Why does the game so badly to try to trick the player into killing toriel, with the sudden unavoidable crit and all? Isn't that kinda a cheap trick to pull on a body? It's hard for me to accept the message of the game when it's so manipulative all like that.
See, I actually love this, because I don’t take it as a value judgment. See, if you see Undertale as a game about being nice and not hurting anyone no matter what, the Toriel fight is tricky. But if you see it as a game about thwarting fate, it fits perfectly … I’ll show you what I mean.
Do you know what kind of game Undertale was going to be? When it was just a ghost of an idea in Toby’s head, when he hadn’t actually gotten it ironed out? In Cave Story, you have to kill Toroko in order to progress in the game, There’s a big tragedy and you need to kill her to progress. You can’t do anything about it.
In the first version of Undertale that existed in Toby’s head, you had to kill Toriel to progress. HAD TOO. In the first version of Undertale, this world truly WAS kill or be killed.
So like, clearly mercy is the choice you’re meant to find eventually. But are you meant to find it on the first time? Are you meant to get through this flawlessly?
Kill or be killed. That’s the rule. That’s the choice the game thrusts on you. That’s what Flowey says to Frisk. And Flowey is right.
Undertale is the tragedy of a child floundering through the Underground and getting out at the end, leaving friends behind, but also damage, hurt feelings, hurt people. And Undertale is the story of looking back at that tragedy and saying
The ‘trick’ doesn’t register as a trick anymore if you think about it that way. Not JUST as a story about being kind, but a story about changing fate. The best way to play Undertale is to go in without knowing you can save everyone, and discovering that through the course of the game.
It’s why I’m super frustrated with the ‘this is how you’re meant to play the game’ crowd. If you’re telling someone how to play the game, you’re stopping them from playing the best way.
I don’t hold how easy it is to kill Toriel against the game for that reason. I don’t think of killing Toriel, or any of the monsters, as a failure in the first run. I think it helps the experience.