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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 not increase the damage taken with each point (while this used to be the case, no evidence points towards it in the latest versions) with the standard highest amount of points being 10.
  • At tier 10, The Beheaded its health is capped at 10% of its maximum; this means that 0 to 9 levels of Malaise do effectively nothing, but higher levels do bring the player closer to almost instant death at 10 levels, as Sudden Death Prevention is disabled and any hit has the potential to kill.
  • The Malaise can be acquired via the following ways:
    • The key elites in High Peak Castle apply 2 points of Malaise per hit. These are, more specifically, a Slasher, a pair of Dark Trackers and a Thorny. This occurs at all difficulties.
    • At 4 Boss Stem Cells and above, every enemy applies a point of Malaise upon hit.
    • Eating infected food, which can only be found on 4 or 5 Boss Stem Cells, will give 1 point of Malaise.
  • Malaise can be cured with the following methods:
    • Using a Healing Flask takes off 50% from the Malaise bar.
    • The mutation Necromancy takes off 4 Malaise when any Boss is defeated.
    • The mutation Alienation takes off 2 Malaise every time 5 Curse points are lifted.
    • Drinking Cough Syrup (from Food Shops) removes 30% Malaise.
    • Drinking Small Cough Syrup (from the mutation Extended Healing) heals 1 Malaise.

Additionally, the mutation Dead Inside can be taken to increase the Malaise bar to 16, lengthening the time it takes to reach the critical level. This also increases some Malaise healing sources. Potions heal 8, and cough syrups heal 4.

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's true entity is immune to the Malaise and only the bodies it possessed are vulnerable.

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, which is 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 create a Panacea, a cure for all diseases. It actually works, though The Collector is driven mad with power, forcing The Beheaded to fight and eventually kill him. It was at this moment did he realize that the cure is indeed effective, though he doomed the island (which was almost entirely destroyed anyway) as he killed the only entity able to recreate it. Ultimately, as the only copy was destroyed, all treatments of the Malaise ended in failure.

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]

Navigation wiki

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