhouettes, contrasting with the rest of the game's more traditional look.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: This is the point of the game; you have to help Crow defeat the heroes. Played straight in the bad ending, in which Crow successfully subjugates the world.
  • Badass Bureaucrat: Becky, Crow's right-hand assistant. She's the secretary of an entire evil empire, after all. She even recaptures the princesses offscreen after the Sovereign is shot down, which is quite a feat since two of them are Ariella and Farrah.
  • Bee People: The Insektia Kingdom.
  • Boss Battle: The game twists this with its "reverse boss battles". Instead of fighting a boss at the end of the level, you are the boss at the end of the level, trying to beat The Hero to finish your attempt at kidnapping the princess. The trope is played straight with sub-bosses and Becky, though.
  • Boss Rush: The final stage has you going through a gauntlet of all the boss fights with the exception of the JRPG fight, with Crow simply walking over the heroes.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Crow. He considers himself a 'classic' villain, and is dang proud of it.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Well, more like Chekhov's death ray. Crow points this out when using it.
  • Cool Airship: The Sovereign, Crow's preferred method of transportation.
  • Cool Helmet: Crow's helmet matches his armor and has two headlamp lights.
  • Creepy Jazz Music: Crow has a swingy tune for his theme music.
  • Damsel out of Distress: Unlike the typical kidnapped princess the ones in this game tend to fight back.
  • Didn't Think This Through: When attempting to kidnap Princess Tephra she merely grabs Crow and punches him away with ease. Considering she's nearly twice his size and has Hulk hands, this was the outcome that should have been expected.
  • Distressed Dude: Prince Malachite. Crow's equal-opportunity evil, y'know.
  • Doomsday Device: The Doom Howitzer. Crow's goal is to use it to take over the world.
  • Epic Flail: In the Insektia Kingdom, Crow uses a hoverpod with a humongous wrecking ball attached.
  • Evil Empire: Crow has one, naturally.
  • Evil Genius: Crow is one, natch.
  • Evil Minions: Crow has a veritable army of minions, and can interact with them aboard his airship.
  • Evil Only Has to Win Once: Nearly said word for word in the normal ending where Crow wins and takes over the world.
  • Expy:
    • Princess Mayapple is a snarkier version of Peach, down to the name, the villain dynamic, and the go-kart races.
    • The 8-bit heroes are structured like a traditional Final Fantasy party.
    • Dash and Dr. Mechano serve as ones for Sonic the Hedgehog and Eggman, albeit the former is more of a guard than a freewheeling spirit, and the latter isn't competing with Dash at all.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Winterdown is a cartoonified Russia while Sukochi is a cartoonified Japan.
  • Foreshadowing: When dealing with Apoidea to find the treasure, Crow keeps his word because he thinks it's not dramatic enough to betray someone in the middle of the story. In the Good Ending, Becky does just that.
    • In the supervillain museum, there's a note about how villains usually want to make the world a better place. Crow can change his mind and save the world from Becky.
    • In both versions of the Bad Endingnote  Mayapple can be seen escaping her imprisonment. It's the hint that she's the key to achieving the good ending and saving the world.
  • Four-Legged Insect: Princess Apoidea.
  • Friendly Enemy: Crow is an enemy of each princess's nation, but still bonds with them quite a bit over the course of the game. Even before the game, he and Mayapple are fairly close.
    • Crow and Dr. Mechano are rival villains who both want to rule the world, and fight when they both invade the same kingdom at the same time. But when the battle is over, they share friendly banter and plan to meet up for a game of poker later.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Crow and Mayapple have gone go-karting and played tennis.
  • Having a Blast: Most of Crow's attacks and special moves involve explosions. While he doesn't have a double-jump, he has a Bomb Jump, which is similar.
  • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses
  • Harmless Villain: Crow is generally seen this way, particularly by his usual hero Mack. He realizes otherwise on the bad ending route, but by then it's too late.
  • Hot-Blooded: Princess Tephra.
  • Hostile Show Takeover: Crow does this to the manual, of all places.
  • Humongous Mecha: Crow builds a number of these, and uses them in reversed boss fights, wherein the player controls the giant hulking robot against the little hero.
    • Inverted when Crow has to fight the Treble Rangers; They pilot the mighty TR Mech, and Crow has to battle them on foot.
  • Insect Queen: Princess Apoidea fits this trope, though she's not a queen yet.
  • Living MacGuffin: Crow wants to kidnap the princesses because he wants to use their magic to power his doomsday weapon.
  • Malevolent Mugshot: Crow's personal sigil is just a picture of his face.
  • Multiple Endings: There are two main endings, with the Good Ending being unlocked by completing all of the sidequests.
    • Bad Ending: Crow uses the Doom Howitzer and fights Mack. After winning, he successfully conquers the world with his army, with the only one to escape being Mayapple, who has decided to lead the rebellion against him.
    • Good Ending: Having a last second change of heart, Crow decides not to use the Doom Howitzer, which prompts Becky to backstab him and take control. Mayapple and Crow work together to save the world and everyone lives happily ever after, with Crow and Becky deciding to patch things up between them and plan their next move.
  • Nintendo Hard: Funny and lighthearted? Yes. Easy? NO.
  • Nonindicative Name: Scorpior, a villain who usually kidnaps Apoidea, is a giant robot, and isn't scorpion-like at all. ("He gets that a lot," says Apoidea.) Though in the comics, Scorpior does look like a robotic scorpion.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Mack ends up learning the hard way that letting the Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain go because you're tired of putting up with his shenanigans is not a good idea. Especially in the bad ending...
  • Over-the-Shoulder Carry: Once you kidnap a princess the whole level consists of carrying her this way. Depending on which one it is, Crow gains an additional ability. (For instance, if it's Apoidea, Crow can jump higher.)
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Princess Ariella. Not only does she force Crow to keep running when he 'kidnaps' her, she can also chop through support beams in one swing.
    • Princess Farrah Day as well. She's very small, but is made of pure energy - enough to power Crow up with infinite ammo.
  • Pity the Kidnapper: Some of the princesses Crow kidnaps can't help but make you feel bad for Crow, especially for the likes of Princess Ariella.
  • Powered Armor: Crow's power armor is calibrated to counteract the shock of his own grenades. So, instead of being blown to bits, he can use grenades strategically to access hard to reach areas. The justification for Crow's grenade jumping is actually used as a plot point during the Good Ending.
  • Princess Classic: Princess Mayapple loves being a princess and everything that comes with it. She enjoys baking cakes, playing tennis and picnics on sunny days.
  • Rocket Jump: Crow's grenades can propel him upward. Justified because his power armor is designed to absorb and counteract the shock of his explosives.
  • Role-Reversal Boss: As a 2D platformer where you play as the villain trying to kidnap the princess, and many of its boss fights run with this role reversal by putting the player in control of some big robot that fights like a typical video game boss.
  • Royalty Superpower: Princesses and princes literally generate magical energy that can be harnessed to power a doomsday weapon. Princess Farrah Day is an experiment into coalescing this energy into a sentient being. In the good ending Becky files the paperwork to deem Crow's territory a kingdom and, after usurping his rule on the spot, becomes a princess capable of generating power for the Doom Howitzer.
  • Save the Princess: Inverted. Instead of saving the Princess, you're trying to kidnap them. Played with with Farrah Day, who thinks Crow is saving her.
  • Sequential Boss: The final fight with the Doom Howitzer's defense cannon serves as one. What ending path you choose determines whether or not you're controlling it (vs. Mack) or fighting against it (vs. Becky).
  • Shoot the Medic First: The key to winning the boss fight in the Lava Kingdom.
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Malachite. All the promotional materials show Crow kidnapping his sister, Princess Tephra. Instead, Tephra turns out to be one of the game's antagonists.
  • Status Quo Is God: Averted and deconstructed. The game begins with Mack, Crow's Arch-Enemy, deciding that he isn't a big enough threat to bother with and just lets him kidnap Mayapple, breaking the status quo right out of the gate. The rest of the game shows what happens when said status quo is gone and the villain is allowed to do as he pleases, eventually growing too powerful for the hero to stop.
    • Played straight with Crow's status as a Card-Carrying Villain. Even in the good ending, even when you choose to abandon the plan, all he does is choose not to use the Doom Howitzer; Mayapple is the one who fights Becky to save the world. Crow never once commits an action in any heroic interest.
  • Sticky Bomb: Some of Crow's grenades stick to enemies.
  • Take Over the World: The ultimate goal of the game.
  • The Hero: Each princess has one, which Crow will need to fight and outsmart if he wants to kidnap the princess.
  • The Spock: Becky seems to be this, being the one who keeps Crow's Evil Empire running while he's attempting to kidnap princesses, as well as talking in Spock Speak.
  • Villain Protagonist: Naturally, given the nature of the game.
  • Warrior Princess: Princess Ariella, the warrior princess of Dwarf Country.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: When preparing to fight Mack at the beginning, Mack proceeds to tell Mayapple that he is breaking up with her and proceeds to leave without fighting saying he has real crimes to stop, upsetting both Mayapple and Crow.
    Crow: He just gave up! Ugh. I might be a villain, but he's the real jerk here.
  • Wilhelm Scream: During the game show, "Would you date a Supervillain?"