Tuesday, December 8, 2015

20+ Intentional and Unintentional References in Undertale

Hailed by most gamers and fans as the "Game of the Year" for 2015, Undertale is not like your average RPG pixel game. It breaks the fourth wall like Re:Kinder and Enigma, has 8bit graphics and music like Yume Nikki, and has a battle system similar to Touhou / bullet hell games. Because I'm a huge multifandom nerd, here are 20+ interesting references, intentional and unintentional, within the game.

Before you proceed, there are spoilers below so read at your own (f)risk.

1. Homestuck

It's pretty obvious that Undertale is hailed by many fans as the "new Homestuck". After all, Toby Fox is a composer for most of Homestuck's music, and that he even conceptualized Undertale while in the house basement of Andrew Hussie, Homestuck's creator, so their closeness is already a big reference to the two fandoms. 

In addition, both of them have the following game and story elements: time shenanigans ("messing with timelines"), a muscular flexing horse (Aaron), Sans (mentioned below), a spider-associated woman (Muffet) and a lot of fourth-wall breaking stuff in the form of a video game. They are also both stories of two races: humans and non-humans with complicated plots (although Undertale's plot is a bit easier to understand for most people). Sans, Flowey (Asriel) and some people who have knowledge of the timeline could track down what you've done in the past. For this, Sans is often compared to Dave Strider being a cool dude with time powers.

Megalovania, a track also used in Homestuck's [S] Wake (with god-tier Vriska, etc.), is remade for the battle with Sans in the Genocide route.

2. Yume Nikki

This is literally the first thing I thought of when I saw the game's graphics, and even more when I heard the 8bit music. Both have a silent protagonist with shut eyes, although Madotsuki is more of a combination of Frisk and Chara due to the ability to wield a knife and kill people. 

Both games have a lot of non-human and irregularly-shaped characters, with the special mention of Napstablook (KyuuKyuu-kun) and W.D. Gaster (UBOA). Both games also have a snow region where you land in your first few minutes of playing (variable on Yume Nikki, but still it's one of the easiest places to get one of the 24 effects).

If you finished the Genocide Route, you'll discover that the Frisk / Chara thing is like Minhyuk and his evil alter-ego (we nicknamed "Red" for some reason). Both Red and Chara are psychopathic killers who pretty much kill everybody. 

There are also multiple endings, that are kind of all canon in a way. If you got the ending where you face Red in a battle, you will have to get the other two endings just to know the whole story, just like in Undertale where you have to get Genocide Route to fit the pieces together.  The game also has a lot of fourth-wall breaking, as well as having to go to a secret laboratory to get certain endings.

4. Re:Kinder

The game features both a battle system and breaking the 4th wall. The protagonist is also on a mission to save not just everyone from dying, but also to eventually save the main antagonist (Yuuichi), just like in Undertale's True Pacifist route, where you have to save Asriel after the battle. Both games also give an impression of being a children's game, but is actually really depressing and screwed up.

5. Touhou Project

This is also pretty much given, since the battle system is totally like Touhou and most bullet hell games. Since I'm not really a fan or a player of Touhou nor am I even good at bullet hell (I even suck at playing Galaxian to be honest), that's all I can say about the reference.

6. Kingdom Hearts

I have a lot to say on this, though. The concept of "souls" is similar to "hearts" in the KH universe (after all, souls are shaped like hearts in the game). Any being can lose them, but in Undertale's case, only human souls can linger for a longer time than monster souls. Both the "hearts" and "souls" concepts are quite difficult to explain. Some of the BGMs also give off that KH feel.

The gameplay is also RPG so it's similar to KH, except fighting leads you to becoming a bad person. Flowey being a flower that is neither human nor monster and has no soul is reminiscent of KH's "nobodies", beings that are formed from the empty shell left behind by people who lose their hearts, and cannot feel emotions. Asriel / Flowey and Frisk / Chara could remind you of the Sora / Roxas and Kairi / Namine thing. Chara is a good candidate for being Namine (except the murder stuff) because she's able to manipulate timelines and reset stuff, just like Namine manipulates memories.

7. Fairy Tail

I see Asriel Dreemurr, especially in his adult form, as Jellal Fernandes, especially his celestial attacks. But that's not all! Asriel is also a misunderstood character like Jellal, who tries to make it up to Frisk in the end. He and Chara share a rather complex relationship, just like Jellal and Erza, although Undyne fits Erza's personality more. Papyrus and Sans are like Natsu and Gray as well.

8. Don't Hug Me I'm Scared

Mettaton's box form immediately reminded me of Colin the Computer from DHMIS 4. They are both, well, computers.  Both fandoms are incredibly huge and Tumblr-based, although Undertale is more mainstream, a bit similar to Five Nights at Freddy's fame. These two fandoms also have a majority of non-human characters, taking shipping and pairing to the edge of the world. And just like Re:Kinder, both appear to be like childish fandoms at first, but are actually really dark.

9. Pokemon

The battles are pretty much Pokemon, since after all, most 8-bit games stem from Pokemon game inspiration.  Each monster is unique and are based from existing animals / objects, but are more "internet-ish" and random in nature. Side note: even Alphys looks like a Pokemon herself.

10. Silhouette Mirage

This is also one of the first fandoms that came into my mind when I first heard of Undertale, especially because Mettaton shares a similar name to Zohar Metatron from Silhouette Mirage. Both were named after the Metatron angel, both are recurring bosses in the game, and both have an upgraded form which you fight later, although Zohar's "Cypher" mode is more of an Asriel thing because of its attacks and the plot's drama intensity (seriously, I just wanted to save Zohar and Asriel, ugh sad endings everywhere). 

Mettaton being a celebrity is also reminiscent of SilMira's "Media City", with the various TV show spoofs such as cooking shows, game shows (slot machine in SilMira) and others. SilMira's protagonist is named "Shyna" which kind of reminds you of Shyren, who is also associated with Mettaton (and Napstablook). 

Megiddo there reminds me of Sans, Clod / Armageddon is kind of like Chara, and the multiple routes just remind you of Undertale in general because you get to decide whether you'll save the world or let it be. Both fandoms are not just sci-fi with lab experiment elements but also with a lot of non-human characters (actually mutated humans that gained Silhouette and Mirage powers).

11. One-Punch Man

Let's face it: Saitama and Genos remind you of the best bony comic duo of the year: Sans and Papyrus. After all, if you anger Saitaama, he'll give you a  B A D  T I M E . . .

12. .hack//G.U.

The three main boss fights in Undertale somehow mirror bosses of the 3 volumes of .hack//G.U. games. Flowey - Azure Kite (vol. 1), because you never get to find out much about him afterwards (although his true boss form reminds you of Asriel's final form). Asriel - Sakaki (vol. 2) because both are really just kids with adult forms having ghoul eyes, badass powers and ugh, I just feel sorry for them in the end. Sans - Ovan (vol. 3) because Ovan will definitely give you a    B A D  T I M E , especially during the avatar battle.

13. Yu-Gi-Oh!

We're talking about souls and soul possession, right? You bet! Asriel / Flowey reminds me of Marik / Yami Marik because you know, he really deserved better. Frisk / Chara is more of a Bakura / Yami Bakura because Frisk is kind of a silent character like Bakura and towards the Genocide route, becomes easily possessed. Both Chara and Yami Bakura are spawns of Satan, yes they are. On a side note, Papyrus reminds me a bit of Joey Wheeler, with overflowing sheer confidence and, well, DETERMINATION.

14. Bust a Move (Bust a Groove)

Mettaton EX! Seriously, if you look at the hidden character Michael Doi (Kitty-N's dance instructor), that is SO Mettaton EX right there! In addition, Sans might resemble Bi-O. The final stage, Pander's "Enka 1" stage, reminds me of the boss fights in the 3 routes of Undertale: Flowey (Pander's room at first shows a lot of TV screens with creepy, black-and-white TV shows), Asriel (Pander's room as soon as you reach a really high score becomes a rainbow-like dimension) and Sans (well, Pander does look like Sans a bit because he's a human panda).

15. Death Parade

Grillby's just reminds me of Death Parade for some reason, and Grillby is kind of like Decim because of his stoic expression. Not to mention, we have a main character who later realizes a dark secret about themselves.

16. Fullmetal Alchemist

Napstablook and Happstablook are cousins. Happstablook's soul is later injected into Mettaton by (Al)phys. Sounds familiar?

17. When Mama Isn't Home

Just head to Papyrus's house. When you see Sans play his tromBONE, you'll get it. 

18. The Hobbit

Asgore Dreemurr reminds me of Thorin Oakenshield, who was totally misunderstood by everyone and yet still acted as the king he is and became responsible for his oath of redeeming his kingdom, even if in the end, he had to sacrifice himself. Both look tough and intimidating, but are really gentle to the core. Not to mention, Frisk reminds me a bit of Bilbo due to being a small and silent main character who goes on a journey.

19. Ar Tonelico II

Most of the locations remind me of the later locations in AT2, which are mostly technical and mechanical ones. The plot has something to do with hearts resonating as one, the struggles of becoming a leader and waging war to an opposite force while having to make some unwanted sacrifices, and many other things. Also, both are decision-based games (read: visual novel style).

20. Ib

Just like its connection to Yume Nikki, both Undertale and Ib are not just two mainstream games, but also games with a silent protagonist associated with flowers. They both have a fabulous character (Garry / Mettaton) and have quite a lot of non-human characters, since it is a painting world. Multiple endings and decision-making are also there. 

21. Spongebob Squarepants

At first, I thought it was just the "oh no he's hot" thing I saw on YouTube the other day (applicable to Mettaton and Asriel who have *cough* sexier boss forms), but there's also the snail race, which might remind you of Gary, Spongebob's pet. In addition, Sans and Papyrus remind me of Patrick (being a lazy bones) and Squidward (being a noisy bossy guy). There's also this "7 sins" thing in Spongebob that also somewhat occur in Undertale. Side note: "You feel the weight of your sins" in Genocide route.
22. Miscellaneous Cooking Shows, Anime and Dating Sim Games


23. Jose Manalo and Wally Bayola

Sans and Papyrus, especially Sans who can throw really great jokes and puns.


Thanks for staying DETERMINED on reading this far! 
Here's another Undertale thing I did: an Undertale mashup.

1 comment:

Junko Enoshima said...

You're really, really stretching it with most of these. Calm down.