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Pages of Malice is a yet unreleased Metroidvania game by Alex Khayrullin.

The game is set in a medieval-ish setting. The main protagonist is a young boy named Adan, who, while not having much personality of his own, cares deeply for his young sister Mira. Mira herself is a reclusive bookworm, who spends all her time in her room (provided Adan can pay for new books), much to the dismay of her best friend Dot.

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One day, after Adan, Mira and Dot return with a new batch of books for Mira to read, Dot acknowledges that their friendship with Mira has fallen apart, and leaves. Mira, nonplussed, locks herself up in her room once again and starts reading. However, one of the books Adan bought for her turns out to be cursed. The game proper starts when Adan is woken up by a sudden torrential rain and hears his father call for Mira. He goes outside, only to see Mira levitating. After Mira, despite her parents' objections, flies away to see the world, Adan, without a second thought, rushes after her.

After running past the book shop, he stops to explain to the book shop's owner, Methodius, what happened, and that's where his old and out-of-shape father catches up to him. After a few words of encouragement, he gives Adan something to defend himself and sets him out to find Mira before her newfound powers blind her judgement and she ends up doing something terrible.

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The game started out as a fan-made homage/spiritual successor to the Wonder Boy series. Coincidentally, work on the game started mere months before the series' revival with the announcement of Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom and the Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap remake, but the game manages to remain distinct from the aforementioned two by going in a different direction in several aspects (e.g. Retraux graphics and no shapeshifting). Work on the game started in late 2014, and it is set to be released at least in 2018. As the game is still far from being released, it's up to you to decide if reading spoilers is a good idea.

Alex sometimes provides updates and screenshots on his Twitter account, though not so much nowadays, since starting working on the game's final level, to avoid spoilers..

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The game will contain examples of the following tropes

  • Ability Required to Proceed: Each dungeon gives access to a spell that uses mana and a skill that is added to the player's natural moveset. Both are required to complete the dungeon, and one of these is necessary to proceed to the next one.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Averted. Adan is explicitly right-handed, while Methodius is explicitly left-handed.
  • Art Shift: Each time Adan learns a new skill, it is explained to him in an animation using stick figures, drawn in MS Paint.
  • Backtracking:
    • The overworld has been designed to have as little of it as possible. There are only two instances of it being mandatory.
    • The dungeons, on the other hand, are another story. But, in a meta-way, while there is backtracking inside dungeons, they can be 100% completed on the first try, leaving no reason to return there ever again.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • Zach and Rita spend most of the game sitting outside of the gate in Hubori Town, waiting for it to open. Combined, their names form the word "zakryto", Russian for "(it's) closed/locked".
    • Rob and Otto try to exploit an Abandoned Mine. Combined, their names form the word "rabota", Russian for "work".
  • Bottomless Pit Rescue Service: The one place in the game where bottomless pits exist also has a helpful bird, that doesn't hesitate to swoop up and catch Adan when he falls.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: While most NPCs look similar, and a lot of them are Head Swaps, no two NPCs look exactly alike.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Treasure chests come in three varieties: small brown chests contain standard items (potions, gold), red chests contain equippable items and optional magic spells, and gold chests contain items that are necessary for story progression.
  • Dual-World Gameplay: One dungeon in the game briefly features this mechanic towards the end and another one is mostly based around it.
  • Early Game Hell: The first location has Adan go through it with no healing items (other than berries he can find by cutting bushes), no shield, and very weak armor and sword. Once he reaches the Hub City, finds his first HP Extension, buys a shield and gets an Emergency Energy Tank from an NPC, things start to become much easier.
  • Escape Rope: The Tornado Stone returns Adan to Hubori Town, but only if he is outside and not currently going through a dungeon.
  • Essence Drop: Enemies sometimes drop red orbs that come in two sizes and restore the player's health.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The game's events (except for the intro cutscene) take place in one single day. Adan's journey starts shortly before sunrise, and ends shortly after sunset.
  • Hailfire Peaks: The game's six dungeons:
  • Head Swap: Most young-looking characters share very similar body types. Most prominently, Dot is this to Mira, and Zach is this to Adan.
  • Heart Container: HP Extensions and MP Extensions (names are temporary, they are never named in-game) , that extend the HP and MP gauges respectively.
  • Heroic Mime: Adan. From the other characters' reactions, it can be assumed that he does talk (he has to introduce himself to people at least twice) , but his lines are never seen.
  • Hidden Depths: For most of the game, Zach sits outside of the gate in Hubori Town and does absolutely nothing. After finishing the fourth dungeon, however he is forced into action, where is it revealed that he is an expert on ancient languages and all kinds of legends, putting even the bookworm Methodius to shame.
  • Hub City: Hubori Town. It having the word "Hub" in its name is not a coincidence.
  • Instructive Level Design: Most locations in which Adan gets a new ability or spell require the use of this ability or spell to leave them.
  • Interchangeable Antimatter Keys: Present in this game. Several other items serve this purpose, but are restricted to one location.
  • Justified Save Point:
    • Methodius provides advice and offers Adan to write down a record of his adventures. Accepting his offer saves the game.
    • Methodius' parrot Eukles, who offers to fly back to Methodius and tell him what Adan has been up to, serves as a justified Checkpoint.
  • Level Goal: Every dungeon ends with a door marked with an exclamation mark.
  • Malevolent Architecture: Pretty much everywhere.
  • Marathon Level: Dungeons tend to be rather long. Starting from the third one, they can take more than an hour to complete. This is when Methodius starts to appear inside the dungeons and offer to save the game.
  • Money Multiplier: Money drops do not increase simply by progressing through the game. The spell Lucky Streak however, does have this effect.
  • Money Spider: Enemies sometimes drop gold coins.
  • Now, Where Was I Going Again?: The game displays a log of the last ten maps the player has visited and/or important items obtained on the load screen. Meanwhile, in Hubori Town, Adan can speak to Methodius to remember what happened in the game story-wise, and to an unnamed NPC who always vaguely describes the location where he's supposed to go next.
  • One-Hit Kill: Almost completely averted. The only instance of this is in the third dungeon, where Adan has to find a massive stash of explosive materials, light the fuse and get out of the room. Failing to do the latter in time results in an explosion and an immediate Game Over.
  • Palette Swap: Efforts have been made to avert abusing them, so variations of the same enemy rarely pop up in completely unrelated locations (an obvious case would be the tigers in dungeon 2, which are simply bigger, stronger and recolored versions of cats from dungeon 1) . Most enemies that are palette swaps of each other usually appear in the same location and behave somewhat differently.
  • Plot Tunnel: Once a dungeon is entered, it can't be exited until it is completed and the boss is defeated.
  • Rainbow Pimp Gear: Every piece of equipment (sword, shield or armor) can be seen on the player's sprite. The length of the sword and the size of the shield are also taken into account in the game, and are not just for the show.
  • Random Drop: Two kinds:
    • Enemies can either drop a life orb or a few coins.
    • Cutting down bushes can leave behind a berry. Each berry acts as a weaker potion.
  • Regenerating Mana: The mana regenerates on its own. A spell that can be learned and enhanced serves to speed up the mana regeneration.
  • Remixed Level: One of the first routes can be revisited towards the end of the game, where it is populated with stronger monsters.
  • Retraux: The game has an early 16-bit graphical style. The use of only three buttons (in addition to the Start button) is also meant to emulate the Sega Genesis.
  • Scoring Points: Once a dungeon is entered, the "Gold" counter disappears from the HUD, and is replaced with a "Score" counter and a timer. Once a dungeon is completed, the score is tallied, taking the time spent in the level and secrets found into account, and ultimately, the score obtained is converted into gold.
  • Sidetrack Bonus:
    • While the game does not require backtracking to previously visited locations (except at the beginning) , doing so while equipped with new spells and skills can reward you with spell enhancements, potions or HP/MP-enhancing items.
    • Omega Crater, a location available late in the game, serves no purpose other than this. Clearing this expansive location will reward the player with several upgrades, but won't do anything to advance the story.
    • In dungeons, finding treasure chests is not only its own reward, but also adds to the score bonus obtained at the end, which is useful as well, since the score is converted to gold.
  • Slow-Paced Beginning: The beginning of the game features a lot of cutscenes. Once the player reaches the Hub City and learns how to run, things become more faster-paced.
  • Springs, Springs Everywhere: A late-game location features corridors filled with springs. They are used as local gimmicks for those locations, and are otherwise absent from the game.
  • Status Buff: Two of the spells Adan can learn boost his attack and defense.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Once Adan learns to dive, he never needs to swim up for air.
  • Ten-Second Flashlight: Sacred Light, a late-game spell, can be used to dissipate the fog in a particular location. The fog comes back after a few seconds, meanwhile casting the spell takes away a lot of Adan's mana and summons two mooks.
  • Theme Naming: Every dungeon's name is comprised of a color and a noun.
  • The Three Trials:
    • Alternatives to Interchangeable Antimatter Keys come in sets of three, one in a different location. The one time when there are four of them, one of them is available without any effort, so there are still three locations to explore.
    • Two instances late in the game.
      • The second-to-last dungeon requires the player to meet and play with three ghosts.
      • Reaching the final dungeon requires the player to find and touch three angel statues.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Mira starts out as an immature child, excited by her new powers, and her interactions with Adan remain playful. However, as her powers grow and start clouding her mind, she starts becoming rude and impatient. This culminates in her undergoing a complete Face–Heel Turn.
  • Unique Enemy: Some enemies only show up in one map in the entire game. The blue puppet from dungeon 1 is a better example, since there's only one of it.
  • Victory Pose: Adan points the sword upwards and smiles before leaving a dungeon or after defeating the boss. After a point in the game's story where the plot becomes darker, the victory pose changes.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: After Adan leaves Alta Village, he travels across a cave called the Cave of No Return, where a fall through a long shaft prevents the player from going back. He does eventually learn the Wall Jump, allowing him to briefly return home when the plot requires it.
  • You Shouldn't Know This Already: Different skills can't be performed by pressing the right button combinations until they are actually learned in-game.


YMMV (for when the game will have the right to be an actual page, not just one of Unpublished Works)


Trivia (for when the game will have the right to be an actual page, not just one of Unpublished Works)

  • No Fair Cheating:
    • It is impossible to grind gold by completing dungeons over and over and getting bonuses for score: the game keeps track of the record amount of gold obtained per dungeon, and on subsequent visits, only the difference between the previous record and the currently obtained amount is actually transferred to the player's wallet, provided the record is beat in the first place. It is possible to come back to a dungeon after completing it while having immediate access to new spells and skills, complete it in under a minute and get a massive time bonus, but that's been done on purpose, and because of the aforementioned mechanic, this trick can only be used once per dungeon.
    • Saving and resuming the game inside a dungeon prevents the player from getting a "perfect" bonus (that can be obtained by completing a level without dying) .
  • Throw It In!: The game already had an entire dungeon completed before the game's plot was even decided on. The whole plot was written after Alex drew the character manipulating the puppet-like boss, who happened to look like a little girl, and decided he liked the character enough to keep her in the game. The opening cutscenes have been written after that.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • An additional Retraux element originally present in the game was a 4/3 screen ratio. It has been later changed to widescreen.
    • Treasure chests found in dungeons originally contained, among other things, jewels, which could only be sold to a special NPC for gold. They were finally deemed too much of a hassle and removed from the game.
    • At one point, removing Adan's Super Not-Drowning Skills in favor of Oxygenated Underwater Bubbles was also considered.
    • Some spells have also been altered from what they originally were meant to be:
      • A spell called Deflection would give Adan a chance to automatically send back enemies' projectiles. After having been deemed a bit too helpful (the game already contained some very helpful spells) , as well as too much of a hassle to implement, it was ultimately replaced with Detection, a spell that allows the player to detect unopened treasure chests.
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