Video Game: Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box
The second game in the Professor Layton Widget Series
In Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box
in PAL regions), Layton receives a letter from his mentor, Dr. Schrader, in which Schrader says that he had acquired the legendary Elysian Box that is said to kill all who open it. Though Layton gets a bad feeling and rushes to his mentor's aid, Schrader is already dead and the box is missing. The only clue is a ticket for the mysterious Molentary Express, so Layton and Luke decide to take a trip with no known destination.
Please place series-spanning tropes on the main Professor Layton
This game provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Duke Herzen chose his own greed instead of the happiness of his family. His obsession actually is the starting point of the events in the second game.
- Actually Not a Vampire
- Alice and Bob: By now the series has its own cast of 4-5 no-name characters for practically every hypothetical puzzle situation, the most prominent one being the brown-haired mustachioed, Mario-ish looking man. Their names are finally revealed in the 3rd to last puzzle, Colin's Grade.
- All for Nothing: When Luke acquires the hamster, it opens the hamster minigame in which he has to exercise the pudgy little beast until he's "fit and sassy!" (in the hamster's words). The end credits and the hamster's profile show that the hamster has been returned to his rightful owner, the Molentary Express cook, and is once again overfed. Probably a form of Gameplay and Story Segregation, since the hamster game is optional and therefore some players could easily end the game without getting the hamster in shape at all.
- A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside an Enigma:
Wurtzer: How she [Granny Riddleton] does it is a conundrum wrapped in an enigma-stuffed mystery. Or, y'know, a mystendrum.
- Artifact of Death: The Elysian Box, but only if you really do expect it to kill you
- Artistic License – Geology:
- The mystery of the town of Folsense revolves around the miners striking a "vein of hallucinogenic gas" that caused them to all be susceptible to suggestion. Needless to say, no such thing exists in real life.
- The mine in question is a gold mine... in England.
- Bishōnen: My, but isn't younger, hallucinated Anton pretty!
- Badass Longcoat: Young Anton's coat definitely qualifies even leading many to think that he's a vampire probably because of that collar.
- Captain Obvious: Some of the puzzle commentaries given when you complete puzzles fall into this trope. For example, puzzle 35:
This is one of those puzzles where you need to use the given conditions to deduce the answer.
- Clueless Mystery: Not the mystery as a whole, but what was Layton planning to do if "Flora" hadn't mentioned the goat on the Elysian box? He intended to name the killer, but the only clue that he or the audience had about Flora not being Flora was what she said five seconds before she was unmasked.
- Also, the only way to solve the mystery is to assume that Sammy, Beluga, Katia, Luke, and Layton are all hallucinating the same things. What the hell, Level 5?
- And that simply having heard rumors of people dying can actually kill you through tiny traces of hallucinogenic chemicals from 50 years ago.
- And, perhaps most objectionably, that seeing a few photographs of a town can tell you what the insides of all of the buildings look like, or at least have everyone imagine them the same.
- Cool Train: The Molentary Express, described as like a cruise ship on rails.
- Dances and Balls/Dance of Romance: Anton and Sophia, as shown in flashbacks and the painting in the room where Layton and Luke stay at Herzen Mansion.
- Died Happily Ever After: Sophia is very happy to see Anton and Katia getting along. Happy enough to smile serenely down from the heavens, in fact.
- Dug Too Deep: The hallucinogenic gas that the miners tapped into under Folsense.
- Everything's Better with Cows: Poor Flora, left to hang out in a barn while the Professor and Luke head off to Folsense with a disguised Don Paolo! At least the cows were friendly?
- Evil Overlooker: See the box art. Technically, he isn't evil, though.
- Exit, Pursued by a Bear: Don Paolo exits the story pursued by Inspector Chelmey following his unmasking. In the closing credits, the chase is still going on.
- Falling Chandelier of Doom: At the climax.
- Feelies: A Molentary Express ticket is included in the instruction booklet. It's also a copy of one of the in-game puzzles. The feelie's not required to solve said puzzle, but it can help to have an object to physically manipulate rather than trying to picture it in your head.
- Flanderization: While being a gentleman was an overarching theme of Curious Village, Layton can't go three lines without spouting some gentleman nonsense in Diabolical Box; it's even one of his catchphrases when he gets a puzzle right.
- Foreshadowing: The town name of Folsense. (If one has knowledge of French, the name comes out as faux-sense, which essentially means 'False Sense', which makes sense when you realize that the inhabitants of the town are mere illusions brought about by a hallucinogenic gas leak!)
- Even the actual name sounds a bit like "False Sense" / "Fool Sense".
- There's also one to a plot point in the next game. While in Folsense, a bouncer outside a restaurant tells Layton that he has to take off his hat if he wants to enter because of the dress code. Layton refuses to, stating that a true gentleman never removes his hat. It seems Layton has the wrong idea since, normally, people would say gentleman is required to take his hat off while indoors. However, players who play the sequel, Unwound/Lost Future, find out that this is just what he says as to not raise questions about the real reason, which is revealed in flashbacks in that game.
- When you complete the camera, you're able to take pictures with it. The fact that it's finished by the time you reach Folsense, coupled with the fact that the images it produces are slightly different from what is seen, suggests there is more to the town than meets the eye.
- Frictionless Ice: Three puzzles near the end of the game.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: Near the end of the game, Layton refuses to leave the Herzen castle until he's uncovered the truth behind Dr. Schrader's death and the Elysian Box. Absolutely nothing prevents you from strolling right through the front doors and going back to solve any puzzles you may have missed along the way.
- Genre Savvy: Chelmey. When he comes to a conclusion on who stole the MacGuffin/Plot Coupon, he tells his assistant to round up the suspects for a Summation Gathering. Said assistant wonders why he doesn't simply arrest the guy, to which Chelmey shouts that unmasking the villain publicly is what detectives live for.
- More likely Wrong Genre Savvy; he acts like he's in a detective story, which he is - but he thinks he's the hero and Layton is The Amateur That Gets In The Way.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Chelmey adopting a "Don't ask, don't tell" stance concerning Luke's "apprenticeship". The ending also comes down with a case of Never Say Pregnant, ignoring the fact that Katia's grandparents never married. (Anton specifically says in the flashback that they're betrothed, and Sophia's unlockable profile identifies her as his fiancee and the mother of his child.)
- Not to mention Ilyana, a woman who works at a cabaret, flirting with various characters, particularly Luke. She also makes special mention of Mr. Beluga visiting her to "unwind".
- Guide Dang It: Figuring out the correct combination of three teas out of eight (including repeats) is nearly impossible on the first try from the characters' usually incomplete instructions. Doing it on the first try is necessary because if you give the NPC a cup they don't like, they won't even want tea anymore for a while.
- Homage: Watch the scene as the trio arrives at Folsense after watching Spirited Away.
- I Never Said It Was Poison: Don Paolo tips off his identity and involvement in the case by revealing that he knows what the image on the Elysian Box is, despite apparently only having seen a photo with a crucial piece missing.
- Identical Grandson: Katia and her grandmother, Sophia. The only notable difference between them is Katia's eyes, which she clearly inherited from Anton. It's the sight of them that makes him realize she's telling the truth.
- Ill Girl: Flora skips a great deal of the actual investigation in Folsense, staying in the hotel room because she doesn't feel well. Layton naturally expresses concern, and tells her to rest if she needs it. Of course, it turns out that "Flora" is really a disguised Don Paolo, and is using all the sick time to do his own searching for the Elysian Box.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Beluga; for all his bluster towards his employees, he shows at several points in the game to be capable of compassion. He seems mournful remembering that it had been a year since Sophia passed away, and Sam mentions that Beluga had a soft spot for his older brother, whom he left behind. In the closing credits, he is shown to be very happy to see Anton again.
- Latex Perfection: Don Paolo is somehow able to impersonate Flora without arousing suspicion. The characters' height, build, and voices don't match at all.
- Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: Anton challenges Layton to a duel, and being the good sport that he is, gives Layton a free choice of the swords on the wall. It's actually a trick as all the swords are Ornamental Weapons; Layton figures out that the clue Anton gives about a "true warrior" keeping his sword in hand means to grab a sword off a nearby suit of armor.
- Meaningful Name: See Foreshadowing above.
- Mister Muffykins: On the Molentary Express, Rich Bitch Babette throws a tantrum because her precious little boy Tom is missing. She demands that Layton, Luke, and Chelmey all search for him, but thanks to her misleading Insistent Terminology, it's some time before they realize they're looking not for a child but for a dog.
- Mushroom Samba: The glitzy, modern town of Folsense is a shared hallucination induced by gas emanating from the gold mine.
- Pet Interface: If you beat the hamster minigame, he points out hint coins for you.
- Point of No Return: Averted from a gameplay perspective; see Gameplay and Story Segregation above. The endgame doesn't start until you talk to Katia. You can't visit Dropstone or the Molentary Express again once you do, though.
- Say My Name: Anton, during the duel. "LAAAAYTON!"
- Saying Too Much: In the summation, the guilty party correctly describes the design on the Elysian Box, which they should never have seen before, giving up their true identity.
- Scenery Porn: The village of Folsense, and even more so the castle interior.
- Scenery Gorn: The brief shots of the ruined Folsense at the end.
- Shared Mass Hallucination
- In the very first cutscene, we see the Triforce in the rose Flora is wearing.
- The Sword Puzzle near the end feels like a Shout-Out to the final test in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
- Anton looks remarkably like a cartoonish version of Alucard from the Castlevania games. The resemblance is enhanced by the fact that most characters think he's a vampire. His English voice actor must have realized this, because his voice is also similar to Alucard's in the original version of Symphony of the Night.
- Slippy Slidey Ice Puzzles: Crossing the frozen lake to reach the Duke's castle requires solving puzzles in which you slide a miniature Professor around a sort of maze.
- Spot of Tea: Not only does the good professor go on at length throughout the series about his love for a good tea, but in Diabolical Box, it turns into a gameplay mechanic.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Anton and Sophia.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial:
Layton: "We're looking for information about the Elysian Box."
Kostya: "Oh, dear me! I mean... I've never heard anything about that dreadful, dreadful thing."
- Take a Third Option: You have three holes, and have two corks that you must use to completely block off the odor of garlic. Where do they go? In your nose.
- Thriller on the Express
- Title Drop: The last and most difficult bonus puzzle is called the "Diabolical Box".
- Too Dumb to Live: Guess what every supposedly smart person in the game does after getting their hands on a box rumored to kill anyone who tries to open it. (Don't expect them to take any sane precautions either.)
- Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Making the various tea recipes. Figuring out what to give to people involves logic, but is simple to figure out if you have the recipes.
- Villainous Breakdown: Anton does not take the news that his beloved Sophia has passed away very well.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Parcelle, the mailman. The characters wonder aloud why he makes a daily mail run between Folsense and Dropstone, but, nope! It never gets explained. Also, Folsense is pretty much a ghost town.''
- White Hair, Black Heart: Anton
- Wild Mass Guessing: In the second-to-last cutscene, the Molentary Express is shown pulling out of Folsence Station. Luke waves out the train window to Anton and Katia... who are standing on a hill... Did Layton and Luke really leave them behind, by themselves, in the dilapidated, run-down town with no connection to society? Surely it would not have been any trouble to drop them of in Dropstone when picking up Flora. During the credits, we do see all of Katia's servants from Dropstone arriving to renovate the town, so it's possible they're not alone after all.
- Yandere: Anton actively tries to kill Layton after misunderstanding the situation and thinking the Professor stole "his Sophia". Justified in that the last fifty years left him lonely and in great despair.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Katia has purple hair, as did her grandmother Sophia.
- Your Mind Makes It Real: The town of Folsense is a massive hallucination caused by the hallucinogenic gas in the town's mine. The Elysian Box has elements of the gas in it, as otherwise it really is just a box, and it only kills people because they're expecting it to. Dr. Schrader is implied to have survived because he didn't really believe it would kill him.
- The box has no effect on Luke and Layton because they are already hallucinating.