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Video Game / Caladrius

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Blow up bosses (and their clothes) with pretty elemental attacks.note 
Caladrius is a Vertical Scrolling Shooter developed by MOSS, the same team behind the Raiden series from Raiden III onwards. It was originally released for Xbox 360 in 2013 in Japan and in 2015 in North America and Europe.

Like many other Shoot-Em-Ups, the game features a basic infinite-use attack and a limited-use Smart Bomb. Unique to this game is its Element Shot system; by pressing one of three additional fire buttons, your ship will fire a unique special attack that can do things like home in on enemies, create a protective shield around your ship, or supplement your main weapon with additional firepower. However, each of these attacks runs on a recharging Mana Meter, thus encouraging players to balance firing their Element Shots and their basic shots. At the end of each stage, the Experience Points you've accrued throughout the stage can be used to level up your Element Shots.

The other notable aspect of this game is its gratuitous Fanservice. By defeating a boss phase quickly enough, the boss will suffer a "Shame Break" (originally called "Cut-In Break") and Clothing Damage. Completing a stage without dying awards an extra special and extra NSFW picture for the "stage clear" screen. Your character can also take Shame Break if you are hit with a sufficient number of medals, causing damage to their clothes as well and giving your ship a small power boost.

In addition to the original edition of the game, Caladrius has undergone some Updated Rereleases:

  • Caladrius AC (Arcade (Sega ALL.Net), 2013) — This version brings the game to arcades in Japan, and features two modes: Original Mode which is based on the 360 version with some tweaks, and Arcade Mode which is an Arrange Mode with some tweaks to the game's scoring system, a new Limit Break system, and two new stages with unique objectives. This version also tones down the fanservice, providing alternate, much safer-for-families artwork for no-deathing a stage.
  • Caladrius Blaze (PS3 (2013) / PS4 (2016) / PC (Steam) (2017) / Switch (2019)) — The most complete version of the game, this one includes the Original and Arcade modes, as well as a new Evolution mode with an additonal stage and more revisions to the game mechanics. Two additional characters have been introduced, and are available in all modes.

Caladrius provides examples of:

  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • All Updated Rereleases allow the previously-indestructible blue bit enemies in Stage 6 to be destroyed.
    • Arcade Mode and Evolution Mode give you a full recharge on your Element Shots when you enter a boss battle, whereas Original Mode does not.
    • In Original Mode, once you level up an Element Shot, the upgrade is permanent for the rest of the run. Arcade Mode, introduced in Caladrius AC, allows you to level down one Element Shot and reallocate the stat points to another Element Shot. However, Evolution Mode, which was released later as part of Caladrius Blaze, walks back on this mechanic, with Element Shot upgrades once again being final.
  • Arrange Mode: Every Updated Re-release of the game adds a new one:
    • Arcade Mode (AC): Makes the multiplier system a bit more tolerant towards dying in mid-stage (multiplier gain for killing enemies with Element Shots is raised from 0.02 to 0.05, max multiplier of x10.00), replaces the Element Burst Limit Break with Fusion, which grants unlimited Element Shot use for a period of time, and adds two extra stages that revolve around specific objectives. It is the only mode out of the three that allows the player to un-level their Element Shots and reallocate those level points towards other weapons.
    • Evolution Mode (Blaze): Increases the multiplier cap back up to x20.00, substitutes in another Limit Break, Evolution, that amplifies Element Shot power at the cost of increased gauge use, and adds another main stage.
  • Balance Buff:
    • In all modes other than Original, you gain more multiplier when destroying enemies with your Element Shots, although this is offset by the fact that non-Original modes cap your multiplier.
    • After the maximum multiplier of x10.00 was introduced in Arcade Mode, it was buffed back up to x20.00 for Evolution Mode.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Played straight with your main shot, but averted with the Element Shots, each of which has a replenishing gauge that depletes when firing it. Thus, balancing out the usage of your main shot with your Element Shots is vital to getting high scores and defending yourself.
  • Bowdlerise: The arcade version removes the very lewd no-death stage clear artwork, replacing them with much more family-friendly images. Blaze brings back the ero artwork, although the arcade-specific art can be seen in Arcade Mode.
  • Clothing Damage:
    • Bosses will have their clothes torn (Shame Break) if you complete their phases quickly enough.
    • Your character will also suffer the same if you get hit with a sufficient number of medals collected.
  • Continuing is Painful: Dying knocks your multiplier back down to x1.00. Furthermore, your medal count for end-of-stage bonus purposes is reset.
  • Critical Status Buff: Every time your character takes Clothing Damage, their shots become more powerful and their bombs last longer.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: The Limit Break mechanics of Arcade and Evolution Modes are fairly similar in that they grant something special for a fixed period of time, however the two of them work in very different ways. Arcade Mode's Fusion gives you infinite Element Shot use; Evolution's titular special powers up your Element Shots but does not give them infinite gauge and in fact makes their gauges drain faster. Thus, someone who mainly plays in Arcade may use Evolution and then panic when their Element Shots run out while there is still time left to use Evolution.
  • Drought Level of Doom: Stage 4 has no mana-restoration towers whatsoever, as the stage is set high in the sky and mana towers are only found on the ground, effectively mandating efficient use of your Element Shots.
  • Elemental Powers: Each charcacter has a specific element to their Element Shots:
  • Experience Points: As you damage enemies with your Element Shots, a meter fills in the outer corner of your HUD. Each time the meter fills, you gain one Ether Chip. Upon completing a stage, you can use the Ether Chips you've earned to power up your weapons.
  • Flawless Victory: Completing a stage without dying nets special artwork on the stage clear screen. The console versions use very risque art, although AC replaces them with much safer artwork.
  • Limit Break: By pressing multiple Element Shot buttons at once or a specific button when all of your Element Shots are at 50% gauge or higher, you can activate a special mode based on which version of the game you're playing:
    • Original Mode: Element Burst, a screen-covering attack that persists until any of your Element Shot gauges reaches 0%.
    • Arcade Mode: Fusion, in which for a limited time all of your Element Shots have infinite use. When the timer runs out, all of your Element Shots will be dropped to 0%.
    • Evolution Mode: Evolution, in which for a limited time your Element Shots are upgraded to level 8, at the expense of using twice as much meter, and any medals spawned during this time will be red higher-value medals. When the timer runs out, all of your Element Shots are not only zeroed out, but they cannot recharge for several seconds.
  • Male Gaze: While the male characters do suffer Clothing Damage, the female ones get more of it. Kei gets a few small holes of minor inconvenience on his clothing at best, while many of the female characters have to actively cover themselves up.
  • Nerf:
    • The very final stage (only accessed by completing all prior stages on one credit) has blue "bit" enemies that constantly appear and and fire at your ship, but which cannot be destroyed. All Updated Rereleases of the game allow these enemies to be destroyed.
    • In all releases' Original Modes, the Score Multiplier has no ceiling, but Arcade Mode caps it at x10.00, balanced out by increasing multiplier gain when you destroy enemies with your Element Shot.
  • No Fair Cheating: Zigzagged with the No Damage modifier in the console versions. It prevents your ship from being damaged by enemy attacks (although colliding with an enemy will still take away a life). As such, scores achieved with it will be disqualified. However, it will not disqualify you from earning unlocks, allowing you to easily unlock all of the game's content (special stage-clear images, character and enemy portraits, conversions, weapon customization, etc) with just a little patience.
  • 1-Up: Destroying key targets will drop a glowing yellow shard. Collecting nine of these shards will spawn an extra life item on the screen.
  • Production Throwback: Sophia's Mercuric Bind attack, a twisting laser attack that locks onto and twists through targets, is Raiden's Bend Plasma in all but name. MOSS had previously developed Raiden III and IV.note 
  • Score Multiplier: Destroying enemies with Element Shots builds up a multiplier (whereas your basic shot and bombs do not). Losing a life or going to the next stage kicks it back down to x1.00.
  • Super Title 64 Advance: Caladrius AC. "AC" is a Japanese pseudo-anglicism that stands for Arcade Cabinet.
  • Token Religious Teammate: Maria.
  • Unusual Chapter Numbers: In the Updated Rereleases' Arrange Modes, in order to avoid having to change the existing stages' numbers, the add-on stages are given unique numbering and naming conventions. In Arcade Mode, the two new stages are designated as Mission 1 (between stages 2 and 3) and Mission 2 (between stages 4 and 5), and in Evolution Mode, which also has the two Missions, its unique stage is called the External Stage (between stages 3 and 4).