Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Alisa

Go To

Alisa is a Retraux Survival Horror Video Game by Casper Croes. The game replicates the look and feel of Playstation 1 / late 90's CD-ROM era survival horror games.

You play as Alisa, an Elite Royal Agent of an unnamed country that appears to be a Fantasy Counterpart Culture version of late 19th century/early 20th century France. Alisa is in the countryside pursuing a wanted criminal who stole some unspecified blueprints. During the chase, Alisa gets kidnapped by strange monsters, and wakes up in a blue dress in a strange manor with no memory of how she got there. What's more, the manor is populated by a legion of life-sized malevolent mechanical dolls who will attack Alisa on sight.

So, of course, Alisa has to navigate this "Doll House" to find out how to escape, perhaps also find out how she got there, and get back on the trail of the criminal she was tracking.

The game was funded on Kickstarter on June 21st, 2020, and released on October 22nd, 2021.

Alisa contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Alisa, being a member of the King's own Royal Police.
  • Alice Allusion: All over the place; our main character's name is similar to Alice, she gets dragged into the underground by the dolls, and wakes up in a blue dress sometime later.
  • Almighty Janitor: Although the story is vague on this point, the Dollmaster doesn't appear to have been any of the researchers or administrators who were previously running the asylum/mansion, but rather the one test subject who survived being exposed to the Finger of God.
  • Ambiguously Evil: Jean-Francois is seen to be a toothpick chewing partner who ends up swallowing said toothpick while on the run. However the ending scene has him reveal that he was faking it, making it up to the player to question just why he faked it and let Alisa be drawn into the Dollhouse in the first place (provided he even knew it existed).
  • Apocalyptic Log: There are notes strewn about the house describing the various goings-on in the dollhouse. Unlike most examples, though, these ones can't be picked up.
  • Artifact of Doom: The source of all the weirdness appears to be a giant finger-shaped rock called the Finger of God, which the previous inhabitants of the manor were researching before they somehow got wiped out. It slowly drives people insane and has the ability to transmute organic matter into inorganic material, which is apparently the source of all the monsters roaming around.
  • Beneath the Earth: The mansion is revealed to be completely underground, having sunk beneath the Earth a few decades ago. The gazebo-like structure on the surface where Alisa is first attacked by monsters is actually a spire on the roof of the mansion.
  • Boss in Mook's Clothing:
    • Although not full boss fights, the game has a number of unique enemies that are tougher than normal, typically guarding a major area. Examples include the cook, the cymbals monkey, the contortionist in the Red Room, the pair of giant ballerinas, and the spider-thing at the end of the wave battle arena.
    • The spider-walking dolls in tuxedos and top hats aren't unique, but there are only about 3 of them in the game, and each one can be a very tough fight as they have high health, an annoying leap attack, and will roll away when damaged.
  • The Cameo: Isabella Flora is voiced by survival horror youtuber The Sphere Hunter.
  • Counter-Attack: If you perfectly block an enemy's melee attacks with your saber, you'll stagger them. If you attack immediately as soon as you parry, you'll perform a counter attack. Typically, you have time for 1 counterattack and 1 regular attack before the enemy can attack again. You can't block some attacks, and it doesn't work against enemies that are much larger than regular size.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: This is implied to be at least part of the reason Alisa embraces her new role as “The Master” in the C endings, as getting those requires getting all of the “modifications” installed. And she doesn't quite… seem herself in those endings as well, with her creepy, mechanical, off-putting mannerisms.
  • Cyborg: In the 2022 "Developer's Cut" update which makes the game feature complete, Alisa can install toothwheel mods to increase her capabilities at the price of some of her humanity. This is what primarily affects the ending.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: Pol, the puppet who serves as your merchant throughout the game, turns out to be the mutant Dollmaster, the game's Final Boss. The more stuff you bought from him, the more health he has.
  • Duel Boss: If you enter Isabella Flora's boss room with only a melee weapon (or nothing at all), she'll remark that you didn't bring firearms and that it will be a fair fight, and won't use her own ranged attacks, sticking to dueling you with her sword.
  • Death Is Gray: Enemies that are killed turn grey after falling to the ground and dropping tooth-wheels.
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: Getting the C endings requires you to invest a not insubstantial amount of tooth wheels into buying all the modifications. There's also a mild Guide Dang It! moment involved since players have to think to give Elise’s leg to Edmiston to unlock the final modification that you need for the ending, which isn't impossible to discover in a normal playthrough, but it's pretty likely that most players would give Elise her leg back right away, which would mean the dialogue from Edmiston wouldn't trigger and most players would be none the wiser.
  • Flunky Boss: If you bring Elise to help you fight Isabella Flora, she'll summon a pair of her metal warriors to even the odds. This can actually make the fight harder. It's generally better to have Elise help you fight Edith Boileau instead.
  • Gratuitous French: Being set in late 19th/early 20th century France-like world, Jean-François throw in some French words here and there while talking.
  • The Immune: It's indicated that Alisa is immune to the radiation from the Finger of God, which maddens and mutates living things and turns organic matter into inorganic material. Elise mentions that she too used to be immune, but eventually turned into a doll, though she seems to still have managed to keep her sanity.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: The porcelain horse creatures with gatling guns for mouths in the chapel area are too powerful for Alisa to fight; you instead need to sneak past them to reach your objective.
  • Leotard of Power: There are two outfits that Alisa can wear that fits the definition:
    • The first is the Hydra Suit, which is essentially a green, fishy one-piece swimsuit that gives Alisa the ability to move faster in deep water, gives her 10% more defence and allows her a faster release from a grab attack.
    • The second is her Undergarment which is what happens when you make Alisa strip off her main clothes. Her undergarment resembles a white ballet/gymnastics leotard which allows her to move faster in deep water like the Hydra Suit as well as take a bath in the hot tub, but without any other benefits.
  • Lock and Key Puzzle: There are plenty of locked doors in the dollhouse that require the right key to open. Thankfully, all of them are gathered in one key ring for easier storage.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr Pier Edmiston, the game's first boss, is mentioned as having been one of the researchers previously living in the mansion and the inventor of the toothwheels, until he went mad and started having fun with the experiments which were resulting in the deaths of all his patients. The other researchers locked him away in one of the mansion's wings, which he converted into a circus funhouse.
  • Money Spider: Enemies that Alisa defeats drop a bunch of tooth-wheels as they go down. Generally, as long as you don't miss, the amount of tooth-wheels enemies drop balances out the ammo you spent to kill them. However, the merchant's inventory of bullets is limited, so Resources Management Gameplay is still in effect.
  • Ms.Fanservice: Whilst the Hydra Suit is pretty obvious as it is a one-piece swimsuit which would be considered outrageous by the standards of the game's setting. The player can also strip Alisa down to her literal undergarments. Said undergarment is a white, high-cut ballet/gymnastics-esque leotard that really outlines Alisa's assets, which is quite humorous as ladies of her time period wore pretty baggy and modest lingerie.
  • Multiple Endings: The 2022 "Developer's Cut" update, which feature completes the game, added 3 additional endings as well as the regular ending from the original version of the game.
    • Home Sweet Home, Right?: The regular ending of the game.
    • Into the Unknown: If you install at least 1 mod, (you can install the auto-aim mod OR the make-up mod and still get Ending A, if you get both or another mod you'll get this ending) Alisa will be unable to outrun the Collector Dolls and is dragged off into the mansion by them, with Dollmaster noting that you were bound to the Dollhouse as soon as you installed Edmiston's toothwheels into your body. The bomb goes off, but is revealed to seemingly only destroy the top floor of the Dollhouse. Alisa, with doll hands, crawls out of the wreckage of the Dollhouse and flees into the woods, while a hooded Jean-Francois aims at her with a sniper rifle but lets her get away.
    • The New Master: If you install all 6 mods, Alisa becomes the new Master of the Dollhouse after using the bomb to kill Dollmaster and riding off with the subserviant Collector Dolls. The mansion dolls are shown bowing to Alisa, who's a doll herself now, as she takes the throne with Dollmaster's puppets. A second variation of this ending plays if you saved Elise, in which case she'll present Alisa with a crown.
  • New Game Plus: Added in the 2022 "Developer's Cut" update which makes the game feature complete.
  • One-Word Title: Alisa, of course.
  • Oral Fixation: Jean-Francois is seen chewing on a toothpick...which spells trouble when he starts running in the forest and accidentally swallows it...except the end of the game reveals that he was faking it.
  • Protagonist Title: Again, Alisa.
  • Resources Management Gameplay: Ammo and especially healing items are limited, so you need to manage them wisely. The toothwheels that defeated enemies drop typically re-compensates you for the ammo you spent killing them, but the merchant's inventory of ammo is limited and you also need those toothwheels to buy weapons and dresses as well. Learning to defeat basic enemies with the saber to save ammo helps a lot. You can also restore your health by bathing in the hot tub in the basement while not wearing a dress but this is very slow and takes several minutes of real time just idling; also, this area is only accessible in the middle portion of the game.
  • Retraux: The game uses limited polygons for the characters, pre-rendered backgrounds, and other such things to invoke the feel of being an old-school survival horror game in the vein of the first Resident Evil. Like the first Resident Evil, there's also no auto-aim, so you're reliant on manually aiming (though helpfully the HUD has an icon that lights up when your gun is pointed correctly at an enemy).
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Towards the end of the game Alisa will be able to purchase a high-powered revolver from the merchant. It deals comparable damage to the shotgun, with better range, but has a very slow reload animation.
  • Robotic Reveal: After you defeat Dr. Edmiston, he spews toothwheels and his body is pulled away on puppet strings, suggesting he had been turned into one of his own dolls, perhaps being puppeted by the Dollmaster (who notably has a Dr. Edmiston hand puppet afterwards).
  • Save Point: Pol the merchant puppet will save your game for one tooth-wheel.
  • Sequel Hook: The post-credit scene has Jean-Francois creepily whisper to Alisa that he was faking that whole "swallowing toothpick" scene from the beginning of the game, only for her to wake up in her bedroom. She then notices a letter that reads "The truth about the blueprints" and begins to read. Moreover, there are still questions about why the Emperor even wants the blueprints, the question about what this Finger of God even is and how Alisa was immune to its effects in the first place.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: The blunderbuss and pump-action shotgun are quite powerful but have a slow reload.
  • Stylistic Suck: According to Jean-François's voice actor, the creator wanted the voice acting, done by native Francophones themselves, done bad on purpose to capture the Narm of PlayStation 1 games. You can notice both Alisa and Jean-François's exaggerated French accent in the first five minutes of the playthrough.
  • Shout-Out: After narrowly escaping a The Walls Are Closing In room, Alisa remarks that she was "almost a sandwich".
  • Surreal Horror: Featuring a wide array of bizarre doll-like monsters that came out of Silent Hill, to having an entire mansion with its own open-air garden underground and a giant finger artefact of doom, as well as the pretty obvious inspiration from the Alice in Wonderland series, is anyone surprised that the setting looks like it came from an LSD drug trip?
  • Transhuman Treachery: Implied in the B and C endings. In the B ending, Alisa tries to escape but is dragged back by Collector dolls with the Dollmaster explaining that she became bound to the mansion when she had toothwheels injected into her. She seems to make some sort of peace with being a doll until an earthquake allows her to escape the mansion. By contrast, in Ending C she seems to willingly embrace being a Doll, stopping the Finger Of God from getting blown up and instead using the bomb to kill the Dollmaster by stuffing it in his mouth. She takes her place on a throne among a slew of kneeling dolls and takes up the Dollmaster’s old puppets, Pol and Edmiston, giving an unnerving smile to the camera before the ending fades out.
  • Underground Monkey: Averted; the game has a very wide roster of enemies, and they're all typically thematically appropriate for where they're found. You have dolls and toy soldiers in the main doll house, clowns in the house of fun, glass fish-people in the sunken area, metal fighters in the garden, etc.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: The Climax Boss confrontation with the spy/thief towards the end of the game turns into a rail shooter instead of the game's normal survival horror combat.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: There's a non-hostile doll called Elise who lost her leg fighting some other dolls. The player can choose to fight 3 waves of enemies to get it back and after it's returned she'll return the favor by helping you fight one of the bosses. Alternatively…
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: …the player can give the Leg to Edmiston to unlock a mod which gives Alisa blades in her arms and buffs her unarmed melee damage. You have to do this for certain endings.
  • Walking Swimsuit Scene: It is possible to go around with completely unequipping any dress, which would leave Alisa in a white leotard. This "outfit" has the perk of allowing Alisa to wade through water much easier, as well as bathing in the hot tub in the basement. Alternatively, she can wear the Hydra Suit which is a literal one-piece swimsuit that gives her added benefits compared to her undergarment.
  • Weird Currency: Tooth-wheels. You can trade them to Pol for items, outfits, weapons, and saving your game data.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Elise, the friendly doll that helps you if you get her back her leg, disappears from the game completely after helping you fight the second boss, as she's snatched away by her mother the tall black-clad doll. This seems to have been a plot line that was dropped for time, though it does get expanded on in the 2022 "Developer's Cut" update.