This one’s going to require a substantial amount of explanation, so bear with me please:
A couple weeks ago towards the end of the steam winter sale I picked up Crypt of the Necrodancer because it was cheap and I was curious if I’d be into it. I finally got around to trying it recently and to total shock and surprise, one of the built-in skins you can choose from is Shiren the Wanderer of all people. I had no idea there was someone out there who actually liked the game enough to put a reference that overt into their own game. This nostalgia baited me into revisiting the game to play it a bit since I still have the DS cartridge with my save data on it. My understanding is that Shiren was sort of like the Demon Souls of roguelikes: no one played it and it was initially panned when it came out, but gained a sliver of retroactive praise after more popular games brought mainstream attention to the genre. The fact that Demon Souls got a remake recently muddies the picture but it’s the best analogy I have.
Borg Mamel is the final unlockable ally character in Shiren the Wanderer. It is a robotic version of the weakest enemy in the game, but with rocket thrusters on its back and can level up to a frankly insane degree by giving it a bafflingly difficult to complete checklist of items. To unlock Borg Mamel, you have to clear the dreaded Final Puzzle: a 99 floor dungeon containing nearly every horrible monster in the game where literally every item you encounter is unidentified and can only be understood by trial and error, deductive reasoning, and shop prices if you’re lucky enough to find one. And some of these items range from “instantly creates a monster house and dump you in the middle of it” to “if you throw this at an enemy it’ll permanently remove all copies of it and every variant of it for the rest of the dungeon”. I have beaten the Final Puzzle 3 times, and for 2 of them I had to use a rescue password generator to revive me once.
To give you an idea of how completely unknown Shiren apparently is in general, I had the hardest time finding any reference images for either Borg Mamel or even regular Mamels. I couldn’t even find a sprite sheet for Borg Mamel ffs! I could not find any other image of Borg Mamel across the entirety of the internet besides a standing forward-facing sprite, which means that this image I have just created is the only Borg Mamel fanart on the internet. I guess that’s an achievement of sorts.
For comparison, this is what a regular Mamel looks like: