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Undertale Review

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The indie PC game that has taken the world by storm

The+Genocide+Route+in+%22Undertale%22+asks+questions+about+morality.
The Genocide Route in

The Genocide Route in "Undertale" asks questions about morality.

DeviantArt user Stardustdazzle

DeviantArt user Stardustdazzle

The Genocide Route in "Undertale" asks questions about morality.

“Long ago, two races ruled over Earth: HUMANS and MONSTERS. One day, war broke out between the two races. After a long battle, the humans were victorious. They sealed the monsters underground with a magic spell. Many years later… Mt. Ebott 201X. Legend says those who climb the mountain never return…”

These are the first words a player sees when they play “Undertale”, an indie role-playing PC game that has taken the world by storm. They provide the backstory for a journey full of laughs, tears, nerve-racking battles, magic, monsters and possibly murder. Created in 2015 by a man named Toby Fox and released for the PlayStation 4 in August of 2017, “Undertale” is truly a masterpiece.

One noteworthy aspect of this game is that it is very story-rich. In a nutshell, the plot of the game is that the player is an androgynous human child named Frisk who has fallen into the Underground (which is to say, the land of monsters) and must find their way out. It combines a linear plot with open-world gameplay by including two separate storylines that deviate from each other as the game continues. Unlike most RPGs, the player has the option to talk with monsters they encounter and convince them to spare them instead of being forced to fight them. This is called the Pacifist route, and doing so wins the trust and friendship of the major characters. However, the player can fight and even kill the monsters if they so choose. This is called the Genocide route, and it does not win anyone’s trust and friendship, but it does teach an important lesson about how one’s actions have consequences.

The personalities and witty dialogue of the characters the player encounters deliver a certain panache to the game. All of the major characters that the player befriends/kills each have a distinct personality. It is interesting to see these personalities interact with each other, especially if they’re vastly different like the tough-as-nails Undyne and the shy, stuttering scientist, Dr. Alphys. The only character that goes against the game’s flip-the-script style, however, is Frisk for being the stereotypical RPG protagonist: a short, mute child.

The one part of “Undertale” that has received the most praise by far is its soundtrack, which was composed by Toby Fox himself. The soundtrack does an amazing job providing a background for the scenes and the characters. Many songs use the same melodies as others, making the player remember past portions of the game. For example, one song, called “Death by Glamour” plays when the player battles the boss Mettaton EX in the Pacifist route. There are three melodies in that song that can be traced back to other songs from previous parts of the game. The beginning comes from “CORE,” the theme for the Core, the area the player was just in. Another melody comes from “Metal Crusher,” Mettaton’s theme. A third melody comes from “It’s Showtime!”, the song that plays when the character first meets Mettaton.

It’s this kind of ingenuity in the soundtrack and the rest of the game that makes “Undertale” a truly unique gaming experience, even two years after its release. It flipped the script when it came to games, including the option to spare enemies, 8-bit graphics (That’s right. 8-bit graphics on a PC), and the fact that every little thing the player does affects how the game ends, whether it be killing an enemy or saving in a certain spot. What makes it more awesome is that almost all of it was created by one person. “Undertale” is currently available on Steam for $9.99 and on the PlayStation 4.

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Undertale Review