Hi, nutshellcrackers. By the time I started writing this, I have finished playing Uri-san’s The Boogie Man. I livetweeted about it too. Look up #TobbyPlaysTBMAlone on Twitter if you wanna see the tweets. And for those who are worried about spoilers, I tried to not to fill them with spoilers, but if you get spoiled, well…I apologize.
Anyway! I’ve got a lot that I’d like to talk about regarding this game. One, I’m a voice actor in it. Two, I’d like to make a review about this game. Three, I’d like to talk about my experience with the project and the production crew. Four, YEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!! and other related stuff.
So yeah, I guess that’s what I’ll talk about in this post. Now, time to get started. And I guess I should start with the review. I’ll put the rest of this post under a Read More, as I’ll definitely be letting out spoilers along the way.
The Boogie Man. Third game in Uri-san’s Strange Men Series. First game in the series is The Crooked Man, and second is The Sandman. I reviewed those two games individually in the past, while TBM was in production, I think. TCM and TSM impressed me a lot, and I think the fame TCM got in the Western Let’s Playing community was well-deserved. One reason I like TCM and TSM, and I quote from the Let’s Player and fellow VA ManlyBadassHero, “…they’re relatable to people with depression.” The conflicts in the narratives of those games, I don’t think they’re conflicts that rarely happen in reality. And reaching the Happy End of each game is tough but possible. Maybe the complexity of the puzzles would lead you to easily disagreeing with what I’m about to say, but I think the protagonists’ happy endings and how they got them aren’t unrealistic. And the two games’ bad endings…well, the ones I know about, at least…I think they’re realistic as well.
You know what, I think you should just play those games, or watch Let’s Plays of those games (though, personally, I recommend the former more than the latter, but hey the latter can be fun too!). I should go on to my review on TBM now.
So yeah, The Boogie Man. This freeware horror game (although, personally, I think it’s more action-drama-horror than just horror) is centered on Keith Baring, a cold detective who was asked to go on vacation by his boss. He goes to a castle tour with his wife, Helena. The couple has issues, and Helena tells Keith that she is thinking of divorcing him. They decide to continue talking about it after the trip, and they go to sleep.
Suddenly, The Boogie Man strikes, murdering Stevie Small, the tour guide, all the servants in the castle, and Brendon Dumont, the proprietor of the castle. He introduces himself to Keith, and if you ask me, Boogie reminds me of The Joker. Y’know, the villain from Batman. Anyway, Boogie starts a game where he holds Helena and the other guests hostage, while Keith is asked to chase Boogie. And as Keith tries to keep the hostages safe, more and more about Keith’s character is revealed. As for the fate that he, Helena, and his fellow guests will meet, it depends on how you solve the puzzles that the game holds.
Oh, and it’s not like the other characters of the game don’t get a lot of their characters revealed, and it’s not like they’re not memorable either. Perhaps even Stevie can be memorable because of his friendly attitude, and perhaps he can be more memorable because of his death (I think it’s implied that before Stevie died because of blood loss, he was tortured by Boogie into saying “Turn on the lights” for the “tutorial stage” of Boogie’s game). Some of the guests will be very memorable to those who have met them in the past Strange Men Series games as well. There’s TCM protag David and Shirley, his lover. There’s also TSM protag Sophie and Richard, her father. They’re all in the trip after their respective stories’ happy ends, with David and Shirley being married already, and Sophie and Richard being a tighter father-and-daughter duo. As for Keith and Helena…Keith, to me, seems like someone that shows up a lot as a protag in Western action stories. Like, I feel like most people these days would think that he’s cool and strong, you know? Maybe they’d think that he’s a total badass and someone who you’d never see crying during the whole story. And Helena, to a lot of people these days, she’d probably seem like someone who can’t do much, someone who’s just a total burden.
But hey, Keith isn’t a total badass, and Helena isn’t a total burden. As Keith told Boogie in their final confrontation in the Happy End route, “…I’m no paragon of justice.” And Helena…if you work well enough through the complex puzzles, you’ll see her showing her bravery in the face of Boogie’s threats against her and her husband. You’ll see her be a badass in the Happy End route, yo. And hey, both of them aren’t perfect too. Keith got broken because of his son’s death, and he broke down even more as he worked too hard in keeping his wife happy, as he worried about losing another loved one again, as he blamed himself for his son’s death, a death that was an accident. Helena, while she recovered with Keith’s help after their son’s death, began to feel helpless and like a wife who can’t help her husband properly when she noticed Keith being more broken too. They do love each other, but..well, I guess I can say that they’re too concerned about each other, and they ended up forgetting about how their self-destruction affects their relationship. Also, I’d like to say that Keith is a freaking awesome dad, something that’s shown a lot in the flashbacks with him and his son, Tod. Seeing the Barings’ respective personalities…yup, I think I that they’re pretty realistic.
And speaking of realistic, there’s David and Richard, who still get shaken up, to the point of forgetting to protect themselves enough, when their loved ones are threatened. There’s Sophie, who recklessly sneaks out of a safe room to find the missing Helena. As for Shirley, heh, she’s a tough woman (and is strong enough to carry a heavy axe!), something that I don’t consider unrealistic thanks to various experiences in my life. Lance, well, I feel like photographers with bad histories like him aren’t rare in reality…though it’s not like he’s totally bad, considering him being someone who shows concern for an innocent person who got murdered.
Brendon? Well, he’s actually the villain, “TBM” under the mask. If you’re familiar with TSM, Boogie in TSM isn’t as bad as “Boogie” in TBM. Brendon’s a two-faced person, a sort who I think isn’t unfamiliar in reality. It’s hard to catch people like him, and their cunning is freaking scary, no?
And the way Keith’s messed-up mind was depicted…I think it’s freaking awesome!
Ah, I sure talked a lot about the characters and how realistic they are. I think I’ll stop talking about that for now, ’cause I’ll probably bore you, hahaha!
Now, about the plot, I think it’s heartrending. The chaos feels realistic, and the twists aren’t very predictable unless you got spoiled or know how the plot goes, but to me, who knows how most of the plot goes, going through the plot still feels like a wild ride. The way it’s delivered, with the stylish illustrations and visual arrangements, the heart-gripping voice acting, the suitable music pieces and placement (and the lack of music at certain points as well, hahaha!), the complex (and really annoying, to those with less patience) puzzles…freaking awesome, yo. Maybe some people won’t agree with my opinion, but hey, I don’t expect TBM to be a perfect work. Still, I think that it’s loaded with lots of awesomeness.
Also, while I played TBM during my #TobbyPlaysTBMAlone playthrough, I kinda cried as I went through the last parts of the Happy End route. To be more specific, I felt like crying when I saw Keith cry in front of Tod’s grave. T_T
Overall, it’s a story-driven video game that I consider a favorite. I think I’ll stop talking about my thoughts on the game’s quality now, since I’d like you to form your own thoughts about the game too, dear nutshellcrackers who haven’t played the game yet.
And now, on to talking about my experience in being a VA for the TBM project.
I was included around two years ago, some time after I started calling myself The Overlord Bear in the Net. I had started a blog in Tumblr, and I was going through vgperson’s Tumblr when I found her post regarding voice acting auditions for a video game. Being someone who dreamed of being a voice actor since childhood, I auditioned. One of the roles available was a role of a guy with a friendly personality, and I, being confident in voicing nice guy characters, decided to audition for that role. I used a webcam mic during that time, hahaha…which was replaced months later by the mic that I’m currently using (Thanks very much for that, Mom and Dad!).
Now, about getting included into the VA cast, I was amazed when I got an email saying that I got the role I auditioned for. When I found out who my fellow VAs were, I tried to get in touch with the ones I could get in touch with, and now, I have a close friend among the VA crew. And when I found out about my character’s personality…well, I felt excited and nervous, just like now. Excited ’cause I wanted to know the shock most players would experience when they find out about my character’s true personality, and nervous ’cause of fear of people who would be in disbelief when they learn more about the freaking big difference between my character’s personality and my actual personality. Well, I was also excited and nervous when I thought of the exposure that I was gonna get, since hey, Uri-san is considerably known in the video gaming community. And now, I’m more excited and nervous, ’cause Uri-san allowed monetized Let’s Play vids of her games, which means that TBM will probably be LPed by some of my favorite LPers…aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…
As for working with the TBM production crew…Uri-san was freaking awesome with directing me in voice acting. The guidance and feedback that I got from her wasn’t lacking, and I think she’s a pretty nice person! Interacting with fellow VAs has led me to forming some friendships, with the closest one being with Helena’s VA, hahaha…^_^
Now, even though I’m really impressed by my own voice acting, I’m looking forward to honest constructive feedback regarding my voice acting! My voice acting ability is not perfect, but it can be improved! And I still wish to pursue voice acting as well! Right now, as TBM was released recently, I’m having difficulty with trying to express myself here, all while excitement and nervousness pile up in my mind, hahaha…
Well, I guess I should end this post soon. I don’t want to spend too long making this, as I have other stuff that I should be working on in the coming days!
Now, here are a bunch of links:
- Page where you can download the English version of TBM (Please don’t forget to thank vgperson very much for translating the game into English, yo! Oh, and there’s a walkthrough there too, for those who aren’t very keen when it comes to solving the game’s complex puzzles!)
- TBM Facebook Page (Uri-san knows about it, and Nurvuss, Serene, and I are admins of that Page! Feel free to interact with fellow fans! Of course, friendship for the win, yo! Let’s get along!)
- Nurvuss’s interview with Uri-san about TBM (So many freaking interesting things! By the way, Nurvuss is Lance’s VA!)
- Uri-san’s Twitter (If you have a Twitter account, you can send her your feedback there! I hope that your feedback will be honest and constructive, though!)
And finally, as I say “See you again in the den, nutshellcrackers”…