Brave Soul is a hybrid Eroge/RPG for Windows, released by Crowd and translated into English by Peach Princess. It chronicles the adventures of a young man named Rudy (who the player can rename as he/she sees fit) as he sets out on his own (accompanied by a tiny dragon named Shell), and the women he meets along the way. The game allows the player to equip Rudy, Shell, and 2 other party members with weapons, armor, and accessories, as well as set skill shortcuts from the game menu. Combat takes place in real-time, with the player assuming control of Rudy, and the AI controlling the other party members based on preset behavior settings. For example, a magic-user's actions can be set to spend mana cautiously when attacking, prioritize debuffs, or let loose with her most powerful spells, consuming mana potions like water in the process. Experience gained from combat allows characters to level up, which increases their stats. New skills however are learned / earned through events, initiated by the player choosing to spend time at an inn. The party members go their separate ways, pursuing their hobbies and interests, and the player's task is find them and spend time with them.
This is the Eroge part of the game is decided by the following: The number of missions the Hero undertakes with a girl, some of which have a decision tree at the end, determines Rudy's standing in that girl's eyes. The events are also dependent on which of the game's towns the party decides to take a break in; towns have a degree of importance in the girls' histories, so even if Rudy has gotten in the girl's good graces, an event might not trigger because the setting is wrong. For example, taking a break in a certain town might bring memories back for a girl when she was just a kid, and she decides to ask you to accompany her to her old home. Rummaging through old family albums, she comes across an old book, which contains a spell or two.
The game starts with the Hero having a recurring dream of a naked, blue-haired girl thanking him. He wakes up to find himself on his back, bound, and in the middle of a forest. He's rescued from this predicament thanks to his tiny dragon friend named Shell burning away his bindings and a bit of him in the process. He finds a note from his dad which can be summarized to say, "I'm tired of feeding your unemployed ass, so I'm tying you up and leaving you in this goblin-infested forest. If you make it out alive, then you can survive in the big bad world. Love, Dad." He dusts himself off, and tries to make his way out of the woods when he hears a piercing female scream...
Potential Party Members:
Alicia — a blue-haired girl looking for her elder sister, who disappeared around ten years ago. If she's in the party she plays the role of the healer, but is not without offensive skills.
Marin — a girl with cat ears and tail. She's lost in this place full of humans, which gets her into trouble sometimes. Her innocence allows her to talk to fey creatures and ask for help from elemental spirits. She's also fast, and handy with a spear.
Ruby — this beautiful thief steals only from the rich, often giving them fair warning of her intent before she actually strikes. She's world-wise, and world-weary. She disdains up-close fights, preferring to rain projectiles on opponents, but she has other talents besides throwing pointy objects.
Claire — an accomplished fencer and expert in lightning magic. She can also wear heavy armor like Rudy, making her a very versatile member of the party - if the player manages to find her.
Caren — Daughter to the King and Queen of Valencia, woefully underinformed on how the world outside the castle walls work, Caren has decided to sneak out of the castle and go on an educational trip.
The game offers instances of:
- Armor Is Useless: Played around with. Armor reduces the amount of damage you receive if you get hit, metal armor more so than leather, at the cost of evasion and agility. Then there's the fact that one of the commonly recognized choices for Clare's best "armor" is a fancy dress that you buy for her in an event that occurs because you wanted her to have something to wear besides armor.
- Art Shift: Compare the characters with clothes on and clothes off. The difference is stunning.
- Awesome, but Impractical: Star Blade is Rudy's most powerful attack (in terms of damage per hit) and can hit multiple enemies via piercing, but costs a whopping 60 MP per use (Rudy's a fighter, mind you, so he doesn't have much MP to begin with) — and is considered a magic attack (meaning its affected by your Force stat). Unless you're willing to spend the time and/or money on Mind, Will, and Magic Seeds, you're better off using Wind Slash or physical attacks (especially if you're using the Fastest).
- Bag of Spilling: Players need to finish the game at least twice before getting to keep all the loot after finishing the game.
- Beam Spam: Rudy's Shooting Ray, which is also Light-Elemental.
- There's a sword in-game that grants massive attack power and regenerative abilities - at the cost of attack speed and walking speed.
- Also, Rudy's sword in official artwork is pretty big.
- Black Magician Girl: Carol. She's essentially Lina Inverse who isn't lacking in "that" area.
- Blade on a Stick: Marin's Weapon of Choice.
- Bonus Dungeon: The aptly named Losers' Paradise. 100 levels and the toughest bosses.
- Born Lucky:
- Karen has the highest luck stat of all playable characters and it extends into story events. When she accidentally shoots a random person, it turns out to be a mugger. When she shoots at a monster and it misses, the shot dislodges a rock that squishes her foe. Her outrageous luck baffles Rudy on several occasions.
- Inverted with Ocean Biglake, who claims to be this, but in reality, he's far from it.
- Bragging Rights Reward:
- Many of the characters' "best" equipment comes from the Loser's Paradise or Dice Dungeon—both of which are late-game dungeons, where there's not many enemies left to challenge (The Fastest is excluded for obvious reasons).
- The Shining Ring, which casts Shooting Ray and can only be equipped by Rudy, costs 2000000G: that's as many as two millions. By the time you have enough to get it, you're on the Dark Lord's doorstep.
- Bribing Your Way to Victory: Semi-example: the Developer's Room sells almost every weapon and armor in the game; even though you aren't paying real money to buy game money to buy in-game stuff, there's still the fact that you're buying it from a place called the "Developer's Room". Then there's the much more interesting fact that they sell the Fastest for 50,000G...
- Dead Pan Snarker: Rudy, although most of the time he doesn't verbalize his sarcasm.
- Cute Clumsy Girl: Alicia. If there's a trap nearby she'll trigger it accidentally.
- Developer's Room: During a second playthrough, visiting the kingdom's and talking to the border guard, you will be invited to this place. A lot of staff members will reveal a few interesting things about the game, and provide you with useful advice. There's even a guy selling powerful items. This is also where you unlock the Bonus Dungeon.
- Easter Egg: Plenty. Take Jim's wig for example. Some guy in the bar will mention it if you're S rank. Once he runs out of missions to give you, he'll be wearing it the next time you visit him.
- Elemental RockPaperScissors
- Epic Flail: Passed down from generation to generation within Cobden's family is a spiked wrecking ball called Grace Impact.
- Funbag Airbag: Rudy meets Ruby, after descending three levels due to Alicia.
- Golem: Ruby can summon these, one at a time.
- Giant Enemy Crab: the boss at the end of one of the dungeons. Not only is it big and tough, it also breathes fire.
- Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: One on the dungeons has a giant floating goldfish for a final boss. There's also a giant beetle at the bottom on the Dragon's Lair, but it's well hidden and impossible to reach during your first visit (the game takes over the controls when you enter the region, and will avoid it completely).
- Heartbeat Soundtrack: Used during a sex scene featuring a naked Marin.
- In-Series Nickname: The hero's default name is Rudy, but the player can name him whatever he likes. Several party members use various nicknames to address the main character instead in parts where their lines are voiced.
- Laser Blade: the Lightsaber is one of the best weapons in the game. It drains mana while attacking, but by the time you get one, it won't really matter.
- Magic Knight: Arguably, Rudy. Also Claire, if you manage to unlock her.
- Meaningful Name/Punny Name: Claire is a lightning mage. Eclair is French for Lightning. (This game was made long before Final Fantasy XIII used the same pun.)
- Mega Manning: Rudy learns his ultimate attack after his dad uses it on him, dropping the son to his knees. When Rudy executes it his old man goes down, flat on his back.
- New Game+: And how. As you proceed to beat the game with the various girls' endings, you'll unlock a whole slew of additional goodies including a new character, a Developer's Room where you can buy most rare armor/weapons from the get-go, a massive Bonus Dungeon with 101 floors, a map option that lets you see floor layouts, stairs and enemies, the ability to start with 50% or 100% of your previously earned experience, the ability to start with your previously obtained equipment and items and 6 additional difficulty levels. (most of them with increased experience and item drop multipliers to compensate for the stat buffs enemies get)
- Occidental Otaku: Parodied with one of the guys in the Developer's Room: a fat guy (one of the translators for the English Version) jogging in the atrium who likes the word 'oppai' a lot.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Cobden's parting words before Rudy descends to defeat the Big Bad.
- Outdoor Bath Peeping: Actually important to one girl's plot.
- Parental Abandonment - Mostly because your hero's dad is a bit of a Jerkass.
- Porn with Plot: It's actually a fairly serious RPG with all the trapping you'd expect from a non hentai RPG, and you could cut out the hentai entirely and still have a typical yet enjoyable RPG gaming experience. However, the porn is actually made plot relevant to a fair degree (the opening cutscene with the naked girl is actually a plot point later on), and to get the porn scenes in question you have to actively work towards impressing your girl of choice, but not before going through some plot. Overall, it leans slightly heavy on plot with some porn thrown in.
- Pretty in Mink: Marin wears a collar, cuffs, and a Showgirl Skirt all edged with white fur.
- Razor Wind: Done by Rudy, and Marin's Wind Elemental summons.
- Retired Bad Ass: According to Jim, head of the local Hunter's Guild, Rudy's dad Gale was a great Hunter.
- Scarpia Ultimatum: Subverted inversion. Alicia offers to pay with her body when Rudy saves her from goblins...she actually meant that she'd work for him as a healing mage.
- Shout-Out: Takuya Aihara from the X-Change series of eroge (from the same developer) appears in a sidequest in his female form and also as one of the later bosses in the Bonus Dungeon.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Is it Alicia/Alisia, Carroll/Carol, Marin/Marine or Caren/Karen?
- Summon Magic: Marin's style of magic. Ruby has some as well and uses them in story events too.
- Sword Beam: Rudy's ultimate (story-wise) attack.
- Wedding Smashers: The end of Karen's route.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Each girl has something they're afraid of, downright abhor, or just can't wrap their head around, making them leave your party if you choose to accept a mission involving it.