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Video Game / A Vampyre Story

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1895 (or maybe 1897), Draxylvania. Mona de Lafitte, a young, up-and-coming Parisian opera singer, is in dire straits — specifically, the disgustingly-clingy arms of one Shrowdy von Kiefer. The vampire Baron of Castle Warg, he has kidnapped Mona and placed her under a curse which is curiously identical to vampirism, but not, Mona adamantly maintains, actually vampirism. But one night, while Shrowdy is out collecting Mona's "wine" ("a salty-tasting merlot with an iron aftertaste," remarks her pet bat Froderick), a pair of vampire hunters happen across the greasy little turd and give Mona the light of hope. Now she has to use her wits (hopelessly inadequate), Froderick's help (if he can stop cracking wise), and her environment (now we're getting somewhere) to escape Draxylvania and return to Paris.

A Vampyre Story (yes, the 'y' is correct) is a point-and-click adventure game released at the end of 2008, starring Mona, an opera singer and new vampire, and Froderick, a small bat she pals around with, plus a creative cast of supernatural supporting characters (and a curious abundance of cops). Many of the employees of Autumn Moon Entertainment, the developers, used to work for Lucasarts, and some of the design sensibilities came along for the ride. Most obvious is the action coin interface-in addition to Curse of Monkey Island's Look-Talk-Touch, Mona has the option to transform into a bat to further use and abuse her environment. You can also "use" your sidekick Froderick, in the vein of a Lucasarts-era adventure gaming icon (hint: think long ears).


This game has examples of:

  • Always Check Behind the Chair: You have to check under your bed for an item in order to proceed. No one prompts you.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • The Baron is tricked and staked by a wandering monk as he leaves Warg Castle looking for fresh prey, and from what we saw of him he had it coming. Too bad his death didn't stick.
    • The Baroness used to gather knowledge on the dark arts imprisoning and torturing information out of priests, scholars, wizards, witches and wisemen before killing them. She was eventually tricked by a golem and apparently fell in a trap set up by a Stranger and his Cabal.
    • Rufus the Gargoyle gets crushed by a statue and is humiliated, insulted, abused and turned into a golem against his will, but he's such a contemptious and arrogant jerk it's hard to feel sorry for him.
    • Bruno Stocker is drained and scared shitless by Mona, but he's a drunkard and an abusive husband.
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  • Big Eater: The Lake Monster greedily devours people and objects who gets in the lake. Froderick mentions that he once ate a boat full of Venetian tourists.
  • Black Widow: The Baroness.
  • Blob Monster: The Lake Monster Inky is a living, vaguely-humanoid mass of black junk who swims across the lake and eats anything and everything trying to cross the lake without proper protection.
  • Bookcase Passage: The library is equipped with one.
  • Butt-Monkey: Rufus the gargoyle. A good rule of thumb is that if you're ever stuck, you're not pissing Rufus off enough.
  • Cats Are Mean: Mona persists in thinking of Pyewacket, the Baroness' old familiar, as a cute, harmless little kitten. The local rats think of her as twenty pounds of furry death. When you finally meet her, she's not actually hostile, but she's considerably less fluffy than Mona would like to believe.
  • Character Development: Over the course of the story, Mona gradually comes to accept her vampire nature, rather than be in denial.
  • Civilized Animal: Well, bird in this case. Edgar the raven reads the newspaper and does laundry.
  • Crazy-Prepared: The Vampire Hunters make sure to pack their boat with every possible vampire-repelling tool before sailing to Warg Castle.
  • Cute Little Fangs: Mona's.
  • Cutting the Knot: In order to find out which one of the three bridge gargoyles has the key inside his mouth, Mona has to pick up a mace and smash them all until the real one, Rufus, dodges. When Shrowdy removes the black cloth from the graveyard to leave Mona stuck there with the wagon of dirt, she simply pushes the wagon down the hill and out of the cemetery (with Froderick steering it) while she turns into a bat and flies above the crosses, to her safety.
  • Dark Is Evil: Invoked, the forces of evil got stuck with the color black because the forces of good got to choose first, and so black clothing are used in dark arts to counter holy magic.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Rufus the Gargoyle, being an Upper-Class Twit, tends to snark a lot towards Mona.
  • The Ditz: Mona. So much.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Rufus was once the Baroness' trusted companion and loyal servant but one day he lost his cool after young Shrowdy tried to use him as a dress-up doll and yelled at him, scaring the young vampire. The Baroness punished Rufus by confining him to the bridge and forcing him to act as the keykeeper for her son.
  • Door to Before: There are secret passageways connecting the kitchen to the dungeon and the secret laboratory to the Theater. Unfortunately, Mona finds out about them only after finding the key to the main keep, angrily wishing she had found them earlier.
  • Domestic Abuse: Bruno Stoker.
  • Downer Ending: As Mona and Froderick go back to Madame Strigoi to say goodbye after gathering all the required items for the journey to Paris, she's killed and possessed by Shrowdy, who then urges Mona to seek the help of doctor Rigor Mortis, who can help her turn back to human. Mona buys this and we last see Mona and Froderick ditch their ship out of Draxylvania as Shrowdy gloats about the terrible things the doctor has in stock for her. Possibly subverted, as that was chapter 2 of the story.
  • Drop-In Nemesis: Shrowdy's spectral form in part 3. As he appears twice in the graveyard to trap Mona.
  • Escape from the Crazy Place: Mona's goal is to escape from Castle Warg and from her obsessive kidnapper, the Baron von Kiefer.
  • Evil Sorceress: Mona comes to the conclusion that the Baroness was one, rather than a Vampire.
  • Expospeak Gag: Mona gets a "Vampirism For Dummkopfs" book late in the game, detailing her abilities and limitations as a vampire. Froderick summarizes each page, as Mona has neither the attention span nor the intellectual capacity to read it herself, but there is actual text there and you can (with difficulty-it's a fancy typeface) read what it has to say on your own, which is often quite amusing.
  • Eye of Newt: The ingredients for the golem activation potion, including literal eye of newt. But it's the middle of winter so there are no newts to be found. Fortunately, lateral thinking prevails, and the eye from a picture of a newt in a coloring book makes an adequate substitute.
  • Failed a Spot Check: As the Vampire Hunters prepare to set sail to Castle Warg to face Mona, said vampire girl just rows by them on a coffin, asking for directions, which he hastily gives without even looking. For bonus point, this was right after the monk said that the undead just don't rows towards you asking politely for directions.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Draxylvania. The opening scene of the game even lampshades this, typing a few letters from the word "Transylvania", then erasing that and typing Draxylvania instead.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Inky, the lake monster.
    • Although it's unclear if "Inky" is the monster's actual name or just a descriptive and slightly derogatory epithet given by Froderick and later adopted by Mona as well.
  • Foreign Cuss Word: Mona isn't above uttering Merde now and then.
  • Fortune Teller: Madame Strigoi, who's willing to help Mona. The ending though implies she was in cahoots with the Cabal.
  • Gasshole: The heroine Mona de Lafitte lets out a huge belch when, late in the game, she drinks blood from the fat slovenly drunkard Bruno Stoker. She's mortified by the noise she makes, and hastily attributes it to the sheer quantity of booze in Bruno's blood. Must be all the beer he drank.
  • Gilded Cage: Although unkept and decaying, Mona's tower still bears the mark of luxury. She has her own personal room and even her very own theatre.
    • Froderick's is a more literal version. When he tries to play it up like he's done time on the inside, Mona takes the wind out of his sails by pointing out that he's only allowed to have street cred if the cage is unpleasant, and further opines that between the comfortable sleeping arrangements and all the fruit and nuts he wants, the fact that it's shiny and attractive is just icing on the poser cake.
  • Golem: A clay one was used to trick the Baroness into running in a trap and later beheaded by Shrowdy. In the second act, you have to revive the golem to force Shade!Shrowdy to let go of the improvised cross he's holding in front of the boat.
  • Gonk: Several characters, mostly male ones, have grotesque and cartoonish looks. Iris, the Woman of Loose Morals fall into downrigth Fan Disservice.
  • Gratuitous Italian: Buttercup, the horse Mona has to procure, was originally called "Il Cavallo Senza Valore" (lit, The Worthless Horse). Unfortunately, doubles as Meaningful Name.
  • Groin Attack: Shrowdy has a special device in his torture chamber specifically designed for this purpose. Mona ends up using it to crush a different kind of nuts, though...
    • It doesn't stop Froderick from being utterly horrified by the mere existence of the device.
  • Hero Antagonist: The monks who stake Shrowdy technically are antagonists, as they plan to kill Mona too believing her to be a dangerous vampire like Shrowdy, but after all they do kill monsters. They're later revealed to be part of the same Cabal who tricked the Baroness.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Mona and Froderick enjoy one at the expense of Rufus after he's been reduced to a head. All he can do is groan in frustration.
  • Hypnotic Eyes: Baron Shrowdy used them to mesmerize Mona before biting her, as well as using them to keep Inky at bay.
  • Impossible Hourglass Figure: Mona would make Jessica Rabbit jealous.
    • Lampshaded by Rufus when he calls her a hussy and Mona takes offense.
    Mona: I am not a hussy!
    Rufus: Your... proportions say otherwise.
  • I Do Not Drink Wine: If you believe Mona, wine is all she drinks. Also, choosing the mouth-interaction with a couple of items gets a direct shoutout to the line.
  • I Hate You, Vampire Dad, I Love You, Vampire Son: Shrowdy turned Mona into a vampire out of love, a fact for which Mona hates him. In a twist, Mona is in complete denial that she's a vampire.
    • Calling it "love" is a bit of a stretch. "Psychosis masquerading as affection," possibly.
  • If I Can't Have You…: Shrowdy is willing to let Mona be killed by the first rays of the sun unless she agrees to return to his castle.
  • Implausible Deniability: Most of the fun comes from Mona trying to find an excuse to claim she's not a vampire, as well as giving less-grisly but definitively fake info on the surrounding spooky castle (for example she refers to bloodstains on a wall as ketchup marks).
  • Info Dump: Choosing to talk to Froderick yields a flashback to an exposition-heavy conversation which is useful for getting the backstory across, but in context is kind of awkward since about half of it is stories that the characters themselves already know.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Mona is usually reluctant to bite people, but when she sees how poor Mina Stoker has been run ragged, she actually goes on to great lengths to scare her lout of a husband into changing his Straw Misogynist ways. Earlier, after finding out that the rats sold you the wrong information, you can indirectly get back at them by revealing to the cat when they plan to raid the kitchen.
  • Love at First Sight: The opening credits of the game imply that Shrowdy von Kiefer fell in love at first sight with Mona de Lafitte, the game's heroine.
    • They also imply that a jealous rival at the academy saw this and used it to her benefit; apparently she was aware of his habit of making off with young women in this fashion. If you try to make Mona fly to the crates behind the Vlad Landing's stadium, she mentions the last name of that rival: it's Van Helsing.
  • Loving a Shadow: It is implied that the main reason Shrowdy kidnapped and transformed Mona into a vampire was her uncanny resemblance to his missing mother.
  • MacGuffin Guardian: The game has a few across the acts, such as Rufus the Gargoyle (keeps the key Mona needs to leave the castle in his mouth), Shrowdy's Specter guarding the only way out of the castle, the Lake Monster (who patrols the lake and must be neutralized to sail away) and the Banshee (who guards her own mortal spoils waiting for her beloved to come).
  • Mad Love: Shrowdy's obsessive love for Mona, who (understandably) hates his guts. It gets creepier when it is revealed that Mona has an uncanny resemblance to Shrowdy's mother.
  • The Mafia: The Rats in the dungeons behave like stereotypical Italo-American mobsters, but are pretty friendly. Too bad the information they sell to Mona is incomplete.
  • Missing Mom: The Baroness von Kiefer, Shrowdy's mother, left the castle one day and never returned. It is implied that she was tricked by a mysterious character known as the Stranger and that she fell into some kind of trap.
  • Must Be Invited: Played straight; so straight, in fact, that Mona needs verbal invitation to enter a home whose front room doubles as a shop, even if the sign says "please come in".
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: Shrowdy von Kiefer becomes far more powerful and evil after he is staked.
  • Never Learned to Read: Mona, to the point of referring to books as "Weird rectangles", and Froderick has to do the reading for her. It's apparently limited to books though, as she can read other inscriptions fine.
  • Nice Guy: Some of the castle inhabitants, such as Barbara the Iron Maiden and Edgar the Raven are rather polite and civil, and will be more than willing to help Mona if asked.
  • Noodle Incident: See Info Dump above-when Froderick startles Mona out of her flashback, she cries, "Am I dressed?!" One wonders precisely what she's been up to in the past to prompt such a response.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Shrowdy von Kiefer. As if looking like a caricature vampire, being bossed around by the woman he kidnapped and mocked by the rest of his castle’s residents wasn’t enough, he also loves coloring books and uses a sippy cup. However, the iron maiden describes him attacking and beheading one of his mother’s prisoners with an axe and implies that he disposed of the other girls he kidnapped after he grew bored of them. He turns out to be so fixed in his obsession with Mona that he refuses to die and continues to haunt her even after he was staked by two traveling monks. He prevents her from leaving his castle despite being aware that it would mean her death, since Mona needs blood to survive.
  • Oh, Crap!: In the opening, Shrowdy has a big one when the harmless hooded traveler he was about to assault reveals a massive crucifix hung by his neck and a sharp point at the end of his walking stick.
  • Our Banshees Are Louder: The Irish ghost woman in the (second) dungeon can wail loud enough to push Mona away from her remains. At first she's identified as a banshee, then as a ghost. Notably, she's an undead, not a fairy, and her wailings aren't omens of death.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Shrowdy von Kiefer initially seems to be a run-of-the-mill (if clingy) vampire, but he turns out to be a much bigger nuisance, if not actually a credible threat, than the plot summary up above would have you believe. More obviously, the spelling of the word "Vampyre" in the title.
    • One minor addition to vampire lore is the rule that holy symbols can be neutralized by black cloth.
    • According to what Rufus tells you, Shrowdy wasn't born the usual way, but apparently created by the late Lilith von Kiefer in her secret laboratory, which might have something to do with his vampirism and his Psychopathic Manchild attitude.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Mona's actress attempts to maintain both a French accent and a stereotypical vampire accent at the same time, with varying amounts of success.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Froderick snarks the way most people scratch.
  • Prequel: The developers planned to release an episodic prequel called A Vampyre Story: Year 1 in 2011. The game would consist of four episodes and cover the first year spent by Mona in Draxylvania, with each episode corresponding to a different season of the year. Word of God says that Mona spent many years locked up before Shrowdy finally got what was coming for him, leaving Autumn Moon open to take pot luck on exactly how long Mona's been cooped up in Castle Warg, until they get sick of making episodic prequels. Alas, as of now, the prequel is stuck in the Development Hell.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Shrowdy von Kiefer. He kidnaps and obsessively courts young women who look very similar to his mother and it is hinted that he disposes of them once he grows bored of their company. When he's not pestering Mona, he occupies himself with coloring books and a visit to his dining room reveals that he still uses a sippy cup.
  • Scenery Porn: Some of the backgrounds from the game are hauntingly beautiful.
  • Sequel Hook: The game ends halfway through the story proper, and promises more of Mona and Froderick in A Vampyre Story 2.
  • Shout-Out: Generally to old adventure games. Pyewacket herself bears a marked resemblance to a lagomorph made famous by the bygone era of Lucasarts, and Froderick's quips about purple tentacles may also bring back memories. Other examples would be Red Bovine, a drink found in the castle which can refer to both Red Bull and Crimson Cow, the seamstress Mina Stoker, named after the author and one of the characters of Dracula, a half burnt wedding dress with the name "Miss Havisham" on its tag (a reference to Charles Dickens' Great Expectations) and the song "Who Let the Wolves Out?" just to name a few.
    • Of the rats in the torture chamber, one is named Remy Da Ratt Finck, and the leader wishes he could look away from his cookbook once in a while.
    • One obvious shout-out exists in the name "Shrowdy von Kiefer".
    • Inky the blob-like Lake Monster with a voracious appetite could be a nod to Stephen King and his horror story The Raft. The author himself is mentioned as an insane writer under the surname of "Rex" who was interned after writing an extremely improbable horror story.
    • A Raven named Edgar?
  • Red Herring:
    • The two vampire hunters look important, as after all it was them who kill Shrowdy and start the whole plot. They become nothing more than background events for the rest of the game.
    • When you ask for information to the constable, you can learn of many locations around Lake Warg in Draxylvania. You only get to visit Vlad's Landing and the Graveyard.
  • The Renfield: Invoked, Madame Strigoi says that Mona also needs a deranged, sycophantic servant to guard her coffin during the day. You don't get to have one though.
  • Right-Hand Cat: Pyewacket used to be the Baroness von Kiefer's familiar and posessed magical powers.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Bruno Stocker has this attitude towards his wife, forcing her to cook for him, serve him beer and do all the housework. Mona also reacts with indignation if the player makes her interact with the dirty laundry, asking him if he's a chauvinist.
  • Talking Animal: Almost all of the animals in the game.
  • Tears of Blood: This seems to be the only kind of tears vampire Mona can cry.
  • That Cloud Looks Like...: If you exit Mona's tower and go on the gargoyle bridge, you'll notice that the clouds have various shapes, including spiders, witches on broomsticks and lizards.
    • Faces, presumably those of the dev team, can be made out in the slime dripping from the giant skull in the lab.
  • Think of the Censors!: After Mona comments that the hinges need more lubricant to work, she asks if Froderick has something to say, to which he answers that he thought of something that probably wouldn't make it past the censors, causing her to giggle.
  • Til Murder Do Us Part: The Baroness is implied to have murdered several of her husbands. Lampshaded by Mona and Froderick who can tell her intentions just by her portrait.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Constable, the policeman inspecting Mona's coffin that she used as a boat, talk about how this coffin belonged to a woman, with a bat pet and she wear black and purple and has black hair...while you're standing in front of him, a woman who fit the exact description.
  • Torture Cellar: The von Kiefer family has one (which also doubles as a bedroom for Shrowdy and a very unwilling Mona), complete with torture devices, iron maiden and a pit for the disposal of human remains.
  • Unfinished Business: The ghost of the Irish woman refuses to move on to the afterlife because she is waiting for the man whom she fell in love with.
  • The Unreveal: A good chunk of the first part of the game involves finding the combination to Shrowdy's coffin. Once it's open, Mona and Froderick find pictures that Shrowdy had made of Mona attached to the lid. The player can't see them, so it's left to the imagination, and the repulsed expressions and comments of Mona and Froderick. Apparently they're good enough to warrant a whistle from Froderick.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods: Hilariously subverted with Shrowdy, as there is nothing even remotely attractive about him.
    • Froderick starts to agree that Mona's not exactly his type, but Mona takes exception to him saying so while she's right there.
  • Voice of the Legion: Shrowdy gets this when he becomes a shade.
  • Weirdness Censor: Parodied. Despite Werewolves and Vampyres being common knowledge, no one sees any link between the prevalence of unlucky pet bats, the "Anemia" epidemic, or the old folks home for people who never seem to grow old. Even Mona is in serious denial.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Froderick has to pretend to be a little girl (complete with dress!) to solve one puzzle. This completely fools the police officer you're trying to distract, even though six inches tall is rather more "little" than you usually get with little girls. Once you've accomplished your goal, he declares that he is never, ever going to crossdress for you again. Let's see a show of hands, anyone who thinks the universe will just let that comment go.


Video Example(s):


A Vampyre Story

A Vampyre Story is a parody/deconstruction of the feminine Gothic fiction (exemplified by The Mysteries of Udolpho and Jane Eyre): the protagonist Mona is a 19 years-old opera starlet who is seduced by an ancient vampire, locked up in his castle, and turned undead herself. However, the vampire is nowhere close to a brooding Byronic Hero but is actually rather pathetic and gets killed off early in the story, returning as a ghost, while Mona is largely uninterested in romance and just wants to resume her opera career, refusing to accept that she has been turned into an immortal blood-sucker and to generally be terrified of anything.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

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