"The dignity of the dead or our own lives. Which do you think is more important?
Beautiful things are ugly, and ugly things are beautiful.
We are fools and saints."You wake up inside a dark, creepy, abandoned facility. You've lost your memories, there are traps everywhere, and bodies are turning up left and right. The only starting clue you have to your identity is a single name, ominously written in red: Theresia.Theresia: Dear Emile is a Survival Horror game for the Nintendo DS. Players take the role of the story's protagonist and must navigate through a complex facility, progressing further by solving puzzles and utilizing various tools, all while avoiding numerous hidden traps. In addition, players must gather clues that will help them recover their lost memories.The game is split into two parts. Dear Emile puts you in the role of a young girl and her tragic relationship with her foster mother. Dear Martel places you in the role of an adult male and his path to atonement.
This game provides examples of:
- The Alcoholic: Franz and the protagonist of Dear Martel are drinking buddies. Maylee join them, and even gives booze to her plants.
- Apocalyptic Log: Written by both protagonists (in their respective stories) and other characters. Finding the scattered pages is fundamental in recovering their memories.
- Armies Are Evil: The behaviour of the army Emile is a member of. Also, the army who came to collect samples in Dear Martel.
- The Atoner: The main protagonist of Dear Martel. Maylee also has shades of this, given that the two of them created Epicari.
- Ax-Crazy: Emile and played literally with Franz.
- The protagonist of Dear Martel when he's infected with Epicari.
- The Baroness: Emile. Also fits Evil Is Sexy.
- Body Horror: One orphan infected with Epicari attempts to sew every hole in his body. Maylee cuts herself when she's infected.
- Break the Cutie: The protagonist of Dear Martel. He returns to his grandfather's orphanage after ten years at the behest of his little sister. He becomes foster father to the children there, becomes friends with the other doctors, fixes his relationship with his sister, and continues research for treating illnesses. Everything seems picture perfect. Then it all goes south...
- Chekhov's Gun: A beautiful melody often plays during flashbacks of Dear Martel. It is from Martel's music box, which was playing as the protagonist, her brother, killed her.
- The name "Theresia" is introduced very early in both chapters. Neither character knows what it means until they learn that it is Emile and Martel's last names, and the name of the red beads, since it was made with their DNA.
- Conveniently an Orphan: The war claimed the lives of Leanne's parents when she was barely a year old. Subverted when Emile (who was part of the enemy nation) finds her in the rubble and adopts her.
- Country Mouse: Franz never felt at home in the city, and jumped at the invitation to work at the orphanage in the country.
- Dead All Along: Emile. We never find out how or why she died, either. A report hidden in a vase in Private Room 1 reveals that she was killed by the mercenaries, whom returned to the facility to assassinate her.
- Dungeon Master: Quite literally, Emile.
- Earn Your Happy Ending
- Everybody's Dead, Dave: Aside from the protagonist, there is not a single person alive inside the facility.
- Everything Trying to Kill You: The facility you're trapped in is covered from head to toe in traps. Emile set the traps to protect Leanne and prevent her from leaving in Dear Emile, while the protagonist of Dear Martel set them so that he'd suffer for his sins, as he wouldn't remember setting them due to being infected with Epicari. In addition, the normal disrepair of the buildings in both settings is quite hazardous.
- Evil Redhead: Franz, after he's infected.
- The Faceless & Hidden Eyes: Everybody. Moreso for the protagonist of Dear Martel, whose face is never shown even in flashbacks (occasionally, we see an arm, but that's it.)
- Flashback Effects: Red static indicates that a flashback is about to happen.
- Gorn: It's a text game with limited pictures, but when either protagonist gets hurt, the descriptions are pretty graphic.
- Guide Dang It: Maylee's photo album, which sheds some light on the events in Dear Martel and the vaccine's side effects, can only be read in the Last Stage of Dear Emile's scenario if the player avoid taking damage from the start of the game. This can be very difficult, as recklessly touching everything can result to injury.
- There is a report hidden in a vase in Private Room 1 that is readable after you visit Private Room 2.
- Hate Plague: Epicari
- Heel–Face Turn : Emile, when she singlehandedly mows down her former comrades when they try to kill Leanne. Also a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
- Hot Scientist: Maylee.
- If I Can't Have You: Emile decided that she'd rather have Leanne dead than away from her.
- Innocent Blue Eyes: Martel and the protagonist of Dear Martel both have blue eyes. They are siblings, after all. The protagonist seeing his blue eyes calms him down. The latter's could be innocent or demonic, depending on interpretation.
- It's All My Fault: Martel's brother blames himself for creating Epicari. So does Maylee.
- Insane Equals Violent: Maylee and Martel's brother, when infected with Epicari. She's self-violent, he completely snaps and murders Martel when she steps on a bug.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: A symptom of the Epicari virus. Subverted with the side effect of the cure, which causes the patients to regain the memories they lost, permanently.
- Love Makes You Crazy: Or in Emile's case, crazier.
- Love Makes You Dumb: Maylee says this word for word after she has sex with Martel's brother. During the end of Dear Martel, and later during Dear Emile, she still holds to this philosophy, though she did end up loving two people, Martel and her brother, of whom Leanne and Emile remind her of.
- Malevolent Architecture
- Malevolent Masked Man: Franz, post-Epicari.
- Mama Bear: Emile, just so much. Her solution when she finds out the people she works for plan to kill Leanne? Kill them all first.
- Meaningful Name: Theresia is the name of the cure for the Epicari virus. Named after Martel Theresia since her DNA was needed to complete the cure. This is later done with Emile, who also has the same last name.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: Maylee loves Martel's brother, but is incredibly jealous of Martel for getting his attention all the time. She deliberately allowed Epicari to grow in the medicine she created in hopes of killing Martel, but it soon became her regret.
- My Beloved Smother: Emile with Leanne, where she forbids her from leaving home as well as talking with other people.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Maylee develops a treatment to combat a fever that has struck the orphanage that she's working at. Guess what emerged from that.
- Nightmare Fetishist: Leanne loves Emile as if she were her real mother, and loves things that remind her of Emile.
- The protagonist of Dear Martel is only 'slightly' less depraved, but he loves and wants to hug a corpse covered in the Theresia beads.
- No Name Given: The protagonist of Dear Martel. He is the brother of the titular Martel.
- Only Sane Man: The only character who isn't completely insane is Maylee and possibly Sacha. The latter of which is killed gruesomely. Even the former has her moments, although this was when she was infected by Epicari, which drives people insane.
- Ontological Mystery: The entire premise of the game.
- The Pollyanna: Martel. She prays for the dead and buries them even as others burn around them. Never once does she falter even when her brother, the protagonist of Dear Martel, kills her.
- Posthumous Character: Martel, particularly during Dear Emile, which takes place after Dear Martel.
- Orphan's Plot Trinket: Leanne's pendant, given to her by Emile, gives her insight on what to do next whenever she clutches it.
- Torture Technician: Emile's job with the army. She uses Electric Torture, fire, ice, and more.
- Too Dumb to Live: Sacha. Not a good idea to put your gun down when facing an utterly up-the-wall-crazy woman who has killed dozens, if not hundreds, of people and tried to kill you once already.
- The Virus: The Epicari virus. The first stages include memory loss. From there, it worsens to peculiar behaviour, varying on the individual's own nerouses. It soon culminates to suicide, but not without mindless murder. To make things worse, the bodies of the victims will turn purple after death, meaning the virus is spreading and is now contagious. Burning the bodies helps to prevent the virus from spreading.
- Would Hurt a Child: Emile, as Sacha finds out the hard way.