Visual Novel / Fatal Hearts

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Fatal Hearts is a visual novel from Hanako Games, an independent American group of small time game makers.

Fatal Hearts is a heartrendingly sad and romantic coming of age story about Christina, a bored teenager wasting her summer with her friend Lucy. When young women begin to turn up murdered in abandoned areas, and Christina happens across one of them, her life is changed forever as she is drawn into a strange world of vampire cults and werewolf clans. If the player makes the right choices, Christina can pair up with (almost) anyone, but if you play your hand wrong, you might just be killed by your former allies.

Crazy cultists, immortal vampires, cuddly (or deadly) werewolves, and it's way too easy to kill off your character. Seriously.


Tropes:

  • All There in the Manual: Some of the puzzles have no background information for them, which the manual/gameguide gives. Also, the 'secrets' section at the end reveals how Sebastien became a vampire and who Christina and Katie really are.
  • Arranged Marriage: Played much less seriously than the usual examples of this trope. Early on, Lucy's parents try to set her up with a really rich guy. It doesn't go as planned since the really rich guy also happens to be nice, so he turns it down for Lucy's sake. You learn all this after the fact when Lucy explains why she was grounded last night. It's rather fortunate for Lucy that this trope was played more humorously in this game, considering the rich man turns out to have been Bastien, who's looking for his reincarnated bride.
  • Badass Normal: Jeremy.
    • Subverted when it's revealed that he's actually a pretty competent magic user.
  • Bilingual Bonus: There is a ton of this if you can read German or have an online translator handy. Justified since the vampire cult originated from Germany.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: The vampires and werewolves. Justified; it's a visual novel where the player-as-Christina can end up being romantically involved with either vampires or werewolves, so Fatal Hearts goes out of its way to give the player reasons why one might be sympathetic to either side. The vampires have a point in that there is value in art and education and that the werewolves are too violent to appreciate that, and the werewolves have a point in that the vampires are insensitive and tend to look down on and mistreat the "little people".
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Randy's older sister, Katie.
  • Chosen One: Christina. Or, in this case the chosen Bride. Subverted with Lucy - her parents hoped it was her, but it wasn't.
  • Foreshadowing: If you pay attention, there are quite a few subtle hints which mean nothing by themselves, but when taken all together strongly suggest that Lucy is in love with her best friend Christina. At the beginning of the game Lucy tells Christina "I know you're gorgeous, but you can't just stare at yourself all night." Later, as they're both swimming in a pool, Lucy grills Christina on what Christina wants for the future. Eventually Christina asks Lucy what Lucy wants in a man, and Lucy blurts out "I don't want anything in a man." but then hastily corrects that she means she doesn't want a perfect man, the "people" she falls in love with she'll love for themselves. When they go to the mall, Lucy buys Christina a pretty necklace and begs her to put it on, and then Lucy and Christina watch a movie together. When Tim and Randy approach Christina after the movie, Lucy makes them buzz off like she's "defending" Christina. Much later in the game, Christina buys a perfume, and Lucy gushes that Christina smells great with it. Finally, when Lucy's undergoing a crisis, she makes a teary urgent phone call to Christina so Christina can come over to her house and be a source of strength, as if Christina were a loved one.
  • Disappeared Dad: Christina's father, who abandoned her and her mother when she was a small child.
  • Freudian Excuse: Jeremy was born to a family that was not only poor, but extremely uneducated, so not only would they not provide Jeremy with books, they couldn't possibly understand why Jeremy would want books. Needless to say Jeremy got out of there as fast as he could when he grew up, but it's Jeremy's main motivation both for all of his beliefs/philosophy and for what happens in his ending, in which he and Christina become lovers and manipulate the world from behind the scenes for the greater good.
    • Bastian is another example; he used to be a human named Sebastien, and Sebastien used to think vampires were evil. He even killed a vampire named Tarrenta and cut out her heart because of that (and because Tarrenta was trying to steal him away from Kirsten), sealing it in a cave...but then his lover Kirsten died, and Sebastien felt he was powerless to defeat the bandits responsible unless he used the heart of Tarrenta to become a powerful vampire himself.
  • Fur Against Fang: Played totally straight.
  • Gay Option: Lucy
  • Good Parents: Christina's mother, Mrs. Robinson. Subverted with Lucy's parents, Jeanette Torvill and Steve Torvill, who are members of Bastian's vampire cult and force unwilling Lucy to join.
  • Grid Puzzle: Box of Runes puzzle.
  • Guide Dang It: For getting the endings you want, because the necessary choices aren't all entirely obvious. Also for the game's various puzzles - you're going to have a very hard time figuring out how to solve many of them on your own.
  • Japanese Vampire: Sebastien
  • Happily Ever After: Stated word for word in the "Foretold" ending,
  • Magic Square Puzzle: One of the puzzles, complete with fun history lesson (tm).
  • Multiple Endings: Fourteen altogether.
    • "Drowning": Easily qualifies as the worst possible ending. Either Christina is lured away from the bowling alley and killed by the vampire cultists, or she attempts to run from the mansion when the werewolves attack and is killed.
    • "Blood Rejection": Christina kills Bastian during the blood ritual, then proceeds to use his power to kill all the cultists before taking her own life.
    • "Held In Trust": Christina kills Bastian during the blood ritual, becoming a vampire and taking all of his power for herself. She then performs the same ritual on Jeremy, and they live together as vampires and lovers, secretly making the world a better place from behind the scenes.
    • "Foretold": Christina consents to the blood ritual and becomes Bastian's eternal bride. The werewolves are all swiftly hunted down and killed, and apparently, they live happily ever after.
    • "Runaways": Lucy convinces Christina that it's too dangerous to stay around any longer, so they get on a bus to another city and run away together.
    • "Sacrifice": Lucy tells Christina the location of the mansion but otherwise refuses to help her, so Christina goes their on her own to attempt to confront the cult, and they kill her as a blood sacrifice.
    • "Pyrrhus": The werewolves go off to destroy the vampire cult once and for all; all of werewolves and cultists are killed except for Lucy and her parents. Lucy's parents are brought to trial and locked up for their crimes, and Lucy moves in with Christina and her mother.
    • "Hopeful Future": Randy and Lucy help bring Randy's sister Katie to Bastian, thus making it unnecessary for him to pursue Christina, and bringing hope for peace between the cultists and the werewolves.
    • "Pyre": Christina flees the mansion and tears down the cultists' protective runes, allowing the werewolves to attack. The mansion goes up in flames as Christina watches from a distance, and presumably everyone inside is killed, including Bastian and Lucy.
    • "Fresh Start": Lucy and Christina confess their love for each other and flee the mansion together in Lucy's parents' car. Though in this case, Bastian gave Christina the freedom to leave if she so chose, and clearly hopes she will eventually return.
    • "New Order": Christina stays with Bastian but talks him out of the ritual, instead persuading him that killing his enemies isn't the answer. They work together to turn his followers away from their evil deeds, and possibly make peace with the werewolves.
    • "Childhood": Christina and Elizabeth go to the police for help. However, they don't really believe her story.
    • "Judas Kiss": Christina pretends to accept Bastian's affections and embraces him, then uses the power of the wolf belt to tear out his heart, killing him.
    • "Crossfire": Christina accepts Bastian's affections and embraces him, and Tim impales them with a spear, killing them both (though it's unclear if he intended to do so, or if killing Christina was an accident).
  • Nintendo Hard: Some of the puzzles do not have useful clues to them, and rely on the player randomly button mashing until they get the right answer.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Anyone can become a werewolf by wearing a special belt and becoming in tune with their inner spirit. Though, honestly, they tend to look like pet dogs...
  • Out of Focus/A Day in the Limelight: If you take a "vampire" route, Elizabeth practically disappears from the plot, except for one ending where you can call the police with her (Elizabeth is even murdered if you take a route that requires you to stay over at Lucy's house). This is in direct contrast to how important Elizabeth is if you take a "werewolf" route, including the fact that Elizabeth is indirectly responsible for Randy and Bastien killing each other in the Pyrrhus ending, since on Tim and Randy's orders she uses her enhanced werewolf strength to hold you against your front door so you can't stop the werewolves' battle with Bastien.
  • Poisonous Friend: Surprisingly, it turns out that the cultists are this for Bastien. It turns out Bastien didn't order the murders of young women; the cultists did that on their own to give Bastien forcibly stolen blood, deluding themselves into thinking their Master would then reward them with ultimate power. The only things Bastien can be said to be "guilty" of are his glee at the prospect of killing a werewolf, and "coming on too strong" when he thinks he's found Kirsten's reincarnation.
  • Police Are Useless: The police never succeed in solving the murders themselves. Justified, since according to Lucy, there are cultists in the police force, and others are getting payoffs. Only in the "New Order" and "Judas Kiss" endings are the cultists brought to justice, and only thanks to the influence of Christina and the werewolves.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Unfortunately, that would be you, if you make the wrong choices.
  • Red Herring: Either Jeremy or Randy will try to warn you that Lucy is either going to do something nasty to you out of spite for not achieving her dream (Jeremy's idea) or that Lucy is mixed up in the bad things going on in town (Randy's idea). This is a red herring, because Jeremy is telling you this as part of a scheme, and Randy is simply mistaken. Lucy is a good girl...however, her parents are a different story altogether, and Lucy ends up unwillingly roped into the shenanigans when her parents abuse their parental authority to make Lucy go along with the cult.
  • Reincarnation: A complicated example, and you only find out the full story if you click on one of the two "Secrets" links and highlight the text in the official walkthrough, since the game itself doesn't quite explain everything. Sebastien's lover Kirsten has been reincarnated...to lots and lots of girls, all of whom have pieces of Kirsten in them. The reason Bastian is pursuing Christina in the modern day is because Christina has the most pieces of Kirsten in her and thus Christina has the strongest "Kirsten" presence, hence Christina being the one to get PastLifeMemories in her dreams and being chosen by the vampire cult. Bastian gets his lover Kirsten back if either Christina accepts him, or alternatively if Christina brings a girl named Katie to him instead, since Katie is second only to Christina in the amount of pieces of Kirsten she has.
  • Reincarnation Romance: Bastian is trying to pull this off, since he's a vampire who used to be a human named Sebastien, but his lover Kirsten died. He thinks Christina is the reincarnation of Kirsten and wants to be together with her again. Since (see above trope) this is only partially right, Bastian will be happy if either Christina accepts him or she doesn't accept but brings the second-strongest reincarnation Katie to him instead.
  • Right Hand Versus Left Hand: To some extent. Of course, blood grudges and bloody fanaticism are also to blame. Two endings have you bringing both sides of the conflict together in peace.
  • Slobs Versus Snobs: The werewolves vs. the vampires, respectively, and the modern-day conflict started ages ago. The werewolves have high democratic ideals (no class system, everybody gets treated equally) but are much more violent and see little value in education. The vampires are much better educated than the werewolves and aren't nearly as violent, but they're also elitist and believe society is better if it is ruled by the best (as they define the best) without input from the masses. Usually this trope causes the audience to side with the slobs, but this is an unusual example as both sides are presented as sympathetic. The vampires are insensitive in their behavior and cause a lot of harm to werewolves, so the werewolves have a good reason to dislike the vampires. Most modern democratic audiences would side with them. But the vampires also have good reason to be upset; the werewolves see no problem in using violence to get their way and it ends up in Sebastien's lover Kirsten being killed even though Sebastien wasn't a vampire at the time, not to mention the werewolves see no problem in discarding beautiful art and education along with the vampires they detest.
  • Those Two Guys and Two Girls: Burt, Darlene, Marta, and Eric are the werewolf members of Tim and Randy's gang and are mostly background characters. Eric gets a bigger role in routes where Christina is pursuing Jeremy or Sebastien/Bastien, though, because Eric gets captured by the vampires and gets to defiantly taunt them while they torture him.
  • Three Plus Five Make Four: One puzzle has you doing this with flour. You need 2/3 cup, and you only have an 800ml cup and a 300ml cup. I hope you're good at converting...
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Usually when this trope is played pink-haired girls are the "girly" ones, but here, Lucy, the pink-haired girl, is the tomboy, while Christina, the purple-haired girl, is the girly girl. Lucy wears her hair in a page-cut, is outgoing, loves video games, and wants a fast car, while Christina wears her hair long, is shy, and loves fantasy novels and pretty dresses. Also, in the optional lesbian ending, Lucy's the one delivering a love confession, almost playing the role of the "boy", while Christina's the one left flustered and embarrassed and unsure how to handle the confession. There's exactly one case where the trope is subverted and Lucy fills the "girly girl" role: Lucy's the one who becomes a DamselInDistress, and Christina's the one who has to charge in like a hero and rescue Lucy from being forced to carry out an evil cult ritual by her parents.
    • Two cases - Christina jumps in front of Lucy to defend her from Randy.
  • Vampire-Werewolf Love Triangle: Particularly on Tim's path, where it may end badly.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Christina's can end up murdered, running away, committing suicide, or becoming a vampire and getting married - but none of these respective epilogues make any mention of her mother's fate.

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