Aquaria: Gods and Monsters

One thing I keep forgetting about the plot-crucial bosses in this game is that they’re all gods.

It’s an easy thing to forget because not all of the bosses are plot-crucial. There’s a fair number of optional ones, guarding optional but useful permanent enhancements of various sorts: some outfits with special properties; a song or two that you could get by without; in one case, the ability to cook three ingredients at a time without a kitchen (not a very useful skill so far, but I’ve got it anyway — it’s not like you know what you’re going to get before you’ve won the fight). There are four optional bosses (including the very first one you can access) that turn out to be protecting an egg bearing a smaller creature of the same species, which then becomes your pet and defends you. That’s right, it develops an attachment to its parent’s murderer, and will even help you to murder other parents so you can steal a better child to replace it with.

The important bosses, though, have backstories that you learn from an expository cutscene on defeating them. And the backstories are all more or less the same: there was an ancient race with its own special god, but something went wrong, leaving the race extinct and the god twisted into a savage, insane monstrosity. Because you only learn this after you’ve defeated it, your first impression of these beings is always their degraded form. Only after you’ve destroyed them do you get glimpses of what they used to be, provoking a reevaluation of what it meant to fight and kill them.

And then, in most cases, having destroyed them, you gain their powers. Each god-boss you kill teaches you a thematically-connected transformation song — not a direct transfer of the very attacks it used against you, as in Mega Man, but something vaguely related to what it’s supposed to be a god of. In essence, you’re slowly becoming a shapechanging (or at least outfit-changing) representative of all the dead races. There was a mention in one of the cutscenes about being destined to unite the various underwater tribes or something like that, and it looks like it means unite them in a single body. Which raises questions. There are at least two races of underwater-dwelling peoples that are still alive and thriving. Am I expected to somehow absorb them as well?

1 Comment so far

  1. matt w on 14 May 2011

    That’s right, it develops an attachment to its parent’s murderer

    That’s not necessarily implausible with newly-hatched eggs, is it?

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