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Video Game / Ether Vapor

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ETHER VAPOR is a cinematic Shoot 'Em Up created by Japanese doujin soft developers Edelweiss released for Windows PC on August 13th, 2007. Advertised as a "2.75D" shmup, it is known for its rapidly changing gameplay, shifting from a vertical shooter, to a horizontal shooter, and even a rail shooter.

Caldea, a small fictional nation, was able to successfully discover Artificial Intelligence. This was found during a project when several of the nation's researchers created an A.I. computer used to solve Caldea's problems. Instead of being controlled manually, it was given an artificial personality through endless enormous databases. Although the computer went insane, it was used greatly for the Caldean military, where it successfully waged war on other nations with new weapons and technology. In reponse, several other nations and rebel forces coupled together to create the nation of Lydia. Despite their union against Caldea however, they were already fighting a losing war.

A young boy named Luca Earlgrey then began a personal fight against the powerful nation. With a ship never seen before called the Ex-tio, Luca is determined to crush the Caldean forces and destroy the computer now commonly known as DECIDER. On his fight to end the war and free the nation's dependence on the sadistic super-computer, he encounters both allies and enemies, including a young pilot of the Lydian air force named Sana, a cyborg mech-using scientist named Daniel, and new heavily-armed version of DECIDER known as the APITEX.

In 2011, it got an Updated Re-release known as ETHER VAPOR Remaster, with updated visuals and high-resolution support, 3D display support, improved sound quality, a third version of Luca's Ex-tio, online leaderboards, easier unlockable contents, and an optional "Remaster Mode" that allows the game to be played with arcade-styled transitions without the story dialogue. Edelweiss also have released a two-disc soundtrack of ETHER VAPOR Remaster and Fairy Bloom Freesia.

Nyu Media has released an English version of the game's re-release on June 29th, 2012 for $7.99. Nyu Media's English webpage for the game (and where it can be purchased) can be found here. It is also released on DESURA on September 7th, 2012, and then later on Steam on September 27th, 2012. Nyu Media also released the original soundtracks of ETHER VAPOR Remaster and Fairy Bloom Freesia digitally though their Bandcamp here.

The old translation and information of the story of the original ETHER VAPOR is found here.

See also Astebreed, ETHER VAPOR's spiritual successor.

This game provides trope examples of:

  • 2.75D: Generally movement in the game is 2D, but since the game utilizes a 3D engine, enemies can appear and attack from the background. A Libellulium also demonstrates that attacks from the foreground is possible.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: DECIDER developed emotions. What kind? Fear and paranoia and those emotions eventually drove it insane.
    • However, the trope appears to be downplayed since Keime says it's only designed to make directives. So DECIDER may not be completely insane, it's just choosing war as the best option as long as it solves Caldea's problems.
  • Attack Drone: Your Ex-tio is outfitted with them.
    • Keime's Pteryx also uses them that fire laser beams. Tetley's Megarachne sends out drones when she Turns Red.
  • Aerith and Bob: Luca, Sana, Selva, Keime, Teatree/Tetley, and... Daniel.
  • The Battle Didn't Count: The APITEX vanishes out of the scene in first stage after you deplete its HP to zero. There's a reason for that though.
  • Battleship Raid: The attack on the battleship in Scene 4 — Valley.
  • Bayonet Ya: The Libelluliums carry a shotgun with a blade attached under the barrel.
  • Big "NO!": Daniel lets one out when his Archelon blows up.
  • Beam Spam: Almost every ship on this game is armed with some sort of laser weapon. In fact, a few types of lasers can bend and zero in on targets.
  • Berserk Button: Daniel doesn't take kindly to being called "baldy".
  • Bonus Stage: Some Scenes contain a shooting gallery where you're taken off the flight controls and brought on the gunnery position. Your first bonus stage is intercepting a Macross Missile Massacre (see ETHER VAPOR's page image). Another sends you on a Battleship Raid.
  • Book Ends: The first stage and final stage takes place in the Stratosphere, with a Boss Battle with APITEX.
    • Sana tells Luca to identify himself as the first and last stage.
  • Boss-Only Level: The final stage is a rematch against APITEX.
  • Boss Rush: A Boss Rush mode can be unlocked in v1.03 and above. Edelweiss also released a "Boss Rush-only" version of the original the game back in Comiket 74.
  • Charged Attack: All weapons are the "hold" types, two of which requires holding the corresponding weapon button while the other charges automatically. The Gatling's charged attack is a penetrating power-shot, the Winder's charged attack creates a temporary anti-field to shield you from incoming fire, and the Lock-On's charge shot fires multiple homing lasers at once to create an energy explosion akin to the R-GRAY's or Wave Rider's Hyper Attack.
  • Chekhov M.I.A.: There's a reason the first boss doesn't get blown up.
  • Continuing is Painful: Using a continue will nullify your high scores. Even if you're just credit-feeding to practice, that shiny new record score you just achieved? Kiss that goodbye.
  • Cyberpunk: A country waging war by orders from an A.I. sure puts the setting in this.
  • Difficulty Levels: Averted. The only form of difficulty levels the game has is how many shield levels you want to start out with, be it at maximum shield levels as possible or by turning the Ex-tio into a One-Hit-Point Wonder. The frequency of extends can also be adjusted to make the game easier or harder.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Daniel guides you to the Decider after beating him twice.
  • Dual Boss: Selva and Keime in the Archaeo and Petryx. Sort of; you and Sana fight them during the latter half of Scene 3's boss battle.
  • Edible Theme Naming: Luca Earlgray, Sana Bergamot, and Teatree (renamed to Tetley Einser in the English version). Sana's ship, Whittard, is a large tea company referring to Whittard of Chelsea. The Empire is also named Caldea.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Scene 5.
  • Eleventh Hour Super Power: During the first part of the final battle with APITEX, Luca's Ex-tio goes into its Overdrive Mode, turning his bullet-spewing weapons into powerful laser cannons. The Overdrive Ex-tio can also be unlocked by one-credit clearing the game in the original, or simply clearing the game once in ETHER VAPOR Remaster, but it won't be over-powered like it was in the final battle.
  • The Empire: Caldea.
  • Energy Weapon: Many of the enemy fire some laser weaponry, be it a straight beam or Homing Lasers. During the final battle with APITEX, your Ex-tio gets powerful laser weapons of its own, and you can unlock it outside of the final battle.
  • Every 10,000 Points: By default, you get shield extends for every 1,000,000pts. but it can adjusted to be easier or harder to gain extends. The game, however, set the easiest extend rate of 600,000pts. from the get-go upon installation oppose to the default setting.
  • Evil Empire: Caldea after its dependence on DECIDER.
  • Fighting the Lancer: You fight Sana when she reveals she had orders to capture DECIDER instead of destroying it.
  • Floral Theme Naming: Some of the boss pilots are named after tree and shrub plants, in particular Selva Cypress, Keime Juniper, Teatree, and Sana Bergamot.
  • Gameplay Ally Immortality: Sana, who even picks off some enemies for you. Yes, you still get points for her kills.
  • Gameplay Roulette: You will always be playing a shoot 'em up, that's for sure. The fun lies in that it shifts between a vertical shooter, a horizontal shooter and a rail shooter quite often, even in the middle of a stage or boss battle.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Daniel decides to help after losing twice and when Luca explains his goals.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Daniel finishes off DECIDER after Luca damages it enough. He is then caught in the blast since his mech was damaged by Sana, preventing his escape (he was aware of it though).
  • High-Altitude Battle: The final battle is fought in Earth's orbit... for no adequately explained reason.
  • Humongous Mecha: A few are found as bosses such as Teatree's Megarachne, Daniel's Archelon and Dunkleosteus, and the APITEX-EVO in the end.
  • Hyperspeed Escape: When Luca and Sana are encountered by a huge battleship in Scene 4, Sana suggests they just outrun it. Luca refuses, and blows it up instead—like hell he'll let the enemy shoot him in the back!
  • Infinity -1 Sword: The unlockable Overdrive Ex-tio, outside of the final battle it lacks the amazing firepower it had but you still get to use the enhanced versions of its weapons.
  • Jerkass: Luca is quite the asshole to both Caldeans and Lydians alike. Defiantly refuses to define his affiliation to Sana, calls Daniel "Baldy", and insults Selva's talking.
    • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: However, when he comes across Tetley, he doesn't say a word to her until he defeats her. Then he warns her to eject before her exploding mech fries her. Justified in that he and Tetley share a common plight: They're both piloting mind-linked craft and up until meeting her, he thought his was the only such machine.
  • The Lancer: Sana and her ship, the Whittard.
  • Large Ham: Daniel, who's fond of eschewing scenes at parts of the story.
    "Demeaning someone based on physical characteristics is PERSONAL OPPRESSION!!"
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Missiles are often thrown at the Ex-tio, but can be intercepted by guns, shields or, in a bonus mission, lasers.
  • Meta Multiplayer: Remaster adds online leaderboards to the game.
  • More Dakka: The Ex-tio's Gatling and Winder.
  • Nintendo Hard: It's very easy to run into bullets. There is only one proper difficulty level, although you can adjust the number of starting shields and extends.
  • One-Winged Angel: APITEX transforms into APITEX-EVO in the final battle.
  • Recurring Boss: The Libellulium mechs show up in most of the levels in the game. Also Daniel, and also APITEX (who is both the first boss and the final boss).
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Selva is red and Keime is blue. Selva simply wants to destroy Luca while Keime tries to handle reason with him diplomatically before resorting to violence.
    • Then, there's Luca's blue to Sana's red.
  • Redemption Demotion: After Sana's brief Face–Heel Turn, this trope is averted as she fights using the same powered-up armament she used just before.
  • Roboteching: It's a standard for spammable lasers to curve and guide themselves towards a target like a missile.
  • Rocket Punch: One attack used by Dunkleostus has a drill on the end of its arm shoot forward, then come back on its own.
  • La Résistance: The remaining unconquered countries currently formed as Lydia.
  • Scoring Points: Typically when you destroy an enemy, but there are other possibilities of scoring points. One such way to make extra points is by continuously shooting enemies like the Libellulium mechs while they're in "OVERKILL" state to milk every point from them as possible before they explode. Another is shooting up lots of stuff during the bonus segments before it ends, and canceling enemy fire with your Winder's Radiate.
  • Space Zone: The setting for the final battle with APITEX-EVO.
  • Spider Tank: Tetley's Megarachne, which fitting its name being named after a prehistoric animal that looked like a giant spider, is a mecha that looks like a giant spider.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Luca calls out Daniel for being a hypocrite in Scene 2.
  • Super Prototype: Luca's Ex-tio and also likely Sana's Whittard.
    • The Ex-Tio is later revealed to not only have been designed by Luca's father, but also carry information pertaining to the Caldean military and DECIDER.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Constantly happening as you mop the skies with the enemies you destroy. Some of the bosses are known to have flashier explosions.
  • This Is a Drill: Daniel seems to enjoy using drills on his mechs. His Archelon mech even has a drill for its head.
  • Tomato Surprise: Luca's Ex-Tio is a mind-controlled fighter that was developed by his father, who also had a major hand in developing DECIDER. He doesn't reveal this until Scene 4 onwards.
  • Turns Red: Daniel's Archelon goes from a stout mecha with a BFG for an Arm Cannon to a flying drill with legs as it gets closer to defeat.
  • Updated Re-release: ETHER VAPOR Remaster spices up the visuals, improved the sound quality, gives you the option to skip all of the story sequences in place of arcade-styled transitions, added online leaderboards, and made unlocking stuff easier than the original. You also get a Bonus Fighter that has stronger but tricky-to-use weapons for beating the Boss Rush mode.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: The Gatling's charged shot becomes one in Overdrive Mode.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We do not exactly know the fate of some of the boss characters. Selva was killed when his ship was destroyed by Sana, but Keime's was just disabled by Luca. Teatree's fate is also not revealed whether she died in her mech or ejected safely.
    • Remaster's English localization makes it clear that Keime dies; he laments that he won't be around to see DECIDER's destruction.