How exactly is Menelker "cheap"?

Discussion in 'Fantasy Strike' started by pkt-zer0, Mar 20, 2011.

  1. pkt-zer0

    pkt-zer0 Well-Known Member

    I don't normally care much for the backstory of fighting games, but I thought it was interesting to have an antagonist who's simply "playing to win". However, that seemed somewhat poorly defined here, with Menelker being said to use tactics that are "dishonourable" or "cheap": those only make sense in context of a code of honour or fairness, which isn't really established in the setting. It seems that pulling lightning out of your arse, being a giant made of stone, screwing around with the fabric of time, or turning into a mean green dragon are all fair game - but turning into a slightly meaner black dragon is somehow completely out of line? How is that supposed to work? Is there some other source to his cheapness I'm unaware of?
  2. Bruce

    Bruce Well-Known Member Ambassador

    A taboo tactic in the Fantasy Strike tournament (where maybe "you can't kill your opponent; if you do, you're disqualified" is a rule) might be dislocating your opponents arm. That's pretty taboo and not really that honorable or nice to do in a tournament setting, but it may be technically legal.

    More honourable and nicer would be to win without doing excessive, unnecessary damage to your opponent and stay within the rules--like how you can't elbow people in boxing and have to win by punching with gloves on (which is agreed on and considered fair and legal within that context).

    Maybe Menelker wouldn't do what I described (I don't know; Sirlin would), but one of his attacks is named "Bone cracker."
  3. Lemmingrad

    Lemmingrad Well-Known Member

    Gameplay wise, the general theme of Menelker from what I interpret is having abilities that aren't able to be dealt with normally with little activation cost.

    One theme Sirlin uses for this is his ability to permanently get rid of a character's ability from the game, leaving them with only basic gameplay mechanics to beat him with while he still has all his abilities.

    So it's sort of like "I can use my super, but you can't cause I broke your ability to do so"

    It's also been mentioned that Menelker as human form is the closest he can get to fighting "fair." As a dragon, it'd be like transforming into Godzilla.
  4. pictish

    pictish Member

    Even with the time control, bubble shields, lightning and dragon forms, human Menelker is so far beyond everyone else. He uses 'taboo' tactics, but I don't think the dragon transformation is the only one. He's like the one guy in a group of SFII players who can safe jump cross up and tick throw consistantly, while everyone else has just been playing 'for fun'. They're just happy they can pull off special moves.

    Menelker doesn't just beat up scrubs all day though, he wont fight anyone he thinks is too far beneath him. This seems to be everyone except Grave.
  5. -Y-

    -Y- Well-Known Member

    I thought Midori was on par with Menelker? There seems to be a dissonance between Menelker character and Menelker gameplay. On one hand he has to be more powerful than everyone else (story-wise) on other hand he has to be on same level as anyone else (gameplay-wise). Other than making him a boss or forcing him to play with his right hand tied behind his back I don't see a way to put him in game.
  6. Zejety

    Zejety Patreon Supporter

    I read him as "I PTW, but this is a lousy excuse for a tournament and I won't use Dragon Form just so it's at least some kind of challenge."
  7. -Y-

    -Y- Well-Known Member

    But then if you are not using your full abilities, you aren't PTW are you? Alternatively he is as strong as everyone else he just doesn't abide by their rules. To use previous boxing example, he doesn't take heed of rules he hits everywhere and does everything to destroy his opponent.

    I thought Midori was as powerful as Menelker, they both have Dragon forms, right?
  8. LoneKnight

    LoneKnight Well-Known Member

    But that's not Akuma, that's that Oro guy from 3rdstrike.

    I like the way they balance Akuma in the games with low health. Imagine it like he didn't really lose, he just got hit so many times, he prefers not to kill this guy for now because he may become a good fighter in the future. Alternatively, notice how Slayer in GG doesn't get KO'd, he just lies down and looks kinda annoyed/bored. Or something.
  9. -Y-

    -Y- Well-Known Member

    If he isn't there to win, then what is he doing on the tournament? Spying? Gathering support?

    BTW I'd still like some clarification on Midori. I'm not sure what is he and how the dragon(forms) relate to this setting.
  10. Sirlin

    Sirlin Steward of the Realm Staff Member

    Menelker is supposed to have abilities that feel cheap, like "oh, that's even allowed?" Discard abilities feel cheap, and so does removing someone's character chip from the game. For actual game balance, these things are supposed to fair, they are just supposed to feel unfair.

    For story, Menelker is interested in training up Grave to be on his level, though Grave hates him (...killing Midori in a death match...). Menelker isn't interested in entering the Fantasy Strike tournament though. It's pretty beneath him. He's just there to see if one of the pathetic fighters shows any potential. It's kind of moot whether he'd choose regular or dragon form if he entered, but I assumed he'd choose regular form. He doesn't need to bother with dragon form to beat these weaklings anyway. I think the "game" Menelker is playing to win is actually the one where he raises the level of competition by getting boring Midori out of the picture and pushing Grave to the next level, so when the Undead people show up, someone has a chance against them.

    Midori is a friendly mentor who appears to be doing the right thing, yet he's the one holding Grave back by restricting his arsenal and his thinking.
    GGBergen.nei likes this.
  11. Zejety

    Zejety Patreon Supporter

    I love how SF depicts Akuma as the evil/bad character and you're doing the exact opposite.

    Kudos to you, Sirlin! :)
  12. pictish

    pictish Member

  13. DredNicolson

    DredNicolson Well-Known Member

    Grave gets a lot more interesting as a character than just "the boringface Ryu expy" once you know about the psychological tug-of-war going on between Midori's old teachings and Menelker's influence. A tug-of-war that, if I know Sirlin well enough, Menelker will eventually win.
  14. pkt-zer0

    pkt-zer0 Well-Known Member

    That seems rather unlikely, considering the tournament organizer, Rook, is a wrestling golem. Ending up with a dislocated arm would be lucky after being on the receiving end of a Checkmate Buster or similar.

    That... seems sufficiently unfair, actually. Interesting.

    There's a difference between overpowered and cheap, in that only the latter is properly rage-inducing. Now that I think about it, Menelker having a super-powered dragon form might actually him a less interesting character, unless handled properly. There has to be a really good reason for Midori's teachings, otherwise people will just think Grave is an idiot for passing up the chance at supremely badass levels of power. I'm thinking Menelker could be an Ozymandias type character, killing millions to save billions.

    Yeah, I was wondering what those abilities would be, in less abstract representations than Yomi or PS. Others pull off plenty of ridiculous stuff already, so how would you go one step beyond?
    Lemmingrad's example was a good one, I think. Maybe something like being able to move and act normally during super/ultra pause could also be interesting.
  15. Lemmingrad

    Lemmingrad Well-Known Member

    Well, was trying to compared to how Into Oblivion might work.

    But otherwise, in a fighting game, iirc they're aiming for mechanics like how Akuma has a diagonal fireball or Geese counter throws, and without absurd damage numbers.

    Although a fighter that cripples your ability to use special attacks would seem pretty cheap.

    It's also been mentioned that Menelker when he's in dragon form requires multiple fighters in order to match him (AKA Raid Decks.)

    But yeah, you can try to find more info from this thread
  16. pkt-zer0

    pkt-zer0 Well-Known Member

    Bumping because concrete in-universe abilities of Menelker have still not been explained, and I'm curious! Also I have a hard time coming up with anything that can overpower (or out-badass, for that matter) Geiger's time stop. I mean, Dio had ZA WARUDO for a reason. Skills based on the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, perhaps?
    Flash Duel 2nd ed. suggested mind control and dragon-based powers, but those won't even matter if he's frozen in time before he gets the chance to use them.

    In short, Geiger would be more OP than Menelker from a lore perspective. So, umm, what now?
  17. -Y-

    -Y- Well-Known Member

    How you beat a time wizard ->

    EDIT: Elaboration. For time wizard to defeat enemy X
    1) He has to be able to damage enemy X
    2) He has to have enemy X in his area of effect (if the time warping effect is limited).
    3) Enemy X can't be immune to it.
  18. Lofobal

    Lofobal Well-Known Member

    Maybe Menelker has some sort resistance to it, and can also move while time is stopped when it's active. Or maybe he's discovered some exploit to do so, that everyone else is too scrubby to find. Maybe he just doesn't care, it's not like Geiger can hurt him anyways.

    We don't know the limits of Geiger's powers. Maybe his abilities are barely developed, or difficult to control or use.
  19. -Y-

    -Y- Well-Known Member

    PS. Can we make Geiger say ZA WARUDO! when using his powers?
    Akvo likes this.
  20. DredNicolson

    DredNicolson Well-Known Member

    Geiger's Time Stop is like a localized effect around his opponet, like a SubZero freeze that only works when its blocked. It lasts just long enough for him to walk in and throw you. And Temporal Distortion is a reverse effect that Geiger puts around himself, allowing more moves to be done than would even be possible in the same amount of normal time (like a time-warping Genei-Jin). He doesn't really have a Za Warudo-style 'I freeze EVERYTHING' power.

    This is just my interpretation, of course.
  21. SillySod

    SillySod Active Member

    Sirlin might badmouth Midori but really he is just jeaous of the hansome dragon :(

    You can make him say "SCIENCE!". Because thats what he says.
  22. pkt-zer0

    pkt-zer0 Well-Known Member

    Making Menelker immune to time stop just because "he has to be, otherwise it'd be kind of silly" is the lazy way out. Same for "he can't be hurt even in time stop anyway", except that being impervious to damage is also Rook's thing, not his.

    Though if Menelker can mind control people, it would be reasonable to assume he can read thoughts as well - so he knows Geiger's going to freeze time before he does, can stop him from doing so, or even "download" the knowledge necessary for time stoppage, and do so himself.

    That sounds sufficiently broken, actually.

    He could have one, from a lore perspective. Also I was thinking that Cycloid Revolution, his 0.0 speed attack is exactly that.
  23. Lofobal

    Lofobal Well-Known Member

    What? No one suggested this. What are you talking about?

    I don't know that he can mind control people, that seems more like Perse's thing, but maybe he's good enough at reading his opponents that it seems like thought reading.
  24. -Y-

    -Y- Well-Known Member

    Yeah, but ZA WARUDO! is way more Engrish than science. I guess "ZE SCIENCE!" could work. I always pictured Geiger as German.
  25. Lemmingrad

    Lemmingrad Well-Known Member

  26. Fenrir

    Fenrir Well-Known Member

    Do we really need to know why Menelker is cheap? Maybe he just goes for the eyes, or the crotch, or the throat or any place likely to kill or seriously injure.

    Maybe, if you must have a fluff/fiction explanation he attacks the energy centres in the body, which is incredibly dangerous, but also allows him to temporarily shut down people's special abilities (remove cards from the game).

    Which is pretty cheap anyway. Midori might say "If your opponent has strong kicks, you must train your own kicks to be stronger." Menelker might say "If your opponent has strong kicks, break his legs."
  27. pkt-zer0

    pkt-zer0 Well-Known Member

    The problem is outlined in the first post: if turning into a dragon and driving someone headfirst into the ground is supposed to be "fair", how could something comparatively trivial like going for the eyes be "unfair"?
  28. Leartes

    Leartes Well-Known Member

    Driving someone headfirst into the ground is absolutely no problem if you know he can take it no problem. So I guess the usual FantasyStrike combattants can take a fair deal of punishment without getting major injuries.

    On the other hand when you know some move WILL injure him badly or even kill and you use it, that is Menelker.
  29. Fenrir

    Fenrir Well-Known Member

    I guess I didn't explain myself well, what I'm trying to say is that Menelker's cheapness doesn't necessarily have to manifest as "forbidden secret techniques". It's just a question of style.

    Menelker will sucker punch you, attack when you're not ready, talk smack to put you off your game, challenge you to a fight and then run away four hours just to tire you out, throw dirt in your eyes, whatever it takes to make you screw up. Then he hits you with the forbidden secret technique.
    chinkeeyong likes this.
  30. deluks917

    deluks917 Yomi League 1 Champion

    Apparently he challenged his brother to a death match as a motivational technique.
  31. ImmortalJellyfish

    ImmortalJellyfish New Member


    i think its menelker's willingness to kill that makes him above the rules, not so much how he goes about doing it.
    this is assuming the fantasy strike tournament isnt already a deathmatch of course.
  32. -Y-

    -Y- Well-Known Member

    Also keep in mind Menelker has the ability to destroy part of your arsenal. Translated from gameplay to story that would either by:
    A) Destroying limbs
    B) Mind rape
  33. Turbo164

    Turbo164 Well-Known Member

    While playing to win certainly would count breaking limbs, some powers (like Geigar's time stuff, or Persephone's emotion control) would probably fall under the category of breaking their flow of chi/chakra/mana/whatever. Tai Li in Avatar did so by hitting pressure points, several Naruto characters have similar techniques where your own chakra is used to rip the energy out of the other person's body, 40k anti-psykers project a soulless aura, etc.
  34. Leartes

    Leartes Well-Known Member

    I think the difference is accepting damage beyond the competive event (fight, tournament etc.). If I know I lost the fight except I use technique XY right now which will prevent my opponent from ever fighting again and using this is menelker. Doing some strange technique that plays with time, emotion etc is completely different and completely acceptable.
  35. Turbo164

    Turbo164 Well-Known Member

    I was saying you can turn off Lum's ability to throw coins by breaking both his arms, but turning off Persephone's ability to control your emotions would probably require breaking her chi/mana/etc.
  36. Fenrir

    Fenrir Well-Known Member

    It's not enough, I think, to give him this ability. It has to be something that everyone is capable of doing but that they refrain from for reasons that are outside the scope of the fight. So probably everyone could shut off Jaina's access to the power of the red dragons with carefully aimed attacks. But only Menelker does because it's super dangerous.

    I bet, for example, that Menelker is a MASTER of trash talk. Which Grave would never stoop to using (being too invested in his self-image as the stoic warrior of honor).

    I'm actually more interested in the difference between Menelker and the Queen of D's. Menelker refuses to bargain with the same entities as the Queen to gain power. Surely this is counter to playing to win? The option is there, Menelker just refuses to take it.
  37. two_eyes

    two_eyes Active Member

    Menelker's post had this to say on the subject:
    Not sure what the FS cosmology is like, but I'm making the assumption here that Menelker believes that if he deals with demons, he is going to get totally screwed down the line. Playing to win would require avoiding that outcome.
  38. Lemmingrad

    Lemmingrad Well-Known Member

    Well, I imagine his train of thought being like, if you sell yourself to demons, you're no longer the master of your abilities. Menelker wants power, but not at the cost of it being out of his control.
  39. Fenrir

    Fenrir Well-Known Member

    I guess in a fighting game something that would work would be giving Menelker the ability to drain your super meter. That's pretty rare and goes against most fighting games where you can gain meter, or spend meter but never just lose meter.
    two_eyes likes this.
  40. Turbo164

    Turbo164 Well-Known Member

    Yeah the only ones that come to mind are Morrigan in MvC3 and Spinal+Glacius in KI2/gold.

    Disabling a button on their controller would be pretty cheap too ^_^
  41. Menelker

    Menelker Member

    Maybe his cheapness is a perception his enemies have. For example, geiger comes along, he has cool time powers and can use them in a fight to give him an edge. He fights Menelker who shuts down his power by doing something (for example: yelling "into Oblivion" causing a vortex to appear and lock down your abilities or at least make them harder to use by restricting the flow of power or whatever). In turn, this causes Geiger to think, man this tactic he uses is so cheap because he is stopping me from using my awesome time powers. I don't believe Menelker is cheap because he is willing to have fights to the death or because he is willing to break your arms or legs, its more so because his powers are used to shut your key strengths down.
  42. Kontergurke

    Kontergurke Member

    If shutting down powers was the main reason for being perceived as cheap, wouldn't Grave and Arg be cheap as well?

    As it's been already said, to get players to think the character is cheap (while still being balanced), the abilities are designed to look like they "break" the rules of the game.

    In a card game, removing cards from the game may seem cheap.
    In a fighting game it could be something like "removing your super bar for a short period" or disabling certain button inputs.
  43. AcknowledgedTruth

    AcknowledgedTruth New Member

    I think of Menelker less as the "dirty tricks guy" and more as having moves whose psychological impact is way out of proportion to their actual effectiveness.

    Think about Akuma's air fireballs. They control a weird space, and if you're not used to them they feel really unreasonable. This is especially true for new players who have just learned the dragon punch motion; now they can't SRK Akuma as he jumps in, and it's really aggravating. Yet, those air fireballs aren't actually Akuma's best move by a long shot. They feel bad because they seem "cheap," but if you learn how to fight them you can work around them.

    In my mind, Menelker as a fighting game character has a lot of moves like that. Maybe he can stomp you when you're on the ground--even though it does little damage and pushes you out of position, you're safe from everyone else while you're knocked down and so it's shocking to see him do it. Or maybe he gets an instant overhead--even if it can't combo into anything and therefore is only situationally useful, it still creates a sense of "he's got this unfair thing he can do."

    Translating that to the fiction, Menelker has lots of unusual moves whose effectiveness is debatable but whose emotional impact is not. Setsuki won't stomp you because it's too easy to avoid, and Jaina won't stomp you because she's backing up to shoot arrows--but Menelker, he'll stomp you. Argagarg won't smack you in the back of the head while dodging because he'd rather get into a defensive stance, and Geiger won't because a slap in the head as you go by doesn't really hurt--but Menelker will do it just to see if it fazes you. Menelker uses suboptimal-but-psychologically powerful stuff, and that makes him come off as "cheap" to those he fights.
  44. Inkstud

    Inkstud Patreon Supporter

    After Menelker teaches Grave about taboo tactics and playing to win, Grave should challenge him to a deathmatch to avenge Midori, then pull a gun out of his big poofy pants and shoot him dead. That's some real playing to win
  45. Overmaster

    Overmaster New Member

    I always thought Menelker always Played To Win by not holding anything back, but the reason he doesn't just always pop into the Deathstrike Dragon is because it reduces his lifespan or something. Thus, whenever he can avoid it, he won't enter dragon form-- but if he needs it to win, he'll never hold it back. At least that's how I justified his personality and role in the story.
  46. Bruce

    Bruce Well-Known Member Ambassador

    Sirlin define's Menelker's power as:

    the will to do what others can't or won't do.
    So, he'll fireball spam you, and Midori will be all, "damnit, Menelker! I can't get in!!"

    (that's what he said)

    Grave: "Menelker, I challenge you to a duel!"
    Menelker: "I accept!"

    *duel occurs; Grave busts a cap in Melenker*

    Menelker: "But... <cough> why?"
    Grave: "I challenged you to a duel. I didn't define which type of duel I meant. Did you leave your pistol at home? Midori says hi. Bitch."
  47. mystictraitor

    mystictraitor Well-Known Member Ambassador

    Sotek and Bruce like this.
  48. Bruce

    Bruce Well-Known Member Ambassador

    I also heard that Melenker is a bad tipper, and in last year's secret santa :gwen:, contributed a gift that was originally priced at the recommended amount to spend, but was on sale for 40% off.

    Melenker likes:
    • winning, calligraphy, fighting, coupons
    • whining, undead, clowns, paying full retail price
    Redless, CarpeGuitarrem and LK4O4 like this.
  49. Kirandio

    Kirandio Well-Known Member

    Apologies if this has been answered before; I haven't really followed the lore for this. Is Menelker supposed to be a dragon who shape-shifts into a human form, or is he supposed to be like a half-human, half-dragon type of character?

    I could ask the same question regarding Midori also, since I want to think it would probably be about the same with him too.
  50. Kraetyz

    Kraetyz Well-Known Member

    Pretty sure both he and Midori are humans who turn into dragons, since people talk about Grave (and Jaina?) training to do the same.

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