Mitsumete Knight (みつめてナイト, Mitsumete Naito, lit. « Admire Knight », « Gazing Knight ») is a 1997 Dating Sim on Playstation 1, made in cooperation by Konami, and Red Company (of Sakura Taisen fame). Spiritual Successor of Konami's smash hit Tokimeki Memorial : Forever with you, it uses the same game engine and most of its successful mechanics, but with several twists.First, Mitsumete Knight is set, not in a high school setting, but in an odd hybrid medieval/fantasy setting, mixing medieval-heroic diplomacy and politics with modern technology with dashes of high fantasy sprinkled in, where you play as an Asian who has emigrated to Dolphan Kingdom as a mercenary, to win the war the country is engaged against its neighbour country, the Dukedom of Procchia. Thus, your goals are twofold : gaining the "Holy Knight" title, which will open you the roads towards fame and nobility, by helping Dolphan win the war and accomplishing heroic deeds ; and winning the heart of one of the local ladies you'll be meeting during the 3 years the game spans.Second, while the dating part of the game is basically the same as in Tokimeki Memorial (meet girls, date them, please them, see special events and fight off rumors), Mitsumete Knight was the precursor of the future Tokimeki Memorial games (as it was released between Tokimemo 1 and Tokimemo 2) for an easier management of the girls, introducing several prototype ideas, the most notable being the replacement of the bombing system for a much-easier-to-deal-with Uneasiness Gauge and a MUCH lower frequency of rumor spreading. These ideas favour a more girl storyline specific challenge, a type of challenge Tokimeki Memorial 2 would focus on with great success.Third, the stats management is slightly different as well. Unlike Tokimemo 1, your character is under a Level-up system, and your stats will only increase during one ; however, this gives you more flexibility in your stats' management, as you're not limited to use one command between two level-ups, allowing you to counter-balance stat-drops of a command by using an opposing-effect command, all while retaining the stat increases of both.Fourth, the fighting part is more elaborate than in Tokimeki Memorial. The war battles are divided in two parts : one where you command a battalion made of Cavalry, Infantry and Archers fighting an enemy corps, in a Fire EmblemTactical Rock-Paper-Scissors style ; then, you get to fight one of the enemy Generals in a one-on-one battle. Other one-on-one fights outside the war battles will occur, so make sure to have enough HP at all times, otherwise you'll be good for spending a week at the Hospital!And fifth and probably the most important aspect of the game, since war is a major part of the storyline, Mistumete Knight has a radically different mood compared to the Tastes Like Diabetes setting of Tokimeki Memorial. Indeed, this setting is a Crapsaccharine World, with Dolphan Kingdom ruled by xenophobic evil nobles who abide by the Screw The Rules I Have Money and We Have Reserves mottos; war is depicted as gloomy and a waste of human lives, and Anyone Can Die. Yes, such an usual thing for a Dating Sim, and this is one of the game's biggest strengths: depending on the player's choices, down to the type of blood you choose at the beginning of the game, several girls and main characters can die.The girls' storylines are often rich and story-driven, with regular Break the Cutie and Tear Jerker moments, very much unlike Tokimemo; yet, despite all this, the game also has lots of funny and romantic moments. The characters have developed and complex personalities, and have a lot more interaction between them than in most Tokimeki Memorial games.All in all, an excellent game victim of a bad combo of Overshadowed by Awesome by the more successful Tokimeki Memorial series, No Export for You and Widget Series. Knowledge of Japanese is pretty much needed to enjoy the rich storyline too, as the game is Japanese-only and has no Fan Translation.For the note, Mitsumete Knight was followed by Mitsumete Knight R : Daibouken Hen, an Alternate Universe RPG game which bears more similarities with Sakura Taisen than with Tokimeki Memorial, where you play as a Captain leading a Five Girl Band in a quest for a MacGuffin which would cure the King. During the quest, you'll be able to try and win the heart of one of the 5 heroines.Has a Character Sheet, and a Crowning Music of Awesome page. Please add character-specific tropes in the Character Sheet, unless they apply to several characters or can fit in the main article fine.
Mitsumete Knight (the original game) provides examples of:
Aristocrats Are Evil: They're frikkin' rampant in this game. Johan is the sole direct representant of them you'll be able to interact with, but quite a few of them are pulling the wires behind the scenes.
Badass: The Eight Generals of Valpha-Valaharian definitely all apply.
Bears Are Bad News: During the game, the neighbouring citizens will eventually ask you to defeat a rampaging bear terrorizing the area.
Bookends: This game uses this narrative method, especially if you get a Bad Ending where you fail to get both the Holy Knight title and a girl. See the entry for a detailed explanation.
Cannot Spit It Out: Unlike Tokimemo, most characters are more sincere with their feelings with the Asian and consider themselves his girlfriend, as there's no legend holding them back. Some of them, such as Sophia, play it straight, though.
Colour Coded Armies: In war battles, your units are the blue ones, and the enemies' are the red ones. And in one-on-one duels, the Eight Generals also wear jet-red armor, while you wear blue-ish armor.
Crapsaccharine World: Many, MANY people are fooled by the bright graphics, the emphasis on the romance, and the advertising to think this is just another happy-go-lucky dating sim where Everybody Lives, the only opposition will be from the local bully or bully equivalent, and all that starts well ends well. The poor fools.
Curb-Stomp Battle: If you train a strict minimum, you'll easy win most of your war battles.
Deadly Decadent Court: The kind King of Dolphan is not the real ruler of the Kingdom : the effective power is in the hands of Anabel Pixis, the evil lead of the powerful noble family Pixis, and the man leading the "Old Families's Two Wings" council, a council composed of the Pixis and Elites noble families which are deciding of Dolphan's policies, even though the king participates to sessions held by the council and technically (stress "technically") has a word in the decisions.
Deconstructor Fleet: Goes through Ruritanian, High, and Medieval fantasy like a chainsaw through warm butter.
Empathic Environment: This game loves using it, especially when it comes to War Battles (it's even lampshaded by Piko when you're about to fight Wolfgario in his masked version, and the unmasked version of the fight is a Battle in the Rain.) and dates to sinister-looking places. Averted however with the Graveyard, which is always sunny with a cloudless blue sky.
Ending Theme: The game has 3 of them: "Asu o Yume Mite", the Sophia-specific Ending song; "Koi o Suru To", the Anne-specific Ending song; and "Mitsumete", the regular Ending song used for all the other characters. "Koi o Suru To" is sung by Mariko Kouda, Anne's voice actor; the other two are sung by Hiroko Konishi, the voice actor of Sophia.
Everything's Better with Monkeys: In the Button Masher mini-game where you have to lift a maximum of heavy items in a set time at the Sports Festival, the timer is represented with a male and a female monkey, the male walking towards the female and stopping at times to eat the bananas scattered along the way.
Expy: Several characters are obvious Expies of characters from Tokimeki Memorial 1, such as Linda (of Mira Kagami), Lesley (of Ayako Katagiri), or Johan (of Rei Ijuin).
Fairy Companion: The Asian will be always followed by Piko, a being originating from his heart that only he can see, which will give good advices during the game.
Fortune Teller: The Asian will meet one during the Mid-Summer Festival. She'll tell him his destined person (i.e. the girl with the highest Love Gauge) as well as the girl's who accompanied him. If this girl is the same as the one who appeared in the Crystal Ball, this girl's Love Gauge will get a big boost. On the other hand, if the Asian don't know any girl by the time of this festival, the crystal ball will break and the Fortune Teller will ask for financial compensation.
Fragile Speedster: Quite a number of your opponents in one-on-one duels will be of this type.
Guide Dang It: Several girls require the player to see a specific event, or to go through a certain course of events : miss them, and it's impossible to win their heart.
Hello, Insert Name Here: Done in a creative way: As you, the Asian, are arriving to Dolphan, a Customs' Officer will meet you and ask you to fill in the Country Enterance Document, in which you'll have to write your name, birthday and blood type.
Hint System / Player Nudge : If you fail to score a girl, after the Bad End's credits, a Hint Screen will show up, giving you slightly veiled hints on elements you could have missed in your playthrough that caused your failure.
Hired Swords: Both sides on the war make extensive use of mercenaries to complement their respective regular armies. At Procchia's side is Valpha-Valaharian, known and feared as the strongest mercenary brigade of all the continent ; at Dolphan's side, a bunch of foreign mercenaries recruited en masse, the Asian (the player avatar) being one of them.
100% Completion: This game loves this trope. Aside from the usual Dating Sim CG gallery (named the "Mitsumete Gallery" in this game), there's a Title Gallery which lists all the Titles you got during the game to complete, two mini-games to unlock, and you'll have to accomplish several quests to unlock all the secret items of the Secret Shop. A lot of playthroughs in prospect indeed.
Joshikousei: Even though this game is not in a High School setting like Tokimemo, roughly a third of the datable characters are High School girls (5 out of 16 characters).
Late Arrival Spoiler: For Japanese players of this franchise, it's not anymore a secret that Salishuan the Spy is Raizze Haimer. The Drama CDs assume you already have played the game (and more specifically having completed a Raizze Run), as the story is told from the girls' point of view (especially from Raizze's) instead from the Asian's.
Loads and Loads of Characters: Mitsumete Knight has a total of 38 individual characters having a sprite and appearing in person in the game. Add to this number a few characters who are only mentioned by name but are still crucial to the plot such as Anabel Pixis, and 3 minor Drama CD-only characters. And we're not mentioning the Mitsumete Knight R-exclusive characters here.
Manga Adaptation: A single-tome one, titled Mitsumete Knight: Another Story. As the title says, it's a side-story telling the tale of two original characters, the sword-wielding Asian mercenary Kojirô (an Expy of the game's main protagonist), and Alissa, a mischevious young girl with a mysterious past. The setting takes place in Dolphan and several (but not all) of the game's characters are present, but they only play for the most part a cameo role in this story.
Mighty Glacier: A number of your opponents in one-on-one duels are of this type.
Money for Nothing: There's an Assets Level system in this game, telling your level of wealth from Commoner-like to Swimming In Dough-type, and you can increase it by doing Part-Time jobs, but it's mostly worthless as very few and minor elements in the game are affected by it.
Multiple Endings: Aside from the 16 girls's happy endings, there's also 3 Bad Endings one where you leave Dolphan with the Holy Knight title but without a girl, one where you get neither of them, and one where you fail to get Sophia and Johan marries her, and comes with her as you leave to taunt you, as well as three secrets endings with 3 NPCs : Mieu, Prim and Luna, which occur if you get a Bad Ending and have met them during the game.
New Game Plus: If you manage to meet and defeat Sparkster during a playthrough, and save your game in a Memory Card after having completed your run, the Secret Shop will be available in the game's Option, allowing you to start a new game with a stat-boosting item. However, most items need to be unlocked via various specific quests during the game, such as reaching Level 64 in order to unlock the most powerful item, the Mitsumete Sword.
Sad Battle Music: "Sorrowful Blade", the battle theme played when fighting the enemy Eight General Salishuan the Spy, alias Raizze Haimer (one of the winnable main heroines), when she's torn between her duty and her love for the protagonist. You actually need to hear this theme to get her ending: if not, she's Lost Forever.
Schizo Tech: Dolphan has a very advanced medecine level for a medieval country: blood transfusion is a common technique, plastic surgery seems to exist and to be effective as Hanna manages to heal a deep claw wound on the face without a single scar in an Event, and researches on heart diseases are already ongoing.
Snow Means Love: the Christmas Event in 3rd Year : as you and the girl in love with the Asian are going back home, snow will fall on Dolphan for the first time in the country's history since 38 years ago. However, in Anne's case, it's a case of Snow Means Death, since she realizes, as a Cute Ghost Girl who's on the way of getting rid of her regrets, she won't stay for long on this world.
Stillborn Franchise: Mitsumete Knight was planned as a Tokimeki Memorial-like Cash Cow Franchise, and it shows: co-created by the two companies responsible of the two lead Dating Sim franchises of the time, a spectacular voice cast, deep storyline, solid gameplay, a line of goods, favourable critics, lots of built hype one year before the game's actual release in March 1998... Only to meet average-ish good sales, not the expected killer profit (partially due to the public's vaning interest in DatingSims which started around that time). Realizing this, and with Tokimeki Memorial 2 around the corner, Konami canned the franchise one year later in 1999.
Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors: Used in the corps' battle part of the war battles. Cavalry beats Infantry, who beats Archers, who beat Cavalry. There's a fourth unit type, the Mages, which can replace one of the three unit types if you have a Studies stat superior to your Horse Riding and Sword Fencing stats combined, which have double superiority, and this against all types, but are weaker defensively.
The Cameo: Sparkster of the Rocket Knight Adventures series appears in this game, as a one-on-one random opponent. If you manage to meet and defeat him, not only you can gain his Special Attack and the Title "Rocket Knight", but also once your file is complete, you'll gain access to the Secret Shop held by him.
The Peeping Tom: If the Asian works part-time as a beach lifeguard in summer, he randomly can get at peeping at girls he knows via a nautical telescope. Aside from getting a safe-for-work CG of the girl peeped at wearing a swimsuit, and a drop in affection from her, you get the "Peeping Tom" (Nozokiya) Title for your List of Titles.
The Reveal: TONS OF THEM. Most characters have their secrets, and quite a number of them are groundbreaking storyline-wise. No wonder the Character Sheet is chock-full of masked spoilers.
Video Game Cruelty Potential: Due to the fact the lives of several characters depend on your choices, there's a LOT of moments that fall in this trope.
Woman Scorned: Just like in Tokimemo, except that here it's easier to manage it.
Xanatos Gambit: The Battle of Parsir is this for Meehilbis, turning it to his favor no matter the outcome. If he won the fight, it would have been beneficial for Valpha-Valaharian. But if he lost (as it ultimately becomes the case), this still is beneficial for Valpha-Valaharian, since Dolphan's army was severely crippled with his plan (the fact that Dolphan's "win" was disastrous for them is acknowledged In-Universe).
Mitsumete Knight R : Daibouken Hen (the RPG game) provides examples of:
Honest Axe: Occurs at Tripond Mountain, except that MacLeod drops in the water a dynamite pack needed to get a gem, instead of an axe. Pointing the correct dynamite nets you one of the three colored-dynamite packs allowing you to get either a Ruby, an Emerald, or Gold Bars (depending on the dynamite's color), along with the regular dynamite pack.
Impossibly Delicious Food: Lesley thinks of Middmoney Restaurant's meal as this (to the point she sheds anime-style stream of tears), if MacLeod goes on a date with her there. She later explains the meal tasted very much like her mother's cooking, back when she was young.
Our Fairies Are Different: They actually reside in a parallel world to the Human World, and the access between those worlds is very strict.
Put on a Bus: If you're not named Sophia, Raizze, Leslie, Hanna, Linda, or Carneau, you're a victim of this trope, being reduced as a mere cameo. Especially jarring in the case of Priscilla and Anne, which were poster girls of the original Mitsumete Knight game, major players in the storyline (even more so for Priscilla when taking the Drama CDs into account), and well-liked characters in the fandom.
Replay Value: While Mitsumete Knight loved this trope, Mitsumete Knight R turns this Up to Eleven, milking this trope for all its worth, thanks to its New Game Plus system : depending on if your playthrough number is an odd or an even one (i.e., if your playthrough is your 1st/3rd/5th/etc, or a 2nd/4th/6th/etc one), the epilogue and the endings will be different and you'll only get someof the clothes. What's more, depending on if you get a specific item at the very beginning of the game, the epilogue will further radically change ! And that's not entering into the fact there's a paired ending for each of the 5 girls, and that specific events will appear during the game only if you have the two required girls needed for them with you, or if you managed to gain high Relationship Values with a specific girl in a former playthrough.
Another Shout Out, this time for Twinbee : Aqua, a minor character who lives in the last Human World town, punctuates the end of her speech with the characteristic "-bee" Verbal Tic whenever she loses patience.
The Empire: Orcadia is actually revealed as a ghastly one, upon a second playthrough. The number of people and nations they screwed, and the horrific way they did it, in their thirst for power and continent domination, is astounding.
Virtual Paper Doll: A major game mechanic. In fact, some Japanese fans go as far as describing this game as "a clothes-gathering quest disguised as an RPG". Only partially true, as the plot reveals to be quite deeper and very dark upon the second playthrough. Some of the collectable clothes are the following:
Warp Whistle: The statues present in nearly every town of the game allow you to warp to any of those towns by touching them, but you first need to activate the system by gathering the 3 Slates of Earth, Sea and Sky scattered throughout the world, and then place them in the machine inside the Pyramid.