Video Game: Immortal Souls
is a series of Flash games published in 2010 by indie developer Comic Book RPGs, best described as being like a combination of one-sided Puzzle Quest
, and a Linear Visual Novel
, with a Gothic Horror
The series features two "good" vampires, Raven and John Turner. Raven is a hunter against the shadow world, to get revenge on the creatures who killed her family. John, meanwhile, is a former street racer who was turned by a crazy powerful vampire called the Black Witch, and now spends his time trying to live a normal life as a nocturnal taxi driver.
On one side of them is the shadow world, full of all manner of nightmarish creatures; fellow vampires, zombies, ghosts, ghouls, werewolves, mutants, and other monsters, most of which are bent on killing anyone or thing that crosses their path. On the other side of them is the Templars, technologically-advanced human Church Militants
bent on destroying all shadow creatures, even "good" ones like John and Raven. In between is more normal humans
, unaware of their status as prey caught in the middle. Including John's Love Interest
Allison Donovan, who works as his dispatcher... and has a brother in a coma that she doesn't know John caused. And of course there are plenty of troublemaking humans as well. Finally, watching over all this is the shadowy Isis Corporation
that Raven works for, dedicated to keeping a balance between the angels and demons, the normal world and the shadow world.
Gameplay is a combination of dialogue scenes done in comic book art style with Character Portraits
and Speech Bubbles
, and battles against enemies. Each enemy has "armor" of a certain color protecting them, and the player has to match colored tiles in chains of one or more to deal one of four types of attacks (Melee, Vampire, Guns, and Martial) to break the matching armor and deal damage. There are also various special attacks the player can use either by earning Tech Points
in battle, or by purchasing special powerups with gold trophies you earn by beating battles under a certain number of turns. Finally, after each battle you get to buy equipment to give stat boosts, and level up to earn skill points. Whew.
There are two games in the series, a full downloadable game for purchase called Immortal Souls: John Turner #1
, and a free browser-based game called Immortal Souls: Dark Crusade
, both of which feature John as the main character. There were supposed to be more games released, including one called Immortal Souls: Codename: Raven #1
), as well as a webcomic... but the developer seems to have closed up shop, as the company's website is gone, and the company's social media accounts haven't been updated in ages, meaning it's most likely an Orphaned Series
The games contain examples of:
- 100% Completion: Getting all the gold trophies and achievements.
- Action Girl: Raven, though her personality is more like that of a heroic Dark Action Girl.
- Ambiguously Evil: The Black Witch is a nasty piece of work to be sure, but she doesn't seem actively malevolent so much as wrapped up in her own insane desires and motivations, as well as often doing things just to see what will happen.
- Anti-Hero: John is a Type II, in that he has a lot of typical heroic traits but has to be pressured into helping and would rather just be left alone. Isis Corporation and the Templars are both Type III/IV in that they have good intentions and goals but engage in a lot of dubious tactics to achieve them.
- Anti-Villainous Breakdown: Dark Crusade is pretty much one continuous one for Desmond, due both John's indignant retorts and goading and John breaking free of his mind control and handily beating his knights. Culminates in a combination of outright panicking and him trying to coldly order John to commit Psychic-Assisted Suicide.
- The Atoner: Part of John's attraction to Allison is that back when he was human he accidentally hit her brother with a car and put him into a coma, and he wants to try to make it up to her somehow without her finding out he was responsible.
- Awesome McCoolname: Desmond Benedict the Third. Which he loves to announce whenever relevant in an appropriately overblown manner.
- Badass Cape: Desmond has one attached to his Power Armor, seemingly to mark himself off as leader compared to his otherwise identically-armored knights.
- Badass Longcoat: John and Raven both wear black leather trenchcoats that serve as their "armor" in terms of game mechanics.
- Balance Between Good and Evil: The Isis Corp technically isn't dedicated to doing good so much as they are to just maintaining the Masquerade and the balance between the mundane and shadow worlds.
- Batter Up: John's choice of weapon for his Melee attack. Enchanted with glowy runes, to boot.
- Belief Makes You Stupid: Inverted. The Templars are by far the most technologically advanced group in the setting, and they consider remaining so an important part of their divine mission. They also engage in "research" and experiments on the shadow creatures.
- Big Bad: Draconis in John Turner #1.
- Black and Grey Morality: The "bad guys" consist of malevolent monsters who will kill anything they come across, including other shadow creatures. The "good guys" consist of a shadowy Mega Corp. more concerned with keeping the balance than active do-gooding and is not above heavily manipulating people, a group of arrogant jerkass Knights Templar who engage in very dubious experiments, and a guy caught in between them who does care about protecting innocents but would really prefer to be left alone and have someone else handle it.
- Can Not Spit It Out: All of John's conversations with Allison, whether it's not telling her he's a vampire, not telling her he's the one who accidentally put her brother in a coma, or not telling her he's in love with her. She has trouble admitting the latter feeling is mutual, too, though she does manage to get as far as asking him out for coffee once.
- Chick Magnet: John seems to be pretty good at attracting the attentions of the ladies without even trying, though he only has eyes for Allison.
- Curse Cut Short: After John suggests tasing Raven again just to make sure her mind control has been removed:
Raven: Touch me again and I'll shove that taser up your—
John: YIKES! OK! I get the point.
- Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: If John ever gets killed in a battle, the games just let you try again without any penalty. You even keep any XP and money from however many enemies you killed before dying.
- Did Mom Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: At one point John finds out that Isis Corporation has moved a clueless Allison and her taxi service into one of their offices, to provide "protection" for her while John does their bidding.
- Dork Knight: John, so much. He's a complete badass who is highly moral when it comes to caring about saving innocents (though you do have to drag him into it), but comes off as very naive and quirky at times. He's especially dorky and awkward when talking to or about Allison, and whenever the Black Witch tries flirting with him.
- Elegant Gothic Lolita: Juliet and the female members of the Black Martyr vampire gang dress like this.
- Everything Trying to Kill You: Literally, at the end of John Turner #1. John even asks in exasperation, "What, is the whole city after me?!" (Yes. Yes they are.)
- Good Versus Good: The only reason John and Desmond are even rivals to begin with is Desmond's pigheaded insistence that all vampires must be bad. Tellingly, when Draconis mind-controls everyone into wanting to kill John, Desmond is the only one other than Allison that John shows any concern about.
- Gun Fu: Some of John's gun-fighting animations are reminiscent of this.
- Guns Akimbo: How John employs his Gun attack.
- Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Inverted. John likes his guns, while Raven prefers a large medieval sword.
- Hero Antagonist: Desmond's Templars are technically "good guys", in that they're dedicated to wiping out the demons and monsters to protect humanity and serve God. They just can't/won't accept that not all of the shadow creatures are malevolent, and thus tend to be one of the biggest thorns in John's side in the games.
- Heroic Build: Everyone in this game who does any combat has completely ridiculously developed and sculpted muscles, including the women, the thugs, and all of the monsters. Even the furry ones and the ghosts!
- Hunter of His Own Kind: Raven loves killing vampires, as well as any other shadow creatures she comes across, and became a vampire specifically to do so, so she could get revenge on some of them killing her family.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: John really wants to go back to being human again, or, barring that, at least be left alone to drive taxis and woo his cute dispatcher.
- I Love You, Vampire Son: Implied to be at least part of why the Black Witch turned John. Unfortunately for her, John is not only not interested, but actively repulsed by her flirtations.
- The Ingenue: Allison exists mainly to be a sweet, kindly, innocently unwitting motivator for John.
- Innocent Blue Eyes: Played with. Desmond has them to go with his Holy Paladin outer image, but tends to be a jerkass who engages in dubious tactics. Allison is a more straight example to go with her Hair and Heart of Gold and Ingenue personality as noted above.
- The Knights Templar: Desmond and his followers seem to be somehow a present-day version of the order, since they wear white and red Power Armor styled after the ancient order's look, use the order's cross as emblems, and also have the ancient order's motto and name written in Latin on their base's decorations. Of course, heaven only knows how they went from a disbanded order to a group of Mad Scientist-esque warriors with Halo-level weaponry. ...literally, as one plotline involves Desmond trying to access an artifact to learn the order's history. Doesn't work, since the artifact is booby-trapped. Well, whoops.
- Living Shadow: The Black Witch is cursed with one that is partly attached to her, and that she can wield like a set of demonic Combat Tentacles.
- Luck-Based Mission: Because the armor colors and puzzle tiles are random, the combination you end up with can mean the difference between a cakewalk that easily nets you a gold trophy, and a long drawn out battle that drains all your hit points.
- Mega Corp.: The Isis Corporation, who seem to be the big shots in the shadow world which even the gangs defer to.
- My God, You Are Serious:
Desmond: We're being overrun! Fall back to a defensive position! We must cover our exit... send in the mechanized tank!
A... tank?! Seriously, a tank
?! Oh boy
- My Sensors Indicate You Want to Tap That: When speculating why the Black Witch lost in a battle against John, Desmond notes that his "sensors detected pheromones release", "possibly clouding her judgment".
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: At one point John finds himself having to escape from a Templar base, so he frees the other monsters they had imprisoned, thinking they'll help distract the Templars. Which they do... but they also attack him too, as well as going back to their malevolent ways against the humans afterwards. Whoops.
- Nineties Anti-Hero: Both subverted and played straight. John looks and dresses the part to a tee with his trenchcoat, ripped build, dark jeans, Guns Akimbo, baseball bat, and street racer background, and his fighting animations are appropriately gritty. But personality-wise he's essentially a Dork Knight, albeit a very reluctant one. Raven is a much straighter example, with similar dress and build and a hard-nosed ruthless revenge-driven personality.
- No Challenge Equals No Satisfaction: In John Turner #1, Big Bad Draconis tells John that he can mind-control Allison into forgiving him for her brother, and into saying she loves him. John considers it, but declines, saying he'd rather hope to someday hear it all from her and have her actually mean it.
- Parasol of Pain: The female Black Martyrs wield these.
- Precision F-Strike: By way of Symbol Swearing and a dose of Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
Desmond: Subject 2401, you must obey-!
John: For the last time, my name is John! @&#*! Turner!
- Redshirt Army: According to Word of God, the Templar foot soldiers are essentially this.
- Save the Hero Antagonist: At one point John saves Desmond from a malfunctioning artifact by destroying it, even though Desmond had been trying to kill him up to that point and doing so put Allison in potential danger. When Desmond asks why, John explains that not all vampires are bad, which causes Desmond to Heroic BSOD and leave.
- Secret Test: The Isis Corp agents are very fond of tricking John into being in harm's way, or even attacking him, then claiming they were testing him to see if he'd be strong enough for their missions. It's not made clear whether they're telling the truth, or if they're lying and really wanted to kill him and just figured that since he lived they might as well put him to use. Turns out it's the former, as the agents who actually attack him are only pretending to be working for Isis Corp.
- Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains: Isis Corp Agents wear Badass Suits, John and Raven wear skintight but fully concealing clothes, and the Templars wear full-body Power Armor. Meanwhile the Black Witch and Juliet are Stripperiffic via Clothing Damage for the former and Of Corsets Sexy for the latter.
- Shout Out: One of the Isis Corp agents looks like Agent Smith and fights like Neo. One of the games also has a chapter called "It Belongs In a Museum". Also, possibly John being called Subject 2401.
- Tank Goodness: The Templars have a giant holy tank. With lasers and missiles.
- The Taxi: Allison owns and is dispatcher for a taxicab service, which John works at.
- This Was His True Form: Whenever a werewolf is killed, they revert to human form.
- Threat Backfire:
John: You'll pay for what you've done here, you self-righteous bastards!
Desmond: Indeed, we shall be rewarded greatly in the pinnacle of Heaven.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Granted, Desmond's a bit of a jerk from the get-go, but in John Turner #1 he's mostly just a self-righteous twit, with his actions still being mostly understandable from his POV, and he even shows a glimmer of a bit of a Jerkass Realization at the end. In Dark Crusade, however, he's seen engaging in only barely justifiable experiments, and acts increasingly more hostile and lacking in empathy to John, culminating in trying to coldly order John, whom he thinks is mind-controlled, into committing Psychic-Assisted Suicide. Yikes. Add on a possible dose of Ignored Epiphany too, depending on whether you read Dark Crusade as a sequel to JT#1 or a retelling.
- Too Kinky to Torture: Not only does the Black Witch not mind getting beat up, tortured, or ordered around, she even claims to enjoy it, and at least voluntarily submits to it even though she's easily powerful enough to resist everyone if she wants.
- Twenty Minutes into the Future: At first the game setting looks like it's present day, just with vampires, ghosts, zombies, and so on. Then the Templars show up with Power Armor and Energy Weapons.
- Twice Shy: John and Allison, though Allison does manage to make some first moves eventually.
- Vegetarian Vampire: John comments at one point that he doesn't drink human blood, though what he does drink instead isn't mentioned.
- Villainous Crush: The Black Witch is very much into John, openly flirting with him every time they meet. It's implied the attraction is why she turned him, and Isis Corp also "recruited" John mainly so they could use her attraction to their advantage. John is pretty squicked out by the whole deal (mostly understandably pissed off she turned him into a vampire), but does take (non-sexual) advantage of the matter sometimes.
- Visible Silence: Used frequently, due to the static Character Portraits and Speech Bubbles used for the dialogue.
- X Meets Y: The game's own marketing blurbs describe it as Puzzle Quest meets Bejeweled meets Final Fantasy.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Desmond calls John out on releasing the Templars' monster prisoners to try to help himself, thus putting the regular populace in danger again.
- Wild Card: The Black Witch, who, at one point or another, has helped every faction we see in the games. Especially in John Turner #1, where she gave an artifact to four rival factions. Why? Because she wants to see what will happen.
- Writers Cannot Do Math: At one point, Desmond Benedict the Third talks about his great, great grandfather, later referring to him as... Desmond Benedict the First. Technically possible, but still a little headscratch-worthy.
- You Are Number Six: When John gets captured by the Templars in Dark Crusade they insist on calling him by his prisoner number, which starts ticking him off after a while.