Mermaid Swamp is a horror adventure game, made in Wolf RPG Editor by Uri, the creator of Paranoiac and The Crooked Man. An English translation by vgperson can be found here.Rin Yamazaki is on a trip with her college friends Yuka, Yuuta, and Seitaro. Their car breaks down in the mountains, but a kindly old man allows them to stay at his house until they can get their car fixed.But the old man goes on a trip of his own, and during that time strange things begin happening. Do they have any connection to the legend about the swamp outside the mansion?
Mermaid Swamp provides examples of:
Abduction Is Love: Deconstructed. In the legend of the mermaid, a man kidnaps a mermaid because he has fallen in love with her. This ends very poorly for the mermaid. While there is no actual mermaid, the mermaid's legend is based on events involving young women being kidnapped for precisely the same reason by the Tsuchidas, a Big Screwed-Up Family with a fixation for girls underwater. Those incidents didn't end well either.
Being made into a mermaid is this. The young women who were the basis for the mermaid legend were kept in tanks of water, with preservatives to keep them from becoming infected. Eventually this destroyed their health.
While Yuuta doesn't remember his brief stint of going crazy/being possessed, Seitaro remembers his. According to Seitaro, he was aware the whole time, he just couldn't stop.
And Now for Someone Completely Different: There are two instances where you end up playing as Seitaro. If Rin suffers a Heroic BSOD upon finding Yuka dead, you have to play as Seitaro to check on Yuuta. And no matter what story path you're on, when Rin goes into the mountains and gets lost, you have to play as Seitaro again.
The Atoner: The old man Tsuchida, in the Good Ending.
Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Rin and Seitaro have moments of this. While they are frequently calling each other names and generally being unpleasant to each other, Seitaro runs into the bathroom to check on Rin when he hears her screaming, goes out into the dangerous fog to find her when she goes missing, and lends her his jacket when she complains about the cold. And on Rin's side, he's always the one she goes to for advice, she jokes about wanting to sleep with him, and if he dies, she goes over the Despair Event Horizon.
Beat the Curse Out of Him: If you choose not to have Rin dodge Seitaro when he tries to attack her, she kicks him in the stomach until it brings him to his senses.
Belligerent Sexual Tension: Rin and Seitaro frequently quarrel, call each other names, and yell at each other. They also spend more time with each other than anyone else and if Rin has a problem Seitaro is always the first person she talks to.
Better to Die Than Be Killed: A bit of a variant. If Rin dodges when a crazed Seitaro tries to attack her, he falls through the floor and ends up with the axe in his own chest. He comes back to his senses and thinks having an axe in him is not a dignified way to go,p so he makes Rin pull the axe out and then he goes out to the swamp to drown himself.
Big "NO!", Rin upon seeing Yuka's dead body, if the player lights the fireplace in her room.
Yuka somehow contracts a strange illness that causes her to swell up horribly.
The so-called mermaids were kept alive in tanks filled with disinfectant. Their bodies swelled up as a result.
Book Dumb: Rin has trouble reading things, does not know who Ophelia is, and has to ask Seitaro about how to read or understand a lot of things she comes across. She's also very quick at figuring out puzzles that would have other people stumped, somehow realizes that the way to save Yuuta is to tear down the Ophelia pictures, and basically is a genius when she doesn't have to read something.
Bookcase Passage: In Chie's room, there's a passage behind a bookcase where Rin finds a bunch of documents.
Cassandra Truth: Seitaro refuses to believe Rin when she tries to tell him about Yuuta trying to kill her and about the mermaid's curse.
Demonic Possession: Both Yuuta and Seitaro fall victim to this. Yuuta acts perverted concerning Yuka, and eventually becomes violent; depending on the story path he either kills himself or chases Rin with a knife. Seitaro, meanwhile, also tries to attack Rin, either drowning her, netting you a Game Over, or chasing her with an axe.
Downer Ending: The ending of the mermaid legend, where the poor mermaid suffers horribly and then dies because of someone's "love" for her. Main story-wise, three of the game's four endings are also downer endings.
Driven to Suicide: If Yuka dies, Yuuta is so distraught that he stabs himself. It is actually revealed that he was possesed and only regained conciousness seconds before he dies. After Yuka and Yuuta both die, if Seitaro survives to the end along with Rin, it's strongly implied that they both drown themselves after realizing they can't escape the house. And in the ending where Yuka and Yuuta don't die (yet) but Seitaro does, Rin commits suicide to be with Seitaro.
Due to the Dead: In the ending "Underwater Dream", it is discovered that the "Take me back!" message Rin kept getting was from the mermaids, who wished to be returned to the earth. Rin and Seitaro solve this by blowing up the place where the mermaids were kept with dynamite, causing a cave-in and ensuring that the mermaids, now buried in earth, could rest in peace.
A Fate Worse Than Death: The mermaid suffered this in the legend, as being forced to live in swamp water in a tank destroyed her slowly. The actual not-really-mermaids suffered this as well, being forced to live in tanks until they finally died of health complications. And in the ending "Secrets", Seitaro drowns himself after suffering an axe wound that will kill him anyway, Rin drowns herself to be with Seitaro, and Yuuta is murdered by someone unseen, leaving Yuka alone and unprotected, her condition not having improved a bit.
Foreshadowing: The paintings of Ophelia all over the house foreshadow the truth about the "mermaids".
The drawings and diary entries of the twins foreshadow The family's attitude towards the mermaids. Chiyo, the girl, says fish are miserable in tanks and made a drawing of a crying woman. Chie, the boy, says he loves seeing fish and draws a beautiful, happy mermaid.
Gender-Blender Name: Chie, one of the twins at the flashbacks. At first viewers believe he is a girl. Until then you find out about the fixations of the Tsuchida family about mermaids, making Chie (who loves the mermaids as well) a boy.
He Knows Too Much: In two of the endings. In "Yaobikuni" Rin is locked up in the room with the mermaids to prevent her from spilling the beans, and she's only let out when it's discovered she's so utterly insane that no one would listen to her even if she did tell. In "Secrets", with Yuka still sick and Seitaro and Rin both dead, Yuuta is the only one in any condition to do anything...and he is promptly shot.
It is implied that it was the case between the deaths of Saeko and the twins Chiyo and Chie, from the flashback. The newspaper says that they drown themselves to death in an accident, but it was unlikely. After it is revealed in the Good Ending that the women from the Tsuchida family (whom they were from) krew about the family fixation about keeping girls in tanks, but said nothing because they were afraid of being turned into mermaids by the men of the family. In the flashback, it is revealed that Saeko decided to abandon the Tsuchidas and Chiyo and Chie tagged along with her, so it is implied that they were killed by the Tsuchidas in order to prevent them from spilling the beans.
I Am A Humanitarian: If you get the ending where everyone dies except Rin, she ends up eating the flesh of one of the mermaids after being locked in the basement with them for several days.
It's All My Fault: Rin blames herself if Yuka dies because Rin lights a fireplace to try and warm Yuka up, but it ends up killing her. If Seitaro dies, it sends her into a Heroic BSOD because she couldn't stop Seitaro from throwing himself into the lake.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Both Rin and Seitaro. Rin is obnoxious, foul-mouthed, and has a tendency to call Seitaro names. Seitaro is a know-it-all, more than a little bossy and pushy, and can name-call as well as Rin. They're also both very protective of their friends, and they both give their all to try to make sure everyone's okay.
Jump Scare: There's a few. Most of them are not accompanied by a Scare Chord, which somehow makes them worse.
Kill 'em All: The ending "Forever Deep". Yuka dies from her illness, Yuuta stabs himself, and Seitaro and Rin commit double suicide after they find they can't escape the house.
Laughing Mad: The player character in the bad end "Yaobikuni".
Yaobikuni: Yuka, Yuuta and Seitaro die. Rin ends up locked where the mermaids are for several days, so she ends up eating the flesh of one of the mermaids out of starvation. The old man lets her go and convinces her that she's become immortal due to eating the mermaid. The last scene shows Rin running across the forest as she laughs maniacally.
Forever Deep: Yuka and Yuuta die. After finding the "mermaids" and trying to find a way home to no avail, Rin and Seitaro drown themselves in the swamp after realizing they can't escape.
Secrets: Only Seitaro dies and this sets Rin into a Despair Event Horizon. The place where the mermaids are is locked so she cannot enter. She returns to the old house and has hallucinations of Seitaro calling her from the swamp, which cause her to commit suicide by throwing herself in the swamp. A distressed Yuuta tries to save her to no avail only to be shot to death (Presumably by the old man). Only Yuka survives and her condition has not improved.
Underwater Dream: Everyone is saved. Rin and Seitaro enter to the place the mermaids are locked and Seitaro quickly realizes they are not mermaids, just abducted women preserved in tanks. Rin detones the place with a dynamite, so the mermaids could rest in peace. The old man Tsuchida lets them go because he was not a bad guy after all, everyone is saved and Yuka returns to normal.
Not Quite The Right Thing: While lighting the fireplace in Yuka's room seems like a kind thing to do since she complains about being cold, doing so ends up speeding her condition along and killing her.
People Jars: The mermaid in the legend was kept in a tank of swamp water. The women who were the basis for the legend were also kept in tanks of water.
Pervert Revenge Mode: Rin pounds Seitaro when he accidentally sees her naked early on. This is done off-screen, by the way, so we don't see it happen.
Sanity Slippage: Rin, in the ending where her companions all die. She ends up locked in the place where the mermaids are kept for several days, and during this time becomes incredibly hungry. So she eats the flesh of one of the mermaids. After that, it is an easy task for the old man to convince her that she's become immortal and send her on her merry way, completely insane.
Sibling Yin-Yang: Chiyo and Chie, the twins in the flashbacks to the past. Chie is much more upbeat, loves the mermaids and his dad; Chiyo is rather morose and says in a diary that she hates the mermaids and her dad.
Spiritual Successor: To Paranoiac. The houses of the games even share similar rooms, shape, and structure to the one seen in that game. That said, Mermaid Swamp at least doesn't have completely frustrating mechanics to deal with that Paranoic had.
Walking Spoiler: The old man. When people first play the game, they will immediately assume that he's going to do something to the characters. He does. However, the path the player takes will determine what he will do. He may help the player in the end, he may kill or drive the main cast into insanity.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: Yukio Tsuchida a.k.a the old man. He wanted to save the corpses, but his own fascination for them prevented him from doing so. So what does he do? Why, he forces a group of college students to do it for him! In the process, one of the girls gets possessed by one of the girls, the two guys eventually get taken over by the Tsuchida men's ghosts, and the only sane person suffers from traumatizing dreams. And all of this was done for the sake of atonement.