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August 10, 2018

Undertale (Part 7)

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7

(Spoilers: The finale of the story has been described in Part 6. This here is a collection of secrets, gimmicks and other fun stuff about Undertale, followed by my final words.)

As the previous… er… 14,000 words indicate - Christ, that was a long review - Toby Fox’s programmed marvel Undertale contains more content than one player is likely to ever see. There are paths you won’t see unless you persevere, details you’ll likely miss out on, and even more bonuses in the code, in the debug mode, when you actually cheat through…  Let’s go through a few things I found out by myself while researching information on this game, to make sure I was getting most facts right.

Okay, so first off: This game keeps track of your progress through the Underground thanks to the various save points, but did you know that it’s basically all they do? Let me explain. You save so that you don’t have to start over from the very beginning, that much is simple. The saving spots serve more as respawn points than anything else. But the game seems to be constantly keeping track of everything you do during your playthrough, even between saves. If a character has a long monologue at some point in the game and you die before saving after that monologue (because those tirades tend to be from bosses), then the character will skip some of that monologue on the subsequent tries.

That's what you get if you come back to fight him again
after defeating him twice already.
The game will also often keep track of when and where you close the window. Flowey’s early-game comments tend to reflect these decisions. I remember killing Toriel accidentally, resetting, and being told by that sociopath of a flower that I reset because I felt bad. Undertale hardly ever forgets. As for Sans, if you reload to the previous save point multiple times after hearing his judgment in a Pacifist run, he might eventually give you a special item… Similarly, on No Mercy, he keeps track of the number of times you lose against him (up to a point) and will even acknowledge if you reopen the game before the fight against him, after you've beaten him, if you're trying to kill him again.

August 7, 2018

Undertale (Part 6)

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7

I've gone through the Underground, I'm battered and bruised,
but I don't have a single speck of dust on me.

(I’ve said it for the last 5 parts - if you haven’t played Undertale and don’t want to be spoiled, turn back now! In fact, the mere word that precedes the entirety of this part is a major spoiler. Avert your eyes if you refuse to learn about…)

Forgive mistakes... up to a certain point.
So you’ve gone ahead and showered them all with kindness. You proved to Goatmom that you could go out in the great big world. You were determined to go past the loud skeleton. You valiantly fled from the spear woman until she needed your help, and you helped. You faced the mercantile spider-woman and the most famous robot alive with the optional humanoid upgrade. Your trip ended with a true battle against a King with nothing left to lose, only for it to be topped off by a duel against a maniacal flower. Whom you ALSO defeated with kindness.

Where do you go from there? Well, after the ending of regular Pacifist, Flowey tells you what you may have missed out on in order to achieve the best ending. It involves befriending most major characters. Toriel, that’s done. There’s also Papyrus, Undyne and Alphys.

River Person makes backtracking easy.
Can I call them Charon? No? Aw.

How weird would Undertale be if it actually had a
fishing game, eggs to care for, stats on the Underground,
a crime-fighting minigame and an Annoying Dog detector?
To befriend Papyrus: come back to his house in Snowdin and talk to him, then check everything around his house and then in his bedroom, and then a dating sequence will be initiated. Yes, really. You can date a skeleton? Best game ever! The dating simulator has a whole bunch of useless options, but it’s not really a simulator. It’s mostly Papyrus chatting with you and thinking everything you do makes you even more enamored with him. Watch out Papyrus, or your ego will grow so big you won’t be able to leave the house anymore. This scene is pretty funny, but whatever happens, it ends with Papyrus explaining he isn’t romantically in love with the protagonist… but still gives them his phone number.

How are phone bills down in the Underground?
Probably not all that expensive.

From now on, you can call Papyrus almost anywhere in Snowdin, Waterfall and Hotland, and he will have either advice about the place or some funny comment to make.

I mean, sure, but is she ready to hang out with me?
To befriend Undyne: This cannot be done on even a Neutral route, because the killing of even a single monster will be nasty enough that she’ll refuse to have anything to do with you past your boss fight with her. Makes sense, she IS the captain of the royal guard after all, her sense of justice is powerful. How to find her on Pacifist? In Waterfall, look for the scary house that resembles a sea monster, it’s the home of the scary woman that resembles a sea monster. If you’ve befriended Papyrus already, he’ll be waiting in front of the house and will let you come in when she opens. No, she’s not salty because you saved her life… just a tad bit miffed, is all.

Undyne, you're a fish woman. You might want to
rethink that.
Papyrus leaves Undyne alone with the human child after challenging the fish woman to become friends with the human. That’s the only way she’d accept - she’s too badass to turn down any challenge! So at first she still seems to be rather passive-aggressive about her earlier defeat. I mean, she sure likes to point those damn spears at the child. However, from there she offers them a drink, then later teaches them to cook pasta in the only way she knows: The EXTREEEEEEME version! So extreme, in fact, it ends up burning her house.

Thankfully she takes it well, and says she’ll be off to live with Papyrus for a bit. From then on, if you call Papyrus at any point, there’s a likely chance Undyne will add her own two cents to the topic being discussed.

..She's talking about a garbage dump. It makes sense in context.

Go on a date and then kiss already!
To befriend Alphys: On the way from the MTT Resort to the Core, after she’s been befriended, Undyne will ask the player to bring a letter to Alphys’ lab in Hotland. So we do, and when Alphys reads it and opens the door, all she sees is the protagonist, believing them to be the one who wrote the letter. Oopsie.

And so, after some preparing, she takes the protagonist on a “date”, which devolves into roleplay between the protagonist and Alphys so that she can learn to express her feelings to Undyne, whom she has a desperately obvious crush on. And when Undyne shows up, Alphys spills all the truths to her crush. Thankfully, it ends with Undyne accepting Alphys as she is, and swearing she'll help Alphys in accepting herself, too.

Geez, Alphys, no need to be so dramatic.
For the record, these sequences have loads of laughs, I am just skimming because I don’t want this to be a gigantic article. I don’t do the scenes justice, you gotta see them for yourself. Past that point, after Alphys is back at her lab, she's nowhere to be found, but she has left a door unlocked in there for you, claiming she has unfinished important business to take care of. The human child can then step in that room (the one that previously masqueraded as a bathroom) to find… the True Lab.

The elevator crashes down and we end up in a scary decrepit laboratory. Screens on the wall tell a story of a creepy experiment involving sickly monsters about to die and turn to dust, and extracting Determination. Oh yeah, Determination is a measurable force that can apparently be captured or collected in this world. Alphys seemed to partake in these experimentations where the sick monsters were injected Determination to survive. Only problem is, it seems to be incompatible with them.

Where do all these speech bubbles come from?
What the f..............................?

It's... it's... incomprehensible!
Things went wrong. And as we explore the lab, we encounter more creatures that seem like bizarre mashups of monsters met throughout the Underworld. Those Gigyas things, that bird, this fusion of dogs… and somehow, THE DOGS ARE THE HOLES BETWEEN THE LEGS ON THIS THING. That’s the sort of Eldritch incomprehensible monstrosity that the most famous fantastic horror writers would struggle to describe. These things appear to break the game itself when you face them. You won’t always figure out what monsters they’re made from, but the Act prompts should be familiar enough to let you figure out how to spare each of them.

This venture through the lab forces the child to pick up four colored keys and insert them in the corresponding colored slots, which also causes encounters with the creatures, known as Amalgamates. They’re about to close in on the child when Alphys shows up and calms them down. She explains her entire situation. Mind you, there were also two particular screen entries that said Alphys tried to inject Determination into a flower in the Queen’s garden… which is also where the ashes of Asriel Dreemurr, Toriel and Asgore’s child, were buried…

I'll take "Innocuous phrases that cause instant panic"
for 100, Alex.
Leaving the True Lab takes us directly to New Home, with the elevator unusable, blocked by vines. There’s no way but forward. Getting to Asgore, we’re about to open with the fight… except before the first blows can even be dealt, an offscreen fireball strikes him, and in comes Toriel. Followed by most of the main cast of the game: Papyrus, Sans, Undyne, Alphys! All our friends are here! Nothing could ruin this moment! That’s when Papyrus, who’s stated to have been the one preparing this gathering, was informed to make it… by a little flower.

And that’s when they all get captured by vines. Flowey pops up, same old jolly self as ever, saying that he has been doing all this so he could “win” against you, the player. Because he is far too aware of his limited existence as a video game character, and if you win, you’ll leave. Psst, Flowey, let me introduce you to something: It’s called Replay Value, and Undertale has tons of it. On the opposite end of the scale, if you cheat the game in order to always win and never allow the player to, then the player will leave - and might not come back. AKA, your plan gives exactly the opposite results.

When Flowey tries to deal the finishing blow, the friends you’ve made throughout the story spar the attacks with their own, protecting you. They then throw out some words of encouragement, and most monsters you’ve Spared in random encounters also appear to boost you back to full health! However, in response to this. Flowey reveals his final plan: Absorbing the souls of all the monsters in the Underground. (See, this is why the real ending is unobtainable if you kill as much as a single monster down here: Without ALL the souls, Flowey couldn’t do this.)

Cut to a young goat child. Asriel Dreemurr, the child of Toriel and Asgore, is back in corporeal form after spending so long as a little flower. …Aww, isn’t he adorable?

FaceRig model by ScottFraser.
Now you can emote as Asriel too!

However, as he tries to call out to his human friend (the original fallen child), he reveals a new form for himself, a much more demonic one, powered by all the monsters souls of the Underworld. Final boss!

That... That is not the cute goatboy from earlier!

Not much can be done just yet, but your hopes and dreams let you reduce the damage you take or gain loads of special healing items. And the battlefield has gotten… blurry. God damn it, was this too much for OBS to record properly? Would you look at all those flashy attacks? It’s almost cartoony. And what else reinforces the cartoony feel of this fight? If you go down to 0 HP, your soul will literally pull itself back together and refuse to give up the fight.

Undertale: Now in Technicolor!

That's nothing, wait till he's-a firin' his lazor.
It’s impossible to lose against Asriel Dreemurr. ...It does take a lot of the epic out of the fight when you know you can’t actually lose it. Thematically, is it justifiable? Definitely. Just a wee bit of a letdown in difficulty, though. Even then, the best you can do is constantly spare him, then use Hope and Dream in the ACT menu. Eventually he calls all of his power in an attempt to end you, but it’s still not enough, so he moves on to his true final form: Asriel, Absolute God of Hyperdeath. I mean, wow, this is a Saturday morning cartoon villain title. And it’s understandable: Outside of this grown-up look he gave himself, he’s still actually just a kid.

Someone should parody that and have different motifs appear
in the wings instead. Plaid, duckies, Spongebob, whatever.
His attacks are still flashy, but this time you can only struggle if trying to ACT. That is, until the text boxes seem to lose faith… before regaining a bit of hope, and when we return to the fight, the ACT command has been turned into the SAVE command. And from it, you can access the lost souls of the friends you’ve made on the way! Each one of them uses attack patterns they’ve displayed in their own fight, but that’s not what matters - all that matters now is to use various actions in the ACT command in order to bring back these lost souls’ memories. Hug Toriel, remind her of your pie preferences. Crack bad puns at Sans. Reassure Alphys. Spar with Undyne.

One chuckled, the other groaned. A third soul inside Asriel,
a woman, started laughing uncontrollably.

At 00.0000000001/20, I am pretty much dead.
Yet I keep reaching for you.
The attack patterns aren’t even all that difficult, either. Before you know it, the lost souls have recovered, all six of them. And with this, you suddenly get to call out to try and save a seventh person - Asriel himself. Despite his pleas, despite his desire to “win” against you, his willingness to keep you around forever in this “game”, the human child keeps reaching for him. Even after Asriel unleashes an insane attack that takes away the FIGHT, ITEM and MERCY options and leaves the player’s soul with literally one billionth of a Hit Point (geez, talk about breaking the scale), he can’t bring himself to end this. You keep trying to save him and he eventually admits that what he’s doing is wrong.

I forgive you.
And this makes him end his own game and revert back to young Asriel. He apologizes a final time and, with all the souls of the monsters within him, he calls forth his immense power to break the barrier leading outside. The human child, Frisk, now comforts him a bit before Asriel goes. Dammit, I promised to myself that I wouldn’t cry this time! Mission failed, again!

After Asriel is gone, Frisk wakes up among his friends from the Underworld. Everyone has been restored. And on this, they are ready to walk up to the surface. See the outside world again.

But even if this game is about to end, that doesn’t mean there isn’t much else to see. You can take as long as you want before actually getting to the ending. You can visit all the way back from here, Asgore’s castle, to the Ruins, and most NPCs will have new dialogue for you. You can freely spend an hour or two re-exploring this whole world to see what monsters now have to tell you.

Welcome to your new Overtale.
And on this, we can cross the barrier, which brings everyone outside to see the sunset for the first time in forever. After much of the cast leaves to explore this large open world, Toriel wonders if the protagonist will stay with her. You can accept or refuse. If you accept, you are officially adopted by Goatmom and given nightly deliveries of pie. If you decline, you still get a nifty photo of the major characters all together.

Maybe it’s Sans’ chance to become a stand-up comedian. Hopefully the human audiences aren’t too marrow-minded. And if he’s talented enough, he could recite Hamlet! “Alas Poor Yorick” would be awkward, but imagine the other famous soliloquies! “Tibia not to be, that is the question!”

I have a weird feeling that there’s a skeleton laughing his butt off in another universe right now.

"But I really wished you wouldn't.
Everybody is happy now.
You'd be taking that away from them.
And make me into a psychopath again.
So, please, don't reset everything."
Although, if you reopen the game after this ending, you hear from Flowey again, who begs you not to do a True Reset of the game. This will erase everyone’s memories, bring Flowey back to the sociopathic self he was, and erase the good moments you’ve had. Oh, believe me, If I were to True Reset this game for the second time, I guarantee you that my next playthrough will be True Pacifist again. Part of me feels like I wouldn’t like the Genocide route at all anyway. I promise I will never play this game as anything else than Pacifist. Goodbye, Asriel.

And, well, that should be the end of this review… but wait, what about my final words?

Oh, simple: It’ll be in Part 7. Bonus!

August 3, 2018

Undertale (Part 5)

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7

(Spoiler alert: This review is spoilerriffic in its revelation of story events. This part contains all the info on MAJOR battles of two paths. Don’t wanna be spoiled? You know what to do. )

As gray as the situation I'm in.

Well, there's not much going on here.
Past the Core, we get to New Home. It’s a pretty boring-looking grey area with buildings in the background. Eventually the human child reaches a house near-identical to Toriel’s, except it’s all grey with a few golden flowers in pots. The way to the basement is locked, but we find the keys easily around the house.

However, as we gather the keys, we meet enemies encountered throughout our journey, monsters who explain the grand story of this world. King Asgore used to be married to Toriel, and they had a child named Asriel (which, for the record, that’s a name I associate still more with the cat in the Smurfs than with the young goat boy, even if it’s spelled differently). One day, a human child fell down into the Underground and the royal family eventually adopted them. Asriel and the child became best buddies.

However, the child got sick and, dying, requested to see the flowers of their village. Unfortunately, it was impossible to pass through the barrier without both a monster and a human’s souls. The child died, and in anguish, Asriel absorbed their soul and took the child’s body, intent on going through the barrier to give the human child their last request, if post-mortem. Pass through he did, but a monster (even a kid) walking through a human village, carrying a dead human child, didn’t fly well with villagers, who attacked the goat boy, mistakenly believing he had killed the human kid. Not fighting back, Prince Asriel had no choice but to come back to the Underground, and passed away due to his injuries shortly afterwards.

Grief-stricken, Asgore devised a rather ill-advised plan to bring hope to his people: Gather seven human souls to permanently destroy the barrier and set all the monsters free. Unfortunately, that meant killing human children, which Toriel disapproved of, and that’s the understatement of the century. It also meant waiting for seven children to fall into the Underground, which could take decades. In fact, before the events of this game, Asgore has collected six souls already.

July 30, 2018

Undertale (Part 4)

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7

(Even though I think I made myself clear so far, it bears repeating that this review has major spoilers for the game’s two most important routes. Tread lightly. Oh, and spoiler alert, the ship sinks at the end of Titanic.)

(The text isn't normally darker, I just suck at taking screen caps.)

Walking into Hotland for the first time, we see guards keeping the path locked from humans - not realizing we’re one. Phew, is it me or it’s getting hot in here?

Ah,, finally someone helpful around here!
Nearby, we have a boat that can take us to earlier areas such as Waterfall or Snowdin. The building west, however, is a laboratory and the home of Alphys, the royal scientist. She’s a real ball of anxiety, stress and nerves, that lizard woman. Almost like me, except I’m not trapped underground. And also I am not crazy over anime. Just video games… er… in hindsight my situation ain’t all that better. I’m sad now.

Alphys explains that she was following the child’s journey through the land of the monsters, and has begun rooting for them. Unfortunately, Alphys is also the creator of an entertainment robot named Mettaton, who was modified to be able to fight humans. Except in trying to remove those features, she amplified them instead, and now her robot is trying to kill us! Whoa! I thought only Asgore was allowed to try and kill me! …Wait.

I'm more partial to "Fuzzy Pushover", but what do I know.
As if on cue, Mettaton shows up busting from the wall dramatically, and fights the human child. Except it’s not a normal fight. It’s a QUIZ SHOW! A battle begins, and you move your heart around in the rectangular area during Mettaton’s turn to pick the answer. That's... really clever! Eventually the questions become completely unfair (and Mettaton attacks you each time you pick wrong), but one question eventually becomes about Alphys’ favorite anime/game franchise, Mew Mew Kissy Cutie, and she absolutely has to answer that one for us. After which, Mettaton asks a question embarrassing Alphys, and then he leaves. Till we meet again!

Before we leave the lab, Alphys upgrades our super-old phone into a better model with texting and Internet connectivity, and then lets us go on our jolly way. From this point onwards, Alphys will often call to help you, and sometimes you’ll get notifications from her on social media.

A LOT of notifications.

At least, when Navi bothers you in Ocarina of Time, she's
supposed to have a point.

Like, all the time.

And you have to stop to read that pop-up dialogue box when it appears.


And even when there are puzzles, she’s not helping that much, sometimes being a bother instead.

Destroy the enemy ship, move the
boxes out of the way. Simple.
So yeah, Hotland is a combination of four things: Hot hot hot puzzles, a bit of a maze of elevators on the way to the area’s Core, encounters with Mettaton playing TV show host while trying to kill you, and Alphys constantly calling you or dropping social media notifications. Each one of them would be fine, but all four combined make this an area I really didn’t like the first time I played. It was a maze, it had tough enemies, all the Mettaton encounters were funny but filler, and Alphys came across as a video game helper as annoying as Omochao to the power of Navi. Thankfully, this time, I knew what to do somewhat, so navigating the area was easier.

We have to solve puzzles to open doors on the way. Also, we’re finally told why monsters are so obsessed with puzzles: The logic is that an army of attacking humans would be forced to go through them and get considerably slowed down while the monsters evacuate… somewhere. Where, I don’t know, they’re supposed to be trapped and helpless underground already. I guess they’re better off never stating it, so that a sufficiently-determined and murderous human never hears it and, thus, can’t find that location.

Not a great boss fight, but imaginative enough I guess.
One of the more notable elements of Hotland is Not Sorry, a bonus boss put into the game as a Kickstarter backer reward. He can be found only if you get to his area precisely on 8:00 PM, on October 10th (which may require changing your computer’s set date and hour). He’s an awkward, panicky artist dragon who keeps trying to show you his art, only for it to hurt you instead. There’s isn’t much to do to fight him, but 11 turns into the fight he calls it off anyway.

As for Mettaton, he chimes in with parodies of a cooking show, a TV news report, and a classic musical where he dresses as a princess, and each time he finds a new way to try to kill you, yet each time you can thwart his plans, usually with your own smarts or with some help from Alphys or her phone, which is packed with gadgets.

Well that mini-game led to a great big pile of nothing.

Muffet has one of the msot epic attack sequences in the entire game.
See that on the right? It's nearly a full minute long.
Of course, there are noteworthy fights on the way still, such as the two male guards that you can defeat by making them admit their crushes to each other - awesome LGBTQ+ representation in this game, by the way - and, later… Muffet. Oh God, Muffet. You step into her webbed-up room and she accuses the human child to be too greedy to spend a few coins on the spiders’ bake sale, also accusing the child to be hateful to spiders just like many other humans. In the ensuing fight, which by the way is extremely tough, Muffet turns your Soul purple and traps it on lines, and in this fight you have to move the heart up and down to avoid the obstacles, instead of freely floating around the Bullet Hell square. Oh, and for added kicks, there is no Action you can do to quickly spare her - gotta wait long enough for an underling spider to show up with a note saying you personally haven’t hurt any spiders on the way to her lair. However! If you bought an item from the Spiders’ Bake Sale way back in the Ruins, kept it up to this point, and eat it in front of Muffet, the notice will arrive immediately afterwards, ending the fight much faster. And you get her respect for not only caring for spiders, but also giving money to their cause! Sheesh, there was a lot to say for this one.

On the other hand, her song “Spider Dance”, much like most other themes in the game, can be adapted into a kickass song.

Side-note: Caleb Hyles is awesome.

Oh! He knows Toriel! And she loves bad puns!
In the Mettaton fight that happens shortly afterwards, Alphys turns your soul yellow and upside-down, making it like a tiny ship that can shoot bullets at the enemy with Z. And one bullet is enough to make Mettaton go away again, allowing us to go further and reach a grand hotel at the end of Hotland. There, we can talk with Bratty and Catty, Alphys’ friends who speak like valley girls despite being, well, in the Underground. We can then also meet Sans, who takes us for dinner at the hotel’s restaurant. I’m skipping over it because my space to write is limited, but it’s a very heartfelt discussion.

Oh, for the record, the MTT Grand Resort was built in honor of Mettaton. Definitely not an ego trip though. Nah, it’s just a hotel with his name on it, it’s not like it’s a shrine, a cult of personality for an inflated ego! What’s next, Mettaton will try to become ruler of the Underworld? Good thing it’s a monarchy, not a democracy, or this could get bad.

Sorry, Metta - you're not my finale.
Past the hotel, we walk into the Core, an extremely hot place built like a high-tech factory of sorts. The place is fairly simple to explore, few encounters with enemies, few puzzles as well. Soon we reach a room with Mettaton in the center, and the entertainer locks the exits. He explains that Alphys had been manipulating everything behind the scenes in an attempt to look cool and heroic to the human child, but Mettaton has had enough of the charade and decides to try and take the human soul for himself, so that he can pass through the barrier and gain more fans in the human world.

If Bowie exists in the human world of Undertale, then I am
fairly certain Mettaton would do a tribute album to the guy.
Your original tricks don’t work on him, until you’re told to flip a switch on the robot. This… doesn’t turn him off - instead, it brings out his great form, Mettaton EX, who is… well… let’s say he looks about ready to sing Magic Dance or Ziggy Stardust at me, and let’s leave it at that. And how do you spare him? By playing along with the showman… bot… showmanbot, and making a showman of yourself, playing Heel to Mettaton’s Face, bragging against him… even innocuous actions like using items will boost the ratings of this televised battle.

Every time you reach a certain threshold of viewers, Mettaton will reveal his heart and you can shoot at it with Z, since your heart can do that thanks to Alphys in its yellow form. This will cause Mettaton’s limbs to blow off. Eventually, when you hit the threshold of 10,000 viewers (which can be either very easy or very difficult depending on the items you use - of note, the ratings must reach 12,000 if you don’t blow off his limbs) and then Mettaton realizes he can’t win. Besides, he is the only real celebrity the Underground has, he can’t leave his fans behind! He ends the fight after opening the phone lines and receiving loads of positive messages from fans… then his batteries run out, because the EX form requires too much energy.

Of course, if there was more than one elebrity in the
Underground, maybe there'd be something else to watch then.

Anyway, this means we can finally leave Hotlands and the Core, and go to the King’s Castle. Alphys follows us for a bit longer though, trying to remain our friend through this… but I’m sorry, I need to keep moving forward… to Part 5.

New area: Hotland. Fire everywhere. Whatever. Gotta find our way through. I doubt we’ll see many folks, since they’re evacuating the place. And if anybody gets in my way… Hey, why is there a water cooler here?

And you? Are YOU going to fight me?
Come on, make me happy. Fight me.
A force field stops us from skipping steps. And that’s good, because we have to kill 40 enemies in this area. Hotland is a very large place. East, we walk into a lab, but it’s empty. Watching the video feed goes “It’s me, Chara”. I could have sworn that is NOT the name I gave this character. Further into the lab, we encounter a robot. That’s Mettaton, I think? Yeah, I remember him. He says that while we were slaughtering the monsters, Alphys was setting up an evacuation plan to get most monsters to safety. As for Mettaton, he says the world needs stars more than it needs death (original line says “corpses”), so he flees. Smart one. I’d flee from myself too instead of standing in my own way without putting up much of a fight.

Wait, if that monster is a rope on fire, why doesn't it
burn itself?
Past the lab, we venture further into Hotland. And, to the place’s credit, it actually has some pretty tough monsters. Pyrope is a highlight, as it will usually survive the first hit. Yet again, all the puzzles are deactivated. There’s no going through a series of lasers, no moving boxes to shoot an enemy ship. We also encounter two royal guards who decide to fight the child, but they’re killed very easily. Even more easily than Pyrope! What’s the point of having them as minibosses if they can’t even survive one blow?

Throughout the area, we also walk through bizarre sets like a kitchen or a prop castle, stuff that probably have a reason to exist in some alternate world, like planned scenes in a world where Mettaton plays with the human, but here? Nah. It’s the weirdest filler ever. The elevator has 4 possible destinations already, yet most of them are gated off by force fields. Dammit! There’s a bit of a spider bake sale, then another area where puzzles would normally have to be solved to move forward.

This kitchen isn't operational.
Shame. I was in the mood for a hot dog.

I just had a realization: This is fucking boring!

And! Down in one hit, yet again.
Oh, we’re moving into the room with the spiders and Muffet! That one is such a tough boss on the Pacifist Route! I hope she’s a moderate challenge here! She does the whole schtick with her spiders, calling the child a rotten ingredient that can be discarded, and the fight begins. And yet… with a single blow, off she goes yet again. Some supplementary material indicates that Muffet had a chance to trap the child in this room forever, blowing up the exit while she fled, but wanted to stay and fight the child so her spider babies wouldn’t be alone. And so, with her sacrifice, we can keep going without anything stopping us.

It just strengthens my point about the Genocide Route: You become too powerful, and despite multiple bosses on the way, very few of them pose any challenge. In fact, many of them don’t even fight you. They just… stand there. How’s this supposed to be fun? I’m… I’m not enjoying this. I only keep going because I can, because I want to experience this myself, and because I can then report on it.

Thsi is the most bizarrely badass line I have read in the
entire game.
We now reach the MTT Grand Resort, and as you can imagine, the place is empty. Even the alligator and alley cat in the alley are gone. We can get, for free, an empty gun and a cowboy hat, decent equipment. Hey, I wonder if those things belonged to one of the kids murdered in the King’s plan? Inside the resort, there’s almost no one to be seen. Well, aside from the Glamburger cashier guy, but he has the shop owner contractual unkillability. Leaving him alive is a crueler fate than killing him anyway.

Then there’s the Core. That place looks so boring now. I mean, I’m sure it already didn’t have much of interest anyway, but this… yeah, meh. However, with no puzzles to impede your progression, and a quick way through the maze, you can reach the door leading out of Hotland and towards the King’s castle. But before that, make sure you’ve exhausted the kill count. There’s a bridge just before the end of the Core with many different enemies, including one that actually feels more like a boss than a lot of encounters seen so far.

Not pictured here: The boss-like enemy,

I already was. I played GTA after all.
We walk through and encounter Mettaton again, standing in our way. Hopefully his robot body isn’t too impervious to my attacks. The robot says that the child is not just a threat to monskerkind… but also mankind. Which makes sense, you don’t become a genocidal monster one day to get out of a single bad situation and lose that trait when you’re out of it. That’s how monsters are born. Um… the actual monsters, not folks who are monsters by species but not by attitude like all the folks underground… all the folks we’ve been slaughtering… why am I feeling bad all of a sudden?

Mettaton unleashes his newer form, Mettaton NEO, in an attempt to stall us while the monsters are evacuating the area. He becomes a bishônen android with a huge armor. And all he does is… block the way. For the record, he is the final threshold in a Genocide playthrough as, past him, there are no more random encounters, so if you didn’t exhaust the kill count in Hotland before getting to him, he sets you into the Neutral Route immediately.

And like I said, on Genocide, he only blocks the way, doesn’t attack, he just… waits for your moves. And guess what? Like most bosses before him, he goes down in one hit. For fuck’s sake! Okay, so his robot body uses up the batteries extremely quickly in this form, but seriously? One hit? Here’s how I believe this fight would have been better: Mettaton doesn’t attack, but blocks your way still, and takes a couple dozen hits to die. Boring fight, but a relatively long one, as Mettaton is genuinely blocking your way for a decent period of time, allowing Alphys to evacuate more monsters while you’re busy. How does that sound?

Alas, that’s not what we get. What we get instead is another boss killed ridiculously easily, then we get to the elevator and can go to the King’s castle.