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Video Game / Unepic

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Unepic is a 2D indie Metroidvania Action RPG by a Spanish man named Francisco Meneses, AKA Franfistro. He initially released it in 2011 for PC, and later ported it to Wii U on January 16th, 2014, Xbox One on January 8th, 2016, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita on March 29th, 2016 and Nintendo Switch on December 17th, 2017.

Daniel was your average geeky gamer. He enjoyed the classic RPGs of old such as Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, and Dungeons & Dragons. One night, during a DnD session with his friends, he goes to take a piss, only to suddenly find himself in a dark, sinister palace and forcibly possessed by a shadowy being he nicknames Zera, short for Zeratul.

Zera explains to Daniel that he is in the palace of the Dark Lord Harnakon, and the only way for him to escape the palace is to kill Harnakon. Daniel, initially thinking this is all a drug induced fever dream, eagerly sets off on his journey, fighting off monsters, traps, and the suicidal advice of Zera, who constantly tries to trick Daniel into killing himself so he may be free.

Unepic provides examples of:

  • Affably Evil: Even Daniel immediately takes note of how polite and friendly Harnakon is. Justified in that he needs your help. He's still evil, though, since he has his mages kill Daniel immediately after he finishes his mission and the only reason the latter is resurrected is because Zera puts in a good word for him.
    • While Harnakon is certainly a demon with the powers and methods of a Big Bad, the game carefully fails to make clear whether he is one — his claims to his servants that he was selected by the gods as the correct tool to preserve and protect the sources of this world's magic may be true. He's not leaving his castle or sending out armies or even trying to lure in heroes. And he's never actually caught doing anything both dickish and unnecessary. He had to kill Daniel one last time to get his servant out, and his dialogue implies he may have been pushing Zera into defending him.
  • Black Comedy Rape: Zera doesn't think killing people is enough punishment for certain actions.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: While the English translation is decent enough, due to the heavy use of Spaniard slang in the original Spanish dialogue, some terms were translated rather literally, like the famous Spaniard slang "¡Toma ya!", a phrase normally translated as "Great!" or "Geez!", but in the English translation, it was translated literally as "Take That!" instead.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: There's no fewer than five in the intro alone.
    • And another one at the end of a ridiculously long trading sequence VERY aptly named "Bureaucracy".
  • Downer Ending: The ending is influenced by which one of three chests you pick, but none of the choices are pleasant. Of course, you can't complain about them, or... AAAAAARG!!!
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: In one of the endings, Zera and his skeletons brutally kill a player who declared said ending shit. When the screen turns to black, Zera directly talks to you and tells you to go on forums and praise the game's ending, or he will kill you, too.
  • Fragile Speedster: The Final Boss has very low health, but his Teleport Spam combined with his stun-inducing spread of projectiles makes him infuriating to chase down unless you play dirty and use an item that makes you immune to his spells. Even then, you'll have to hurry to catch him before your protection runs out.
  • The Genie Knows Jack Nicholson: Subverted. Daniel uses a number of pop culture references for his aliases, but the one time he tells a spirit he's called Jean-Luc Picard, that spirit mentions the Enterprise, and Daniel is very surprised. The spirit then explains that he can read Daniel's mind and doesn't really know what he's referencing.
  • Goddamn Bats: Many rooms are filled with swarms of bats who are hard to see and always come in large numbers. Some of them even latch onto you and consistently drain your health until you manually remove them from your inventory. Crows are even worse since they sometimes steal your stuff. Fortunately, you rather quickly get a pet that specializes in killing this very type of enemy.
  • The Grim Reaper: The guardian of the Catacombs, Sux Mortis.
  • Healing Checkpoint: The Pure Spirits work as both save points and health restoration to maximum when used.
  • Hearts Are Health: The vitality restoration pickups are floating red Heart Symbols.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: The first weapon that Daniel gets, is a "short sword".
  • I Know You Know I Know: Upon finding the portal that leads to the second guardian's lair, Zera tells Daniel that if he goes through the portal, every single wish of his will become true. Daniel figures out that this is another attempt of the specter to get him killed... but since he knows that Zera knows he is already aware of his attempts to trick him, surely this must mean that Zera actually doesn't want him to go inside and is hiding some kind of reward from him by telling him such a blatant lie! The truth is, Zera actually doesn't want Daniel to go through the portal, because should Daniel die in the portal dimension, Zera will be freed but left unable to ever return to the castle.
  • Interspecies Romance: Daniel is a sex-starved young adult, but he's a little too eager to hop in bed with three goblin ladies, for procreation purposes, in one of the first sidequests!
    "Looks like someone never heard the phrase 'Love knows no bounds,' or 'Any port in a storm.'"
  • In the Hood: The specter who possesses Daniel at the beginning of the game is a hooded figure with no face to be seen.
  • Item Crafting: Potions, mainly.
  • Justified Extra Lives: Not justified any time soon, but it's eventually established that nobody dies permanently inside Harnakon's castle unless Harnakon wants it that way — and he doesn't want Daniel to stay dead, or for Daniel's deaths to free Zera just yet.
  • Level-Up Fill-Up: Levelling up restores Daniel's vitality to its maximum.
  • Mercy Invincibility: The hardest difficulty setting disables this, meaning mobs of skeletons or orcs can quickly maul you to death in seconds if you let yourself get cornered. You get additional skill points to offset this disadvantage.
  • Mission Control Is Off Its Meds: Considering that Zera's main goal is to be freed from Daniel's body by the latter dying, it's generally a bad idea to listen to his "advice". Except when facing the second guardian, where he does actually give useful advice on the area, things to prepare, and how to fight the boss, due to the fact that if Daniel dies there, he will be destroyed, not freed.
  • Multiplayer Difficulty Spike: Aside from the obvious stat changes, some of the timing techniques that get you through melee in singleplayer won't work in co-op. While most of the official campaign is still technically beatable by a single player, you'll run into side places and treasures you can't get, annoyances such as timed jumps based on visual cues offscreen for the person making the jump, and mostly out-of-reach bosses made arbitrarily immune to being directly targeted (you're intended to aim at players playing spotter and shoot through them). In-game justified, though: the framing device is that you're the tabletop RPG group, and the game master's a bit of a jerk who sometimes enjoys randomly offing player characters.
  • No Fourth Wall: Comes with the fact that Daniel is full of Medium Awareness.
  • Non Standard Game Over: During the tutorial, you come across a hoard of gold that Zera eagerly tells you to claim. Doing so immediately poisons you, and instead of reloading your last save, the game boots you back to the title screen. When you reload manually and ignore the gold, Zera demands to know how Daniel knew about the trick, and Daniel responds that he fell for it already.
  • No-Sell: Zera's M.O. is to possess the body of an intruder and steer them unwillingly to their death. Unfortunately for Zera, Daniel is completely immune to being controlled in this way. Worse, Zera can't leave Daniel's body until the latter dies. As a result, Zera begins resorting to trickery to get Daniel killed.
  • Permanently Missable Content: There are two pets that can be permanently lost. If you get the baby dragon's egg and give it to the old goblin instead of opening it (which nabs you a ring with an amazing stat boost to all melee attacks), you won't be able to get the dragon as an ally. The spirit of light can also be lost if you fail to catch up with the undead sorcerer in time.
  • Retraux: A door in the Halls takes you to an 8-bit style area reminiscent of the NES days.
  • The Reveal: Zera is not a magically created being, as he believed, but the soul of a living being turned into a specter by means of a dark ritual. He doesn't take this well, since he always despised living beings and thought himself to be superior to them.
  • Schmuck Bait: One of Zera's favorite tactics for trying to kill Daniel is trying to tempt him with this. There's an example very near the start of the game with a room packed full of gold coins that's absolutely too good to be true... and of course, taking even a single one of them inflicts a fatal curse.
    • Pretty much any lever in the official multiplayer campaign, as it's rapidly made clear levers are put there for the game master's entertainment. Many are designed to kill the puller in various interesting ways. Some are designed to kill the people who didn't get stuck pulling the lever. Some are just pure Rocks Fall Everybody Dies. Less than half of them will actually get you anywhere.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: It's not possible to get through the single-player game without either having a pet or using any school of magic. It is possible (though only barely and it'll mostly be very boring) to do so on the hardest difficulty setting without ever allocating a single skill point or using any pets. In general, the lack of randomness in obtaining the most vital spells and gear and that there are ultimately 20 skills (the number on a 20-sided die) tends to make this trope a lot of the game's replay value.
  • Shout-Out: Tons. Might even be Reference Overdosed. Most of them are references to videogames (mostly RPGs) and fantasy/sci-fi movies:
    • A Castlevania reference about putting out oil lamps with a whip.
    • Daniel naming the spirit that possesses him Zeratul from Starcraft
    • Dr. Zoidberg of Western Animation/Futurama}} zipping by when you first enter the sewers.
    • One of the pets being Gatchan of Doctor Slump.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: The Stalactite spell, which fires a volley of sharp spikes in a spread. It's cheap to use, fairly quick to cast, is gotten fairly early in the game, and despite being a frost spell, it does non-elemental damage, meaning undead and constructs don't resist it. It's essentially a magical shotgun that does brutal damage from up-close and can quickly thin out large crowds of Goddamn Bats from far away.
  • Stationary Boss and When Trees Attack: Arbolus, the guardian of the Gardens, is a giant tree that can shoot or rain down energy balls, summon wasps or poison Daniel when he comes too close.
  • Stealth Mentor: Harnakon himself claims he brought you to the castle, and that fighting your way to him through his ordered set of castle zones trained you up to usefulness far more effectively than simply bringing you straight to him could have. He could be lying, but even Daniel admits it's more plausible than that he successfully tricked his way past all the Pure Spirits and never died getting here.
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: Each weapon type is suited to a different enemy type. Swords against flesh, maces against armoured and non-living targets, axes against slow enemies, daggers against humanoids and snakes from behind, polearms against unmoving enemies without ranged attacks or for holding off multiple incoming fighters, bows and wands for anything you either can't reach or don't want reaching you, and staves when using magic (holy staves are also decent at cracking undead skulls).
  • Teleport Spam: The final enemy you face just loves this tactic. What makes it even more frustrating is that his projectiles paralyze you for a few seconds.
  • Theme Naming: The two recurring shopkeepers named Ubuntu and Fedora.
  • Translator Microbes: Daniel asks Zera how the various beings and creatures in the castle are able to communicate with him and each other. Zera explains that one of Harnakon's spells is taking care of this, and upon entering the castle, every being of human-like intelligence can instantly understand the others. Daniel then proceeds to speak to Zera in (horribly mangled) French, just to see if it works (it doesn't, because one has to at least know the language he's speaking...).
    • Doesn't seem to work the two times Daniel hears the Black Speech, but then that's a normal part of the latter trope.
  • Unwinnable by Design: Melee-focused characters can breeze through the first couple of stages, but if you fail to invest in your ranged attacks, the later part of the game is going to become extremely difficult, if not nearly impossible.
  • Useless Useful Spell: The usefulness of the entire protection class of spells is severely curbed by the fact that you don't get them until extremely late in the game. Spells that prevent petrification or mental control are gained at a point where no enemy you meet uses them anymore.
    • They do come into their own in the (extensive) cooperative multiplayer campaign, in which it's assumed you've already done single player and there's no need to reveal schools one at a time (or give you a tutorial on anything covered there). Also, saving 13 skill points for Protection once it does become available and converting your money into appropriate essences can turn the endgame into a breeze, leaving you able to completely ignore almost everything you can't just run past.
  • Villainous Harlequin: The jesters in the halls, weak but very annoying because their spells turn the weapon you are using at the moment into a toy mallet that does 1 point of damage. (And still hurt you even if you have the sense to put away your weapon first.)
  • Vulgar Humour: Daniel is quite crude, foul-mouthed, and sex-obsessed. In short, your typical teenager.
  • You Are What You Hate: See The Reveal above.