The Gundemonium series is a trilogy of doujin Bullet Hell Shoot 'em ups, originally made for PC by Japanese author Aeju Murasame (a.k.a. Platine Dispositif), the creator also behind Bunny Must Die! Chelsea and the 7 Devils. The series consists of these four games:
- Gundemonium (2003), the series' first entry.
- Gundeadligne (2004), a sequel to Gundemonium.
- Hitogata Happa a.k.a. Gundemonium Episode 0 (2005), the Oddball in the Series in that, where the others are horizontal shooters, this one is a vertical shooter.
- Gundemonium Recollection, a.k.a. RE: Gundemonium (2007), a modern remake of Gundemonium with upgraded graphics and additional gameplay.
The plot of Gundemonium takes place in a Schizo Tech version of the 18th century where alchemy is a part of everyday life. In the year 1775, mankind found the Philosopher's Stones, dubbed Matrices, deep within the Spring of Yord. Their discovery led to great advancements in mankind's technology, but these advancements came at a cost. The Spring of Yord was located within the infernal plane of Que Pholith, and the taking of the Matrices aroused the wrath of its inhabitants, the Demonium, who entered the human plane and started wreaking havoc on mankind. Some humans eventually learned to harness the power of the Matrices and use them to fight against the Demonium. These people were called Matrix Masters. However, not even they could completely stop the wake of the Demonium army. By the time the 7th wave of the Demonium army, called Gundemonium, emerged from Que Pholith, humans created an artificial Matrix Master to try and turn the tables, using a human soul rather than a Matrix as energy source. This Matrix Master was called Elixirel, the Chrome Matrix Proxy.
However, the Demonium managed to kidnap Elixirel and turn her against her creators, making things even worse. In the year 1785, in one last, desperate attempt to fight back the Demonium, mankind threw everything it had to try to recapture Elixirel. In particular, the organization known as Rosenkreuz Foundation sent its best agents in a special mission to penetrate the Demonium lines and recover Elixirel at all costs. Of all the agents sent, Eryth Millfall (and in Recollection, also a few Artificial Humans based on Elixirel, the Earl Types) is the only one to survive the initial strike. It's all up to her to recover Elixirel and drive Gundemonium out of Earth.
Gundeadligne, a direct sequel to Gundemonium, takes place 10 years after the events of the original, which was dubbed Operation: Gundemonium. Eryth managed to kill Elixirel and recover her soul to undo the influence of the Demonium, and Gundemonium was successfully stopped, but the Demonium didn't stop their relentless assault on mankind. The elite of the Demonium army poured from the plane of Que Pholith and prepared to annihilate what remained of Earth and recover the Matrices. The Rosenkreuz Foundation planned a new counter-offensive. Many fighters and mercenaries of all kinds joined the effort, including Eryth, the Matrix Masters, and the newly resurrected Elixirel. Their objective: Destroy the Spring of Yord, the power source sustaining the portal that linked Que Pholith with the human world. Will they manage to drive the Demonium out of Earth once and for all, or will mankind succumb to the all-powerful horrors that delve among the greatest soldiers of the army of Que Pholith?
The third game in the series, Hitogata Happa, is a prequel of sorts. It takes place 20 years before the discovery of the Matrices, the Genoremasody Reich reigns supreme over East Prussia. With their superior technological and military power, they have started expanding over the country, destroying everything in its wake. In the middle of this chaos, a girl named Rosa Christofer struggles to survive, having lost her home and her family to the Reich's army. One fateful day she meets Kreutzer, a mysterious girl with a surprisingly high knowledge in the scientific and alchemical arts for her young age, who has created an array of flying dolls with special weapons. Kreutzer asks Rosa for help to fight back the Reich, and Rosa, seeing a means to avenge her family, accepts. They are massively outnumbered and outgunned, but they trust that the dolls will help them get the winning hand in their mission. However, not all is as it seems...
The fourth game in the series, Gundemonium Recollection, is actually a modernized remake of the first game, and serves as a retelling of the story told in the original Gundemonium.
The entire trilogy has been localized outside of Japan by doujin publisher Rockin' Android on June 1st, 2010 with the Gundemonium Collection, a compilation of the original pressings of the series in a single disc, fully translated into English, with a 24-page artbook that covers the entire series, and includes the series' original soundtracks. Rockin' Android later brought the series to PlayStation 3 as downloadable PlayStation Network games on June 15th, 2010. The PC version of the Gundemonium Collection later got updated re-releases on Steam on September 27th, 2011 with a remastered soundtrack (DM Ashura of Dance Dance Revolution and beatmania fame remixed the Gundeadligne and Gundemonium Recollection soundtracks, while Hitogata Happa's soundtrack was remixed by Woofle) and online co-operative play for Gundeadligne. On June 26th, 2012, Steam Editions of the Gundemonium series later made its way to Desura, while at the time featured as part of the Indie Royale Summer Bundle of 2012 along with Acceleration of SUGURI X-Edition HD, Serious Sam 2, AirMech, Dino Run SE, Harvest: Massive Encounter, and The Journey Down: Chapter 1. On June 14th, 2012, Rockin' Android released both the original and arranged soundtracks of the Gundemonium series in digital form as an added bonus for those who purchase the Steam Edition re-release.
Feel free to check out Rockin' Android's English webpage for the Gundemonium series here.
The Gundemonium Series provides examples of:
- Action Bomb: The dolls in Hitogata Happa can throw themselves towards an enemy and explode. Usually a requirement to beat bosses in time.
- A God Am I: Kreutzer's plan involves using the power of alchemy to become godlike.
- And Man Grew Proud: A variation in that the apocalyptic event that puts mankind to its knees is currently happening rather than being a memory of history.
- BFG: Babel Range, Eryth's bomb in Gundemonium/Recollection. In Gundeadligne, it's Elixirel's normal shot.
- Blush Sticker: Leaf in Hitogata Happa has these.
- Boss Battle: This game deserves special mention because it contains Loads and Loads of Bosses considering its nature as a Bullet Hell shooter. Fittingly, it also has Loads and Loads of Subtropes:
- Attack Its Weak Point: Most bosses in Hitogata Happa have a weakpoint that must be attacked in order to destroy them. However, most of the time this weakpoint is protected by a barrier that doesn't let you approach.
- Background Boss: Lapyuta in Hitogata Happa is not fought directly. It stands in the background, lauching aerocubes you must destroy in order to defeat it.
- Battleship Raid: An entire sub-stage of stage 3 of Gundeadligne is dedicated to fighting a huge airship called Fallen Uriel.
- Boss Game: Demonic Challenge mode in Gundemonium Recollection and Gundeadligne, which lets you fight any bosses you have discovered.
- Boss Rush: Stage 4 of Gundeadligne and Stage 5 of Hitogata Happa are nothing but a succession of bosses.
- Cores-and-Turrets Boss: Most of the bosses in Hitogata Happa are made of destructible pieces and turrets that shoot at you. R'Lyeh in particular.
- Didn't Need Those Anyway!: Most bosses in Hitogata Happa are composed of pieces that can (and most of the time must) be destroyed separately.
- Fighting Your Friend: Depending on Eryth's configuration in Gundeadligne, there is a chance that she ends up fighting Elixirel, who in this game is supposed to be her friend. Matrix Orders mode in Gundemonium Recollection pits Eryth against the Matrix Masters, which are supposed to be on mankind's side. And in Hitogata Happa, the True Final Boss is Kreutzer.
- Final Boss: Elixirel in Gundemonium/Recollection, Matrix Lord Lotus in Gundeadligne, Wilhelm the 12th in Hitogata Happa.
- True Final Boss: If you accomplish certain conditions, there is one more boss waiting for you in all three games. In Gundemonium, it's Elixirel Daath, Elixirel's soul resisting transmigration even after her body has already died. In Gundeadligne, it's XXX Lotus Blacker, which is Matrix Lord Lotus, except naked (Well, she's still wearing stockings, but...) and with fiercer attacks. In Hitogata Happa, it's Kreutzer.
- Flunky Boss: Neuschwanstein in Hitogata Happa sends a wing of small fighters called Wenigherz at you before you battle the big kahuna.
- Marathon Boss: Elixirel in Gundemonium/Recollection has a whooping amount of 11 attack phases, one for each part of the Sephirot tree and each one having a full life bar to drain before the next one starts. Thankfully, the 11th and hardest, Daath, is the True Final Boss, so most of the time you will only fight 10. Matrix Lord Lotus in Gundeadligne qualifies too, spending 3 phases as Primrose, then 4 phases as Matrix Lord Lotus, the last of which has 3 superposed life bars. And if you unlock the True Final Boss, her phase as XXX Lotus Blacker adds 3 more phases in one lifebar, for a grand total of 10. These girls give the Touhou girls a run for their money.
- Mini-Boss: Most bosses in Gundemonium/Recollection and Gundeadligne appear in the middle of the stage rather than the end, and the end of stage bosses are typically stronger.
- Puzzle Boss: Some bosses among the three games require you to do something before you can attack their weakpoints or even damage them at all. Special mention goes to two bosses in Gundeadligne: Babelforge, which is a large board of connect five that gives you gems when you make lines, and Michael, which is incorporeal and can only be damaged when you activate planeshift mode by throwing a fortune wheel at one of its satellites.
- Sequential Boss: All bosses at the end of the stages in Gundemonium/Recollection and Gundeadligne are composed of at least 3 phases, possibly more.
- Tactical Suicide Boss: Eryth would have no way of hurting Michael at all if it wasn't for those spheres that show up on the edges of the screen and over which she can throw a fortune wheel to activate planeshift, making her able to hurt Michael.
- Bowdlerization: The localized versions of Gundemonium Recollection and Gundeadligne are censored so that the severe lack of clothing in certain characters is toned down to make the game more minor-friendly. In the PS3 release, it is on by default and can't be changed. The Steam release allows you to switch it on and off (off by default) via configuration file editing.
- Bullet Time: Planeshift mode, which makes everything except your character slower and makes your hitbox visible.
- Call a Hit Point a "Smeerp": In Gundemonium/Recollection and Gundeadligne, your hitbox is called 'Fatal Point'.
- Cap: Hitogata Happa puts a limit of 12 dolls of a single type, and 112 dolls over one game.
- Continuity Nod: In Gundemonium Recollection's ending, Eryth mentions someone named Rosa being the commander of the Rosenkreuz Foundation. Considering the hell Rosa Christofer went through in Hitogata Happa (up to and including being used by the person she thought was a friend as a pawn on a plan to gain unlimited power), it would make sense that she created the foundation to prevent a tragedy like that.
- Do Well, but Not Perfect: To get to Elixirel Daath, you have to have an exact Ability Level, which is based highly on your number of Onslaughts, and therefore must actually let some groups of enemies escape. If you play the game perfectly for score, you'll actually have done too well to get to Daath. This only applies to the PS3 version, however.
- Eryth Millfall Is About To Shoot You: Rockin' Android's promotional artwork for the Gundemonium Collection◊ focuses quite a bit on Eryth aiming her pistols towards the 4th wall.
- Fanservice: Almost every single enemy in Gundemonium/Recollection and Gundeadligne that is not a Ridiculously Cute Critter is a naked, almost naked, or tightly dressed girl with healthy curves. Among those, a high amount of them are bottomless bunnygirls either riding guns like they were witch brooms or mounted on flying motorbikes. And then there is XXX Lotus Blacker.
- Full-Frontal Assault:
Lotus: The humans took everything from me, even the clothes off my body. I WILL KILL ALL OF THEM!
- If you fulfill certain conditions in Gundeadligne, Matrix Lord Lotus will turn into XXX Lotus Blacker, which changes nothing except for making her attacks more fierce... And stripping her naked. She also does this in the final stage of Gundemonium Recollection's Ain Soph Aur mode. And unlike in Gundeadligne, you're fighting XXX Lotus Blacker want it or not!
- Michael and Alterweapon Mysty in Gundeadligne, as well as Phaser Axel in Gundemonium/Recollection qualify too, in that Alterweapon Mysty's carpet matches the drapes, Phaser Axel's chest is revealed in all its glory after 'casting off', and Michael is as naked as XXX Lotus. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), the localized versions, both for PS3 and PC (optional), are Bowdlerized: The sprites of these enemies have been recolored so that it looks like they are wearing bodysuits or at least the politically incorrect parts are slightly more covered.
- Guide Dang It!: In a rare case of a shmup requiring a guide, a player just starting Hitogata Happa absolutely needs to read the manual, as the basic Leafs won't be able to beat the first boss in time without knowing about the Action Bomb ability.
- Guns Akimbo: Eryth wields two Derringer guns, a golden one named Golden Dawn and a silver one named Nameless. You can customize the Earl Types in Gundemonium Recollection to have them wield a pair of guns that shoot drill bullets!
- Half The Woman She Used To Be: What happens to Ayesha, one of the bosses of Gundeadligne, after you kill her.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Any doll you make explode in Hitogata Happa qualifies as having done this.
- Hitbox Dissonance: Obviously! In Gundemonium/Recollection and Gundeadligne, they are placed on the character's chest, and are also shaped like a heart. In Hitogata Happa, it is the center of the doll.
- Holiday Mode: All three games got an update for the Christmas season. These updates include new color schemes for the characters, new achievements, and a few other surprises.
- Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: In Gundemonium/Recollection, the difficulty levels are called Novice, Revised, Unlimited, and Demonic. In Gundeadligne, they are called Novice, Standard, Advanced, and Demonic. In Hitogata Happa, they are called Euridice, Nobilmente, Allemande, and Doomsday. When you highlight Doomsday difficulty, an alarm starts buzzing ominously.
- Justified Extra Lives: In Hitogata Happa. They are the dolls you make and send to battle. When one falls, another flies to replace her.
- Macross Missile Massacre: the standard attack of the Assan doll in Hitogata Happa
- Mascot Mook: Leaf heads, Yukkuri-like heads with leafs for hair that explode when you touch them, appear in most of Murasame's games in one way or another, as well as in the author's website.
- Meaningful Name: The names of the non-unlockable dolls in Hitogata Happa are all related with tea.
- Leaf: Most tea is made by boiling water and leaves, after all.
- Clover, Rooty, Earl, Peko: Different kinds of tea: Clover tea, Dandelion root tea, Earl Grey and Orange Pekoe.
- Assam, Dimbula, Sikkim: Asian regions famous for their tea.
- Additionally, the title of the game, Hitogata Happa, is Japanese for 'Humanoid Explosion'. The dolls are humanoid and they explode.
- Shout-Out: Gundemonium/Recollection and Gundeadligne have Shout Outs to, of all things, Magic: The Gathering!
- The Matrix Masters have a title depending on the Matrix they use. There are six: Ruby Matrix, Sapphire Matrix, Emerald Matrix, Jet Matrix, Pearl Matrix, and Diamond Matrix. Anyone with knowledge about Magic will realize that these are the five original Moxen, plus Mox Diamond. Made even more evident when you fight them in Matrix Orders mode, where they integrate jewels shaped like the Mox they represent into their attack patterns.
- Elixirel, Chrome Matrix Proxy, is a reference to yet another Mox, in this case, the Chrome Mox.
- Matrix Lord Lotus is a reference to, of course, Black Lotus. The names of her attack phases are also references to some of the cards that were based on Black Lotus, like Lotus Petal, Lotus Bloom, and Lotus Vale. Her XXX Lotus Blacker form is a reference to joke card Blacker Lotus, and the BGM that plays when you fight her is titled 'Lord of Power Nine', a reference to the monkier the five original Moxen and Black Lotus receive along with a few other Magic cards forming a group of the nine strongest, with Black Lotus being the most powerful and desired.
- Two of the difficulty levels in Gundemonium/Recollection are called 'Revised' and 'Unlimited'. Just like the two first Magic sets after Alpha and Beta.
- In the same game, Monica is a Shout Out to the Toku genre in general, since later on in the stage you fight her, she turns into a suited superheroine (Supervillainess?) called Phaser, complete with Cast Off Super Mode a la Kamen Rider Kabuto.
- In Hitogata Happa, when the barrier covering a boss' weakpoint falls, you can hear Rosa say "Okay! Just a couple more shots!"
- Hitogata Happa's water stage's mid-boss and boss reference H.P. Lovecraft, being tentacled and appropriately named (Deep One and R'lyeh, respectively).
- The games also have a tendency to Shout Out each other and other games made by Murasame. In Hitogata Happa, the unlockable doll Platina looks and acts like Matrix Lord Lotus, Fortuner is Eryth, Lovers is Elixirel, and Fool is Rachel Millfall (The protagonist of Maid-san wo migi ni, a platformer made by Murasame in the style of the old Castlevania games). Among the standard dolls, Peco is a reference to the protagonist of Dicing Knight (A Real-Time Roguelike game Murasame made for the Wonderswan Color). In Gundemonium Recollection, the Earl Types are based on the Earl doll from Hitogata Happa.
- Shell Game: Hitogata Happa requires you to complete one, while dodging bullets.
- The Starscream: Kreutzer was part of the top brass of the Reich army, but she was planning to use the Reich's science behind their backs to discover a way to gain unlimited power. The Reich ultimately finds out, and she runs away, setting the events of Hitogata Happa in motion.
- Super Mode: Sphere 13, from Hitogata Happa, could be considered this for Leaf. It has a 1 in 64 chances of occurring when Leaf is both the active and the next doll! It's also absurdly stronger than Leaf, and a Large Ham. In Gundemonium/Recollection, Phaser is this for Monica, and Phaser Axel is this for Phaser.
- Timed Mission: In Gundemonium/Recollection and Gundeadligne, all sub-stages are timed. You must finish the waves and bosses quickly if you wanna see them all. In Hitogata Happa, only boss fights are timed, but if you time out, the boss Turns Red and your HUD glitches, causing an instant Game Over if your doll is shot down at that time, so you better finish them quickly!
- We Have Reserves: Standard player doctrine of Hitogata Happa. Compared to other ST Gs, lives are extremely plentiful, usually around 10 to 15 dolls, but they go down very fast as well, plus you are heavily encouraged to ram enemy craft with your dolls - you WILL time out on bosses if you don't.