Scarlet Nexus is a sci-fi action game that released in June of 2021, taking place in an alternate future where a single, shocking discovery has reshaped the course of human civilization: the discovery of a hormone in the human brain that can trigger the emergence of extrasensory power.
Let's Try Desperately to Describe "Scarlet Nexus" Monsters With Words: Part One
But, shortly after we stumbled upon our latent psychic powers, things started falling out of the sky to feast on human brains, and we REALLY mean things here. These monstrous invaders, simply known as the Others, are almost as unreal as creature designs can possibly get and still usually look like a creature, comparable only to the "Witches" from Puella Magica or the Meta Beings from the amazing Baroque, but quite possibly much more ludicrous!
Instanty some of my favorite video game creatures of all time, we'll be able to go over the entire bestiary thanks to our friends Eb the gamer and the twitch streamer Emvandame, but we might be getting wordy enough that we'll want to split this into two or more parts. That's because we'll be including each creature's official bio, my review opinions, and my attempt to actually explain in text what we're looking at. Feel free to chime in about details I've missed, or details that could be clarified any better!
LET'S START WITH THE SIMPLEST: THE SCUMMY POOL
PROFILE:"A Pool with coral-like appendages on its upper body. This Other has not been observed to consume or absorb brains. This differentiation from other Pools may be because the coral organs are hindering the absorption process. Unlike other Pools, it has not been observed to take i mass amounts of liquid. When it attacks, it will launch its bodily fluids from afar. It is thought that when Bile Pools and Doppel Pools are Dehydrated for an extended period of time, they will turn into this kind of Pool."
MY BEST DESCRIPTION: as you can tell from the bio, this is one of only several types of "pool," and the most stunted or degenerated of them. Despite the name, these amorphous creatures aren't really "pool" shaped; each is a big, bulbous, round wad of slime rising on a thin stalk or neck from a small puddle of the same thick gunk, and following closely behind is a smaller slimy bulb. Both have the "coral-like appendages" mentioned, which are just a bunch of little white twigs protruding from the ooze. Atop a Scummy Pool's big blobby bulb is an object rather resembling a fabric lampshade, worn almost like a bonnet, with more of the "coral" twigs bursting from the top. See? Simple! Just gooey knobs with sticks, wearing lampshade hats!
BILE POOL and FUEL POOL
BILE POOL PROFILE:"A Pool with relatively clean water taken into it. If it continues spraying water and not rehydrating, it is thought it will turn into a Scummy Pool. However, it usually has plenty of water, so observing a change like that would be extremely difficult. It loathes being approached and will distance itself between its prey and attacking with a spray of water from afar. If approaches, however, it will spray its water in a wide arc around itself. Due to its abundance of water, it is easily electrified. Electrokinesis is extremely effective."
FUEL POOL PROFILE:"This Pool stores and consumes oil. It has a candle-like appendage on its top. This is thought to be a by-product of the oil it takes in. When it spots prey, it launches oil from a distance. When approached, it will attack by spraying oil around it and retreat. This other is internally and externally covered in oil, making it very susceptible to fire. Pyrokinesis is extremely effective."
MY BEST DESCRIPTION: these two pools look almost identical to one another, and the only functional difference is whether they're vulnerable to fire or electricity. They also look just like the Scummy Pool up to the tops of their "lampshades," where instead of the twigs clustered in a Scummy's cap, each of these has what looks like an entire twisted tree sapling sprouting out of their top, ending in an ornate, basket-like metal lightbulb fixture. Bile Pool has a pinkish glass bulb in this fixture, but Fuel Pool has a pinkish candle. The only other visual difference is that Bile Pool's tree has a few clusters of yellow leaves, while Fuel's leaves have barely sprouted. Both also possess three long, flat, seaweed-like appendages that grow from the lampshade.
THE DOPPEL POOL
PROFILE:"A Pool that has absorbed water with many impurities. It's believed to be a mutation of a Bile Pool whose water purity lessened after ingesting large amounts of prey, but this is still being debated. When it spots prey, it vomits something like algae along with water from inside its body, creating two doubles of itself, then makes long range attacks together with them. Clairvoyance is extremely effective. Once the real one is discerned and attacked, it apparently can no longer maintain the doubles and begins to retreat. You should use this opportunity to finish it before it can create more doubles."
MY BEST DESCRIPTION: The last and strongest of the pool family, the only visual difference here is that the "tree" branches five times into smaller pink lightbulbs.
OPINION: I promised you monsters that would be hard to describe, and don't worry, they're going to get plenty more frustrating than blobs with bonsais on their heads. That said, I really love the whole "Pool" family. In the tradition of other slimes and oozes, they're the most simplistic, most straightforward creatures in the game as well as some of the weakest, yet they still look like nothing else I've seen. Why do they have lightbulbs and lampshades on them? How are those things part of their body? They do not just nab those from their surroundings. The "Others" are all seemingly "born" just the way they appear in the game.
THE SCUMMY RUMMY
PROFILE:"A Rummy reported to carry with it various tools. An organ resembling a mouth has yet to be observed, so it is theorized that it cannot consume brains. It is most often seen with a hooked rod or birdcage and uses these items to thrash prey. These tools are apparently handmade by the creatures. Some think it to be a manifestation of their desire for brains. Much like other Rummy, they lack joints in their knees and therefore are not very mobile."
MY BEST DESCRIPTION: Another simple one for now, a Scummy Rummy has the arms and torso of a headless female mannequin, its waist is torn out to reveal an underlying framework of metal bars, its greenish skin is encrusted by the same "coral" as Scummy Pool, and each of its long legs is a simple cone formed from more metal bars; like a long, conical cage ending in a sharp point that the creature teeters around on.
OPINION: while the Pools were all pretty samey, the different Rummies offer a little more for me to talk about. These are seemingly the next most basic enemy family, and their "Scummy" variant again the weakest. The detail that they actually hand craft their own weapons is pretty fascinating though...as is the fact that this official profile art features two of them adorably holding hands. "Scummy Rummy" is also just plain fun to say!
THE BUDDY RUMMY
PROFILE:"A type of Rummy often seen holding arms of its own species. When prey is nowhere nearby, it can be seen performing a handshake-like action with fellow Buddy Rummys. They will not let go even after beginning to act on their own again, thus causing one or the other's arm to rip off completely. This is likely why it is often seen holding the arms of other Rummys. Sometimes it will slam the arm down for a crushing attack, and sometimes it swings it while spinning for an attack with greater reach."
MY BEST DESCRIPTION: this Rummy is a little fancier, cleaner and more "complete" than the Scummy; its conical legs are covered in solid material, like it's wearing custom thigh-high boots, it has a little spike-tipped knob instead of the ragged, severed neck of the Scummy, and its chest is covered in a cluster of what look like large, pinkish rose petals. It does indeed carry the severed arm of another Rummy, too.
OPINION: while not a lot different from the Scummy, I like the petals, and the fact that it has a more black and gold color scheme. It's a fresher, newer Rummy all ready for the meet and greet! The profile offers more interesting behavioral quirks, too; do they shake hands with the actual intention of "arming" themselves like this? Is it some kind of battle to determine the strongest? Or is it accidental, while they imitate a human behavior?
THE KITCHEN RUMMY
PROFILE:"A Rummy with fire burning on its head. Many Kitchen Rummys carry steel pipes. There are reports of them using fire to heat and bend the pipes they pick up, which is thought to be tool-making behavior. However, it hunts by simply swinging the pipe regardless of its shape. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the bending process itself. It will occasionally increase its flames' size to shoot at distant prey then cover itself in a fire to attack in a wide surrounding area."
MY BEST DESCRIPTION: this Rummy has a metallic head sort of like the pilot light on a gas burner, generating a constant flame on top. Its cone-legs are also bent and twisted into more natural leg-like jagged shapes, with the sharp tips curling into small knobs. What's quite peculiar here is the fact that its red-gloved arms are lined with what appear to be large shelf fungi.
OPINION: a gorgeous Rummy, very menacing, the legs make me think it's attempting to function a little better with the limited anatomy it's been given, though it still doesn't have knees that can actually bend. The fungi down the arms are the most interesting physical detail, and its half-baked attempt to forge custom weaponry is another intriguing habit that incompletely mirrors humanity.
THE RAINY RUMMY
PROFILE:"A Rummy with an umbrella-like appendage. Although still unconfirmed, it has been reported Rainy Rummys rip of and steal other Rainy Rummys' umbrellas. It will often use this umbrella to attack prey, but it also can generate electric shocks from its head. It will often attack faraway targets with electricity. When its head begins to light up, it will likely unleash an electric attack soon."
MY BEST DESCRIPTION: most of this Rummy is the fairly typical, but most of its head consists of a pink, upturned umbrella, rather like a flower, with a smaller umbrella nested inside. Instead of a handle, a cluster of pale blue branches sprout from the center, and the Rummy also carries a ruined umbrella around as a weapon, completely stripped of fabric.
OPINION: the double-layered umbrella head is a REALLY cool design feature I haven't seen before in a creature design, and once again we have a Rummy that apparently mutilates other Rummys just so it can carry something. This is the last creature in the game that I will have this easy of a time describing.
THE PLATEAU PENDU
PROFILE:"A Pendu that is able to launch electric charges from above to electrify its prey. Although rare, they have been seen to collect and stack rubble. These stacks are often crumbled by Ruts, but the Pendu seem not to care, apparently not having any goal in stacking rubble to begin with. Electrical currents flow through its whole body and it will sometimes divebomb its prey from the sky. It is extremely dangerous to be electrified by one, so if you see it pulsing with electricity it is best to get out of the way."
MY BEST DESCRIPTION: this time, we have a mannequin with a swollen, round belly and no legs or even leg stumps, and it's also upside-down. The head wears something resembling a crown that covers its eyes, but with dangling tassles like another fancy lampshade, and since the head hangs downward, it kind of reads more as a "tail." The arms, which it uses as "legs," are covered in baggy, plush fabric looking gloves. A pair of artificial looking wings, cobbled together from feathers and something like window screen, are strapped to the back of the swollen stomach, and where basically the mannequin's crotch would be is a strange looking, large metal knob, like a doorknob on a small neck, or like the receiver of an old fashioned telephone, maybe? This object serves as the "head" in the creature's inverted form, so overall the Pendu is like a humanoid flipped upside-down and modified into an artificial bird.
OPINION: this is the most typical of the Pendu family, and very eerie. I like the habit of mindlessly stacking up rocks. The thing's shape does a great job of evoking a bird, too, because the tassled crown thing on the mannequin head even casts the silhouette of a fanned tail.
THE SCUMMY PENDU
PROFILE:"A Pendu with no observable mouth. It is likely this Other cannot consume brains. Despite this, it seems to yearn for brains. When it spots prey, it will perform simple charging and projectile attacks from the sky. It has been rarely observed attacking things with no brain, and even other Others. It is theorized that this is due to its yearning going unsatisfied. Possibly due to its inability to consume brains, it is comparatively lacking in combative skills and does not pose a serious threat. However, you should be careful not to let its skyward presence distract you from nearby Others."
MY BEST DESCRIPTION: We needed to go over the more complete Plateau Pendu before we could make sense of the Scummy variation. This poor thing has no head or arms on its mannequin torso, only metal knobs where those might have gone. Its bloated stomach is in the moldy green "Scummy" style we've seen before, it has four dragonfly-like wings instead of artificial bird wings, and its "head" in this case is the top of a coat rack, sprouting out of a funnel-like orifice ringed with sharp fang-like projections.
OPINION: this is the last "Scummy" variation on an Other, and it changes the anatomy of its basic template quite a bit more than usual, taking on a more insect-like and even more warped appearance. What exactly they mean by "no observable mouth," I don't know, because the others don't really look like they have working mouths either.
THE BANDEAU PENDU:
PROFILE:"A Pendu with extremely fast flying capabilities. They have been observed patrolling limited areas, but they do not seemed particularly constrained to any territory. Once they sense brains they will leave their area in pursuit, then after attacking they will continue their patrol in this new area. They are dangerously agile, and normally it is quite hard to land a single hit on one. However, using hypervelocity or teleportation powers you can ground it in one hit. It has been reported that invisibility is a viable tactic as well."
MY BEST DESCRIPTION: so, picture the Plateau Pendu again, but give it the dragonfly wings. Change the "doorknob" head to a metal hook ending in a yellow, pointed object almost kind of shaped like a little shoe, maybe? In addition to its wings, it has a pair of curved panels coming out of its back, almost like, I want to say, another lampshade. A big cylindrical lampshade someone split open. The oddest detail is that a cluster of what look like four abnormally large, green poppy seed or opium pods are strapped to this creature's stomach.
OPINION: the seedpods are a creepy touch here, they just look really wrong to me, don't know why. I still don't know how I should explain the thingy on top, the shoe shaped thingy on the hook. Maybe it's an actual object I just don't know the name of.
THE MARABOU PENDU:
PROFILE:"A Pendu that hunts by shooting fireballs from the air to roast its prey. There are reports of it making off with small Others and skewering the on electric poles or tree branches to save for later. It is very heavy compared to other Pendus and regularly stays on the ground with its wings folded, unbeknownst to prey. The wings, its weak point, are vulnerable at this time, and getting and close and attacking before it can fly off is a standard tactic of veterans."
MY BEST DESCRIPTION: the most powerful Pendu is a simpler one again, very similar in appearance to the basic Plateau Pendu and sharing the bird-style wings, but with the shoe-knob head thingy of the Bandeau. The wings are also bigger and more prominent, I do believe, and the backs of them are covered in more seed pod things, smaller and browner ones. You also can't see from this angle, but I believe its stomach area is slimmer than other Pendu.
OPINION: wow, so this one hunts like a shrike? Impaling things for later? But it mostly does this to its own kind.
THE VASE PAWS
PROFILE:"If this Paws were to get in the soil of an everyday flowerpot, you' never be able to tell it apart from a regular flower. However, because Others have no particular interst in elegance or grace, it has been reported that several of these creatures will face each other and shake their heads and shed their petals. Their tail-like appendage has a bell shaped piece on the end which creates a noise when the tail is shook. One theory suggests that fellow Paws will gather at the sound of such a bell. When it spots prey from afar, it will jump with terrifying power and home in with a kick attack."
MY BEST DESCRIPTION: this is one of the enemies shows most often in promotional art, so it feels a lot like the "archetypical" Other or a series "mascot." Its body resembles another lampshade again, but flaring at both the top and the bottom with a pinched center, like two lampshades were conjoined into a very uncomfortable corset. Out the top of the corset sprouts a big bouqet of vrious flowers, but out the bottom, a pair of pale, curvy legs that would look human if they didn't bend one too many times, more like the hind legs of a deer, but they still end in human feet...with red stilleto heels. Finally, it has a fleshless spinal column tail, ending in a little jingly bell.
OPINION: the best looking enemy design we've seen so far, I have to say. It's a set of mundane, unrelated things put together into something that, while technically rather simple - you could get away with just calling it a bouqet with legs - still takes a moment to really process and understand. It's beautiful, nonsensical and genuinely quite scary.
THE SAWS PAWS
PROFILE:"When this Paws sees its prey, it becomes invisible with its active camouflage, making it nearly impossible to see. While it is eating or hunting prey it will emit a lecherous odor from its head, but because the foul smell spreads so far it is difficult to determine its position from it. It is weak to clairvoyance, and if you manage to hit it while in its invisible state, it won't be able to use its camouflage again from some time. When you can see it, it appears to be holding some kind of blades with its lower body. However, it never lets them go, even after dying, so they are thought to be part of its body."
MY BEST DESCRIPTION: this creature resembles Vase Paws, but its legs are, bizarrely, a pair of backwards human arms - so that the elbows stick forward as its "knees" - with red-gloved hands clutching a pair of nasty looking, serrated metal blades that it actually walks on. More remarkably, its bouqet consists of mostly violets topped by an entire massive Rafflesia blossom.
OPINION: this is definitely my favorite due to the corpse flower head. This is the scariest reimagining of Vileplume I've ever seen.
THE BASE PAWS
PROFILE:"A Paws with a steel frame and multiple lantern-like organs. There are many reports of the steel frame sticking in the ground when they drop from the sky, resulting in death from being unable to pill out. It has been observed to have a cautious nature and mainly captures prey by spraying oil from one spot. It crouches down when sensing a threat, rigidly protecting its body while dropping lanterns that explode in the surrounding area. Defeating this one will be difficult if you don't hide, or use hypervelocity or teleportation to get in close."
MY BEST DESCRIPTION: oh boy. This is where the difficulty of this just abruptly skyrockets and almost never lets us off easy. Okay. So...so uh....well for starters the thing's freaky lady legs are all gross and lumpy with big weird fleshy nodules, though they still have little red heels. In addition to the lampshade corset is a circular metallic frame around its thighs. From the top emerges no plant life this time, but a cluster of metal piping including a sort of trumpet-like tube that bends down and flares forward, almost like a mouth. On top of all this is like...uh...you ever see one of those big metal things some people have for hanging clothes out to dry? Kind of like an umbrella shape of metal bars? Okay, this isn't really anything like that but it's close. It's a network of metal bars radiating outward from a central pole, and it's pretty big, a whole lot wider than the whole monster. At the end of every pole is a boxy metal lantern with a lightbulb inside.
OPINION: Base Paws is accessorized enough to almost obscure its Paws heritage entirely. It's so interesting that all these inanimate looking objects are referred to as the "organs" of Others, and I like that the lanterns are actually detachable bombs this monster uses to ignite its oil. Clever! The fact that they can get stuck and die when they arrive on Earth is sad :(
THE BRAWN YAWN
PROFILE:"This Yawn crawls through the ground to approach its prey and leaps out with a powerful attack. Although it looks like the creature turns the ground to liquid and moves through it, data analysis has shown that the Other itself is liquified and sinks into the ground. While it is in liquid form, clairvoyance will be of no use in spotting it, but when it peeks up from the ground to spit saliva at its prey it can be seen. The lightbulb-like appendages on its side are thought to be weak points. Using invisibility to hide until it has given up and then attacking these weak points could be a very effective strategy."
MY BEST DESCRIPTION: I told you this was going to stay difficult. Brawn Yawn indeed looks like it's emerging from a dark puddle of water, but we know that it's actually just melting itself into the ground. Its head is actually a crocodilian skull, but with a metal panel covering the entire upper surface, a pair of circular vents serving as eyes. It has some metal contraption sticking out the back of its head, too, looking kind of like the eletrical wiring at the top of a telephone pole, I think, and it has some leafy flowers hanging down from its neck. It has a "humanoid torso," I guess, albeit with crocodile skin covering its hunched back and its shoulders, while orange lightbulbs sprout like sores from its large humanlike arms. Around its waist are several golden pipes from which pour more of the blackish liquid, and two sets of feminine human legs, seemingly covered by beige stockings, stick out of the liquid puddle behind the creature, like it's being followed around by a couple of synchronized swimmers.
OPINION: Wow. Damn. They basically made a giant alligator monster out of a little bit of an alligator and a whole lot of...whatever, really. I really don't know which feature is its strangest. The lightbulbs? The trailing lady legs??
THE GRIN YAWN:
PROFILE:"A Yawn that can spit fire. When there is no prey to be found, it liquifies most of its body, leaving only its wide open mouth above ground. When it spots prey, it opens its large mouth to roast it with fire. The inside of its mouth is its weak point, but trying to attack normally will only get you deep fried. Onemethod is to use sclerokinesis to resist the fire and attack. Otherwise, it's not impossible to use hypervelocity to attack in the moment before it can spit its fire."
MY BEST DESCRIPTION: this is SLIGHTLY easier with Brawn Yawn out of the way. Grin Yawn has its lightbulbs filling the inside of its mouth instead of on its arms, which seem to be generating blackish smoke. The paneling atop its skull is also entirely a metal grid, instead of a mostly solid piece. No human legs are visible here. The metal thing on top of its head is still unidentifiable to me, but now kind of looks like the top of a lighthouse, vaguely.
OPINION: the Yawns have an amazing design motif, but actually not much in the way of diversity, as we'll be seeing.
THE SPAWN YAWN
PROFILE:"A Yawn that hates to have anything behind it, perhaps because the brittle organ on its back is a weak point. This behavior isn't reserved toonly people or animals, as they can be seen fighting amongst themselves occasionally. it takes its prey head-on, obstinately attacking with heat waves and bites. It will turn around as soon as you get behind it, so attacking its weak point is difficult. Getting around it with hypervelocity or sneaking in with invisibility is effective."
MY BEST DESCRIPTION: this really looks like the Grin Yawn; the lightbulbs have just been shifted to its rear end, where they sprout from its lower back on a bunch of short cables. In this artwork we do get a better look at its gator skull! No unique opinion I can offer on this one.
THE VINE YAWN:
PROFILE:"A Yawn that can create copies of itself. When it senses no prey around, it regularly liquifies most of its body, leaving only its vulnerable, tail-like appendage above ground. Both of its copies can liquify their bodies and attack with heat waves like the main body, making it incredibly dangerous. Clairvoyance is the best countermeasure, as when the main body is attacked, it can no longer maintain its copies. When they are gona and it is backed into a corner alone, it will charge at its attacker. Its liquified tail will temporarily become solid again, leaving its weak spot open for a timely counter attack."
MY BEST DESCRIPTION: something pretty interesting again! One thing we can see more clearly in this one's artwork is that ragged scraps of cloth hang down from its scrap metal mask. What makes this one weirder is what they're calling its "tail," a set of red tubes tht sprout into more of those curvy human legs, and it's these that are covered in the lightbulbs this time. It's a very odd effect, especially that this is apparently all you usually see of the creature.
OPINION: while the Yawns are a bit samey, they really show off the Boschian absurdity of the Others. They behave like crocodilians and incorporate some biological materials from crocodilians, but the rest is straight out of a bad dream, the kind you have trouble remembering in any clear detail because the details just kept jumping around.
We've actually now seen close to half of the Others, and it's probably the more normal half. The rest will not only begin to get more abstract by the end, but will be quite a bit more diverse, since we've also covered most of the larger enemy "families" here. If you can identify any of the anatomy we've seen so far in clearer terms than what I could allude any of it to, let me know!
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