VOL. 6 – Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour
1. Scott’s PSPgo
Hey, Scott’s playing a PSPgo that he bought from Young Neil! And it’s a fairly meticulously drawn one, at that. That just leaves the question of what he’s actually playing on it:
While our initial impulse was to say Half-Minute Hero, close inspection of the HUD O’Malley drew leads us to just one conclusion: Monster Hunter Freedom.
Good luck beating that… dinosaur… thing… without any friends to play with, Scott!
2. A tired old argument
The cover of series fixture (and actual Toronto publication) NOW magazine has a question, and that question is “Are video games art?”
Their source says no. We say print is dead.
Above: WILL THIS SPARKLING DEBATE NEVER BE PUT TO REST!?!?
The series’ final (and possibly best) band name, suggested by Scott, is an homage to Shatterhand, a semi-obscure NES game about an action hero who punches things. The best part of the game? Probably its title.
See that wispy warrior-angel outfit Ramona’s wearing in Scott’s dream sequence? That’s the same outfit worn by Yuko, heroine of the old 16-bit Valis fantasy-adventure games.
5. A slime is nearly drawn!
Unlike some of Scott’s other subtle-reference shirts, this one’s hard to miss, thanks to the striking figure its Dragon Quest Slime cuts across its black background.
6. Envy’s measurements
When Envy Adams struts back into Scott’s life, her measurements – listed as 999 across the board – aren’t meant to imply that she’s gigantic. Her attributes are maxed out. She’s achieved perfection, or at least what passed for perfection in the old days of RPGs, when 1,000 was a number that could not possibly exist by any measure.
Hit points maxed out at 999. Attacks maxed out at 999. Envy’s leveled up her stats higher than anybody else’s; that’s why they’re all staring.
Well, that and the fact that she’s a celebrity. That probably helps.
7. Scott’s Tanooki suit
The raccoon-looking suit Scott’s wearing during his one-panel memory flashback is the Tanooki suit from Super Mario Bros. 3, which enables its wearer to fly and turn into a stone bodhisattva statue. Since Scott’s never worn one before, we’re guessing it’s here to highlight how shallow and unreliable Scott’s memory is.
8. A Link to the Past
Chapter 34 – in which Scott finally remembers all the awful stuff he’d been forcing himself to suppress – shares its name with the third Zelda game, A Link to the Past.
There’s really not much more to say about that.
10. Get on the bus
The shot of Scott riding on top of the bus back to Toronto is evocative of a lot of 8-bit games that featured balls-out heroes with no respect for seating and two-frame flapping-cape/scarf animations. But there’s only one concrete example we could find, from the train-riding opening and ending from Mega Man IV.
11. Inside the Chaos Theatre
As it turns out, Gideon’s ornate pleasure dome has almost nothing in common with the comparatively drab cabaret that was Earthbound’s Chaos Theater. Not that big a surprise, really. A cabaret would be kind of an anticlimactic place for the final battle, after all.
12. Gideon’s arcade
The Chaos Theatre isn’t just a club for rich hipster douchebags – it also caters to gamers, with an array of fictitious arcade games that reference actual arcade games. The woman on the far left in this panel is obviously playing Dance Dance Revolution (or a variant thereof), and the “Doug Fighter” reference is pretty easy to spot.
Boat Dad 2, though, is a little more vexing. At first we were pretty confident it was an homage to Jet Moto’s logo, but then we realized it looked a lot more like the logo from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2. But that doesn’t make sense; while it features at least one dad, THPS2 has little to do with boats. And while we’re considering this, there’s the gnawing uncertainty that it could be some fishing game we’ve yet to uncover. Uncertainty and looming deadlines are terrible things to mix together.
13. Gideon’s logo
That triangle on Scott’s shirt, made of three stylized Gs (for Gideon Gordon Graves) looks kind of familiar, but we can’t quite place it…
Maybe if we turn it upside down…?
It’s so obvious now! Scott’s shirt could not be a clearer reference to Puzzle 016 from Professor Layton and the Curious Village!
Above: So many triangles!*
14. Time Critics
In case the light gun and pedal (for ducking behind cover) didn’t tip you off, Young Neil’s playing Time Crisis. Or at least an homage named Time Critics.
Above: You know, for lawyers
Does Gideon’s flurry of punches look like just another over-the-top attack with a too-literal sound effect? Then you probably haven’t played/don’t remember much of Final Fantasy VI, in which martial artist Sabin Figaro had an identical move with an identical name.
16. Level down!
Oh man, level downs are one of the worst things ever to happen in/to RPGs. They’re like seeing the last hour of your life evaporate in a puff of smoke. What kinds of games have them? Bastard games, that’s what kind.
Like Level Down, this is another “reference” that’s not so much a reference as it is a common gaming trope that O’Malley’s squeezed into the narrative to make it more awesome. If you really need a source, though, here’s about 15 years’ worth of them:
18. Level Up! (again)
More Pokemon/JRPG shoutouts, this time echoing similar scenes from Vol. 4.
19. Buster Sword
All right, so Scott’s giant sword from the book’s climax isn’t an exact replica of Cloud’s iconic Buster Sword, but it’s still pretty clear what Scott’s stance and mammoth blade are supposed to remind us of.
19. X Strike
In case there was any doubt as to exactly what’s going on here, the name of Scott and Ramona’s final attack is right there in the panel’s huge lettering. If you’ve played Chrono Trigger, you’ll instantly recognize it as the X Strike, a team-up attack Crono and Frog can perform together.
20. A total bad dude
Yes, Gideon was a total bad dude. Maybe not a bad enough dude to save the president from ninjas, but probably bad enough to beat up Karnov, at least.
The Scott Pilgrim comics aren’t limited to just what’s in the six published volumes. There’s also a Free Comic Book Day story and a couple of strips O’Malley did for other publications, all of which can be read at the official Scott Pilgrim site. They also pack in a couple decent game references. Let’s look at them now!
1. Picking the right energy drink
Picking out the right energy drink is hard enough if you’re worried about things like caffeine and sugar and aspartame and rat feces, but when you add actual stat bonuses and Scott’s paralyzing indecision, it becomes a damn near impossible task. Again, not so much a direct reference as another classic RPG convention that was seamlessly shoehorned into the Free Scott Pilgrim special.
2. Winifred’s gauntlets
Free Scott Pilgrim does have one direct game reference: the gauntlets worn by teen idol-turned-action star-turned magical attack clone Winifred Hailey. They should be pretty familiar by now, considering Cammy White made them famous way back when she debuted in Super Street Fighter II.
3. The Volume 3 promo
While it didn’t appear in any of the books, the awesome promo for Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness was very clearly aping the box art from Super Mario Bros. 3.
Sadly, Scott never grew a raccoon tail or flew, but it’s a great image, regardless.
4. The Pocket Fighter poster
Not content to stop at mimicking Mario, O’Malley also designed a poster (which you can buy at the official site linked above) that perfectly recreates a promo for Super Gem Fighter Mini-Mix (aka Pocket Fighter), also known as one of the biggest pieces of Capcom fanservice ever concocted.
Found any we missed? Go ahead and let us know in the comments.
*Yes I know what a Triforce is shut up
Aug 11, 2010
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