Monday, December 05, 2016

The Fur Will Fly

This time around, the theme of the team is "animal characters". I was going to say "talking animal characters", but not all of them talk. Was a little harder than I expected, but all those NES Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle games were out since that's a licensed property, and I already used Earthworm Jim. As it is, I almost used a third character from Tales of Vesperia, which felt like pushing it a bit. Why not just use the whole cast as a team and pretend it's my idea? Definite canine bent to this, since this blog is pro-dog, and not much for cats. There had to be at least one person on the Internet that doesn't like cats.

The Leader: Fox McCloud (Star Fox 64) - He's a pilot, with a pretty great starfighter at his disposal. He's a leader. He's saved an entire star system from a despot who turned himself into a giant floating brain (or did he). The Smash Bros. games have established him as a super-fast hand-to-hand combatant. The fighting and flying part of things Fox has under control. Fox as a leader seems to have a fairly loose hand, counting on other forces to keep the Star Fox team together. Like money. But that team was a group of professionals (for a certain value of "professional" when talking about Slippy Toad), and had at least vaguely similar goals and perspectives. Falco was a jerk, and he wanted to get paid, but he wanted to do so with a certain amount of autonomy and without killing a bunch of innocent people, so the team held together.

With this bunch, it's going to be a little trickier. There's the question of how Fox wound up with them. Was he whisked away from his team, or did he walk away? Maybe he felt like, having killed Andross, he didn't need to the team anymore, and wanted to go a different direction. Or maybe in this line, he got suckered into destroying the phony Andross and he's pissed about it. Determined to get it right next time, and is going to take a different approach to make that happen. Either way, it's unlikely he can count on everyone having the same goals to hold them together. Can he make it work as a leader who cracks the whip, or is that even the right way to handle things? Opening every decision to a debate isn't likely to produce results, but how is he going to get them to follow his lead?

The Rogue: Nack the Weasel (Sonic Triple Trouble) - I don't remember Nack holding a gun on Sonic in the game, but I never 100% completed it. Nack was less a super-villain, and more a thief/treasure hunter. You had to wrest the Chaos Emeralds away from him (I only got 4 of the 6, but seeing as Robotnik needed all 6 for his plans, that should have been enough). Nack's kind of a shittier, more amoral Indiana Jones. Or maybe Belloq, since he was willing to work with Robotnik.

It's hard to see him ever being entirely trustworthy. The team probably is not going to want him going off by himself, which is exactly what Nack's going to want to do. For him to stay, he's going to have to get into trouble so deep sticking with the team is his only chance of getting out (until he can use them somehow to get free and clear of the whole mess). Fortunate for the (hypothetical) story that he's greedy enough, and just unlucky/unskilled enough to try robbing the wrong person and getting noticed. It could even turn out the thing he stole was a very good thing to have taken, but his identity is known, and keeping him alive and the MacGuffin out of worse hands is going to require everyone else. He's useful, if not nearly as skilled as he thinks he is, but he's going to be hard to control.

The Muscle: Amaterasu (Okami) - Amaterasu is a literal god, so yes, she's the most powerful by far. If it's necessary to dial her powers back, she could always have reemerged from a long sleep after another great battle that's reduced her powers with the Celestial Brush. Overwhelming force isn't always the answer, and there's going to be times the others' skills are better suited to handle the problem, so that may not even be necessary.

I considered putting Amaterasu as the Rogue, or even as a Wild Card, but the former would have left Nack out of it, and either way I'd have wound up with another Tales of Vesperia character on a team, and that's starting to get old. Sorry Repede. There's a real possibility Amaterasu is going to have concerns separate from the rest of the team's, or is simply not going to be interested in what they're dealing with. In the game, she was barely interested in what the constellations she had entrusted her techniques to were telling her, or what the various villagers would request of her. When confronted with true evil, she won't back down from it, but she isn't always interested in seeking it out, or hearing someone's sob story. Not a cruel deity, but an occasionally lazy one for sure.

It's hard to tell if she's thinking about things like a dog, where someone talking at her is uninteresting compared to a firefly flitting through her field of vision and she doesn't grasp the larger picture. Or if she's thinking about things like a god and simply focusing on some level unseen by everyone else. Seeing the long game, where these mortal concerns barely register. The rest of the team will struggle to understand what she's doing and why. Sometimes they won't be able to get her to help, and other times she'll charge off on some other path with them trying to catch up or stop her from doing too much damage. And if there comes a point where he goals and theirs directly contradict, it could get ugly. Fox isn't the sort to back down from long odds.

The Hog of Mystery: Pey'j (Beyond Good and Evil) - So it's my second character from that game, but I liked Pey'j. Maybe getting sucked into helping this bunch is why he isn't around for Jade on the team she's leading, or maybe this was in his past by the time he was working with her. Pey'j must have an interesting backstory. He's a handyman mechanic, loves tinkering and building things. He's also the leader of the IRIS Network, which worked underground to expose the connection between the dictatorship the Alpha Section and the alien invaders, the DomZ. He runs an orphanage in a lighthouse with Jade. He's taken care of Jade since her parents were gone. Jade herself is holding a special power, and Pey'j was almost certainly involved in however that power wound up with her. How far has he traveled, what's he seen, what kind of contacts would he have scattered across his home galaxy?

In the game, Pey'j is loyal, if a bit cautious, and his actions can't always back up his mouth. He's a bit past his prime as an action hero, but he can come through in a clinch. He could be a bit like Volstagg when Simonson writes him, while also being the tech guy. He's not going to be as eager to jump into danger as some of his teammates, but his experience is going to come in handy. For Fox, Pey'j is going to be like having Slippy and Peppy fused into one. Hopefully Pey'j won't need rescuing as often as those two did.

The Dog That Is A Boat: Rush (Mega Man 4) - Rush was in a lot of Mega Man games, but this is the only one I own, so it's what we use. He's a dog, that's a robot. That can turn into a jet, or a springboard, or a submarine, at least for a little while. He's a little different from anything Pey'j or Fox have encountered, and they're possibly going to struggle to fix him up if he gets damaged. Nack could actually come in handy there, if only because he might have picked up a few things about robotic lifeforms from hanging around Robotnik. That could either play out with Nack pleasantly surprising everyone by saving Rush because he decided he likes the dog, or he sets up some boobytrap to disable him at a moment convenient for Nack down the line. Say Nack steals the Arwing and doesn't want to leave them any pursuit options.

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