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Video Game / Midnight Train

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Step on the train...and all aboard!

Midnight Train is an Western mystery/adventure game with horror elements by Lydia, the creator of Aria's Story, using RPG Maker VX Ace as its engine. The game is focused on exploration, story and puzzles. It's an episodic game, with four chapters in total.

Luna, a mute girl who communicates through sign language, is a traveler looking for a certain place. Suddenly, while she's travelling in the Midnight Express, people around her disappear and the train stops at a mysterious building in a black void. There, she finds a pocket watch with some instructions; she has three hours to find the next train before time runs out or she will be trapped in that world forever. Meeting up with wannabe detective Neil Lawton, who also has a pocket watch, and several other characters in the process who are also trapped and seek freedom, Luna must work with Neil to traverse the building, solve the many puzzles within, and escape from the clutches of the living Midnight Train.


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This game provides examples of:

  • A Glitch in the Matrix: Turns out the Midnight Express was created to send the criminals to the Black Gear's headquarters, not to trap them for eternity. It's one of the most tragic parts of the game, as all those people got killed because of a simple mistake.
  • All Crimes Are Equal: The Midnight Express imprisons criminals inside its dimension and psychologically torments them regardless of what crime they committed. Committing perjury, illegally experimenting and making chemicals, accidentally killing the mayor's son, and stealing jewels, as done by Neil, Diana, Apollo, and Selene, respectively, gets them the same treatment as Luna, Cynthia, and Justice I, who have killed tons of people on behalf of their organization, Black Gear. This is best shown in a puzzle in Chapter 4, where you must identify which of six skulls is the culprit of a crime in order to sentence them to execution via being Squashed Flat, but all the skulls are lying in their statements. If you pick the right one, it gets squashed... and then all the other skulls are as well, because perjury is also a crime, and according to the train, one deserving of death.
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  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Although you mainly control Luna, there’re some occasions you can play as Neil or Apollo as well. In Chapter 3 and 4, you play as Neil for more than half of the chapter.
  • Art Evolution: The arts teased for the big update have a major difference from the original art style.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The titular Midnight Train is a cursed entity that traps the main characters inside the building and forces them to play its game, where they must escape the buildings within three hours or be trapped forever. On the other end is Justice II, leader of the vigilante Black Gear organization, who organizes the killing of criminals that the police cannot catch and is responsible for Luna's tragic past, him having raised her, as well as the one who sent her to the Midnight Train for defecting.
  • Bridal Carry: When Neil feels exhausted due to Diana's poison/anesthetic, Luna effectively carries him on her arms throughout the spiky traps. Neil later returns the favor and carries Luna when she passes out because of her trauma to explosion.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The music box Diana brings with her is eventually used to calm her down when she tries to kill Luna.
    • This time with a literal gun, the empty gun and the three bullets Neil found throughout the third building comes in handy when he needs to shoot some targets to finish a puzzle.
    • The blackboards in the buildings give hints on how to break the curse of the Midnight Express.
  • Chromatic Arrangement: The colors associated with Luna, Neil and Apollo fit this trope, though the archetype is not. See Colour-Coded Characters below.
  • Colour-Coded Characters: The main characters.
    • Luna: Light blue
    • Neil: Magenta
    • Apollo: Green
    • Diana: Lavender
    • Selene: Pink
      • Cynthia and Delia are also associated with yellow.
  • Cutting the Knot: Luna has a knack for bypassing puzzles by just kicking doors open, breaking windows to enter locked rooms, and forcing password-locked boxes open.
  • Deadly Game: The Midnight Express forces its prisoners to traverse through four buildings filled with death traps and puzzles, and gives them three hours to escape each building, or else they are trapped until they die. Downplaed as the train will at least provide food for losers so they can live inside, but they are still trapped until they die.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Thanks to Neil's sacrifice, Luna escapes the Midnight Express and gets the chance to remake her life. She then becomes a famous detective and, when Neil is able to escape thanks to a dying man giving him his pocket watch, breaks the curse of the Midnight Express, rescuing Apollo, Diana, Selene and the rest of the survivors. The five then go on to live together in Luna and Neil’s shared apartment.
  • Everyone Knows Morse: Inverted. Luna, Neil, Apollo don't know morse code, so they have to find a book about it and decode the message word by word.
  • Eye Scream: People who break the rule will explode with only one eye left. That eye later will grows wings/legs and becomes a part of the building.
  • Foil: The whole game is intended to be one for Aria's Story, coming from the same author. Midnight Train has a mature and solemn steampunk vibe with a silent protagonist, while Aria’s Story is styled after fairytale and the characters are partially voiced. The main cast of MT are adults who have to face the crimes they have committed in order to receive salvation, and AS’s are guiltless children learning to move on from the accidental death of a friend.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Neil's capability for range weapons can be seen when he throws a coin and perfectly lands on a mark in one of the first puzzles. He later goes on to shoot perfectly in two minigames.
    • Cynthia considers the Black Gear vigilante organization to be heroes of justice. In the last chapter, it's revealed she worked for them.
  • Floral Theme Naming: The city all the characters want to reach through Midnight Express is named Bluebell.
  • Four Is Death: There are four buildings for the unlucky prisoners to overcome, and many people died in them.
  • Loveable Rogue: Selene. She consistently cheats, and shows absolutely no signs of a conscience or caring for anyone but Apollo and Luna. She also tends to make fun of Neil, yet they manage to remain on almost friendly terms.
  • The Many Deaths of You: A feature in Lydia's works; Though some puzzles don't penalize you for wrong answers, you can never be sure whether a wrong answer or careless misstep might result in you being hanged to death.
  • Police Are Useless: The entire reason that the Black Gear vigilante organization was founded is that the police failed to apprehend criminals and malcontents like the mayor's son, the Mad Bomber terrorist, Neil's uncle, and the child kidnappers. Given that Apollo's stepfather was a Dirty Cop who would happily have him arrested for accidentally killing the mayor's son, they may have a point.
  • Power Trio: When our main duo arrive a new building, they meet one another person and sooner or later they will become a team of three. However, the Luna-Neil-Apollo trio is the most notable since they actually combine their strength together to come through the traps and riddles, while Diana doesn’t help much and the Luna-Neil-Selene trio gets separate for half of the chapter.
  • Prison Dimension: The Midnight Express is a black void with four buildings that trap anyone who wanders inside.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Luna is the Red and Neil is the Blue, even though their color scheme is the opposite. In fact, Neil can be Blue for Apollo and Selene as well.
  • Save Point: The music boxes scattered throughout the game.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Aria's Story appears as a pink book in the train. Also, Lewin, Clyde, Dahlia and Wendy, the characters from the game, appear in the train station at the end of Chapter 4.
    • Charlotte from Trick & Treat and Charlotte from Cadeau appear as train passengers.
  • Steampunk: This game has a nice steampunk aesthetic, especially in the first building. From the train that brings turmoil to the gears, pipes and chimney scattered all over the map. The town Luna and Selene lived in before is even called "Steamfort".
  • Theme Twin Naming: The twins Cynthia and Delia have names that rhyme with the other’s.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Due to how his personality clashes with others, Neil has this the most.
    • Neil doesn't like it when Apollo actively tries to separate him and Luna, and Apollo's constant snarks never help. However, after getting to know each other better, they realized how they ability can compensate for the other's weaknesses and decided to fight the Midnight Express together. Apollo still loves teasing Neil, though.
    • He also becomes this with Selene, as she's jealous of how he and Luna became close in such a short time and thinks he's a loser, while Neil is suspiscious of her cheerful persona. However, after being forced to work together, Neil comes to understand why she is Luna's best friend while Selene starts to acknowledge him as a Nice Guy, even apologizing for only caring about Luna's wellbeing at the beginning of their journey.
  • Wham Line: Right after Neil declared he wouldn't forgive Black Gear for killing his uncle, Luna has this to say...
    In her letter to Neil: "Forgive me for what I did to your uncle."

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