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I tried to recreate Stray in Lethal Company, with disastrous results

You know what they say about curiosity and the cat

Screenshot of the Needy Cats Lethal Company mod.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Zeekerss

Lethal Company is a fun game but I know what you're thinking: it lacks feline energy. Whilst the simplistic game loop of collecting scrap on monster-infested moons and selling it to an equally monstrous company is enjoyable at first, it can get old pretty fast. As both Alice and James have attested with their experiences of this month's RPS Game Club pick, Lethal Company is a game that lacks a certain direction the more you play. I soon found myself settling into an existential crisis, reminiscent of my tumultuous stint in retail. A recurring thought back then was why bother stacking shelves, only to have someone buy the products and make me re-stack them again?

In the vain hopes of gaining a higher purpose in Lethal Company, I stumbled across the 'Needy Cats' mod. Essentially this mod adds a variety of cats to your game that will wander around the facilities and yelp for attention.

Perhaps I'm just a glutton for heartbreak, but I decided that the game needed a galactic sanctuary full of adorable balls of floof. I hearkened back to my time playing Stray, the adorable cat adventure set in a post-apocalypse where humanity was all but wiped out. Could this be the prequel to Lethal Company? What if all Apocalypse games share the same universe, all orchestrated by The Company secretly pulling the strings of fate? Or maybe I just wanted to look at cute cats instead of terrifying mannequin monsters. Either way, the cats needed help. What follows is a diary log of my adventures which soon lead to increasing madness and ultimately, disaster.

Day one: So it begins

"Welcome to your first day on the job!" cheerfully loops through my ship's intercom. I set a course for Dine. Whilst this moon usually costs a hefty fee to visit, I believe in free travel for everyone. So, I dip into my charity funds to get me there (also known as a the infinite money mod).

The planet is flooded. Reminds me of the UK.

I gain access to a creepy, abandoned mansion and start to scan each room. Not a single cat in sight. I'm starting to question if I've installed the mod correctly. I collect a few golden chalices for my trouble; after all, I still have a quota to meet.

Day two: A lesson from Icarus

I won't be disheartened, so I set a course for Rend. There's currently an eclipse but my day can't get much worse.

Nevermind, it can. There's a giant death dog outside. I'm not afraid though - I have just the thing to handle this. I dip into the cat charity funds and get myself a jetpack. It's for a good cause. I zip past the devil dog and soar into the sky. "I haven't actually tested this out before," I think absentmindedly, as I crash into a cliffside.

Day three: No more jetpacks

Death is for dummies. I decide to sell my soul to the devil for the gift of immortality (named in the small print as 'God Mode'). I set a course for Dine, with the hope it will go better this time. My logic is that rich people usually keep cats, so there's bound to be one inside one of those mansions.

As I enter the mansion I'm full of confidence. Nothing can stop me. A butler comes out of the woodwork and we just stand and stare each other for a while (I assume he was staring, it's hard to tell with those sockets-for-eyes). He carefully slips his hand into his shirt pocket and reveals a knife. He brandishes it at me and starts running. Jeez, these fellas can move fast.

I laugh and let him come at me. What do I have to fear now? But as the butler keeps thrashing at me wildly, it becomes annoying. The music is going crazy, trapped in a repetitive screech. I try to bob and weave out of his way, only for a face-hugging bug to drop onto me from the ceiling. It's a sensory nightmare. My vision is mostly obscured but from what I can see, it's just a knife constantly stabbing me and music so loud now, that I need to adjust my headphones.

I asked for immortality. This nightmare will never stop. I try to wriggle, jump and slide out from under the bug but it's no use. Like Tithonus of old who was given immortality but not eternal youth, I feel the sting of a trickster's bargain.

Screenshot of The Butler in Lethal Company.
Screenshot of The Butler in Lethal Company.
I would like to name this photo 'The Butler's revenge'. | Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Zeekerss

Day one: So it begins, again

"Welcome to your first day on the job!", the game mocks me. This is a parallel universe, one where I find at least one cat in this cursed galaxy. I land on a moon called Experimentation and wander through the dark corners of an abandoned factory of some kind. It starts to feel oppressive; I can hear a screech and the sound of a door unlocking behind me. "Pull yourself together," I tell myself. "It's for the kittens!".

The music swells and I hear the coil of a spring. My blood runs cold. As I'm about to give up for good I hear it... A little meow. I search everywhere, getting frantic. It sounds like it's coming from the other side of the wall, but the way forward is locked, so I rush back to the ship for a key and to recharge my flashlight.

And as I re-enter the facility, I see her! A beautiful black kitty. I grab her immediately and in my gusto, I don't notice another face-hugging bug drop from the ceiling. It lands on me, completely obscuring my vision as I flail around with the poor cat still in my arms. It squeezes the life out of me. I swear to myself that I will start looking at ceilings before moving from now on.

Day two: My precious

I decide to land on Experimentation again. I doubt I'll see the same black kitty, but clearly the place is capable of spawning them. I sweep the facility, feeling more and more depressed - until I walk into a storeroom and see him.

A beautiful white cat called Felix (how fitting) yelps from atop one of the shelving units. Not wasting any time, or daring to tempt fate, I snatch him up and leg it out of the facility. I make it back onto the ship and immediately start to make a home for him, ordering a welcome mat for his bed and a goldfish so he has entertainment whilst I'm scrap collecting. I also place a can of cat food beside him - but now there's one more problem. I have one day to meet the scrap quota or we'll both be ejected from the airlock.

Screenshot of the Needy Cats Lethal Company mod.
Felix is a good boy. | Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Zeekerss

Day three: Desperate measures

I get straight to business. Not wanting to take any unnecessary risks, I set a course for a relatively peaceful moon named Vow. It feels fitting, as I now vow to Felix that I will meet the quota and protect him at all costs. In what I can only describe as a fugue state I collect scrap like my life depends on it (which it kind of does). With an assortment of bells, glass beakers and gears I load up the ship and take my plunder to The Company HQ. I've only gone and done it!

Day four: Chaos is a ladder

I have a new quota and a new kitty companion. My priorities now are to fulfil the scrap order on day one, and then spend the remaining two on finding cats, so I go back to Vow with the sole purpose of collecting scrap. With a beaker and whoopie cushion in my pockets, I feel good about my run so far. But then I met Ziggy.

Yes, I once agan hear the telltale meow of a cat in distress. A black cat called Ziggy is wandering in the basement of a facility, near a bunch of lockers. I grab him with no hesitation, and bring him back to his new adoptive sibling. I have the vague thought that I only need an orange cat now to have a complete Aristocats set, which provides double the amount of motivation. But I really need to meet the new quota. Rather disturbingly, I realise that the cats count as 'scrap' and can be sold. I make another vow never to test this theory out. I cannot deal with the image of a cat getting snatched by The Company's tentacled monster.

Screenshot of the Needy Cats Lethal Company mod.
I also gave them a Boombox. | Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Zeekerss

Day five: All is lost

I start the day with a bit of light decorating. A little plushie for Ziggy and Felix to cuddle up to. A cute Jack-o-lantern lamp. Then I go back to Vow, not wanting to risk my run at this point. As I explore the facility I see a large blob of sentient goo, sliming towards me. "Hmm," I think, "No problem. The Godmode protects against slime". I walk forward. My heart sinks as the screen goes red and I see the death cutscene. I had forgotten to reactivate Godmode.

My heart sinks, but I'm hopeful. That is until I load back into the ship with Ziggy and Felix nowhere to be found. Nothing remaining but the silly Jack-o-lantern, his cheerful smile now seeming to leer at me and my stupidity. It dawns on me that the game registers the cats as scrap, and when you die in Lethal Company your scrap is forfeit. I'm not sure what the game does to said scrap. I pray that Ziggy and Felix have simply been confiscated and rehomed by The Company, and they're now living their best lives. But it seems unlikely.

I think it's safe to say that the cat rescue life just isn't for me. Upon reflection, there were no humans in Stray for a reason, and perhaps cats are just better at rescuing themselves. I can only hope that the next adventuring player will have better luck than me and if someone does manage to set up a cat sanctuary in Lethal Company, I hope they name it after Felix and Ziggy.

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