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Video Game / To the Bitter End

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"For centuries, the people of the Plane of Ithia have suffered under the iron-fisted rule of the immortal sorcerer Morganem and his Council of Six. Now finally their pleas for help are answered: five legendary heroes arrive from beyond the crimsom storms of the Warp, seeking to topple Morganem's corrupt Empire.

But Morganem will not step silently into the darkness of history, and he prepares to fight these interlopers to the bitter end." - The official website's summary.

To the Bitter End is a single-player Real-Time Strategy Action RPG campaign created for Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. The website of the campaign is here, as well as links to more information on its characters and concepts.

This user-made campaign contains examples of:

  • A Taste of Power: In the Prologue cinematic, Soul Reaver and the rest of the Companions are clearly high level, taking out hordes of Dharuk and using powerful abilities. However, when Chapter I rolls around, Soul Reaver's amnesia has reduced him to a Level 1 character.
    • It is likely the other Companions suffered the same fate, but regained some of their lost memories and skills by the time Soul Reaver meets up with them.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: And how! Lots of spoilers ahead:
    • All of Morganem's dreams come crashing down and he dies in misery, realizing he has almost destroyed the universe he originally wanted to help.
    • Eryion chooses to let Cameron kill him in penance for his crimes
    • Kherek dies mourning the many Dharuk that have been slain
    • The Dharuk Warmaster dies realizing that his own life and the lives of his warriors have been wasted
    • Dustwalker dies alone and without the chance to have avenged the death of his friend
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    • Even the sadistic Kathryn dies in tears, pining for her lover
  • All There in the Manual: The official site contains a massive amount of background story and information, though it isn't necessary to play the game.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The Void Children, and the Dharuk.
    • Though the Dharuk seem to show regret in the Epilogue
  • Animate Dead: Kaine Shariven and Dustwalker both use this ability extensively.
  • Anti-Grinding: Each Chapter has a level cap, which can be reached simply playing it from start to finish, without ever needing to take the additonal risk of specifically seeking out enemies to kill. The time limits in many Chapters further discourage level grinding.
  • Anti-Hero: Soul Reaver fits this trope - he might be dedicated to honour and justice, but his interpretation of these seems to give him a lot of leeway to do as he sees fit. This includes willingly using an Evil Weapon, summoning and controlling Daemons, absorbing the souls of slain foes to augment his powers and killing anyone he deems evil enough. And near the end of Chapter V, Soul Reaver alludes to having killed his own son to uphold his dedication to his beliefs.
    • And Fei Serumen, of course. He's an ancient Vampire Lord, after all.
  • Anti-Villain: Eryion Xanatha, one of Morganem's immortal Warlords is a typical Type IV on the Sliding Scale Of Antivillains. He's basically The Paladin, but a past oath prevents him from betraying Morganem even though it's becoming clear that Morganem has turned into a Big Bad. In Chapter VII, rather than breaking his vow and surrending once it became clear he wouldn't win, he continues to fight to the death, only asking for Cameron to remember his well-intentioned efforts.
    • Kherek greatly cares about the Dharuk Mooks under his command. His hatred of the heroes is justified considering how many Dharuk they kill.
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    • Morganem himself. A Well-Intentioned Extremist and Totalitarian Utilitarian, everything he's done he did in a genuine effort to make the lives of his mortal subjects better in the long term. It just didn't work out the way he planned, even after centuries. He acknowledges he has died a tyrant in his dying moments, and asks for the Companions to forgive him.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: The Dharuk.
  • Apocalypse How: Universal/Metaphysical Annihilation by Uthurak, who intends to completely destroy the Plane of Ithia.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Played straight with Morganem, most of the Council of Six and Kurgah Ghar, but averted with Kaine Shariven. Despite the fact that Kaine is a member of the Council of Six he is actually less powerful than most of the Dharuk Officers and Dharuk Champions.
  • Badass Cape: Soul Reaver, Morganem, and Sera Poi all wear one.
  • Big Bad: Morganem
  • Bigger on the Inside: Khaal Spire, Morganem's Evil Tower of Ominousness, is clearly much larger on the inside than the outside. Justified in that it's an entirely magical contruct made by a powerful enchanter.
    • Though their size is scaled up in the campaign, a lot of the unit-producing structures still seem too small in comparison to the number of creatures that pour from them.
  • Bolivian Army Ending / Post-Climax Confrontation: Subverted Trope, with the Companions leaving Morganem's citadel only to be confronted by the assembled Dharuk army... who proceed to leave and scatter.
  • Book-Ends: The prologue begins when the Companions cross a Warp Gate, land on Dhar next to Morganem's stronghold and start their (failed) raid on Khaal Spire. The last part of the mod is another raid on Khaal Spire (from the surrounding of the stronghold to Morganem throne room), which is successful this time. The epilogue cutscene actually ends with the Companions leaving Dhar through a Warp Gate.
  • Boss Battle: A lot of these, typically at least one per Chapter. Chapter VII has EIGHT.
  • Black Magic: Soul Reaver's spells, Fei Serumen's powers over the Abyss, and most of Kitharsis' abilities.
  • Black and Grey Morality: Chapter I has Soul Reaver freeing a bunch of criminals whose units are unambiguously labelled as "Thug" and "Assassin" and so on. Soul Reaver himself notes the concept prior to the final fight of the chapter, calling the criminals' crimes small compared to the boss' plans that will "crush the spirits of hundreds".
  • Blow You Away: Kitharsis can summon a whirlwind for one of his Ultimates.
  • Character Level: Heroes rise from Level 1 up to a maximum Level of 50.
  • The Chessmaster: Though it does not matter in the context of the campaign itself, Word of God states that Slayer is one of these. His enigmatic 'Master' is not at all benevolent, but he shares a common enemy with the Companions in Uthurak. Slayer is aware of all of this, and his actions are all calculated to ensure the Companions do his dirty work for him.
  • Combat Medic: Sera Poi is the only character amongst the Companions to have abilities that heal herself and her allies.
  • Combat Tentacles: Used by the Void Growth in Chapter IV and Morganem in Chapter VIII.
  • Critical Hit: Soul Reaver's "Master Of Battle" and Sera Poi's "Deadly Marksman".
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Void Children vs Dharuk in Chapter IV. The Dharuk don't stand a chance on their own.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max:
    • Very much in evidence during the victory cinematic at the end of Chapter VIII, where the heroes display even greater powers than normal. Justified because they're pushing themselves to the absolute limit one final time to prevent Uthurak from destroying the universe..
    • Also evident in Chapter V, when Sera fires a single super-powered arrow half-way across the map and hits Kathryn in the chest.
      • Possibly justified because Sera implies it was a special arrow that she was keeping in reserve.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Soul Reaver's hero title is "Immortal Dark Knight" with fitting colours in his appearance, but he's totally a good guy.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Sera against Kathryn in Chapter VII.
  • Determinator:
    • The Companions, separated by magic across worlds, all nonetheless continue their fight against Morganem. At the start, they are five people (immortal themselves, granted) against a group of seven immortals that control an empire of worlds and a massive army.
    • Soul Reaver in particular - he became an immortal after being crippled and tortured fighting a demonic Shadowlord. Unwilling to give up, he suddenly managed to tap into the power of his own soul. Souls are eternal and infinite, as is Soul Reaver's potential now (though he currently cannot consciously draw on the full extent of said potential). note 
  • Distant Finale: The Epilogue.
  • Easy Amnesia: All five heroes suffer from this after their disastrous first assault on Morganem's fortress. It's used to explain why they have to level back up to regain full powers over the course of the campaign.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The phenomenally powerful and otherworldly Void Children that Morganem allies himself with. And, of course, their true form, Uthurak.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Morganem really shouldn't have summoned those Void Children... you know, considering they were pieces of an Eldritch Abomination that seeks to destroy all existence.
  • Explosive Breeder: The Dark Memories, which split into two after every few attacks.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Slayer, though wisps of blue light smoulder from between his closed eyelids.
  • Fanfic: The game's Multiverse setting comes from a tandem story, some elements of which drew inspiration from other universes. For example, the character of Cameron Aileron and his background story were clearly inspired by the Space Marines from Warhammer 40,000.
    • However, while it shares the same name as the Warp from Warhammer 40,000, it seems that the Warp in "To the Bitter End" has no association with evil Chaos Gods. It's just what lies beyond the borders of reality. That doesn't make it any less dangerous to travel through.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Crown Prince Thorin in Chapter V having gone to a neighboring kingdom to ask for military aid, returns saying it was found in ruins and thus believed the only way to help their people survive was to surrender to Morganem. He brings a bunch of Morganem's troops along for the ride just to show he's not joking.
  • Five-Man Band: The five heroes (the Companions) fit this trope to a greater or lesser degree:
  • Fragile Speedster:
    • Fei Serumen, who has the lowest Hit Points but highest base attack and movement speeds of any of the heroes.
    • The armor granted by him having the highest agility (agility grants armor in the Warcraft 3 engine) and passively having a chance to dodge all attacks that gets really crazy in the later levels will make him Nigh-Invulnerable against enemies who use physical attacks. Against enemies who cast spells to do damage however, he'll still be squishiest of the Companions.
  • Freudian Excuse: Most of the Warlords suffered from their experiences around mortals, leading to them believing that mortals don't deserve their free will. This is why they band together to try and control all the mortals in their home universe.
    • Except for Maelstrom, an unrepentant Nietzsche Wannabe who believes that since Immortals are the only exceptions to the hopelessness and inevitability of life's end, mortals should only exist for the purposes of their glory. He was considering to later overthrow Morganem as he couldn't convince Morganem to abandon the high-minded ideals behind his empire to switch to his own self-absorbed opinions.
  • Green Thumb: One of Sera Poi's Ultimate abilities goes under this.
  • Guide Dang It!: Not everything you're supposed to do within the game is perfectly clear, and the difficulty level is high. Fortunately, the hints section on the website can help out.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Cameron Aileron packs a machine gun... yet it does less damage than the medieval weaponry of his companions or some enemies.
    • Justified somewhat by the fact that the medieval weapons tend to be in the hands of superhuman warriors with phenomenal strength.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Dying attempting to hold off the protagonists, the Dharuk leader in Chapter VII gives the Companions information to warn them about the Warlords' plans to defeat them.
    • And in Chapter I Hektor Bliten comes back to help Soul Reaver at a crucial moment. Although he admits is was partially because he couldn't have defeated the enemy forces on his own.
  • Hit-and-Run Tactics: How to defeat Kherek and Kathryn in Chapter VII.
  • Hold the Line: The first section of Chapter V has four of the heroes helping their NPC allies, the Guardians, hold off an enemy siege until reinforcements can arrive. Subverted, the reinforcements don't arrive and the contingent that left to ask for reinforcements made a Face–Heel Turn.
  • Hyperspace Is a Scary Place:
    • The Warp is an anti-reality between universes that completely destroys anything 'real' that enters it. Even creatures somehow protected from physical destruction usually go insane. In the Prologue even the Companions (though experienced Warp travellers and extremely powerful beings in their own right) are scattered and stripped of their memories and powers because they are unexpectedly hurled into the Warp.
    • And in Chapter VII, taking too long to stop the Warlords results in them unleashing an even more powerful version of the same attack... which this time will prove fatal.
  • Hypocrite: Dustwalker's outrage at Soul Reaver and Fei and calling them murderers for killing Kaine, his apprentice and only friend, evidences some Moral Myopia considering how they are both Necromancers, Kaine earlier being shown using Fei to kill a lot of innocent civilians for the purpose of raising them as armies for Morganem.
    • Although admittedly, it was Kaine that was responsible for all that killing, not Dustwalker, and there wasn't any evidence that Dustwalker would have approved of it. Dustwalker is actually pretty neutral... at least until his friend gets killed.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Soul Reaver against an insane Fei Serumen. During these battles, Soul Reaver refuses to use his Sphere of Annihilation spell (should the player try to do so), making it clear that his goal is not to kill his former ally, but rather to bring him to his senses.
  • Immortality: Possessed by several of the heroes and the Companions, and the primary unifying trait of the seven villains. Morganem's longevity as a Healing Factor-type Immortal is the primary reason why he believes himself worthy of the role of The Emperor and why he chose the Council of Six to stand by him.
  • Last of His Kind: Fei Serumen, having defeated and absorbed all the other Ancient Vampire Lords.
  • Magic Knight: Soul Reaver especially excels both in close combat and offensive magic. The rest of his Companions also have magical and physical abilities alike.
  • Mêlée à Trois: In IV, Dharuk and Void Children are hostile against each other. This is useful during a scripted event of the scenario.
  • Men of Sherwood: The allies in Chapters I, III and V.
  • Mighty Glacier: Kherek, without a doubt. He hits like several tanks strapped together. The fact that he moves slowly is pretty much the only reason why Kitharsis can defeat him in a duel.
  • Mooks
  • Mr. Exposition: Slayer, who absolutely loves filling people in on the details of what's going on. His projection appears to fight in Chapter VIII, but to little effect.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Morganem upon realizing what the Void Children are and what is happening to him.
  • Necromancer: First there's Kaine Shariven, who is already a powerful Necromancer. And then there's Dustwalker, his Undead mentor...
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Cameron Aileron is an immortal, psychic, fire-elemental humanoid ex-Space Marine. Damn, that's cool.
  • Nintendo Hard: This campaign is very hard. Save Scumming is far from unadvised. Even in the Final battle, Morganen is assisted by four powerful Void Child Bosses, that due to the "Void Nexus ability" of Morganem, are even harder to defeat than they were in Chapter V.
  • Non Standard Game Over: Chapter I if you let the guards catch you. Also happens in Chapter V if you let the allied heroes die, and in Chapter II and VII if you allow the timers to expire. Attacking and killing peaceful allies in Chapter III nets another one.
  • Normal Fishina Tiny Pond: The Dharuk that appears in the first chapter is considered a powerful enemy, but is of fact an average Dharuk warrior.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Played straight with Khaal Spire's collapse, though justified in-game by being a (now damaged) magical construct partially maintained by the Big Bad.
    • Also played straight with the subsequent vanishing of the Void Children.
    • But otherwise mostly averted in the Epilogue, which suggests that while Ithia is now recovering, there is still much work to be done.
  • One-Hit Kill: This is what happens to your entire party if you don't act fast enough to stop the casting of Uthurak's Apocalypse spell.
  • One-Man Army: The Companions and most of Mini Bosses and Bosses are powerful enough to slaughter hordes of lesser creatures single-handed.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Fei Serumen, other than displaying the traditional vampiric immortality and thirst for blood, seems to have few of the problems that other vampires do. Sunlight, for example, doesn't seem to faze him one bit.
  • Overly Generous Time Limit: The second chapter gives you a 45 minute limit, but it is very easy to finish the mission with more than 15 minutes to spare.
  • The Paladin: King Garamond and Prince Theros Eridem. Honourable holy warriors who uphold their charge to the last, all the while stoving in heads with giant warhammers.
  • Pieces of God: The Void Children are the shattered pieces of Uthurak.
  • Playing with Fire: Cameron Aileron is a fire-aligned Elemental capable of hurling masses of fireballs and calling firey meteors and comets from space. His rifle also comes with a flamethrower.
  • Powered Armor: Cameron Aileron wears a full body suit of high-tech armor.
  • Psychic Powers: Also Cameron Aileron's powers, one of which directly attacks the minds of his enemies, and another one which creates a hovering ball of psychic energy so powerful it's both visible and very dangerous to any enemies nearby.
  • Psycho Rangers: The Council of Six (except Kaine Shariven).
  • Purple Is Powerful: Purple is the colour associated with Morganem, who is both a powerful sorcerer and the self-proclaimed ruler of an entire universe. More importantly, it is the colour associated with the Void and with Uthurak - the single most powerful boss in the entire game
  • Purple Is the New Black: Since the bad guys' 'team colour' is purple.
    • The 'Void' (a name that normally implies blackness) and its inhabitants and magics are also predominantly represented by the color purple.
      • This gets particularly interesting if one considers that the Void Children are pieces of the anti-god, Uthurak. They come in two varieties - one named after emotions that direct destruction outwards (Fury, Lust, Malice, Hatred) and another named after emotions that direct destruction inwards (Fear, Sorrow, Anguish, Despair). Their skin colors are red and blue, respectively. If you combine red and blue, what do you get...?
  • Rain of Arrows: One Sera Poi's abilities, which peppers a large area with an obscene amount of arrows.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Soul Reaver looks to be in his late twenties despite apparently being many millenia old. The same goes for most of the other immortals (save for Kaine Shariven)
  • Red Shirt: Those town guards who join you on Chapter II have no chance in hell of surviving if you bring them with you to fight Fei. It was their decision, though...
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: King Garamond, Crown Prince Theros and Prince Sorin Eridem.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Uthurak. Morganem unwittingly releases it in the Prologue.
  • Simultaneous Arcs: The Chapter VII.
  • Shoulders of Doom: Several examples, including Soul Reaver, Cameron Aileron and Morganem.
  • Smurfette Principle: Sera is the only female Companion. Kathryn is the only female member of the Council of Six. The only other woman to appear in the game is an unnamed and unfortunate victim of an insane and bloodthirsty Fei in Chapter II.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: In the Chapters I and II, the enemies are human and Undead, in Chapter III are replaced by Dharuk, while in Chapter IV, the enemies are the Void Children.
    • Played straight with the Bosses, but averted with the Dharuk Officers.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: The mod begins by a very short one, during which an unarmed Soul Reaver must reach the weapon storage room of the jail without bumping in a guard.
  • Strategy RPG
  • Stripperiffic: Kathryn Urdanna wears leather, and not a lot of it. Somewhat justified since apparently she used her, ahem, talents to great effect as an assassin.
  • Summon Magic: Soul Reaver's "Summon Daemons", Kitharsis' "Create Skeletal Minions" and Fei Serumen's "Abyssal Summon", to name just a few.
  • Supernatural Is Purple: Purple is the color associated with the otherwordly inhabitants of the Void.
    • This is also why there is a purple fog over the inside of Khaal Spire in the latter stages of the campaign, even though there was no such fog in the Prologue. It shows that a lot of Void energy has been leaking into the world since Morganem opened a gateway for the Void Children.
  • Timed Mission: Several Chapters have a timed element, though in some cases the timer is implicit (with enemies growing stronger that longer the player delays, for example). Luckily, the time limits are not arbitrary but rather make sense in the context of the plot.
  • Title Drop: The final playable Chapter is fittingly titled "The Bitter End".
  • Torture Technician: Soul Reaver kills one for the key he holds in Chapter I.
  • Tragedy: Especially in Morganem's backstory and ultimate fate.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change / Genre Shift: The first chapter is a Real-Time Strategy with RPG elements, but the rest of the game is an party-using RPG.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Maelstrom and Kathryn Urdanna both seem genuinely in love. Any harm that befalls Kathryn at the Companions' hands drives Maelstrom into a fit of berserker rage. And Kathryn's final thoughts before her death are of Maelstrom.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Khaal Spire, Morganem stronghold. It is a huge ziggurat towering above canyons, built on Dhar (a red hostile world, homeworld of the Dharuk).
    • Khaal Spire actually is the setting of three missions: VI (the surrounding of Khaal Spire), VII (its corridors), and VIII (the throne room).
  • Villain Pedigree: Human Mooks.
    • Subverted with the Undead Mooks, they reappear in Chapter VI.
  • Warrior Prince: The Crown Prince Theros Eridem and Prince Sorin Eridem.
  • The War Sequence: The Prologue, Chapter V and Chapter VI.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Played straight initially, but later averted when Kherek pointedly draws attention to the slaughter the Companions have been wreaking amongst the Dharuk.
  • When Trees Attack: In III, walking trees defend the Heart Grove against the Juggernaut. They are allies of the Companions.


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