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Video Game: The Black Heart
Clockwise from top: Noroko, Shar-Makai, Animus, Ananzi, Hashi, Peketo.

Created by Andres Borghi, The Black Heart is a 2D fighting game that runs on the M.U.G.E.N engine. The game is a horror based fighter, not unlike the Darkstalkers franchise. All the music and the great majority of the sprites are original, which is quite a feat. Unlike most fighting games, TBH features a very present storyline. There is another dimension parallel to ours, simply called "The Other World", whose king has been recently murdered by a creature born from the chaos between the worlds, named Final. The heart of the king is said to contain immense power, and each of the game's six characters is seeking it for their own reasons. They are:

  • Hashi - Hashi belongs to an ancient race of woodmen who shaped and constructed our world. He was banished from the forest where the rest of his (now nearly extinct) race lives for his excessive violence against humans. When the heart of the king was stolen, the forest began to become corrupted and twisted. Malen, the leader of his race, now offers to end his exile. In exchange, he is sent to find the source of the corruption in the chaos between worlds, since he is the only one of his race with any aptitude for fighting. He is accompanied by Bako, a small plant creature able to travel between worlds.
  • Noroko - A ghost that was sealed within an ancient Japanese doll. The doll was in the possession of an antique collector, attracted by the stories of the ghost in the doll (which he never saw). When the king of the other world was murdered and his heart ripped, the huge power emanating from it awakened her. Noroko now travels through the worlds searching for the heart, in the hopes it's power can end her suffering.
  • Peketo - A child driven mad by his neglectful father who studied the occult, Peketo once opened a portal to the Other World by accident and became obsessed with the immense power he felt when he gazed upon the barren landscape. As the color of blood was the only red similar to that of the other world, he wantonly killed people just to see it over and over again. He was later murdered by a relative of one of his victims, but brought back thanks to one of many pacts he made with the dead. Now, he wants to find the source of the power he felt when he first saw the Other World.
  • Animus - Locked in an Iron Maiden for more than 400 years, that was brought to the Other World by the soldiers of the prince at his request. One day, the metal coffin suddenly opened, letting Animus free. His father, Final, mentally beckoned him from afar. He obeyed, eager to learn who he really is, why he had to suffer so much and, most of all, why he can't die.
  • Ananzi - The daughter of prince Janos. She hates chaos and can't stand 'abominations' born from it, the Shar-Makai included. After hearing her father sent his army to recover the Black Heart, Ananzi objects, having trained all her life to serve her father only to be substituted by monsters. Her father then apologizes and asks her to recieve the heart by herself, to demonstrate her true value.
  • Shar-Makai - A race of worm monsters born in chaos, captured by the Prince of the Other World and trained to become his loyal servants. They can change their size at will, and can plant their embryos in their victim's bodies, so they can multiply even after being killed. Their current mission is to find Final and obtain the heart from him.

Each character's story is told in chronological order, as follows: 1: Hashi, 2: Noroko, 3: Peketo, 4: Animus, 5: Ananzi, and 6: Shar-Makai. Playing story mode in this order (especially the last two chapters) is recommended.

Official site with free download here.
This game contains examples of:
  • Abandoned Hospital: Peketo's stage is one.
  • Affably Evil: Peketo is constantly smiling and cheerful as he carves his opponents to jibbles.
  • And I Must Scream: Animus has been locked inside an iron maiden for about 400 years without the ability to die.
  • Anyone Can Die: Almost everyone, in fact. Ananzi, Animus, and Hashi all die in their endings, Noroko finally finds peace and disperses (which could be seen as a kind of death), and Shar-Makai often dies in his win pose (another Shar-Makai appears and decapitates him.) The only one of the playable characters who's still alive at the end is Peketo, who is now fighting his father for all eternity.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Shar-Makai are giant worms that serve the royal family.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Animus female form (she doesn't have nipples).
  • Bilingual Bonus: Noroko's few spoken and written lines are in Japanese.
    • Peketo, Hashi and Final both have spoken Spanish lines.
    • Both Animus and Female!Animus have a line each in Hungarian - Understandable, as (s)he spent a few hundred years in Transylvania before the events of the game, if only within the maiden.
  • The Blank: Noroko. Most of the time.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Peketo appears to be a cute, innocent little doll person, but not only he is rotten to the core, he also refuses to admit it.
  • Blood Magic/Bloody Murder: Final uses it as his level 1 super. He grabs his enemy and holds him as said enemy's blood flows and spills on the ground. Then Final throws the opponent away and teleports, while the pool of blood spawns 3 clones of the opponent which must be defeated.
    • If you're low on health, though, it just blows you to pieces.
    • Noroko's Bloody End special has her attacking with a massive blood spray from her arm.
  • Breath Weapon: Shar-Makai's super acid vomit attack.
  • Buzzsaw Good: Animus' Walk of Pain.
  • Combat Sadomasochist: Animus has attacks which involve self-injury, and keeps his Slasher Smile even as the opponent beats him up. Of course, the pain of combat is probably nothing after 400 years of suffering inside an iron maiden.
  • Combat Tentacles: Final uses those, as his weakest attack.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: If you play on the hard difficulty, the last two opponents before Final will be on AI level 3. This means they will block all of your moves, command read, and if you try to grab them they will see it coming and either combo you or grab you themselves.
  • Creepy Child: Peketo is the ghost of a serial killer, and he carries around his own decapitated head. Which he shows to other people's corpses.
    • Noroko doesn't seem that old herself.
  • Creepy Cool Crosses: When Animus uses his Impaler special, the last and most damaging blade is actually a glowing metal cross. He can also spawn impaled on the same cross, in his introduction sequence.
  • Creepy Doll: Noroko was sealed inside one.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Ananzi's death definitely qualifies. Moreover, this being a horror-themed fighting game, visually provoking deaths happen numerous times during gameplay, though whether they actually die or not is debatable.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Most of the cast happens to fall into this category. Noroko and Animus both want their suffering to end. Ananzi is a princess trying to make her father proud. And Final is the closest being to an Eldritch Abomination here but stole the Heart to keep it away from Prince Janos. That being said...
  • Dark Is Evil: Hashi is a Jerkass who was banished from his own people for his excessive violence against humans. The Shar-Makais are essentially mindless worm Xenomorphs controlled by Prince Janos. Peketo is...Peketo. And then there's Prince Janos...
  • Death Seeker: Animus.
  • Downer Ending: Hashi, Ananzi, Shar-Makai, possibly also Peketo, who could be forced to fight his dad for eternity. It ends well only for Noroko and Animus, and just because they find peace in death.
    • There's a matter of perspective here, mind you. The Downer Ending of Hashi means the salvation of mankind, while the "good" ending of Animus dooms a whole realm.
  • Easter Egg: Between the many possibile dresses of her victory pose, Ananzi could show off dressed as Chun-Li.
    • If you use her char in a common MUGEN game and put her against P.O.T.S.'s Morrigan, she'll start the fight dressed as Morrigan, and Morrigan will be dressed as Ananzi!
    • If Peketo uses his Final Attack on another Peketo who is currently in his "Killer Mode," he'll still try to decapitate him. Repeatedly. Despite the lack of a head. Then he'll stab him repeatedly before finally getting fed up with his copy's immortality and punching him in the chest for the kill.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Final might not really be one, but he was obviously inspired by them, what with all the tentacles everywhere.
  • Eye Beams: Final uses them, both as a regular attack and as an extremely painful level 2 super.
  • Eye Scream: Hashi has a grapple where he throws a plant seed into the opponent's brain, causing a limb to sprout out of their eye.
  • Fertile Feet: Hashi's killer mode causes flowers (And giant spiked plants) to grow all around him.
  • Finishing Move / Awesome but Impractical: Fatal Moves. You must have a full, 3-leveled super bar, the enemy must be below 25% life, AND it must hit the enemy without them blocking. Pretty much, a mix of Astral Finish and Fatality.
    • Each character also has a super that, if used to finish off your opponent, will deal some sort of fatal injury. (For example, Hashi can decapitate his opponent with Harvest of Pain.)
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: One of Noroko's victory poses has her attempting to attack the player, leaving bloody scratches on the opposite side of the screen.
  • Gainaxing: Ananzi has it in a few animations.
  • Giant Spider: Ananzi turns into one for her level 3 instakill and one of her supers.
  • Gender Bender. Animus - not only does his sprite constantly alternate between male and female forms, but if he defeats his opponent using his Iron Virgin super, he'll briefly transform them into a female form before impaling them. (Possibly as a Shout-Out to Midnight Bliss.) note 
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Impossible to avoid in such a game. Animus' single eye glows yellow, so do Hashi's eyes. Final has two huge glowing yellow eyes, and their glow amplifies whenever he casts powerful magic. In a particularly sinister variation, Janos is always portrayed as a dark silhouette, with a single red eye glowing.
  • Gratuitous Hungarian: Animus' language of choice.
  • Hero Antagonist: It turns out that Final is actually this and Prince Janos is the real villain.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Hashi, mostly: he throws fruits at the opponent. One of his specials consists of throwing a HUGE watermelon.
  • Idle Animation: Noroko would randomly scream at the player if immobile for a few seconds.
  • Jump Scare: Noroko makes heavy use of screamers during her moves.
  • Kaizo Trap: Notice how when you defeat Shar-Makai its stomach bursts and Shar-Makai larvae fly out? If you're in a team fight, those larvae can still hurt you.
  • Knife Nut: Peketo.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Or at least according to Hashi they are.
  • Laughing Mad: Animus. One of his victory poses is just him collapsing to the floor in laughter.
  • Man-Eating Plant: Hashi is not quite one, but he transforms into one for his level 3 instant kill.
  • Meaningful Name: Final is, fittingly, the final boss. Also, Ananzi, whose name is an obvious reference to Anansi the spider god. Also note that this character used to be called Viuda Negra (Black Widow in spanish).
    • Janos. Very appropriate for a two-faced son of a bitch like him.
    • Animus' name is probably derived from the Jungian concept of anima and animus.
  • Mirror Match: Each character has a special intro when this happens.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Ananzi's outfits are distractingly skimpy. Even her casual clothes expose her belly.
  • Nintendo Hard: The AI is pretty brutal, even on the easier difficulty settings.
  • Perfect-Play A.I.: Final.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Janos, the prince of the Other World, is the one who killed the King, his father.
    • Peketo's killing spree started with his father.
  • Shout-Out: Peketo and Noroko kinda reminds us of an pair that fits the bill (Peketo and Carl Clover uses knifes, while Noroko and Ada Clover are dolls
    • Don't forget Peketo's anger with his dad! It's seems that Carl has as much a revenge point against his dad!
  • Slasher Smile: Animus, perpetually.
    • Human!Peketo in his story mode intro.
  • Snap Back: Just like in Bloodstorm, you can tear your opponent into bloody chunks in the first round, and they'll be miraculously back none worse for wear in the second.
  • SNK Boss: Final. He has super armor so he can walk through all of your moves. He has eye lasers that are not the easiest thing to block. His specials are all grabs that do tremendous damage compared to your moves. One of his supers is a very powerful grab that, once finished, summons clones of the character you use that you must defeat to resume fighting Final. His most rage inducing tactic, however, is a super laser that is difficult to telegraph and even harder to properly block. This is always followed up by a screen filling attack, that hits you for about half your total health. However, he does have weaknesses: his grabs can be blocked, a few hits temporarily stun him, and he never blocks your attacks.
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: Noroko.
  • Stripperiffic: Ananzi.
    • Female!Animus as well.
  • Surreal Theme Tune: The (quite cool) music that plays during the credits.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: Noroko, Peketo and Final can teleport. Bako, Hashi's little sprout sidekick, actually comes with Hashi only because he can teleport him to the Chaos and to take care of Hashi in case he decides to turn his back on their cause.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Janos, the Prince of the Other World. He is the one responsible for the corruption of the Other World, which was once beautiful, by causing endless wars to conquer lands that his father (the King, who was far too old and weak to stop him) gave willingly to others; he enslaved an entire species to be his soldiers, killed the King to gain his powers, framed Final when he stole the heart so Janos couldn't use it, wants to conquer all the other worlds through force and bloodshed, and ends up killing his own daughter, Ananzi, because she outlived her usefulness... and in the end, he succeeds in claiming back the Dark Heart, killing Final in the process, and acquires his father's powers. The worst thing that happened to him was that he got a couple of bites on his arms from the Shar-Makai.
  • The Worm That Walks: Ananzi is not quite one, but with the ease she produces these spiderlings out of nowhere, she comes close.
    • Also, altough it's not constant in the english translation (not sure about it in the original spanish), she refers to herself as "we". (However, Ananzi is a princess (or at least a very high-ranked noble since she's the daughter of Prince Janos), so this may simply be usage of the Royal "We".)
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: You'll lose count of how many different dresses Ananzi can show off in her victory animation.
  • Your Head A Splode: If you're really low on health, one of Final's grabs will do this to you.

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alternative title(s): The Black Heart
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