Psychonauts: Highlight Reel

Let’s end with some favorites. I’m hiding them after the break, and will avoid having too-specific spoilers, but the comments are completely open to spoilers for fanboy-ish shrieking from folks who have completed the game.

  • Around the camp: the cut scene with cheerleaders and poison, the band, Mikhail’s dialogue (particularly the Half-Deadly Nelson), the various Crullers’ near misses with recognizing crises, inordinate interest in making out.
  • Basic Braining: Dogen’s dialogue and the plane transition.
  • Sasha’s Shooting Gallery: the general atmosphere: a mix of careful control and repression, with the outline of what is being suppressed leaking through.
  • Milla’s Dance Party: another wonderful atmosphere. Milla is just so happy! It’s fun voice acting with scenery and music that strongly supports it. Milla’s secret is one of the great moments.
  • Lungfishopolis: pretty much everything. This level is uninhibited fun, with kaiju action, stellar NPC dialogue, and a boss fight that mocks conventions with “Overly Intricate Combination Attack” and “Hard-To-Avoid Area Attack.”
  • The Milkman Conspiracy: more great atmospherics, particularly the twisted landscape and the secret agents.Boyd’s mutterings also qualify.
  • Gloria’s Theatre: the water is a nice touch.
  • Waterloo World: the farmers’ dialogue.
  • Black Velvetopia: another star for atmospherics. While most of the levels are “unlike anything else in the game,” this one has an entirely different art direction, along with a romantic and tragic mood. The gradual revelation of the unreliable narrator and the real story is excellent. It conflicts strongly with the level’s mood but exists well beside it.
  • The Asylum: holy crap, it’s Tara Strong!
  • Meat Circus: the boss fights are not endurance battles, which is a nice change after MMOs, but rather you learn their pattern and hit them three times. That’s it. No forcing the player to perform perfectly for several minutes, just do it right three times, and the fights are surprisingly error-tolerant. It’s a very reasonable conclusion after a very difficult level.

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: Zubon