so, watching the tropes v women damsel in distress videos. and here are my thoughts as it goes.
Star Fox adventures: Yes, it does suck that a new character took a back seat. Thing is, 1) you don't know if the original title would of sucked, 2) you don't know how much the selling of Rare played into the decisions, and 3) publishers almost always go established IP over new IP. Also, while she took a back seat and became a damsel in distress, she only did so after trying to save the day. Yes, sexy sax sounds and change of clothes were a horrible choice, but instead of talking about how it under minded the type of character she was established as in the game, lets just add "insult to injury" and act like she had no character at all.
History lesson time! Really, i would of liked a look into what made this trope work and resonate or how it was forced on people. There are mythologies where women held their own or were the hero of the stories, they would of been a nice contrast here. Instead all I'm getting is this trope exists, it was successful, and people keep using it. Even her argument against Miyamoto's pre-mario brothers work boils down to "A video game copy of something popular" with Donkey Kong being a cross between Popeye and King Kong and Sheriff being a copy of old westerns.
Now, the Mario franchise may use the trope, but i think its more indicative of a different set of problems. Outside of the sports and party games, a Super Mario game's story is basically just the same story ad infinitum. It's like complaining that in ever film version of Frankenstein a little girl gets killed. The damsel trope stays because they make the same game repeatedly, and every character in Mario staple get just barely enough to make them different. And usually that something is a stereotype or an exaggerated character trait. Hence Peach's spin off basing her powers on the stereotype that women are fueled by their emotions. Which is messed up when you think about how much the sports/party games not only make her skills on par with Mario, she can beat him. Also, the "New" Mario games are actually just remixes/remakes of the originals, so its disingenuous to say she was replaced when she was never a playable character to begin with. I feel that Peach being a damsel in the main series is more to do with them recycling the story and the stereotype that princesses are weak and only there to be saved.
Also, her attempt to clear up the misconceptions of the trope seems to be more about opening it up to the point where if the hero is male, then if there's a woman involved she's immediately the damsel regardless of her actions before and during the story. Its unfortunate that Anita strengthens her own argument here by reducing Zelda's importance and bravery in the Ocarina of Time and turned her into an object. The same object that she accuses the ad of turning her into. There is never a hint of Zelda's inability to rule, if anything she's painted as a competent, or successful monarch. Even with the first game, Zelda split and hid the triforce to try and stop Gannon. As for her change in Wind Waker, you could argue that she stays put not bc she was reduced, but bc she was coming to terms with her new role and the importance of it. In most of the franchise, Zelda is the character that calls the hero and sets things in motion. Just like any King or ruler would when they are concerned for their people. While a full blown Zelda game staring Zelda (this would be awesome http://dresdencodak.com/2013/04/11/the-legend-of-zelda-clockwork-empire/ by the way) to reduce her to just a damsel limits the character far more than saving her in the game ever could.
Now, i will give you Double Dragon. There is no explaining that one away. That's where this conversation and look at how this trope is used should truly be starting. Ghost n Goblins is another good spot. Same with the source material that brought you King Kong and countless other stories. These are true Damsel in Distress. Games where the woman is just a McGuffin and nothing more. The women at the center of those have no personality nor do they get fleshed out. There a woman is truly treated as an object that can be replaced. I think that's where the meaningful conversation can start. Right now, i think we're just chasing ghosts of that conversation.
So, i started DmC with an open heart. i Loved the 1, 3, and even 4 of the series. Devil May Cry 2 on the other hand...yeah. While I don't have an aversion to reboots or reinterpretations, I could tell that NuDante (as i will henceforth call him) was not aimed at my target demographic. NuDante was built for the Vampire Diaries fans. Those who love the new Teen Wolf and think that Daft Punk sampled Kanye West's "Stronger". Knowing this, I was still pleasantly surprised for half the game. NuDante was still kinda annoying, but it was still a pretty good game. Then it all went to shit. Enemy design started to feel cheap and repetitive, the camera started acting like it was coked up, and the difficulty dropped. And really, activating devil trigger with R3/L3? With out game play being interesting, i stopped being pleasantly surprised and started to reflect on the game as a whole. As I heard NuDante talk, it made me realize I was missing a feeling. A feeling that you got in 1,3, and 4 as you controlled Dante. That feeling was that of a Badass.
At his core, Dante was an immortal cross between Ash Williams and John McClane. He had a heart, and he cared about those around him. He was cocky, loved a good one liner, and just a little goofy at times. Against all odds he was there to get the job done and to save the day. The right guy in a world full of wrong places. Or at least he was in 1,3 and 4. Now DMC 2 had a lot of issues. The color palette was horrendous. It stunk of slapped together rushed crash grab. Animations were crap, enemy design was blah. It all reflected in Dante. He seemed like he was designed by a marketing department and wrote by focus testing. Which could explain why there was a deal with Diesel clothing. 3 worked bc it was a return to not only what made Dante who he was, but combat was challenging and exciting to play. Everything made sense to who Dante was as a character, and even the upswing in difficulty could be explained by Dante being less experienced since it was 9 yrs prior. 4's biggest issue for me was Dante's area's being recycled. It was still a solid game that expanded the world while moving in a new direction.
NuDante feels like all that was wrong with the DMC2 Dante, just updated for a new millennium. He's trying oh so hard to be edgy and cool that he just seems like a douche. There are 2 spots where NuDante's cockiness seemed natural and not forced. It was that good kind of cheese. Those were the end of the succubus boss fight and entering Lilth's club. Which is sad, really. They spent so much time trying to distance NuDante from Dante that they didn't have time to imbue him with an actual character. When he showed some backbone at the end, instead of raising his confidence as the battle went, it seemed like he was unsure in the side he chose. It also didn't help that after making the joke about NuDante never having white hair, only to have it creep in slowly through the game. Way to commit there guys. As for combat and game play, while it had potential, it just didn't end up having that complete badass feeling. Some of it was the choice of the button layout (how cool would of it been if the grabs were assigned to the shoulder buttons and doge assigned to L3) another was that it felt gimmicky. Like the Angel and Demon was an add on to make things seem different. The fights with the guys who can doge/counter your moves should of been more than meh. And the red jeweled doors really seemed pointless and only there to make you back track. At least with the white doors you required different attacks (weapon strikes and blade throws). Red doors were just either slamming the ground or striking it, which both weapons did.
So in the end, I really wanted to like DmC. Even in the demo i felt that there was something here. Something that if done right could work. Unfortunately they spent so much time distancing themselves from what was and chasing what's cool that they didn't they forgot what made 1,3, and even 4 work (now that i think about it, Nero seemed more like a badass than NuDante). Creating a Badass character and making you feel like you were him.