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Video Game / Grief Syndrome

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Grief Syndrome is a side-scrolling Beat 'em Up doujin game by Twilight Frontier, the makers of the Eternal Fighter Zero series, the Touhou Project fighting games along with other Touhou fan-games, and Higurashi Daybreak.

Grief Syndrome is a fan-game based on the anime and manga series, Puella Magi Madoka Magica. In this game, players can play as Madoka Kaname, Sayaka Miki, Homura Akemi, Mami Tomoe, and Kyoko Sakura across five stages to slay waves of familiars and take down the witch waiting at the end of each stage. Unlike most beat 'em ups, each magical girl's life is dependent on her Soul Limit, which also acts a timer as it depletes over time. If a magical girl has taken some damage, she can automatically replenish her Hit Points for some of her Soul Limit, but dying comes at a greater expense in order to be revived shortly after. Once a magical girl's Soul Limit reaches zero, she is dead for good until a new game starts.

The game also features three-player co-op to team up against the horde of surreal monsters they come across. Unfortunately, Grief Syndrome's multi-player is local only, but fans have created a third-party program called "GSOnline" that enables online-play.

The game was released during the 80th summer Comiket in Japan on August 13, 2011 for Windows PC.

See also Homura Combat, a Puella Magi Madoka Magica meets Earth Defense Force fan-game by OHBADO staring Homura Akemi.

Grief Syndrome features trope examples of:

  • Action Girl: All five main characters, of course.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Madoka, since she doesn't see much action in the original anime but is a magical girl who fights alongside her friends in this game. To be fair, her incarnations from alternate realities in the anime and the movie demonstrated well enough that she's more than capable of handling herself as an ordinary magical girl.
    • Sayaka has jumped up from being the weakest fighter in the original series to arguably one of the strongest in the game, boasting strong melee aptitude and can take an incredible amount of beatings before she gets KO'd.
  • BFS: Oktavia von Sekendorf.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Using special attacks doesn't exactly take your character's vitality, but it fills a blue portion of the vitality gauge that becomes extra damage if they get hit before (otherwise harmlessly) regenerating the blue health.
  • Checkpoint Starvation: There's no checkpoints at all, so dying means starting the stage over.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: Up to three players can team up and fight off the Familiars and Witches, but it's limited to local co-op. Thankfully there's GSOnline, a fan-made program that also online play with people, however the program can corrupt your game's save file, so back it up before using it.
  • Cosmetic Award: The game features Play Station Network-esque trophies for accomplishing certain goals in the game.
  • Death from Above: Madoka's special points her bow upward and rains arrows down around her. It gets to game breaking levels when the bosses are large enough to take up most of the screen.
  • Death or Glory Attack: In near-death situations, the character's special attack can be come this.
    • Mami's special is this normally, because it puts a large amount of her HP into the attack that any hit will seriously injure (if not outright kill) her if she doesn't let her blue bar reduce itself.
  • Downer Ending:
    • If Mami is the only magical girl to survive at the end of the game, a still image of her sitting all alone at a table with tea and snacks prepared for her friends, who are all dead.
    • Kyoko also gets one if she's the only magical girl that dies, who sits all alone with a depressed look on her face while everyone else happily goes on about their lives.
  • Everybody Lives: It's exactly what it says if nobody died at the end of the game.
  • Fan Game: Of the anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
  • Friendly Fire Proof: Except for Moemura's pipe bombs. This is especially weird for Homura, who can blast enemies point-blank with RPGs, grenades, and mortars without hurting herself or her allies.
  • Game Mod: There are a few. Most can be found on the Madoka wiki.
  • Girly Run: Madoka and Mami.
  • Glass Cannon: Kyoko plays like this, offering high damage, good reach, and lots of invincibility frames... but a low Soul Limit and costly regeneration.
  • Golf Clubbing: Another Homura's preferred weapon.
  • Harder Than Hard: After clearing the game, a new "lap" can played with stronger enemies, which in turn, can also offer more EXP and accelerate character growth. Each lap, though, is increased by lap number by the of power 2 +1 (e.g. Lap 1^2+1=2, Lap 2^2+1=5, Lap 5^2+1=26), and as absurdly high these numbers are, so will the strength the enemies. Note that characters have a level cap of 99.
  • Harmful Healing: Regenerating health consumes a girl's Soul Limit. In most cases this is either a moot point (the girl has been KO'd in one shot and so needs have a new body generated anyway) or not a particularly worrisome issue (girls start each stage with five-digit numbers of Soul Limit and so a non-KO hit eats only a small percentage of that total — this especially true on earlier laps). It comes around, though, if the girl is low on Soul Limit and gets hurt non-lethally. Heatlh automatically regenerates and eats Soul Limit, and so as soon as Soul Limit reaches zero, she drops dead. Players would rather forego the healing and conserve Soul Limit (it normally depletes at about one per second) for the boss fight... although Kyuubey wouldn't.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Homura from the earlier timeline of the series uses a golf club for melee attacks and bombs that can also harm allies and herself.
  • Joke Character:
    • In v1.10, Kyubey becomes playable if there are more players than characters alive. He can't fight at all and can be killed off by the other players.
      • Also possibly justified in-universe, in what might called a case of Fridge Brilliance: of course Kyubey won't fight. Why would he? He is immortal/there are infinite "hims", and can afford to die any number of times he desires. He'd probably consider fighting a gross waste of energy.
    • Also, Another Homura. The cute, inexperienced Meganekko damages other characters with her pipe bombs, and her main weapons are a shotgun, a handgun and a golf club, as she hasn't yet acquired the military arsenal available to her more experienced counterpart.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Sayaka has the highest vitality and lowest Soul Limit consumption per damage taken, which makes sense since she's the purest melee fighter in the game. She can hack enemies to death at lightning speed and still take hits like a tank in the lower laps with little problems. She turns into a Glass Cannon the higher laps however, since every magical girl would be knocked out in one hit, and going melee would be a good way to get yourself killed.
  • Mook Maker: The first of Charlotte's forms has no attacks besides spawning unlimited familiars until her lifebar is drained.
  • More Dakka: Mami and Homura, and to a lesser extent, Madoka.
  • Multiple Endings: Ten to be exact, depending on who lives and/or dies at the of the game.
  • Optional Boss: Oktavia von Seckendorf appears as an optional boss if Sayaka dies at any point of the game, which makes sense considering her fate in the anime series.
  • Permadeath: If you merely run out of health, you'll be revived, but at a significant cost to your Soul Limit; and when that runs out, you're gone for good. Your soul gradually drains at all times, much more quickly while your health is regenerating. In Saya's case, once she dies, she becomes Oktavia von Seckendorf and can be fought as an optional boss.
  • Reset Button Ending: If the player finishes the game in a way that doesn't meet the requirements of certain specific endings, the ending shows Homura waking up from her hospital bed just as in the anime series.
  • New Game Plus: A cross between this and Endless Game, it has a clear ending (beating Walpurgis) but can be restarted recursively at slightly increased difficulties.
  • Nintendo Hard: The third level in the game has an insane amount of hazards such as electrified floors, huge gaping pitfalls, indestructible projectiles, and enemies that drop televisions on your head and fly at you when you can't see them. And on higher laps...
  • Regenerating Health: Sort of. Health regenerates quickly, but it's powered by your soul energy, and that can't be replenished except by finishing a level (in fact, it slowly depletes even when your health is full, acting as a level timer).
  • Secret Character: Kyubey and the glasses-and-pigtails version of Homura, both added in the 1.10 patch. "Another Homura" appears if you press up on the character select screen with Homura selected; Kyubey can only be used if you're in multiplayer and there are more players than surviving (human) characters. Both are also Joke Characters: the secret Homura is a weak and fiddly fighter, and Kyubey can't fight at all (but has infinite lives).
  • Shown Their Work: The Witch Runes in Kirsten's damaging TVs read "thunder" when active.
  • Wedding Finale: Two of the game's ending have Homura marrying Madoka (which to Madoka, seems like a Fate Far Worse Than Death) if they are the only ones to survive in the end, and Sayaka marrying Kyoko (which they lived Maybe Ever After) if they survive in the end instead.