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AliceSoft is an eroge developer, one of the oldest in existence. Although they are perhaps not as well known as the truly big groups like Type-MOON and Key Visual Arts, AliceSoft has managed to carve out a niche for itself by incorporating interesting and involved gameplay elements that occasionally challenge the player. Where other developers will eschew gameplay in favour of telling a fantastic story or cutting straight to the heart of the matter, AliceSoft embraces it wholeheartedly to the point that many of their works on this wiki could be classified as both Video Games and Visual Novels.The company began in 1989 making games for the PC88, MSX and PC98. These included a Visual Novel known as Intruder and the very first Rance game, chronicling the adventures of everyone's favorite Heroic Comedic Sociopath as he searched for and "rescued" kidnapped girls. They continued to release games in uninterrupted succession until 2008.Many of AliceSoft's games tend to be either Eastern RPGs, Dating Sims or Turn-Based Strategy Games and have a penchant for sly, subtle jabs at elements of anime and Japanese pop culture in general. Their more beloved titles fall squarely in the Explicit Content category and have high quality soundtracks courtesy of their in-house composers. Occasionally the company will allow its games to be adapted into short OVAs that tend to overemphasise the "porn" aspect of the works.Alright, let's face it. Most people know of them because of Rance.
The Ace: The main characters of the Dai games are all incredibly talented alpha males who excel in pretty much everything. While Rance has slowly raised himself to this position in his games, the stand out example for the longest time was Rick Addison, who is presented as handsome, intelligent and better at fighting than Rance.
Dateikoku manages to be on to both the Space Opera genre and all of World War II.
Afro Ass Kicker: Recurring character Abao Akuu sports a fantastic futuristic looking afro and is almost always a strong unit when playable.
All There in the Manual: Pretty much the case with every game they make, though none quite like the Rance series, where there are several volumes worth of tie-in books that explain the history of the setting.
Anti-Hero: Their protagonists manage to fall all across the spectrum. Rance and Akuji accomplish heroic goals, but are overall sociopathic sex offenders who are frequently hard to sympathize with, Tougou and Rouga are both cocky and arrogant but are otherwise entirely heroic characters, while Nanus and Kentarou are straight-laced heroes who frequently get the short end of the stick due to their wimpiness.
Art Evolution: Considering how the company has been around since the late 80s, there's been a lot of this. Especially noticeable in the Rance series.
After Tori left the company due to health reasons, TADA made a post for applicants for her position. While he didn't list any of the above likes as being requirements for the job, they were listed as requirements for being his best friend.
Alicesoft really, really likes Gundam. You'd be hard-pressed to find a game of theirs that doesn't reference a character or mobile suit somewhere.
Author Avatar: TADA once again. He calls himself "King Hanny" around the office and shouts "Moe!" when he sees a cute girl in glasses, so the haniwa are basically an exaggerated version of him.
A few of the other staff members like to insert themselves in the games as Mooks. Notably Tori and the Iyanayastu (Fan translated as "Asshole" or "Gross Guy") as well as Plum's Ghost.
Big Bad: Played with in the Rance games. While Kayblis is certainly the closest thing the setting has to a main villain, he's not actually the designated Big Bad that is the Demon King, who is actually Rance's adorable ally Miki. To further his "kind of the main bad guy but not really" image, it is made abundantly clear that he's just as much a pawn in the game that the Creator Gods are having as anyone else and holds no real power in the grand scheme of things and is generally treated as a Laughably EvilNo Respect Guy.
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Pretty much all of the most powerful people in every game has at least one quirk that makes them this. This includes the protagonists, who are generally more interested in getting laid than saving the world, despite being very competent.
Breakout Character: Rance went from just another one of their protagonists to the company's poster boy. In fact, he was so popular that he dominated the Visual Novel Character Polls for years before the poll became exclusively for female characters. It says a lot when the most popular character from an Eroge is a guy.
Breather Episode: Rance Quest, which takes place in the shadow of Rance's Heroic BSOD, is significantly more lighthearted and less plot heavy than the games proceeding and following it and serves as a way of setting up plot points for the next games rather than actually advancing the plot itself.
Cerebus Syndrome: While the Rance series always had genuinely serious moments, they were primarily meant to be wacky parodies. Starting with Rance VI, however, the series has become more and more focused on telling an epic story and the humor, while still very prevalent, has become less and less prominent over time.
Beating Free For All mode in Sengoku Rance as the Hara nation (starts pitifully weak, is right next to Owari with a Rance unit that is more powerful than in Story mode, Princess Aki is constantly spending your money).
Doing the above as the Haniwa instead (generally easier than Hara because you can automatically get a free commander every turn and the units are cheap, but are weak. Not to mention you're wedged between Tokugawa, Houjou, and the extremely powerful Takeda house). The one thing helping your case is that the Haniwa are immune to magic, and since the Houjou are diviners...
Purposely keeping yourself in debt in Big Bang Age, or keeping yourself from using what are generally considered the best units.
Not savescumming in Daiteikoku. Actually, this one is considered not so much challenging as it is suicide, because of how much the RNG god controls that game.
Recurring Traveller Abao Akuu more or less is Char except with a ridiculous design featuring a bright pink spacesuit and afro. Nearly every word out of his mouth is taken directly from the man himself.
Crutch Character: Due to the Nintendo Hard nature of most of their games, the player is generally given a character who can steamroll most of the early game with ease (Ferris and Rick from Rance, Shibagami from Daiteikoku), but rendering them unusable after certain events to prevent the player from relying solely on them. Interestingly, the main characters of each of the three Dai games also manage to be this due to having far better stats than pretty much every other playable character, particularly early on, but are incapable of getting character cleared, meaning they'll never get any New Game+ bonuses like the other characters.
Cute Monster Girl: Played with for Gal Monsters. While most of the Gal Monsters have both "cute" and "girl" down, some of them are lacking in the "monster" department. This is rather apparent in certain classes of Gal Monsters like Magician and Valkyrie, who don't have any part of "monster" on them.
Doing It for the Art: TADA stepped down from being President of AliceSoft to make the last few games of the Rance series, the best thing AliceSoft has ever made.
Even though he has officially left the company due to health reasons, Shade (their in-house composer) said that he's making sure he sees the Rance series through to the end, because he can't see it going on without his scores.
Defiled Forever: Averted in the Rance series, actually. When Kouhime is raped and is depressed because she believes she cannot marry anymore... Rance tells her guys like that don't count, makes fun of the rapists' small penises, and promises to marry her himself if no one else will take her.
Does Not Like Men: Rance! He finds ugly men to be hideous wastes of space and attractive men to be threats to his harem, to a point where he'll kill a man in a heart beat if he annoys him too much. There are a small handful of men that he doesn't hate (Patton, Gandhi, etc.) but he's still incredibly abusive towards them and frequently forgets their names. The only men who could genuinely be called his friends are Chaos, RickAddison and Oda Nobunaga, all of whom he has a heavyVitriolic Best Buds relationship with.
Pretty much every Alicesoft protagonist is like this, with the exception of Rouga, who values men and women equally, and Tougou, who vastly prefers women but has no problem working with men.
Engrish: Due to their love of western settings and names, this happens a lot. Ironically, the most notable case of Surprisingly Good English (albeit a bit nonsensical) is in the opening to Big Bang Age, the game that takes place in Japan.
Fountain of Expies: They do this to themselves. Several character designs and personalities have been recycled in other games.
Heterosexual Life-Partners: Tougou and his best friend and second in command Akiyama in Daiteikoku. They've known each other for years, serve as the other's confidant in times of need and raise a child together. Naturally, the Ho Yay gets lampshaded to hell and back, especially when one of their main crew members is a Yaoi Fangirl.
Rouga and Kyoichirou from Daibanchou are also an example, with Akiyama being heavily inspired by the latter.
The Hedonist: Rance lives exclusively for his own pleasure, and has no real interest in any of the world's affairs despite the massive amount of influence he has on them. Tougou Tsuyoshi is also more interested in sleeping around and having a good time than running a navy, though he takes his job much more seriously than Rance does.
Lighter and Softer: Daibanchou in comparison to their others games. While there's still plenty of rape, the main character Rouga never does any of it and is more or less an All-Loving Hero rather than a Designated Hero. The following game, Daiteikoku's hero Tougou Tsuyoshi is also considerably more noble and heroic than most of the other protagonists, but he's still far more of a jerk than Rouga is.
Mascot: Alice-chan, the lovable little girl who serves as narrator (in the Rance series), dev room operator (in most of the games), and is usually on the company's logo. The Hannies are also a prominent part of their advertising.
Mascot Mook: The Hannies, goofy living potteries with a love of all things moe. One is on the company's current logo.
Men Are the Expendable Gender: Male characters who aren't Rance are generally treated like losers or are outright villains and serve no other purpose than to have their women stolen by Rance or to get beaten up or even killed by him. This has steadily been reduced as the series continues to the point of being more or less averted, as more recent games feature just as many badass male characters fighting alongside the female ones.
Most Writers Are Male: Averted in the Rance series, of all things. Tori (main writer for Rance 2-7) is a woman, and came up with most of the traits that define Rance as a character.
Nintendo Hard: Their games often have a steep learning curve, though some are definitely worse than others.
No Export for You: Sadly Alicesoft isn't interested in licensing their work in the west, probably because of the media outbursts similar titles have caused in America.
Non-Action Guy: A common trend in their territory capture games is to feature one of these as your Mission Control. Examples include 3G in Sengoku Rance, ZanmaGou in Big Bang Age, Jun in Daiakuji and AkiyamaKeichirou in Daiteikoku. Occasionally these characters will also be playable in game, but they'll often be a Joke Character with almost no use in actual combat.
Obvious Beta: It's pretty clear that Rance Quest wasn't finished and that the Magnum expansion was how the game was meant to be,
Obliviously Evil: For a degree of "evil", if the heroes of Alicesoft games (Rance, of course, being the biggest example) do morally reprehensible thing like rape, torture, etc, it's generally because they run off the Insane Troll Logic that heroes don't do evil things, and they're the heroes, so if they do said act then they're not evil. It's actually a plot point in Rance's case, as he was subjected to a power that uses a person's inner evil to destroy them, and he was unaffected because he doesn't comprehend that he does evil things and thus has no inner evil. It generally helps that the villains in their games are usually far more cruel and depraved than the protagonists and revel in being evil.
Only Sane Man: At least one per game. While this position jumps around a lot in the Rance series, the most frequent holders of it are Kanami and Shizuka, Rouga and Nanus serve as this in their respective games and Akiyama serves as this in Daiteikoku.
The Power of Love: Technically, it's "The Power of H", but it's what powers Kouenja Sakuya's Escalayer form in Beat Angel Escalayer; and Takamori Haruka's and Shihoudou Narika's Blades form in Beat Blades Haruka. In both cases, it helps that love is a factor in recharging their powers faster, but having sex with a certain person gets the... recharging going.
Rated M for Manly: Surprisingly, Rance IX is an example of this. The game is primarily a war drama with a cast made predominantly of incredibly manly men doing manly things, with Rance's antics being sidelined for most of the game.
"Running to the Straight". Originated in Mamatoto as the main battle theme, it was remixed twice. The first time was in Sengoku Rancejust before launching the final assault on Tenma Bridge in the True Route. This was not included in the OST or sound test. The second time was in Rance IXwhich is the final boss theme.
"Ontology". Originated in Kichikuou Rance as Kayblis's theme, it was remixed in Sengoku Rance, spelled "Ontlogy", as the battle theme for the Demon Army, appropriately enough.
"My Glourious Days", Rance's Leitmotif, is actually not a remix from any of the AliceSoft games. It's actually a remix of the National Anthem of Eastern Germany.
Tsundere: Considering the number of games they've made, there are plenty. Interestingly, the two stand out examples from the Rance series, Shizuka and Kanami lean so heavily to the tsun-tsun side that they more or less genuinely hate Rance, with the few genuine moments of kindness they show towards him leaning more towards "He's not a total asshole." than anything else. The straightest tsundere in the Rance series would be Satella, who insists that Rance is her rival despite clearly having feelings for him. Keep in mind that Satella is a demon lord who is most likely hundreds of years old and one of the most powerful characters in the setting.
Now averted with Kanami as of Rance IX. Turns out all it took was for him to actually treat like her a girl and not just gopher/sex toy.
‹bermensch: Both Rance and Zanma Rouga are exceptionally talented young men who rise above their fellow men to tear apart the oppressive system. Rouga is a traditional example while Rance seems more interested in enjoying himself through any means possible, with everything else simply being a side effect.