Crimson Sea is a hybrid Hack and Slash and Third-Person Shooter game with RPG Elements which was created by Koei for the Xbox in December 2002, making it something of an oddity as it was a brand new IP for the American platform from a Japanese developer. It was followed by a sequel, Crimson Sea 2, which jumped platforms to the Play Station 2 two years later. They have a science fiction setting, taking place in the Theophilus star system where space travel is common and technology is plentiful.
Crimson Sea follows the story of Sho, an out-of-work private detective initially hired to find a treasure by a busty young lady named Live-D; it turns out to be a recruiting mission for Sho and his partner Yangqin to join the Intelligence Agency of the Galaxy, or IAG, and become head of G-squad — a group of fighters including existing members Kecak and Bow Rahn along with recent transfer Shami, and later a loaned fighter named Diez — to confront a galactic threat known as the Mutons. To this end, Sho is informed he is a Vipa, a human with the power to harness Neo-Psionics, a power based on manipulation of resonant sound frequencies. But eventually, a bigger threat than the Mutons arises.
Crimson Sea 2 picks up two years later, with a new alien force known only as the Menace, capable of reproducing by infecting humans. It also introduced Feanay as a new operative for the IAG, as well as the ability to play as her. While it completely drops the squad angle from the first game, it also introduced a Split Screen multiplayer mode.
The original Crimson Sea remains exclusive to the Xbox, but Crimson Sea 2 was eventually put up for digital sale on the Play Station Network'' as a PS2 Classic in 2013.
These games provide examples of:
- Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Despite being put in charge of a squad tasked with fighting off an alien menace, Sho still needs to procure all their gear that isn't found out on the battlefield, as well as Neo-Psionics for himself.
- Ambiguously Brown: Granted, they're descendants of colonizers of an alternate star system, but Kecak and Bow Rahn have a darker skin tone compared to the rest of the cast.
- Amnesiac Hero: Sho doesn't remember anything about his childhood, leaving him to wonder why he would be a Vipa or otherwise be so important to the IAG's cause. Feanay is the same way once she is introduced in 2.
- Auto-Revive: Medixers bring Sho back when his health fully empties.
- Bug War: The lower-rank Mutons tend to have an insectoid appearance and attack in gigantic swarms, giving this vibe to the common encounters. A few Menace varieties are also insectoid, but the majority more closely resemble humanoid fish.
- Cast from Lifespan: Tabla Sicu learned that Neo-Psionics would eventually kill any Vipa wielding them, leading him to panic and find a way to stop the process in very suspicious ways.
- Child Soldiers: Tabla Sicu and the IAG conducted experiments on children to try and turn them into Vipas; this includes Sho, the only survivor of the experiments.
- City Planet: Grarve is a massive futuristic metropolis covering most of the planet's surface.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Kecak immediately takes a dislike to Shami, griping over how Sho and Bow Rahn apparently ogle her.
- Conlang: The Theophilus star system has its own alphabets, most visible on the initial introductory screens of the planets.
- Cooldown: Firearms have infinite ammunition, but to prevent you from just spamming bullets, they have a cooldown bar which depletes as you fire, forcing you back into melee attacks until it refills.
- Cowardly Lion: Once you encounter the large Muton terrorizing Planet Grarve, Kecak and Bow Rahn immediately turn and jump ship, leaving Sho and Yangqin to fight it themselves. Once you beat it, they quickly make Sho squad leader. Later on, Shahanai and his lackeys give them a bad time over this. They both get better as the game goes on.
- Demoted to Extra: G-squad is largely sidelined in Crimson Sea 2, with Diez introduced as running missions elsewhere, and Shami fulfilling her duties as Empress of Semplice. Bow Rahn only returns as an unlockable multiplayer character; Yangqin and Kecak are Put on a Bus entirely.
- Dying as Yourself: Ekdahl returns to human form after being defeated in his Scaled Up form.
- Enemy-Detecting Radar: Live-D gives Sho a tracker which has a ring-based display, roughly showing the amount of Mutons and their proximity to Sho.
- Escort Mission: Occasionally, with the given mission's Special category often being reliant on the escort's remaining health.
- Friendly Fireproof: You can't damage your teammates or civilians, but a few missions will dock your score if you erroneously waste attacks on NPCs.
- Gameplay Grading: Completing each mission grades you on how fast you were, how many enemies you killed, and how little you got damaged, as well as a "special" category whose criteria depends on the mission. The best rank is S. Higher ranks award you with more money and enhanced weapon loadouts.
- Gender-Equal Ensemble: G-squad eventually fits, with three men (Sho, Yangqin and Bow Rahn) and women (Kecak, Shami and Diez).
- Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: The Mutons are a bio-engineered threat sourced from the lab on the Crimson Planet.
- Gratuitous Latin: Sho tells Yangqin how forcing people to pay him for jobs isn't his modus operandi if they can't afford it; Yangqin gets annoyed and throws the expression "quid pro quo" back at him, saying they need some sort of income.
- Heart Container: Elixirs and Millixirs can be bought to raise the squad's maximum HP, and BP Boosters lengthen Sho's Neo-Psionics gauge.
- Hub Level: IAG Headquarters serves as G-squad's base of operations until it's destroyed; then the hub becomes the Presto, a small fighter shuttle.
- Improbable Hairstyle: Live-D and Shahanai both wear their hair up in pretty ridiculous ways, Shami a bit less so.
- It's Up to You: Sho is often the only squad member sent out on a mission, with little explanation on why any of the others would stay behind. What's worse, they might show up in cutscenes right after. Even the final boss battle is a duel between Sho and Ekdahl's monstrous form, with his squad, Live-D and Shahanai seemingly content to watch from the sidelines.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Kecak gripes about how her squadmates "always get the best lines" in such a way that it looks like she's ranting to the camera, i.e. the audience.
- Ms. Fanservice: Live-D to such an extent that she spells out how shifty her appearance is."I can see you think there's something fishy about the deal. Trust me, it's just that I'm a mysterious and sexy woman with a slightly lawless aura".
- No Body Left Behind: The Doomsday Harmonic completely obliterates the humans who can't withstand becoming a Vipa, reducing them to ash.
- One-Winged Angel: Upon the destruction of the Lyre, Ekdahl returns as a giant winged serpent monstrosity.
- Recycled In Space: Almost literally. Crimson Sea is basically Dynasty Warriors presented as a sci-fi anime.
- The Reveal:
- Live-D's father was involved in the experiments which turned Sho into a Vipa, and she saved his life when they were children. Furthermore, Ekdahl is a Vipa, the other surviving child of IAG's experiments.
- The Menace are an alien race which initially crash-landed their colony ship on the Crimson Planet, coolant from their starship being the reason for the Crimson Sea, and were subsequently enslaved by humanity; as revenge, they inspired the Vipa Project to eventually take over the galaxy.
- Rubber-Forehead Aliens: Natives, the original inhabitants of the Theophilus star system before humans emigrated to it from Earth, look like shorter gray humans with shark fins on the back of their heads. Shami says they are a peaceful people who were demonized by mankind to justify taking their homelands.
- Science Fantasy: Way more science-inclined, but Neo-Psionics are essentially the game's magic system.
- Sequel Hook: The first game ends on a brief shot of the Lyre washing up on the shore of the Crimson Sea, its power returning.
- Theme Naming: Many characters have musically-themed names. Sho is sent is sent to rescue a group of archaeomusiologists who are named Zither, Gameran and Ud.note Also, Ekdahl's real name is Cello. In 2, he learns of a pair of men named Langleik and Viole.
- Title Drop: The titular Crimson Sea turns out to be where a deadly sound wave, the Doomsday Harmonic, can be used; it would resonate across the whole galaxy, killing the majority of humanity in its path (while turning the remainder into other Vipas), and it's fittingly located on the Crimson Planet.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Ekdahl is renowned as a heroic force in the galaxy, but once he learned his use of Neo-Psionics shortened his lifespan, he went off the rails.
- Voice of the Legion: Ekdahl's voice has an echoing effect once he has fully turned villainous.
- We Can Rule Together: Ekdahl tries to recruit Sho to his side as a fellow Vipa; Sho has none of it. In 2, Langleik similarly wants Sho on his side as the perfect weapon, and is likewise shot down.
- A Winner Is You: The first game's ending largely consists of still images presented alongside the credits, with Sho narrating over it.