Video Game: Unterwegs in Düsterburg

You wake up outside, in a forest, with no memory of what happened. The only things you know are your name, the name of your dog and that you came through that eerie fog bank right behind you. After walking around for a bit you arrive at a house and find an old man. He tells you his life story of having been thrown off his throne as a duke by a vampire.

Implausible, you say? Not if you're playing Unterwegs in Düsterburg (On the road in Düsterburg), a German RPG Maker 2000 game released in 2003. While its plot is relatively clichéd, it ties its elements together neatly, and is prized in the German RPG Maker community for its production values, witty dialog and atmosphere.

Largely due to the RPG Maker engine, the game displays a mix of Western and Eastern RPG elements, being vaguely set in the European Middle Ages with vampires, orcs etc., but also featuring Magitek, a turn-based battle system and relatively linear progress.

A remake for RPG Maker VX Ace is in the making since 2012. Among other things, it's intended to include an English translation.

Unterwegs in Düsterburg provides examples of:

  • Beef Gate: Some of them, like the demon guard in Düsterburg, look like Broken Bridges, while...
  • Broken Bridge: Some of them look like Beef Gates, for example Harkon Lukasz. If you actually manage to defeat him, you'll get a Game Over anyway.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: Sir Roland eventually ran out of ink, finding that his blood would at least have one final use now that he was locked in his own room...
  • Cute Mute: Tarius begins speaking again as he regains his memories.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything:
    • If you use the RPG Maker cheat mode to reach inaccessible places and take the items placed there, your EXP is reduced or you may even go Game Over.
    • There is a way to either please or piss off just about every faction in the game (Orc clans, Werevolves, Medusas etc.) which slightly influences the ending cutscenes.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Malthur, centuries before the game starts.
  • Killer Rabbit: The dreaded "Killerkarnickel" (literally "killer rabbits") are usually the first pair of enemies you encounter in the game.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia
  • Lovecraft Lite
  • Magitek: Dankwart's machines are this.
  • Money Spider: Averted, as you generally only get items from enemies.
  • No Export for You: An English translation is in the works.
  • Nominal Importance: Averted, each and every NPC has a name and most are involved in at least one side quest in one way or another.
  • One Size Fits All: Averted. It's quite difficult to find good equipment for some party members.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: Rather rude and brutal simpletons, but intelligent enough to argue, trade and even form alliances with.
  • Party in My Pocket: Likely due to the engine. It requires some extra scripting to make the other party members visible with RPG Maker 2000.
  • Pamphlet Shelf:
    • If you walk up to a bookshelf, the hero reads the titles, but not the books themselves.
    • Averted in that there are several books with much more than one page, mostly lying aroung on tables.
  • Random Encounters: Averted. All enemies are visible on the game map.
  • Relationship Values: The "Malthurmeter" which can change how the Final Boss Battle plays out.
  • Save Point: You are allowed to save anywhere on the outside, but as soon as you enter a building or cave, saving is disabled and only possible at a few save points that can often be used only once.
  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: When Dankwart leaves the party without any previous notification.
  • Standard RPG Items: Basically renamed versions of the default RPG Maker Items, which in turn were probably "inspired by" Final Fantasy VI.
  • Talk to Everyone: Several times, especially in the town of Düsterburg.
  • Team Pet: Julie, the dog.
  • The Cameo: Too many to count..., most of them are part of the German RPG Maker community.
  • There Are No Tents: But there are some opportunities to get a bed for free.
  • You All Look Familiar: Averted, each NPC has a different sprite.

Alternative Title(s):

Unterwegs In Duesterburg