You'll vomit with excitement! You'll puke with pleasure! You'll shit with fear!
— Advertisement for Illbleed
Illbleed is an obscure, tongue-in-cheek Survival Horror game for the Sega Dreamcast that parodies American horror B-movies. It follows a group of horror movie aficionados (borderline Emotionless Girl Eriko Christy, wannabe psychic Michel Waters, average Joe Kevin Kertsman, and dim-witted Boisterous Bruiser and slasher-movie fan Randy Fairbanks) who receive guest passes to Illbleed, a horror amusement park built by reclusive movie director Michael Reynolds, who has filled his park with six terrifying attractions based on his movies, and promised to give one hundred million dollars to anyone who makes it through all six attractions without chickening out. Kevin, Michel, and Randy are gung-ho, but Eriko smells Hype Backlash in the making and opts out... until her friends fail to come back from their trip to Illbleed, and she's forced to investigate...Players control Eriko as she travels through the six attractions trying to rescue her friends, facing foes ranging from the horrifying (like the vengeful, flamethrower-toting Gale Banballow in "Homerun of Death") to the ridiculous (the "Cake from Hell" in "Killer Department Store"). Each of the six stages is laden with traps that can harm Eriko, release monsters, or will just attempt to scare her to death. Fortunately, you have a special "horror monitor" that allows you to detect and tag traps (though use of the horror monitor is limited by your character's "adrenaline" level).A very thorough Let's Play by Supergreatfriend can be found here. Gameinformer's blind Super Replay can be found here.
This game contains examples of:
Abusive Parents: Eriko's father put her through scare tests on an incredibly consistent basis when she was five. Though, if the picture after the credits is to be believed, and some of the dialogue, there was a time he cared for her.
All There in the Manual: Other than Eriko (who is actually given a bit more backstory in the manual), the backstories of the other characters aren't explored in the game at all.
The manual also explains the origin of Dummyman and some of the enemies in the game, along with adding a bit more backstory to the attractions in the game (With the exception of Reynold's Museum).
Bittersweet Ending: In the second playthrough of the game, Eriko mentions, at the endgame, that, because of Michael Reynolds, her father, she lost her sense of fear, and wanted to get that back. After her dad finally manages to scare her, he ends up dying. Eriko says that he may have finally scared her, but he lost himself in the process. The end credits even change from "Time to get Ill" to a more somber version of the main menu theme to the game.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: The wall between the characters and the attractions themselves is broken once every level. You beat one of the (animatronic) bosses by killing its operator (who may or may not be animatronic himself). In another level you enter the boss arena only to meet a pair of maintenance workers who are repairing it. Also, there's an entire level based around the murders of several park employees, ostensibly by the villain of that level's attraction. The player is a potential suspect, and the game suggests that your "abnormality," as evidenced by purchasing Illbleed, is what drove you to commit the murder.
Brick Joke: Fall-Down Bear appears in the first level when you defuse the TV trap there. Another TV-related trap in Killer Department Store features him again, if you don't defuse the trap. Axes can make him fall down too.
Crapsack World: So we're talking about some crazy horror movie director who makes an entire theme park dedicated to basically killing people. How does he not get put in jail? Furthermore, events later in the game seem to point towards the fact no one is at all against the concept of the theme park, let alone the number of people who die there...
Not to mention that, according to Jorg, "more than a hundred visitors die in this park every day," as well as Illbleed's "morgue" in the Killerman level which appears to be one giant pit the size of a warehouse filled with what appears to be rotting bodies.
Deal with the Devil: Michael Reynolds turns into a blob of demonic goo and then into a detached brain with tentacles and wings that shoots ghosts and gunk. One cannot do any of that without the help of some otherworldly malevolence.
The Ditz: Randy; it's made even worse if you fail to find his brain before turning him back from being a woodpuppet.
Could classify as Body Horror, but adds as a gameplay bonus. He's got fewer points to deactivate traps, making him ideal for a Self-Imposed Challenge. His dialog is also turned into hilarious gibberish.
The Dog Was the Mastermind: Played with in the "Killerman" event. Midway through, you're asked to finger a suspect for the role of Killerman (if you're right, you win more money). Besides the proper suspects you've encountered, the choices for who may be the murderous Killerman includes... Killerman, and the player. The latter is explained that playing Illbleed drove you insane and made you go on a killing spree.
Engrish: From the Revenge of the Queen Worm stage, there are billboard advertisements for fake movies. Most of their taglines are in poorly-written English, including such gems as "GODDLA: Size is problem."
Final Boss: In the "bad" and "good" endings, you get to choose one final boss from a list of three. They are listed here in order of difficulty:
Dollarchura, the boss of "Killer Department Store" that you originally defeated by stealing his controls and making him jump into walls until he died.
OHNOMAN (yes, in all caps), a headless fellow with jaunty striped pants who attacks you with a pair of sickles.
Bullstinger, a mutated and more powerful version of an enemy from one of Crazy Games/Climax Graphics's earlier Dreamcast games, Blue Stinger.
And in the "true" ending, you have to fight Eriko's deranged father, Michael Reynolds, first as a giant zombie head that randomly rises from and submerges into a giant pool of gray liquid and shoots rainbows out of the cut in his head, and again as a bat-winged, demon-faced, wiggly-arm-tentacled brain that emerges from the giant zombie head after you kill it.
Fright Deathtrap: All the levels are positively covered in traps. They are not immediately fatal with each one varying in how scary it is, but running into too many in a row will cause your character to die of a heart attack. To prevent their layout from being too predictable, each trap is not guaranteed to be active/inactive during a run of a level.
Gameplay and Story Integration: Eriko's "fearlessness" translates into her being the only character to recover immediately upon knockdown, while all other characters need a Shock Bracer to do that. She doesn't recover immediately at the start of the Final Boss fight, a sign that she's gotten her fear back.
Gimmick Level: Every level past the first seems to have a gimmick.
Hub Level: Contains shops, entrances to the various levels, and a graveyard with a tutorial and some free items.
Kill It with Fire: Gale Banballow in "Home Run of Death." He's horribly burned, and lugs around a flamethrower with an attached tank of fuel.
This is also the prescribed method of killing Rachel, The Queen Worm.
Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: The sixth level is filled with these, from main hero Cork Inda being a cross between Woody from Toy Story and Indiana Jones from the boss, Zodick the Hellhog, being an obvious Shout-Out to Sonic the Hedgehog.
Mascot Mook: The Crash Test Dummies and their leader, Dummyman
Mind Screw: Remember how strange and confusing Panic! was? Well, Illbleed makes it look as clear and sensible as the "DO NOT EAT" directions on a silica packet. No kidding, this game technically qualifies as Dada art.
Off the Rails: "Killerman" is set up as a murder mystery in New York, but then the attraction fails to start, leaving the player character to find out that somebody has adopted the Killerman identity and is killing staff members of Illbleed, and the player character and Jorg have to figure out who it is, while fighting off enemies from previous and later attractions.
One-Winged Angel: The True Ending's final boss Michael Reynolds when, after being defeated as a giant zombie head, transforms into a demonic tentacled brain with bat wings.
OOC Is Serious Business: Eriko's lack of any sense of fear translates in gameplay to her instantly recovering when ambushed by a monster whereas all her friends will helplessly crawl along the ground for varying lengths of time before standing back up to fight. When she first sees the true final boss, she is knocked down and stays down for longer than any other character, indicating that for the first time in years, she's utterly terrified of what she's seeing.
Sanity Meter: Your adrenaline meter, in a few ways. It's used to work the Horror Monitor, which marks traps and items. It's refilled by defusing traps and killing monsters; basically, proving to yourself that the frightening things can be overcome restores your will to go on.
Sequel Hook: The True Ending has one, involving another horror land called "The Arcade", which, if you look closely, not only bears a suspicious resemblance to the Illbleed tickets, but also has Michael Reynolds' name on it...
Shaped Like Itself: In stage five, one of the possible suspects for the Killerman murders is... well, Killerman.It's considered the correct answer, if only by virtue of every other answer being unambiguously wrong.
Shout-Out: Cork from "Toy Hunter" looks like a cross between Woody from Toy Story and Indiana Jones, with William Riker's beard thrown in for good measure. His robotic companion, Potedon, also has the same markings and color scheme as Buzz Lightyear's chest, buttons and all.
Also, the boss of the next-to-last level is a demonic Sonic the Hedgehog, complete with rings. Sometimes he'll even do Sonic's old "uh-uh-uh" finger waggle.
"The Revenge of Queen Worm" seems to be a big shout out to Tremors, due to worms being able to detect you if you're on dirt.
Killerman is a violent riff on Pepsiman, the old Japanese mascot for Pepsi Cola.
Stripperiffic: On a second playthrough, do not save any of Eriko's friends. As Eriko advances through each stage, she loses progressively more clothing with each one. By the time she hits the "true" final stage, she's dressed in bandages and extremely tattered undergarments.
Related to the plot, disturbingly enough - the game's announcer is so turned on by her that he jumps down and starts the final battle. Which is made a lot worse when it's revealed that he's her freaking father. Oh, Illbleed.
Lose every friend including Jorg and Eriko will be clad in a few mud splatters and blood stains.
And then there's Sexy Doll in Toy Hunter who is clad in a tiny bikini and has a major case of Camel Toe on top of it all.
Tyop on the Cover: Woodpuppets is misspelled as Woodpupppets on the sign in front of its entrance.
Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay: Twice in the game, the player character comes across a boss that's literally invulnerable, then remembers that he or she is in a theme park, defeating them by going into the control room and disabling them from there.
Video Game Cruelty Potential: Randy is somehow still alive despite the fact that he lost his brain. You can turn him back to normal by putting his brain back in... or DON'T and have him with you as a living, walking vegetable for the rest of the game. Complete with incomprehensible dialogue for additional comedic effect.
We All Live in America: On top of the Japanese love of Personality Blood Types, the store prices in the "Killer Department Store" level look like they simply swapped out the yen figures for dollars, leading to the sight of burgers that cost $2,000. (Even then, $20 for a burger is highway robbery by American standards... but in Japan, where beef is a delicacy, it's merely expensive.)
When Trees Attack: Well, it would have if the animatronics hadn't broken down before the boss fight. You still end up fighting the tree.
You Gotta Have Blue Hair: While all the male characters have normal colored hair, Eriko and Michel have purple and green hair respectively. The only one who breaks the trend is Eriko's Dad in the true ending who has blue hair.