The Let's Play Archive

Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones

by TheGreatEvilKing

Part 18: Absolute Garbage

Last time, on Stygian, we had to choose one of our companions to sacrifice to not-Nyarlathotep because, um, we need to have pathos.

Let's not do that! That's stupid!

: I will never do such a thing!

: (The lips freeze for a disturbing moment. The cacophonous buzzing of the Mi-go pierces your ears. And the skies... They seem darker now.)

: The game is not meant to be played like this. Not at all... So be it.

That's...that it? We're trapped on Pluto with our friends, air, apparently enough food for the lost man, and nice aliens? This is a bad end?

Unfortunately to beat the game we need to go through with this stupid pointless sacrifice instead of, say, working with the Elder Things or something. Fine. Let's do this stupid shit again.

The thread voted to kill the Outsider because he's a weird annoying goony fuck and as revenge for sitting through those stupid resting animations. It was real close by one vote so I'll be showing off the Nameless Soldier's death as well. Sonia gets to live because she already suffered torment in her real life: marriage to HP Lovecraft.

: (Slowly turn and face the Outsider)

: (You approach the Outsider to keep your promise to the Black Lips. His inevitable doom comes closer with each step you take. The maddening buzzing of the Mi-Go is getting louder every second.)

Buddy, we're saving you from this overwritten garbage.

Alright. This is the big climactic moment of the game. It's the one choice we, the player, are actually allowed to make after being strung along on pointless bullshit with cultists, Chad the shaman, pointless Lovecraft references, nativism, and straight up racist shit like Coaly Willie. If you're playing this far on your own I'm guessing there's an attractive person in leather chaining you to the computer table and you're a safe word away from ending this, or you're determined to get your money's worth from this piece of crap. In any other media this would be a very somber scene as our protagonist sullies herself with murder and damns herself, because it sure as hell doesn't work with what Lovecraft wrote. Here?

Ha ha, I'm insane, WHOOOOOP!


This would work a lot better if the Outsider was restrained. You know, the guy who's a better spellcaster than us and has vicious claws? You could fight back.


In No Country For Old Men Chigurh was so terrifying with the coin gimmick because he was a cold, amoral sociopath who genuinely placed the flip of the coin over men's lives. This is a stupid Wheel of Fortune reference that sucks all the drama out of this contrived scene.

Oh fuck off you goony dork. You were literally traveling with a psychopath who did victory dances upon killing people and you decided to join her on her quest for the Necronomicon despite muttering about how damned we were if we opened that thing. What did you think was going to happen?

: I'm listening.

: On our journey of desolation, I had the time to learn much about humanity, you being the main source of my inferences...

"Oh man, I joined forces with a crazy lady screaming about turning my deadly magic on the mob, who knew she'd be a violent psychopath? Was it before or after she macheted all the lunatics?"

This is just stupid and I'm not even going to dignify it.


Oh, it gives us ANGST!

Naturally, after narration telling us we stab the Outsider we get a cutscene of us stabbing the outsider. I guess they wanted to shoehorn in the last ANGST gain after we can't actually gain any defect points (that's what the game calls them, not me!)

The Outsider crumples to the ground because despite how the original story ended with him finding a bunch of new friends who accepted him at cool parties, this version is a whiny emo who manages to fuck up everything despite being a more powerful occultist than a PC occultist can ever be.

They do animate the stabs here, but I want to point out something.

No, not that the Outsider is standing despite us stabbing the knife into a prone figure, but the fact that the ending of this Lovecraft game, a genre about fear of the unknown, is literally just about stabbing a dude with a knife until he dies. That's not unknown! I live in Chicago, I could probably find someone to stab me right now!

I also have no idea what the Outsider is rambling about because we literally had Krogh rip our humanity out of us so we could listen to a dead girl tell us about her love for Chad over virgin Benedict and then use her pearls to cast a magical spell taught to us by a woman in search of youthful titties to go talk to some dickmutants. That is quite literally what the game presented us.

God this is stupid.

The game never made the Outsider seem like he had any agency! He just followed us around into obviously bad ideas! WE never had any agency! We literally waited for a magic dream to give us a badly written poem to find Lovecraft references!

I literally called this last update.

So this is the portal back to the 1920s on Earth, right? We at least get to go to the real world after murdering an emo and learning blood magic or something?


"It was VERY BAD you murdered the obnoxious one-dimensional cartoon character because it was mandatory to complete the game!"

This guy walks up to us...

That's right!

Yup nothing we did mattered!

We get it. Lovecraft liked tentacles.

The Necronomicon flares red, and...roll credits. Really. That's it. That's the ending they went with. You have to stab the Outsider, he decides to call you a mean poopyhead but also that he wants to die so it's ok but you're still a mean poopyhead for doing it, the Black Lips is actually the Dismal Man who sent you on this quest (who is probably Nyarlathotep) and the quest takes you literally 20 feet from Marino's cornuto bar where you started, and the game thinks you're still going to go after the Necronomicon after the quest giver made you knife a friend and fucked you over by dropping you off in Arkham.

Please, never work in the games industry again.

I'm guessing there was no one who could tell Can Oral that maybe including a bunch of racial stereotypes was a bad idea, or more helpfully that maybe he shouldn't be making games.

Cinematics team, you were competent. I have no idea how the rest of you looked at this and thought "yes, this code works perfectly and we should release this to the public."

You had enough of a process to have actual DevOps, and it turned out this buggy piece of shit?

You know what? The art team was OK.

You had an actual proofreader? No. I refuse to believe that. Not with this game in the state its in. Not with having mispelled words in the redundant subtitles at the very beginning of the game.

WHAT WERE YOU PEOPLE DOING???? I caught tons of bugs just playing this game for the internet! Now, this looks like a different company was contracted in so it's entirely possible that the bug reports were trashed so that we could add more Lovecraft references, but my God! If you put on your resume that you QA tested Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones, I would not bother to interview you.

That's it! That's the end! Now, remember that Cthulhu statue we found in the bank? It even had a quest log and everything? That never gets resolved, nor does the third line of the Dismal Man's poem. We literally had to rip out our humanity and murder our friend because our character was too stupid to climb a ruined wall 20 feet from the starting location! This game is absolute trash.

I promised to show off the Nameless Soldier's death, so here it is. It's pretty fucking gross!

The Ethical Way to Murder A Friend, apparently posted:

: (Slowly turn and face the Nameless Soldier)

The exact same prose but they couldn't bother to capitalize Nameless Soldier. Good job!

I'm pretty sure I take the second option, but it's telling that the game is still giving me the Voice of Madness garbage in this Very Dramatic Scene.

: (Give him the dagger) Take this.

: Yes, soldier.

: Only by killing yourself can you end the war. Otherwise you will be doomed to live it for eternity.

Remember how the Outsider bitched about us being a treacherous asshole? Well he's silent now! What a hero!

: This is not living, soldier. Only suffering. What I'm giving you is peace.

This is pretty fucked up, game!

: Permission granted, soldier.

: You took good care of me, sir. I'd like to thank you for that. And... I want to share something that I feel... A bad dream, sir... A nightmare...

: Her neighbors' good looking son... (The wounds that took his lfie are bleeding again, permeating his uniform)

This is a lot more effective that the Outsiders "I went OUTSIDE! And followed a crazy psychotic murderer lady! People are bad!" nonsense because the Nameless Soldier has an actual real condition caused by fighting in WWI and coming back as an undead man just trying to live his life. Unlike the Outsider, we basically tricked the Soldier into following us by pretending to be his CO so we could have him shoot people for us.

: I'm no judge of these things.

YOU ALREADY TOLD US THIS! The nameless man lamenting Clarisse married someone else and that he misses his family is one hundred percent more effective than "the black pits of DESPAIR" because we can all relate to this and imagine his loss. Even when Stygian succeeds at being moderately effective it manages to shit it all up.

We fade to black, then...

Bertha hands the soldier the knife.

Yup. He does it. This is...pretty evil.

So, ready for the final cutscene?

Consistency? What's that?

Then the ending proceeds as per the Outsider. That's really what you want to leave us on - that by convincing the Unknown Soldier to commit suicide, we ended his PTSD. Real great conclusion, game! Now, if I give the Stygian devs credit they absolutely do not deserve, this could be our character's lack of humanity coming into play, but this narration is second-person omniscient. Fuck this ending, and fuck this game!

So that's Stygian. It manages to be completely offensive, incoherent, incompetently made, completely fails to understand the source material it's drawing from, and...yea. I'm going to come up with some kind of postmortem and then that's going to be the end of this LP. What a piece of trash.