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Kuzu

The dissection of Miles "Tails" Prower.

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Ever since Forces, it feels like Tails has become an extremely divisive character as of late as people are claiming how badly they're treating him, but can't exactly pinpoint what those problems are. Some say he's too much of a wimp and not enough of a fighter, others say it makes sense that he's scared because of his (at times apparent) age, others say that him being "the smart one" makes him "boring, while others are just ambivalent towards him whatsoever. It's a rather weird spot for one of the series` leading men to be in. 

For my part, my biggest issue with Tails is that he's pretty stagnant as a character for the most part; he started off as a protege to Sonic, and Adventure slowly built him up as his own hero and then.....nothing. Afterward, he just kind of exists in a supportive role towards Sonic, and to mouth off the occasional exposition (because that's all smart characters are good for apparently :V). It was one thing when he was just out of the spotlight, so he could be mostly ignored. But I feel it's extremely apparent ever since he's been put back in the spotlight since Colors. He just...doesn't do anything, anything that's really relevant anyway and when they did try to add some spark into the character for Lost World, the execution was just extremely botched. 

On some level, it does make sense; Tails, to me, feels more like a reactionary character in contrast to the likes of Sonic, who are much willing to act of their own volition. If you notice, Tails only really reacts to events that happen to him, but he's never really the instigator of said events. A reactionary character isn't inherently a bad thing, as watching them overcome the event they are reacting to can be satisfying (as was the case with Sonic Adventure), but that's not really an interesting trait for one of the main characters, at least in the way the series has been using Tails past-Adventure. He always just felt overshadowed by Sonic's presence whenever they were together. 

So Lost World tried to remedy that by making Tails a much more active character; he's more assertive and willing to stand up to Sonic when he feels he's right, and he's more willing to take action when he's forced to...and people hated it (myself included). So obviously Lost World attempted to actually give something for Tails to do, and it...succeeded or failed depending on who you ask. 

Notably speaking however, his Boom counterpart seems to have been much more warmly received; I don't think I've ever heard a negative thing about the character in that series, and some call it the best interpretation of Tails ever. And watching some scenes myself, I don't think I ever felt the same stagnation or irritation I've gotten from his mainstream counterpart. Perhaps without the baggage of the game continuity, the writers just had more  free reign, who knows. 

 

How do you reconcile one of the series` oldest characters and actually make him a character worth giving a damn about again? Sidelining him only works for so long since he's still a popular character and people are going to miss his presence eventually. Giving him more aggressive traits isn't a bad idea in theory, but it does run contrary to him being a humble foil to Sonic's cocksure attitude.  I feel this is an important question to ask given he's going to be in the movie sequel, and out of every character in the series, Tails is the most likely to be prominently featured in any given game.

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I love Tails for a lot of reasons. His cuteness, his special ability of being able to fly, his role as a trusty sidekick, his intelligence. But truth to be told, he never had much in the way of personality. He is just kind... nice. Which is likable and all, but his lack of any other strong personality traits can often leave him feeling a bit bland and even boring. Something like Sonic Unleashed is a good example of that. Imagine that Unleashed is the only Sonic game you've ever played, and you're asked to describe the different characters personalities. You'd be able to describe Sonic, Chip, Eggman... but what would you say about Tails? "He, uh, seems nice". Of course other individual games gives him more traits, but that's the thing, none of them seem to belong to his core. In Sonic Adventure he had a desire to become his own person. In Sonic Colors he was more of a jokey "bro" than we usually see him as. And in Lost World he was a whiny little bitch. But none of it sticks, because none of it is fundamental to the character.

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I'm starting to feel like people liked Tails more for his aesthetic than his actual personality lol; I suppose that's not too uncommon in this series. The transition from cute sidekick to smart guy was a rough one for him indeed.  Especially for a series like this. 

 

I feel he COULD be more interesting if you put him in different scenarios, but they're never executed well enough to ever fit the core of the character.

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I tried to find a picture of Tails without skin, but to no avail. 

Tails was a character I liked and/or thought was neat when I first got into the series, what with his two helicopter tails, his ability to maintain a plane, and his seeming association with rings. But once I really became an experienced fan and especially after bathing into the various other medias for a time, you just get used to him being around and he eventually became a bit boring. 

Thinking about the stories I among others liked or remember with him, I guess you could even say there's a 3 of 5 tendency for things that happen to Tails being more interesting than the faux kitsune himself.

23 minutes ago, Kuzu said:

I'm starting to feel like people liked Tails more for his aesthetic than his actual personality lol; I suppose that's not too uncommon in this series. The transition from cute sidekick to smart guy was a rough one for him indeed.  Especially for a series like this. 

 

I feel he COULD be more interesting if you put him in different scenarios, but they're never executed well enough to ever fit the core of the character.

I suppose that's a decent read of the matter.

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7 hours ago, Kuzu said:

Notably speaking however, his Boom counterpart seems to have been much more warmly received; I don't think I've ever heard a negative thing about the character in that series, and some call it the best interpretation of Tails ever. And watching some scenes myself, I don't think I ever felt the same stagnation or irritation I've gotten from his mainstream counterpart. Perhaps without the baggage of the game continuity, the writers just had more  free reign, who knows. 

I think it's that Boom Tails manages to bring together a lot of the traits associated with Tails and make them feel like a coherent package, while the games kinda struggle to do that. I've always been kinda disappointed by how bland games Tails often comes off, especially since he was actually my favourite character as a kid (at least until Knuckles came along). For a long while Sonic and Tails were practically buddies in name only in the 3D era, something that was a big key to what made him so endearing in the 2D one.

We get the gist of Tails in Boom and they make sure to add a lot of the vibrancy needed to make him interesting and mesh everything together, he's smart and precocious but still childish and naive, he's polite and introverted, but can get excited easily, and gets huffy and competitive if he doesn't feel appreciated, he looks up to Sonic, but is wary of his faults, he's brave before threats, but can panic under pressure and sometimes acts comically cowardly towards mundane things like lightning. Basically Tails is meant to be genius kid archetype but with a lot of the juxtapositions of a normal child. I feel like Boom also did a better job making the tech wiz side to his character more interesting, making him more of a bungling inventor and a bit over obsessed with making gadgetry for EVERYTHING, which is a fun counter opposite to head first Sonic. It feels like they even each other out that way.

I dunno for games Tails (and a lot of other modern media portrayals) it often feels like they struggle to get more than one of these traits going at once and often without the same endearing execution, and I don't buy into it being down to story limitations with games, since the likes of Coco Bandicoot do a much better job conveying the same basic archetype, right down to the cute chemistry with the 'older sibling' protagonist.

They want Tails to be smart, and he's just a full on Einstein Sue who only talks in exposition. That want Tails to be fearful, and he's screaming 'Sonic save meeee' the moment he's in danger. They want Tails to be insecure or childish, he's throwing a mega tantrum at Sonic out of nowhere. It leads to Tails not feeling like a consistent or three dimensional character, despite all the pieces being there to make him such, after all Boom doesn't actually alter a lot about Tails to make him work, they just flow it all properly.

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Yea, but with Coco that's a recent thing. Before, she was just as boring as most find Tails before they just upped the silliness with her. Crash games also take themselves somewhat less seriously than Sonic games do at times. 

 

The games honestly feel like they have no idea what to do with Tails unless he's expositing some technobabble.

 

 

I dunno, it just feels like the series is constrained and refuses to really be flexible with him in a way that's organic. Boom is alternative universe with almost no plot to speak of, so the writers could get away with more. I don't really expect that same level of freedom in the main series.

 

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I simply just want Tails to actually show where Sonic rubbed off on him again and kick some badnik ass whether it be from a mech he created or from his bare hands. That's all, really.

As you see Tails evolve, he went from idling in the sidelines only being able to watch the battles around him, to participating them whether it was his say or not, to actually initiating them whether he failed or succeeded... To now just watching the battles from the sidelines again. Post Colors, they just focus on the wrong shit by trying to make new non befitting character traits like being a know-it-all, a jealous type or emotionally weak to try to make him "interesting and involved" for the game's plot to advance... Which obviously falls flat because the new writers simply can not take the time to assess what things Tails would actually do following up pre Unleashed. They literally don't realize they make him react in the same situations he's already been in past games wildly different in the new games as if they were new. That's what kills me haha.

It's like nothing held over and they know this. It doesn't even seem like Sonic acknowledges his growth these days too, which is actually crazy. Even just putting the modern games in a bubble, four games over since Unleashed and he's STILL telling Tails to fall back? What are they even doing with their chemistry anymore? Are they even "big bro, lil bro" anymore, because I don't get that vibe from them either, more like Tails being a language translator to his foreign exchange student friend, Sonic. I would love to see Sonic actually acknowledge him as his lil bro finally molding into his own, but that interaction seems scrapped. I'd also like Tails just interacting with other characters than Sonic (and Eggman) too, because he really is a blank slate everywhere else now if those two aren't around. Forces shows that much especially.

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I think the main thing is that Tails has become so thoroughly flanderized that he has become completely anti-thetical to what his character was in the first place. And while I think it's important that we talking a great deal about his former strengths, I think that it's really important to also talk about what his weaknesses were, because those were pretty equally character defining in my opinion.

We all remember the scene in Forces, where he openly cowers in front of Chaos. That was pretty bad, but I think that people tend to overlook stuff like this:

ForcesTails.thumb.gif.4d8651a8fa227c12de4b2e6fb0f551f5.gif

Like, Sonic Team has been doing this super weird thing where for some reason, they just really want to sell the notion that Tails is just smarter than Eggman, which is like...

Tails... Buddy... Your opening debut in the first 3D Sonic game has you crash-landing a prototype airplane. Like, never mind that this isn't consistent within the narrative itself (Tails couldn't fix Omega... You know, a robot Eggman built), this goes against who the character wasn't, and who the character isn't is Eggman.

And to bring up the counter-point to that, is that cutscene in SA2. You know the one:

TAILS VS EGGMAN: ROUND 2 (Sonic Adventure 2 Playthrough w ...

I would argue that this individual moment was the single-most defining moment in Tails's entire history as a character, because it didn't just show where he was strong, because he stood up to Eggman after he just presumably killed his best friend, and the person he idolized as a big brother, it showed where he was weak.

Tails at the end of the day is just a child. He might be highly intelligent, but he's prone to the same fallibility as children are in that he lacks the raw wit, the raw experience, and the raw social acumen that comes with being an adult... And Eggman exploits that flaw to his being to his fullest extent.

I could wax lyrical all day why that individual cutscene is actually brilliant, because of how much it actually added some dimension to Sonic, Tails, and Eggman. I think it's a really good mark on a story when somehow you can disempower a character, and make them look better, and this cutscene does it twice, but that's going off of a tangent.

My greater point is this, it isn't just that they made Tails physically and emotionally weaker as a character, it's that they dramatically overemphasized one of his strengths, and in the process made him worse overall as a character. This even manages to cause collateral damage to Eggman, because as opposed to out-maneuvering someone who's strong and capable, by just being more adept... Instead the dynamic has shifted to him being talked down by someone who contributes extremely little to narrative, and is pretty much incapable of doing much of anything.

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Here's short story what happened to Tails

youtube.com/watch?v=UnJY5LjYe0A

But to be a little more serious, here are my longer thoughts...or there  would but I accidentally erased then, along with hour of my life. F@#$.

Siiigh, long story short, it's about balance between making him weak and strong.
- He must be weak to be cute lovable underdog, but you can't make him wimp.
- He must be strong to win and give that underdog catharsis, but you can't make him smug about it.

Flynn and Sonic Boom understands it. Colors and Lost didn't. Forces did and had clever ideas, but bad execution made then look bad.

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I think a common hinderance to Tails is just how wooden they make him, either through use of child actors who clearly aren't up to the emotion level or just dull exposition heavy dialogue. I mean sure, Tails had loads of child actors in earlier media, but while they maybe weren't amazing, they still got that energy about him.

It's kinda got Tails engraved in my mind as the boring one of the cast, even in cases like that defining cutscene, he just completely botches it ("What-have-you-done-to-Sonic? I'll-never-forgive-you-for-this!".....Yeah way to sell seeing your best friend get killed in front of you :P).

I think the modern games and Boom tend to rank a bit better because while they have that 'dullness' at times, it's more for intentional deadpan acting, and he can act emotional when it's called for, making him seem more like a kind of an awkward smartass.

9 hours ago, Kuzu said:

Yea, but with Coco that's a recent thing. Before, she was just as boring as most find Tails before they just upped the silliness with her. Crash games also take themselves somewhat less seriously than Sonic games do at times. 

True, but Tails had no less time to do so, especially considering that even the Crash games prior to the series' decade long hiatus were bringing in goofy, childlike Coco, and most of the Sonic games within that duration were pretty comical.

9 hours ago, Kuzu said:

The games honestly feel like they have no idea what to do with Tails unless he's expositing some technobabble.

I dunno, it just feels like the series is constrained and refuses to really be flexible with him in a way that's organic. Boom is alternative universe with almost no plot to speak of, so the writers could get away with more. I don't really expect that same level of freedom in the main series.

 

It truthfully  kinda feels like Lost World was them TRYING to do what Boom would do, but had no idea how to execute it properly (likely not helped by the writers only using minor sources like wikis to figure out the cast's personalities and Tails himself not having a particularly vibrant one to list down in years), with Boom itself catching on and refining it afterwards. And while Boom is gag based, I wouldn't really call the Colours-Lost Worlds era serious complicated plot lines. In fact they established a TON of comedic quirks that show would capitalise on.

Again writing quality can make all the difference.

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5 hours ago, E-122-Psi said:

 

True, but Tails had no less time to do so, especially considering that even the Crash games prior to the series' decade long hiatus were bringing in goofy, childlike Coco, and most of the Sonic games within that duration were pretty comical.

There's a very clear difference when Crash games do comical shit and when Sonic games do comical shit. I can be fairly certain that Sonic games are never going to get this insane.

x1080

 

 

5 hours ago, E-122-Psi said:

It truthfully  kinda feels like Lost World was them TRYING to do what Boom would do, but had no idea how to execute it properly (likely not helped by the writers only using minor sources like wikis to figure out the cast's personalities and Tails himself not having a particularly vibrant one to list down in years), with Boom itself catching on and refining it afterwards. And while Boom is gag based, I wouldn't really call the Colours-Lost Worlds era serious complicated plot lines. In fact they established a TON of comedic quirks that show would capitalise on.

Again writing quality can make all the difference.

But as someone said, those things aren't fundamental to the character; him being more a deadpan smartass or an impulsive asshole never feel genuine because well...that's not how most people remember the character. 

And there's a very clear difference between the game and how Boom does things; Boom is, for all intents and purpose, a sitcom/slice of life. The action is treated as an afterthought, and the focus of the show is on the character interactions and how they deal with it.

The games, even with the current comedic slant, are still framed around the idea of an action-adventure bit; the main premise of the plot is still stopping the bad guy from doing bad things. 

Like, I'm pretty sure we're never going to get a game about Tails accidently duplicating himself with a faulty machine, or Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles starting a boyband group to save Amy from being brainwashed for instance, the framing for both franchises are different. 

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I don't think having moments where the character is being deadpan or snarky is necessarily a bad thing, the problem is that they never manage to do it in such a way that is organic to Tails himself.

That's the issue here. When Tails is sitting there gloating about making TV's out of paperclips or how Eggman can't only not shut down his own doomsday device, but he can't reconfigure it to send energy back like in Lost World... It doesn't feel genuine to Tails himself.

And as an aside, I don't like the whole sentiment of "just make him quirky and gimmicky", because that's this is Sonic. All the characters are quirky in some or fashion. They've always been that way. The issue is these days that's all who all these characters are now. 

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The problem is consistency with writers. Tails isn't the only one suffering. It's just more noticeable as his bad moments are really bad. There's no coherency. I don't think Boom Tails is all that great but I'd be lying if I said he wasn't at least better than his games self and trying to do something with him. Another thing is he's the kid character and well....when you're older you don't tend to lean to them much. You lean to the older character who's cooler and is in charge. That's kinda just how people are in general rather than leaning on a character who is still working himself out than Sonic who knows what he is and what he can do.

Tails tends to be boring because he's only given the role to explain things and nobody cares about that. Explaining things isn't fun. Discovering is fun. We don't want someone to tell us about something we want to figure it out. To explain something is to usually halt everything to spew a bunch of words. To discover is to involve yourself and move at your own pace to figure things out. Also the exposition cutscenes are boring as it tends to be two people standing around farting about. Boring. Would be better if they're doing something interesting during exposition or perhaps it's done while you have fun in a level.

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11 hours ago, Kuzu said:

It's not like Tails is unpopular, but his main demographic are indeed with children. 

Which is kinda one of the things that goes against him for other fans by default. The kid character is rarely ever fans favourite. It's usually the main character, rival, or edgy one. By default kid characters tend to not be cool. In a series about thrills and doing cool stuff of course it's a point against. People tend to want to go with those who are sure of themselves over those who constantly don't really know. Confidence is cool. Uncertainty isn't.

In reference to what was brought up as liked Tails mainly by design....well that's kind of the general opinion of Sonic himself from those not into Sonic. I've heard tons of outside opinions that the only reason Sonic lasted so long is because of his cool design. So it's kinda funny to see suggested about Tails.

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It feels like the case where the games' writing is so out of touch it constantly pushes Tails as far as he can get to the message of his own theme song. Like "Believe in Myself"? In the later games all he does is believe in Sonic. Though people in charge of this franchise being out of touch is no exclusivity to any  character, it's a very blatant symptom.

I think the way Tails should be portrayed is keeping his goal established since Adventure 1 in mind: he wants to improve, to grow and be a hero of his own just like Sonic. It may not be about fulfilling this as the characters are essentially static for a mascot franchise, but he can be in the middle of this road because he's a child. He can face challenges, some may result in victories, others in defeats, he can fight for his own and invent wonders on his own despite being more limited if compared to Sonic or Eggman. He can be scared, if it means overcoming fear eventually. "Sonic, help me!" wasn't bad by itself, rather the awful context and how passive Tails acts the whole game after. I believe this approach can add much value for Tails as a character striving for something, maybe even relatable to the audience as he was made to play the little brother back in Sonic 2 for the Genesis. Feels like he isn't striving for anything in recent games, this is why he needs an active role. Because while in SA1 it's about Tails standing for his own and taking action in Sonic's place, standing up from passivity into action, SA2 follows up with him being a main player in the games' events.

And I can see Tails crippled the most when the games' stories don't bother with him in action roles. Even when he's arguably boring like in 06 he's at least innofensive, or at the very least more entertaining than spouting information reading a yellow toy tablet. The attempt to spice up his personality by Pontaff was positive in Colors, because Tails really falls when he's just a expositional meek fluff ball. Didn't work so much for Lost World but the plot's mistakes play a role. Even so, I guess him in Unleashed or Forces isn't necessarily a bad character, he's far more appealing than just some text-to-speech exposition voice, but the frustration comes from what he could actually be doing instead.

On 8/4/2020 at 8:37 PM, Kuzu said:

I'm starting to feel like people liked Tails more for his aesthetic than his actual personality lol; I suppose that's not too uncommon in this series. The transition from cute sidekick to smart guy was a rough one for him indeed.  Especially for a series like this. 

It's undeniable for me his aesthetic has always been a key feature for the character, although as mentioned above this is sort of universal to Sonic characters. But I find his personality very much enjoyable in the Adventure games, the Flynn run of Archie and IDW (sort of) where he writes him as slightly bratty, but still kind, naive and confident, taking bits of Sonic's personality as his little bro. And of course the Boom series, which managed to strike humour with him acting much more loosely in his relationship with Sonic, invention gags, allowed sillyness and awkward moments. It's the breathing room Tails severely needed to be a malleable character, and he very much is one. Of course these writing examples aren't amazing on their own but they are leagues ahead of the games.

One iteration I found myself enjoying him a lot was the OK KO special. In contrast to Sonic's exacerbated coolness, Tails is notably timid which makes for a much organic cuteness, and that doesn't translate to passivity as he's right on Sonic's side into action and feels jealous when another candidade snatches Sonic's attention. The way he tries his best to be helpful and perceptive of others complements Sonic's natural coolness, and even his personal goal is stated as what pushes him foward. While it was merely a condensed love letter to Sonic fans, the way fans can so easily portray what people like about a character better than anything SEGA has made in years is astonishing.

It also brings me to me the notion Tails could really use some varied character interactions. (I mean the whole cast could). Everyone knows he's Sonic's BFF, but he doesn't have to be glued to him all the time. I'd really like to see him chatting and hanging with Amy, which was loosely a thing in Sonic X, or paired with Knuckles, the good old brain and brawn. I've wondered what would Tails do on an adventure with Shadow (I bet that'd be even more efficient than with Sonic).

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Tails suffers from a extreme bond to Sonic. The Blue Blur is more than a big brother, he is axis of Tails’ existance. Who woukd Tails be if he was not the side kick of Sonic? The Two Tailed Fox in most tales is trying to find Sonic, aid him, or some other mission involved with the Blue Blur. On his own, I do not know how Tails would cope if Sonic perished, he’d lose a sense of purpose. 

This is Tails “Miles” Power’s flaw, he is to intrinsically connected to Sonic. For hus character to grow, the Fasting Thing Alive would have to die. 

This is my dissection. Sure Tails is smartand builds gadgets like Donatello in TMNT, but even these engineering marvels are to help Sonic.   

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5 hours ago, Titan Mecha Sonic said:

I do not know how Tails would cope if Sonic perished, he’d lose a sense of purpose. 

 

There were two seperate games that showed what would happen in this scenario. Either he doubles down and fights on in Sonic's name, or he loses it.

5 hours ago, Titan Mecha Sonic said:

 

 Tails “Miles” Power

Lmao.

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5 minutes ago, thumbs13 said:

There were two seperate games that showed what would happen in this scenario. Either he doubles down and fights on in Sonic's name, or he loses it.

Lmao.

Very interesting. Do you think Tails has a unhealthily bond with his hero? 

Haha my bad, Miles “Tails” Prower. To be honest, Tails has never been a favorite of mine. I like his character, but I always preferred Knuckles. 

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3 hours ago, Titan Mecha Sonic said:

Very interesting. Do you think Tails has a unhealthily bond with his hero? 

Haha my bad, Miles “Tails” Prower. To be honest, Tails has never been a favorite of mine. I like his character, but I always preferred Knuckles. 

No, his bond with Sonic is pretty normal, not to mention the fact that he's a child. Nothing about their relationship is too out of the ordinary.

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7 hours ago, thumbs13 said:

No, his bond with Sonic is pretty normal, not to mention the fact that he's a child. Nothing about their relationship is too out of the ordinary.

What I meant is Tails bond is so strong he is rattled if anything happens to Sonic. But you are right, Tails see Sonic as a big brother and its normal to adore and be protective of a sibling. 

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He basically Sandy from spongebob now just the smart one he went from saving station square in sa 1 to cowering when chaos attacks him in forces.

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