Silhouette Mirage is an action-platformer developed by Treasure. It was originally released for the Sega Saturn in 1997; a PlayStation version (Treasure's first console-to-console port, subtitled Reprogrammed Hope) was released the next year in Japan, and subsequently localized for the U.S. by Working Designs.Years ago, in the colossal laboratory of Edo, genetic experiments produced the twin attributes of Silhouette and Mirage in a child called Armageddon. The twin attributes were opposite, complementary, and necessary for each other's existence, like yin and yang. Yet due to their very nature, they sundered Armageddon into two beings: Hal, who was all Mirage, and Megido, who was all Silhouette. Once started, this split infected all life on Earth. Many organisms were killed by the transition. The survivors were divided into two factions based on attribute, with Hal and Megido as their leaders.Responding to the devastation, the artificial intelligence Gehena created Shyna Nera Shyna, the Messenger of Justice (although most seem to know her as the Messenger of Destruction), a member of the rare Proteans, beings who combine the attributes of Silhouette and Mirage. Shyna's mission is to repair Edo's computer system and neutralize the two attributes by re-uniting them, effectively reversing the event that created the world as it currently exists.With run-and-gun elements in which the attribute of attacks, enemies, and other entities plays a central role in gameplay, it could be considered a different-genre analogue of Ikaruga.
This game provides examples of:
Action Girl: Shyna, the Messenger of Justice and Destruction who's capable of using various parasites for different shot types, reflect attacks of the same element, and can punch foes in the face to make them cough up money.
After the End: The game's setting is after a biological holocaust.
Ambiguous Gender: Zohar. Justified in that s/he changes gender depending on what form s/he is. Metatron is male, and Sandalphon is female.
Arms Dealer: The rabbit running the shop. You can buy (or sell) your weapons, as well as replenish life and spirit from him.
Attack Reflector: Shyna can create a barrier to reflect attacks with the same attribute as hers and the green-colored Normal attacks back against the attacker.
Auto-Save: The Saturn automatically saves your progress over the course of the game; the PlayStation version uses manual saves.
Defeat Means Friendship: Bug, a boss encountered early in the game, turns to your side soon after, and becomes the means for traveling between levels.
Difficulty By Region: Working Designs, in their usual Woolseyism attempts, also deliberately made the game harder by, among other things, making shots of one nature drain power when hitting a target of the same.
Emergency Weapon: All of your attacks require Spirit. If you run out of spirit, your equipped parasite will be consumed to regain 100 points. If it was your last parasite, you will be given a Sloth (basic shot) parasite as well — however, this only happens once; run out of spirit with just a Sloth left and you're screwed. This is considerably more annoying in the North American version, where Spirit is your Mana Meter, than in the Japanese, where Spirit was only drained by enemy attacks. Although they did grant a mercy that when you were stuck with the Surosa, you never lost it.
Evolving Weapon: The seven main weapons are all parasites that inhabit Shyna. Each can be leveled up into something bigger and badder several times over the course of the game.
Grotesque Cute: The Specters, Silhouette Mooks, have heads that look like dark green Jack-o'-Lanterns and Super-Deformed proportions. Conversely, the Polly Peepers, their Mirage equivalents, have ugly faces hidden under blandly cutesy masks. Dynamis, the first of the Guardian Angels you must face, looks like a giant fish with tentacles and a cute little girl's face (pictured above).
Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Zophar's two different forms. Metatron fights with a sword while Sandalphon uses a ray gun for her attacks.
Man Behind the Man: While Hal and Megido come from him, it's implied that Clod/Armageddon is now a part of Edo and is thus responsible for most of the world's problems. Restoring Edo, therefore, effectively makes him God.
Magical Computer: For inadequately explored reasons, the world displays Matrix-like properties as if it's all a big computer program, but as far as anyone can tell, it's the real world.
Our Monsters Are Weird: One look at Dynamis — who has a fish's body, a head of an anime girl, and tentacles arms protruding from her body — is bound of have questions whether or not the dev team was on drugs.
Reset Button: The goal of Shyna's quest is essentially this. The game allows you to choose not to do this in some endings, allowing the world to continue to exist in its current state.
Science Is Bad: Possibly. Genetic experiments on a human led to the world's current divided state, and Big Bad (one of them) Hal uses Edo as a base of operations.
Shout-Out: Aside from all the allusions to the Bible, Shyna's appearance is a Shout-Out to the classical depiction of Hermes, with wings on her cap.
Seven Deadly Sins: The theme of your parasitic weapons; most of their names in the English version are either derived from their Latin or English spelling. To wit: Sloth: Surosa; Pride: Priday; Wrath: Angara; Lust: Rasti; Gluttony: Grattoni; Envy: Envia; Greed: Cavitas.
Spell My Name with an S: The names of many of the characters and locations in the game are taken from the Bible, and from Christian and Jewish cosmology in general. Most of this was lost in Working Designs' translation to English, either through discrepancies between Japanese and English phonology or through deliberate name changes: Har became Hal (which, admittedly, may have added a reference to a certain famous AI); the seven attacks Shyna can use, named for the Seven Deadly Sins, became arbitrary strings of syllables; Moses became Bug; Delilah became Delia; Cherub became Geluve; etc.
This Was His True Form: Straight or inverted, your mileage may vary; after mortally wounded in the true monstrous form, Zohar returns to the false humanoid form which he/she identifies him/herself with. Dying as Yourself follows.
Enemies in this game display either of the two attributes, Silhouette and Mirage. Silhouette-attribute energy is harmful to Mirage enemies and vice versa.
You fight Delia, a Mirage boss, in a room where the two are out of reach of each other. The only thing he does is fill his mana meter by inhaling the Mirage soup in the huge pot and use a long-range special attack. And the only way to damage him is to poison the soup by chucking Silhouette cooks into the soup.
Gargantuan gathers energy by absorbing same-attribute matter from the outside. If it absorbs matter with different attributes, it will take damage and change its attribute. The player character wonders where to find the "matter", but as soon as the battle begins, mooks of the both attributes start appearing...
Geluve has the ability to possess mooks and use them as her "arms". The only way to do damage to her is to blast her arms. The game has a Game-Breaking Bug in which she will not summon new mooks.
Xanatos Gambit: Once Shyna is activated, all life-forms with attributes will disappear even if she fails.
Yin-Yang Bomb: Shyna is a textbook example. Her body is actually split down the middle, Mirage on one side and Silhouette on the other. Zohar, another Protean, does it somewhat differently, with alternate Silhouette and Mirage appearances, which also happen to be different genders.
You Have Out Lived Your Usefulness: Several characters do this. Zohar threatens Bug with this. Then Hal may or may not do this to Zohar him/her-self, depending on several choices you make. THEN, in another alternate turn of events, Hal's own daughter Geluve does this to him. AND THEN Megido says something similar to Shyna since she has restored Edo. AND FURTHER STILL Clod/Armageddon says this to Shyna before he attempts to kill her.