The Stick of Truth: Horrors

I’m pretty far into The Stick of Truth now. The story is divided into a series of days and nights, with the days spent questing around the town and the nights devoted to self-contained scenarios in more fantastical environments. Day 1 is spent recruiting for the human side, so they can recover the Stick from the elves who stole it. Day 2 starts similarly, but turns into mostly questing on the elves’ side. At the end of day 2, the elves and humans join forces against a new threat, and at the point I’m at in day 3, I’m still trying to recruit more allies in preparation for the presumed final assault. At the same time, there’s a second story going on in parallel, about a government cover-up of a UFO crash and subsequent spillage of alien goo that creates Nazi zombies.

The story been exploring various dimensions of unpleasantness throughout — scat jokes, racism, bullying and other acts of juvenile cruelty, children being exposed to nudity and sexuality in uncomfortable ways (including an extended sequence where the player character watches his parents have sex), anal probing, zombies. But it’s only at this late stage, well into what I believe to be the final chapter, that I finally reach a point that’s nearly overwhelmingly revolting: the abortion clinic scene.

I won’t go into detail. It involves hiding from the Men In Black by pretending to be a doctor, and consequently going through a special QTE sequence. Failure results in cartoon gore 1Not to be confused with cartoon Gore. He appears in the game too, but elsewhere., followed by death and starting the sequence over. I’m not sure why this makes me queasy while the rest of the game leaves me relatively unmoved. Maybe there’s just something special about the combination of botched surgery and genitalia. Maybe it’s the way that the QTE makes you pay attention to what’s going on, instead of just watching for button prompts or abstract sparkles like in the combat system. Maybe it’s the combination. Regardless, I had to shut off the game for a while at this point, and contemplated just abandoning it there.

But I did come back. I have a desire to see this through to the end, and I think this has a lot to do with how compelling the game’s RPG treadmill is. (I may go into that in my next post.) And, thankfully, the next mission breaks the gross-out a bit by sending you off to Canada, which, in South Park continuity, is rendered in an even less realistic style than the USA.

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1. Not to be confused with cartoon Gore. He appears in the game too, but elsewhere.

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