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Video Game / Shakedown: Hawaii

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Shakedown: Hawaii, developed by Canadian studio Vblank Entertainment, is the spiritual sequel to Retro City Rampage. It was released on May 7th, 2019 for Microsoft Windows on Epic Games Store, PlayStation 4, Play Station Vita, Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Switch, followed by ports on July 9th, 2020 for the Wii and August 2020 for the Wii U (along with a Windows release via Steam). And yes, you really are reading these last two consoles and dates correctly. The game uses same gameplay and graphic style as its predecessor (though where Retro City aimed for an 8-bit aesthetic, Shakedown tries to emulate the games of the 16-bit era), but the story this time leans less towards parody, and more heavily towards satire.

Taking place 30 years after Retro City Rampage, it stars an old, overweight (soon to be) Corrupt Corporate Executive in a quest to save his floundering company via crooked business practices aided by his son and his hired gun, in 16-bit graphics and Synthwave soundtrack.

This game contains examples of:

  • Anachronism Stew: See Retro Universe below.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: The game will occasionally switch characters to focus on The CEO's attempt to rebuild his company, his son Scooter's GTA-esque street crime levels and Al, the "consultant" used to settle affairs overseas whose stages are purely combat oriented.
  • Badass Bystander:
    • Some civilians will retaliate with handguns or baseball bats if you attack them.
    • Some cashiers will fight you head-on during Shakedowns.
  • Butt-Monkey: "Chad" AKA "MC Balm Drop" is this to highly exaggerated levels. First he was roped into faking gameplay video to promote "Gamer Cola" and then after having a rather stable shift job, got roped into doing crime with Scooter and Al for "publicity". The last you see of him is escaping Hawaii as a wanted criminal.
  • Capitalism Is Bad: The game is not subtle at all about how this is its main message, being about every single dirty, underhanded, and predatory trick modern Mega Corps use to skirt around the law and government regulations, making their products worse to cut costs while also inflating prices, creating monopolies, and generally conning and fleecing their customers.
  • Cardboard Prison: Some stores try to drop the person shaking them down into a "Loss Prevention Holding Unit" after they attempt their shakedown. However, they are dreadfully easy to break out of.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The protagonist soon has to resort to this in order to quickly save his business. Not that the opponents and the world at large are any better, though.
  • Cosmic Deadline: After being undercut and tricked by the system multiple times as a way to deliver satire on modern capitalism, as the last arc hits, the confrontation with Featherbottom and the Cartel began and resolved very quickly to the way of the ending.
  • Crapsack World: Everything in the world exist only to drain people out of their money with various schemes. For instance, every single food and drink seems to be artificial, laced with preservatives, or filled with cost-cutting measures, common video game consoles are overloaded with advertising, so is the internet, also any tech gadgets not only cost a fortune but are also served as a subscription... and how average people earn money in this world? If they're not into crime, White-Collar Crime or not like your protagonist, they're into lowly retail jobs such as cashiers... in which you regularly intimidate and kick to submission for the sake of ownership.
  • Darker and Edgier: The game eschews pop-culture Reference Overdosed that adorns Retro City Rampage in favor of Take That! toward modern Mega-Corp business practices. The colors are more realistically tinted compared to the more colorful Retro City Rampage.
  • An Entrepreneur Is You: The main goal of the game is to Take Over the City by buying up properties all over the island. Several of the businesses require you to perform a Shakedown on the owner in order to make them available for purchase. You can also unlock various multipliers such as false advertisement, credit cards and untested products to increase the values of the businesses. However your character doesn't actually get any spending money until you get the option to set a salary for yourself.
  • Evil Versus Evil: None of the characters in the game are traditionally sympathetic.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Some of the ways The CEO commits the titular shakedowns include things like beating up the cashier and destroying the merchandise, as well as things like clogging the toilet with paper towels and dancing obnoxiously near customers.
  • It Will Never Catch On: The CEO often insists that video streaming is just a fad.
  • Karma Houdini: The CEO gets away with every dirty business trick in the book, and he even gets a Humanitarian award by the end of the game!
    • In terms of the three major rivals, Tad escapes in a car and flees Hawaii before Al can kill him. In contrast, Featherbottom is hospitalized following a plot by The CEO to ensure he cannot buy out his company and the Cartel Leader is killed when Al storms his base.
  • Knight of Cerebus: The Cartel. They're less humorous and more dangerous than Featherbottom or Tad; their Missions have the highest stakes; and their Leader is the Final Boss, and ruthless enough to warrant being Killed Off for Real (while Featherbottom and Tad are ruined and humiliated but still alive).
  • Lootboxes: Satirized. They are transparently very useless.
  • Majority-Share Dictator: The CEO's rival, Featherbottom, obtains a 51% share in the company due to a buyout clause, and intends to oust him as soon as the next board meeting comes along.
  • Mega-Corp: Your goal, along with Take Over the City.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: As the cover art helpfully shows us, our ageing CEO is quite fond of doing this to his competitors. With a rocket launcher.
    The CEO: I'd like to make you an offer, to acquire this fine establishment...
    Rival CEO: (without looking up from his papers) Get out of my office, you clodhopping peasant. And tell the concierge that let you in that they are fired.
    The CEO: WOAH, WOAH! You haven't even heard my offer... (produces rocket launcher from Hammerspace) THIS, is my offer!
    Rival CEO: (yelps in horror)
    The CEO: That's right... Sign it! Right there!
  • Only Sane Man: Ron, The CEO's aide, who constantly tells The CEO the scams he tries to pull are illegal. Mind you, he never once tries to actually stop him. Considering what would happen if he did, Ron probably wouldn't have a choice.
  • Predatory Business: But of course. Missions are basically all about having the protagonist use every dirty trick in the book to undermine and buy out his competitors, all the way up to outright extortion and An Offer You Can't Refuse.
  • Retraux: Now based on a 16-bit game.
  • Retro Universe: While tablets, streaming, Virtual Reality, and Augmented Reality exist in the game, diskettes, CRT television, and boxy cellphones are still commonplace.
  • The Rival: Friggin' Featherbottom!
  • Shout-Out:
    • After you beat the final boss, you get text reading "Area Liberated!" There’s even an explosion in the next cutscene.
    • The side-quest where Al is looting diamonds is called "In the Rough".
    • The Spread Gun is a clear homage to the Spread Gun from the Contra series.
  • Shown Their Work: Much of the satire against shady business practices are spot-on, from printer companies over pricing and giving false low-ink alerts, cartels controlling the diamond trade, as well as many farms in South America.
  • Systematic Villain Takedown: The final few missions center around removing the various rivals to Feeble Inc. First, The CEO and his cohorts conspire to end Featherbottom's attempts to buy out Feeble Inc, then when Tad kidnaps Scooter a second time, The CEO sends Al to eliminate his gang to ensure they’re no longer a problem, and finally when the Cartel invades Hawaii to get back at The CEO for destroying their hideouts, Al is sent out to defeat their leader and force them to disband.
  • Take That!: Toward modern Mega-Corp business practices.
  • Taught by Experience: Throughout the game, The CEO constantly gets scammed from everything, from food packaging to ads on his tablet. He then uses said scams to keep his business running. Smaller food packaging? Uses that on his bottle of terrible diet soda to increase revenue. Annoying Ads that causes him to think fiber sandals are what everyone wants? Finds out about Advertisement ID and uses it to sell his VHS.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • The CEO will go from a oafish old man to a brilliant and menacing Corrupt Corporate Executive through the course of the game.
    • The three characters can upgrade themselves through surgery to run faster, jump long and take more damage. They're fairly expensive, but are easy to do on the CEO, as he can get a cut of his company. Scooter and Al will have to resort to robbing houses and stealing cars to get their money.
  • Villain Protagonist: The main character is a ruthless CEO who isn't above fraud, extortion and murder if it turns a profit, but then again, so does everyone else.