Hello, there. I’m going to do a review of PMD: Explorers of Time, Darkness, and Sky. Everyone knows the hero and his pal become Explorers at this Guild and do lots of cool things and go on adventures, etc. But does anyone actually bother to examine this cliched, bland story for what it’s worth and point out the numerous flaws in it? This game isn’t perfect, but children need a game that isn’t as….messed up and twisted as this one is.

Okay, first, let’s begin with the first problem with this little story. There are sixteen different choices for Pokemon, so…..why not do sixteen different plots that’ll differ depending on who you choose? That’d be nice, wouldn’t it? Nope, instead the story remains the same no matter who you choose. That’s really nice.

On this subject, the hero is bland and boring as hell. You have no personality, no depth at all….and the psychic ability is useless, amounting in a worthless character. What’s the point of being a main character if you don’t even have a personality or a speaking role at all? You talk with your feet…..and your partner talks for you. How condescending.

The sidekick is probably the worst of them all….never before have I seen such a wimpy, disgustingly servile character. This little piece of crap makes you go through so many unnecessary, idiotic scenes that could’ve been avoided if the character wasn’t so idiotic. They whine and cry all the time if you don’t do what they want you to do…..so once you get something back for them, they force you to join possibly the worst, most atrocious place I’ve ever seen in a freaking Pokemon game-The Wigglytuff Guild, or what I like to call, the “The Evil Place.”

Okay, at first glance, it seems pretty innocuous-train and become good explorers, so you can help Pokemon all over the world…..and once again evolution is held back for some retarded reason-who knows why they make you suffer like this-the whole concept is Pokemon EVOLVE. To hold it back is stifling and pretty much kills any point of making this Pokemon.
One: On the blatant cult-like monstrosity that is the Guild and how it is a terrible example for children:

Here’s where it gets bad, you see the Guild is made up of several Pokemon; the ditzy Valley-Girl stereotype, the country hick, the annoyingly trite philosopher/lazy Shikamaru Expy, the annoying catchphrase guy, and the loudmouth. These personalities are unremarkable in every way and only serve as annoyances in the plot. The worst part of this place is probably the main lead who gives you your slave labor *cough, work* is Chatot.

Ever had that bad boss who thinks he’s so great that everyone ought to worship them? This guy is probably the most annoying, despicable video game character you’ll ever meet. Right from the start, he decides everything you do…..and I mean, everything. Now what’s so bad about that? You’ll see…..why this place is most definitely evil and a twisted place to work in.

Now, what’s the definition of a cult again? Let’s see…..”a religion or religious sect generally considered to be extremist or false, with its followers often living in an unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader,” according to the Free Dictionary. You may be seeing to yourselves, well, what does that have to do with the Guild? You’ll see shortly. Now let’s go over the warning signs of a cult……According to http://www.prem-rawat.talk.org/forum/uploads/CultCharacteristics.htm, the warning signs of a cult are as follows.

First, “the group is focused on a living leader to whom members seem to display, excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment.”

How does this apply to the Guild, you may ask? Let’s see….first, Chatot tells you, “You are not, under any circumstances, to be rude to the Guildmaster.” Hmmm…..thought control? So they are not allowed to question his authority. Such a role model for children, don’t you think? Second, the other members of the Guild seem to be afraid of the Guildmaster and even the case of missing apples is enough to induce fear and panic in the Guild members. Fear….of a seemingly benevolent ruler-*cough* boss…..is there something unsettling about that? Yes, there is.

You must always respect the Guildmaster…..though he is eccentric, there are times when he seems eerily scary. Why join a Guild where they obey the rules under fear of punishment? Because…..they feed on fear and control. Chatot is a control freak. This much is evident within the story itself. You are never allowed to do anything yourself….anything that is ordered by the Guildmaster must be done.

Second, “the group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.”

This is a subtle one, and one that you might not notice in the game unless you look closely….Chimecho’s member service seems obsessed with you bringing as many new members in as possible…..but I will point out how this Guild endorses racism and slavery…..later. Chatot mentions others have run away from rigorous training……how many new members do they try to get in?

Third, “the group is preoccupied with making money.”

Here is the big alarming one with this game: this “benevolent” guild is all about making money….and that means, off of you. Yes, every. single. time. you. complete. a mission, they steal most of the money from you and keep it for themselves. This is an effective control tactic and ensures that you won’t be trying to get stuff for yourself. It also keeps you low-level and thus unable to fight back against their ways. Example: you have 2000 poke for your first mission, but Chatot steals it and leaves you with only 200 poke. Some might argue that this is a realistic example of taxes and bills, but would they really STEAL this MUCH from you? The answer is….no. This is wrong, this is illegal and to have this in a kid’s game and accept it at face value…..is deplorable.

Cults do this all the time. Jim Jones, the head of the Jonestown cult in Guyana, used this practice on his followers a lot….he took their houses, their money and their children from them, telling them it was fair because they belonged to him. Awfully similar, no?

Fourth, “questioning, doubt and dissent are discouraged or even punished.”

You see this many times. First, when you try to choose your own mission…..Chatot snaps at you for questioning him and makes someone else choose it for you….and when you question why they steal money from you, he reprimands you again….every day, he gives you orders and you do NOT question them, EVER. Not to mention the Perfect Apple incident, where he refuses to believe you and your “dissent” is treated as a “major” crime.

Ever notice one of the rules, “Run away and pay?” What do you think THAT means? I’m afraid to know what that means….does this mean they hurt you if you break the rules? They are perfectly willing to lie to you and ambush you in the forest in order to make you “graduate”, after all.

The fifth one, about “mind-numbing techniques,” really isn’t applicable except for the rules you chant every day. They seem a lot like mind control, and it IS. You repeat it day after day, so it sinks in your mind, and you do not QUESTION anything they tell you.

Sixth, the part about them dictating how they should think, act and feel is in full force here. You can never do anything without informing the Guild, you can never have all the money you want without the guild taking it, etc, etc. Your partner decides to never do anything without the consent of the Guild. Especially on the mission, where you must never do anything “wrong.”

The seventh one talks about them having an exalted status….well, with the way they treat members who join your team after you beat them in dungeons, they definitely fall under this rule. You bet your boots…they do.

The tenth one says “justifies means that are considered unethical,” the main ones the Guild is guilty of committing would be the act of blatant hypocrisy, lying, greed (the excessive devotion to money, again), racism, and slavery. You heard me, racism. That’s right, the one thing everyone overlooks about this place is its racism, and I will get to that soon enough. Starving is considered an acceptable punishment for breaking the rules.

The eleventh one is in full force here. When you fail to bring back Apples, Team Skull (a group of arrogant Marty Stus/Karma Houdinis) suck up to your dictator and Chatot automatically praises them over you and induces guilty feelings in you even though you did nothing wrong.

The thirteenth one says, “You will spend inordinate amounts of time devoted to the group,” This one is true, also. You don’t go anywhere except in the Guild, and even then you barely get to go anywhere else.

The final one says, “You have to live only with the group members.” This is absolutely true. You live only with the Guild members, not with your own team mates. You can’t live with them. You can’t live anywhere else except in the guild. Never mind that your partner has a place you could live, somehow you have to stay with them.

Emotional leverage-twice, the Guild displays outright apathy for you. First, Chatot claims to disbelieve your story about the future, then turns around and says he believed you, only he didn’t want to tell you. WHAT? You accuse us of being liars, and then you turn it around and say you were testing us and you actually believed us? Why not come out and say it, you manipulative jerk?

Second, Chatot says he remembers the time you were attacked by Dusknoir. Let me say this: Dusknoir is some explorer guy who’s actually evil, but the characters are too stupid to notice this. You and your partner become “friends” with him easily and he realizes who you are in the plot. He returns to the future and everyone in town sees him leave, but before he does, he asks the two of you to come forward, grabs both of you and drags you into the portal, in front of everyone of the Guild and in town.

What does he say? He says, “When you fell into the portal.” What? What is wrong with YOU? We nearly got killed and you SAW the whole thing happen, yet you have the gall to say we fell? Oh, and why didn’t anyone bother to intervene? You know, you heroes who save people, why didn’t you do something? You stood by and watched.

Chatot didn’t care, you see. It was all just some game to him. He saw only what he wanted to see.

On an unrelated sidenote, Lapras (this guy/girl who transports you to this mystical place to save the world) mentions offhand that only you and your partner are allowed to access this mystical land, because only the “pure” people can go. This means…..your friends are somehow excluded…..what the hell do you mean by that? Are you trying to suggest that we’re better than they are?

Finally, on to the blatant racism of the Guild and the game itself…..you see, you complete a certain amount of missions and you’re allowed to recruit members/friends to help you out and help you complete missions.

Here’s the catch. The Guild doesn’t see them as members. They see them as subhuman, or lower-class. Remember the Jim Crow laws? The ones that dictated how African-Americans lived their lives? Those laws?

Well, though it’s hard to notice at first glance, there’s something similar to that at work here. First, you know where the members live? They live separately from you. They can’t live with you, even though they’re now part of the Guild. What is with that? That makes no sense….unless of course, they’re practicing some sort of prejudice…which they are.

Second, they barely speak….except for inane jibber-jabber and they have no brains of their own, except to constantly say how much they would do for you….they are simple-minded, apparently. Think of how much more they could do if they were given a voice. But they aren’t. They’re seen as stupid, voiceless. When you complete missions, they aren’t there to receive the credit they deserve.

My partners have saved my butt dozens of times….and yet they get no acknowledgement whatsoever. If my partner dies in a dungeon and I die, we get sent back and fail, and yet if a member dies, we don’t get sent back. How is that fair?

Third, the other alarming factor at stake here is that the Guild seems to encourage this sort of prejudice. When you do important missions or go on vacation, they can’t participate, even though they’re technically speaking, part of the Guild itself.

Here’s Chatot’s reasoning on how something this wrong can pass by, “You may not bring members of your team that are not part of the Guild.” What……again, WHAT? These guys become part of your guild the moment they join, thus you have no right to exclude them from things like this. Who do you think you are to have such unbridled arrogance?

Don’t you see? They’re treated like dirt, they have no development, no brains, no self-worth at all….plus, can you imagine how they feel to be treated so harshly? It’s horrible, having to have my “friends”-well, virtual ones get treated like they’re nothing.

Aside from the racism here, this game is twisted and messed-up on so many levels. Don’t try to get back at bullies, because you’ll just make an idiot of yourself. Don’t try to defy authority, because they’re always right…remember, you are better than your friends…..

Do you honestly want children to think this sort of thing is okay? In the first game, when we go hiding out, the first thought you have is about your friends. You want to warn them about what’s going on, so they can accompany you, but your partner says, “No, we can’t bring them. We shouldn’t tell them.”

Well, that’s cold. That really is cold. You’re going to run away like a bunch of chickens and all you can think about is yourself? You supposedly care about them, yet not enough to warn them? The whole town in the first game was a mob…..they honestly abandoned them, left them to be hurt or killed? You can’t expect me to believe they wouldn’t be found-for god’s sake, their homes were right near our place.

So, aside from the racism and the backwards morals, this game was okay. The future subplot has been done before (like in DBZ, Terminator, etc) and Grovyle seems like a ripoff of Future Trunks, but only a few of the subplots in this actually make up for the screwed-up ethics, the shameless racism and prejudice, and the mind control in this game.

Hey, kids, let’s call the next game the “Explorers of Mind-Control.” That oughta let the parents have fun. Feel free to leave comments and feedback. :D

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