Video Game: Triggerheart Exelica
Squeeze the trigger of your heart.note
Do you like Bullet Hell shooters
? Do you also like mecha-musumes
clad in skin-tight bodysuits
? Then you'll enjoy the combination of the two with Triggerheart Exelica
is a vertically-scrolling shooter by the small video game development team of Warashi. It was first released to arcades
in Japan on the Sega
NAOMI hardware in 2006. The game's storyline is set in the future
where the interplanetary defense organization of Tilde have created Artificial Humans
known as "Triggerhearts" to hold back the forces of the militant Ver'mith
. Unfortunately, two Triggerheart sisters — the energetic
Exelica and the Hot-Blooded
Crueltear — fell through one of the Ver'mith's emergency escape wormholes during battle, which leads straight to Present Day
Earth. Cut off from everyone and everything they ever knew, the two Triggerhearts begin to lose hope and question their purpose for living. It was then that they decided to try and live a normal life... That is, until the day that a massive wormhole appears over Earth, signalling the start of a full-scale Ver'mith invasion, led by none other than another Triggerheart
: one that Crueltear recognizes as Faintear.
In this game, players can play as one of the two Triggerhearts, either Exelica or Crueltear, and they can either gun down the horde of Ver'mith trying to take over the Earth the old fashion way, or make use the Triggerhearts' Anchor Shot
against the Ver'mith — be it a small drone fighter or a battleship the size of a 747 — and swing them around like a ball-and-chain
, hurl them against each other
, or even use them as a shield
, and you do this to score points
. Although not all enemies are fair game to picked up by and ready to be abused the Triggerhearts' Anchor Shot; in the case of bosses or grounded enemies, the anchor will latch on to the enemy and Triggerhearts gunfire will go along the anchor's line a for stronger, pin-point attack. Another unique feature of the game is the Dynamic Difficulty
of its boss battles; the bosses in Triggerheart Exelica
uses a Variable Boss Attack System (or V.B.A.S.
for short) to determine how hard they are willing to fight. Generally speaking: the more Medals you rack up, the harder they will fight back.
After its arcade debut, the game was ported to various video game consoles; it was first released in 2007 for the Sega Dreamcast
) in Japan as its penultimate titlenote
, then later to the Xbox 360
via Xbox LIVE Arcade
world-wide on February of 2008, and finally to the PlayStation 2
(published by Alchemist) with an Updated Re-release
as Trigger Heart Exelica -Enhanced- only in Japan
. The PlayStation 2 re-release features a fully-voiced Story Mode (that the Xbox LIVE Arcade version never received
), a new playable character (the original, non-evil Faintear)
, complete with a shiny new Anime Theme Song
Triggerheart Exelica features trope examples of:
- All There in the Manual: The story, naturally. This was averted in the Dreamcast and PlayStation 2 version as it has a full-fledged Story Mode that adds a great deal of narrative to the game, even moreso with the latter.
- Artificial Human: The Triggerhearts.
- Attack Drone: Triggerheart's BFG are actually floating by their side.
- The Backwards R: A backwards "E" is used in "ƎXELICA"
- Blondes Are Evil: Faintear Imitation although it turns out she's actually good and under the Ver'mith's control.
- Blood Knight: Crueltear. While she's not a villain at all, it's very clear that she's a warrior through and through, and she's uncomfortable and directionless on the peaceful Earth.
- Bonus Boss: Accumulating enough Medals on certain stages unlocks a confrontation with Faintear after the bosses of Stages 1 and 3. Defeating her in all both stages under a single credit is required to unlock the game's "good" ending.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Faintear Imitation, thanks to the cloning process. Trigger Heart Exelica -Enhanced-, however, reveals that she is actually good person and the Ver'mith uses a control core to change her personality.
- Bullet Hell: Enemies in this game tend to shoot a lot of bullets, so your Anchor Shot is going to be your best friend against the onslaught of bullets.
- Cloning Blues: Faintear Imitation, an evil clone of the original Faintear controlled by the Ver'mith.
- Clone Degeneration: Faintear Imitation's personality is a corrupted version of the original Faintear's.
- Cool Ship: The C'rnadyne support ship, it only appears in Trigger Heart Exelica -Enhanced- though.
- Continuing Is Painful: Continue after losing all of your lives and you're neglected from any battles with Faintear outside of the final stage, and you will instantly receive the bad ending. If that wasn't enough, your score and Medals gets wiped as well.
- Difficulty Levels: Your stock Easy, Normal, and Hard settings.
- Dangerously Short Skirt: Crueltear wears one when she's not in combat.
- Downer Ending: In the Xbox Live Arcade version's of Exelica's "normal" ending, Crueltear commits a Heroic Sacrifice by using her Anchor Shot to save to her younger sister from the impending explosion. This follows with Exelica standing with her cat Omelette on Earth's ruins.
- Dynamic Difficulty: The more Medals you have on hand, the harder the game gets. This also affects how many boss forms you have to fight.
- Eleventh Hour Super Power: Crueltear unleashes her Wave Motion Gun against the final boss during her "good" ending.
- Empathic Weapon: While they never talk, Triggerheart's Attack Drones have sentient A.I., and the Triggerhearts (save for Faintear Imitation) treat them as companions.
- Every 10,000 Points: By default, you gain extends for the first 50,000,000pts. earned and subsequently every 100,000,000pts. thereafter.
- Everything Is Better With Spinning: Swinging your victims around isn't just amusing, but can be used to clobber enemies against each other (while shielding you from bullets) or thrown into a group of them.
- Evil Twin: Faintear Imitation. You can play as the original Faintear in the PlayStation 2 version.
- Fanservice: Exaggerated with the game's promotional goods.
- Most of the game's promotional items feature the girls in a more swimsuit-styled version of their regular bodysuits at a pool or beach setting.
- Another one with Exelica in Stripperiffic two-piece with either Crueltear or the original Faintear, and it's heading into Les Yay territory.
- There's also a piece has that Crueltear showing off her lovely backside with Exelica on top of her.
- The original Faintear is also having some fun with her Ver'mith twin's hair, in skimpy bikinis no less.
- Gameplay and Story Integration: The Triggerhearts are varied by their speed. It's explained in plot that Exelica can adapt with peaceful life on Earth too well, so she rarely did the routine maintenance for her equipments. Crueltear, however, felt herself is without purpose on this peaceful planet and thus kept her equipment in as good condition as possible. So when Ver'mith attacks Earth, Exelica's equipment are nowhere near their full potential. In Trigger Heart Exelica -Enhanced-, Faintear had just recently escaped from Ver'mith, and despite losing her original weapon units, has equipment in perfect condition. These are reflected in gameplay, with Exelica being slowest, Faintear being fastest and Crueltear in the middle.
- Gameplay Grading: You get a score bonus at the end of each stage for your remaining lives and bombs, an item bonus for Medals collected, and a weight bonus for capturing heavier enemies.
- Genki Girl: Exelica.
- Girlish Pigtails: Faintear Imitation and the original, although her twin-tails doesn't connect to her head.
- Grappling-Hook Pistol: The Anchor Shot.
- Grievous Harm with a Body: You can throw around enemies with the Anchor Shot.
- Heroic Sacrifice: In the "normal" ending, the Triggerheart you didn't play will sacrifice herself to save you from Faintear Imitation's grasp.
- In the Exelica's "good" ending in the Xbox LIVE Arcade version, the Faintear Imitation sacrifices herself so that both Exelica and Crueltear can escape the explosion in the Final Stage.
- Hot-Blooded: Crueltear.
- Humanoid Alien: We never actually see people of Tilde, but since Triggerhearts and holographic of C'r_na, the ship's A.I., appear as girl, it's pretty obvious.
- Innocent Blue Eyes: Exelica has them, which reflects on her care-free nature.
- It's Up to You: The technology of Earth can't be compare to Ver'mith nor Tilde, so the Triggerhearts are only obstacles to Ver'mith's invasion. Faintear also add another layer of this trope, as she consider both Crueltear and Exelica are in bad condition.
- Kindhearted Cat Lover: Exelica has a cat on Earth called Omelette.
- Leotard of Power: Crueltear and Faintear.
- Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: The Dreamcast version has a Limited Edition release that includes the game's soundtrack. The PlayStation 2 re-release also has a Limited Edition that comes bundled with a Nendoroid Exelica figurine. Pre-orders of the PlayStation 2 version also comes with a car balloon accessory.
- Mechanical Lifeforms: The Ver'mith are race of war machines.
- The Merch: The game has spawned a guide book with strategies, artwork, and concept art of the game, and an Audio Drama CD by Frontier Works that was divided into two parts: one for the story and one non-canon section made for humor. There was a 1/8 scale PVC figurine of Exelica released in 2008 by Alter and another by Toy Works in the same year. A set of Exelica, Crueltear, and Faintear figurines was also released in 2010.
- Moe Anthropomorphism: The girls themselves show the influence of the mecha-musume style, essentially anthropomorphizing the sorts of fighter ships you'd play in other shooters of this type.
- Ms. Fanservice: The Triggerhearts themselves easily qualify, with their skin-tight bodysuits and whatnot. Exelica can appeal to the lolicon crowd, too.
- Multiple Endings: Based on the multiple bosses, fighting Faintear off, and finishing the game under a single credit.
- One-Hit-Point Wonder: You. A single bullet or wrong turn will harm your precious Triggerheart.
- Restraining Bolt: Faintear Imitation has one in the glowing Ver'mith core on her forehead to ensure that she can't turn on her masters, which she does the second that it gets removed. Though she had good reason to, considering how it got removed in the first place.
- School Swimsuit: Exelica's bodysuit is essentially based off a two-piece white school swimsuit.
- Scoring Points: You gain points for shooting up stuff, but there are other mechanics in the game that boosts score. While holding the Fire button when Medals are on screen, they steadily grow in size and value until the player releases the button or fallen out of the screen. Destroying enemies using your Anchor Shot (either by throwing or swinging the captured enemy against each other) yields more Medals to be drops and more points. Finishing off bosses (and their multiple forms) quickly also yields for greater score bonuses
- Single-Use Shield: The Triggerheart's Anchor Shot can grab a Ver'mith vehicle to use as a shield, but it's destroyed after abuse.
- Smart Bomb: Your Triggerheart flies "up" to deliver the screen-clearing blast.
- Social Darwinist: The Ver'mith to an extent. They maintain a constant state of warfare because they believe that fighting will strengthen their evolution.
- Super-Deformed: Chibi versions of the Triggerhearts are often used in the game's promotional art and goods. A chibi Faintear is also seen in the menus of the Dreamcast version of the game.
- Title Scream: Trigger Heart Exelica
- Updated Re-release:
- The Xbox LIVE Arcade version lacks most of the features of both the Dreamcast and PlayStation 2 versions, it does however have updated visuals, an arranged soundtrack, and online leaderboards.
- The Japan-exclusive Trigger Heart Exelica -Enhanced- on PlayStation 2 has an Anime Theme Song opening, the ability to play as the real Faintear, the arranged soundtrack from the Xbox LIVE Arcade version, and a visual novel-styled Story Mode with the addition of characters that were only seen in the story concepts (Omelette, Watt, C'r_na, and Skiltall) making an appearance in this version. The downside is that it doesn't run as smooth as the other versions and lacks the Arranged Mode seen in the Dreamcast port.
- Video Game Lives: You start with three per credit by default, and you gain more through extends.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Exelica has purple, and Crueltear's hair is magenta.
- You Have Failed Me: The Ver'mith Core to Faintear Imitation after the Triggerhearts defeat her a third time. Unfortunately for it, all its attack manages to do is remove her Restraining Bolt.
- Zettai Ryouiki: Faintear ranks in at Grade-A, although the other Triggerhearts can sometimes be seen with thigh-highs on, too.