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Video Game / Espgaluda

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Ranma didn't get the benefit of the automatic change of clothes

The Espgaluda series is a series of Bullet Hell ShootEmUps by CAVE

The series spans two main games:

  • Espgaluda (2003): Once upon a time, there was a peaceful kingdom named Shinra, ruled by a line of queens with supernatural powers. The current king, Jakou, decides to conduct a number of experiments to induce this power in his children as well as harness it for military purposes. Two of his children, Ageha and Tateha, are rescued from his grasp and taken into hiding by a man named Hiodoshi. Eventually, Jakou's forces track them down...
    • Espgaluda DX (2005)
  • Espgaluda II (2005): It has been three years since the first game, the events of which are known as the "Great Shinra War." The ruling family of another country named Soma decide to salvage Jakou's research and create an organization called the Spirit Society, dedicated to producing more children with psychic powers. One of the products of these experiments, Asagi, flees and joins Ageha and Tateha.
    • Espgaluda II Black Label (2010)
    • Espgaluda II iPhone (and Android) (2010)
      • Espgaluda II HD for iPad 2 (2011)

The Espgaluda series contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Ageha and Tateha's father, the king Jakou is decidedly not a nice guy.
  • Animal Motifs: Butterflies are everywhere in both games. The playable characters themselves are named after Japanese terms for certain species of butterflies, and fly around with butterfly wings.
  • Archnemesis Dad: Jakou from the first Espgaluda is the father of Ageha and Tateha and the main villain of that game.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: "Royalty" in the case of Jakou, an evil king who experimented on his children Ageha and Tateha so he can turn them into psychic Tykebombs and use them for military purposes.
  • Arrange Mode: The PS2 port of the first game has an arrange that is a crossover between it and ESP Ra.De., complete with Suspiciously Similar Substitutes of J-B 5th and Irori and a force field meter replacing the usual Smart Bomb.
    • Espgaluda II has the "Black Label" arrange, which includes a chaining system in the style of DoDonPachi which multiplies the value of gold, makes it so that when an enemy is killed, their bullets are always canceled into gold, includes a shield meter that repels bullets, and includes Seseri as a new playable character. There is also an arrange mode, programmed by S. Yagawa of Recca and Battle Garegga fame, that implements a polarity system akin to Ikaruga or Dimahoo, where bullets are either blue, which are canceled with normal shots, or red, which are canceled using the laser. Switching between your two shots costs gems. Finally, there is the Omake mode, where collecting gems and gold contributes to a combined counter, and when enemy shots approach your character, they turn red. Activating Kakusei mode cancels these bullets, but killing an enemy turns them into gems instead.
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  • Art-Shifted Sequel: The art for the first game was done by Tsukasa Kado, while the art for the second game was done by Masaki Hirooka.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Asagi's ending has this for herself, Tsubame & Janome, and all of the children who were being experimented on by the Spirit Society.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Ageha's female form in Espgaluda II. Tateha's male form in both games, with much tougher abs in the second game.
  • BFG: Madara, the midboss of Espgaluda II stage 2, carries one.
  • Big Bad: Jakou in the first game.
  • Bullet Time: The effect of being in Awakening mode and having spare gems.
  • Cain and Abel: Seseri's father is Jakou, but her mother is not the Queen of Shinra (a.k.a. Ageha and Tateha's mother), making her the half-sister of the player characters. She hates Ageha and Tateha because Jakou focuses all of his attentions on them, so she seeks to kill them to earn Jakou's love.
  • Continuing is Painful: In the first game. If you die, your gold meter is cut in half.
  • Creepy Child: Suspiciously Similar Substitutes of the Alice Clones from ESP Ra.De. return for the final stage of both games in this series.
  • Curtains Match the Window: Ageha and Tateha... sort of. Their eyes are a darker shade of green than their hair. Seseri's purple eyes have a reddish tint compared to her blue-violet hair (in the first game at least).
  • Cyborg: Seseri, after the first stage of the first game.
  • Disney Death: In the first game, Seseri falls from a great height while injured and bloodied from the first boss stage. Averted in that she doesn't die here. She comes back in Stage 5 as a cyborg.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: If not for the first game and the other two characters as references, you might not realize that Asagi's alternate form is supposed to be a boy, especially thanks to the artwork showing that this male form's shoes have higher heels, and the book is changed to a stuffed bunny head.
  • Duel Boss: In Espgaluda II Black Label, there is a special theme song for Seseri vs. Seseri.
  • Evil Counterpart: Jakou, the final boss of the first game, is able to do gender-changing Awakening just like the player characters.
  • Evil Laugh:
    • Jakou does this at the beginning of his Final Boss fight, daring his opponents to show them their full strength.
    • Also Madara, the boss with the multi-part tank, Asmodeus, in Espgaluda II.
  • Fanservice Pack: In Espgaluda II, Tateha and Ageha have aged a bit, and their clothes for their female forms are noticeably more revealing. Almost literally for Seseri, who was rebuilt to look like she had aged as much as the main characters. (not counting her playable version in Espgaluda II Black Label)
  • Flight: The main playable characters can fly around with butterfly wings made of Psychic Powers. Seseri can do it, too, but with machinery. Jakou can do this, too.
  • Fusion Dance: The final boss of Espgaluda II is Tsubame and Janome fused together.
  • Gender Bender: The core gameplay mechanic for high scoring. The final boss of Espgaluda can do it too. In Espgaluda II, this game mechanic is required for unlocking the fight against True Seseri, and the final boss is the fusion of Tsubame and Janome.
  • Gender-Restricted Ability: In the first Espgaluda it's explained that only the female royalty of Shinra can wield vast psychic powers passed down every generation. The only reason why Ageha and Tateha can wield them too is due to their mother being Shinra royalty, and being experimented on by their evil and ambitious father.
  • Guest Fighter: The PS2 port's Arrange Mode has two Suspiciously Similar Substitutes of J-B 5th and Irori.
  • Guide Dang It!: The scoring system, especially the Awakening Overdrive mode for Espgaluda II. Then there's the whole gameplay for Espgaluda II Black Label.
  • Incest Subtext: In the second game, Tsubame and Janome unify into a single being named Kujaku as the final boss. There is a lot of additional subtext between them shown in Asagi's ending. Also present in Ageha's ending, between him and Tateha.
  • Innocent Flower Girl: Janome, the boss of Espgaluda II stage 3, is strongly linked with flowers. She turns not-so-innocent when she becomes a boss of a Cave game.
  • Light Is Not Good: Jakou's female form is angelic and beautiful, and has golden wings. He later combines his male and female forms together, resulting in a saintly figure with demonic-looking wings.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: Unless you're listening to the soundtrack, you won't get to hear the entire stage song in some levels.
  • Mad Scientist: In the first game, Jakou experimented on his own children in order to induce Psychic Powers. In the second game, the Spirit Society is doing this on a larger scale on many children.
  • Magic Pants: An interesting example, in that the characters' clothes magically transform to be appropriate for their current gender, for certain definitions of "appropriate."
  • Meganekko: Asagi from Espgaluda II wears glasses bigger than her eyes.
  • More Dakka: Part 1 of Stage 5 has Jakou's men shoot at you with a ludicrously amount of bullets. The second half of Stage 5 has the Alice Clone-like minions do the same as well.
  • Pretty Butterflies: The playable characters have butterfly-esque wings made of psychic energy.
  • Psychic Powers: The player characters were engineered specifically to have these.
  • Robot Girl: Seseri appears to be fully machine in Espgaluda II, after she was apparently killed near the end of the first game.
  • ROM Hack: Espketsuda, the result of mashing Espgaluda's program ROM with the graphical and sound assets of Ketsui. It was popular enough that it got an original soundtrack of sorts.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: As far as playing for score goes, Espgaluda II's mechanics are much harder to understand and master.
  • Shapeshifter Baggage: It is difficult to calculate how much of a mass difference there is, or whether or not any of it is involved in keeping Kakusei ("Awakening") mode going besides the gems.
  • Spiritual Successor: To ESP Ra.De due to the guard barrier mechanic, bosses with huge psychic wings, and enemies resemblant to the Alice Clones.
  • Steampunk: The technology and fashion featured in Espgaluda are both reminiscent of this trope.
  • Super Gender-Bender: The heroes are already powerful psychics, but gender-changing makes them into even more powerful psychics. Not only can Jakou, the Big Bad, do this himself, but in the final boss battle he fuses his male and female forms together to create a powerful, androgynous being.
  • Tank Goodness: Asmodeus, Madara's war machine, is a three-part tank that can combine, no less, in Espgaluda II stage 4. Lampshaded by the achievement for the iOS version, "One Less Tank in a Cave Game" upon defeating Asmodeus.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: At the beginning of the first game, Hiodoshi gets shot up a lot of times.
  • Traumatic Superpower Awakening: Seeing their Parental Substitute Hiodoshi get brutally killed by Jakou's men caused Ageha and Tateha's Psychic Powers to awaken, and they slaughter the men who killed him before embarking on their journey.
  • True Final Boss: Subverted in Espgaluda II, in which it's the boss of stage 5 - Seseri - who has a true version.
  • Voice of the Legion: Jakou's final form, a fusion of both his male and female forms, speaks with both male and female voices.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: Seseri, twice. The first time, she only received some cybernetic implants to recover fron her earlier thrashing in Stage 1 of the first game. The second time, she was dead, and had to be rebuilt as a full-on robot.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Seseri's motivation for wanting to kill Ageha and Tateha, since she was not born from a psychic queen like they were. When she is killed in the second game, she even says, "Father, I'm sorry..." as her life expires.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Ageha and Tateha (and their female/male counterparts) have light green hair. Asagi and Seseri have light and dark purple hair, respectively.


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