Der Vorhang ist aufgegangen, wer weiß, was noch passieren wird.* The curtain has risen; who can say what has yet to unfold?
In the past, the Holy Empire and Orthodox Church persecuted magic-users, or Magi, wherever they went. One man, a Magus by the name of Rosenkreuz, led eight disciples into a battle for their freedom and rights. The battle, which would later be called the Holy War, was long and epic, and cost Rosenkreuz his life. His dream, however, was achieved, as the Empire accepted Magi as a new branch of their military, called Rosenkreuzstilette, or RKS for short.In time, however, history repeated itself, as Commander of RKS Count Michael Zeppelin ordered a strike against the Empire. Spiritia Rosenberg, a member of RKS, was away when the order was issued, and was shocked when her closest friend and fellow Magus Freudia Neuwahl told her of the commander's plan as she was carrying it out. Spiritia takes it upon herself to quell the rebellion alone and restore peace...RosenkreuzStilette (or Blades of the Rose Cross) is a doujinplatformer made by [erka:es] that is heavily inspired by the classic Mega Man series, with traces of the Mega Man X and Mega Man Zero series, with a bit of Castlevania thrown in for a good measure. The game is notable for having sufficiently good art and music to distinguish itself from other Mega Man clones, as well as toning down the Nintendo Hard difficulty typically associated with them. It also has a small, but growing English-speaking community. An English translation patch (primarily compatible with v1.05c) is available here. Those wishing to purchase the game can buy the RosenkreuzStilette -[erka:es] The Best- digital re-release here at DLsite's work-safe English page.A sequel titled RosenkreuzStilette Freudenstachel was released on October 20th, 2012, after years of setbacks and delays. As should be expected from the title, this sequel features Freudia Neuwahl as the protagonist. The story involves Freudia trying to rescue Spiritia, who has been taken captive by the Schwarzkreuz, a group of Black Magi led by Pamela Arwig that has begun witch-hunting Magi for the Empire and the Church in an effort to bring them to justice and "put down the Walpurgisnacht". The game can be purchased digitally here at DLsite.An art compilation of the sequel, RosenkreuzStilette Freudenstachel Я05, was released during Comiket 84 along with a playable beta of the original game. As you might have guessed, you can purchase RosenkreuzStilette Freudenstachel Я05 digitally via DLsite here. Both RosenkreuzStilette and its sequel are also available at Playism (in Japan).This series also has a Character Sheet. All character-related tropes go there.
RosenkreuzStilette provides trope examples of:
1-Up: Resembling the face of your character, à la classic Mega Man.
Another Side, Another Story: Completing the game will give you the code to play as Grolla, in her own special side-story, RosenkreuzStilette Grollschwert. Similarly, RosenkreuzStilette Freudenstachel has its own bonus mode, RosenkreuzStilette Weißsilber, featuring Pamela, the perky leader of the Dark Magi, as a playable character.
Although there's a bit of a difference in story for the first game, namely that in Spiritia's story, Grolla knows nothing about Iris' deception that causes the whole damn plot — and in her side-story, she saw it firsthand, and warns the fellow labeled-traitor Spiritia about it.
[erka:es] posted mock screenshots of RosenkreuzStilette Freudenstachel on their website as a joke years before it ended up as an actual sequel to the original game.
Another that was intended to be an April Fools joke, but missed the day pull it off due to personal constraints, finally revealed the appearance of Liebea's brother Karl parodying the classic Castlevania games, with Karl as an expy of Simon Belmont no less.
In April 2013, [erka:es] brought out the most Luste-ful April Fools' Day stunt with RosenkreuzStilette Lustatem, unfortunately the site is now dead.
Art Evolution: The character art in Freudenstachel has changed and in some ways improved since the first game.
Awesome, but Impractical: Die geplante Zukunft. It's great in which it allows you to freeze time and blast stronger enemies with emerald shards, and it helps when you want to avoid certain foes as well, but you can't switch weapons when it's in use, and it can't be deactivated by any means other than waiting for the whole gauge to be depleted or dying.
Some charged attacks of the special weapons are also impractical. Zornesbombe's charged attack in the first game for example spawns a bunch of bombs at once but eats away a lot of its energy in one shot.
The Backwards R: Used literally as the RKS logo. One was also used the title of the art compilation, RosenkreuzStilette Freudenstachel Я05.
Badass Family: The Seyfarth clan, as they've wielded Grollschwert for generations.
Thanatos: "THE MYSTIC SWORDS OF THE SEYFARTH CLAN POSSESS SENTIENCE. IF ONE IGNORES ITS WILL, ONE CAN NEVER HARNESS GROLLSCHWERT'S TRUE POWER." Grolla: "..." Thanatos: "IF YOUR BLADE IS NO MORE THAN A TOOL... AN INSTRUMENT OF DESTRUCTION... THEN YOU AND THE SEYFARTH LEGACY WILL MEET YOUR END THIS NIGHT."
Bittersweet Ending: In Grollschwert, when Grolla is about to finish Iris once and for all, Iris self-destructs her palace and Grolla escapes on her own, afterwards watching from a nearby cliff as the palace collapses and Iris escapes in her capsule. She then returns home to place a wreath of flowers honoring her grandfather at his grave.
The first main game's ending is also part bittersweet, from Spiritia's point of view at least, with Iris self-destructing her palace and escaping in her capsule, and Spiritia, having been saved from being crushed with the palace by Talos, wondering afterwards what happened to Iris and hoping that she learned her lesson. Nevertheless, she still feels good about her victory and happily reunites with her friends, making the rest of it happy.
Spirtia: "I wonder what happened to Iris..." Lilli: "I don't know, but she definitely learned her lesson, right?" Spiritia: "...I hope so."
Bleak Level: Eifer's own Schwarzkreuz stage in Freudenstachel.
Book Ends: The first game's title screen depicts the final boss' arena.
Convection Schmonvection: Neither bubbling lava, nor freezing ice, nor the cold, nor the distinct thinness of the air in the sky, nor even her Super Drowning Skills will stop Spiritia Rosenberg on her most holy quest. Nor will they stop Grolla then later Freudia and Pamela.
Creepy Cool Crosses: As many as you would expect in a game called RosenkreuzStilette. Even the title itself has them for "T"s.
Darker and Edgier: Grolla's side-game, RosenkreuzStilette Grollschwert, can be considered much darker than the main game, as it has a Downer Beginning, showing Iris to be even more cruel (especially towards Grolla) than in the main game itself, plus Grolla gets a rather dramatic moment where she becomes both infuriated and deeply hurt by fighting the undead form of her own mentor and grandfather. It also has a more Bittersweet Ending.
Defeat Means Friendship: In Spiritia's case, defeating her friends in combat means that she is able to convince them that the rebellion is going to be less than worth it. She ends up being right for ''different'' reasons than she initially thought. At least Grolla's closer to the truth.
Dem Bones: The majorities of the enemies found throughout the games are skeletons and skulls and things made of bones, and one of the sub-bosses is a giant tower of skulls with a glowing-eyed horned skull on top of it found in the first game's version of Grolla's stage as well as the version in RosenkreuzStilette Freudenstachel's Comiket 75 Trial version.
Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Iris, born with the legendary Rosenkreuz's supreme intellect and magical prowess, claims herself being a god. And then Spiritia (and Grolla) punched her out. And Freudia (and Pamela) killed her. Freu did it with ice.
Downer Beginning: RosenkreuzStilette Grollschwert, the first game's side-game, gets one. It starts with Iris' Villain Opening Scene where she shows just how nasty she is by killing a priest just for laughs. As soon as Grolla walks in having overheard her plans to have RKS fight against the Empire for her entertainment, not only does she gets severely wounded by her attack, but when she interrogates her on what she's plotting and whether she's been deceiving the organization, she even gets humiliated by her Wounded Gazelle Gambit — Iris pretends she's an innocent girl when Sichte walks in, causing her to order Grolla to lower her weapon and giving her no choice but to retreat. This sets off the main plot for Grollschwert's story.
Edge Gravity: It's entirely possible to have half your foot on a ledge and not fall off.
Elemental Hair: Some of the characters have hair colors that matches with their elemental ability or how they utilize their powers:
Fire: Zorne (red).
Water: Trauare (blue).
Earth: Schirach (light brown).
Wind: Dolis (green).
Lightning: Iris (blonde).
Ice: Freudia (white), Strudel (light blue).
Dark: Grolla (purple).
Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: As you may have guessed by now, the eight main bosses has a rock-pappers-scissors pattern of which weapons hurts them the most.
Fantastic Racism: A long time ago, Magi were often persecuted by the Holy Empire, and were often labeled "demons", with their leader Rosenkreuz being called the Devil himself. Then, he sacrificed himself to the Holy Empire to create peace. It worked, and the Magi were even given a special place in the Holy Empire's military, called Rosenkreuzstilette (RKS). And then, not long before the first game starts, it's said that the Magi persecution has restarted again.
It later turns out that the restarting of the Magi persecution wasn't really the case. The Empire actually feared Iris Sepperin's power and the fact that she was reincarnated from Rosenkreuz, and, hoping to stop her, sent several of its priests to dispose of her — all of which of course failed as Iris killed them. Then, knowing that Karl sees through her facades, she manipulates her father into believing Karl is a spy for the Empire, imprisoning him, and, fearing that the Empire may know her secrets, starts a rebellion.
And after Iris' defeat at the end of the first game, a few months passed leading to the events of RosenkreuzStilette Freudenstachel, where a new Dark Magus organization called the Schwarzkreuz appeared launching its own coup against the RKS, witch-hunting the Magi associated with it for the sake of the Church in an effort to put down the Walpurgisnacht. Of course, it's actually Iris behind everything. Again.
Fighting Your Friend: Spiritia ending up fighting every one of her friends and comrades of the RKS to prevent the rebellion thanks to Iris.
The first half of the final battle in Freudenstachel is against an Iris-controlled Spiritia.
Fun with Acronyms: Pronouning "RKS" as if it were German makes the syllables "err-ka-es".
Game-Breaking Bug: One can found in early versions of Freudenstachel where if Trauare pushes you into the upper corners of a wall, Freudia gets pushed into a Minus World where all she can do is swim through an empty and glitched room with Trauare being nowhere in sight. The only way out is to reset the game, which can be rage-inducing for anyone fighting her at Iris Stage III.
Garden of Evil: Iris's Garden of Time and Space, the third-to-last level of the first game.
Furthermore (more apparent in the English patch for those not familiar with Japanese) if you lose all your lives in the very last stage, the game calls you a Completely Incompetent Half-Wit. Seriously.
One of these actually helps you somewhat. The Game Over screen for the Thanatos stage is a shout-out to the game over screen from Shadowgate. If you bother taking a look at the inventory, you can see two items besides the torch: Sword and Harness, of which is referencing the weaknesses of the stage boss, Grollscwhert and the Klageharnisch.
It's a Wonderful Failure: Losing your last life against certain bosses has them mocking you with different monologues before humiliating you with references to other games on their respective stages' custom Game Over screens. The monologue depends on your actions and/or which character you use.
Mana Meter: Your Weapon Energy gauge for any of your selected weapons.
Long Song, Short Scene: The song "Dark Purple Moon", Grolla's and Raimund's dialouge music, is over five minutes long without any looping, but it only plays during two relatively short dialogue sequences.
Meaningless Lives: In a way. Cross Tanks carry over and respawn when you continue. There's nothing stopping you from collecting the Cross Tank in a stage and jumping off a cliff just to collect it again.
Mildly Military: Even though the RKS is supposed to be a military organization of the Holy Empire, they never do much in the way of military duties. The Blades seem more like a special sect for Magi than a military.
Ninja Maid: Pamela has a few working in her palace, going by her stage.
Nintendo Hard: Even if it's been toned down by comparison, it still is.
And then there's Grollschwert. You know it's bad when the game warns you how hard it isbefore you get to the title screen.
Although oddly, some of the harder bosses in Grollschwert become somewhat easier due to Grolla possessing the ability to dash and wall jump, which makes dodging attacks and chasing enemies easier. Good examples of that are the battles against Trauare and Luste.
Freudenstachel seems to be actively trying to make up for the lower difficulty in the first game by toning it back up three times as much.
Ominous Latin Chanting: The songs "Dark Purple Moonlight", "Dark Purple Moon ~ Dance of the Moon ~ Rebirth", and "Sinner" feature these in the form of Ethereal Choirs rather than Latin words.
One-Hit-Point Wonder: A special mode titled "RKSF[sterblich]" turns Freudia and Pamela into one to make the game even harder than before. For the truly masochistic RKS players, you can find the executable download here by clicking "Rosenkreuzstilette Freudenstachel [sterblich]" at the game's Download page.
Poison Mushroom: Partly. The sequel features the 1-Up item from the first game at exactly one location. Freudia will gain nine extra lives by collecting this item. But if you are playing as Pamela? It's a "evil Tia" face instead and she loses all remaining lives except the one in use when she picks it up.
Spirita plays it completely straight, but Freudia has a variant where she adapts opponents' abilities to her own ice-themed powers. Her default attack is the one Spiria learns from her in the first game, while she gains the attack she had in the first game by defeating a different ice-themed opponent. Grolla and Pamela avert it entirely.
Rain of Blood: The bloody rainstorm near the end of Grolla's Freudenstachel stage.
Rapunzel Hair: Most of the female characters all have hair that reaches at least their knees.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: Zorne and Trauare respectively from the first game. Also Rink and Lecht respectively in Freudenstachel.
Spell My Name with an S: In the fan translation, the surname of Sepperin is changed over to Zeppelin. This change however was justified as the Japanese names of Zorne, Graf Michael Sepperin, and even Iris were named after the real-life Ferdinand von Zeppelin after all.
Spikes Of Doom: Just like in many other platformers, touch them and you'll die.
Stealth Pun: Several dozens, if not hundreds, of these can be found in the English fan-translation, with over half a dozen in the pause menu alone.
Tears of Blood: The statue at the end of Zeppelin Stage II. Also, the stage title for said stage is "Bloody Tears", named after a certain Castlevania song.
Then again in Iris Stage II in Freudenstachel, except these bloody tear-shedding statues are almost everywhere. Also, the sea of blood is FLAMMABLE!
Theme Naming: The first name of (almost) everyone is a very mangled version of a emotion in German, while their last name comes from various German board game designers (e.g. Klaus Teuber of Settlers Of Catan fame).
Thirteen Is Unlucky: In hindsight, anyway. If you choose to start a playthrough from the Opening Stage in the first main game, then Zeppelin Stage IV will become the thirteenth stage, which makes perfect sense as, after Spiritia beats Count Zeppelin, Iris pulls off a You Have Outlived Your Usefulness on him and then attacks and fatally injures Spiritia, giving her a Heroic BSOD as she gleefully explains the whole truth behind the war and its motives just before Freudia makes a non-lethal Heroic Sacrifice to save Spiritia in a Big Damn Heroes moment.
Tomboy and Girly Girl: In the RKS, Zorne and Grolla as the tomboys with Trauare and Sicthe as the girly girls.
Turns Red: Every single boss, with the sole exception of Freudia (though it could be argued she's always red).
In Freudenstachel, when Freudia fights the final boss Spiritia/Iris, this happens to her, or rather, you as well, indicated by the weapon bar turning red. The effect is that Freu has infinite ammo for the Freudenstachel during the entire fight.
Wake-Up Call Boss: in Freudenstachel, all of the original eight tend to range from easy to challenging, but doable. All of them seem easier than their earlier incarnations, and none of them should give you too much trouble, especially if you know their weaknesses. It might give you the false idea that this game is easier than the first game, until you run into the Schwarzkreuz who all serve as a collective Wake-Up Call Boss, particularly Pamela and especially Shirach.
Weaksauce Weakness: [erka:es] haven't forgotten about Metal Man's being killed in two hits by his own weapon while designing Luste. Nor have they forgotten Gamma's weakness to Top Spin in designing Graf Sepperin's fight in Freudenstachel.
Weird Moon: Some of the games' backgrounds contain a red or blue moon. Like the red one in Grolla's Freudenstachel stage.
When Trees Attack: Dolis's stage in Freudenstachel contains a great demonic tree for a midboss. It attacks with falling leaves in the style of Wood Man.