It begins innocently enough. Metallia the Swamp Witch, a prideful and nasty young woman with a flair for the maniacal, decides to fill the entire world of Medea with the poisonous goo of her swamp in order to show everyone just how awesome she is. It is your job, as her demonic baby minion Hundred Knight, to spread her will (and slime) across the land. Sounds pretty lighthearted, right?
Then Metallia turns another woman into a mouse, and summons a pack of male rats to fuck her; and it only gets crazier from there.
Few games in recent memory have left me slack-jawed in disbelief. Most of the shock and awe that The Witch and the Hundred Knight has to offer is not in what it shows, but what it implies, and what the game implies beneath a wave of censored (or uncensored) profanity are bestiality gang-bangs, a phantom pregnancy, sex for favors, and fatal rape due to “size differences.” Beneath the cutesy magical-girl exterior of Hundred Knight lies some of the most sordid subject matter I have yet seen in a mainstream commercial video game, let alone in its ESRB rating bracket.
Unfortunately, shock value affords The Witch and the Hundred Knight only so much intrigue, for its lurid moments are scattered across a game that is, more often than not, a monotonous chore to play.
From Nippon Ichi, the developers of Disgaea, The Witch and the Hundred Knight is a top-down action role playing game with several unique twists. Your avatar, the eponymous Hundred Knight, must navigate several levels filled with enemies to smash, burn, and stab as you move from story marker to story marker to move the plot forward. In an effort to add complexity to its fundamentally simplistic design, Hundred Knight layers subsystem after subsystem onto the action to help spice things up, such as the “GigaCals” system which functions as an ever-dwindling pseudo time limit, as well as a reward system which grants you extra loot depending on how many enemies you have killed before exiting a stage.
However, other aspects of gameplay bring the action halt. Every map of the game is coated with a noxious fog that drains your GigaCals down even faster as you pass through it. Since the fog is permanently dispersed once you tread through these areas, completing a level will generally require you to first run around the map to get the fog out of the way, before you can actually start fighting monsters and working to complete the level. The fog acts as an effective time waster, meant to only pad out the amount of time it takes to clear a level by forcing you to repeatedly exit and reenter a stage in order to recharge your GigaCals. This feature in particular, as well as palette-swap stage bosses, seemingly pointless objectives, lethargically passive enemies, and dull (occasionally broken) sound effects, make for a game that can be a fatiguing grind to play on end.
The Witch and the Hundred Knight’s audio is a mixed bag in general. The music is a definite highlight, with a wonderful Halloween-esque soundtrack that is as goofy as it is catchy (you may actually find yourself singing along to the central hub’s theme more than once). Voice acting is serviceable, if not particularly memorable. While Metallia is convincingly wicked and cruel, most of the minor cast phone it in with partially enthused line reading. In-game sound effects are a particular letdown, however, with underwhelming audio feedback for your attacks, and bizarre, unfitting placeholders for your enemies.
My sole motivation to keep playing the game was to see just how much crazier the story could get. Between the player character administering a suppository to a giant tied up dog girl, to Metallia stripping naked with her giant green breasts gently waving in the television screen, I can say that Hundred Knight did not disappoint in that regard; however, the matter of getting to these scandalous moments was very nearly a deal breaker for me, with lengthy stretches of long winded cutscenes and boring gameplay between them.
Yet, for what it lacks as an engaging video game, The Witch and the Hundred Knight pushes boundaries to an unfathomable degree. While it’s hardly the best game to play, it’s certainly the raunchiest game this side of a T rating.