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Video Game / Illusions of Loyalty

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Looks like the beginning of a happy story...

"As a soldier, it is my duty to obey the Queen. Questioning the Queen may as well be treason. Her word is law. A disloyal commander is nothing more than a broken tool. I will not let Styx down, no matter the cost."
Julius Logan

Illusions of Loyalty is an Eastern RPG made in RPG Maker by Aegix_Drakan, and released in 2013. It follows the story of Julius Logan, a captain in the army of Styx, a nation at war with the neighouring Gaius, a war they're losing because of the heavily defended mountainous border that separates the two. The people are dissatisfied, and rebellions spring up, often with the direct support of Gaius. One of these rebellions has been suppressed by Logan in the prologue; he didn't falter even after it turned out to be led by his own brother.

To dispel any suspicions of disloyalty, he volunteered to lead his firing squad. Queen Sophie, understanding his devotion and knowing he would do anything to prove it, thus orders him and his squad on a highly-secret mission to cross the border to a third nation, Eutoria, and assassinate their Queen Anne. Moreover, simple assassination is not enough: Gaius must be implicated, so that Eutoria will finally abandon its neutrality and join Styx in an open war on Gaius. Otherwise, Eutoria itself will enter war on Styx, only hastening its defeat. Sniper Sarah Hawke, Scout Eric Wilder and assassin Lize Baroque are the three trusted companions who'll accompany him in what may well be a suicide mission.

The game can be downloaded here.

Illusions of Loyalty provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: One is used to quickly get inside the Eutorian castle storeroom in the cutscene.
  • A God Am I: Eutorian mages have shades of this. Once they realized that they have begun summoning creatures from the realm of God of Pain, their reaction is excitement at having tapped into the power of the Gods.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: In the Dariel City inn, there's an old person who's afraid of golems, while his grand-daughter is trying to assure him.
  • Anti-Hero: Julius Logan is one, though he inverts the usual archetype of a chaotic, devil-may-care rogue (though, that role is filled by Lize Baroque). Instead, he is so rigid and so defined by his loyalty to a tyrannical monarch that he goes against his own brother when he rebels and personally oversees his execution.
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    • "Ideals? A few flimsy ideals were worth all this? How many died, Brother?" Julius Logan asks this of Bruce, the night before his execution, and he can only say that he's not afraid of death, which his brother scoffs. In the end, Bruce's ghost asks the same question of Julius, after his actions also caused him to end up in the very same cell, on the eve of his execution. The reply is also the same.
    • Another one is asked earlier, by Lize Baroque: "Logan, when was the last time you made a major decision on your own?" He shrugs it off with the page quote, but it had clearly affected him.
  • Battle Theme Music: The game randomly picks one of several every time a normal battle starts. They're quite cool, though they're all out of the default VX Ace selection.
  • Blunt "Yes": Baroque asks Julius if he expects her to come on his mission despite him not being at liberty to tell her about it, and he says, "...Yes, I do."
  • Bonus Boss:
    • The Wyvern in the Robin pass. It'll be fought if your group chooses to loot some suspicious-looking corpses. Of note is its Dive Bomb skill, which can easily kill a character at full health.
    • Then, there's the Necromancer in the Forest of Woe. He won't attack you of his own volition, and if you approach him, he'll just ask to leave you alone. Otherwise, though, you are in for a tough battle with him and a pair of his undead minions. (One of whom, a shield-bearing skeleton, will also regularly try to block all damage on his behalf.)
    • Lastly, it's also possible to fight the greater Painspawn sealed off by the Eutorians.
  • Call-Back: Many, many of them. See Ironic Echo for a particularly heavy example.
  • Calling Your Attacks: This happens during the really final battle against Queensguard Golems in the true ending: their two most powerful attacks will always be preceded by a specific verbal order from Queen Sophie, so that you know which defensive skill to use.
  • Cessation of Existence: Apparently, what happens to a person who is killed without being accepted by any of the gods.
  • Counter-Attack:
    • Lize Baroque's Malevolent Riposte is an Advanced Skill that lets her block all attacks and automatically them for three turns. It is especially powerful in combination with Logan's Rally Cry.
    • Arawrathea boss at the Robin Pass can tense up its body to gain Counter status, which lets it do the same.
  • Dem Bones: There's one skeleton in the Bonus Boss battle against the Necromancer in the Forest of Woe. Unlike most examples, this skeleton is an elite enemy, and the primary damage dealer of the group. He also has the ability to protect the Necromancer himself from all damage.
  • Enemy Summoner: Eutorian Mages, who can summon Earth Spirits during combat to assist them.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Eutorian mages excel at this. They have already learnt how to summon creatures like Earth Spirits, minor Painspawn and Minotaurs to back their armies up. However, that wasn't enough for them, and so they have tried to summon a Painspawn directly into the body of a convicted killer, with predictable results.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The implied future outcome in two of the endings. Queen Sophie, who had just sent Logan to the firing squad to ensure her plan succeeds and he's undoubtedly a traitor to all, is planning to invade Eutoria after Gaius is defeated, and specifically holds the Golems back in order to let Eutoria be weakened in the war. However, the Eutorian Archmage Adam, who became a Regent after Queen Anne's death, is preparing for that eventuality by re-authorising research into Greater Painspawn: demons that are as powerful as they're uncontrollable.
  • Extreme Doormat: Logan is this when it comes to the orders from above, and especially from the Queen. As Lize Baroque says at one point, he "can't think enough for himself to betray his country."
  • The Extremist Was Right: Vanguards are an order that is strongly against usages of magic they consider inappropriate, and because of it, they have slaughtered many of the Eutorian high-ranking mages and even members of their royal family. On the other hand, you can find reports by those mages that detail their attempts to summon creatures from the realm of God of Pain, and then put them into bodies of convicted criminals. The predictably disastrous results still haven't discouraged the Archmage Adam from willing to try again. After the death of Queen Anne, he becomes Regent and immediately re-authorises the Painspawn research.
  • False Flag Attack: Logan and his team are tasked with performing one, since their assassination of the Eutorian Queen has to be pinned on the rebels and their backer, Gaius.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Queen Sophie of Styx is the most unambiguously evil character in the game. The game begins with Julius fighting to bring down the rebellion against her, which involves him going against his own brother. Then, even though he volunteered to lead his brother's firing squad, the Queen still suspects him, and sends him on what is practically a suicide mission to prove his loyalty. And after he returns, she still orders him executed in order to ensure no-one suspects it was she, and not Gaius, who ordered the murder of Queen Anne. Her plan also involves taking over Eutoria and eventually the rest of the world after the battle with Gaius is done.
  • Golem: Two are present at the start, making early battles a cakewalk soon are forced to leave you. You'll see more of them in the Styx castle and in some cutscenes. After that, they don't appear until the end, when Logan suddenly finds himself on the receiving end, and is knocked out by two in a single turn. Should he manage to break out in one of the endings, he'll end up facing the Queensgard Golems.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Baroque has a large, thin scar on her left cheek. Julius has a large scar going over his left eye. Both characters are highly morally ambiguous. Erik Wilder, who's the most positive character of the group, apparently has a scar on his left arm that everyone assumes is from battling monsters, but was actually left by his daughter.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Lize Baroque fights with her fists, though she still wears studs on them.
  • Grey-and-Grey Morality: Every faction in the game. While some characters are still more obviously good or evil, no one is entirely evil or innocent.
    • Styx is an absolutist monarchy led by the tyrannical Queen Sophie, where people are executed on any suspicion of treachery. However, her nation is engaged in a war of annihilation, and any rebellion will ultimately cause far more damage. The endings reveal her to be far more evil, though, as she also has ambitions of not only defeating Gaius, but also taking over Eutoria and eventually, the world. Not to mention her decision to execute Logan just so that the plan will definitely work.
    • Rebels. Bruce is willing to sacrifice his own friends for the sake of the plot succeeding. After you put it down, you can also talk to the people in a military hospital who would have all been killed by the rebels had they succeeded, and discover the corpse of a young conscript murdered in the street.
    • Eutoria seems like a reasonable, neutral bystander nation at first. Then, you discover that Queen Anne is on Gaius' side and also assists the rebels, and the extent of their Painspawn research, which involved using prisoners as incubators to provide subservient demons for the mages.
    • Vanguards are a minor order that isn't concerned with the wars, and only wishes to keep dangerous magic in check. To that end, they've assassinated many Eutorian mages and even royal family members, and so get killed on sight in that country. Yet, they were trying to keep the Eutorians from summoning demons far beyond their control, through methods involving prisoner sacrifice, amongst other things.
  • Healing Checkpoint: Averted, should you choose to have checkpoints in the first place. Will-o-wisps, which fulfil that function, are friendly enough to bring you back, but regular healing is beyond them.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The battle against two golems as Julius comes back home. They literally deal 250-300 damage each, and will knock him out in a single turn.
  • Ironic Echo: "Ideals? A few flimsy ideals were worth all this? How many died, Brother?" Julius Logan says these words to Bruce in the prologue, just before he's about to be executed. In the end, Bruce's ghost says these exact words to Logan now that he is in the same cell, also about to be executed.
    • In fact, the entire conversation Bruce and Julius have at the start is shown again near the end, only only this time the roles are reversed, with Bruce saying Logan's lines, while Logan's replies are implied to be same Bruce had said in the speech bubbles at the start.
  • Last-Name Basis: Julius Logan only calls Sarah Hawke by her last name, even though they fought together for more than five years, and she saved him many times. She calls him out on this during the campfire talk at the Robin's Pass, but he doesn't budge. It's strongly implied he's doing this in order to suppress his growing feelings for her, and so prevent them from interfering with the mission.
  • Life Drain: Lize Baroque's Blood from the Rose. Its description implies she literally drinks the blood of the enemy to heal herself. It's useful in combat, although it's often more cost-efficient to let Hawke or Wilder heal her with one of their abilities, and save the Aggression for Malign Riposte.
  • Meaningful Name: The sniper under Logan's command is called Sarah Hawke. The Hunter is Eric Wilder. Lize Baroque is an assassin and a gambler.
  • The Medic: Sarah Hawke is the one who fulfils that role in the group. Her First Aid is a Basic skill that heals 35% of a character's health and also cures bleeding, and can be used outside of combat as well. However, she can deal plenty of damage as well, and possesses other crucial skills like Silencer.
  • Mirror Character: While it's never said outright, the game strongly that Julius and Bruce are just two sides of the same coin:
    • Bruce ultimately sacrifices the two rebels he knew by name and seemed to care about by throwing explosive in the midst of fighting, killing them alongside soldiers and Golems. He dismisses a question about it with "I don't want to hear it! Tragic accident! End. Of. Discussion." Logan also comes to regret, yet still go through with the process of sacrificing his companions on the way back to Styx.
    • Of course, there's also the Ironic Echo at the end, which makes the idea even more blatant.
  • Multiple Endings: Three of them, all determined by a single choice made by Logan the night before his execution.
    • Sleep and remain loyal to the end. Logan is executed, having upholded his masquerade. Sarah Hawke and Eric Wilder both die. Lize Baroque defects to Gaius. Eutoria is allied with Styx against Gaius and are certain to triumph altogether. Queen Sophie regrets executing Logan, but consoles herself with the thought of future conquests. She deliberately orders not to commit too many Golems to the war in order to ensure Eutoria is weakened by the war and can be taken over as well. On the other hand, Archmage Adam becomes Regent and immediately orders the continuation of Painspawn research, so her victory might not be a sure thing.
    • Take the coward's way out. Logan stabs himself in his cell. He's consigned to the void, and we see him wander through it and past the ghosts of his friends, as we see them all get killed where they were left behind. He finally makes it towards his brother's ghost and everything fades to black.
    • Golden Ending: Logan has finally had enough and he breaks out from his cell, automatically defeats the guards and golems in his way until he reaches Queen Sophie, and kills her after the short battle with her two Queensguard Golems. He swears to fight any and all tyrants in his way. Sarah Hawke and Eric Wilder both survive. Roll credits.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: Julius Logan is fiercely loyal to the Queen, and will do anything for her. It even went so far that he personally defeated his own brother, Bruce, and then volunteered to lead his firing squad. Obviously, he'll easily accept the suicide mission she has for him. In the end, after he's betrayed by Queen Sophie to preserve the conspiracy, he can either play his part to the end or miraculously break out and kill her.
  • Noble Demon: The Necromancer in the Forest of Woe, who serves as the optional boss, is pretty conciliatory when defeated:
    Well fought, warriors. I admit defeat. Perhaps it is time for me to return to my slumber.
  • Optional Stealth: It's technically possible to avoid fighting all roaming enemies and only deal with the bosses, although that obviously makes the game much harder. The Eutorian castle level in particular introduces stricter patrols and other additional stealth elements. Moreover, there's an added incentive for stealth, since these are the regular people like yourself that you might not want to kill at all.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: In one of the endings, Logan embarks on one, gaining blessing from the god of rage and thus managing to break down the cell door with bare hands and then fight his way towards the Queen Sophie.
  • Roaming Enemy: In all of the maps. You can escape when encountering them, unless you're in the Eutorian Palace, since you have to ensure no alarm will be raised.
  • Shoot the Medic First: During the boss battle in the Forest of Woe, all plants can technically support each other and do some healing. Your real priority should be Weeping Blue, however, as it can outright revive the other plants.
    • Subverted when fighting the Eutorian patrols. If the mages are present, they can heal everyone, and by a considerable amount of health. However, that can be dealt with by using Wilder's Silencer on them, and re-applying it when it's about to run out. The real priority should still be the other soldiers, as they deal a lot more damage than the mages ever could.
  • Space-Filling Empire: The entire continent is only taken up by three countries: the Styx, the Republic of Gaius it wars against, and the neutral Eutoria. It's implied there are other continents and countries, though we never hear them mentioned.
  • Squishy Wizard: Averted with the Eutorian Mages. They have as much health as the armored Soldiers and Shieldmaidens guarding them, if not more. However, their fire spells are not much more effective than those soldiers' attacks, and so they're mainly relegated to the support role.
  • Stone Wall: The protagonist, Julius Logan, is one in combat, since his default attack is no stronger than that of everyone else, while his skills are mostly about buffs (Rally Cry, Defensive Orders) or crowd control (Brutality). He even has a skill that draws enemies' attention towards him (Cover).
  • Story Difficulty Setting: The game warns you ahead of time that it's going to be very difficult, and gives you three difficulty settings, two of which apply for this trope- Simple gives you EXP-boosting pendants and allows you to buy stat-boosting manuals, while Easy is like Simple, without the EXP-boosters. The description for Normal, however states, "You are on your own, tough guy."
  • Theme Naming: The plants in the Forest of Woe boss battle are called Singing Green, Weeping Blue and Laughing Red.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: The Wyvern is one, should you trigger the encounter with it. Whereas the previous battles against rebels and bandits are not really that difficult, the Wyvern, among other things, has a move where it swoops down and deals enough damage to instantly kill any one party member at full health.
  • Wham Line: There's one at the end of the prologue, when Logan finally captures Bruce, and only then outright calls him brother.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Discussed. The game does a lot to show the humanity of the people you fight, whether it's the short, poignant exchanges between rebels before you fight them (and when they lay dying afterwards), or the player potentially meeting a young girl in Eutorian town who dreams to be a Shieldmaiden: same Shieldmaidens patrol the Eutorian palace alongside other soldiers and you'll probably kill a few of them.
  • With This Herring: Even though you're leading a team that is supposed to pull off the impossible and assassinate the Queen of Eutoria all by themselves, you still can't get anything more than the standard Styx army equipment.
  • Wolf Pack Boss: The boss of the Forest of Woe are the three mutated flowering plants, Weeping Blue, Singing Green and Laughing Red. Singing Green is the most powerful one on the whole, but the other two are still no push-overs, and they all excel at supporting each other.
  • Wrench Wench: There's a wounded girl in the Castle infirmary who longs to get back up to fix golems, in spite of her cracked skull.
  • You All Look Familiar: The game only uses default VX Ace facesets, and so characters who aren't plot-relevant often share faces. In some scenes, like in the Dariel City church, it's possible to encounter two people next to each with the same facesets.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: This happens to Logan himself, after he returns from the mission. He can choose to accept this and play the charade to the end, take the coward's way out and kill himself, or reject it and then miraculously break down the cell door with bare hands and then murder the Queen and all the guards and Golems in his way.