Alan Wake EP19: 65 Billion Cows & Pigs

By Shamus Posted Thursday May 24, 2012

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 235 comments

Link (YouTube)

I would like to nominate, “There are 65 billion cows and pigs in the world!” as the worst combat taunt in the history of the medium. Does anyone have anything to counter it? Competition is fierce in this category, but I think cows & pigs has what it takes to win:

  1. Reference to docile barnyard animals.
  2. Delivered by a farmer whose only distinguishing feature is that he’s hard to see.
  3. Delivered straight, in a menacing voice.
  4. Non-sequitur.
  5. No hidden meaning that might redeem it as satire or parody.
  6. Lighthearted, ephemeral trivia with no bearing or meaning on the situation at hand.

Any other nominations?


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235 thoughts on “Alan Wake EP19: 65 Billion Cows & Pigs

  1. JPH says:

    I think it fits with the horror. I mean, oh god, 65 billion?! But there are only like 7 billion people in the world! They outnumber us! THEY’RE GOING TO TURN ON US!

    1. Alex says:

      Don’t forget about the 10,000,000,000,000,000,000 insects.

      1. Vic 2.0 says:

        I don’t think any of the lines were meant to be “taunts”. That’s just a critic for you, they judge everything by how it compares to what they’re used to.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      And if they somehow managed to get their…umm,hooves?…If they managed to get their hooves on some guns,we would be doomed.

      1. James says:

        Enemies Everywhere…. well pigs!!!!!

        vegetarians will be the ruin of us all, unite my brethren, bacon sandwiches abound until the pig menace is dealt with

  2. Alex says:

    I remember having a conversation with someone about the enemies in Condemned. I forget the specifics, but the combat taunt went something along the lines of: “Jerry, that cake was for everyone!!

    …There was neither cake nor Jerry.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      You mean…jerry was a lie?!

  3. Museli says:

    That’s the worst combat taunt I’ve ever heard, I think, although the next twenty or so on the list were also provided by this game. Consistency!

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      I’m not sure I would call it the worst. After all, I think you should know that “OMeGa 3 FaTTy ACiDs are GOOD fOR YoUR heaRT!”

      1. Pete says:

        I still think “I will be your doom!” is worse.

        1. Syal says:

          “I will be your doom” is seriously worse than “I will knock you all down”?

          1. Mr Guy says:

            This tomb will be your grave!

            1. lasslisa says:

              I think that one goes all the way around to where I like it again.

    2. Vic 2.0 says:

      I really don’t think any of the lines were meant to be “taunts”. That’s just a critic for you, they judge everything by how it compares to what they’re used to.

  4. James Schend says:

    Earth Defense Force: 2017 for Xbox has legendarily bad taunts, poorly translated from Japanese.

    One goes something like, “I’m going to shoot bullets at you until you die from the bullets!”

    1. Nyctef says:

      “I’m gonna fill you full of five detachable heatsinks!”

      Not from ME3, but it should have been :)

  5. TJ says:


    No, wait, that’s an awesome combat taunt. Sorry!

    1. ps238principal says:

      I think you misspelled “pick up line,” there.

      1. Sumanai says:

        Really? I thought it was the worst defence for workplace inappropriate behaviour.

  6. Daemian Lucifer says:

    You know,after playing american nightmare,one interesting thought comes to mind:This manuscript doesnt have to be a novel,it could very well be a tv show script.After all,alan perfected his skill by writing nightsprings.And writing a script is much different than writing a novel.Sure,he wrote a bunch of books later,but remember that he was possessed while writing this manuscript,so who knows how much his brain was affected.Maybe he defaulted to writing a script.

    It would also further explain why he thinks himself to be a hack writer:He got fame for writing books that are more suited for watching on tv than for reading,but everybody liked it for some reason,so he became popular despite doing it wrong.

    1. Indy says:

      Except the manuscript is described in this very episode as a novel called “Departure”.

    2. Vic 2.0 says:

      “It would also further explain why he thinks himself to be a hack writer:He got fame for writing books that are more suited for watching on tv than for reading,but everybody liked it for some reason,so he became popular despite doing it wrong.”

      Daemian, my friend, you are reaching again. First of all, him feeling sorry for himself is no basis for your understanding of the game world’s reality. Second, he became insanely famous for being a professional writer for the same reason all the other comparably famous writers did, because he did something (many things) right in his writing!

      But it is good to see you finally conceding that the manuscript is no sort of evidence for the claim that his writing sucks, because of the terms and environment he had to contend with while trying to write it.

  7. GragSmash says:

    Maybe it would spice up the fights a bit to have some alternate enemies that support the others?

    Like a Taken cleric could cast “cure Light wounds”

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      They do have a few different enemies in american nightmare(like a grenade tossing one,for example),and it does feel somewhat better.Plus lots more different weapons.

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        I don’t. Puns like that tend to darken my mood.

        1. tjtheman5 says:

          I hope this thread hasn’t taken a dark turn.

          1. Destrustor says:

            Lighten up. I’m sure it can’t get worse.

            1. Milos says:

              I don’t know, there are some shady posters out there.

              1. newdarkcloud says:

                Maybe it’s time I left the pun game. Not many of the punsters here are terribly bright.

                1. GragSmash says:

                  For the moment we can be thankful that Ruts hasn’t taken a shine to this thread.

                  1. newdarkcloud says:

                    I’m sure someone like him would give this thread a glowing recommendation.

                    1. Syal says:

                      I’m not so sure; I’ve found them mostly to be all flash and no substance.

                    2. Milos says:

                      If you’ve got a better idea then please – do illuminate us.

                    3. Tzeneth says:

                      I’d like to think someone would get a flash of brilliance, but I doubt it.

                    4. Knight of Fools says:

                      I think all the good puns are all taken, now!

                    5. X2Eliah says:

                      That has to be the most enlightening conclusion so far.

                    6. ehlijen says:

                      I don’t get it. Please explain, don’t leave me in the dark.

                    7. Even says:

                      Clearly you lot are not all running on the same wavelength. Shining example right above. Maybe you should all reflect on the situation for a moment and see if it gets you anywhere. Perhaps there’s one among you whose wit will yet cut sharper than a surgical laser.

                    8. X2Eliah says:

                      Hm. Those are valid observations but.. Not much of a solution to the issue. Perhaps someone could cast light on the larger problem at hand?

                    9. newdarkcloud says:

                      Well, from my viewpoint, we’ve simply run out of lustrous puns. All the remaining ones seemed to have dimmed in overall quality.

  8. swimon1 says:


    Also film critic hulk wrote an interesting article about John Carter that I think really applies here. His point is essentially that not everything should be withheld, especially character motivation should be clear unless you have a really good reason. It seems to be the problem with Alan Wake here. There’s no good reason to withhold Alan’s motivation, at least not for this long. It seemed to be obvious from very early that Alan was somehow writing everything but it’s very hard to care about that unless we understand why.

    1. Harry says:

      I love Film Critic Hulk! And you’re right, that article really does apply here – motivation should not be treated like a *plot twist.*

  9. Trevel says:

    I give it points for almost working with the Best Counter Insult Ever; viz, How appropriate, you fight like a cow.

    … almost.

    1. Arjen says:

      It works perfectly with “You fight like a dairy farmer”.

      Which was also the first thing that popped into my mind when I read the post…

  10. Daemian Lucifer says:

    So many problems with this scene.And the worst thing is,they couldve been easily fixed.

    First,obviously you get to this farm to get back alans memories,and not hear one cryptic lyric.So why didnt the geezers tell you “We have this special moonshine that will help you remember everything”?There,a much better reason to go here,and a much better reason to get drunk.

    Second,fighting the bosses wouldve been much better if they didnt die in such a lame way.You shine light on them,and they dissolve.Just a bit more work wouldve made it much better.Make it so that they dont dissolve,but instead the darkness is ripped away from the vehicle,screaming,and trying to hold on with its dark tentacles.There,you have turned your darkness into something more menacing.

    And all this trekking around just to unlock a few doors…Ugh…Although,the ramming ship was awesome.If I had money to buy my own norse ship,I so would make a door that can be opened just by ramming that ship through them.

    Also barry was fun.Especially that bit of taunting with the cardboard cutout.

    I still didnt care about alan after this,because he is such a non-character.I did care about alice though,and about barry,and I cared about sheriff,and I was sad that walter died in the previous episode,and I was glad that asgardians survived and escaped.But alan?I wouldve cared more for that cardboard alan if that was my actual character.

    Oh yes,the taunts.Omega fatty acids were also pretty lame.I get what they were trying to do,but in order to do it properly,you have to use it just a few times.Using it a bajillion times throughout the game is simply lame.

    1. Jingleman says:

      Do you mean that the brothers sent him to the farm to regain his memory? That is, it’s true that the game designers sent him there with moonshine foreshadowed so that he could remember. But, as far as we know, the Anderson brothers weren’t aware that Alan was an amnesiac, and their purpose, opposing the Dark Presence, is served by getting Alan to the Light Lady, regardless of what he remembers. Maybe sending him to the farm for moonshine would work, but the Andersons would have to get more information early on.

      I agree that the “boss” battles would have been well served by a more satisfying visual resolution.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        “Do you mean that the brothers sent him to the farm to regain his memory?”

        No,I mean it would be better if they did.It would be easy to tweak the dialogue with them so that they would gather up everything:
        – So sonny,youve been seeing the shadow guys like us?Yeah,you must have did something mighty bad to piss off the big bad.
        – I did,but I dont remember what.
        – Oh we can help you with that.We made special brand of moonshine on our farm.

        1. Will says:

          I think that Alan’s purpose in the whole game up to this point should be to regain his memories. It’s what you do when you have amnesia! It would make the first part of the game less annoying and more directed, because when the player is confused and doesn’t understand what is going on, Alan sympathizes and is trying to fix the problem.

    2. Vic 2.0 says:

      “So many problems with this scene.And the worst thing is,they couldve been easily fixed.”

      I bet not x 2

      “First,obviously you get to this farm to get back alans memories,and not hear one cryptic lyric.So why didnt the geezers tell you ‘We have this special moonshine that will help you remember everything’?There,a much better reason to go here,and a much better reason to get drunk.”

      Because, just as they said, he needed to find “the message”. The “moonshine” was never the point.

      And the message was not “Find the lady of the light”. The point was to give him classified information linking Cynthia Weaver to Thomas Zane. It's why the song tells the story in every verse, and why you have to fix the player and hear more than just those six words that are repeating when you walk in the door before the story continues. Remember that Cynthia asks Alan to prove that he's a friend, even after it's made obvious he's not a Taken. Now, ask yourself: Why would she still need proof he's a friend? Well because there are threats to her purpose who are 100% human and she knows it. Notice how they additionally made sure Alan told her “You knew Zane!” and not just “Yo, you're the light chick!”, lol. That implies that knowing/guessing her nickname around town or in the lodge wouldn't suffice as proof.

      Their job was protecting the key to gaining Cynthia's trust which would lead of course to getting the Clicker, and I consider the complex story he’s told in the rest of the song enough information for the Andersons to forget.

      “Second,fighting the bosses wouldve been much better if they didnt die in such a lame way.You shine light on them,and they dissolve.Just a bit more work wouldve made it much better.Make it so that they dont dissolve,but instead the darkness is ripped away from the vehicle,screaming,and trying to hold on with its dark tentacles.There,you have turned your darkness into something more menacing.”

      It’s not a bad idea, but I think they were wanting to establish that the darkness was omnipresent and not so easily fazed or frustrated (at least for a while). It wasn’t something that could be pulled off of something else it had taken over. It took possession of people and objects alike with minimal effort and had no stake in how long they lasted. It could create ten more copies in the time it took Wake to get rid of one; that kind of mindset.

      “And all this trekking around just to unlock a few doors…Ugh…”

      Actually, they could’ve done much worse. I’ve played so-called horror games like that before, where you spend more time switching things on and off and unlocking doors than actually fighting/fleeing, etc.

      Alan Wake’s a “non-character”? I don’t understand what you mean.

      “Oh yes,the taunts.Omega fatty acids were also pretty lame.I get what they were trying to do,but in order to do it properly,you have to use it just a few times.Using it a bajillion times throughout the game is simply lame.”

      You call them ‘taunts’. This means you don’t get what they were trying to do. They were simple echoes of what the Taken used to say when they were human. Some were meant to creep you out (not scare you, as in physical intimidation), others as comic relief. Never as taunts.

  11. Deadfast says:

    I think Mass Effect 1 deserves a nomination. While the particular taunt is not bad in theory, it’s the execution that gets you.

    There is nothing quite like entering a room via a narrow door, just to discover the said room contains 30 enemies, 5 of whom are currently simultaneously shouting Enemies EVERYWHERE!!!

    1. newdarkcloud says:


      On a side note: “Enemies Everywhere!” will almost never make sense since you have 3 squad-mates maximum (including Sheppard) fighting at once.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:


        1. Wings of Ahmad says:


      2. MatthewH says:

        For the longest time I thought this was Kaiden -then it started appearing when Kaiden wasn’t in the party.

        To this day, whenever I hear it, I want to promote Kaiden just so that I can say “Thank you, Captain Obvious!”

      3. ps238principal says:

        I may be the only one with this opinion, but Shep’s “Can’t reach the target” and so forth were always irritating to me, both due to the repetition factor, but also because I know I can’t reach the target, or get a lock, or whatever else you want to say about that kind of thing because if I could, it would be dead so shut up about it already!!

        I also drink too much coffee. Which I love.

    2. Rariow says:

      I’d also like to put forward “I know this hurts you, Shepard!” from ME2. Not only does it get bloody annoying, bloody fast, it also sucks all the possible threat Harbinger has. It almost feels as though he’s reminding Shepard his attacks are supposed to hurt him, or even worse, trying to convince himself that’s the case. In fact, all of Harbinger’s combat quotes deserve a place on the worst combat taunts list.

      Sure, it’s missing the reference to cuddly farm animals (Unless you named the Dog in Dragon Age “Shepard”, as I did), but it’s still up there.

      1. Exetera says:

        I concur with this. Sure, cows and pigs may have made Alan Wake‘s combat a bit of a joke, but Harbinger’s ridiculous voiceset had already ruined the main antagonists of an entire three-game epic trilogy, before the ending sequence of ME3 was even a twinkle in Casey Hudson’s eye.

      2. Deadfast says:

        You’re so right, I can’t believe I forgot about the Harbinger taunts.
        ENEMIES EVERYWHERE!!! is used by insignificant enemies (random mooks) in insignificant locations (prefab space warehouses) so it didn’t bother me that much and I actually got a laugh out of it on few occasions.
        Harbinger on the other hand, this mysterious undefeatable existence… is threatening to DESTORY me. Yeah, thousandth time’s the charm, right?
        The Spoiler Crew compared him to a 12 year old getting upset over a multiplayer game if I remember correctly. Very fitting. In fact the more I think about it, the more I see the similarities between the Angry German Kid from Mass Effect 2 and the diet specialists from Alan Wake.

        1. Thomas says:

          ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL is memed for being so bad. Like Cows and Pigs is just stupid, the Harbinger’s were actually ridiculously damaging.

          Although it was more context than lines, it was the way there were only 4 of them, that they were repeated constantly, that they were said when you repeatedly kicked Harbinger’s arse, often several times in a fight and he’d be saying it whilst you made him look like a tool and did no damage.

    3. evileeyore says:

      EQ2 has a similiar combat taunt I encounter frequently when soloing:

      “I can’t hold them all!”

  12. ehlijen says:

    65 billion cows and sheep hurt you!

  13. Shrikesnest says:

    I’m a sucker for good ol’ poorly-localized Final Fantasy Tactics, the scruffy, one-eyed, one-legged dog of translations, even in the PSX era. Particular gems are “Surrender or die in obscurity!” and “I’m protecting Agrias! Geronimo!”

    EDIT: And now that I think about it, the original Dead To Rights had some real classics. “Why don’t you boys take your grievances up with city hall?” anybody?

  14. Hitch says:

    Obviously the special yellow paint only shows up under flashlight light.

    That doesn’t make any less sense than anything else in this game.

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      The manuscript pages say that the paint can only be seen by one of was touched by the dark presence and only when they illuminate it.

      Perhaps whatever secret chemical process that makes only a select few individuals able to see the paint make it so that only a flashlight can light it.
      Okay, even when playing Devil’s Advocate, that makes no sense.

      1. Moewicus says:

        ‘s magic.

        Well, the lake water apparently has special properties in booze, so who’s to say it doesn’t also make a dandy invisible ink?

        1. Vic 2.0 says:

          “‘s magic” should be enough. If you guys wanted everything in the story to make sense, you shouldn’t have picked a game marked “Psychological Thriller” and you especially shouldn’t be surprised at anything after learning the premise of the plot itself.

          That being said, maybe both the secret ingredient to the “paint” and the ability to see it is derivative of the lake. Yes, both in the form of a chemical – likely the same chemical. Cynthia did say the darkness stays with you. “Leaves a stain.” Suppose that “stain” is something in the blood, something that can affect your brain and therefore your eyesight. Make you more capable of seeing this odd sort of “paint” (And if you call your eye doctors to confirm and tell me about it, I’m through with the lot of you! Hehe)

      2. Michael says:

        Yeah, it explicitly runs on absinthe soaked plot. I can’t remember if it’s the Light Lady or if it’s a manuscript page that explains how it works. Either way it is pretty damn stupid.

  15. Mathias says:

    It’s not a galley, it’s a longboat.

    Christ, guys, get your obscure Viking names right. This is something -everyone- knows.

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      Coincidentally, “It’s a LONGBOAT!” would be a better combat taunt than many of the ones in this game.

    2. Dave B says:

      Actually, a cursory survey of Google seems to indicate that this is a longship, not a longboat. Pedantry FTW!

      Ok, to be fair, some sources use the terms interchangably.

      1. Mathias says:

        The exact translation would be “langskib” in Danish, so you’re probably more right than I am. I’m just used to using “longboat” interchangibly.

    3. alienprayer says:

      To be tiresome and pedantic, a longship/boat is a kind of galley. Even a Quinquireme is technically a galley. A knarr might not be a galley, because the sail is the primary propulsion. But the ship in the bar was probably a snekke/snekje, not a knarr.

      1. Timelady says:

        Now that should have been a combat taunt in this section.

  16. Michael says:

    Like Rutskarn said, when the consumer doesn’t care about your game and you give them something cool, they’ll often reject it.

    While this should be an awesome reveal, I don’t care, simply because I think it’s all fake. What we’re being shown is the story being written. In my mind, Alan went to the cabin for a week with his wife, wrote a novel, and the game we’re playing is him reading the manuscript back to her.

    Either that or it’s all a dream – his name is Wake. We’re shown a nightmare he’s had, and then we’re dropped into it.

    “Oh? I died? Well, that’s about the time you wake up from nightmares, so… Guess I finished Alan Wake. Huh.”

  17. Atarlost says:

    Wait. At the end. Why was Zane in a diving suit? Is Alan Wake trying to make itself look good be reminding us that we could be watching Spoiler Warning: Bioshock?

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      Zane did a lot of diving during his stay at Cauldron Lake. So much so, the island with his cabin came to be known as “Diver’s Isle.” After what happened between him and the Dark Presence, he went into the lake and traveled to the dark world beyond to wait for someone who would need him, presumably with his diving suit.

      From a design standpoint, so they wouldn’t have to waste resources on giving him a face.

      1. Jingleman says:

        I’m not sure what makes a character harder to take seriously: walking around in a giant diving suit of heavenly light, or everyone else’s ridiculous facial animations.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Hands down,the wacky faces.Especially alans.

          1. Sleeping Dragon says:

            Isn’t there like a grainy photo of this thing in the dream/tutorial? I seem to recall seeing it like this first. It wasn’t immediately obvious to me it was a diving suit and it somehow creeped me out. Like “okay, a photo… what the hell is that thing? Looks like this bloated humanoid with some kind of… are those dark spots on its head mouths or eyes?”

            1. Vic 2.0 says:

              I think you’re referring to the photo in the cabin after Alan and Alice arrive. Cleverly, they conceal the fact that the… erm, thing in the picture is in fact the guy from the dream/tutorial sequence. You never see him in the dream, just the bright light.

        2. newdarkcloud says:

          If I’m being honest, I did crack a smile and chuckle to myself when I saw Zane for the first time. The giant diving suit did not match what sounds like Nolan North’s voice at all. That plus it just looks stupid.

          1. Michael says:

            It’s actually James McCaffery, meaning if you peal off the suit you get Max Payne.

            1. newdarkcloud says:

              That somehow makes it more funny.

              1. Vic 2.0 says:

                I don’t recall: Does it show Zane flying in the “real world” at any point?

                If not, I’d say he fashioned himself a clever suit of armor from the diving suit he took with him to the depths.

                If so, I think the only possibility left is that he’s a ghost. This would explain what some people bitch about on here, why he’s always coming and going. Ghosts are unpredictable like that, almost as if they have no control over where they go and when.

                Or so I’ve heard.

      2. Even says:

        It’s not exactly clear what he did or what happened. There was the volcano eruption which was attributed to the island’s disappearance. Given that both the cabin and him ended in the Dark Place, I think it’s more likely that he went down in the same “cataclysm” with the cabin rather than just hopping into the lake. The diving suit was likely just a McGuffin to give him the means of survival in whatever unknown he was going into, assuming he really did write himself out of existence.

        1. Jingleman says:

          There’s a manuscript page that describes Zane’s last dive.

          1. Even says:

            Hmm.. seems I forgot about that one.

            Maybe the volcano just erupted as a result then. I dunno. The plotholes just keep nagging at me.

            1. LunaticFringe says:

              I have to admit ‘descending to a bottom that never came’ is a legitimately good line in my opinion.

              1. Vic 2.0 says:

                As are they all, in mine. Some just require more thought than others. This particular line is somewhat cliche and obvious. Not much thinking involved.

        2. Daemian Lucifer says:

          He did write himself out of existence,so maybe he did it with a volcano.

          1. Michael says:

            I always assumed Cauldron Lake was volcanic in origin. It adds another level of stupid onto the area’s geology, but it would be consistent with the whole “bottomless lake” thing. Of course I immediately associated it with Crater Lake, so, take that for whatever it’s worth.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              Whenever I read a post about the geology of this town,I get this urge to play civilization.Man,they mustve used some subliminal marketing in this game.

              1. Michael says:

                Or an intuitive understanding that you can’t have a volcano, silver, and a lake all on the same tile?

                1. Vic 2.0 says:

                  That should make you question more than what Geology 101 would expect of you.

                  Like, at the end, Alan says “It’s not a lake; it’s an ocean”. A very powerful line given unnecessarily metaphoric interpretation! What if the “lake” is literally an ocean, just on its side? Extending down into the center of the Earth (aka Hell). It would explain a million and one things, not the least of which being your question.

                  It’s not a lake (not water) and it’s not a volcano. You’re left only with a silver mine to question, and that’s far from unbelievable.

  18. Jingleman says:

    I don’t really know what to do with the lyric-MacGuffin here. I’m trying to rationalize the brothers failing to just send Alan directly to the Light Lady.

    It might have worked better if the brothers were somehow incapable of remembering the important message, or incapable of communicating it. Then, having to send Alan to the farm for a one-line message would have made some sense. On the other hand, if the brothers were that incapable, then we would lose their revolt against Hartman and the clinic, and the manuscript page that mentions them leading the other patients out, prepared to fight the Taken. Both of those things were pretty cool, I thought.

    I do like that the message is in one of their songs, though, because I like the idea that this was their contribution to the next artist to come along, who might be the one to vanquish the Dark Presence completely. I like to think that if the game had been set in 1976, and the brothers were the protagonists, then this song might have been the culmination of their story, the creative message wrested from the Dark Presence’s editorial influence after a long fight.

    I just can’t figure out a good reason why they would have to send Alan to the farm to hear it. Maybe their farmhouse or record player is like Zane’s shoebox? Like they know the message is there but it was only saved from the darkness by putting it in a small refuge, outside of which nobody knows it? Grasping, I know. I just really want the cool rock show not to be the result of a glaring plot hole.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      But it is a glaring plot hole.From the designers standpoint,you were sent here to see that gap in alans memory.And I really have no clue why theyve decided not to use alans memory gap as a reason for asgardians sending you here.Because it would make sense,and that would be in clash with everything else in the game?

      1. Jingleman says:

        I’m not sure I agree that the memory recovery is more important than sending Alan to the Light Lady. The message in the song is Alan’s new goal, and the engine that drives the next act. The memory recovery merely adds context and reveals how high the stakes are. Plot wise, setting Alan onto the path to the Light Lady is more important. The memory recovery could have happened in a dream or with any old liquor, but somebody has to tell Alan where to go next. So, I agree that the moonshine-memory recovery gambit could have gotten us to the farm, but it wouldn’t have gotten Alan to the Light Lady, unless the brothers also told him to go there, rendering the farm moot, or he discovered their message while he was at the farm, making his accidental discovery more important than what he accomplished by achieving his goal.

        So, yeah, it’s a plot hole, but I don’t think that focusing on memory recovery is really an easy solution. Plus, it loses the brother’s creative contributions to the fight, which I think is a significant loss.

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          This might just be my terrible memory, but when I was going through this, I could have sworn that the Light Lady was already mentioned as important prior to this.

          Maybe it was in a manuscript page or something, but I clearly remember that hearing the song and going to the farm seemed redundant and useless to me. And then magic booze vision.

          1. Jingleman says:

            I don’t think there’s been a mention of her being vital to Alan’s purpose before this point, though there is more than enough foreshadowing to indicate that she will be. Another case of the storytellers giving too much away, too early. But I don’t think she’s been considered a person to whom Alan should speak until he hears the song.

            1. newdarkcloud says:

              That’s it. At that point, I was like “Duh. Of course you need to talk to her.” I think it was a mix of that and the other feeling that the brothers could have easily told this to Alan in one sentence. Not even: Less than one complete sentence.

              It’s really bad when you’re supposed to theoretically be on the same level as the protagonist, but you’re actually 10 steps ahead. I kind of wish there was a slight variation of the scene if you’ve been collecting the right manuscripts or something. Not just this one, but the other “Duh!” moments of the game.

              1. Jingleman says:

                That’s a great idea. I wish Remedy would have thought of it. Manuscript pages would be much more interesting as exposition devices if they subtly changed the conversations Alan had with NPC’s along the way.

                For that matter, the same principle could be applied to games with a “codex,” like Mass Effect or Dragon Age. If the game could somehow be sure that the player had actually read an entry, then that knowledge would be attributed to the player character, too, and conversations could play out accordingly. It might save some repetitive cutscenes, and improve the narrative flow.

                1. newdarkcloud says:

                  Absolutely. Something as simple as a “Of course! The Lamp Lady! I should have seen it sooner!” as a way to acknowledge what the player has collected. As of right now, the manuscripts as a collectable have no bearing on the actual plot. This is bad considering how much those things foreshadow.

                  1. Jingleman says:

                    Yeah, as Mumbles keeps saying, these guys are constantly revealing too much. You’re right that it’s really annoying that Alan never reacts to information he knows or he should have inferred from the pages he has. Still, as collectibles go, I like the manuscript pages better than most. Usually, it’s something like the coffee thermoses. At least the manuscript tries to add some depth to the game world. Their ultimate success is up for debate, but I admire the attempt to not waste my time with meaningless scavenger hunts.

                    1. newdarkcloud says:

                      Agreed. I give them points for attempting to make a collectable that people would want to collect for more reasons than achievements or uber-weapons/items.

                      The worst part is that all it would take to make them great is just a slightly better attention to how much they reveal and the prose of the writing. My idea would be nice, but it’s hardly necessary.

                    2. Vic 2.0 says:

                      I’d argue that if the developer’s were truly giving away “too much, too soon”, everyone here would understand the story backwards and forwards. Yet, I find my understanding of the plot and reasons for why they did everything the way they did growing with every playthrough.

                      While the Andersons did mention the “moonshine” (say that three times fast!) as a medicine to “clear your head right up”, it is clear that the ultimate objective is to find “the message”. And the message was not “Find the lady of the light”!

                      The point was to give Alan classified information linking Cynthia Weaver to Thomas Zane. It's why the song tells the story in every verse, and why you have to fix the player and hear more than just those six words that are repeating when you walk in the door before the story continues. Remember that Cynthia asks Alan to prove that he's a friend, even after it's made obvious he's not a Taken. Now, ask yourself: Why would she still need proof he's a friend? Well because there are threats to her purpose who are 100% human and she knows it. Notice how they additionally made sure Alan told her “You knew Zane!” and not just “Yo, you're the light chick!”, lol. That implies that knowing/guessing her nickname around town or in the lodge wouldn't suffice as proof.

                      Their job was protecting the key to gaining Cynthia's trust which would lead of course to getting the Clicker, and I consider the complex story he's told in the rest of the song enough information for the Andersons to forget.

                  2. Michael says:

                    As an aside, and I know I’m jumping ahead a bit, the dialog with the Light Lady really strikes me as a holdover from the open world era of the game play.

                    There’s a pretty clear dialog node, where she tells Alan to get lost that could have gone either way.

                    I also kinda suspect the content of the manuscript pages is actually a holdover as well. So you’d constantly be getting fragments of this completely jumbled manuscript, but it would only start to come together into a coherent narrative once you’d gotten through most of the game.

                    1. Thomas says:

                      I want to say though, this game took 5 years to develop, and they were only trying to make it open-world for the first 6 months. I don’t know much about how the dev. cycle works but not everything can come from that. Like maybe it was the original idea for the manuscripts, but surely most of the writing of them came after they made the switch

        2. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Well you could very well chuck the light lady into his memory.He was on his way to see her when he had the car accident.

          1. Jingleman says:

            Was he? I don’t remember that one. Maybe he was, but I thought he was just driving, exhausted, trying to escape without any clear goal. In fact, he would have known, if anything, that he needed to lose his memory of the week to join the manuscript story as protagonist. He implies just that early on, as if writing himself into the story is a late change, an act of rebellion.

            Or are you suggesting that he should have been headed to the Light Lady, and then the memory should reflect that? Maybe that could work to plug the plot hole, but remember, the Andersons are supposed to have been rock stars. If their contribution has nothing to do with their music, then we lose the thematic connection between them and the two writers. The Dark Presence works on artists, and the point of the story is the artists fighting for and with and against their art. Placing the moonshine center stage instead of their music would detract from the strongest thematic current in the game.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              “Was he?”

              No,I meant that as a hypothetical solution for the plothole.

              1. Vic 2.0 says:

                There is no plot hole. Read my last post; it can be found six posts above this one.

    2. Timelady says:

      I’d almost say that the farm was more their safe haven than their shoebox, but yeah. Valhalla. From their point of view the farm is IT. The place where they were inspired, the place they performed and partied; the place it all revolves around. I don’t think their thought process are clear or linear enough for “go to the cabin and listen to this record that will tell you who to talk to next.” They’re sending him to their awesome place of awesomeness because they either think it would help, or because they think it would be cool. The lady of the light song? Either unplanned or planned by something besides the Anderson brothers. That’s my take, anyway.

      1. Jingleman says:

        That’s not a bad interpretation. I’m trying to remember now, who exactly first said that the brothers had “written it down?” The line was something to that effect, but who delivered it and how would affect how we see the current thought processes of the brothers, which is the key to finding a way to account for both their success in helping Alan escape the lodge with a clear goal and their failure to just tell him the simple message outright.

        1. Vic 2.0 says:

          Tor: “Zane! You’re all right, Tom. Hey, we like him, don’t we bro? He’s gotta go to the farm.”

          Odin: “The Anderson farm. Valhalla!”

          Tor: “We wrote it all down, lest we’d forget. A crash course. All you need to know to get your head right. You need to find the message.”

          So all they remembered was that the message (the key to gaining Cynthia’s trust) was somewhere on their farm.

    3. Even says:

      I’m going again with “Zane wrote it.” It’s just becoming the perfect handwave for everything.

      From the “story within a story within a story etc.” perspective the brothers just come off as just McGuffins to drive Alan in the right direction. It doesn’t seem like they’d be really aware of what they’re doing at any rate. One of the the radio broadcasts in American Nightmare almost makes a point of it that they really just are senile and that only when they access their creativity (by making music) they become something more than just two crazy old men. The radio host even points that it seems odd to him how they sound different when they’re not singing.

      The songs by themselves may just well be the products of nights spent drinking the Moonshine with the brothers experiencing both the past and the future and then making songs out of what they saw. It wouldn’t necessarily mean they were shaping reality via the songs.

      1. Vic 2.0 says:

        It’s widely held that the events in American Nightmare are completely irrelevant to the official story of Alan Wake, despite how it could’ve easily fit as a sequel. That it’s just a spin-off, nothing more. Me, I don’t know what to believe there, but I got the impression that they are in fact gods (at least meant to be in AWAN, maybe not the official storyline).

        The original idea for the Anderson brothers was going to be that they had actual mystical powers (at least that Tor could control the lightning and that’s how a bolt happened to strike the stage at just the right moment in the finished game, saving Barry). But they discarded that (thankfully). Still, I think they certainly play an important role (the easiest, understandably, given their condition and lack of freedom), and that’s just to direct “Tom” to the farm so he could find the key to gaining Cynthia’s trust (which was, again, more than six lyrics off a song).

        Notice how the lights and the player were all switched on (albeit short of power, which I’ll get to in a bit) before Alan and Barry even reached the house? I believe it was intended to keep the message safe (just as the Well-Lit Room was meant to keep the Clicker safe). They left the player on so anyone who entered would hear the message and the lights on just to keep the darkness from reaching it. Their escapes from the lodge were specifically so they could change the bulbs in the house and ensure the stage was well-stocked, hence why they seemed perfectly content hanging out at the lodge in between escapes.

        The breaker going out would have to be by chance, since the dark presence apparently wasn’t aware it could be accessed (or just didn’t know about the message in the first place). They were obviously not quite as prepared as Cynthia to handle their task, but they did manage it, just barely.

  19. Strangeite says:

    While not originally a combat taught, it has turned into same within my group of friends (it also dates how old we are that we are still quoting that era of SNL).

    “You are going to be LIVING IN A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER!!!!!”

    This is accompanied by leaning forward into someone’s face and hiking up your pants.

    1. Syal says:

      “Your survival WOULDN”T BE PRUDENT!”

  20. Moewicus says:

    So it turns out Thomas Zane was a Big Daddy, Barbara was a Little Sister, the Wake who wrote the manuscript was a rogue cell, and the story is orchestrated by Baba Yaga telling Wake to kindly release her. Naturally, Barry Cuftbert’s instinctual drive to pilfer and drink anything alcoholic in sight saves the day (he’s not a mercenary just because he’s Wake’s agent).

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:


    2. Michael says:

      Yeah… but that means Max Payne is a big daddy and OH GOD MY HEAD…

    3. Knight of Fools says:

      I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who thought “Big Daddy” when I saw that.

  21. Dennis says:

    I really feel like American Nightmare was better at slowly revealing its twist than AW1 was.

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      American Nightmare did a lot of things better than the original Alan Wake. It improved combat with more diverse weapons and enemies, made the manuscripts more interesting and useful, had a better and more succinct story with a awesome antagonist, and wrapped itself up quite nicely.

    2. Vic 2.0 says:

      Alan Wake's American Nightmare = far too easy and lacking substance.

      The environment was truly dull with no variation except when you tried to go too far off the map. At this point, you would get a watered down version of the original game's environmental and sound cues for the Taken and be stopped by an invisible wall. And of course, you revisit the same three maps twice (that's three times each, all total) which I didn't mind too much but was still inferior to the original game's ever-changing environment.

      Fighting or getting away from the enemies is made too easy in a number of ways:

      1. You're given an unlimited supply of ammo on every map so there's never a worry about running out. Too much ammo was the only real flaw in the original game, and wouldn't you know it, this is what they kept.

      2. You're given semi-automatic weapons, which automatically make it just another shooter, IMO.

      3. Your flashlight battery recharges at a truly ridiculous speed, so much that you often forget that running out of power is even possible.

      4. You're given too much stamina (i.e., you can run way too far without getting tired). I get that Alan's journey up until this point seems to warrant a slight increase in stamina (if you even view this game as a sequel ““ there's some debate over that), but they just go way too far.

      5. There aren't enough enemies to fight. That's concerning the number of Taken per group and how often they spawn. You're almost encouraged to linger around any given area, because even when enemies do spawn at random, it's never enough to motivate you to get the lead out after the last (aka the second) enemy falls. People complained about there being “too many enemies” in the first one (which I disagree with) Well they got their wish; the result is a real snooze-fest.

      The writing is sub-par and the voice acting is even worse. Even the voice for Alan Wake seems just short of the talent he was when they made the first game. Basically, there is almost no sort of suspense in the game, anywhere.

      The story is fairly shallow compared to the original game's storyline (but then again, what story isn't? Hehe)

      Yes, there is more weapon and enemy type variety but none of it pulls the game above mediocre, IMO. The one thing I want to see from this game in the next installment is the “˜Fight Til Dawn' arcade mode. But it should be unlockable for those who have beaten the game, allow access to any weapon on any map (some of which should not appear in the campaign mode except maybe once briefly, if at all), and most definitely give the option for multiplayer (again, only in arcade mode).

  22. Raka says:

    These recent taunts fail not just in mood, but also in theme. It made sense for tour guides and park rangers to be shouting regulations and bits of trivia; those are things that they presumably repeat constantly in a blandly familiar way. Rangers and tour guides do talk like industry-relevant informational pamphlets, at least to some extent. Farmers, lumberjacks, and joggers do not.

    1. Even says:

      If you think of them as just random bits of info or phrases used when trying to leave an impression on other people, I think they’d keep within that theme. Makes you wonder that what do the Taken actually experience and if they still retain anything of the actual person inside them.

    2. Vic 2.0 says:

      They’re not taunts! Calling them that only demonstrates a failure on the critic’s part. And I disagree with the assertion that any Taken’s line is not something the person would’ve said in real life, including the line about cows and pigs. Farmers love to brag about knowledge of the animals they tend to! Even the line about Omega 3 fatty acids is believable; no doubt the man sold it by the ton in carnivals, Deerfests, etc. and tried to make people feel less guilty about buying it from him.

      Their inclusion in the game would seem a lot less “mood-breaking” if you would realize that

      A. Not everything they put in the game is meant to creep you out. Some lines are meant as humorous commentary.
      and B. Even the lines meant to creep you out are not meant as attempts to physically intimidate you. As said before, none of these lines are taunts. None at all.

  23. Daemian Lucifer says:

    So instead of ridiculing the taunts in this game,how about coming up with better ones,that would still be surreal and fit the (intended) setting:

    Weed must be eradicated.
    Rats will be exterminated.

    Chainsaws can remove limbs if you arent careful.

    Watch your step,you could fall to your death.
    These woods have claimed countless careless hikers.

    Just another poor roadkill.
    If Im not careful,I may run someone over in this gloomy night.

    1. Moewicus says:

      “Do Not Attempt To Stop Chain With Hands Or Genitals”

    2. Destrustor says:

      “Watch out for falling logs!”
      When fighting one of those boss trucks:
      “Use extreme caution around heavy machinery!”

      1. Jingleman says:

        This one is actually in the game: Logger: “Watch out for Widowmakers!”

        I think that’s the only one in the game that I like.

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          I think another one that I like is when a farmer-Taken yells “Stay away from my daughter!”

          1. Michael says:

            Yeah, that one was my favorite. I actually jumped a bit on that ambush.

            1. Vic 2.0 says:

              If any of the lines were meant to be taunts, I’d agree with you.

              But they weren’t.

    3. Mr Guy says:

      Don’t forget to bring a towel!


      What do you mean there’s no boatman?

    4. Syal says:


      Always aim for center mass.
      Deadly force is always a last resort.

  24. Naota says:

    “You’re slow, Shepard!”

    -Kai Leng (while standing still, in the open, under a bright light, and absorbing hundreds of bullets)

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      I must kindly ask you to never bring him up again until we meet him in the ME3 season. Those bullshit fights STILL make me mad, and I haven’t played the game in over a month and a half.

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        Also, as Shamus once pointed out in one of his comics:

        “You’re in… over your head!”
        -Omen Dang, Alpha Protocol, as I’m pumping him full of steel core bullets and kicking the shit out of him on Easy mode.

  25. Fon says:

    lol I’m definitely going to try using “There are 65 billion cows and pigs in the world!” as my combat taunt someday, along with Alex’s (second comment) “Jerry, that cake was for everyone!!” and “Omega 3 fatty are good for your heart!”

    1. Vic 2.0 says:

      Maybe when you do, you’ll realize:

      “Hey, they weren’t meant to be taunts at all! Because there’s absolutely nothing taunting about them!”

      The lines used by the Taken are sometimes meant to creep you out and other times meant to give you a bit of humorous commentary. Making fun of farmers, junk food vendors, etc.

  26. Newbie says:

    Please tell me the Kato reference was The Pink Panther… and not the Green Hornet or whatever Mumbles thought it was.

    1. Shamus says:

      Yes, it was Pink Panther.

      When I was a kid, I did not get that scene at all. Who was this crazyman and why was he in the fridge?

      Years later the same scene was funny. Humor is strange.

      1. Jingleman says:

        You might say, humor is a funny thing.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          And puns are punishing.

        2. Mr Guy says:

          Around here? Not usually…

        3. Syal says:

          Well, good humor is ice cream.

      2. Newbie says:

        And all is right with the world again! Best Kato moment: Rips through the fabric on top of the four poster. Never gets old.

    2. HBOrrgg says:

      I get why they had to leave him out for the new movies, but I was still very sad to see him go.

      1. Atarlost says:

        There are no new movies. Any Pink Panther movie that doesn’t star Peter Sellers is a figment of a deranged imagination.

        1. HBOrrgg says:

          Especially the one that did star Peter Sellers even though he had already died?

    3. RTBones says:

      Sad part? Mumbles said Kato, and my first thought was Kaelin….

  27. MatthewH says:

    I’m coming to the conclusion that combat taunts in general are a bad idea. They add only narm. Sometimes hilarious narm, but still only narm.

    Case in point (though here the narm is somewhat charming). In Dynasty Warriors, every officer has some kind of taunt. Major characters get original ones, minor ones get generics. My personal favorite: “You think your wits are good enough to match me?”

    Not only have I already trounced the last 30 people to say that, a non-trivial number of times I have trounced the person saying it before he gets to the end of the taunt. It’s something of an added challenge now: the officers with the most obnoxious taunts must be KO’ed before they finish them.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      The problem arent the taunts themselves,but that gameplay is in disparity with npc perception.If you had just a few enemies in the game,their taunts would feel fresh and appropriate.But when you slaughter them by the dozen,not so much.Especially when everyone has to taunt you every 5 seconds.

    2. ps238principal says:

      This is where I advise everyone to buy “Vampire: Bloodlines” when its on sale at Steam. There are NO COMBAT TAUNTS, just cries of pain and/or effort. It’s really refreshing.

      After you play it (or even before, actually) go download some of the mods for it; it’s a really well-done game and very smartly written.

      1. Syal says:

        Only if one of those mods is for some combat taunts.

        1. Timelady says:

          Okay, now I almost want to rip the combat taunt audio from Alan Wake and mod them into Bloodlines. How awesome would it be to be fighting some random vampire/heavy and have them suddenly come out with “There are 65 billion cows and pigs in the world!” for no apparent reason?

          1. Vic 2.0 says:

            “I'm coming to the conclusion that combat taunts in general are a bad idea.”

            Me too. Good thing Alan Wake had absolutely zero combat taunts in it :)

    3. John The Savage says:

      John Marston’s combat taunts are a crucial element of Red Dead Redemption. When he is gunning down banditos and shouting “JOHN! MARSTON! REMEMBER MI NOMBRE!”, you really grow attached to the character.

      This is imperative to the game’s atmosphere, especially after he dies, and you play as Jack. Suddenly it’s Jack shouting profanities at banditos, and the absence on John’s voice is incredibly jarring. To me, it’s one of the best examples of video-games-as-art: in film, you can have characters express how they miss someone, but it’s nearly impossible to get the audience to feel the same way. In the game, players experience a John-shaped hole in their lives every time Jack opens his mouth.

  28. Tony Kebell says:

    YOU SHOULD DEFINATLY DO MAX PAYNE 3 (when it comes out on the pc)!!!!

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      They’ve got Skyrim and Mass Effect 3 to go through first. That’s going to be a fun season, particularly when we get to the end of ME3.

      1. Jingleman says:

        Not to get into a long discussion of games we wish they would do, but as good as Spoiler Warning is for games like Alan Wake and Bioshock, I find the cast more insightful, and I find myself learning more, when they do games about which they have more positive things to say, like the unfinished Half-Life 2 stuff.

        It’s not that I don’t enjoy the cast poking fun at games that aren’t up to standards, I just get more out of it when they’re doing a game they like.

        The negativity doesn’t bother me or anything, but if a game is doing it wrong, like the ME3 ending or Alan Wake’s combat, I’m more likely to consider for myself why it isn’t working. On the other hand, I just get more out of the commentary when they come to something that I’ve enjoyed without giving it much thought, and they analyze it, and then it’s like an ah-hah! moment.

        Just saying. I’ll be a happy viewer no matter what, but I wish Spoiler Warning covered more games that they thought did most things well.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          They should “persuade” Chris to finish half life 2 with them.

        2. Indy says:

          I think it’s worth pointing out that the cast has said they liked every game they’ve played (except Assassin’s Creed II).

          1. Jingleman says:

            I know. I thought about that and should have been clearer. They say that they only do games that they like or care about. I believe them. I’m using “like” in a different sense, referring to their critical conclusions. I mean, specifically, games that they think succeed in more ways than they fail, or games that generally get the narrative and mechanics right. The cast’s personal enjoyment of the games is less relevant than what they have to say.

      2. lurkey says:

        I went “Eeeew, no :(” at first when Shamus mentioned Skyrim, but if it’s going to be “Reginald Cuftbert does fantasy” then yes please. I so miss Reggie, and there aren’t many recent games you can sic him into. Skyrim character creator better have that ‘stache.

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          They’d HAVE to play as a medieval/Nordic Reginald Cuftburt.

          Although he couldn’t be in the Dark Brotherhood, because then he’d be a mercenary.

      3. X2Eliah says:

        Myeah, I got a little concerned when Shamus revealed thye arep lanning to do Skyrim.

        I mean.. no, the game is just too much to Spoilerwarning. Either they will stick to only a few plotlines and totally miss out on all the good stuff, or they will do a lot and the ‘season’ will take two realworld years.

        1. Even says:

          I’m more worried about it devolving into a Nagging Warning. The game’s writing is abysmal enough and what little meat there is fast gnawed off. And I’m not sure I could bear to relive all the headaches that all the stupid railroading gave me. Might have to skip that season altogether if it’s ever coming.

          1. Jingleman says:

            I won’t skip the season, but I share your concerns. I was as excited as anyone about Skyrim before it came out, but having played it through (and ultimately playing three characters all the way through and completing every major questline), I’ve become really disillusioned with it. The writing is really, really bad, completing the questlines changes nothing in the world (most NPC’s don’t even realize you’ve saved the world), and the mechanics aren’t much different than what we’ve been seeing for years in this engine from Oblivion and the Fallouts.

            I’m not looking forward to sitting through hours of Spoiler Warning Skyrim. Will it really be significantly different from the two Fallout seasons?

        2. Thomas says:

          How long were the Fallout seasons? I’ve only really started realising these things take time with the newer ones :D

          I’d be interested to see a Modern Warfare to be honest :) somehow I can’t ever see that happening though. I definitely think shorter games with changing mechanics/mission structure have some advantages, it’s harder to flatline than it is with the big open world games. But then less trolling and the trolling’s always fun…

          1. Jingleman says:

            I’ll second this. At least a shooter would be nice, and Alan Wake doesn’t count. ME3, as interesting as the discussion of the ending would be, is not significantly different from ME2, which they’ve done already. Skyrim is Fallout 3 with swords. I wish Spoiler warning would branch out a little, and not commit months and months to doing the same stuff over again.

            Modern Warfare, Battlefield, Rainbow Six: Vegas, Medal of Honor, and Gears of War come to mind as shooter franchises that might be fun to see on Spoiler Warning.

            If not a shooter, then at least a short game that emphasizes story. It seems like the most interesting conversations have to do with plot issues and story presentation, rather than mechanics.

            That said, Spoiler Warning is great stuff, and I’ll be watching regardless. I appreciate the time and effort put in. Keep it up.

            1. X2Eliah says:

              Thirded. They have already voiced all their game-design ciritcisms on ME2 and Fallout series – the sequels would be just many many many months of the same exact things said again and again.
              Branching out to different games – hell, games that are more short-lived “spectacle features” would vary things up better.

        3. Jingleman says:

          One more point on doing Skyrim and Mass Effect 3. I think it’s a little soon after their release to be doing Spoiler Warning about them. Alan Wake is my first season to catch live (I skipped Deus Ex because it’s still in my “queue”), but I appreciated that the game is a couple of years old, so more people who wanted to play it have had the opportunity, and people who liked it have been able to explore it thoroughly. I’m not completely clear on the timeline for past seasons, but I got the impression that that’s the norm.

          Skyrim and Mass Effect 3 are both giant RPG’s with recent release dates. I don’t think that there’s been enough time for everybody who wants to to explore them fully. Maybe the folks at Spoiler Warning feel like they’re around to show players things that they haven’t seen, and that’s fine, then. But I think they’re at their best when they are showing us things we’ve already seen, but in a new way.

          1. Thomas says:

            I’ve actually put Mass Effect 3 above FFXIII-2, LotoR: War in the North and Max Payne 3, specifically so I can hopefully make some of that season.

            It’s a little scary that you people are affecting my actual physical financial transactions thinking about it.

            I think they have to do ME3, just to complete the trilogy but I’m glad they put Alan Wake first and I wouldn’t mind another small one to be honest. There is no way you can go into a ME3 spoiler warning without already playing it, if you’re going to do that. Apart from anything else they’re going to mention whatever this ending crud is in like the first episode :D We all know it’s true

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              “There is no way you can go into a ME3 spoiler warning without already playing it, if you're going to do that.”

              Yes there is.Theres plenty of lets plays out there to satisfy your spoiler needs.

              1. Thomas says:

                The point I was trying to make is that I don’t want the game spoiled before I play it and particularly with a game like Mass Effect, avoiding spoilers is important (hopefully). Spoiler Warning would spoil it

  29. jdhays says:

    Alan: Barry… Why did you kiss my ear?
    Barry: Why are you holding my hand?
    Alan: Where’s your other hand?
    Barry: Between two pillows…
    Alan: Those aren’t pillows!

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Alan wake:The fanfic.

      1. ehlijen says:

        Noooo! Cardboard cutout of myself, how could you? And with Barry???? You are dead to me now…

        1. Jarenth says:

          This would also make a great hook for Alan drinking the moonshine.

  30. Thomas says:

    They darkened the edges of the screen when you went into first person. I liked that

  31. Nightbringer says:

    I’ve fought mudcrabs worse than that combat taunt!

    1. Syal says:

      Bonus points if they say it as they’re dying.

    2. Vic 2.0 says:

      There aren’t any combat taunts in Alan Wake.

  32. Michael says:

    Anyone else think the kidnapper plot would have worked better if it Alice had actually been kidnapped? And that was a semi-independent thread from the dark presence.

    If Emil was trying to bring Zane back by coercing a writer into putting together a manuscript to do that, or he simply wants to hijack the creative power for himself, so he has Alice kidnapped. Alan tries to comply, inadvertently setting the dark presence loose and setting the game in motion?

    1. Jingleman says:

      I think that the whole kidnapping affair was a mistake. I think the idea was that if Alan spends the first couple of acts under the impression that Alice has is in a more mundane kind of danger, then the reveal that Mott is a fraud and it’s really a supernatural issue should ramp up the stakes and thereby the tension.

      It doesn’t work because it’s so obvious from the cabin scene and the loss of the week that something supernatural happened to Alice. If they had begun, as you suggest, with a mundane kidnapping, and had had no Taken until the darkness is revealed, then maybe it could have worked.

      On the other hand, I’m reminded of the Indigo Prophecy, which looked like it was going to be a serial killer mystery at the beginning, but it quickly became inscrutable when it tried to introduce supernatural elements in later acts.

      1. LunaticFringe says:

        Way to make the kidnapping story work (just spit balling here): Front load a lot of dialogue and story elements early in the game, letting you meet the townspeople and such. Don’t reveal the Taken yet, use very few manuscript pages. Instead, at night play off the creepiness of the forest, maybe just showing random glimpses of Taken moving through the forest, have them gone when Alan actually gets to that point. You know that something is weird but can’t put your finger on it. Set the atmosphere, continue to pressure the player. Then, AFTER the kidnapping is revealed to be fake suddenly you amp up the supernatural and pull the player deeper into that element. Maybe even have some Taken in clothes similar to the townspeople, make it seem like you might have just killed the guy at the local grocery store.

    2. Vic 2.0 says:

      They discuss this in Alan Wake: Illuminated, I think. They wanted to maintain a sense of danger and urgency even during the day scenes (which had to be in there for the sake of realism. Plus it just adds a lot of depth to the story, wondering who you can trust and who you can’t.

  33. Mr Guy says:

    Step one: Cut a hole in a cutout.

  34. DGM says:

    >> “Reference to docile barnyard animals.”

    I don’t know about cows, but pigs aren’t as docile as you think. Even tame ones will kill and eat humans when hungry. One actually tried to take a bite out of me once (fortunately, my shoe stopped her).

    But yeah, still sounds like a ridiculous taunt.

    1. Vic 2.0 says:

      That’s because it’s not a taunt. Nothing any of the Taken say in the entire game is a taunt. They’re meant to either creep you out or be a sort of comic relief; humorous commentary on farmers or junk food vendors who try to make you feel less guilty for buying from them.

  35. CalDazar says:

    Do any of the taken say “Who turned out the lights”? Because if not, that’s a missed opportunity right there.

    Also ME3 is maybe up next? I am not looking forward to that.

    1. ps238principal says:

      Have you not played “Fallout: New Vegas” with the “Old World Blues” DLC? The taunt you want is in there…

      1. CalDazar says:

        Only with wild wasteland.

        1. ps238principal says:

          Anyone who plays without Wild Wasteland has no soul.

          1. X2Eliah says:

            Not really. Without the DLC, the wild wasteland is pretty lacklustre – generally it’s, what, some 16-ish “encounter” changes over the entire 100+ hours f a full playthrough? And most of them aren’t even all that amusing/funny/wild.

            1. Even says:

              Plus it’s effectively a non-trait. It doesn’t do anything for the player character. All the more reason to pick something actually useful.

              1. newdarkcloud says:

                Especially since the DLC brought back Skilled. In the new system, that particular trait is completely overpowered.
                I always take that and small frame.

                The best part, when you start out, you can take Skilled and then retake it when you respec your character before leaving Goodsprings for a total of +10 in all skills. Then, in Old World Blues, you can have in Auto-Doc give you Skilled again. That’s +15 in all skills with no effort on the players part. Getting 100 in all skills is EASY with an advantage like that.

                1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                  But why would you want to?Having 100 in everything isnt really that beneficial.

                  1. newdarkcloud says:

                    You mean you don’t want impress everybody with your knowledge of several different schools of combat, skill with mending limbs and weapons, technical aptitude, guile charm, and cooking skill?

                    In all seriousness, it helps with all the various dialog option in the game. That, and perk selection.

                    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      Sure,but perks are limited,so specializing is the way to go for most of them.As for speech,if you know what youre doing,you can pass all of them with careful selection,skill magazines and drugs.

                    2. newdarkcloud says:

                      I have a self-imposed rule to play all Fallout games completely sober.

                      Though I admit that magazines are very helpful. Still, I’d rather not rely on them.

              2. Amnestic says:

                Wild Wasteland is the only way to get the Alien Blaster as I recall, which arguably all makes it worth it.

                Also Holy Frag Grenades.

                1. newdarkcloud says:

                  Yeah, but the Alien Blaster isn’t that good a weapon because it’s ammo is finite.

                  And Holy Frag Grenades… I can’t argue against them. I suppose you could use console commands, but I play on the console.

              3. ps238principal says:

                “Useful” is a relative term. I believe every trait has a drawback to go along with its bonuses, which I never found worth the hassle. It’s not like the game is particularly hard, anyway. One might want the traits of the original Fallout games, but I didn’t see them as being all that and a bag of Stimpaks.

                1. newdarkcloud says:

                  Yeah, but some traits have fewer drawbacks in exchange for their benefits than others.

                  Skilled (Old World Blues): +5 to all skills in exchange for -5% to all XP. XP is plentiful and +5 to all skills is a huge boost. You’ll get to Lv 50 anyway, no need to worry.

                  Small Frame: +1 AGL in exchange for more limb damage. Depending on whether you’re on Casual/Hardcore, that could be an issue. Either way, you’ll probably have enough items to negate the downside.

                  Good Natured: -5 to combat skills and +5 to Speech, Med, Barter, Repair, and Science. The skills points even out, but odds are that the player will only need one or two combat skills, but will use most of the skills given a boost.

                  Kamikaze: +10 AP, -2 Damage Threshold. AP can be fairly useful, but -2 DT is fairly negligible in the long run once you get decent armor.

                  There rest are fairly neutral imo (except for Four Eyes, which decreases your base perception by 1 in exchange for giving a +2 PER boost to glasses. That’s unacceptable.

  36. ps238principal says:

    Maybe Shamus can address this, but is the animation in this game really, really lazy? When Alan does his “yes, I’ll write” scene, it seems his mouth is pretty much on a hinge, with only a small amount of lip animation to show he’s speaking as opposed to giving in to his inner mouth-breather. Since he then started hunt-and-peck typing, I’m thinking they chose that method because they wouldn’t have to animate all of his fingers working as he wrote.

    Their laziness has infected me as well, as I can’t be bothered to go back and check: Has he ever been shown hitting the spacebar? I know that’s a TV Trope or common “movie mistake” when someone is furiously e-mailing or coding or whatever and they’re fake-typing for the camera; rarely does an actor even come close to hitting the spacebar.

    1. LunaticFringe says:

      I think it’s meant to convey that he’s become an automaton due to the influence of the Dark Presence, but the lip sync is terrible all around so laziness is definitely possible.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      I made a mistake of playing LA noire before alan wake,and dear god is the facial animation jarring.And I usually dont care for graphics.

  37. LunaticFringe says:

    I love how the end of the episode makes it look like Zane is about to sit down at the typewriter and work on the manuscript with his diver suit claws.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Dear Zane,

      How do you type with those claws?

  38. Bryan says:

    “We’re fighting the combine”?

    That was worthy of Rutskarn…

    1. Indy says:

      That was my favourite line too.

    2. some random dood says:

      But then Ruts started singing a Wurzels song. I mean really????? If it’s true as the team say that he is only seven and three-quarters years old, then not even his parents were born when that was made. Oh, and if you do not know the song, for the sake of your sanity don’t try to look it up anywhere. (Now where did I leave that mind-bleach aka moonshine…?)

  39. Keredis says:

    I’ve always been a fan of “Killing you is easier than breaking a baby’s arm!” from Metal Wolf Chaos. Although given how insane that game is, using lines from it is almost cheating…

  40. ehlijen says:

    The old Chaos Gate had some brilliant Taunts.

    “Feel my might…AND TASTE FEAR!”
    “The emperor oders you to die!”
    “Fall before the chapter!”
    “Jooooooin uuuuuuuus! *throws grenade*”

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      That emperor must smell something fierce if his oder is killing people.

      1. ehlijen says:

        Well, he has been dead for 10,000 years…

        Also, who stole my ‘r’ :(

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          It wasnt me,I swearr.

  41. ENC says:

    There are 525,600 moments of love in the year!

    Rutskarn should be good at this…

  42. Grudgeal says:

    You know, in between the haunted tractor and the haunted excavator, I just *knew* the haunted combine harvester would be next. I mean, it *is* a Stephen King homage.

    And by the way, Rutskark, boo on you for the Wurzels reference… Even though it was exactly what I was thinking at the time.

    1. Thomas says:

      They’d already done one encounter with epic music, it was the only logical way to continue

  43. Destrustor says:

    I like how the cardboard cutout survived a car crash and a fall down a cliff, loosely hanging in the back of said car, without so much as a bent corner.
    Maybe Barry is on to something when he hides behind it.

    1. X2Eliah says:

      It was never really established as being a cardboard cutout. Could be reinforced duraluminium with steel framing and kevlar inlays, for all we know.

      1. ToastyVirus says:

        Alan’s ego does need that sort of protection…

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Maybe it was made out of a diamondium/diamondillium mesh.His ego does require bling,after all.

    2. Vic 2.0 says:

      Not too hard to believe, actually. If it’s cardboard, it’s light enough to not really land all that hard on, well, anything. If it’s anything stronger, hitting the seats or hanging out of a window is not going to hurt it.

  44. ClearWater says:

    “We get up with the sun at the farm” is a pretty good taunt, and I think I saw one about farming being hard. But those could be read as “why did you get up so late!?” or “..and that’s why I’m so cranky”. The one about the pigs and cows wins.

    1. Vic 2.0 says:

      They’re not taunts.

      Which explains why,

      They’re not taunts :P

  45. Harry says:

    So interesting thing: I’ve been re-watching the Fallout 3 Spoiler Warning alongside this one. In the last Fallout 3 episode I watched, Shamus (I think) made a joke about how much the game would be improved if the super-mutants had the combat taunts of the Heavy.

    Next thing I watch is THIS episode, in which Shamus and Mumbles say the same thing about the Taken – except that they should have the Scout’s taunts, rather than the Heavy’s.

    So I was wondering: what other games are there that could be improved by adding TF2 taunts? And I realised that the answer is, all the games. All of them.

  46. Vic 2.0 says:

    Again, humor. A simple “WTF? lol” is all this segment warrants.

  47. The Truth says:

    Let the nitpicking begin!

    1:25 – For starters, the switch isn’t opening a door but moving an obstacle out of the way. Second, this setup was quite obviously put there on purpose, likely to keep PEOPLE (not the Taken) from getting through. Well, we can more readily assume it was there to slow them down. You’ll notice that Alan can’t go back out once he gets in the building. It can be reasoned the object has lowered back down in front of the door. The game mentions that the Anderson brothers had actually made sort of a habit of breaking out of the lodge and returning to the farm (possibly to perform their own little rituals, same as Cynthia). It could be that they set this up to buy themselves time, as anyone trying to search their house for them would have to go through this ordeal of climbing the ladder and flipping the switch. Pretty clever, eh?

    I suppose it could be argued that this effectively traps them in. But A) They live at a farm! They have everything they need there!, and B) I suspect they have secret ways in and out. I mean, they went through all THIS trouble, after all. It’s safe to assume there’s more than the game lets us in on.

    4:06 – Same explanation. And you didn’t smash any doors here, just knocked them open. Check and see, the doors are intact.

    I can see how the player might want to learn more about why Alan can’t continue writing, and maybe see more/hear more about his internal struggles, but it does imply in the beginning that the dark presence’s interest in him has something to do with him killing the main character of his successful series. And I don’t think anyone (fan or critic) would deny that he’s an asshole. In fact, I consider it one of the game’s biggest pluses, having a protagonist that makes mistakes and lets emotions get the better of him pretty often. Was getting tired of seeing practically perfect main characters in my video games.

    8:45 – Quick question, bearing in mind most of these doors/gates are old and maybe rusty, not necessarily easy to move. If you have both hands full (one with a lantern flashlight and the other with a shotgun) and you have to use more force than a nudge to get a door or gate out of your way… What do you do?
    A) Put down your flashlight or gun, so you can free a hand to open it.
    B) Keep nudging it, possibly hitting it with your hip because that’s what cool guys do.
    C) Kick the damn thing and get on with your journey.

    You guys need to start thinking.

    10:30 – I disagree with the assertion that any Taken's line is not something the person would've said in real life, including the line about cows and pigs. Farmers love to brag about knowledge of the animals they tend to, whether anyone around them gives a shit or not! Even the line about Omega 3 fatty acids is believable; no doubt the man sold it by the ton in carnivals, Deerfests, etc. and tried to make people feel less guilty about buying it from him.

    So yeah. Thought = not a bad thing.

    10:46 – Was there a reason you called attention to the fact that you had to climb a ladder to get on the roof of a shed? Just curious.

    12:05 – “Dude, look, a chainsaw! I bet THAT won’t become relevant” “Yeah, I think it’s become clear at this point, that foresting emblements are only left lying around and shit, when you’re about to be hit in the face with them…”

    And yet, nothing. Gotta love that unpredictable predictability, eh? It’s the best kind! *eye roll*

    BTW, you misused the word “emblements”. Emblements are the crops and products resulting from the work, not the tools you use to do the work with.

    “Why is the fridge door off?”

    Damn good question. But earlier you guys “read” a manuscript which talked about how one night Odin and Tor went berserk. One ran across a field naked and the other “contemplated” cutting his own eye out (a disturbing VOILA! explanation for why one wears an eye patch). So it’s not hard to assume they might’ve been crazy enough to break the fridge for no apparent reason as well.

    13:10 – Well of course Cynthia painted up the Andersons’ house. How is that at all surprising, if you follow the story?

    14:10 – Yes, Cynthia and the Anderson brothers are tied together, working against the darkness, just at different capacities.

    14:34 – The message on the wall wasn’t visible when he turned the lights on because it was still in a shadowed area of the staircase. Take a look. But when you shine the flashlight on it, it shows up like before.

    14:48 – No, the Anderson brothers could not have just told Alan what he needed to know while he was there at the lodge. You may be making the common mistake of thinking the message was “Find the lady of the light”. The point was to give him classified information linking Cynthia Weaver to Thomas Zane. It's why the song tells the story in every verse, and why you have to fix the player and hear more than just those six words that are repeating when you get the power on before the story continues. Remember that Cynthia asks Alan to prove that he's a friend, even after it's made obvious he's not a Taken. Now, ask yourself: Why would she still need proof he's a friend? Well because there are threats to her purpose that are 100% human and she knows it. Notice how they additionally made sure Alan told her “You knew Zane!” and not just “Yo, you're the light chick!”, lol. That implies that knowing/guessing her nickname around town or in the lodge wouldn't suffice as proof.

    Their job was protecting the key to gaining Cynthia's trust which would lead of course to getting the Clicker, and I consider the complex story that's told in the rest of the song enough information for the Andersons to forget.

    15:11 – When they first started drinking, they actually didn’t stop to think that the booze was *that* booze (the moonshine the Andersons told Alan about), they just decided to get drunk because that’s actually in character for Alan – it’s implied that he was an alcoholic and party animal before they even came to Bright Falls. And quite frankly, I’d probably want to do some drinking too at that point.

    …Earlier, you guys said Alan wasn’t a character. But now it’s apparent you just didn’t pay ATTENTION to the information you got showing that he WAS.

    But yes, he sounds dumb in that scene. He’s supposed to. It’s called comedy.

    And did you seriously criticize the game for being longer than a movie, at 15:43? Things are dragged out like that in EVERY game!


    18:00 and forward for a bit – Why are you guys talking about this “big reveal” as if the game hadn’t told you the vast majority of it already? And what’s with the recurring “Oh, Alan was rewriting everything” stuff? He never did that! The story began with the dark presence and he was never able to write anything afterward except at the very end of the game.

    And I love how you guys contradict yourselves at 21:10, going from “They didn’t give us enough information” to “They told us too much”. Heck, that’s almost as bad as “There’s no variety!” and then “They need to cut all the driving, the bear traps, and the birds out”.

    “so you don’t feel like you’re fighting a kidnapper”

    How could you possibly have had the impression that Alice had simply been kidnapped, at ANY point in the game? I assumed immediately that the kidnapper had SOMETHING to do with the dark presence or the reason Alice was taken, something!

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