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Video Game / Skul: The Hero Slayer

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Skul: The Hero Slayer is an action-platformer developed by South Korean independent video game studio SouthPAW Games and published by NEOWIZ that boasts roguelike features such as ever-changing and challenging maps. It initially released on PC through Steam Early Access in February 2020, with the 1.0 version made available in January 2021.

In the continent of Harmonia, humans and demons have coexisted peacefully. One day, however, the Carleon Empire breaks that peace treaty. Adventurers, who have always attacked the Demon King's castle and failed, teams up with the Imperial Army and the 'Hero of Carleon' to lead a full onslaught in hopes of wiping out the demons once and for all. They succeed, and the castle is destroyed, and the Demons taken prisoner, except for one skeleton named Skul. Now it's up to it to rescue the Senators and the Demon King, and fight back against the humans. Along the way, it may learn dark truths about the nature of humans, Carleon, and what it truly means to be a hero...


General Tropes

  • Action Bomb: Many, many enemies in the Black Lab blow up upon death.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: Facing an adventurer miniboss with the Rock Star skull equipped will cause a rock remix of the normal adventurer boss music to play.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: The third zone ends with a confrontation with the Black Lab Chief, who taunts Skul with how he's brainwashed and experimented on other demons, and threatens to demonstrate the true power of Dark Quartz...right before the Chimera (the real boss) bursts through the wall and crushes him.
  • BFS: The final upgrade of the Warrior skull, Warlord, boasts a sword of which the blade is four times as wide as the hilt, which is already long enough to make the weapon a polearm, resulting in a gigantic shovel-like blade. The achievement for unlocking the skull lampshades this by calling itself "too big to be called a sword."
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  • Big Bad: The 'First Hero', a mysterious man who brought with him Dark Quartz. The ending reveals that he is actually one of the last good humans left in Carleon, and was driven to his actions by rage borne from the death of his son.
  • The Chosen One: In the full release, flashbacks depict the Demon King taking interest in a young child who wants to be a hero, sensing that he will one day use his power to bring stability to the land. That child is reborn as Skul after his death.
  • Church Militant: The Leonia Order. Their forces serve as the primary enemies of the Fortress. Their leader, Archbishop St. Joan II, is under the impression that the Chimaera created by the Dark Alchemist is a living avatar of the lioness goddess Leonia, and not a facsimile made of Dark Quartz.
  • The Corruption: The Dark Quartz, said to be derived from the pain and hate of life itself, taints and takes control of everything it touches.
  • Fat Bastard: The Commander of the Goldmane Knights is a large-bellied and imposing figure, but in reality is a sniveling Dirty Coward who badmouths the First Hero behind closed doors and hides behind the Leiana Sisters to fight for him, and when they die he quickly scurries away.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Everyone in Carleon except for The First Hero is like this. Disregard for ethics, dogma and demagoguery abound, the military is corrupt and self-serving, and the clergy are worshiping a human-created monstrosity as their god.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: The Black Lab cements this for the scientists of Carleon, who are running all manner of awful and torturous experiments on various demons and monster creatures without regards to their sapience. Defeating the Chimaera releases what little are left alive back out into the world.
  • Dual Boss: The last boss of the second zone are the Leiana sisters, adjutants of the Goldmane Knights that fight you at the same time, with one receiving a Dark Quartz power-up when the first one dies.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Many of Skul's allies in the Demon King's army are actually quite benevolent, such as a blacksmith's apprentice that doesn't directly fight humans but will give Skul an item when rescued from them.
  • Dem Bones: The main protagonist is a revived skeleton, who can change its skull to utilize different ability sets.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: The Corrupted Chimera. In Early Access, after beating it, The First Hero comes down to kill you himself. In the full release, while still powerful, it only marks the end of the third zone (out of five).
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: The tutorial is this, ending with the First Hero crashing down to try and kill you.
  • Light Is Not Good: The Carleon forces, which includes the Mad Scientist running the Black Lab, and religious zealots that willingly sacrifice their kinsmen in order to exterminate the demonic forces.
  • Mad Scientist: The Black Lab Chief, who has experimented on members of the Demon King's army with Dark Quartz, and is disappointed when Skul is incapable of displaying emotion upon hearing the details.
  • Money Sink: The Black Knight serves as this when the player has exhausted everything else they could spend Dark Quartz on. Paying him an exponentially increasing price allows Skul to refurbish the dilapadated Demon King Castle.
  • Power Copying: Skul's main ability, and main fighting style, is using the skulls of other warriors to gain their abilities, and can use two of them at the same time.
  • The Power of Rock: The Rock Star and Super Rock Star skulls have this power, and can deal ludicrous amounts of magic damage per second by playing a sustained solo for long enough, culminating in a huge performance from the rest of the Star's band.
  • Protagonist Title: Skul is the moniker of the skeletal main protagonist.
  • The Reveal: The little boy from the flashbacks is not only the son of the First Hero, but also would later become Skul the skeleton in death.
  • Seductive Spider: Arachnea, the spider lady who can wrap Skul in a cocoon to awaken the memories of the skull it's currently using, making it stronger.
  • Sequel Hook: While the Demon King is able to broker a new peace between Demons and Humans, adventurers throughout the world begin seeking to prove themselves by facing Skul, who has become a legend after slaying the First Hero. Also, whoever was responsible for the conspiracy that killed Skul in life and drove the First Hero mad is still at large.
  • Shout-Out: Several of the wearable skulls are references to other media, such as the Rider, Jinn, Prisoner, and Warrior skulls.
  • Stock Scream: The Black Lab Chief, when he gets crushed by the Chimera, lets out a Wilhelm Scream.
  • Turns Red: Multiple end-of-zone boss fights have a second form and health bar, fueled by Dark Quartz.
  • When Trees Attack: A common enemy type throughout the first zone are Ents, which are living trees. The last boss of the first zone is the Elder Ent, who's been driven into a rage by Dark Quartz.
  • Wolfpack Boss: As Skul makes its way through Carleon, bigger groups of adventurer minbosses will attempt to stop it, ramping up the challenge as they augment their attacks with one another.