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Merui loves nothing more than to play her favorite MMO Rivenwell Online. One day a player named Alistair hijacks Merui's kill in a boss fight and wins the Blessed Stone she aimed to get for herself. Merui, outraged by this, is determined to do whatever it takes to get it back (and to teach Alistair a lesson). This results in a bet initiated by Alistair:Merui has a month to figure out his real life identity. If she does he'll hand over the Blessed Stone to her. If not, she'll have to relinquish her online earnings from the past month to Alistair.With a lead and three potential suspects the player must guide Merui in this mystery. Along the way she may very well develop a romance with any of the three guys she's out to investigate...RE: Alistair is a freeware English-language Visual Novel created by sakevisual with writer sake-bento, artist tooaya and programmer Thee Forbidden One. As a Romance Game its primary focus is on forming relationships, with the mystery being secondary.The creators put out an updated re-release: RE: Alistair++. It can be downloaded from the creator's website or from Lemmasoft Forums.
This visual novel contains examples of:
Aerith and Bob: Travis and Derek attend school alongside Shiro and Merui. There are some indications that the school is located in the Seattle area, so a Japanese-American student is hardly out of place, but "Merui" only sounds pseudo-Japanese.note It's actually the first-person singular perfect active indicative of the Latin mereo, meaning "I earn/merit/obtain," but it's unclear if this was intentional.
Backstory: Shiro gets the better end of this (in both the original release and the re-release). Derek stays more or less the same in both versions. Travis gets a little more in the re-release, though the part about his mother having cancer feels a bit...tacked on.
Becoming the Mask: Derek flirts with Merui and acts friendly towards her while continuing to troll her online as Alistair, and according to Travis has a history of toying with girls and then dumping them. Over the course of the month during his route, however, he's touched by Merui's honest friendship and he genuinely falls for her.
Belligerent Sexual Tension: Merui with Travis. During an argument, he pushes her against a wall and glances at her lips for a few seconds.
The Bet: Basically what the story revolves around.
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Derek goes out of his way to be as nice and appealing as possible. All while emotionally manipulating Merui.
Bland-Name Product The MMORPG is called "Rivenwell Online" (MapleStory/Ragnarok Online). Stores in the mall include "Boundary's Books" ( Borders Books), "The Divide" ( The Gap), and "Gamego" ( GameStop). Boundary's sells a book called "Planetost" ( like Harry Potter, but with aliens instead of wizards), and Gamego sells "Movie Maniac" (SceneIt), "Diamond Moon: Final Phase" (Final Fantasy XIII), "Other Saga" (Animal Crossing), "Monochrome Diet" (Silent Hill/Fatal Frame), "Demon of Edo" (???, adventure/RPG), "Walk This Way" (???, puzzle game), and "Rock Festival" (Rock Band).
Blond Guys Are Evil: Derek turns out to be the one who's Alistair. He spends the story stringing Merui along knowing who her online persona is. Unless the player chooses to pursue him as a love interest he remains a bastard. Even when confronted he never intends to make good on his part of the deal.
Foreshadowing: In his Knights and Knaves riddle to Merui at the beginning of the game, Travis uses the Knight and Demon character classes of Rivenwell Online in the "always tells the truth" and "always lies" roles. This is not only the first indication that despite his dismissive comments, Travis does play the game himself, it's also prophetic: Alistair's character class is "Demon," and he (and, by extension, Derek) lies to Merui a lot.
GIFT: Merui can't immediately rule out any of the guys as Alistair because, as she acknowledges, people who are nice in real life might very well cut loose and act like jerks online. It's not actually true of any of the three guys: Shiro in his FionaWings persona is a voice of reason and a friend to Merui; Travis is, if anything, more polite online than he is in person, and Derek genuinely is that much of a jerk (unless his feelings for Merui redeem him), it's just hidden beneath a charming front.
Good Is Not Nice: Travis, who has a way of being blunt and critical even when he's doing something nice. Contrast this with Derek.
Hands-On Approach: When Merui helps Travis reboot all the computers in the lab, he demonstrates what she needs to do by standing behind her and guiding the mouse for her.
Headphones Equal Isolation: A little ironic with Shiro. While he is fairly isolated it has to do with his family and the rumors. The headphones are never used for this purpose. He just wears them as an accessory.
I Was Just Passing Through Travis's reasoning for doing things like maintaining the school's neglected computer network. Admitting to Merui that he "finds her useful" is one of the first cracks in his emotional armor.
Think Nothing of It His general attitude about Merui commenting that he's a nice guy underneath it all.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Travis is quite brusque with Merui, but turns out to have good intentions. Again, contrast with Derek, who's outwardly charming but - unless Love Redeems - proves to have a heart of jerk.
Kill Steal: Alistair killsteals a boss out from under Merui and touches off the whole plot.
Knights and Knaves: Travis's riddle. He lampshades it when Merui comes back with the answer, remarking that it's a common puzzle and he's surprised she hadn't already heard of it. The riddle also serves as the earliest clue that despite his dismissive comments, Travis does play Rivenwell Online: he references two of the available character classes with it.
Lampshade Hanging: In an encounter with Travis he and Merui nearly bump into each other. Travis jokes around by saying, "Don't tell me you were expecting me to say something like 'Watch where you're going, you stupid girl!'"
Lonely Rich Kid: Shiro. Both of his parents are professionals in high-income professions (a doctor and an engineer), and Merui is quite impressed by their Big Fancy House when she first visits. They also seem to be quite well-connected, which has caused a number of people, including Derek, to fear crossing due to some previous events.
Love Redeems: The ending where you win Derek's heart is the only one in which he doesn't come across as a complete Jerk Ass.
Luminescent Blush: Do something cute to embarrass one of the guys. Go on, try it. Shiro is especially prone to it.
Multiple Endings: As per usual for the genre. In addition to romantic endings for each of the three guys and a "bad end" in which Merui not only ends up alone but fails to identify Alistair as well, there's also an ending in which she does not get any of the guys, but does get Alistair banned from Rivenwell Online.
Nice Guy: Shiro, even if he can display some surprising anger at times.
Replay Value: The multiple endings, CG gallery and bonuses to unlock make for some good replay value
The Reveal: Shiro being FionaWings when you play his route and win him. Most people were genuinely surprised by the revelation. Many players admitted they should've considered who FionaWings might've been in context of the story. Most people just dismissed her and assumed she was a minor character who's real life identity would never be revealed. Also, the fact that Shiro's a guy and FionaWings is female might've had something to do with the surprise.
In comparison, Travis being Oda and a global moderator for Rivenwell Online quickly becomes pretty transparent as his route progresses, particularly when Alistair mentions Oda being on his case just after Travis emails Merui to casually ask which server she plays on.
As for Alistair's identity, just how big of a reveal it turns out to be depends largely on which route you complete first.
Shiro: I'm not saying you can't figure it out on your own... or anything...
Take a Third Option - Regarding Travis's riddle about knights who always tell the truth and demons who always lie.
Merui: Couldn't you just ask something like "is one plus one equal to two?" and whoever says no is the liar?
Travis: ...It doesn't work that way.
Merui: In other words, yes, and you don't want to admit it.note Traditionally the riddle involves trying to get some other information from the two, for which purpose Merui's third option is useless, but Travis gave the riddle incorrectly.
Tsundere: Merui, type B. Normally sweet, but do not make her mad.
Updated Re-release: RE: Alistair++. The re-release includes extra additions and fixes a couple of problems that were present in the original release.
White Knighting: Oda (aka Travis) taking an interest in Alistair's behavior in Rivenwell Online has a bit of a flavor of this. To be fair though, he is a global moderator and Alistair's bet is very specifically against the rules, so it's pretty justified.