Risky Boots is the primary antagonist of the Shantae series, appearing in all games. She is an infamous pirate and the archenemy of Shantae and is known throughout Sequin Land for her love of wealth, power, and all shiny things. Risky is an unchallenged and self-proclaimed 'Queen of the Seven Seas' who commands an army of Tinkerbats, and will caution and toll anyone who thinks otherwise.
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Risky Boots wears a large pirate hat with a skull symbol, which keeps her long growing hair in (her hair is actually just as long as Shantae's, which is revealed when she disguises herself as a half-genie during the course of the Pirate Master, Risky's former captain. She also has purple skin.and also later during the final fight at the end of the same game, when Shantae deals her sufficient damage to make her outfit fall apart). She also wears a purple necklace with a gold pendant around her neck, gold earrings, a bikini top that looks like the upper half of a skull, deep purple pants lined with a white rim that looks like a jaw bone and a brown (purple in the first two games) belt which holds her scimitar and pistol. It is revealed in that the skull pieces on her outfit are actually the skull of
In the first game, Risky Boots makes her presence known to Shantae when she and her Tinkerbats invade Scuttle Town. Shantae is able to protect the town, but fails to stop Risky from stealing Mimic's new Steam Engine. With her initial goal achieved, Risky then sets out to find the four Magical Stones so that she can improve the Steam Engine and make it suitable for her goals.
Risky loses the first three stones to Shantae, but later disguises herself as a Guardian Genie and manipulates Shantae into finding the fourth, after which she steals the whole set. Shantae then follows Risky to her hideout on a solitary island, where a giant mechanical fortress protects Risky's ultimate power: the Steam-Powered Tinkertank. Though formidable, the tank is destroyed due to its complete lack of weaponry, and Risky is forced to fight Shantae herself. After being defeated, Risky escapes before the island explodes.
Risky crashes the Relic Hunter's Expo at the beginning of the game and makes off with an old lamp that Mimic had just dug up. Her escape is covered by her new invention, the Steam-Powered Tinkertub, which Shantae disables but fails to stop before it escapes.
As Shantae collects the Magic Seals needed to prevent the lamp from activating, Risky frequently appears to taunt and belittle the half-genie's progress. Once the third Seal is found, Risky has Mimic kidnapped (with help from the zombie siblings of Rottytops, Abner Cadaver, and Poe) and blackmails Shantae to give the Seals to her. With no other option, Shantae surrenders the Seals and is promptly stripped of her genie powers when Risky activates the lamp. Risky then commands the stolen magic to destroy its former master, which it does by manifesting as Nega-Shantae.
Shantae defeats Nega-Shantae, but destroys her own powers in the process, causing Risky to escape with the lamp and leave the heroine with nothing but a hollow victory to show for her sacrifice, but Mimic, Bolo and Sky comfort the former, telling her that they'll help the powerless Half-Genie protect Sequin Land from various evil forces including Risky.
As Shantae struggles to adjust to life without her genie powers, Risky arrives and captures her in a boobietrap bathtub, apparently believing that Shantae and her friends stole her army and weapons. As Shantae denies such actions, Risky takes her to Mimic's lab where she shows her a Tinkerbat trapped in a cage. However, the Tinkerbat is soon being surrounded by a dark fog which turns him into what Risky calls a Cacklebat. After releasing Shantae and watching her defeat the Cacklebat, she gives her the Magic Lamp so that she can imprison the strange black fog. Risky explains that the Cacklebat is proof that her former mentor, The Pirate Master, is preparing to return by spreading a curse through Sequin Land, and that she needs to seal off his sources of dark magic to prevent it. As she has been stripped of her Pirate Gear, Risky needs Shantae's help to do it.
Faced with a mutual goal, the two women agree to a truce and set off for the islands surrounding Sequin Land. As they adventure, Risky explains her past relationship with the Pirate Master: Risky had served on the Pirate Master's crew as the first mate, and took the Master's weapons and crew for herself after his defeat. She also reveals that when Shantae destroyed Nega-Shantae, the light magic that Risky stole from Shantae was turned to dark magic and consumed by the Pirate Master's evil soul in order to unleash his curse. Risky admits that she will stop at nothing to destroy the Pirate Master, which worries Shantae.
After sealing all of the Pirate Master's sources of dark magic, Risky and Shantae travel to Lonely Grave Island with the intent to blow it up. However, the Pirate Master returns to life and captures Risky out of anger for stealing everything from him. Shantae chases them to Sequin Land Palace and tries to fight the Pirate Master, then is ordered to give up the dark magic she had collected from all the Cacklebats in exchange for Risky's life.
If Shantae doesn't kill all the Cacklebats, the fight with the Pirate Master will end prematurely as he escapes, and Risky runs off swearing that she'll destroy him herself even at the cost of her own life. Shantae can do nothing but hope that Risky succeeds.
In the true ending of the game, the dark magic is instead turned into light magic and reabsorbed by Shantae, giving her the power to weaken the Pirate Master while Risky runs to Scuttle Town and commandeers a long-range cannon from the Ammo Baron, which she uses to fully destroy the evil fiend. Afterwards, Risky and Shantae meet one final time on Lonely Grave Island, where Risky tells Shantae that she's not going to give up her pirate ways anytime soon, but somewhat compliments the half-genie's heroism by comparing her to her mother. This likely implies that Risky, before she was possessed with dark magic, met Shantae's mother at one point prior to Shantae's birth. She also explains that she'll never be good, no matter how hard she tries.
Risky attacks Scuttle Town and steals Uncle Mimic's Dynamo blueprints, then allows Shantae to 'defeat' her and returns her own set of blueprints in their stead. Her ultimate goal is to complete the Tinkerbrain so that she can rule the Genie Realm from yet another volcano hideout. When Shantae thwarts her plan, Risky once again escapes before her volcano base erupts.
Risky Boots stars as a playable character for the first time in the DLC pack Pirate Queen's Quest. Supposedly the episode is set during the several hours during which Shantae was unconscious and corrupted by the magic inverter. Each of the levels follow Risky extorting construction materials for the Tinkerbrain from the Barons of Sequin Land. In the end it's all but stated that the events of the episode are exaggerated and made up by Risky in order to make herself look good as she re-tells the story to her Tinkerbats.
While Risky does rescue the Giga Mermaid in Pirate Queen's Quest like Shantae did, she insists it wasn't on purpose and that she's still evil. The Giga Mermaid smiles at her nonetheless, despite being her enemy.
Shantae first meets Risky in the first chapter after the Half-Genies are kidnapped by the Seven Sirens during the Half-Genie Festival, spying her and her crew blasting open the entrance to the Sunken City. Suspecting her old foe is up to no good, she follows, and after a while, is confronted by the wily pirate. A brief fight follows, but Risky stops after taking a few hits, telling Shantae that the true kidnapper isn't her, and directs her to where Plink is held hostage, leading to the battle with the Water Lily Siren.
After this, Risky's actions follow a pattern; halfway through each labyrinth, she appears, she gives Shantae some new information about the island or the Sirens, she and Shantae fight, and a path opens that leads Shantae to the labyrinth's captive.
Eventually, Risky reveals her true motives, a plan which seems nearly perfect in execution and design. While she didn't kidnap the half-genies personally, she arranged the festival knowing the Empress Siren would do so if they were there. Her true goal is to get into the Empress' good graces while counting on Shantae to defeat the Sirens and rescue the half-genies, pitting them against one another as a distraction while she steals the Sirens' airship - the true treasure of the island. Once the airship is unearthed, she aims its cannons at the island, ensuring Shantae follows in an attempt to stop her, counting on Shantae to fight and eliminate the Empress as well. While the Empress eventually turns on Risky and siphons away her life force, Risky's plan ultimately works, and Shantae is in a perfect position to defeat the Empress due to her actions. All in all, Risky believes the ultimate outcome will be escaping with a very powerful weapon at her disposal, having used both Shantae and the Empress as pawns towards that end.
Unfortunately for Risky, there is one flaw in her plan she did not consider: the battle between Shantae and the Empress destroys the airship, and Risky is left with nothing to show for her efforts aside from her life and a bruised ego.
She appears in some screenshots and the beta demo, and is mentioned in the game's backstory. Her and the Tinkerbats had uncovered a new device called the Tremor Engine, and had planted a pillar in the middle of Sequin Land. By some means, the engine could make Sequin Land rotate around this pillar. Risky's purpose for this remains unknown.
Risky was also planned to be playable in the multiplayer battle mode before the game's cancelation.
Powers and Abilities
Though she prefers to leave combat to her machines and Tinkerbats (and in the third game, to Shantae), Risky Boots has proven to be a powerful fighter (first shown at the end of the first game). In combat, Risky's main weapon is a large pirate scimitar that she can rapidly slash with or throw like a boomerang, and she also carries a flintlock pistol that fires bullets. Risky can also dash around in mid-air for dive-bombing attacks and perform a brutal slide-kick when on the ground. Her boots seem enchanted and able to endow super-speed upon the wearer, while her hat is useful as a hang glider or parachute. She is also able to perform various acrobatic feats akin to parkour, which seems to suggest superhuman levels of athleticism. She also appears to have a high level of endurance for a human, as she is able to take many hits from Shantae's magic, and still have enough energy to escape almost unscratched from her final fight with Shantae in the first game. Risky is also highly intelligent and surprisingly effective with technology, being able to conceive grandiose machines for her Tinkerbats to build and to operate them quite effectively.
In Shantae and the Pirate's Curse, Shantae could upgrade Risky's items once she had gathered them from going through dungeons. Later on Shantae: Pirate's Queen Quest, Risky can upgrade her own items as she collects Dark Magic. Despite her deadly proficiency in the first game, Risky claims to be completely defenseless without her sword and pistol; in Pirate's Curse she was unable to combat a single Cacklebat, even with her kicking moves. Whether she truly felt defenseless or whether she simply feared of becoming possessed herself is unclear.
Risky's main strength, however, lies in manipulating others. From Risky's Revenge onwards, Risky primarily moves her schemes along by getting others to do her bidding - knowingly or otherwise.
Risky Boots has some looks to rival that of Shantae's collective wardrobe, but only a handful made it to the series.
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- Risky has some similarities to Captain Syrup, the antagonist of the Wario series, a sub-series of the Super Mario franchise by Nintendo. Both are female pirates who are referred to as the most "dangerous pirate" and "the pirate queen", and have both used the power of a genie in a final boss fight.
- According to Hypno Baron in Pirate Queen's Quest, Risky Boots, despite looking human, is "a creature POSSESSED of DARK MAGIC" partially explaining why her skin is purple. Whether this references the Pirate Master's influence or not remains unknown.
- Her first name is a play on "Risqué," which means "sexually suggestive," likely as a reference to most of the female characters in the Shantae series (including both Shantae herself and Risky) wearing midriff-baring outfits.
- Strangely, Risky's sprites in Risky's Revenge and onward show the sclerae of her eyes to be yellow, rather than white as seen in her portrait art. This is probably a reference to Risky's art from the original Shantae.
- Half-Genie Hero's "Officer Mode" pokes fun at this - she states that her eye color 'varies' when questioned.
- Risky appears as a support spirit in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and as the 1,297th and final spirit in the base game, using her key art from Half-Genie Hero. Said key art is also the basis for one of her portraits in that game.
- She and Shantae (as well as Harmony) are both voiced by Christina Vee.