Sunday, October 5, 2014

Star Wars: Zombies of The Old Republic

I concluded Georgia and Florida give love to the reptiles with this look ahead.
[S]tay tuned for my Sunday entertainment entries.  There will be DOOM in them, I promise!
It's time to follow through.

With the arrival of Ebola in the U.S. and the arrival of zombie shows like "Z Nation" last month and "The Walking Dead" this month (for dates and synopses, see The Ultimate Guide to this Fall's Science Fiction and Fantasy TV!), I remembered that even Star Wars includes a zombie plague in a post-apocalyptic setting.  Fans of only the movies wouldn't know this, but those who play the Bioware video games set during the Old Republic era know exactly what I'm writing about.  For those of my readers who don't, the planet is Taris and the zombies are Rakghouls.  Follow over the jump for my observations on "the zombies of the Old Republic" and the planet on which they are found.

Before I say anything, I'll let the soundtrack of SWTOR set the mood.  Here is Taris, the Plague.

Creepy and foreboding, isn't it?  That makes it perfect for Taris, a bombed-out, post-apocalyptic ruin that is returning to the swamp it was before it became a planet with a city that covered its land surface.  It's one of my least favorite settings in the game.  I dislike it so much that, instead of continuing on from Alderaan to Taris on the Imperial side, I went back to Nar Shaddaa to help another player advance her character.  I'm now back at Alderaan, which may be full of snotty and treacherous nobles, but at least it's pretty with music to match.  It may have a tragic end in store for it, but at least it will be quick and relatively clean.  By the time of SWTOR, Taris has already experienced its end at the hands of the Sith, but quick and clean are the last words I'd use to describe it.

I might have a more positive feeling for the planet and be more empathetic about its fate if I played Knights of the Old Republic, when it was relatively intact until the Sith bombarded it, but I haven't, so I don't.  Even then, the place still had rakghouls, which, as Larry Everett of Joystiq describes them, are "Star Wars zombies, but just like every other trope the Star Wars universe adopts, Rakghouls are covered in the Star Wars secret sauce, giving them their own unique flavor."   Special sauce or not, I don't like fighting them.  They give me the creeps.

What's even more creepy is the transformation of normal humans into rakghouls.
This disease, as its name implied, was a plague that could be spread from an existing rakghoul by means of a bite or scratch from its claw, infecting the victim from even the smallest wound. Following contact with a rakghoul, the progression of the infection was a rapid and painful experience. Incubation periods for the disease differed between species, but a period of six to forty-eight hours was typical. A victim's body would become twisted, and the pigmentation of the skin became paled to a whitened, corpse-like state, and bleeding from the eyes, mouth, and skin were not uncommon.
"Bleeding from the eyes, mouth, and skin"--oh, my, does that remind one of anything?  I find the similarity to the disease that prompted me to think about Taris and the Rakghouls uncanny.  Now I'm even more creeped out.

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