Spot the Reference

There’s actually very little original thought in This Wreckage. I don’t think it’s necessary to explain the millions of things related to Warcraft III itself, and I’ll skip the self-referential stuff from the likes of the Islands in the Sky series… And don’t get me started on every line of dialogue in the entire map. But the rest might be vaguely interesting, if you’re a die-hard.


Henrik: Henrik is named after a Conjuror from that lost gem Nox, who charms a wolf in front of you in the Warrior story. You can buy a charmed wolf off him that will follow you. Though I later found out that he was called Henrick with the additional ‘c’. Oh well.

Five: “Down in the park where the machmen meet the machines and play kill-by-numbers, down in the park with a friend called Five.” Though there is a little more than just that behind his name. The Scorpids never upgraded any non-Scorpids, right? But they must have had some practice before Hwe’Nua… And who’s that guy following the Warlord in the secret ending?

Wasted Whispers: “We were talking, passing strangers, moments caught across an empty room. Wasted whispers, faded secrets, time goes, time goes by too soon.” Ultravox, Passing Strangers. I felt that the sphinxes should have wistful, poetic names. The sphinxes basically spent six thousand years waiting for their master to return… Only to be sold out just to keep Henrik on the move.

Captain Zhao: no, not me, but Deus Ex. The captain of the PRCS Wall Cloud, the super-freighter you need to scuttle… Though you never meet this man, you can hack his computer account and the Walton Simons hologram that you can chase around the ship talks to him.

Liu Bega: one-hit-wonder Lou Bega sang the true version of Mambo Number Five. Oh look, there’s that number again. Search it up on YouTube or something, it’s a crackin’ floor-filler of a tune.

Chaos: Sonic Adventure (DX). Everyone told me this game would be terrible… It’s actually pretty bitchin’, assuming you have a gamepad. Sega really don’t know how to do a mouse and keyboard control scheme. And the storyline doesn’t actually seem to make sense. The Chaos are the seven servers? I mean, what the fuck?

Sonic the Agent: this one’s pretty obvious. Contrary to what most people believe, Sonic the Hedgehog wasn’t originally super-fast in himself — it was his Power Sneakers that gave him his ultimate speed. And with great speed, comes great responsiblity; sometimes, people just lose control of themselves and end up running into stone pillars.

Isaak/Seagoats: Unreal II: the Awakening. What a wonderful game. I know it’s only five minutes long, and it suffers from console-proximity slowness, but it’s still amazingly well done. And the ending gets me every time.

Turteaux: Turteaux is named after Greek synth-pop duo Marsheaux, who are very good. His unit destription, viewable by mousing-over his icon when you have him and at least one other unit selected, is a reference to track one of their first album E-bay Queen, aptly named M.A.R.S.H.E.A.U.X. I think you can infer the rest.

The Pink Haired Agent: every anime ever? I have a thing for funny-coloured hair… As long as it’s awesome.

Midge, Warren: what do you mean, implying that half of Ultravox are fish men is an insult?

Anthony James Webb: Gary Numan was born Gary Anthony James Webb… Though he never sang White China to fish-men, secret societies or the military in real life (as far as I’m aware).

Kelljn: Kellin Tenstraw the Eastern Samurai hails from Gravano’s Season of Uncertainty. His quest is based on The Catfish’s Maw from The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, where the mini-boss must be fought a number of times before he gives up the Hook Shot.

Kagrenac: Morrowind again. He was supposed to be named for Kagrenac’s Forge underneath Mournhold in the expansion Tribunal, then I found out that the guy there was called Radac and the map tag said Radac’s Forge. By then, however, the name had stuck. Of course, Kagrenac is still a name from somewhere rather more significant in Morrowind

Papahl: The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. “I’m going to be lost in the mountains later…” What a way to introduce a quest. Though their Papahl doesn’t explode into a giant fiery Daemon when you meet him back in Maybe Village.

“Should have lured a pansy…”

A Daemon, This Wreckage


Will o’ Wisp: possibly the most annoying foes from Nox‘s Dismal Swamp, these are made more annoying when you’ve got a low-health escort quest unit in tow. Luckily you can kill them in one hit here.

Fire Guard: you actually have SeruK to thank for this. The Fire Guards first appeared as “Lesser Daemons” instead of the Felhounds when you fight the Daemon on entering the sawmp. SeruK was all “no more fire guards?” when he noticed, so I found a way to slot them back in. With that name. I think the Rod of Summoning is vaguely Baldur’s Gate II-related, but I can’t be sure.

Feral Machine: a faction of rebellious machines from Paul J. McAuley’s Confluence trilogy are designated “feral” machines. A thoroughly good read, even if the finale goes a bit time-travel-is-not-a-plot-device on you.

Bounty Hunter: remember those really annoying invisible enemies that harvested your units (but not heroes) in Gravano’s Season of Uncertainty: The Dark Phoenix? This is them… Except I abused the hidden ranger skin and they’ll attack anything. Grab yourself a light source, or sit there until they reveal themselves while attacking.

Ice Monster: Lego Rock Raiders… What a game, oh what a game! They don’t make ’em like they used to.

Myconid: mushroom-fiends from the Underdark — Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn explicitly, but I suppose that means the Dungeons and Dragons “Forgotten Realms” setting in general. Explosive sporelings were basically invented to annoy the fuck out of you.

Agent City Ghost: Season of Uncertainty: the Dark Phoenix again. Remember how you find the rune that gets you into Deitrich Saliarti’s  mountain cult stronghold? Okay, diamonds are only very tenuously plot items, but I really couldn’t think of anything else. It could have been a Seashell or a Lewt in another life, I suppose.

Mist: Baldur’s Gate II had a lot of interesting creatures. I never went as far as “Vampiric Mist” or any other variations, but you get the picture.

Rakshasa: Dungeons and Dragons via Baldur’s Gate II again… Nothing much to be said here. I wanted something to spruce up the latter stages of the game with, and this model was what I farted out. Every model editor worth their salt has tried to put the Priestess of the Moon’s tiger’s head on a humanoid at least once, so it was high time I joined them.


Gold Rings: The Sonic the Hedgehog series. As if that sarky item description wasn’t enough.

Gold Polyhedra: a d4, a d6, a d8, two d10s, a d12 and a d20. Yes, standard polydice set for the likes of Dungeons and Dragons. “Round-edged and egg-shaped” is a dig at “Colonel Louis Zocchi”, the inventor of the Zocchihedron, an actual 100-sided die. Search him on YouTube or something, I can’t remember the precise quote. Basically, he’s saying that your basic plastic dice are always going to favour certain numbers because of their poor manufacture.

Loot Items in General: Thief games, though I’ve only played The Metal Age and Deadly Shadows. I always loved that museum raid where Garret stuffs several giant paintings up his jumper… For those that don’t know, any object of value in a Thief game just goes straight into your money pot (it is assumed that all items are fenced when you finish a mission), be they gold spectacles or candlesticks or dice or, well, anything.

Secret Seashells: The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. I think you all knew that. I really hope you all knew that.

The Dragon’s Tooth: Deus Ex. The true weapon of the modern warrior…

Upgrade Canisters: Deus Ex again. I’m actually surprised that there isn’t more Deus Ex-related stuff in general; I tended to reference that masterwork more in dialogue than in objects.

Disempowerement: There’s an item in Gravano’s Season of Uncertainty called Sloth, which is basically curse. The caption is “Empowers a user to disempower an enemy” or something close to that.

Abyss Blade: it’s called the Black Blade of Disaster in the code… Baldur’s Gate II again. It’s a high-level mage spell. I think it has the ability to insta-disintegrate on hit or something, but I just made it spew out elementals instead. Because I really couldn’t risk you, say, one-hitting Five.

Phat Lewt: imagine using this item as a placeholder quest reward… Then imagine never putting a real item in its place, and turning that into a meme.

“Oh no, I’ve been had!”

Henrik, This Wreckage

Starfall Ore: found in Baldur’s Gate II: Throne of Bhaal in that nasty guy’s basement in the little city you start at. Always loved that concept. Except that I can’t remember the name of the city or the bad guy. Sheesh.

Boots of Speed: possibly the single greatest item in Baldur’s Gate, the boots of speed allow a chosen party member to tear off into the distance and run into terrifying fights without any backup. The item description is a carbon copy of the description given the legendary boots in BG.


Adventurer’s Guild: it’s another reference to Gravano’s Season of Uncertainty. There’s a (relatively) secret area where everyone is transparent and blue, and there is a shop that sells powerful artefacts. I went for green because, let’s face it, the rest of the map is green too.

Town expansion: The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind‘s expansion pack Bloodmoon. Don’t you remember how the little mining settlement on Solstheim turns from one man standing in front of an Ebony rock to a big settlement with your own personal house? Well, as long as you don’t fail one of the main quests… Especially that one where you have to run across the entire island in under a day. So that’s where the base camp and the swamp settlement building up came from.

The Gods: you know that Lego range, Bionicle…?

The Land of Darkness: Sonic the Hedgehog: the Movie. Oh yes.

The Whales: A-ha — We’re Looking for the Whales. I shit you not, it all started there. Though I think there’s  a dash of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening‘s Wind Fish been added since.

Bog Shop: Bull Byzanti’s Bog Shop, to give it its full name. Nox again — that Byzanti family get everywhere. Though it’s that wily skag Loproc that is the last shop outside the Land of the Dead.

Energy Bolt: as far as I’m aware, the Energy Bolt spell in Nox is just a recoloured lightning… But it looks the business. This is actually the foundation for my whole pure energy-electricity-antenergy thing.

The Waking World: of course it’s Link’s Awakening, the only place where “I woke up and it was all a dream” is the right ending. Characters in This Wreckage are a bit confused about this though, and tend to refer to only the surface world as the “waking” world; really, the waking world comprises all the material universe, while the “dream” world is the parallel world of only the energies.

The Beyond: this is another place that the people of This Wreckage are confused about; again, they tend to refer to anywhere that isn’t the surface as “The Beyond”. The Beyond is really the place from whence the likes of Fel Rocks and Felhounds come from. Daemons don’t actually come from the Beyond — like Fire Giants, they are creatures of the molten rock under the world. The term “Beyond” is somewhat related to REM’s The Great Beyond, but it seems to be a generic term a lot of other people have siezed on too.

Version Gamma: Sonic Adventure DX‘s E-102 Gamma. I was playing that game about the time I started seriously contemplating the upgrades, and it just felt right.

And you tell me...

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