He's trying to change who he is, something that I couldn't do. If I can help him do that... maybe, maybe I can live with myself.
, talking about his brother.
In the distant future, humankind has not only begun colonizing other star systems, but other galaxies. This tale takes place in the Gemini galaxy, in a system that has been completely taken over by the Boryokudan
, and revolves around the stories of two people.
The first is Azriel Odin, a former Boryokudan assassin who participated in the Gemini wars that led the system to their current state. He had a change of heart, and is now working for the police from the Taurus Galaxy, trying to undermine the Boryokudan. His mission is to find his brother, who he believes is stranded somewhere on the planet Barracus, a Boryokudan-controlled mining world.
The second is Delta-Six, AKA "Charlie," a prisoner in some kind of space rehabilitation facility called Center 7. His memory has been wiped, perhaps multiple times, but despite this he knows he must escape from his prison by any means necessary. Something strange and wrong is happening in the prison (yes, moreso than usual for a place that mind-wipes people whenever they're disobedient), and he must get out before he finishes his training exams.
The game takes a lot of cues from Blade Runner
in terms of aesthetics, and is highly recommended for anyone who enjoys a serious adventure game. As a sidenote, this is possibly the only point-and-click adventure game ever to include gunplay as a developed and re-used mechanic.
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The games use the following tropes:
- Ace Pilot: Kane Harris.
- Affably Evil: The Director is very polite, soft spoken and earnest.
- Amnesiac Dissonance: Mind-wiping is... occasionally imperfect.
- Anachronic Order: At first, it seems that Delta-Six's story happens at the same time as Azriel's, and that Delta-Six is in fact the brother who Azriel is trying to rescue. Actually, the correct order of events is all of Delta Six's story except the opening scene, then the opening scene, then all of Azriel's story.
- Bad Ass: Azriel.
- Bad Boss: The Director. He starts by selling out to the mob, then goes on to to terribly unethical things with his patients, and eventually murders most of his staff.
- Boom, Headshot: There's a mechanic for doing this in the shootouts. It's risky (requiring a long time spent out of cover), but it's an instant kill if pulled off.
- Controllable Helplessness: You cannot stop the mind-wipe. Neither of them.
- Cowboy Cop: A mild example. For an ex-hitman, Azriel is very averse to infringing on other people's rights, and he won't open fire on unidentified targets. On the other hand, he's not above breaking and entering.
- Crapsack World: As you might expect, a whole galaxy run by the mob isn't in the best of shape.
- Cyberpunk with a Chance of Rain
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: The director goes fifty-fifty on this. On the one hand, he foresaw the possibility of a Phlebotinum Rebel, and built fail-safes into all of his personality programs to make them return to him if they ever went astray. On the other hand, he's utterly devoted to proving that his techniques can reshape anyone's personality, and keeps at it long after he should have just given up and killed his more rebellious inmates.
- Dialogue Tree
- The Dragon: Matthius/Balder, arguably.
- The Dulcinea Effect: Azriel to Sayuri, and Delta-Six to Epsilon-Five. Apparently, the two had some manner of connection in the past.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: While no one gets their memory back, and Azriel/Delta-Six has to deal with being freshly mind-wiped in a big dark cosmos, the clean slate ahead of them means the characters end the game upbeat.
- Easter Egg: When playing as Azriel at certain points in the game, you may encounter Cowboy Bebop characters at specific locations. If you return to the same spot after walking away, they won't be there anymore.
- Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: The Director.
- Eye Scream: Balder is blinded and badly scarred by hot steam.
- Fantastic Drug: "Juice", a highly-addictive hallucinogenic, and the backbone of the Boryokudan's income.
- The Fatalist: The Director is a staunch behaviorist, determined to prove that the actions of a person can be determined entirely by the personality he programs into them.
- Fake Memories: The omniscient perspective is reliable—what you see onscreen really happened. Everything else is potentially fake.
- Foregone Conclusion: Once the Anachronic Order is set firmly into place with the Wham Line, it's certain that Sayuri will escape and Delta-Six will not. A player who's figured out the location of the opening scene in the timeline will also know that Giselle will die.
- When Sayuri first meets Azriel on Barracus, she doesn't believe he was formerly an assassin, as he "doesn't have death in [his] eyes".
- Look very carefully at the character portraits...
- Guttural Growler: Azriel.
- Hyperlink Story: The two stories of Azriel and the amnesiac seem completely separate, but they eventually come together. They're both the same person, taking place years apart.
- In the Hood: Sayuri refuses to show her face regardless of circumstances. (This is important: it hides that she's Epsilon-Five.)
- Karmic Death: The Director is killed by the man he trained to be a desensitized killer. If he didn't erase his conscience, he would still live.
- Kleptomaniac Hero: Averted; Azriel frowns upon theft. He won't pick up any items that he doesn't presently need.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia/Loss of Identity: Mind-wiping. Removes personality and memories, retains skills... provided you do it correctly.
- Magic Plastic Surgery: Massive facial reconstruction can apparently be performed at will in this universe. This is a major plot point.
- Manchurian Agent: Matthius Howard, AKA Balder.
- Manipulative Bastard: Giselle.
- Meaningful Name:
- Azriel Odin. Azriel is the angel of death. He was trained as an assassin and kills a bunch of people in the game. Odin is the chief god of Scandinavians. Odin was referred to by about 200 names. In the mythology, he changes shapes. Azriel Odin has his personality changed quite a lot of times.
- Similarly, Balder is also a character in Norse mythology, though in this case, the name is non-indicative. In the mythos, Balder is a good, noble god, described as shining, pure, and loved. This contrasts rather strongly with the vindictive, insane Balder of Gemini Rue.
- Mysterious Waif: Sayuri, first seen digging through a dumpster on Barracus. She becomes a much more important character later on, and she's even playable towards the end. (She can't use guns, but she can hack computer terminals, allowing her to access rooms Azriel can't reach.)
- Nature Versus Nurture: The Director is initially on the side of nurture, and aims to prove it through implantation of Fake Memories. Towards the end of the game, he concludes that this doesn't work—someone who has memories of killing innocent people may still have a nature that prevents them from doing it—so he decides it's more efficient to change people's natures. His plan is to force assassin trainees to kill so many other people that their natures warp and they become desensitized. It completely and utterly backfires on him.
- No New Fashions in the Future: On Barracus, everyone is dressed in traditional Film Noir attire. On Center 7, scientists wear the standard, easily recognizable labcoat while prisoners are apparently provided with a T-shirt and sweatpants.
- Noodle Incident: It's never quite explained how Delta-Six humiliated Balder, although the implications are alarming.
- NPC Amnesia: Usually played straight, with one optional aversion—if you choose the wrong dialogue options when interrogating a clerk at the beginning, he'll refuse to speak to you for the rest of the game.
- Our Graphics Will Suck in the Future
- Percussive Maintenance: One of the many uses of the "kick" command.
- Plot Hole: Why did the two goons bring the data packet to the weather station if they were just going to shoot Azriel?
- Pretty Little Headshots: while there is quite a bit of blood in the game, gunshot wounds only occasionally bleed.
- Professional Killer: Azriel's previous profession. He still has his old tools and instincts.
- Retro Universe
- Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: The game talks about the Taurus and Gemini galaxies. It explicitly says the Boryokudan are running the Gemini galaxy since the war. The terminal map refers to the three inhabited planets in the Gemini system, and clearly shows a single star around which the three planets orbit. Later, a character refers to a gas cloud on that map as a nebula, and says it is "at the top of the Gemini galaxy." Galaxy ≠ Star system.
- Starship Luxurious: Kane's ship has a surprisingly spacious living area.
- Take Cover: A core element of the gunplay. The challenge is in timing when to pop out of cover and be ready to fire, and when to pull the trigger as enemies expose themselves to fire back. Seeing characters enter cover is pretty much the signal to the player that a gunfight is about to break out.
- Tomato in the Mirror: Azriel.
- Twenty Minutes into the Future: It's a space-age society, with all the technological advances that entails, but... besides the odd spaceship and Carbon Ray Stabilizer, most of the technology looks like it must have come from the present day. This might have something to do with Boryokudan management hampering social progress.
- Unexpected Gameplay Change: There are a few times in the game where you will get into gunfights with enemies. Instead of the typical "Use Gun On > Enemy", you're required to reload, pop in and out of cover and take aimed shots.
- Used Future: In every possible way. The Center 7 facility is the shiniest place you'll ever see, and even it is falling apart.
- The Unreveal: You never do learn who Delta-Six used to be.
- Wham Line: A single word in the wrong time, specifically Sayuri's name in Delta Six's story, sets the Anachronic Order in place.
- When It Rains, It Pours: On Barracus, weather control towers are used to make it rain constantly on "mining" days. Something about the "mining" process makes this necessary, but it is not clear why it needs to rain or what is being mined, except that it is needed for space travel. During the game, it is always raining heavily. Despite this, no one wears a raincoat besides Sayuri.
- Yakuza: "Boryokudan" means violence group and refers to what is commonly called Yakuza.
- You Have Researched Breathing: "Don't tell me you've forgotten how to move a box!" Justified because this is a consequence of sloppy mind-wiping.