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Andromeda Chained

by Aster Fialla profile


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(based on 4 ratings)
2 reviews

About the Story

You stand on the rocks for an indeterminable amount of time. Waves roar, gulls cry overhead, and your arms are beginning to ache from being held above your head by the chain.

Thereís nothing to do but wait here to die.

A dynamic fiction retelling of the Perseus and Andromeda story.

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Number of Reviews: 2
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Andromeda's chains, July 7, 2024
by Zed (Berkeley, CA)

The myth of Andromeda has inspired many artists, owing to the enduring appeal of naked chicks in bondage. The backstory:

Andromeda, princess of Aethiopia, daughter of Cepheus and Cassiopeia is minding her own business when Mom boasts that she's more beautiful than the Nereids, Nereus' sea nymph daughters. This doesn't pose any credible threat to the Nereids' brand, but the Nereids and Nereus are colleagues of Poseidon's, so out of some sort of classically divine professional courtesy, he goes all wrathful on Aethiopia, flooding it or siccing the sea monster Cetus on it, or maybe both. The Oracle of Ammon (Egyptian god crossover event!) says the only thing to do to save the country is to sacrifice Andromeda to Cetus. So Cepheus shackles her naked to a rock to await her fate. (By no account did the Oracle specify the naked part, that was apparently just Cepheus' own creative vision for what a sea monster would find tasty.)

Getting involved with the gods is sort of like global thermonuclear war, but worse: the only way to win is for your whole family not to play.

Anyway, the soundtrack starts playing Holding Out for a Hero and Perseus shows up.

Perseus had just offed Medusa, having been personally accoutred by the gods, so he's got the sickest loadout in all of classical mythdom:

- Hermes' winged sandals
- Hades' helm of darkness (granting invisibility)
- Athena's harpe sword

And now he has all that and Medusa's head in a bag! (Truly, we have no clue whether Perseus was really worth a damn as a hero. Iorgos the shepherd's clumsy son could've kicked ass with that kit.)

Him being a Hero, and priorities being priorities, after slaying Medusa the very next thing he does with all this divine provenance is to fly all the way to northwest Africa to show Medusa's head to a king who snubbed him once, thus turning him into the Atlas mountains. But if it weren't for his Heroic pettiness (and wanting to stick to the coast 'cause he was a little nervous about getting completely lost flying across the Strait of Sicily) he might not have come across Andromeda in her time of need.

Andromeda Chained, the IF story, begins with Cepheus serving up his daughter on the rocks.

Subverting a patriarchal damsel in distress story isn't hard. Centering her makes it inevitable. The hard part is still having something interesting to say beyond the obvious consequences of the recontextualization. Andromeda Chained is meant to be played several times, and it can be without it overstaying its welcome. It's a choice game about not having agency, yet finds a way to play to the medium's strengths. It's well-written and judicious and deft in its brevity and the paths it offers and the slight variations they create, effectively dramatizing the leeway Andromeda does have: how much to resent all this.

The penultimate paragraph of the story always ends "the tale of Perseus wends on" in concession to it always being his tale. The real chains were never the ones on the rock.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Taste of Brilliance , July 8, 2024

Andromeda Chained is a cleverly written interactive reimagining of a classic Greek mythology about Perseus rescuing princess Andromeda of Aethiopia from a terrible sea monster Cetus. Andromedaís mother, Cassiopeia, slighted the Nereids by boasting that Andromeda was more beautiful, and this angered Poseidon, god of the seas. So Poseidon sent a flood and the monster Cetus to destroy Aethiopia. King Cepheus, father of Andromeda, having consulted the oracle Ammon, believed that offering Andromeda as a sacrifice to the sea monster was the only way to save his kingdom.

So Andromeda Chained begins with King Cepheus chaining his daughter to a rocky cliff at the shore. The tale is told from the perspective of Andromeda, who is given little choice about her fate. The only true choice she has is how she will express her feelings about her plight. Will she be angry? Courageous? Fearful?

When macho pretty boy Perseus enters the scene, will she be smitten? Skeptical? Angry?
The fate of Andromeda is a record of ancient Greek mythology, but how she decides to feel about it, thatís her choice, your choice as the player.

This is a very short work of interactive fiction. I was left wanting to know more about Andromeda and her life with Perseus. After all, the myths tell us that the gods were so impressed with her that they immortalized her for all time as a constellation in the stars. Surely she must have been an amazing woman and not merely a prize for Perseus. She bore seven children for the hero and stayed by his side while he ruled as King of Tiryns. Her eldest, Perses, was said to be the progenitor of Persia.

Andromeda Chained is well written and thought provoking and left me with a desire to seek out more information about the character. Unfortunately the mythology about Andromeda is rather vague, but I suspect it is enough of a scaffolding to construct a delightful retelling of this amazing womanís story, hint, hint, Aster.

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