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Video Game / Malicious

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Malicious is a download-only 3D action game developed and published by Alvion (in Japan Only, in other countries it was published by Sony) for the PlayStation 3 and the Play Station Vita. The main goal of the game is to defeat a dangerous group of creatures known as the Malicious.

The game’s objective is pretty simple, you choose a player character – either male (Valeria) or female (Erica), there’s no difference – then you’re transported directly to a boss fight. Yes, you read that right; there’s no level progression in Malicious. You jump headfirst into a series of epic Boss Battles. Your main weapon is a shapeshifting cloth called the Mantle of Cinders; this unique weapon can take many forms and stances for attack and defense. In the beginning, its forms are limited to close-ranged strikes and long-ranged projectiles, but as you defeat the Bosses, more abilities are added to the mantle.

Outside the game, there’s a feature reserved for its storyline — minimalism within the gameplay, depth in the side material. The main campaign itself is almost devoid of any sort of storytelling; you are given little reason to partake on these Boss Battles other than a short explanation which basically boils down into “kill them because they’re evil". For those seeking for a story, there’s a session in the Title Screen called Background Story; this menu is a short digital novel narrating in great detail the events leading to the battles you find in the main campaign.

The game was released in October 2010 in Japan, February 2012 in Europe and Australia, and July 2012 in the United States, and is available to download from PlayStation Store. Because of the game's critical success, an enhanced port of the game was announced for the PlayStation Vita, called Malicious Rebirth which added six more bosses and some more sub-powers. On February 21, 2017, the game was re-released on the Playstation 4 and was renamed Malicious Fallen, which added content from both Malicious and Malicious Rebirth as well as new exclusive content for the system.

Malicious contains examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: The game does have a serviceable backstory, which is presented as a short in-game novel available for the player, if you are up to read it; the game manual itself is also in-game.
  • Archnemesis Dad: King Eldrake, Valeria and Erica's father, is the main villain of the backstory novel and basically the one responsible for much of the suffering seen in the story, causing the death of his own children and the following path of rage and insanity of their mother Queen Ashlelei.
  • Arsenal Attire: The Mantle of Cinders, though a scarf in appearance, is the formidable weapon of the Spirit Vessels (Valeria and Erica), that turns into four varying weapons that which to slay the baddies of the land with.
  • Awesome, yet Impractical: There are a few throughout the series, some more impractical than others. Needle's a really good option for dealing with far-ranged enemies, and can be a lot easier to use than the regular strong Sorcerous Bullets; but the needles themselves deal pitiful damage, prevent you from moving, and put you into an over-the-shoulder view, making it a bit hard to see. Hammer at least sees use as a powerful defense destroyer; but its long charge, wind-up, and cooldown times can make it difficult to actually land hits. Scythe can shred through mooks with ease, increases in damage as it kills and the more Aura you put into an attack, and can rapidly generate Aura against larger foes, but it's the only ability in the game with a percentage Aura cost rather than a fixed one. Stakes can deal a lot of focused damage, but has a prohibitive Aura drain per second, and is basically useless against anything out of that focused range.
  • Back from the Dead: Valeria and Erica, Queen Ashlelei's children, were brought back to life as Spirit Vessels by the Prophets to fight against their own mother, who turned insane as the Mad Queen.
    • A semi-rouge Prophet made one more Spirit Vessel in the shape of Queen Ashlelei to try to destroy what he saw as a corrupted Spirit Vessel.
  • Badass Adorable: If you pick Erica, the trope is in full effect.
  • Badass Cape: Obviously.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The end of Demise. The Vessel is irreparably broken because the final battle took place in the only place it could be repaired, the final Prophet intends to back off and only observe the world from hereon, and the rouge Prophet and his doll are still hanging around somewhere; but the Malicious' dark energy is purged (for now) and truly eliminated from the Vessel, and the Two Kings' and the Four Prophets' scheme is undone, allowing humanity to finally tread their own path, free from the machinations of the Prophets.
  • Boss Rush: Since there is no real level progression, the whole game is essentially this.
  • Clothing Damage: Not only do your clothes get damaged, so does your body.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Malice Mode in Rebirth onwards. If you can get the time to charge it up, it's more powerful than the third Aura stage and won't sap your Aura constantly. However, taking damage in that state saps a disproportionately large amount of Aura, and if your Aura hits 0, it's instant death. In addition, you lose any abilities you gained after beating Slayer - stuff like Aura regen, increased Aura from Just Guards, Whip - and worse yet, if you go Malice, you can't leave it without either dying or beating the boss.
  • Darker and Edgier: The base game features colourful, gorgeous landscapes like a gigantic floating fortress in the sunset or the elegant, dark purple royal bedrooms. Rebirth's levels are darker, grittier and use a more muted colour scheme, and take place in war-torn, chaotic environments.
  • Driven to Suicide: In the backstory, Erica stabbed herself in front of her tyrant father King Eldrake, hoping he would feel pain after destroying her family and kingdom; it was to no avail, as he didn't feel any remorse. Valeria, after being mortally wounded by one of Eldrake's soldiers, also took the dagger upon himself, but his reason was to willingly become the power source of Queen Ashlelei's sword.
  • Enemy Without: The Mantle of Malice, an amalgamation of all the malice the Spirit Vessel absorbed over three bloody campaigns against the Malicious and its enablers and a further campaign against the Prophets, brought forth by Hexa in a last-ditch attempt to destroy the malice before it turns into another Malicious.
  • Energy Beings: The Prophets, though they all maintain a guise kind of like old men over their energy bits. A few people attempt to strike them, to no avail. Their own numerological arts can still deal damage to them however, as the Undead King and four Prophets found out the hard way.
  • Evil Matriarch: Following King Eldrake's death in the backstory, Queen Ashlelei follows suit in becoming corrupted, turning into a villain herself as the Mad Queen.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Queen Ashlelei prior to Slayer, seen in the short in-game novel; Ashlelei went from a benevolent and strong Queen to an enraged war-hungry Mad Queen due to a series of traumatic events.
  • Fake Difficulty: Probably the only real flaw with the game (aside from the camera) is that the Nintendo Hard gameplay sometimes dips into this, especially in regards to the endgame Rebirth content.
    • The True Final Boss of Rebirth is a shining example of this - nearly all of its attacks are either devastating or hard to dodge, shares a variant of the Mad Queen's Contracting Ground, and a huge health pool. By itself, it can be significantly easier than the Reborn Malicious, the previous boss. There's two catches, though. The only way to reliably generate large amounts of Aura is to Just Guard those devastating attacks; and if you don't interrupt a certain attack, it summons four copies of the enemy you just fought before it and attack alongside them. Theoretically, you're intended to utilize Malice Mode to crush the boss before it can really use any of its impressive arsenal, but that comes with its own problems - not least of which is that you just obtained it, and may not even know how to use it effectively.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Valeria, the male protagonist.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: the Mad Queen, a fitting name for the present Queen Ashlelei. She wages wars constantly, expanding the Kingdom of Santville and the corruption within.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Effectively, each campaign's prelude is enough of one for the Prophets to bring forth the Vessel and crush all opposition. Notable is Pursuit, which is a Threshold response (send out the potentially unstable Vessel) to another Threshold (a Malicious which has survived two encounters against the Vessel, even if only barely, and may very well come back in a form that the Vessel cannot defeat).
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Long after reigning as the sole ruler of Santville and earning the Mad Queen moniker, Ashlelei became corrupted and absent from her sense of justice, fighting the Malicious was futile, all was in vain, and in turn she choose to wage wars constantly to have any purpose in life.
  • The High Queen: In the good days, Queen Ashlelei was adored and respected by all, her own peers in Santville and neighboring countries alike; they all loved her and Ashlelei was deserving of this worship.
  • Identity Amnesia: Valeria and Erica do not seem to know of their past lives; the Prophets brought them back as Spirit Vessels to fight against the Mad Queen. Unknown to both siblings, they are fighting against their own mother.
  • Lady of War: Queen Ashlelei in the good old days and as the Mad Queen; she was always known for being a beast in the battlefield. Despite having the looks of a slender goddess, she could best entire armies by herself.
  • Locked into Strangeness: Valeria and Erica did not have blue hair in their previous lives. An illustration of the siblings visiting their imprisoned mother on the in-game novel shows that Valeria was black-haired and Erica was blonde. The Royal Robe equipment shows what they looked like before their deaths, and you can just barely see their faces if you look closely at the coffins beneath the fountains in Forbidden Floor.
  • Mirror Match: A few battles contain Spirit Vessel-like enemies; while they lack the full complement of moves and reaction times the true Vessel utilizes, they usually rely on numbers to dogpile their enemies.
  • More Dakka: A few bosses have heavy machine guns as part of their armament. They are one of the most dangerous attacks to get struck by, as they shred even the heavy Shield in moments, and can almost instantly take you from whole to completely broken if the Vessel gets caught in the stream. The Vessel can grab one of these weapons for themselves (as the Needle).
  • Nintendo Hard: To balance out the short length, each boss is really damn hard, and the only get tougher when going into the sequel content.
  • No-Gear Level: The start of Demise drops you straight into a boss battle, with only the basic abilities of the Mantle (Fist and Bullets) immediately available, as if you just started a Slayer file. You have to go and break the seals locking down the rest of your abilities during the battle, though Malice Mode remains locked during this battle regardless.
  • Offing the Offspring: When Valeria and Erica plotted the rebellion against his tyranny, Eldrake had no second thoughts against killing them, nevermind that they're his children. Valeria was mortally wounded by one of Eldrake's soldiers, and Erica was tempted into suicide.
  • One-Woman Wail: Some tracks sport this, to amazing effect.
  • Protection Mission: The descent in Pursuit forces you to defend the Submersing Circle's Control Unit - if it's destroyed, the Circle cannot continue descending, and the Prophets have no choice but to abort and retrieve the Vessel, causing a Game Over regardless of remaining continues.
  • Power Copying: As the Slayer bosses all have parts of the power the Prophets gave them, it's only natural that the Vessel takes them back upon their defeat. It continues over the course of Rebirth and Demise, drawing additional power from its defeated foes and manipulating the Mantle into brand new forms.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Both in the backstory and the main campaign:
    • The Mad Queen's Mask and Sword were made of the sacrifice of her own children. Following their deaths by the hands of their own father, the Prophets crafted weapons for the Queen to overthrow the King; Valeria is part of the sword, Ashlelei's strength to attack, Erica is part of the mask, Ashlelei's resilience to defend.
    • The playable characters, Spirit Vessels Valeria and Erica, are also made after the original siblings who died in the conflict between Queen Ashlelei and King Eldrake.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: The Spirit Vessels can do this, along with other moves, when they get the Enhanced Fists.
  • Rebel Prince/Rebellious Princess: Valeria and Erica, but not for the petty reasons typically associated with these tropes; their father King Eldrake was indeed a tyrant who was leading their country to ruin, so they plotted a rebellion.
  • Renaissance Man: Tesalus. Compared to his peers, who all specialize in a single thing, he is competent enough in enough of everyone else's fields to not only create another Spirit Vessel, but also create a key to unseal the trapped Vessel at the beginning of Demise, as well as an access key to give Hexa the absolute best chance he can to finish the job against the malice.
  • Scenery Porn
  • SNK Boss: The Mad Queen herself. The other bosses are all balanced around your initial powerset and can be beaten in any order. The Mad Queen has ridiculous speed, and by being the only human-sized boss, she has incredible mobility on the battlefield to match. If she hits you, it's pretty much a guaranteed lost limb, and she soaks damage up like a sponge. If you even want to stand a chance against her, you're gonna need the best offense and defense abilities, and mad skills.
  • Soulless Shell: The protagonists Valeria and Erica, Spirit Vessels created by the Prophets after the image of the Mad Queen's long dead children. The Vessels do not know of their past lives, nor do they know of the Mad Queen's real identity.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Valeria and Erica as Spirit Vessels, Erica even more so as in her previous life she had no combat skills whatsoever.
  • This Is a Drill: The Wing guardian has some sort of gatling gun with an extendable drill. Ironically, the drill part is the least devastating part of that weapon.
  • Was Once a Man: The towering monsters fought as bosses in the main campaign, the Guardians loyal to the Mad Queen. They were once humans who also received aid from the Prophets, but these powers corrupted their bodies as time went by; these boosts were only meant to be a temporary aid, as they slowly corrupt their users. Even their descendants are affected, as the former Wing holder died during the original assault by Ashelei against the Malicious.