Later Levels Question of the Month, April 18 Edition – Gettin’ Apocalyptical

For this month’s Question of the Month, beardy chap and general awesome feller Nathan over at Hurricane Thought Process has set an absolute doozy of a question.

Which three video game characters would you choose to help you survive the apocalypse? The type of apocalypse and enemy you’ll encounter will depend on your birthday…

Check the link for the full table of horrors, but basically I have to survive a nuclear winter in which Mother Nature is trying to murder me. Makes sense.

Now, Ian of Adventure Rules has already got in there with a heck of a story as his answer, so that’s going to be really hard to beat.

My only hope of emerging victorious is…

an epic poem.

Now, I may have a degree in literature, but I’m really not much of a poet, at all, so I’m just going to rip off Edgar Allen Poe and call blatant plagiarism the sincerest form of flattery. I haven’t got a chance of keeping the metre and rhythm as it’s supposed to be, so let’s just call this what it is: a lazy attempt at looking fancy.


THE NUCLEAR RAVEN (with apologies to Edgar Allen Poe and also to you, the reader, for my appalling poem-ness and also the fact that there are no ravens in it at all)

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I was distinctly un-cheery,
Due to many dark and sunless days post-nuclear war —
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my bunker door.
“’Tis some dead debris,” I muttered, “blown upon my chamber door—
Only this and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
Or so I thought, but time and months have little meaning any more.
I hoped to survive ’til tomorrow;—from the Merchant I had hoped to borrow
Badass guns to dish out sorrow —sorrow on the en’my Spores—
For the rare and radiant Mother Nature blows corrupted Spores—
To give life after waste and war.

Mother Nature saw nuclear winter and cried as the world did splinter
And sent out indiscrim’nately her seeds that life return once more
Her aim was pure: for ’twas her goal to remake the trees, that Earth be whole
But that life that was remaining now is poisoned and is straining
Poisoned by the earthly Spores which corrupt them to their core,
This now is life, and nothing more.

The Merchant I sought (Resident Evil 4)

In the morning I grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
To find the Merchant and his weapons, I exited my bunker door;
Straight away I was accosted by a creature vile and frosted,
What was a dog, but now a slave to the radiation and the Spores.
A common foe, I battled it with knife and stick and beat it to the floor.
Death I gave it, nothing more.

It took the day for me to travel to the Merchant, my strength unravelled,
He waited where I had seen and had traded with him before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
Until his coat was opened to reveal his wares, and guns from him I did implore.
I handed him a circuit board now broken, a pre-war-world valuable token—
He took it and said nothing more.

In my head a plan was turning, all my soul within me burning,
I now had more munitions than I had ever had before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely I must seek the source of never-ending Spores;
And put it to an end, and end this war—
The world will still be broken, but it will be safe for those remaining to explore;—
That is the best I can achieve and nothing more!”

Aloy’s dealt with post-apocalypse worlds before. She can do it again. (Horizon: Zero Dawn)

‘Twas then that I did pay a visit to an old friend (with prerequisite);
She would help me fight, if I would provide her weapons, for she had no store.
Not the least obeisance made she, but simply nodd’d her head at me
I bestowed upon her guns and bows which I had collected from before—
She had been tracking, but ’til now was lacking
munitions with which to show what for.

She had, I learned, by luck and skill, stumbled on the spring of Spores, of our ill will.
Thus we had a place to march on, and an enemy ‘gainst which make war.
“We must march, then through this winter,” I said, “that we might hinder,
Ghastly grim and ancient Mother Nature in her error spawning Spores—
She meant to restore life, but has corrupted it on every shore!”
Quoth the Huntress “Nevermore.”

Much I marvelled that we were ready to end it, and my soul felt heady
Though I knew the world was over and so our lives little relevancy bore;
Yet we could not help agreeing, “we as living human being
Ever should go on and make what we may from nothing more
Than an empty world (save us, I say) which barely lives on after war,
Yet we survive for evermore”.

“Before we go”, said Aloy, ever-lonely, “I met another, whose help may only
Help us end our foe by burning, that our world may keep on turning, though colder than it was before.”
She told me of a beast of fire, who’d fight with us and raise us higher —
Then I scarcely more than muttered “Other friends have flown before—
On the morrow we will triumph, though my Hopes have flown before.”
Thus we were prepared for war.

We made our way to the location, which was not without frustration:
We were set upon by countless beings corrupted by the poison Spores.
We fought them bravely, but found gravely
Ammo depleted, and many cuts we bore.
I was ready to sing dirges until our hope was met with surges
By appearance of a dragon at the fore!

My final comrade, Spyro the Dragon!

A purple creature spitting fire, the Spore-creatures burned in his ire,
His arrival did my hope inspire, and our efforts were at once restored:
We surged forward to snow-covered mounds, the hideaway that Aloy found,
We knew this was the place that we would win or die, and end the Spores
Or, at least, prevent them spreading, which was our best outcome in this war.
We would be poisoned nevermore.

We reached the place, and then we tunnelled, finding a deep and darkened funnel
Leading to a centre where we hoped to find the poison’s core;
At many turns we were a-thwarted by vines and thorns and plants assorted,
Spyro’s fire burned a path which we could follow to the fore.
We pushed towards the heart of winter, the spawner of the cursed Spores
Which shall spawn them nevermore!

Then, we thought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
A heaviness beset us, a sickly smell rose from the floor.
“’Tis here,” I cried, “the thing we sought to end and thus to free our thought
And give us respite so that we may peacefully the world explore;
Burn this source of suffering, and make a life, even after war!”
The dragon’s fire burned evermore.

And there you have it, a poorly-written rip-off of a really good poem which is now a story about (I’m just gonna explain it, in case it wasn’t clear, which it probably wasn’t) me in a bunker post-nuclear-war in a nuclear winter where the planet basically tried to terraform itself back into something habitable but ballsed it up and corrupted the life that did remain into poisoned, raging beasts.

So I went and visited the Merchant from Resident Evil 4, bought some guns, then me and Aloy from Horizon: Zero Dawn teamed up to track down the point that the spores poisoning all life were spawning from. Then we burned it with Spyro’s help, and though the world will never recover to how it was before the whole nuclear apocalypse thing, we did at least put an end to one threat.

And that’s how I’d do it, in answer to the question!



  1. It’s an enormous change from the original poem! (Not least the fact that I’ve completely butchered the metre, besides the whole ‘it’s about gaming characters in an apocalypse now’ thing.)

    I think I got the idea partly from Ian (Adventure Rules)’s answer being so epic, and also partly from a book I read recently called ‘If Hemingway Wrote JavaScript’. It had lots of amusing solutions to programming problems as if various famous authors had written them, and a version of ‘The Raven’ which includes something along the lines of:
    Once upon a midnight weary, as I lay struggling with JQuery,
    (Can’t remember this bit)
    Vainly I had tried to borrow, APIs from UnderScore.

    Or something. It was hilarious, at any rate!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well yes it is an enormous change from the original but it is still really cool. Ian’s answer is so amazing, he really went for it this month, and I can see that has inspired you to do this. That book sounds really funny actually so I may go check that out sometime.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is excellent! I love that you chose an epic poem, it gave the whole thing a very unique feel. You have a good team, too – I do not envy Nathan’s role this month. He’s got his work cut out for him!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow this is incredibly creative! How on earth long did it take to write? Really liking how many different styles are being used for this Question of the Month, and how many different characters are popping up! Love that the Merchant and Spyro have made an appearance – two of my absolute faves (Aloy probably will be too when I finally get around to Horizon Zero Dawn!).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Er, it took about two and a half hours! I just copied and pasted the entirety of The Raven, then went through and edited each verse until I felt like the story was over/ I really couldn’t face doing any more, then deleted the rest (I think this is about two-thirds of the length of the full thing).

    Liked by 1 person

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