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It itches so bad. Belly aches. I scratch but then I bleed... headaches, blurred vision... feel down and so itchy.

The Malaise, also known as the Plague, the Gloom, the Infection, and the Green Poison,[1] is described as a virus that has been infecting the island where Dead Cells takes place.

Origin[edit | edit source]

The Malaise has no clear origin. During The Alchemist's search for a cure, he theorized about where it came from. He states that some think the Malaise originated from the Slumbering Sanctuary: the sap there seeped into the Sewers, spreading the illness.[2] The Alchemist also notes that the island's insects likely helped spread the virus.[3] Piles of infected bodies were dumped into the sewer, and the infection appeared to rampage from there, although The Beheaded is unsure if they were dumped before or after the epidemic started.[4]

In-Game Mechanics[edit | edit source]

  • The Malaise functions in a point system. The Malaise bar is shown above the health bar, but only when the character has Malaise points. It will increase the damage taken with each point, with the highest ammount of points being 10. At tier 10, The Beheaded takes much more damage and its health is capped at 10% of its maximum.
    • Using a Healing Flask takes off 5 points from the Malaise bar.
  • The Malaise can be acquired via two ways:

Effects (Lore-based)[edit | edit source]

The Malaise's symptoms include vomiting blood, itchiness, headaches, blurry vision, bellyaches, and feeling down[5]. Left untreated, the Malaise leads to certain death. Since the infected were imprisoned and quarantined, the Malaise appears highly infectious.

The more extreme effects of the Malaise are highly unsettling. Mutations begin, and sometimes the corpses begin moving on their own.[6][7] The end result of the final stages of infection is reanimation into hostile, mutated undead.[8]

The virus affects humans and animals. Conjunctivius was a result of the mutations, and Castaing (the Concierge) was a victim of the virus as well. Most enemies in the game are mutated.

The Beheaded is susceptible to the Malaise, although it appears only the possessed body is vulnerable. The "real" Beheaded is safe from the infection.

Treatment[edit | edit source]

Later into his research, the Alchemist found a way to reduce symptoms from infection,[9] as well as a method for slowing down mutations.[10] This was likely synthesized with the sap found within the Slumbering Sanctuary, which he suspected could provide the cure.

It appears that The Time Keeper has successfully kept the Malaise at bay via time manipulation,[11] It seems this is exhausting for her, and the Alchemist suspects that time cannot contain it forever.[12]

However, there is one character who was able to find a cure to the Malaise, The Collector. When 5 boss stem cells are activated, the player gains access to the Astrolab, a secret chapter of the game containing different enemies and a final boss, The Collector himself. When finishing the Astrolab, the player finds himself in the Observatory, the last part of the game, where the true final boss resides. The Collector reveals himself as the Alchemist and uses the cells he collected throughout the whole game to created a Panacea, a cure for the disease. It actually works, and is able to cure the Beheaded from the Malaise when he takes it. However, our character makes the mistake of killing the Collector, which was the only one able to create more of the cure., leaving the island to perish, once again.

Impact on the island[edit | edit source]

There is little sign of what the Island was like before the Malaise debuted, although it must have been at least somewhat prosperous. However, any chance at a good future on the Island was ruined by the Malaise and The King's response to it. The island's citizens faced civil unrest and focused their rage on the King, due to his cruel reaction to the appearance of the Malaise.[13] The King demanded that the infected were to be imprisoned and hanged, even just upon the suspicion of infection. [14] Eventually, he demanded that nobody was to be let out of the prisons, even if they served their time. [15] What little of the villagers who remained on the Island met their deaths at the hand of the Malaise and the undead, or were slowly awaiting it locked away within the prisons.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The Malaise could have possibly been influenced by the Black Death.
  • The Malaise was referred to as the infection before update 1.0.
  • Bupleurum is directly referenced as a way to minimize the symptom of the Malaise.

References[edit | edit source]

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