Bronze is a work of Interactive Fiction by Emily Short and a darker retelling of the "Beauty and the Beast" tale. You play as Beauty, on the day that you must return to the Beast's castle as part of the magical binding contract you have made in exchange for your father's freedom. However, upon re-entering the castle's gates, you soon find that something is amiss.
The game focuses on exploration and puzzle-solving, with a total of 55 rooms to explore and several different endings.
The game can be downloaded for free here.
This game contains examples of:
- And I Must Scream:
- The spirits of several people are trapped in the castle and forced to serve its owner whenever they hear the sound of a bell or another music instrument. They have been doing this for centuries.
- Beast spent years trapped in his animal form, trying to kill himself in vain. In some flashbacks, he tells Beauty he tried everything, including poison and burning himself alive. Actually, he planned to use Beauty to free himself. It was established in a contract that he would die if she never returned; if that happened, not only him but the spirits would be free, too. He is very touched when she comes back, though.
- Beast and Beauty
- Better Off with the Bad Guys: The game starts with Beauty returning to the castle, seven days after Beast released her. The prologue, told on Beauty's point of view, reveals that her return home wasn't as she expected. Her father doesn't talk to her because he thinks she is Defiled Forever; her sisters treat her better, but it's more because they have someone they can talk about the boys in the village, and Beauty feels that they won't miss her that much. In spite of her unhappiness as Beast's 'guest', he treated her very decently even before they warmed up to each other, and in the castle she can do things her way without being judged. As soon as she leaves her family again (probably for good), Beauty admits she can "breath more easily".
- Bittersweet Ending: If you restore the Beast, but fail to end the curse that keeps the servants and everyone (including you) trapped there for eternity.
- The Casanova: The Beast hints that he was this before his transformation, and would lure women to the castle and then have his way with them once they were under his control.
- Deal with the Devil: The lords of the castle may have done this, resulting in the curse which causes all who enter the castle to have their souls bound to it.
- The Dog Bites Back: The bronze gong can be used to summon a vengeful demon who kills the Beast.
- Fractured Fairy Tale: Bronze is a fractured retelling of "Beauty and the Beast" that makes the Beast more morally ambiguous, fills his castle with numerous secrets that the PC of Beauty/Belle has to uncover herself, and even gives her the option to kill the Beast if she wishes to do so. The whole game is centered around demonic "contracts" and a long-spanning revenge that started with the first king defeating Mephistopheles and (unwisely) taking the pen used to create the aforementioned contracts, which ended up corrupting his entire lineage of descendants.
- Grimmification: The Beast is much more morally ambiguous here than in most versions, and it's telling that Beauty can actually kill him if she wants to in one ending.
- Haunted Castle: Haunted by the souls of those who are enslaved by the castle's curse.
- Heroic Sacrifice: The Beast put in a clause in Beauty's contract that if she stayed away from the castle for longer than seven days, he would die and all the servants would be freed from their contracts. Unfortunately (or fortunately), Beauty comes back in time to prevent this.
- House of Broken Mirrors: Beauty has moved all the mirrors in the Beast's castle into her room, at first to keep the Beast away, and then, later, when she comes to know him, says that she'll keep them there because she knows the Beast doesn't like seeing them around the castle.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: The Beast is said to tower over Beauty to such an extent that a dancing lesson between them had to be done with Beauty on a stool.
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: What Beauty's father assumes has happened.
- Last Place You Look: A variation; the Beast will not be found until over half of the castle (29 rooms out of 55, to be exact) has been explored.
- Love Redeems: It's implied that the Beast has become a better person ever since Beauty came to live with him. He himself acknowledges that it doesn't absolve him of the crimes he committed in the past, however, and it's up to Beauty to decide whether he deserves freedom from his curse or punishment for his crimes.
- Magically Binding Contract: Anyone who sets foot in the Beast's castle magically becomes enslaved to its current ruler, and can't leave even in death, their spirits remaining as servants of the Beast.
- The Maze: The basement beneath the castle.
- Multiple Endings: Depending on whether or not you free the servants and/or the Beast.
- One-Word Title
- Red Right Hand: Lucrezia, who's rumored to be the Devil's daughter, is shown in a hidden portrait to have cloven hooves for feet.
- True Love's Kiss: Naturally, although you need a certain magical item for it to work.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Beauty sacrificed herself taking her father's place as a prisoner in the castle but, when she comes back home, her old man avoids her like the plague. His only concern is about her "virtue": her feelings and all the rest don't matter.