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Video Game / Coraline

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"Hello, Coraline... and Coraline game."

A 2009 3D Action-Adventure licensed game by Papaya Studios and D3 Publisher, based on the 2009 animated film of the book of the same name and released in close proximity.

The overall setup of the game is generally what you expect. It's all about the titular heroines' weird and mind-screwy adventures within the Pink Palace as well as the Other World. Explore the real world and the mysterious Other World, meet the many quirky and memorable movie characters... and avoid getting buttons sewn over your eyes by Other Mother.

Players naturally play as Coraline Jones herself as she interacts with characters and locations on her game adventure. Along the way she will play different missions, minigames and solve puzzles. Succeeding in the minigames rewards the player with buttons (yeah), that works as currency in the in-game shop, which unlocks different prizes like concept art, photos, movie clips, and outfits that Coraline wears in the movie. Some of the voice cast from the movie return to reprise their roles in the game.

The Nintendo DS version of the game is a different structure from its console counterpart. It's a more straightforward Adventure game mixed with a Visual Novel. The DS game was designed by Japanese developer Art Co. Ltd, and has an Animesque artstyle.

This video game contains examples of:

  • 100% Completion: Requires unlocking all of the costumes, cheat codes, finding every minigame, as well as all the watchable movie clips. The DS version requires getting all of the items and outfits.
  • Adaptation Amalgamation: The console version takes elements from both the Coraline book and the film and puts them together into its own game story. The Tennis Court that was in the book appears here. Coraline herself in particular is a Composite Character of both her book and movie versions.
  • Adaptational Badass: Enemy example. In the film the rats were merely spies disguised as Other Bobinsky's circus mice who ran recon for the Beldam if Coraline ever tried to escape. In the game they graduate to Mook status, with glowing red eyes, and chase and attack Coraline throughout the game.
  • Adaptation Deviation: The console game does critical plot points differently from the film. Some examples:
    • In the start of the movie, Coraline searches for the well and meets Wybie, before messing around the house and bugging her parents. In the game, the events are completely reversed in order. The game starts with Coraline interacting with her parents and playing around the house. Then she visits Mr. Bobinsky and Ms. Spink and Forcible, before leaving to find the well, where she meets Wybie.
    • Charlie asks Coraline to do a notetaking of interesting objects in the house in the film. In the game, he tasks her to find several "blue" objects insteadnote . No, her hair and painted nails don't count.
    • Wybie doesn't give Coraline the doll that looks like her. In fact, it's not even mentioned in the game at all.
    • Coraline doesn't discover the door to the Other World on her own, nor does she find the black key. She is inadvertently lured to it by one of Bobinsky's mice late one night, where she finds it open by herself.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Some scenes are narrated over illustrations and movie stills in order to cut down on time.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • The console version allows players to see more of the Jones' house.
    • The Barn next to the Pink Palace was just a random background object in the film that had no bearing on anything. In the game you can enter it and is freely explorable.
    • In the movie, Coraline (typically) had to go to sleep to return to the real world. The game expands on this concept into their own game levels. Coraline has to complete a unique challenge within the Dream World before returning back to the real world.
    • The DS Version adds a new and unique character of its own. The Toy Parrot, who is found in the Other World's boiler room and gives clues and helpful items to Coraline.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: Since the Black Key and the Coraline Doll are missing in the Console version, no explanation is given as to how the door to the Other World opens up.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Coraline is far less snarky and abrasive and much nicer as a video game protagonist when compared to her movie version. Falling more in line with her original book counterpart.
  • Adaptational Jerkass:
    • Wybie, while weird and merely socially awkward, was still a steadfast friend towards Coraline in the movie, even when she wasn't necessarily fond of him. In the console game however, Wybie is much more of a jerk. He commits acts of mischief like stealing Mr. Bobinsky's beets, tying up Mr.Bobinsky in a bunch of vines, as well as shooting Coraline with beets at the tennis court when she comes looking for him. He's also much colder towards Coraline when she mentions her missing parents. Why-were-you-born may actually be suitable nickname for him now.
    • The Black Cat was a really helpful ally towards Coraline in the movie. In the game, he is much more aloof, but he still helps her on occasion. He's notably doing double-work as The Narrator.
  • Adapted Out: The Black Key and the Coraline Doll are virtually gone from the plot in the console game.
  • Animesque: The Nintendo DS version has this style for the most part, due to being designed by a Japanese development team.
  • Big Bad: Other Mother is here and accounted for as the baddie of the game.
  • Big "OMG!": "Oh-My-Gosh!" whenever Coraline fails a minigame or mission objective.
  • Bleak Level: The Jones house becomes this later on, due to Coraline's parents mysteriously disappearing.
  • Block Puzzle: In the barn area, Coraline has to move and stack boxes in order to climb up and advance. In some spots in the Other World, she will have to push boxes over switches to open doors.
  • Bottomless Magazines: The slingshot has infinite ammunition, making it an effective weapon.
  • Brats with Slingshots: The slingshot item, which is given early to you by Mr. Bobinsky. Ammo is infinite and can be used to beat enemies.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Sure, it is nice to be able to play a minigame where you make yummy Pancakes with your dear and delightful Other Mother, but where did she get all the bugs and worms from? And why is she throwing them at you?
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Fail a minigame, and you can use your buttons to just buy a pass to just skip it.
  • Broad Strokes: The console game sort of (emphasis on sort of) follows the plot of the movie, but glosses over or even changes/omits some details. The Black Key and the Coraline Doll is gone from the plot, The Ghost Children are hardly anywhere to be seen in this game aside from a very minor cameo. You also defeat the Beldam handily and thus her severed hand isn't left intact either, so the final confrontation with Coraline and Wybie at the well doesn't happen. The DS version thoroughly averts this.
  • Buffy Speak: "Fantas-tonishing!" whenever Coraline clears a mission objective.
  • The Cameo: You can find the Ghost Children in the mirror in the final chapter, where you can play a minigame with them.
  • Cheat Code: You can enter a special code that gives Coraline button eyes for real. It's purely cosmetic, though.
  • Chess with Death: Like in the film, the final chapter is the challenge centered around finding the Ghost eyes. Only this time around, it's a game quite literally and figuratively.
  • Collision Damage: Don't touch the Snapdragons under any circumstances.
  • Composite Character: Coraline in the video game borrows character traits from both aspects of her Book and Movie versions. Having the well-mannered and polite traits of her book counterpart, while not being completely stoic and still speaking like her movie counterpart.
  • Continuity Nod: All of Coraline's different customizable outfits have this, some based on outfits she wore in the movie.
    • Coraline starts the game in her iconic yellow raincoat/swampers combo, or you change into her orange shirt and jeans.
    • The "Twinkle Twinkle" outfit is the same stylish outfit Coraline wore to Other Spink and Forcible's performance.
    • The "Pajamas" outfit is the same outfit Coraline wore when she makes her final confrontation with Other Mother.
    • Finally, the "Village Stalker" outfit is Wybie's outfit. No, you can't use the mask to look for banana slugs.
  • Controllable Helplessness: Played With. You can press the A/X button to "jump", which does absolutely nothing useful on its own. You can only use this move to climb on top of objects.
  • Cosmetic Award: You can unlock different costumes and outfits from the movie for Coraline to wear by using your collected buttons. You can even wear Wybie's outfit. Now you can be a "psycho stalker nerd" for yourself.
  • Crate Expectations: There are two types of crates in the game. Coraline can grab some boxes and carry them around, while others are heavier, so she can only push or pull them.
  • Cycle of Hurting: To compensate for Regenerating Health, you get no Mercy Invincibility when taking damage. So beware when you're surrounded by enemies. You can get combo'd from full health to zero within seconds.
  • Darker and Edgier: While the game is mostly lacking in jump scares like the movie, The game compensates with its own brand of creepiness by showing you the grim consequences whenever you lose. It's not a pretty sight.
  • Death by Adaptation: In the console game, The Beldam is defeated outright, and her severed right hand doesn't escape to harass Coraline one last time at the well. Averted in the DS version.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • The Ghost Children are nowhere near as prevalent as in the movie. They're there, but you won't see them unless you go out of your way to find them. The DS version brings them back to prominence.
    • The black key also suffers this in the console version, merely serving as the key to the Jonesí back door.
  • Die, Chair, Die!: Shooting things with a slingshot and interacting with even mundane objects rewards the player with buttons.
  • Down on the Farm: The barn area near the Pink Palace was opened up in the console game as a means of Adaptation Expansion.
  • Dream Land: The "Nightmare" levels in the console version, which directly take place after visiting the Other World.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Naturally. Various critters like rats, porcupines and spiders lie about in some locations in the game, who seemingly have nothing better to do than chase and attack the player.
  • Expressive Health Bar: Coraline's Character Portrait in the Life Meter ranges from perky at full health, to an annoyed expression at half-health, and finally a worried/anguished expression when health is low or empty.
  • Foreshadowing: In Chapter 2, you play a minigame where you help Other Mother stir eggs in order to make pancakes. After stirring for a bit, the yellow yolk mysteriously takes on the shape of a hand. It's no giraffe, either.
  • Friendly Shopkeeper: The Toy Parrot in the DS version. In exchange for a few of her collected buttons, Coraline can get helpful items from him Including the Snowglobe that is required to beat the game.
  • Foul Flower: Snapdragons (Literal flower-dragons) are stationary enemies that are found in the nightmare sequences. They're also the only enemies in the game who can hurt Coraline through contact. They can only be destroyed by lighting up beacons, that cause them to dissolve away.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Some of the Press X to Not Die failure scenes have this:
    • Failing the encounter with Other Father, where his machine closes in on Coraline, the screen fades to black just as he smashes you with the claw.
    • The screen fades to black briefly as the Beldam stomps the Black Cat into the floor, before coming after you.
    • Coraline and Wybie are just out of camera focus when they crash on the bicycle.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: Various characters actually go out of their way to explain the game controls to Coraline (and the player) whenever she meets them. The opening scene after the Jones' family moves into the Pink Palace is re-eneacted into a tutorial.
  • I Am Legion: In the DS game, an unseen army of shadowy mice spy on a sleeping Coraline after she discovers the door and utter an ominous chant...
    Mice: We are small. We are many. In the walls and under floors. We're beside your every step...when shall we lead you through the door? When shall we lead you through the door?
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: You're treated to Other Mother (Beldam) hugging Coraline, while her eyes turn into buttons on the Game Over screen.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
Coraline: "Moving boxes is boring."
  • Life Meter: The player doesn't get introduced to this until Chapter 3. The meter regenerates over time while the player is idle. It's Game Over if it falls empty.
  • Lighter and Softer: Aside from the Darker and Edgier example above, the game has its lighter moments. Coraline is much nicer compared to her movie counterpart, The music is more subdued, and there is very little in the way of scary monsters and jump scares like in the movie (though it still scares in other ways). It wasn't able to save it from a E10+ rating, though.
  • Lighting Bug: Coraline uses a jar of fireflies to navigate the darkness while in Other World. It is also helpful for keeping enemies away. She can also light up beacons, which causes nearby enemy snapdragons to disappear.
  • Literal Ass-Kicking: Coraline's only means of defending herself outside of her slingshot is a very light kick.
  • The Many Deaths of You: There are quite a few different ways to blow it in this game. Here's a collection.
  • Market-Based Title: The game is known as Coraline: An Adventure Too Weird for Words in the European regions.
  • Meta Fiction: After the credits roll, the game will ask the player if they liked the Coraline game. Saying "yes", will reward you with 2500 buttons!
  • Minigame Game: There are loads of minigames abound in the adventure. Some more elaborate than others.
  • Mood Whiplash: Following the theme of the movie, The game was mostly an easygoing and harmless minigame/fetch quest through the first two chapters. This all changes majorly come the third chapter. Enemies start showing up in the Other World and the player is given a Life Meter, an effective indicator that there is no more fooling around.
  • The Narrator: The Black Cat (reprised by Keith David) narrates the game.
  • Non Standard Game Over: Usually from failing the Press X to Not Die segments. Crashing on Wybie's bicycle will also get this.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Like in the movie, Coraline's parents mysteriously disappear and the home goes completely empty around Chapter 5. It's one of the more... unsettling parts of the game.
  • Password Slot Machine: Coraline plays one of these to help Mr. Bobinsky, who has accidentally locked himself out of his apartment in one segment.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The console version teeters between this and Adaptation Inspiration. It follows a radically different plot script from the movie, while keeping some elements, but also adds some little stories on its own. The DS version averts this, following the movie plot more closely.
  • Press X to Not Die: Quite a few of these appear in the game. For instance, messing up a button prompt during the encounter with Other Father in his gardening machine results in Coraline getting smashed by its claw.
  • Regenerating Health: Getting hurt too much? Just retreat for a bit and your Life Meter refills on its own.
  • Sliding Scale of Adaptation Modification: The Console version takes several liberties to differentiate itself from the movie, firming placing it between 2-3 on the scale. The DS version is a near-straight adaptation of the movie.
  • Smart Bomb: In the DS game, the Cat humorously serves as one during one of the minigame sequences. Summon him when you get in trouble, and he'll jump at the screen to clear away obstacles.
  • Spiders Are Scary: Spiders join the common enemy lineup near the end of the game that chase after you. Of course, there is the Beldam herself.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: There's a mission where you have to sneak out of the house without Mel hearing you. You have a meter indicating how close you are to getting busted.
  • Surprisingly Creepy Moment: This is Coraline after all. The game is otherwise simple and mostly lighthearted (if not weird) until you get a Game Over, Where you are treated to Other Mother caressing a button-eyed Coraline in front of a pitch-black background.
  • Tightrope Walking: Coraline has to do this in a few parts of the game. Namely in the Barn, and in Other Spink and Forcible's flat near the end of the game.
  • Title: The Adaptation: The game is occasionally marketed as Coraline: The Game to differentiate from the book and more notably, the animated movie, which was released nearly a week after the game.
  • Variable Mix: The DS game has an overarching theme that changes in instrumentation depending on wether or not you're in the Real World or the Other World.
  • Verbal Tic: The Toy Parrot wants to sell you good things and make you happy-happy!
  • Weird Currency: Buttons. Considering the darker connotations they represent.
  • Wreaking Havok: The game is even built on the engine!
  • You Dirty Rat!: They're not here to rat out Coraline like in the movie. This time they prefer to take a more direct approach, chasing and attacking the player upon sight.