An in-depth character and level analysis of Dr Caligosto Loboto
If you haven't figured it out by now, I'm a huge psychonauts fan and an even bigger fan of it's innitial antagonist character, Dr Loboto. Hell, how I even got into psychonauts was through cross over fanart of Dr Loboto from mid 2019. At first when I started getting invested in psychonauts, I tried to not have Dr Loboto as my ultimate fan fave cause at the time, Dr Loboto was a character you could technically call "overrated" or at least very popular amongst fans atleast after the in between spin off game "Rhombus of Ruin" came out which fleshed out Dr Loboto and gave us his backstory. I don't exactly remember when I just caved into my indulgence of Dr Loboto being my fan fav but it's safe to say that I have been obsessed over this character for almost 3 years now and with psychonauts 2 finally out and a year old I thought it'd be fun to make a full analysis of him and what Dr Loboto as a character has meant to me.
Before I actually start, I wanna state here that this analysis is my interpretation/reading of this character and their level and if you personally disagree/have different readings that's alright.
Who IS Dr Loboto?
Dr Loboto was the main antagonist in Psychonauts and Psychonauts Rhombus Of Ruin before being "redeemed" after the aftermaths of ROR. Dr Loboto is an insane unlicensed dentist and freelance scientist and brain surgeon who resides in Thorney Towers Home for the Disturbed.
In Psychonauts 2, Dr Loboto takes a considerable step back from the story past the first level taking place in his mind and some plot relevant details pertaining to the main villain of the game and past events.
Till the 2017 VR game which showed his backstory and a much more sympathetic side to him, not a lot was actually known of Dr Loboto especially from just psychonauts 1 for a long while, mostly that he was a quack dentist/doctor who was in kahoots with Coach Oleander in his plan on taking over the world and even then he didn't get as much focus.
This will all be discussed in greater detail later in the page but that's the basics of Dr Caligosto Loboto.
The official psychonauts website description:
As seen from these models of both the ROR and PN2 models of Dr Loboto, his design is mostly made up of sharp triangular shapes. His anatomy and body shape is obviously exaggerated and stylized not only to fit in with the world of psychonauts but to give off a sinister, eerie unsettling feeling which is fitting as he is one of the villains. His design is also akin to the character Dr Finklestien from the Nightmare Before Christmas, or atleast very reminiscent of a Henry Selick puppet design which makes sense considering the Nightmare Before Christmas and it's themes was an inspiration for the art direction of the first psychonauts.
Also worth mentioning that Dr Loboto's name takes heavy inspiration of the 1920 german expressionist film, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, expressionism is a modernist movment with heavy emphasis on depicting and distorting emotions and feelings rather than object reality. German Expressionism was part of the larger expressionist movement being largely dominant in Germany from approximately the 1900s to the 1930s. In cinema a large emphasis was put on the unrealistic absurd geometric shapes and angles used for sets alongside the use of lighting, scenary and shadows to enhance the mood of the films. A lot of these films also had plots/stories revolving around themes of madness, insanity etc due to experiences of World War I. This is once again unsurprising as German Expressionism was also another major inspiration for the art direction of psychonauts, alongside correalting with the themes of the mind and reality being distorted.
If you want a more in depth analysis of German Expressionism and Psychonauts this is a really good video showcasing it.
Apart from that, Dr Loboto's design does well in general conveying that "evil mad scientist" look with the straitjacket and lab coat combo to his eyes being obscured through his lens-goggles contraption. His length and height especially help in this aspect as Dr Loboto is one of the tallest psychonauts characters in general to emphasis the creepy and unsettling feel of his design and character paired with other stuff like his prosthetic limb with sharp metal pronged claws or his misshaped/uneven teeth.
However it would be a bit short sighted to not acknowlegde the harmful aspect of Dr Loboto's design, aka is prosthetic arm/claw as an abliest steoretype/villianization of amputees/people with prosthetics seeing as the claw/arm is meant to be "scary" as well as the fact Dr Loboto is one of the few physically disabled psychonauts characters which I feel is something people don't acknowlegde enough, disclaimer I don't believe Doublefine had any sinister intent behind this, it's just one of the many poorly aged aspects of psychonauts 1.
It's also seen here that Dr Loboto's showercap is made out of the same material as his abusive mother's dress, knowing he obviously has unpleasant memories associated with his parents from ROR, it's really interesting how Loboto seems to hold onto something that would remind him of them but I think this aspect really comes back much later when I discuss Loboto's working relation to Gristol.
I think a lesser talked about aspect of Dr Loboto's design is how it in a way serves as a red herring to Oleander and him being the actual main villain of the first game, being almost the exact opposite of his design.
As seen here it's obvious to anyone the major differences between their designs, from the height, colors and body shape. Their skin colors (Loboto's being a blueish or cyan tone and Oleander's being a dark orange) are contrasting in colors, being the exact opposites on a color wheel. Their contrasting colors also helps not only in differianting them but once again as a red herring to the events of the game, Oleander while having a dark palette has a warm color palette that fits in with the environment of whispering rock meanwhile Loboto's color palette is cold and matches with the eerie and dark environment of Thorney Towers.
I've highlighted their shapes here, while the both of them are made out of similar shapes, how they're executed is very different, Oleander being much more stumpier and heavy at the bottom, also showing how short he is which is a major factor in his insecurities and want to rule the world especially when compared to other characters like Sasha or Milla, Oleander seems insignificant and not intimidating at first. This while compared to Loboto who is lanky, tall and skinny immediately sets off the creepiness factor of him (alongside other stuff such as his claw). Their head shapes are also the same shape but just flipped vertically which once again emphasizes their similarities and differences which not only correalate with the previous design choice (oleander being much more stumpier and loboto looking much lighter) but their personalities and relationship in the game, being so different yet so similar.
Role in Psychonauts 1
Rhombus of Ruin
Role in Psychonauts 2
Loboto's inner psyche
Loboto's relationship with Oleander
It's been established that Dr Loboto and Oleander were working together in Oleander's plans for taking over the world, however not much else is known like how long they've been working together or even how they managed to meet each other seeing as Oleander is all the way in Whispering Rock and Dr Loboto was in Thorney Towers.
It's shown through Dr Loboto's mind vaults in pn2 that he was possibly a freelancer taking on all kinds of odd jobs which is how he met and started working with Gristol in the rhombus of ruin, so it could be possible Oleander hired Dr Loboto through certain circumstances to help him. The timeline kinda becomes messy when you try and think about when Dr Loboto and Oleander met and whether it was before or after Loboto was hired by Gristol but that isn't important.
As seen in the mind vaults of psychonauts 1 such as the ones in lungfishopolis through the perspective of Linda that the two were quite ectastic to been working together and even more seeing Linda's mutation being a success, one big step closer to completing the kidnapping of the camps children for world domination however it is seen when Linda's mutation was a success an almost unclear/hesistant look on Oleanders face possibly out of surprise it even worked or such, not much can be really said since it's such a minute detail but it could show Oleander having had atleast some doubt before of Loboto's legitamacy/skills as a mad doctor/scientist.
In psychonauts 2, sadly they have even lesser contact than they did in the original game other than in Loboto's labyrinth where Oleander follows Loboto in recieving his made up employee of the year reward in the office construct and possibly dialouge from Oleander later on in the game when you access the astral lanes bowling alley about him and someone else being an amazing couple. While all signs throughout pn2 suggest he's talking about his battlebot/machine, the emphasis/using of specifically the word "someone" and "couple" makes me believe this is about him and Dr Loboto's collaberation especially since his previous brain tank/machine was built by Dr Loboto. Which brings us to the biggest point of this section.
Their relationship in the rhombus of ruin
Due to the rhombus of ruin being a vr exclusive/in between "extra" story not a lot of people focus on it which is sad cause it has some pretty important details and trvia in it. One of which being implications to Oleander and Dr Loboto's relationship running deeper than known. As seen in the plane, it's established how the band All Paul is Oleander's favourite boy band, later on when using clairevoyance to astral project through truman to locate him, a code seen from the back of the vinyl of All Paul's album can be used on the computers in the facility belonging to Dr Loboto which plays a little jingle of the song "Drag Me Down". So not only is Dr Loboto seemingly close enough to Oleander to be aware of a song made by his favourite band/album but not only code it to play the jingle in one of his computers in a generally unknown location, the song choice is especially interesting seeing as it's played and even sung by Oleander multiple times.
The song Drag Me Down is Oleander's favourite song out of the album and it's lyrical choices are interesting to say the least. While the song's instrumental is rather upbeat, the lyrics are very obviously describing a break up/ a most likely romantic relationship turned toxic qoute:
"I'm on my way to gain my freedom, I won't let you hold me down again, I curse the day I let you become my everything, But I just can't depend on you, You're never at home, Even when you are girl I still feel alone, Even when you are girl I still feel alone, Never in my life have I been this low, I wanna run away but you won't let go, And I can't really see us working out, I think it's best if we both go a different route, When we met it was the best thing that I've known, I gave you everything you asked, Never worried it could lapse but here we are, Now I'm wondering what it ever meant to love, I just want to rise above but you're holding me, Down down down, All you do is drag me down, I don't want you around, Can you promise me when you leave you won't drag me down down down, I can't take it anymore, Yeah, you're rotten to the core, No you're never gonna let me soar because you drag me down"
So not only is it shown that Dr Loboto just so happened to code in one of Oleander's favourite song from one of his favourite bands on a pretty important computer with seemingly no way of accessing without having the view of the code from the back of the vinyl, not only is this song about a romantic break up after a falling out but it's the same song choice used in the astral lanes bowling alley where Oleander thinks back to a certain someone and him being an amazing couple.
This especially coupled with the fact the fish guards can be seen doodling Oleander having crushes/romantic affection towards two members of All Paul and the fact Dr Loboto was technically comfirmed as bisexual with a possibly male perference with the bi colored manatee poster and gay teeth picture in his mind alongside the little piece of trivia of Dr Loboto knowing Oleander has halitosis, an oral problem relating to bad breath.
Loboto's relation to the rest of the psychonauts
Loboto's relation to Gristol
Obligatory Loboto child mystery
The original thumbnail belongs to this video
The obvious answer here (and the ONLY correct one I swear) is that there is no mom and Loboto is transgender, case closed.
Ok I'm kidding (partially...) but I wanted to bring it up as a topic of discussion/analysis as it does bring up a pretty much decade old question/theory, WHO is Loboto's child and WHO did he have it with.
For some context to those who are simply unaware, this was innitially based off the theory made way way back in the early 2000-2010s psychonauts community of Dr Loboto and Bobby being father and son, mostly due to similarities in colors (even with their eye colors being green and red), smiliarities in body shape, interest in fish (and more so toturing them and people) and the deep irony of Dr Loboto having a child who's teeth are least than sparkly clean for a dentist. This theory grew big being the most well known one in the fandom till this day which then lead to the question of, who did Loboto possibly conceived Bobby with?
This question/theory however remained pretty self contained in the fandom, that is till days after the release of Psychonauts 2 in 2021 when an easter egg was discovered. After beating psychonauts 2, post game when you enter sasha's office/lab, Dr Loboto who for throughout the entire game past the first tutorial level is seen escaping through the otto B.O.N. When discovered by Raz, Dr Loboto simply says that he is a changed man and that he also needs to pick up his kid from Whispering Rock Summer Camp (the previous main location of psychonauts 1).
This dialouge/writing choice was definitely intentional seeing how involved DoubleFine, nonetheless Tim Schafer are with the fandom/online community, Tim having been asked this question quite a few times on twitter so there's no doubt at all they're not unaware of this theory.
Seeing as we have a select amount of kids + others up for who could be Dr Loboto's child, discussion of this has become a lot interesting with different interpretations and ideas. It's mostly however boiled down to these options: Bobby Zilch, Chloe Barge, D'Artagnan (the scrapped main character before Raz), Linda the Lungfish and the aforementioned goat.