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Video Game / The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit

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The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is a 2018 free-to-play adventure game developed by DONTNOD Entertainment and published by Square Enix. It is set in the Life Is Strange universe and serves as a prologue to Life Is Strange 2, taking place simultaneously with the sixth chapter of its second episode, Rules.

It's December 2016, and Chris Eriksen is an imaginative nine-year-old boy who lives alone with his father Charles. On a cold winter Saturday morning, Chris dons the cape of Captain Spirit, his superhero alter-ego, and goes on a quest to defeat the evil Mantroid while avoiding the wrath of his drunk father.

The game was released as a digital download on the 26th June 2018, for Xbox One, PS4, and Steam.

The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit contains the following tropes.

  • Abusive Parents: Charles neglects Chris, uses profanity that a nine-year-old should not know in front of him, and berates Chris for not being manly enough. It's strongly implied that Charles has been physically abusive to Chris and that he broke Chris' arm in the past. At the end of the game, he blames Chris for the death of Emily, making him run off to his tree house. To Charles' credit, it is shown that he tries to be a better parent, but being alcoholic clearly doesn't help.
  • The Alcoholic: Charles is always seen drinking. Unfortunately, he's an angry drunk.
  • Ambiguous Ending: At the end, it's not made clear whether Chris has his own superpowers or if the Diaz siblings saved him with theirs. The sequel confirms it to be the latter.
  • Anti-Frustration Feature: As it's surprisingly easy to skip to the end of the game by waking up Charles, the game will automatically save just before Chris wakes him up, allowing the player to complete the tasks that Chris has set for himself.
  • Big Bad: Played with in regards to the two antagonists:
  • Bigger on the Inside: The junk pile maze is apparently much bigger and more convoluted than it seems from the outside, requiring directions to navigate through.
  • Break the Cutie: Poor Chris has recently lost his mother, has had to move away from his friends to a squalid house, and has to deal with his alcoholic and abusive father. While Chris is quite a happy kid despite all of this he breaks down crying on looking at a photograph of his mother, and runs off in tears when his father angrily admits that he blames him for his mother's death.
  • Bully Magnet: Chris is often ostracized from his peers in school due to Charles' alcoholism and his own social shortcomings, going as far as being in a physical fight with another student.
  • But Thou Must!: Despite most players knowing that it won't end well, Chris has to wake up his drunken father for the game to continue.
  • The Cameo: Principal Ray Wells sends a letter to Emily Eriksen thanking her for her support of the art program, and Mark Jefferson has a book on photography owned by Emily on a shelf. Finally, Sean and Daniel Diaz make an Early-Bird Cameo in the ending.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Daniel Diaz and Sean Diaz, the main characters of Life Is Strange 2, make a brief appearance in the ending.
  • Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: After the opening sequence, Charles will announce that breakfast is ready. If you don't leave your room in a timely fashion, he'll shout again with more insistence and be annoyed at Chris for ignoring him the first time. In a variation of this trope, if you keep dawdling then eventually all the action prompts in the room will be disabled and you will have leave the room.
  • Continuity Nod: While this is a separate story from the original Life Is Strange, it does take place in the same universe:
    • Chris's late mother Emily was a graduate of Blackwell Academy.
    • Chris can find a photo book written by Mark Jefferson entitled "Teen Spirit".
    • Hawt Dawg Man also makes an appearance, in his very own mobile game and comic book.
  • Cope by Pretending: Chris takes on the alter-ego of Captain Spirit, a beloved and powerful hero, and makes his responsibilities into games or "missions". This is a coping mechanism to avoid confronting the reality of his unfortunate situation.
  • Decoy Protagonist: While this is a prologue of sorts to Life Is Strange 2, Chris is not the protagonist of that game.
  • Developer's Foresight: When Ms. Reynolds shows up towards the end, she'll have conditional dialogue that only plays should you complete optional objectives like completing Captain Spirit's costume, shovelling the snow or recycling the beer cans.
  • Die or Fly: Chris seemingly discovers that he can fly after he falls from his treehouse ladder. However it's actually Daniel Diaz who saves Chris with his powers.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: The map to the junk maze is kept in two parts: one in Chris's room, and the other in his treehouse.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The Diaz brothers show up at the very end of the game. Most notably, this was before they were even officially announced as the protagonists of Life Is Strange 2. An email also mentions freight hoppers in the area, which turn out to be Cassidy and Finn. Derek and the Universal Uprising Church can also call Chris near the end of the demo.
  • Foreshadowing: Everywhere. DONTNOD has stated that this demo has many hints towards Life Is Strange 2's plot if you know where to look.
    • A newspaper in Chris' living room mentions an incident where a civilian and police officer were killed in Seattle. Esteban Diaz is said civilian and the father of Sean and Daniel, Claire's grandsons of whom we see in the ending of the demo. This is also the incident that kicks off Life Is Strange 2.
    • An email on Charles' laptop mentions a problem with "unruly teenage freight hoppers" in the Beaver Creek area. Cassidy and Finn, two characters that Sean and Daniel meet in Episode 2 travel the world via freight hopping and leads the brothers to California, as seen in the next episode.
    • You can blow off Snowmancer's left eye with a "blast of psychic energy" (actually a fire cracker). Sean loses his left eye in Episode 3 thanks to an actual telekinetic blast caused by Daniel.
    • Chris can get a call from the Universal Uprising Church and a representative, Derek. This is the "religious community" of which Jacob mentions he's from in Episode 3, and also where he takes Daniel in the next episode. Sean can speak to Derek in-person during said episode.
    • If you manage to wane suspicion from Claire, she will mention to Chris that her grandsons are finally visiting again for Christmas, one of whom is his age. You see them in Claire's backyard at the end of the demo.
    • Sean and Daniel's rather nonchalant reaction to Chris levitating during the ending seems rather strange, leading many to believe that they might've had something to do with it, and that the power of Life Is Strange 2's protagonist will be telekinesis. Indeed, Daniel is in possession of telekinesis, and saved Chris from his fall.
  • Guide Dang It!: Unlocking the father's cell phone to play the game on it. Most players assume that the PIN is something obvious like Chris's birthday, but you actually need to convert the word "Hawt dawg", shown on a comic book in the bathroom, into phone numbers (ABC = 2, DEF = 3, etc.), which is 42983294. There's really no indication that this would be the solution, especially since the PIN area allows you to type up to 11 digits. This is compounded by the fact that the game's other "crack the password" puzzle (opening the locker in the garage) has a much more straightforward and typical video game solution, so many players naturally assumed the cell phone puzzle would be similar. The game's designer stated in a Steam thread that the idea behind the code was for players to collaborate with one another [1], so don't feel bad if you had to look this one up.
  • Hero of Another Story: The two boys encountered at the end are the protagonists of Life Is Strange 2 and are the ones who saved Chris from his fall.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Charles not only drinks a beer for breakfast, he also drinks his way through a bottle of whiskey shortly afterwards. Given the number of beer cans littering the apartment, it's a regular occurrence.
  • Karma Houdini: The driver that killed Chris' mother in a hit-and-run was apparently never found. This is heavily implied to be one of the reasons for Charles' inability to move on.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: A variation. Mantroid gets his name from a portmanteau of 'Mantle Street' and 'Asteroid Drive', the crossroads where Chris's mom was killed by a hit-and-run.
  • Maternal Death? Blame the Child!: Downplayed, since Charles doesn't deliberately blame Chris for his mother's death, and she didn't die in childbirth anyway, but Chris's resemblance to his mother makes it that much harder for Charles to cope with losing her. When he finally lashes out at Chris, he apologizes immediately, but for Chris, it's too late.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane:
    • It's clear for the most part that everything out of the ordinary that happens is due to Chris's imagination. However, the ending where Chris falls off the treehouse, only to start to float before he hits the ground is left a little bit more unclear. Was this also in his head, or does Chris actually have special powers similar to Max from the previous game? Given the nature of this game series, it's very likely the latter. It's revealed in Life is Strange 2 that it was actually Daniel Diaz, the younger neighbor boy, who has the powers and saved Chris.
  • Mood Whiplash: Chris has just ran outside in the snow, crying his heart out because his father told him that he blamed him for his mother's death, and the ladder to his tree-house breaks as he's climbing up there. Then Chris begins gently floating before he hits the ground, and his tears vanish as he looks on in awe. He even manages a smile as the Diaz siblings look over at him and wave.
  • Motherhood Is Superior: From what the audience can gather, Emily was a great mother to Chris. After her death, it is evident that Charles' parenting is less than stellar.
  • Missing Mom: Chris's mother Emily died in a car accident.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: In true nine-year-old fashion, many things that would be otherwise normal are given a lot more cinematic treatment, including turning on the TV and "fighting" a snowman.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: If Chris uses his 'superpowers' while doing the washing up, he'll end up breaking a cup. His dad isn't impressed.
  • Parents as People: Charles isn't always aggressive and angry towards Chris, and he at least tries to be a good dad by making Chris breakfast and buying him games and tickets to his favorite convention. But losing his wife obviously broke him and sent him spiraling into depression and alcoholism, and he's still too buried in his own grief to be able to take care of his son properly.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": In contrast to his phone, which has a pretty difficult pin, Charles uses the year on his trophies as the code for the combination lock on his safe.
  • Porn Stash: A magazine can be found hidden in the back of Charles' closet.
    Chris: They're naked... whoa.
  • Potty Failure: In the Hawt Dawg Man comic, his Mustard bottle friend is shown leaking mustard all over the tarmac.note 
  • Simultaneous Arcs: The plot takes place during Episode 2 of Life Is Strange 2.
  • Slice of Life: The game mostly shows a typical Saturday in the life of an imaginative boy.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Chris is said to look very much like his mother; he certainly doesn't share many of looks with his father. It's heavily implied that this is one of the reasons why Charles is abusive towards him; he can see his dead wife in Chris in both the way he looks, and the way he acts.
  • To Be Continued: The game ends on this, leaving Chris possibly manifesting superpowers, his fight with his dad, and potentially a confrontation between Charles and their neighbors over his drunkenness to be resolved in Life Is Strange 2.
  • Transformation Sequence: When Chris completes his superhero costume, the game switches to a cutscene of his costume materializing on his body.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: If the player chooses to destroy Noctarious, Chris will seemingly go against his pacifist rules. "Noctarious" will point this out as Chris acts out killing him.
    "You can't kill me! You said you don't kill people!"