So I literally completed my first run today. After many hours of dying just before the final level (at least so far), I visited the High Peak Castle more times than my family. Through it’s lavish corridors and ornate walls, I mercilessly slaughtered many of the kings men. I spared all the king’s horses though. I’m not that sick. Now and then, when I could get a breather and wasn’t too tense to notice, I started to recognise certain gaming icons on the walls. Apparently the king is a fan of fantastic games. Among the elaborate decor you’ll find many portraits scattered around the castle walls. Take a closer look and you may see some familiar faces. The very first one I noticed was from the incredible game Transistor.
Among other icons, the always fabulous Solaire was doing what he loves to do. Praising the sun.
As far as I’m aware these are just references to these games and have no other impact on the game beyond aesthetic. It’s a nice touch though. The publishers, Motion Twin, clearly love video games, not only is it shown in these details, but also in their well crafted game. There are other video game references in these portraits and throughout the game but I’ll leave the rest to be found by yourself. So, next time you’re going through High Peak Castle, take in the artwork when you get the chance.
We all now know Sonic and Mario exist in the same universe. I mean, they compete in the Olympics together. But does Po and the Kung Fu Panda universe also share the same space? The answer…..is no. Of course they don’t. That’s a shame as this article would be better if it did.
I’ll leave my fantasy aside for now and explain the connection. So in the Mario Kart 8 level Ribbon Road, the racetrack takes place in a kids room. As in, Mario and crew are racing on a child’s toy race track in a room that suspiciously looks like Andy’s room from Toy Story. There’s a lot I could write about here, like where are these giant humans who built this? Are they even humans? Calm your brains. Today, none of that matters. What we’re after, is a poster. A poster with a very similar image to a real Kung Fu Panda poster.
Instead of the titular panda demonstrating his moves, we are treated to a Lakitu striking a fighters’ stance. More than likely the design team decided to do a joke poster on a film they like but I prefer a different idea. I like to imagine that in this universe, the Kung Fu Panda series exists and that Lakitu is like the Wayan’s brothers of the film industry and is the star of spoof films. Other classics include The Incredible Lakitu, Lakitu by the Sea and my personal favourite, 12 Angry Lakitus. Lakitu’s one man film, it’s like The Nutty Professor but, you know, good.
So to end my Halloween Trivia Time marathon, I thought I’d end on a high note. And what better high note than Deadly Premonition. I will be talking spoilers in this article so read on at your own peril. This game is a masterpiece. Not in gameplay or graphics, you’d have to pay me a lot to say that, Swery. Swery being the creator of the wonderful world of Deadly Premonition. The game centres around Detective Francis York Morgan. Although he prefers to be called York, everyone calls him that apparently. He is a film loving detective who has been assigned a case in the middle of nowhere. A little town called Greenvale, where a local woman has been found murdered.
Mystery and intrigue ensue and York must uncover the mysteries of this town in order to try and put a stop to a string of gruesome murders. It is a very strange game filled to the brim with quirky characters. There in lies the beauty of this game. It is unbelievably rough around the edges and a slog to play at times but the world and its absurdity are unlike anything I’ve played since. The town is full of weird people and you’ll get to know these people very well. As you play through the game, you’ll see different characters going about their own lives. Each character has a daily routine that you can follow and keep track of. You’ll see them in a diner or at a shop, perhaps at a bar or more commonly you’ll see them whizzing down the road and full on driving into your car. Remember, I said this game was janky. But as your fellow neighbour drives off your bonnet you might notice a strange combination of letters and numbers. The license plates of these residents not only form words, but also a trait synonymous to them or even a clue or two about their involvement in the murder mystery.
The basic patrol cars around Greenvale have the license plate ‘VIDGMES’, which considering you’re reading a video game article, I believe I don’t need to solve this riddle for you. Nick Cormack, the local diner chef has ‘GR8COOK’, which is very boastful and also a plate that made me do a double take because of my filthy mind. Perhaps the most on the nose plate though and the most damning in a game about finding a murderer is George Woodman’s license plate. George Woodman, for those who haven’t played the game, is the local rugged cop who helps York in his investigation into the murders. But, this whole time George wasn’t who he seemed and in the end, we find out that George was involved in the killings. Not only that, George likes to flaunt his murderous ways to the whole town for all to see. Not only is George revealed to be a late game bad guy, but his license plate was laughing in our faces about it. His license plate reads ‘HESTHE1’, which in case you’re struggling, reads as He Is The One. You smug so and so, George.