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  • Anti-Climax Boss:
    • In the first game, Risky's Tinkerbats have apparently forgotten to install weapons and defenses to her All-Purpose Steam Powered Tinker Tank, leading to a "steam-powered behemoth" that could only damage you if you jump on its treads or stand in front of its two external steam vents. This is more than made up for by Risky Boots herself.
    • In Pirate's Curse, The Pirate Master, if you didn't collect all the Dark Magic pieces. You'll only fight his first form, which doesn't have many attacks and plenty of openings to cause damage.
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    • In Half-Genie Hero, the final boss, Tinkerbrain. While he's a Puzzle Boss, it's much easier than the brutal fight against Risky that came before. He only takes two hits before going down, and it's relatively easy to avoid his attacks by just moving constantly. The second phase (assuming you did everything to fight the True Final Boss) is a little harder, but it's mostly just dodging a few flame attacks on the ground and having proper timing to bounce light magic past the gap in its shield.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • In Pirate's Curse, Shantae, Sky, Risky, and Rottytops are all seemingly mistaken for the princess of Tan Line Temple — whom they don't even resemble at all — while she is out on a shopping trip. Are the people (especially the royal adviser) really that stupid, or are are they taking advantage of the princess being out to "mistake" random passing girls as her so they can put them into "ceremonial garb"? It doesn't help that the adviser says that this happens all of the time!
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    • While there's no doubt that Shantae is a good person, one has to wonder if she's just snarky or a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. Is she really as pure and kind-hearted as she seems? Or, considering the way she kills some enemies and how cruel she can be to people like Bolo, is she more of an Anti-Hero? Friends to the End offers more fuel to the fire - some of Shantae's memories aren't particularly flattering in regards to her friends, and it's unclear how much of that can be chalked up to her being twisted by dark magic.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • After many fans developed Fridge Horror surrounding Wobble Bell (a dog you can defeat in Risky's Revenge for a truckload of gems, with its cameo in Pirate's Curse seemingly canonizing Shantae having defeated a puppy for money), Word of God clarified that Wobble Bell is actually still alive, and that its cameo in the game's resident Underworld is simply because it got lost.
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    • For players complaining that Half-Genie Hero is too easy, Wayforward released Hardcore Mode, which is deliberately aiming for the old-school Nintendo Hard feel. "Friends to the End" and the three Costume Modes are also far more difficult than the main game.
    • For players who preferred the moveset from Pirate's Curse, the Pirate Queen's Quest DLC gives you the ability to play as Risky Boots, with said moveset intact.
    • While Nega-Shantae didn't get her own story chapter in the base game for Half-Genie Hero (as the Kickstarter was funded just shy of that particular goal), she still ended up as the main antagonist of the "Friends to the End" DLC - and as one of the series' most serious villains yet!
    • Back when Part 1 of Seven Sirens was released on Apple Arcade, some fans were concerned about the Off-Model nature of the dialogue art. Once Part 2 launched, it was greatly improved, alongside added flourish for the art of other areas in the game's presentation.
    • Speaking of Seven Sirens, that game returns to the Metroidvania style of Pirate's Curse that was largely absent from the more straightforward Half-Genie Hero, pleasing fans of that gameplay style.
  • Awesome Music: Which you can listen to here, here, here and here for free, courtesy of series composer Jake "virt" Kaufman.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Is Holly Lingerbean an interesting idea for a rival character that deserved a bigger role, or a forgettable, inconsequential waste of space that has little relevance to Half-Genie Hero's plot?
    • Depending on the fan, Squid Baron is either the funniest character in the series, or the most annoying.
    • Sky, one of the series main characters, has started to fall into this. Either you love her for being the group's Only Sane Man, her gimmick as a War Bird trainer and her sibling like relationship with Shantae, or you utterly hate her for being a Jerkass to Bolo and Rottytops (who are very popular with fans, see below), her plots of trying to find a boyfriend being stupid and pointless and her refusal to help out during most of Seven Sirens.
  • Best Known for the Fanservice: You'll find people talking less about the games themselves and more on the incredibly revealing outfits of its largely female cast.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: In Seven Sirens, if one decides to do the Refresh Dance near Rottytops, she actually turns into her human form for a few seconds before reverting. This doesn't affect anything and nobody ever comments on it.
  • Breather Boss:
    • Risky's Oceanic Tinker Tub is fought twice in Risky's Revenge, and while it is a bit tougher in the second bout it has nothing on how much stronger Shantae is.
    • Steel Maggot in Pirate's Curse. Its only attacks are to either walk into you, or to shoot a spread of projectiles if you shoot the wrong button on its back, both of which are easily dodged. It's a "guess the sequence" type of fight, but there are only three buttons to shoot and the sequence never uses repeat buttons, so you really have nothing to fear.
    • The Wheel Beast in the first game. It's damaged by hitting switches on the wall in spider form to drop it into pits. Not only is it very easy to bait the Beast into falling into a pit, wall-crawling keeps you free from damage with no consequence.
    • Wilbur is a relatively simple puzzle boss at the end of Tassel Town, coming hot off the heels of a rough chase up the Tassel Tower and the player's first real experience with platforming over bottomless pits.
    • The Octopus Siren boss fight becomes this once you figure out that using the Spark Dance turns off her ability to attack for a short time. You can also use the Seer Dance to find the correct order you need to hit the brains in.
    • The Anglerfish Siren is perhaps even easier: she can go for long periods of time without making herself vulnerable, but her attacks aren't all that dangerous in the meantime, and once she does give you an opening she stands dead still, letting Shantae wail on her with impunity for a good ten seconds. Add fully-upgraded sword magic to that and you'll tear through her health in no time.
  • Captain Obvious Reveal: Fillin is actually Rottytops wearing a disguise. Which wasn't that difficult for some fans to figure out, as very few zombie girls even appear in the series prior to that point (let alone with green hair), Fillin isn't on the main art cover with the other half-genies, her stitches and ears are conspicuously hidden, and Shantae herself already deduced it when Harmony informed her of Fillin using a different alias (Ima Goodgirl).
  • Character Rerailment: Seven Sirens provides two examples:
    • Some fans were rubbed the wrong way by Risky's portrayal in Half-Genie Hero, which seemed to renege on the development she received in Pirate's Curse by having her act uncharacteristically psychotic. Seven Sirens provides a more natural progression for her character to follow, shows her behaving more amicably toward Shantae, and once again emphasizes her manipulative side when she enacts a plan almost identical to the one she formulated in Pirate's Curse.
    • To a lesser extent, after the last two games really emphasized Shantae's Adorkable and Plucky Girl tendencies, Seven Sirens' portrayal is a compromise that incorporates some of the abrasiveness she was known for in the first and second games, without feeling like a contradiction either way.
  • "Common Knowledge": For a while, lots of fans assumed that Shantae was 16 years old due to a post on WayForward Technologies' Twitter account saying so, which led to some discomfort due to the fact that Shantae was known to have worn revealing outfits and had a story on her Character Blog that involved her losing her clothes while skinny dipping. James Montagna, a level designer for several of the games, was eventually asked about the issue of Shantae's age and clarified that Shantae was never intended to be a minor and that the tweet that said she was 16 was made by an intern who came to that conclusion without the developers' knowledge.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Shantae and the Pirate's Curse: The Pirate Master is a feared pirate captain, and Risky Boots's former mentor. Back when he was alive, he personally assaulted Sequin Land, killing several genies before being imprisoned by the survivors. The Pirate Master would then swear petty vengeance on Risky for mutinying against him, even though she played no part in his banishment. When the light magic of Sequin Land started to fade away, the Pirate Master turns Risky's Tinkerbats into Cacklebats, and begins to gather dark magic from the dens of evil, unleashing several curses on the nearby islands in the process. Upon his revival, he kidnaps Risky and personally tortures her for her mutiny, before proceeding to attack Scuttle Town, risking the lives of countless innocents. During his battle with Shantae, he taunts her about the genies he killed, before proceeding to give her a Sadistic Choice of either giving up the dark magic and saving Risky Boots, which puts the world at risk, or watch as he personally kills Risky himself. A cruel, petty tyrant who would show no mercy to anyone who would dare defy him, the Pirate Master serves as one of the most vile foes that Shantae has ever encountered.
    • Shantae and the Seven Sirens: The Empress Siren is the cruel leader of the Sirens, who for years had used their airship to travel from island to island stealing the life force of people to gain power and youth. When the Guardian Genies, the leader of which was the half-genie Harmony's mother, came to stop her, the Empress proceeded to slaughter them and steal their life force, with the leader having to separate her soul from her body in order to stop her and bring down the airship, destroying the Empress's mortal body and sealing her and the rest of the sirens in the sunken ship, now an inhabited island on top. After Risky Boots finds the ship, she strikes up a deal with the Empress, offering the life sources of five half-genies, which would give her ultimate power, in exchange for the airship. After she believes she has gained the life forces, the Empress betrays Risky Boots, stealing her life force and then sends out her siren army to devour the life forces of everyone on the island before blowing it up, and later plans to travel across the globe devouring all life force she comes across.
  • Creepy Cute: The Lobster Siren from Seven Sirens. When she first appears in the window, it'll spook you. And before she faces Shantae in person, she makes no noise, but instead she scuttles away when the Half-Genie approaches her. She loses the Creepy portion and transitions into full-on Cute after she helps Shantae out, with her rather small frame and her high-pitched squeaks.
  • Crossover Ship: Some people ship Shantae with Pit, due to their love of health-replenishing hot springs.
  • Cult Classic: The first game bombed on release, and the sequel spent years in Development Hell because publishers didn't want anything from WayForward that wasn't a licensed game or a casual downloadable title. Even so, the Shantae series still manages to have a sizable fanbase most other smaller games could only dream of, to the point that it was successfully crowd-funded to become one of the sleeper hits of 2016.
  • Demonic Spiders:
    • The series as a whole:
      • The Wetmen present in every game except for Risky's Revenge are amongst the toughest enemies in the series because of one ability, their blocking. Simply attacking them by button-mashing has no effect as they can efficiently block Shantae's hair, and their dash attack while predictable can be hard to avoid depending on the room they're fought in. Even worse, a red variant with even more health and aggression appears in Seven Sirens.
    • Shantae:
      • The Nagas are an absolute pain to deal with. They spawn in large groups, have a ton of health, even more so at night, and have odd homing attacks that are very hard to dodge. Thankfully, they are nerfed to the ground in future games.
    • Risky's Revenge:
      • The skeletons. They're fast, do more damage than anything else in the game, have plenty of health, and can reanimate after death if you don't switch to elephant form and smash their gravestones. They return in Pirate's Curse, but heavily nerfed as they no longer run and killing them once is enough to put them to rest.
      • The mermaids. They have two attacks: a kiss which shoots hearts that move upwards, and a bubble that moves quickly (so if you're within hair-whipping range, you won't have time to jump over it) and close to the ground (so you can't crouch under it). After each attack, they dive into the ground and become invincible for a few seconds, so it's best to just jump past them then rather than take the time to kill them.
    • Shantae Half-Genie Hero:
      • The Batgals: they have the tendency to teleport after a few hits and then use afterwards a diagonal downward anchor attack that can easily tear a full heart of your HP. Have fun!
      • Bonelegs: They're enormous and have an absurdly wide attack range, and you often fight them in enclosed spaces. They're also one of the only enemies that can actually block your attacks, which makes whittling down their sizable health pools a chore. And they're actual spiders!
    • Seven Sirens:
      • The projectile-throwing female siren soldiers can easily eat up a lot of Shantae's health, as their projectiles not only are thrown in an arc, but unlike their male counterparts they also explode into several shards that fly off in each direction, making them very tough to avoid. Thankfully they're limited to the Flying Fortress, but several of it's rooms also tend to place plenty of them in a row with other enemies.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Risky Boots gets this a lot, especially in fics that ship her with Shantae. While Pirate's Curse does reveal a softer side to her, she also makes it clear that she is not going to reform. Most fans, however, will have her make a Heel–Face Turn from Shantae's influence.
  • Easy Level Trick: In Half-Genie Hero. If you have access to the Magical Tiara and the third level fireball spell, you can easily clear the Barrel of Mermaids stage, as well as the escape sequence after destroying the Dynamo by hovering in place above the conveyor belt.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Everyone seems to love Rottytops. To the point that, for Half-Genie Hero, the additional backers managed to push the final total JUST over the stretch goal to add her to the game.
    • After WayForward released the Half-Genie Hero trailer that featured a brief, well-animated scene of a giant mermaid boss you needed to unshackle by breaking her chains, the Giga Mermaid has become rather prominent in fanart, even more so after Cuphead came out with Cala Maria, their own giant mermaid boss.
    • Tuki, a lamia shopkeeper that you run into occasionally in levels, has a decent amount of fanart dedicated to her as well.
    • The Water Lily Siren from Seven Sirens was getting fanart before the game even came out.
  • Even Better Sequel: While Shantae and Risky's Revenge were definitely well-received games, Pirate's Curse was where WayForward was allowed to really cut loose and do whatever they want with improved technology included, and the results show. Half-Genie Hero is also quite well-liked and considered an improvement in several aspects.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Risky Boots. In-Universe an NPC boy comments.
    "My Mom dressed up as the Pirate Lady for Dad. But I'm not allowed to talk of such things."
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • When it comes to pairing Shantae up with someone, expect it to be her best friend, Rottytops. This is due to many fans interpreting Rotty's dialogue towards Shantae, including her nickname Snack Cakes, as flirtatious. The section from Pirate's Curse, "Run Run Rottytops", has Shantae holding Rottytops in a bridal carry while traversing through the forest, adding more fuel to the ship as well as fanart. It helps that Shantae is the only one that seems to actually like Rottytops, displaying worry when she's in danger and always being forgiving of the zombie's antics.
    • Another popular ship is with her childhood friend, Bolo. This is in spite of the fact that Shantae is the only girl Bolo hasn't shown attraction towards, with him seeing her more as a sister. Shantae also tends to pick on him far less then other characters do. Much like with Rottytops, fanart of the two was quick to follow. It helps that their voice actors were in a relationship for a while.
  • Foe Yay:
    • Invoked between Shantae and Risky. The opening scene of Pirate's Curse alone, with the bathtub, seems to indicate Risky has an interest in Shantae. Shantae, on the other hand, keeps trying to turn Risky to her side. While such personal level interest is part of the genre, Shantae and Risky seem to cross the line. Especially as Risky's very plan in Pirate's Curse seems to hinge on Shantae being Shantae. Indeed, the ending of Risky's Revenge seems to play with the concept. Risky is talking about stripping Shantae of her powers, but with the line break being where it is, it becomes "Strip you(line break)of your powers." That has to be intentional, since there is more than enough room to put the line break anywhere else.
    • While barely anything of the sort occurs between Shantae and Risky in the story of Half-Genie Hero, the very first two pictures in the first Fan Art room of the art gallery features the two of them and are quite shippy.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • Fighting the final boss as plain ol' Shantae? A nightmare. However, if you bring a full stock of Pike Balls and Fireballs, and/or use the Spider Venom, you'll be laughing all the way to the end credits.
    • The Oasis Town Gecko minigame in the first game. It's trivial to win over 100 gems in just a few rounds, and that's not even a big return for this game. Since it's a luck-based minigame, there's not even any skill needed to master it. If you have a run of bad luck, just reset and load from the save point located right next to the game stall. Once you reach Oasis Town, the only thing stopping you from having enough money to buy an overwhelming amount of every item while having enough left over for the Fighter's Gear is the patience to spend roughly a half-hour rolling dice.
    • Half-Genie Hero:
      • Collecting all of the Gallery Keys and using them to fully unlock the Art Gallery will have the Mayor give you some costume jewelry in exchange, the Magical Tiara. Its effect? Infinite magic. Except in Hardcore mode, where it grants gradual magic regeneration instead.
      • The Gem Jug transformation, which lets you generate gems at the cost of magic. Once you get your hands on a fully upgraded Attract (pulls in any nearby gems and health recovery), enter the Bath House's bath in Scuttle Town and you'll have an unlimited gem supply. The same effect can be achieved with the above-mentioned Magical Tiara. The only thing stopping you would be your patience for mashing buttons.
      • If you don't care for button-mashing, there are several places in Main Street where Tinkerbats will spawn in a neverending conga line if you stand in the right spot. Go back in with the Super Pike Ball spell, the Magical Bracelet, and an upgraded Attract to turn these spots into automatic gem farms. The Tinkerbats will drop refill bottles often enough to keep your Magic meter from running out, so you can farm gems this way for as long as you want.note  Since everything you need for this is bought in the Item Shop, you can use this trick to buy the shop's entire inventory—including a few of the game's other Breakers—before ever setting foot in Mermaid Falls. Also works in Hardcore Mode.
      • The Bat form. As SomeCallMeJohnny points out, proper use of the bat can break some platforming challenges in half.
      • 3rd level Bubble magic, which grants Invincibility while it's active. The game tries to balance it by having it eat through your mana fairly quickly, but the game gives you lots of ways to replenish your magic. It's especially silly when combined with the earlier-mentioned Magical Tiara, effectively making it the one item you DON'T turn off.
      • The Super Revive Dance completely heals Shantae for less than half her mana, making her nigh-unkillable after she's collected plenty of Heart Containers. It especially shines in Hardcore Mode, where even a Nerfed version of the Magical Tiaranote  is enough to fuel the dance indefinitely even against the Final Boss sequence.
      • The Obliterate dance does 25 damage to everything on the screen, every time you use it (your other attacks normally do between 1-10 damage per hit), with no cooldown. The drawback is its Magic cost, which is, again, easy to manage (just bring a stack of Mega Potions). Use it to destroy all the locks holding the Giga Mermaid in two hits, then use Flamethrower to defeat her second stage in seconds. Wait until Ammo Baron summons all of his flunkies, then Obliterate them all at once. Instead of hitting the Tinkerbrain's breakers one at a time, hit them all at once with Obliterate.
      • In the Friends to the End DLC, whenever Rottytops throws her head, time stops aside from her level in the Nightmare Realm and she's completely invincible until her re-forming animation finishes. Her head also does a solid 5 damage when it hits an enemy, regardless of her current level. Have fun chunking down bosses without taking a single scratch!
    • Seven Sirens
      • Several of the cards reduce the magic cost of individual items, such as the pikeball or shield line of items. These effects can stack, and the invincibility power-up returns. Equipping the Jumping Frog (reduce shield cost) and the Coral Siren (regenerate MP) means that you should breeze through the game without needing to worry about dying.
      • If you want damage instead of defense, combining the Scorpgal, Coral Siren and Empress Siren cards will double the damage of Pikeball items, while greatly saving MP. If you upgrade the Pikeball all the way to the Scimitar, this allows you to do a ridiculous amount of damage extremely quickly, and it makes the Final Boss a cakewalk.
      • The Water Lily Siren's card increases Shantae's base damage by one point. At max, this takes Shantae's basic attack from doing eight HP of damage to nine. It doesn't sound like much at first, but it adds up fast, especially against bosses.
      • The Zap Dance. Remember the Obliterate Dance from Half-Genie Hero? Zap Dance is that, except you don't have to buy it and it uses only a tiny fraction of your magic. It does less damage than Obliterate, but still does more than enough to one-shot most monsters. The only real downside is the slow start-up, but basic use of terrain will easily let you mitigate this by standing somewhere the monsters can't reach you and blowing them all away in one shot.
      • Seven Sirens is so poorly balanced that FOOD is broken. It drops so often that you can easily end up with multiple stacks of 9 food items for more easy healing than you'll ever need, even during boss battles.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • The snakes present throughout the games are a real pain. They die in one hit from either Shantae’s hair or her tools, but almost always come in packs or alongside other enemies, taking focus away from more important threats. They also respawn frequently and infinitely, so you’re often better off ignoring them unless you need a few extra gems to buy an upgrade or potion.
  • Goddamned Boss:
    • Dagron in Pirate's Curse has a really simple pattern: you use a dash attack on the switches to drop platforms, and you jump on the platforms to hit Dagron in the face. Unfortunately Dagron's hitbox lurches back and forth so much that the "jumping" part of that sentence is liable to get you hit and knocked back.
    • The Coral Siren in Seven Sirens can become this if you don't realise drilling the very hole she jumps towards for causes her to get stuck and left wide open for punishment, something that the game doesn't do an adequate job at hinting of. Without said trick, the battle can last a long while as there's only two short moments where she's vulnerable, when she lands from a background jump (which sends out shockwaves, forcing you to jump over them) and when she dashes across the screen, which forces you to dig and makes it near impossible to damage her without pike balls.
    • The Octopus Siren if you don't know the two tricks that make it easy(The Spark and Seer dances). First off, the game doesn't give you a clear indicator that you can use the Spark and Seer dances to make things easy for the player. Second, some of the brains are hard to hit and if you get the wrong one, it resets. Finally, the lasers and spark balls can be hard to dodge if you are in the wrong spot at the wrong time.
  • Growing the Beard: The original game and Risky's Revenge were both good games on their own, but a combination of how episodic they were along with the series clearly still trying to find its footing, meant that they were not what they could have been. Many fans agree that Pirate's Curse was where the series really started to come into it's own. The lore was given more focus, more characters got development and the stakes were raised. The games also began to carry more elements over from each other, giving the games a better sense of continuity with each other.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Back when the Kickstarters for both games were first up, two pictures of Shantae high-fiving Beck were made by both WayForward and Comcept. This led to backers of both games becoming Friendly Fandoms, and along came a slew of fan-art between the two. Unfortunately, Mighty No. 9 fell into a bunch of controversies (two of the most infamous being the constant delays and the "Masterclass trailer"), and soon both Shantae fans and MN9 backers started to grow disgust towards the game, leading the once-friendly fanart turn to Shantae trying to ignore Beck. With this in mind, this makes the above two pictures extremely awkward.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In Half-Genie Hero, Ikki the Chest Monster is a tongue-in-cheek reference to Nikki, the cute host of Nintendo's discontinued Swapnote application. However, since then Nintendo has released a new version of the app called Swapdoodle, in which Nikki is back as the host, and Nikki also managed to make it in as an Assist Trophy in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate; in other words, Nikki/Ikki lives again!
    • Speaking of Half-Genie Hero hilarity, while it hadn't been able to get enough money to get its animated cutscenes during its KickStarter campaign, Seven Sirens gets to have the animated cutscenes instead. While Part 1 only has the Genie Celebration and Shantae Falling cutscenes, Part 2 adds in a proper intro, outro, credits sequence, and intro cutscenes for the labyrinth bosses, in addition to the other cutscenes.
  • It's Easy, So It Sucks!:
    • A major complaint leveled against Seven Sirens is the overall lack of difficulty thanks to a combination of easy enemy patterns and items that give Shantae way too much of an edge.
    • The main story of Half-Genie Hero gets this as well and for roughly the same reasons.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!: The biggest complaint about most of the DLC modes in Half-Genie Hero is that they’re sparsely-modified versions of the main game, just with minor new gimmicks added.
  • It's Short, So It Sucks!: The main criticism toward Risky's Revenge. The map is quite small, and there are only three dungeons, one of which is just a timed enemy gauntlet without even a boss at the end.
  • Jerks Are Worse Than Villains: The series has a fun and colorful cast of both heroes and villains. In fact, Big Bad Risky Boots is a big fan favorite and several other villains are nearly as popular. However, many fans utterly loathe Mayor Scuttlebutt for firing Shantae for little to no reason in almost every game and being completely shameless about it, yet getting off with almost no problem every single time.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Shantae has been shipped with Risky, Bolo, Sky, Rottytops, Link, Sonic, and Pit.
  • LGBT Fanbase: Considering how every main female character is extremely attractive, it was a given.
  • Magnificent Bitch: Risky Boots is the self-proclaimed Queen of the Seven Seas and Shantae’s Arch-Enemy. Seeking power and riches, Risky has made a habit of letting Shantae do the hard work before reaping the rewards. She has managed to disguise herself as a Guardian Genie to trick Shantae into giving her the Elemental Stones and kidnapped her uncle Mimic to force Shantae to give her the Magic Seals she needed to steal Shantae’s power and make an evil copy of her. When the Pirate Master returned, Risky enacted a bold scheme by teaming up with Shantae and manipulating her into regaining her powers without anyone knowing so she could destroy the Pirate Master for good. Returning to her ambitions of conquest, Risky feigns defeat so she could leave Shantae a blueprint she stole but had secretly tampered with which uncle Mimic uses to build a machine that corrupts genies. While suffering occasional bouts of anger, Risky always bounces back as fierce and cunning as ever and is feared for good reason.
  • Memetic Molester: The Hypno Baron is often depicted as such in fetish works relating to mind control, despite having nothing to do with hypnotism.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Moe: Cited by Destructoid in their review of Risky's Revenge: Your first instinct on seeing the female main cast is probably not so much "Whoa, that's hot" as "Aww, that's cute".
  • Moral Event Horizon: Risky seems to have crossed it as of Half-Genie Hero, when she tricks the heroes into building a machine that, when activated, corrupts Shantae's magic, allowing her evil-aligned genie-half to take control and putting her friends and everyone in Scuttle Town in grave danger. Risky then makes off with the Dynamo and leaves Mimic, Sky, Bolo, and Rottytops at Nega-Shantae's mercy, while planning to subject the inhabitants of the entire Genie Realm to the same fate. It's only thanks to The Power of Friendship that Shantae returns to normal, and even that was evidently something Risky didn't see coming.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: The little 8-bit squeaky noises Shantae makes when she's crawling on the ground are surprisingly catchy and pleasant to hear; telling when they've appeared in every game to date, even on stronger hardware! Likewise, the satisfying chime that plays when the game is successfully saved.
  • Padding:
    • Pirate’s Curse is full of it. Examples of note include the “Run, Run, Rottytops!” segment and the scenario that plays out inside Tan Line Temple.
    • Seven Sirens has the encounters with Squid Baron, particularly the fetch quest that's done to access the Sunken City's inner depths.
      • The world design as a whole has been accused of essentially being this, with the lack of convenient shortcuts and markers for certain items artificially lengthening the playtime.
      • Toward the end of the game, you're told to spend about ten minutes running around the island to destroy four silos in order to prevent the Siren Airship from taking off. This takes several minutes to accomplish and winds up being a total waste of time, as once you've done it, you return to Arena Town only to see the airship take off anyway. In short, nothing of consequence was accomplished by destroying the silos; it was just a way to pad out gameplay and give the Jet Octo fusion some use before the final dungeon.
  • The Scrappy: You won't be surprised to find that many fans despise Mayor Scuttlebutt, due to his habit of repeatedly firing Shantae on the stupidest imaginable pretexts. It doesn't help that at one point he sells the entire town to the Ammo Baron, just so he doesn't have to deal with the Baron's forces and Risky at the same time, and gets away with it.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • Risky's Revenge has magic jams, extra currency that are needed to upgrade Shantae's magic abilities, in addition to gems. This has the unfortunate side-effect of not letting players increase her strength if one currency is lacking, lest they do a bit of exploring, and some of the jams are very tricky to find. They didn't return in the next installment.
    • Knockback in Pirate’s Curse. While other games featured it when attacked by certain enemies, Pirate’s Curse has Shantae receive knockback anytime she is injured, by anything, while in midair. This is especially irritating during the game’s several platforming segments, and while you can purchase a backflip maneuver that lets you control your fall, it’s not exactly easy to use on short notice, can cause you to backflip over safe ground that you would’ve landed on otherwise, and usually brings you further from the spot you were originally trying to jump to.
    • Pirate’s Curse also features Heart Squids, collectibles found throughout the world that can be used to extend Shantae’s heart meter... but that’s only by using a service that’s only available in Scuttle Town, meaning you’ll often have to backtrack there to receive the upgrades. While the squids are easy enough to find, and you can get them converted during the times when going back to Scuttle Town is needed to advance the plot, most of the time they do serve to add a needless extra step to the process, unlike in other games where collecting each individual Heart Holder was all that was necessary. Seven Sirens brings the Heart Squids back, but they are slightly less annoying as there is more then one Squid-Smith and the warp rooms make it easier to reach them.
    • The Seer Dance in Seven Sirens if you're attempting 100% Completion. Some of the Nuggets are very well hidden in places you wouldn't think there were any, and only the Seer Dance can help to tell you there's something hidden in a room. The problem then becomes actually using the dance using your own intuition, which often leads to walking pass by one of the hidden collectables. Either use the dance any time you move within the screen's field of vision, or use a guide.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge:
    • Play through the game without any of items/spells you can get at the shop.
    • Play through the game with no health upgrades.
    • Play through the game with only your starting set up. This means no upgrades to your hair whip and no buyable spells.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: Enemies start dealing a lot of damage around the time you get to Tan Line Desert, and the early-game Pike Balls were nerfed. On the upside enemies drop healing items all over the place. The platforming sections in the Very Definitely Final Dungeon are brutal.
  • Ship Mates: Shippers of Shantae/Risky tend to get along with shippers of Rottytops/Sky.
  • Squick:
    • Rottytops, a zombie, manages to break into a ruin by tearing her leg off at the knee and picking the lock with her exposed shin bone. Still cute, but rather disturbing.
    • How Uncle Mimic explains how he prevented triggering a pressure trap: by switching the treasure with the contents of his bowels.
    • One of the fishermen:
    "When I was a little boy with a full beard..."
    • In Pirate's Curse, two vacationing ladies who turn out to be Ammo Baron's henchwomen try to have fun in the island's water reserve, which is all dried up. You eventually help them get water to the pond for them to get into the swimsuits and go wild in it. What they don't know is that the water that's falling from high above is actually an endless stream of drool coming from a giant lizard, hence the name Saliva Island.
  • That One Achievement:
    • The "Run, Run, Rottytops!" segment in Pirate's Curse may take some trial and error, but it isn't that difficult. However, the "Zombie Survival Guide" achievement requires you to clear the entire segment in one try without getting hit, which is far more challenging. You also get only one shot to complete it, so if you get hit, it requires reloading the entire game to have another chance. There's no Easy Level Trick, either — it just takes good timing, expert platforming, and memorization to go through it in one shot.
    • Pirate's Curse also has the "Squid Savior" achievement. It requires you to find all of the Heart Squids in the game, but not use a single one to increase Shantae's maximum HP. Towards the end of the game, having only eight hit points basically turns Shantae into a One-Hit-Point Wonder.
      • Seven Sirens brings the achievement back with the return of the Heart Squids, but it's slightly more manageable there as Shantae starts with an extra heart compared to Pirate's Curse and powerful upgrades can be obtained much earlier thanks to the game being generous with gem drops.
    • "Learn to Fly" in Friends to the End requires avoiding one of Sky's boomerang attack birds for 60 seconds straight, requiring her to consistently jump over her own projectile without causing it to curve at an angle that's impossible to avoid. It's got so bad that the most consistent method of obtaining this achievement is to take advantage of an out-of-bounds glitch that keeps Sky falling continuously offscreen without dying, which means her bird can't catch up with her.
  • That One Attack: Pirate's Curse's final boss can launch a row of gigantic bouncing cannonballs. There's almost no room for error in dodging the damn things since they have faster gravity than everything else in the entire series.
  • That One Level:
    • The entire overworld is harder than most dungeons!
    • In Pirate's Curse Mud Bog island has a bunch of enemies that chop off large chunks of health, and lots of cramped tunnels where it's hard to evade them, and as if that wasn't enough they respawn much more easily than the previous islands. Things get even worse in the Village of Lost Souls.
    • Also in Pirate's Curse, the Pirate Master's Palace: it takes multiple platforming sequences to reach the top, none of which have any margin for error allowed. There is a way to skip it with some precise jump timing, but it can be tricky to pull off.
    • The Nightmare Realm in Half-Genie Hero's Friends to the End lives up to its name a bit too well, for similar reasons to the Pirate Master's Palace - it requires pixel-perfect platforming, sometimes into completely blind jumps, accompanied by a swaying background that provides very little reference for how you're moving across the screen. Combine that with the tiny health pool that Bolo, Rottytops and Sky have, and you have the makings of a very frustrating experience. And unlike the Pirate Master's Palace, there's no way to skip past it.
  • That One Sidequest:
    • Tree Town's Dance parlor in Seven Sirens awards a Heart Squid to Shantae if the player can hit all 10 targets in a max of two rounds, meaning a perfect result is needed. This sounds easy, but the mini-game is made complicated for two reasons. First, Shantae's speed on the stage can drastically change between shots, going from a moderate tempo to zipping from left to right in a flash. Second, the shooting is delayed from the point of pressing the button and Shantae actually firing the projectile, meaning good foresight is needed to hit targets. The worst part? The Heart Squid is in plain sight inside the parlor, but can't be obtained through conventional means and can serve as a mocking reminder to the player.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Two from Seven Sirens
    • The removal of transformation dances was received negatively by some, as WayForward effectively ditched one of the core mechanics of the series just to appeal to overzealous fans of Pirate’s Curse’s style of gameplay, instead of simply retooling the way the dances worked to make them more convenient, thereby appeasing both sides.
    • While he is amusing as always, having Squid Baron act as a NPC Roadblock instead of his usual boss fights was not taken too kindly by fans.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Seven Sirens introduces Armor Baron, a new baron that's the brother to Ammo Baron, so he'll surely be a boss, right? No, his only notable role is to force Shantae into going on a fetch quest, so he amounts to little more than adding world building to Armor Town.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • At the end of Seven Sirens, you actually get to meet Harmony's dead mother who is taking the form of a ghost dog. However, you never get to reunite the two or even mention the fact to Harmony.
    • While it was obvious to fans that Fillin the Blank wasn't an actual half-genie in the first place, some couldn't help but wonder what a zombie half-genie's powers would have been like.
    • The concept of Friends To The End is that Bolo, Sky and Rottytops need to free Shantae by fighting through her memories. However, it is purely a repeat of the main story of Half-Genie Hero. Considering Shantae has had three prior adventures with plenty of chances for interesting levels or Call-Backs and has also be hinted to have had off screen ones as well, the fact that you are basically replaying Half-Genie Hero can be seen as disappointing.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Kaufman's soundtracks for the first four games is consistently praised as one of the series' strongest points, so when it was revealed that he wouldn't return to work on Seven Sirens, people naturally became worried that the composers hired wouldn't live up to his work. After release, the soundtrack while considered decent to good by most players with a few standout tracks, has also been criticized for being more "generic" and relying too much on chiptune notes in comparison to what the previous games had.
  • Trapped by Mountain Lions: Pirate's Curse is dominated by a major subplot in which the Ammo Baron claims occupancy of Scuttle Town, gets Shantae fired and placed under house arrest, and proceeds to renovate the town to be more in line with his militaristic ambitions, up until he's forced out during the epilogue with minimal effort. This has zero impact on the main plot or gameplay, apart from using one of his cannons to enter the penultimate dungeon and then again when fighting the final boss. Otherwise it's a completely superfluous side-story that you have to be reminded of every time you go back to Scuttle Town.
  • Ugly Cute: The Angler Siren is the least attractive of the sirens by far, having a prominent jawline, big fangs and an eyeball lure. She's still pretty by the series' standards in spite of those traits.
  • Underused Game Mechanic:
    • In Risky's Revenge, Shantae can jump between layers in areas where wooden tiles with arrows are placed. It's a neat way to give the 2D world depth and the player can see what awaits them in the top layers. Past Tangle Forest however, and the mechanic isn't implemented anywhere else than it and Scuttle Town.
    • The magic lamp in Pirate's Curse has an entire button dedicated to using it, which seems like overkill considering that it's only used to suck up the dark magic of the Cacklebats (which could have been replaced with the magic being automatically collected) and to carry scents to certain characters (which you only do twice in the game). In short, it's just a glorified way to obtain certain items.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: Bolo is often treated with disdain from nearly everyone in-universe, and generally written off as nothing but an idiotic screw-up and pervert. The fans tend to view him in a much better light, to the point where he's actually one of the most popular characters to ship with Shantae.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids? / What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: The Shantae series has a bit of an odd relationship with the concept of target demographic, with creator Matt Bozon stating in regards to the first game that it's "too sexy to be a kid's brand, and too girly for a male gamer brand." As a whole, the franchise mixes a cute art style and simple, lighthearted stories with generous doses of dark and sardonic humor, jokes that would go over a child's head, and a bevy of sexy character designs. The best comparison for the game's tone might be Betty Boop: broadly speaking, it's all-ages friendly, but there's enough present aimed at older audiences that would make you pause at giving the games to a child. Later games would avert this by going from E10+ to a Teen rating.
  • The Woobie:
    • Shantae. Despite coming off as super cute and cheerful, it won't be long before her shell cracks. Shantae has a bunch of insecurities about herself and beats herself up whenever something doesn't go as planned, even when there was nothing she could have done to stop it. Building on this is that she is often fired from her job as guardian, even when she does her best when dealing with the attacks. It's at its worst in Half-Genie Hero when she is fired for not being able to prevent the attack in the first place and in Risky's Revenge when the mayor launches a smear campaign against her. In the former game, Mimic even tries to help her by building a machine to keep evildoers away. The end result is her being turned evil due to Risky's sabotage, nearly being erased, and having to watch her body try to kill her friends. It's pretty telling when the worst that she ever gets in Seven Sirens is some stage fright when her new half-genie friends suddenly get taken away during a performance, and it's still not nearly as bad as what she goes through on her other adventures.
    • To an extent, Shantae's friends are also woobies; the most prominent being Bolo. Despite not being that bright, his heart is clearly in the right place. However, nearly everyone talks down to him and treat him like he's nothing, and solely refer to him as an idiotic pervert who can't do anything useful; including Shantae. Even when he does prove himself (like in Friends To The End), people still make snide remarks at, hurl insults at and have even physically attacked him for extremely minor things. It almost makes you wonder why Bolo still sticks around his so-called "friends" — and by extension, the rest of Scuttle Town — if they keep perpetually proving time and time again that they actually hate him.
    • Rottytops counts as well. In the first game alone, you learn that none of the other zombies even so much as like her and her brothers. Things get worse for her in Risky's Revenge when she sells out Shantae to Risky but gets nothing out of it, causing the poor girl to run off in tears. Her human soul in Pirate's Curse even tells Shantae that she really wants to be friends with her, but feels like she keeps screwing things up. Seven Sirens even made it clear that she was so insecure in her friendship with Shantae that she was convinced Shantae wasn't going to invite her on the trip so she sowed away in her luggage, making it all the more painful to learn that Shantae was going to invite her, but couldn't find her because she was hidden in the luggage.

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