Video Game: Romancing Walker
For great romance!Romancing Walker
is an Eastern RPG
, created by FLARE using RPG Maker 2000
, and translated into English by rm2Kfanboy. The story is an amusing combination of a traditional Role-Playing Game
and a Dating Sim
, and draws heavily on the Harem Genre
of Japanese animation.
The story is set in a world that, 20 years earlier, had faced the attack of a world-destroying monster
known as CHAOS. CHAOS was defeated by Flare Delstar, a "Sacred Dragoon" (a young woman with immense magical powers), and the world had enjoyed peace since then. As the actual game begins, you play the role of Ryle Laster, a young man from the small village of Lavas, who has completed his combat training and is looking for adventure. Along the way, he is aided by a variety of attractive and talented young women, with whom he has the chance of developing a closer relationship.
Despite a surfeit of standard RPG motifs
, and a less than optimal translation
, Romancing Walker
still manages to be fun and entertaining, mostly because of its characters
, and because it doesn't take itself too seriously.
For those interested, the game can be downloaded here
Tropes found in Romancing Walker include:
- Accidental Pervert: Ryle, though at times "accidental" isn't the most accurate term.
- Action Girl: All of the girls are great fighters in their own right. If Ryle plays his cards right, any one of them can end up as his Action Girlfriend.
- Action Mom: Flare Delstar, who can still show her daughter a thing or two.
- A-Cup Angst: Fina. She isn't actually that "flat"; it's more that some of her more curvaceous friends make her envious, and it's part of the game's exaggerated sense of humour.
- Adorkable: Mariel is a female version. She's socially awkward, and churns out a faux pas every minute, but it's hard not to like her, or at least be amused by her antics.
- Applied Phlebotinum: "Atom particles". The basic idea is that the Big Bad is surrounded by a field that can be penetrated only by the smallest particles, but it's never fully explained, and it amounts to a Deus ex Machina in the end.
- Arranged Marriage: In the Hayami ending, we learn that Hayami is actually Princess Esmeriah of the kingdom of Gaiares. When Gaiares was destroyed, she suffered a head injury, lost her memory, and was raised by ninjas to become one of them. After CHAOS was defeated, her father found her again, sealed her memories, and arranged a marriage for her with Prince Dyss of Factoria for political reasons. Luckily for her, Prince Dyss is already in love with a commoner, and allows her to escape and to be rescued by Ryle, whom she truly loves. On meeting Ryle, her memory begins to return.
- Badass Princess: Hayami, though we don't learn this until the very end, and only if the player choses her ending.
- Battle Harem: All the girls can more than match Ryle in combat. Special mention goes to Fina.
- Battle in the Center of the Mind: After Ryle is knocked unconscious by the Mahzok Raymah while shielding Caris, he's warped to a bizarre level, where he must fight "Dream Eaters" to regain pieces of his memory. At the end, he is joined by the girl with whom he has the strongest relationship to fight a "Soul Eater", and can only return to consciousness if they defeat it.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Ryle and Caris, complicated by Ryle's general obliviousness and Caris' explosive temper.
- Berserk Button: Make an unfavourable comment about Fina's bust size, and you've had it. The guards in Factoria learn this the hard way.
- Big Bad: CHAOS. However, the heroes learn this slowly: they intially believe the Big Bad is Xaktor, then Queen Elizeh, then the Mahzoks, before finally realizing what's going on.
- Bishōnen: Ryle.
- Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Latyss, Fina and Hayami, respectively.
- Break the Cutie: Poor Latyss. Over the course of the story, we learn that she, her mother and her little sister were all expelled from the village of Elzcrown, because she refused the advances of the elder's son, and also because she is half-human, half-elf. She openly admits that she was something of a Broken Bird when she first moved to Lavas, and it was Orubia's friendship that changed everything for her.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Happens quite often, including the first town Ryle visits, where an NPC greets him with "Welcome To Lailai Town!", and then adds "I know, the most typical lines!" The wall gets truly shattered when the author herself turns up in the form of a recurrent, annoying bat.
- Buxom Is Better: Hayami, most obviously. If we use "being able to use the ALL Corset item" (which requires a "bust size of 85") as a marker, then Caris and Mariel also qualify.
- Calling Your Attacks: All the characters do this for their high-impact moves, but Fina probably does it best.
- Fina: C..O..S..M...O...S........ ETERNAL!
- Casanova Wannabe: Played with. It's not that Ryle tries to pick up girls and fails, it's that he's extraordinarily awkward with the many women who actually express an interest in him.
- Character Level: All the characters have a level cap of 40, but it's quite possible to beat the game at 30 or above.
- Cheerful Child: Latyss' little sister, Preshes (or, as was probably meant, Precious.) However, do not assume she's a Kawaiiko. Mariel does, and gets zapped for her pains.
- Chick Magnet: All the girls want Ryle, though they differ in their ways of expressing it.
- Chivalrous Pervert: Ryle, again. Though he has the maturity of a teenager (which he is) when dealing with women, his sense of honesty, duty and fair play are undisputed. Brad Burnfist may also count, if his taste in magazines is any indication.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Mariel, in spades.
- Comically Missing the Point: Mariel is very good at this. A minor example is when she admits to enjoying "HOT Lover" magazine (an in-world parody of a "men's magazine", featuring interviews with idol singers and tips on how to pick up girls) for the crossword puzzles.
- Coming-of-Age Story: For Ryle and Fina.
- Cutscene Boss: The first encounter with Graphost, the Mahzok general, plays out as a story scene in which Flare Delstar saves the day. He does put in a more conventional appearance near the end, though.
- Declaration of Protection: If Ryle chooses Caris, then some of his actions - particularly his near-heroic sacrifices in Danyon Mine and the lighthouse - certainly amount to this, in retrospect.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Latyss, if your Relationship Values with her are high enough.
- Demonic Possession: After saving Factoria for the first time, both Prince Dyss and Ryle suspect that the mastermind behind the kingdom's troubles is Queen Elizeh. It turns out that she was actually innocent, and under the control of a "Contact Mahzok", a demon which can take on human form.
- Distaff Counterpart: Hayami, to Ryle. She's also a sword-wielding warrior, of royal descent, who has no clue about her actual identity when the game begins.
- Disappeared Dad: Fina's father, Rain, died due to an illness and making a Heroic Sacrifice to make sure his wife, Flare, defeated CHAOS when she was a child. Latyss's father also died when she was very young, and may have been assasinated by the elves.
- Dual Boss: Raymah and Graphost, though they're not as hard as this trope usually implies.
- Elemental Powers: Apart from Ryle, the playable characters all get the chance to indulge in Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors. To a large extent, the girls' powers match their personalities:
- Fantastic Racism: Humans and elves do not get along well. Which makes life hard for poor Latyss, whose mother was an elf, but whose father was a human official from Factoria.
- Fiery Redhead: Hayami, the female ninja.
- Final Boss, New Dimension: To defeat CHAOS and his four flunkies, Ryle and friends must use Fina's abilities to access the "Astral Realm", a world populated by demons.
- First Girl Wins: The Caris ending.
- Five-Bad Band: They put in an appearance only at the end of the game:
- Five-Man Band: Played with, because either Ryle or Fina can be considered The Hero:
- Gadgeteer Genius: Mariel, introduced in the opening sequence as "Gunner and Gadget" (sic).
- Gainaxing: Hayami's sprite does this, most notably on the party selection screen. Which is pretty impressive considering that FLARE only had an NES-style sprite to work with.
- Genius Ditz: Mariel.
- Genki Girl: Mariel can be quite chirpy when she's not busy saying something silly. She also responds with an enthusiastic "Yay!" if Ryle selects her as a battle companion.
- Goldfish Poop Gang: The FLARE bats and the Dashers, except for their final forms.
- Gratuitous French: Mariel uses a little of it here and there.
- Half-Human Hybrid: We learn about half-way through the game that Latyss and her sister are actually half-human, half-elf.
- Heroic Bastard: Ryle is the son of the King of Factoria, through one of his servant maids. To avoid a struggle for the throne, he was sent away from the Palace in infancy, and only learns this after completing the game's first major quest.
- Hidden Backup Prince: Ryle, as his half-brother Prince Dyss explains after Xaktor is defeated.
- Hilarious Outtakes: Scattered throughout the game, sometimes in unlikely places, are crystal balls that give the player access to the "NG collection", a series of bloopers and comic scenes.
- Identity Amnesia: If Ryle chooses Hayami as his partner in the final battle, the epilogue tells us that she is actually Esmeriah, Princess of the Kingdom of Gaiares. She had lost her memory as a child due to a head injury when the kingdom was destroyed, was raised by ninjas to become one of them, and was found by her father only after CHAOS had been defeated. When Ryle meets her, she is under a spell placed by her father and has forgotten her life as Hayami, until Ryle reminds her.
- Infinity+1 Sword: All the heroes, except Mariel, have an "ultimate" weapon that they acquire as they approach the last level:
Ryle's is the "Fang of Tiger" sword, with which he can use the Tohdanken attack.
Caris gets the "Cross Melty" sword, which strengthens her fire attacks.
Fina's Draconic Buster, formed by the union of two swords, allows her to use her "Sacred Dragoon" powers to the full.
After unlocking the four Elementals, Latyss earns the right to wield the Elven Bow.
When Factoria is saved, Hayami gets the "Nintoh Oboro Zuki".
- Innocent Cohabitation: Ryle has to share a room at the inn in Southern Cray with either Latyss or Caris; later on, an innkeeper tries to make him share a room with four of the girls. Hilarity Ensues.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja: The game's main quest begins once Hayami, the female ninja, enters the scene.
- I Read It for the Articles: Played with. During one of the sidequests, Caris mocks Ryle because the only thing he reads is HOT Lover magazine. Orubia replies, embarrassed, that she also reads it for the horoscopes, and Mariel cheerfully states that she reads it for the crossword puzzles.
- Japanese Honorifics: Hayami addresses Ryle as Ryle-dono, which is our first clue that he's actually royalty, something Hayami figures out long before The Reveal.
- Last Girl Wins: The Mariel ending. Or, if you could find her, the Lucitta ending.
- Like Father, Like Son: Fina follows in her mother Flare's footsteps to become the Sacred Dragoon. Caris and her father have similar personalities. Mariel, like her father, is a gunsmith. A more subtle example is Prince Dyss, who, like his father, falls in love with a servant at the Royal Palace.
- Literal Metaphor: Twice. The heroes turn into ice pillars upon Mariel's unexpected questions in a comedic effect, but it turns out they are literally frozen by her ignorance.
- Let's Play: A comedic one by Sir Exal is available here.
- Long-Lost Relative: Hayami, alias Princess Esmeriah, is Fina Delstar's first cousin: her father King Zeskar and Fina's father Rain were brothers. Ryle and Prince Dyss of Factoria are half-brothers.
- Love Potion: In the later parts of the game, Ryle can pick up vials of "Love Potion #9" by completing certain tasks, which raise the attraction of all the girls in his party when used. However, it's not possible to win over any of the girls with the potion alone. This is because ending up with a particular girl requires an attraction score of 38 to 44 points; a potion can only add 1 to 2 points at a time. Late in the game, it's possible to acquire an item that allows you to trade battle points for vials of potion, but it would take heavy grinding to make this work if your attraction score is low to begin with.
- Magical Girlfriend: Lucitta, the Mahzok, who is a bonus unlockable character. Ryle can choose to end up with her if he wants to.
- Meaningful Name: More like Meaningful Surnames. The game is in love with these; many characters have surnames that directly allude to their personalities or powers:
Caris Burnfist, the hot-tempered fire mage with a devastating uppercut.
Orubia Aquary, who can use water-based spells.
Mariel Shells, who invents and uses guns.
Latyss Grynwind, an elf maiden who uses wind-based attacks.
Flare and Fina Delstar, who both can travel to the Astral Realm to fight demons.
Precious (Preshes) is Latyss' little sister, whom both she and Ryle are very fond of.
- Meganekko: Mariel.
- Meido: A minor example is Tina, a young girl in Factoria who is forced to work as a servant in a noble's house, because her father was bankrupt. She later ends up working in the Royal Palace, quite happily, and in the Hayami ending, we learn that Prince Dyss is in love with her.
- Marathon Boss: CHAOS, for all his world-destroying powers, isn't that hard, but his massive Hit Points mean that the battle takes quite some time to finish.
- Missing Mom: Most of them, actually: only Latyss' and Fina's mothers appear in the game, and Caris' mother died before the story began.
- Mithril: Appears as the "El Metal", mined by the elves of Elzcrown; it's very strong and very light, and Ryle uses it to upgrade his boat.
- Ms. Fanservice: Hayami, and Lucitta if you can unlock her.
- Multiple Endings: Depending on the player's choices, Ryle can end up with any one of the girls in the game.
- Name's the Same: Flare Delstar, the previous Sacred Dragoon, has the same name as the game's creator. The translation tells them apart by having the author's name in caps: thus Flare is Fina's mom, FLARE is the author.
- Nerd Glasses: Mariel. She's apparently lost 325 pairs of them, and carries spares with her all the time.
- Non-Standard Game Over: If you accidentally kill any of the White Shinobi during the Factoria quest, you get a message saying that the heroes were arrested for killing a ninja, and that's it. The trick is to attack only the Monster Cell that is controlling them, and avoid group attacks. Later on, if Ryle doesn't have enough "attraction points" towards any of the girls, he cannot fight the final boss: instead, the game's author castigates him for it and tells him to start over.
- Noob Cave: The Kah Mana shrine, the first "dungeon", and also the place where Ryle has to make his first choice between two girls - he can complete it either with Caris, or Latyss.
- Oblivious to Love: Ryle's behaviour towards Orubia is either this, or just a chronic case of Like Brother and Sister.
- Of Corsets Sexy: Played with for laughs. In a secret room at the end of Leon Forest, there's a chest that contains an item called the "ALL Corset". Caris thinks it's useless ("It's just an underwear!"), Hayami knows what it's good for, Orubia thinks it'll reduce a fighter's efficiency in combat and Fina throws a tantrum when she finds the user instructions, which recommend using "pads" for those whose bust size is too small. It's a fairly useful item, though: it blocks status afflictions, but reduces agility, and only three of the girls - Hayami, Caris and Mariel - can actually wear it.
- Older Than They Look: Latyss, Precious and their mother, being elves, age more slowly than humans. Though Latyss physically appears the same age as Ryle, who is seventeen, she is actually four times older.
- One-Hit Kill: CHAOS' "Mort Vortex" spell can instantly kill up to two members of your party in the final battle.
- Our Demons Are Different: The Mahzoks are Chaotic Evil beings which exist on another plane, feed off the negative emotions of humans, and who are loyal to their dark lord, CHAOS. Twenty years before the events of the game, they were defeated by Flare Delstar in the "Demonic War", but they return and form the main antagonists of the game.
- Overprotective Dad: Brad Burnfist is this to Caris, as Ryle finds out the hard way if he ends up with her.
- Patient Childhood Love Interest: Orubia. If Ryle ends up with her, we learn from the epilogue that they'd actually made a Childhood Marriage Promise of sorts, which Ryle has conveniently forgotten.
- Porn Stash: If Ryle searches around in his mentor Brad's house, he can find a copy of '''H-Boy Limited Edition'''. It actually comes in helpful in earning attraction points from Hayami later on.
- Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: The team love to use these when taking on the major bosses. Most of them are pretty awesome, but we also get:
- Relationship Values: Throughout the game, Ryle's choices - particularly his selection of combat partners and his conversational options - affect his relationships with the women of the story, as measured by the "Attraction" variable. If this value is high enough, an epilogue shows Ryle spending his life together with the girl in question.
- Rouge Angles of Satin: Plenty in the translation. For example, is Fina the Sacred Draggon, Dragon or Dragoon? However, some of them are quite punny, and actually add to the humor.
- Running Gag: Three striking ones:
- Rocks falling on Ryle's head. It Makes Sense in Context.
- A series of enemies called "Runners" or "Dashers", who look like stick men with doughnut heads, and whom Ryle can't stand.
- Cameo appearances by the game's creator, FLARE, in the form of various potion-stealing bats. Finally, exasperated at being shot by Mariel, it transforms into a huge bat-like monster, who yields an important bonus when defeated.
- Save the Villain: Orubia tries to do this with Xaktor, but it doesn't work: "Stop hurting yourself with more sin!"
- Shared Family Quirks: In the author's notes, we learn that Flare went through A-Cup Angst when she was younger, and also suffered from "Hyper Sea Sick" and "Ghost Phobia", just as Fina does.
- Small Girl, Big Gun: Mariel. When the heroes first meet her, they think she's dead meat when a zombie attacks her - until she proceeds to draw her custom-made gun and shoot him out of the picture.
- Sugar and Ice Personality: Latyss.
- Team Mom: Twenty years after defeating CHAOS herself, Flare Delstar plays this role to Fina, Ryle and their friends when they undertake their own quest.
- The Chosen One: Fina, following in her mother's footsteps.
- The End... Or Is It?: The game explicitly states that CHAOS will return in the future, but this is tempered somewhat by Ryle saying that he intends to do what he can to prevent this.
- The Heart: Orubia. In the epilogues, we learn that she spends her reward on setting up an orphanage, and that she was the only one who welcomed Latyss and Preshes when they sought refuge in Lavas Village.
- The Mario: Mariel, who can use lightning and earth-based attacks as well as weapons.
- The Mentor: Brad Burnfist, Caris' dad, is Ryan's mentor and trainer.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Ryle delivers a number of them throughout the game. Unfortunately, they don't always come out right, thanks to the translation.
- The Reveal: Three important ones, one of which is optional. Ryle is actually Prince Ryle of the Kingdom of Factoria. The entire game plot is one huge Xanatos Gambit on the part of the Mahzoks to resurrect CHAOS. And Hayami is actually Princess Esmeriah of Gaiares, though the only way to find this out is to pick her ending.
- True Companions: The game lives on this trope. Though the set-up of one teenage boy and six attractive women would suggest a Battle Harem, Ryle and his friends genuinely care for each other, and would always put their companion's welfare ahead of their own. In some cases, the bonds date back to Ryle's childhood (Orubia, Caris), but in other cases, they grow as the companions are forced to take on a variety of challenges (Hayami, Latyss, Fina, and eventually Mariel.)
- Tsundere: Caris is a textbook example of a type A.
- Verbal Tic: Orubia addresses every other girl as "Sis X", and Ryle as "Dear Ryle", both of which probably are translations of Japanese terms such as ''-chan'' and ''-kun''. Also, for reasons best known to rm2kfanboy, Hayami always refers to herself as "Sessha" (Japanese for "I") in the English translation.
- White Magician Girl: Orubia to a T: she's clasically feminine, is more of a healer than a fighter, and is the most compassionate of the playable characters.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Fina is the strongest fighter and the next Sacred Dragoon, but she has two major Achilles' heels: ghosts and sea travel. The game even lists "Ghost Phobia" and "Hyper Sea Sick" along with her special moves!
- Xanatos Gambit: The entire game, until CHAOS gets stuffed, can be considered as one of these on the part of the Mahzoks. To sum up: The Mahzoks are trying to resurrect their leader, and need a pool of negative human emotions - their energy source - to do this. To this end, they play Ryle and his friends for suckers, luring them into situations that will actually lead to more negative emotions being generated, such as the conflict with Factoria Castle. The cherry on top is that when the last four demons themselves are defeated by the heroes, their sacrifice actually provides the last bit of energy needed for CHAOS to resurrect. In other words, the heroes are damned if they do, damned if they don't. If they stay put, the Mahzoks will wreck things; if they fight, they are unwittingly helping CHAOS to return.
- Yamato Nadeshiko: Orubia is the closest to one among the girls. A minor example is Latyss' mom, Lesinna Grynwind, who - from the little we see of her - is a devoted mother, a good housekeeper, and a friend to all, but who also knows how to stand up for what is right.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Caris and Orubia, though poles apart in temperament, are both blue-haired. Mariel, for some reason, is green-haired. The other three girls have more "normal" hair colours.
- Zettai Ryouiki: Caris and Latyss are both type B, if we go by their battle animations; both have high boots, but Caris uses the "hot pants" variation while Latyss wears a more conventional skirt.