Blackthorne is a pretty fun game with an insidious agenda to make you think that Ayn Rand was right.
(Spoiler: she wasn’t.)
The first level is a horrible, depressing mine where everyone is sad pretty much all the time.
You really get the sense that this is a shared pathos, a common fugue, which hangs over all these oppressed sprites.
All of these poor souls are wandering aimlessly, or being whipped by big purple monsters, or dangling helplessly from their shackles, or firing some kind of mining laser at the floor, or dead.
Now, the first thing that occurs to me upon moving through this level is that there are way more Androthi humanoid prisoners than orc guards, and a lot of them are just wandering around. A good number of them have mining lasers, which are presumably effective at mining flesh as well as stone. On top of this, a number of grateful Androthi give me grenades or bombs as I speak to them – how they got a hold of these, I don’t know, but they had them.
So why are the prisoners – more numerous and heavily armed than their guards, who rarely have any heavy explosives at all – why are the prisoners still prisoners?
Obviously they lack the moral drive and self-worth to take what they want for themselves, because they are mindless peons who are slaves to the ideological apparatus which surrounds them. And so, a noble hero arrives – to save them? No. He is an objectivist. These feeble automatons do not deserve salvation at my hand; selfishness is the only virtue, and I have only my own interests in mind. The game seems to encourage this mindset, as I cannot even give them food or free them from their chains. Of course, bleating sheep as they are, they cannot help but gaze up at me in desperate admiration.
Instead of being driven to solve all the world’s problems and bring justice to the land, though, I go mad with power.
After extorting oral sex from shackled prisoners who worshiped me as their saviour, I felt that I was rapidly accelerating along the trajectory of ultimate evil. Had I continued to play the game, not even the (admittedly badass) last boss would have rivaled my villainy.