Video Game: Azure Striker Gunvolt
Azure Striker Gunvolt
(Armed Blue: Gunvolt
in Japan) is an 2D Side-Scrolling Action game developed by Inti Creates with input from Keiji Inafune
(of the Mega Man
and Mighty No. 9
fame) for the Nintendo 3DS eShop.Twenty Minutes into the Future
, people possessing a psychic power known as Septima (Seventh in Japan) start appearing
, and they quickly start being feared by the general populace. The Sumeragi Group, a large, world-wide conglomerate, tasked itself with bringing peace and order to the world by rounding up psychics. But, unbeknownst to the world, this "Psychic Protection" as the conglomerate calls it, takes the form of concentration camps, where the psychics have horrific experiments performed on them on a daily basis.
Opposing them is a resistance group known as QUILL. Upon learning of the atrocities done by the Sumeragi Group, they started working as a human rights organization to protect the psychics. One of their newest members is a 14-year old boy known only by his nickname
: Gunvolt. He, too, is a Septima psychic, with the power to control lightning, called "Azure Blue".
The plot starts when he is sent to assassinate a Sumeragi Group-sponsored virtual idol named Lumen. But he hesitates upon learning that she is but a manifestation of the powers of a young psychic girl named Joule. That meeting will change his destiny, and will put him on a collision course not only with the Sumeragi Group, but also with his comrades.
Inti Creates has also put out a sub-game called Mighty Gunvolt
, a Retraux Mega Man
clone starring both Gunvolt and Beck
from Mighty No. 9
, as well as a side story called Azure Striker Gunvolt: Fleeting Memories, written by the scenario writer for the game itself. You can find the latter, ongoing story here
Inti confirmed on February 27th, 2015 that Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 is in development.
Azure Striker Gunvolt provides examples of:
- Achievement System: The Challenges option in the in-game menu. Many of these are typically "Beat level within x minutes" or "with a rank of B or higher". Complete these to earn rewards (mostly rarer materials) and unlock extra (more difficult) achievements.
- All Just a Dream: After the "normal" ending, you can save your game; when you resume, Gunvolt discovers himself inexplicably back at home despite Asimov having killed both of them in the 'normal' ending, and wonders if it was just a dream. Joule and Lumen only answer with a whimsical "maybe, maybe not".
- Artificial Human: Joule was artificially created in one of the Sumeragi Group's labs.
- Auto-Revive: After the opening level, there's a chance that if you die during a mission, Lumen will appear and her song will automatically revive Gunvolt. It's not guaranteed by any means, but you can improve the chances of this by speaking to Joule before heading out.
- Bare Your Midriff: The main character sports such look in the Japanese version. In the English version (due to poor reception during testing), he instead wears a navy bue shirt underneath his light blue jacket.
- Bait-and-Switch Boss: After making your way through Sinner's Row in pursuit of an adept named Zonda, you discover that a lone wolf named Copen has already taken xem out for you — and they promptly decide to attack you as well. (The roles are reversed in the game's Retraux counterpart, "Mighty Gunvolt", where the Mirror level prepares you for a fight against Copen, only for Xonda to knock him out and fight you instead.)
- Beehive Barrier: The "hexapyles" which block the exits between segments of a level, as well as the energy shield protecting Nova during his battle.
- Blackout Basement: The Stratacombs level. There are various panels you can electrify to activate emergency lighting (of assorted colors), and enemies that provide lighting when zapped by the Flashfield; the Flashfield itself also provides some illumination to help you navigate the dark spaces.
- Bland-Name Product: Merak mentions wanting to play some "Realms of Robocraft"
- Black Eyes of Crazy: All of the bosses Gunvolt fights have those. Daytona even combines it with Red Eyes, Take Warning.
- Bittersweet Ending In the True Ending: Sumeragi is in shambles, Joule lost her body and Gunvolt killed Asimov to save humanity. Gunvolt then leaves QUILL permanently, leaving Zeno and Moniqa astonished at Asimov's death and questioning Gunvolt's mindset.
- Boss Remix: The opening stage theme gets remixed for the showdown between Gunvolt and Asimov, forming a sort of musical Book Ends.
- Boss Rush: As a game that Expies Mega Man, it's inevitable, though it's more spread out than most examples, taking place over the final few missions: First you fight Merak. In the next level you fight Stratos, Jota, and Viper with barely a break inbetween (followed shortly by Elise and Copen). Then, if you qualified for the true final level ("mission: Azure"), Carrera shows up (admittedly late to the whole Boss Rush thing) and you get a rematch with him as well.
- Came Back Wrong: Elise reveals that she killed then ressurected the staff members of the Stratacombs, but "[Sumeragi] should have been more specific" about the details, because she basically turned them into purple zombies.
- Corridor Cubbyhole Run: Massive black swarms of insects buzz their way through the second half of Pharma Lab at regular intervals; your only protection is to zap them with Gunvolt's Flashfield as they swarm by you.
- Double Jump: You have to synthesize a Boost Band for it, and it costs you EP to use. There's even improved versions that allow triple and quadruple jumps, or cost less EP per jump. Whereas in Mighty Gunvolt, Gunvolt gets to double-jump for free.
- Downer Ending: After defeating Nova, Asimov appears and reveals that with both Sumeragi's satellite and Joule, they can turn the tables and wipe out humanity. When Gunvolt refuses his offer, Asimov takes out Copen's gun (presumably having killed Copen to get it) and shoots both Gunvolt and Joule, before deciding "plans can be rewritten." If you didn't collect the seven secrets, the story ends there (downer ending indeed).
- Dual Boss: Elise has split/multiple personalities, and this manifests as two separate characters who you fight simultaneously. You also have to finish them off simultaneously, or they will simply revive their counterpart and the fight keeps going. And then there's her third personality, whose presence ups the difficulty of (and is the whole reason behind) the game's Boss Rush later on....
- Elemental Powers:
- Eleventh Hour Superpower: Lumen's "Reincarnation" Septima triggers this on occasion if you die in a stage (after the opening), which gives you unlimited EP for the remainder of the mission as well as infinite jumps and air dashes, though it also murders your mission rank. Gunvolt obtains these powers permanently after Joule's Septima fuses with him in the game's finale.
- Everything's Worse with Bees: They're not bees specifically, but when going through Pharma Lab in pursuit of "Lord of the swarm" Stratos, you do have to deal with massive black swarms of insects that occasionally sweep through the level, damaging anything (including enemies) in their path.
- Foreshadowing: Among other things, when you're attempting the final levels Moniqa and Zeno mention that Asimov has gone off somewhere, and openly wonder if he's decided to follow you up, perhaps looking for the right timing to pull off a Big Damn Heroes moment. They're right that he's following you, but wrong about the reason why.
- Final Exam Boss: Copen's arsenal includes signature moves from the various Adepts you've defeated (three at first, later all six), as it's revealed he's been shadowing you and claiming what's left of them after each battle.
- Fun with Acronyms: The name of La Résistance is officially the "Quorum for Unrestricted Information, Law, and Liberty", but it sounds much cooler when people just refer to it as "QUILL".
- Gender Neutral Writing: The game uses the pronouns "xe" and "xem" for bigender Zonda.
- Genre Savvy: If you think you can just stand your ground and block the red Mantis's Macross Missile Massacre attack as easily as you did when fighting the green Mantises earlier, think again — their missiles release energy balls when destroyed, and the Flashfield doesn't block energy attacks. (Plus, since you're currently using the Flashfield at the time, those energy attacks bypass your Prevasion Chain and hit you directly.)
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Lots of G-rated curse words (In the English version) to keep it in the Teen rating (which has since been downgraded to an E10 rating). Though it's not hard to imagine what they mean with terms like "horsejitt" and "jockblocked".
- Harmless Freezing: Get hit by one of Elise's special attacks and it'll take quite some effort to break out of it — during which you take extra damage from attacks.
- Innocent Cohabitation: Joule starts living with Gunvolt after he rescues her from the Sumeragi Group.
- Info Dump: Most of the background information about the current state of the world you learn as Gunvolt narrates the Time Skip between the opening level and the rest of the game.
- Intentional Engrish for Funny: The opening and closing text screens for Mighty Gunvolt use this as an homage to the poor translations of some NES games.
- Item Crafting: The bonus round at the end of each mission, and assorted Achievements, award you with materials of assorted rarity, which you can take to a dealer to synthesize equipment for Gunvolt.
- La Résistance: QUILL.
- Macross Missile Massacre: Seen with both the Mantis bosses as well as stationary robots that wait for you to get close before firing. In either case, Gunvolt's Flashfield easily neutralizes the incoming swarm.
- Magic Music: Joule's psychic ability, Cyber Diva, manifests itself through song.
- Mega Corp.: The Sumeragi Group in spades.
- Mecha-Mooks: Make up most of the fighting force of the Sumeragi Group.
- Mission Control: Your fellow QUILL members (Asimov, Moniqa, and Zeno) exist primarily through communications chatter between them and Gunvolt.
- Multiple Endings: "Seven secrets, in the right hands, have the power to change everything..." Did you find them all before the final battle against the Big Bad?
- Nintendo Hard: Not really the case when playing normally, but aiming for S+ rank definitely requires alot of skill and practice. You need to know the layout of the map to be able to get through in a quick time, and the layout of the enemies to know where you can combo kill and to avoid damage. On top of that getting hit makes you lose your Kudos, while using a skill or touching a checkpoint resets them. So basically to get the most kudos for your score you have go through a level untouched without checkpoints and get a perfect against the stage boss.
- No Damage Run: There are a few achievements for completing certain levels without taking damage. Also note that netting a lot of Kudos mandates taking no damage, because it resets to zero every time you get hit (even if your Prevasion chain blocks the actual damage).
- Not Quite Flight: Gunvolt can use his powers to slow down his descent after a jump. Combine it with a dash-jump and you can cross major gaps in a single bound (EP permitting).
- One-Hit Kill: If you fail to stop Stratos's Nemesis Fang, or can't escape the blast radius of Carerra's ultimate attack before it goes off, nothing will save you (except maybe Lumen's song).
- One-Hit Polykill: Charge up the Naga to unleash a blast that pierces (and tags) multiple enemies in one shot. Alternately, the Vasuki doesn't penetrate a target but it will tag up to three additional targets (same or different) when it hits.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Gunvolt. His "civilian" name is a secret.
- Orcus on His Throne: One of the bosses, Merak, never leaves his comfy throne, even in battle. Justified in that it also doubles as a floating mecha and his powers enable him to attack Gunvolt through wormholes.
- Our Centaurs Are Different: Daytona (Viper) wears Sumeragi armor featuring mechanical side-packs that can turn into horse-like hind legs to give himself a speed boost.
- Pocket Protector: If you collected all seven jewels, had Joule fashion them into a necklace for Gunvolt and then equipped it going into the final level, it'll save Gunvolt from getting shot by Asimov, and you can reach the True Final Boss to get the better ending.
- Power Nullifier: Carrera's magnetic attacks (and Copen's gun) can neutralize an Adept's septimal energy. In Gunvolt's case this means a "chaff" status that lasts for about 10 seconds before Gunvolt can recharge his EP and use his Flashfield (or the Prevasion Chain) again.
- Psychic Children: Most psychics are children due to them recently appearing; the number is slowly growing.
- Psychic Powers: All of the Adepts, with exact powers ranging from Elemental Powers to a Literal Split Personality.
- Puzzle Boss: The Big Bad and his septima are protected by an energy shield, and you can't damage them at all until you can figure out how to get past that shield. Similarly, you can't tag the True Final Boss (Asimov, the other Azure Striker) until you figure out how to get through his septimal power either.
- Rank Inflation: The mission ranks don't stop at just S — there's an S+ if you do really well.
- Rapunzel Hair: Gunvolt wears his hair in a braid that goes down to his waist. It was initially removed in the American version to "appeal to 10-to-14-year-old boys", but put back before release. Keiji Infaune himself emphasized that it would be.
- Retraux: "Mighty Gunvolt" is done in the style of an 8- or 16-bit sidescroller, similar to later Mega Man games and early Mega Man X games.
- Rise to the Challenge: Halfway through Merak's underwater base, you have to climb up a vertical shaft as it fills with water. You can't use Gunvolt's Flashfield powers underwater, and you'll start taking damage if you don't reach air soon.
- Seven Deadly Sins: All of the bosses of the Sumeragi Group (save for Nova) have personality traits and titles linked to the Seven Deadly Sins. Each of them are: Viper: Wrath; Elise: Envy; Stratos: Gluttony; Merak: Sloth; Jota: Pride; Carrera; Greed; and Zonda: Lust. (The only time you hear these referred to in-game are when Copen takes out Elise, saying "and so envy succumbs to greed...")
- Shielded Core Boss:
- Mantis, a green metal mech first fought as the mini-boss of the opening level. Once you do enough damage to the head, it collapses and the core on its back is exposed; destroy the core to take it out. (You even get an achievement if you can take it out without it rebooting; easy with some level grinding and/or Offensive Skills.)
- In a rare heroic example, Gunvolt starts the game equipped with a pendant called the Prevasion Chain: Any time you aren't using his Flashfield to attack, any damage will subtract from your EP instead of your HP. The game even admits that since you can recharge your EP at any time, as long as you're not attacking, you're basically invincible as long as you can keep your EP up.
- Shoot the Bullet: You can do this to Copen's normal revolver bullets, though it takes more than one shot to do so.
- One of Merak's attacks greatly resembles the "Worm Smasher" of Shu Shirakawa's Granzon.
- When discussing a mission taking place in a haunted facility Gino tells Gunvolt he should bring a proton pack.
- The secret weapon Dullahan, which is just a gun that can't tag enemies. No electrical gimmick aside from skills to take down enemies, just shooting them with bullets. So basically it's a Mega Buster.
- Spiritual Successor: Yet another one of Mega Man (Classic), Zero and ZX series specifically.
- Status Ailment: The game officially lists two: "Chaff" is a loss of all Gunvolt's EP that takes much longer to recover from than simple overheating, and "Stone" is a Harmless Freezing effect from one specific boss attack.
- Status Buff: How Joule's power works: when she sings she enhances the power of other psychics around her. The Sumeragi Group use this to turn her into a living psychic sonar. For Gunvolt, this means a glowing Battle Aura and being able to use his Flashfield indefinitely without fear of overheating.
- Super Move Portrait Attack: Any time a character (usually an Adept, but also including Copen) uses their ultimate Secret Art (typically an Offensive Skill) in battle.
- Taken for Granite: Played more like Harmless Freezing than anything truly serious, but if you make eye contact with Elise's purple ray attack, you'll be frozen in place and become extremely vulnerable to further damage.
- Theme Music Power-Up: Under certain conditions, the stage BGM changes to a full vocal performance of one of Lumen's songs. More specifically:
- When Gunvolt obtains enough Kudos on a stage, the series theme song, "Beyond the Blue" plays.
- When Lumen reincarnates Gunvolt, "Reincarnation" plays.
- These are also the only songs to be translated into English, as "Eternal Blue" and "The One" respectively, promotional versions having been made and aired on the creator Inti Creates' radio show, Interactive Wave. You can find them at the 0:50 mark and the 15:20 mark here. It's worth noting that while the songs are in English, the rest is in Japanese.
- Theme Naming: The names of Gunvolt's guns all have some relation to how many enemies they can tag.
- Cerberius was a three-headed dog, it can tag three enemies.
- Orochi, Naga, Mizuchi, and Vasuki all refer to mythological serpents with varying numbers of heads. They can tag eight, five, one, and four enemies respectively
- Technos was a music duo, it can tag two enemies.
- Lastly, a Dullahan was a headless knight, and it is a weapon that cannot tag enemies.
- Time Skip: Six months passed after the first mission, during which Gunvolt set up a secluded apartment and took assorted jobs to pay rent (mostly from QUILL, as it proved difficult to find normal work with a label like "wanted terrorist" branded on him).
- Turns Red: Bosses' HP meters are clearly divided into three sections, and there's a change in attack pattern at each one (with the last typically including their Super Move Portrait Attack).
- Wave Motion Gun: The Mantis minibosses, in addition to their machine guns and rocket launchers, also carry a huge laser cannon (though it's usually fired from afar, before the battle even starts). Then there's Merak's ultimate attack, the "Lazy Laser", which combines a huge laser beam with his portal skills to strike from multiple angles simultaneously.
- Wretched Hive: Sinner's Row is apparently the city's red-light district.
Azure Striker Gunvolt: Fleeting Memories provides examples of:
- After the End: The story states the game takes place after Adepts have caused the total breakdown of society in most of the world. Where Gunvolt lives is a practical safe haven, and the same can be said for this story so far.
- All There in the Manual: A lot of information about Gunvolt's world is provided here.
- Fantastic Racism: Loads of it. This is the reason why normal people like Dr. Kamizono are willing to test on Adepts.
- Having a Blast: An robber wearing a bandana has the power to throw fireballs that explode. It's, quite fittingly, referred to as the "Explosion" septima.
- Hero Worship: Miu LOVES Himeshiro, and seems like she could rant for hours about her. Himeshiro gets flustered when she does this.
- In Spite of a Nail: Psychics are apparently nothing new in this world, and have existed for much longer than the Adepts. But the overall culture of the world (at least, before the Adepts came in), is nearly the same, and the difference in technology level is merely the result of research into such psychic powers.
- Japanese Delinquent: A bandit, who attempts to rob Rei and Miu in chapters 10-12.
- The Obsidian Corps are a whole gang of these, and Himeshiro's target.
- Life Energy: The Lifewave, the source the Adepts tap into.
- Magic A Is Magic A: Hoo boy. To summarize, there are seven levels of magic users in the world, each of which are determined by how much someone is connected to the Lifewave. The 1st to the 3rd are basically your standard Muggles, but those attached to the fourth wave often serve as seers, the fifth wave are capable of minor supernatural powers, and the sixth wave are powerful enough to be treated as Jesus Christ-like figures in this universe. (Although No Such Thing as Wizard Jesus is played straight.) Then the Adepts came, who are even more powerful, and much more common than before. This by and large is the reason for The End of the World as We Know It.
- Orphan's Ordeal: Rei and Miu's parents were killed midway through the story by an Adept. They don't take it too easily, but some of their distant relatives take them in.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: A big deal is made out of Himeshiro supposedly doing this. Himeshiro herself doesn't see it, and Rei doesn't trust her.
- Power of the Void: Himeshiro can cause things to disappear and reappear at whim.