"Wrested Peace"

"The Mummy's Tooth"

"Scarred Straight"

"The Survivors"

"Sights for Sore Isotopes"


comic updated October 29, 2008

And this brings the current Roadees saga to a close, with a morbidly obese pig and a smile. Up next: The Otters in "True Crime Stories." You'll not want to miss it, you sorry things, you.

All right, so, I may have come across a bit negative in my last several posts on Fable 2 -- well, lemme make it clear, I really, really like the game. I'm not sure that I love it; there's a lot that doesn't quite work right, and the game's reliance on paths and invisible walls as opposed to a truly open GTA or Oblivion-style world strikes me as a bit too last-generation, and really hinders the sense of place. But when one of your main complaints with a game is also that it's way too short (it is) it's logical to extrapolate that you mean it's a game world you'd like to be spending a lot more time in (and I do).

One of Peter Molyneux's (look, spelled it right this time!) stated goals with this game was to really emotionally involve the player -- and I gotta admit, there were at least three points in the game where my emotional core got socked a good one by the game's narrative. And the most-affecting of these, for me, happened AFTER the actual main game was finished.

Might be worth mentioning that this somewhat qualifies as a SPOILER ALERT!

The thing about this particular moment is that it draws on elements that span the entire game in order to work. At the beginning of the game, you help a father try to find his lost son, who's been captured by Hobbes -- horrible little goblin things that eat people and turn children into monsters, not Calvin's tiger. You battle through a grisly cave full of the little beasts, as well as parts of their human victims, guided onward by the voice of the man's son -- a voice that becomes increasingly monstery as you progress. When you reach him, it's too late, and you have to kill the changed boy and leave his grieving father sobbing in the dirt. It's a dark moment in a lighthearted game, and stands out better for it.

Well, another element of the game is that you can have your Hero character woo and marry one of the villagers, and, further, have yourself a child. And so it happened that my wee, virtual daughter, Ivy the Villager, was born. Very cute little kid, constantly amused by her hero father's sock puppet and sustained-farting antics. In general, I understand this to be somewhat simpler than actual child-rearing.

Well,  one day, little Ivy wanted to go see the Temple of Light, so I told her to follow me, and we walked a ways into the forest, and I decided that making it a walking trip would not only be too long but also too perilous for the little girl, so I decided we'd fast-travel there.

I do so. I arrive. Little Ivy does not. My first sensations of parental panic kick in. Up at the top of the screen, the words "New Quest Available: The Rescue" flash. The second panic sensations kick in. I race home, where my virtual wife is crying about little Ivy running off, saying that she was going to battle the Hobbes, just like her adventuring father. D'oh! Stupid, impressionable kids!

So, I'm genuinely concerned at this point, and travel to the cave... and it's the exact same cave as at the beginning of the game, and I realize I'm playing through the exact same quest as at the beginning, only with MY KID. And then it all clicks, and I think, Oh, Peter Molyneux, you brilliant jerk.

Anyway, it was genuinely harrowing -- there's only one save file, and the game tends to autosave after anything important. If this was going to be a moment of tragedy, in the back of my mind was the very grim understanding that the game might well have saved at the beginning of the quest, and there's nothing at all I could do about it.

Long story short, the rescue was successful, and little Ivy got a scolding from her mother. My hero character, being mute, did not join in, but I carried a big sword and pistol and tried to look threatening in a suitably disciplinarian fashion. Congratulations, Lionhead, you made me feel scared about losing a virtual family. Are you happy now? Huh? You bums.

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copyright 2008 spookingtons