Mitsumete Knight (みつめてナイト, Mitsumete Naito, lit. « Admire Knight », « Gazing Knight ») is a 1997 Dating Sim on PlayStation 1, made by Konami in cooperation with Red Company. Spiritual Successor of Konami's smash hit Tokimeki Memorial : Forever with you, it uses the same game engine and most of its successful mechanics, but with several twists.
First, Mitsumete Knight is set, not in a high school setting, but in an odd hybrid medieval/fantasy setting, mixing medieval-heroic diplomacy and politics with modern technology with dashes of high fantasy sprinkled in, where you play as an Asian who has emigrated to Dolphan Kingdom as a mercenary, to win the war the country is engaged against its neighbour country, the Dukedom of Procchia. Thus, your goals are twofold: gaining the "Holy Knight" title, which will open you the roads towards fame and nobility, by helping Dolphan win the war and accomplishing heroic deeds; and winning the heart of one of the local ladies you'll be meeting during the 3 years the game spans.
Second, while the dating part of the game is basically the same as in Tokimeki Memorial (meet girls, date them, please them, see special events and fight off rumors), Mitsumete Knight was the precursor of the future Tokimeki Memorial games (as it was released between Tokimemo 1 and Tokimemo 2) for an easier management of the girls, introducing several prototype ideas, the most notable being the replacement of the bombing system for a much-easier-to-deal-with Uneasiness Gauge and a MUCH lower frequency of rumor spreading. These ideas favor a more girl storyline specific challenge, a type of challenge Tokimeki Memorial 2 would focus on with great success.
Third, the stats management is slightly different as well. Unlike Tokimemo 1, your character is under a Level-up system, and your stats will only increase during one; however, this gives you more flexibility in your stats' management, as you're not limited to use one command between two level-ups, allowing you to counter-balance stat-drops of a command by using an opposing-effect command, all while retaining the stat increases of both.
Fourth, the fighting part is more elaborate than in Tokimeki Memorial. The war battles are divided in two parts: one where you command a battalion made of Cavalry, Infantry and Archers fighting an enemy corps, in a Fire Emblem Tactical RockPaperScissors style; then, you get to fight one of the enemy Generals in a one-on-one battle. Other one-on-one fights outside the war battles will occur, so make sure to have enough HP at all times, otherwise you'll be good for spending a week at the Hospital!
And fifth and probably the most important aspect of the game, since war is a major part of the storyline, Mistumete Knight has a radically different mood compared to the Tastes Like Diabetes setting of Tokimeki Memorial. Indeed, this setting is a Crapsaccharine World, with Dolphan Kingdom ruled by xenophobic evil nobles who abide by the Screw the Rules, I Have Money! and We Have Reserves mottos; war is depicted as gloomy and a waste of human lives, and Anyone Can Die. Yes, such an unusual thing for a Dating Sim, and this is one of the game's biggest strengths: depending on the player's choices, down to the type of blood you choose at the beginning of the game, several girls and main characters can die.
The girls' storylines are often rich and story-driven, with regular Break the Cutie and sad moments, very much unlike Tokimemo; yet, despite all this, the game also has lots of funny and romantic moments. The characters have developed and complex personalities, and have a lot more interaction between them than in most Tokimeki Memorial games.
All in all, an excellent game, victim of a bad combo of Overshadowed by Awesome by the more successful Tokimeki Memorial series, No Export for You and Widget Series. Knowledge of Japanese is pretty much needed to enjoy the rich storyline too, as the game is Japanese-only and has no Fan Translation.
For the note, Mitsumete Knight was followed by Mitsumete Knight R : Daibouken Hen, an Alternate Universe RPG game which bears more similarities with Sakura Wars than with Tokimeki Memorial, where you play as a Captain leading a Five Girl Band in a quest for a MacGuffin which would cure the King. During the quest, you'll be able to try and win the heart of one of the 5 heroines.
Mitsumete Knight (the original game) provides examples of:
- 100% Completion: This game loves this trope. Aside from the usual Dating Sim CG gallery (named the "Mitsumete Gallery" in this game), there's a Title Gallery which lists all the Titles you got during the game to complete, two mini-games to unlock, and you'll have to accomplish several quests to unlock all the secret items of the Secret Shop. A lot of playthroughs in prospect indeed.
- All There in the Manual: The game does a fine job at giving out a lot of information about the rich universe the story takes place, but just like games like Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, you'll miss out a lot of information if you're not listening the Drama CDs, and / or are not reading the author's notes published in several Dengeki Playstation Magazine issues. Fortunately, at least the author's notes are compiled in this in-depth Japanese Mitsumete Knight fansite.
- Anyone Can Die
- Aristocrats Are Evil: They're frikkin' rampant in this game. Johan is the sole direct representant of them you'll be able to interact with, but quite a few of them are pulling the wires behind the scenes.
- Bears Are Bad News: During the game, the neighbouring citizens will eventually ask you to defeat a rampaging bear terrorizing the area.
- Betting Mini Game: The Blackjack mini-game.
- Big Damn Heroes: The Asian will get quite a number of these, where he saves the day and/or the girls.
- Bittersweet Ending: The best you'll be able to grab in this game, as at the end of the game, the Asian will have to leave Dolphan Kingdom regardless of if you defeated all 8 Generals, got the Holy Knight title or even scored Princess Priscilla, because of the Expulsion of All Foreigners Act forcefully concluded by the powerful evil Pixis and Elites aristocrat families. The ending will then be bittersweet if you managed to score a girl, as they'll follow the Asian, with the exception of Laury, who's too young to go, and Sarah, whose body is currently too weak.. For those two, the Asian promises them to come back to them a few years later, when they'll be older / healed.
- Bookends: This game uses this narrative method, especially if you get a Bad Ending where you fail to get both the Holy Knight title and a girl. See the entry for a detailed explanation.
- The Cameo: Sparkster of the Rocket Knight Adventures series appears in this game, as a one-on-one random opponent. If you manage to meet and defeat him, not only you can gain his Special Attack and the Title "Rocket Knight", but also once your file is complete, you'll gain access to the Secret Shop held by him.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Unlike Tokimemo, most characters are more sincere with their feelings with the Asian and consider themselves his girlfriend, as there's no legend holding them back. Some of them, such as Sophia, play it straight, though.
- Colour Coded Armies: In war battles, your units are the blue ones, and the enemies' are the red ones. And in one-on-one duels, the Eight Generals also wear jet-red armor, while you wear blue-ish armor.
- Crapsaccharine World: Many, MANY people are fooled by the bright graphics, the emphasis on the romance, and the advertising to think this is just another happy-go-lucky dating sim where Everybody Lives, the only opposition will be from the local bully or bully equivalent, and all that starts well ends well. The poor fools.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: If you train a strict minimum, you'll easy win most of your war battles.
- Darker and Edgier: Then the Tokimeki Memorial series, of course, and it's more cynical than said game.
- Dating Sim
- Decadent Court: The kind King of Dolphan is not the real ruler of the Kingdom : the effective power is in the hands of Anabel Pixis, the evil lead of the powerful noble family Pixis, and the man leading the "Old Families's Two Wings" council, a council composed of the Pixis and Elites noble families which are deciding of Dolphan's policies, even though the king participates to sessions held by the council and technically (stress "technically") has a word in the decisions.
- Deconstructor Fleet: Goes through Ruritanian, High, and Medieval fantasy like a chainsaw through warm butter.
- Distressed Damsel / Rescue Romance : This game likes these tropes. There's at least 5 occurences of those, split between 3 girls.
- Do Well, but Not Perfect: Several Titles, such as the "Blade of Darkness" one (which needs you to have less than 40 Medals - aka being beaten by most enemies in the game - combined with a Level 60 or more - aka whoring the Part-Time Jobs and having a tight EXP gaining schedule - ), which are needed to fill the Titles' Collection, fit this trope to a T.
- Empathic Environment: This game loves using it, especially when it comes to War Battles (it's even lampshaded by Piko when you're about to fight Wolfgario in his masked version, and the unmasked version of the fight is a Battle in the Rain.) and dates to sinister-looking places. Averted however with the Graveyard, which is always sunny with a cloudless blue sky.
- Ending Theme: The game has 3 of them: "Asu o Yume Mite", the Sophia-specific Ending song; "Koi o Suru To", the Anne-specific Ending song; and "Mitsumete", the regular Ending song used for all the other characters. "Koi o Suru To" is sung by Mariko Kouda, Anne's voice actor; the other two are sung by Hiroko Konishi, the voice actor of Sophia.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: In the Button Masher mini-game where you have to lift a maximum of heavy items in a set time at the Sports Festival, the timer is represented with a male and a female monkey, the male walking towards the female and stopping at times to eat the bananas scattered along the way.
- Expy: Several characters are obvious Expies of characters from Tokimeki Memorial 1, such as Linda (of Mira Kagami), Lesley (of Ayako Katagiri), or Johan (of Rei Ijuin).
- Fairy Companion: The Asian will be always followed by Piko, a being originating from his heart that only he can see, which will give good advices during the game.
- Fortune Teller: The Asian will meet one during the Mid-Summer Festival. She'll tell him his destined person (i.e. the girl with the highest Love Gauge) as well as the girl's who accompanied him. If this girl is the same as the one who appeared in the Crystal Ball, this girl's Love Gauge will get a big boost. On the other hand, if the Asian don't know any girl by the time of this festival, the crystal ball will break and the Fortune Teller will ask for financial compensation.
- General Gaming Gamepads: Mitsumete Knight is one of the few games compatible with the PS1 Mouse.
- Guide Dang It!: Several girls require the player to see a specific event, or to go through a certain course of events : miss them, and it's impossible to win their heart.
- Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Done in a creative way: As you, the Asian, are arriving to Dolphan, a Customs' Officer will meet you and ask you to fill in the Country Enterance Document, in which you'll have to write your name, birthday and blood type.
- Hint System/Player Nudge : If you fail to score a girl, after the Bad End's credits, a Hint Screen will show up, giving you slightly veiled hints on elements you could have missed in your playthrough that caused your failure.
- Hired Guns: Both sides on the war make extensive use of mercenaries to complement their respective regular armies. At Procchia's side is Valpha-Valaharian, known and feared as the strongest mercenary brigade of all the continent ; at Dolphan's side, a bunch of foreign mercenaries recruited en masse, the Asian (the player avatar) being one of them.
- Infinity +1 Sword: The Mitsumete Sword, which is actually the most powerful unlockable item in the Secret Shop, granting its user a boost of +10 pts in all stats.
- Joshikousei: Even though this game is not in a High School setting like Tokimemo, roughly a third of the datable characters are High School girls (5 out of 16 characters).
- Late-Arrival Spoiler: For Japanese players of this franchise, it's not anymore a secret that Salishuan the Spy is Raizze Haimer. The Drama CDs assume you already have played the game (and more specifically having completed a Raizze Run), as the story is told from the girls' point of view (especially from Raizze's) instead from the Asian's.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Mitsumete Knight has a total of 38 individual characters having a sprite and appearing in person in the game. Add to this number a few characters who are only mentioned by name but are still crucial to the plot such as Anabel Pixis, and 3 minor Drama CD-only characters. And we're not mentioning the Mitsumete Knight R-exclusive characters here.
- Manga Adaptation: A single-tome one, titled Mitsumete Knight: Another Story. As the title says, it's a side-story telling the tale of two original characters, the sword-wielding Asian mercenary Kojirô (an Expy of the game's main protagonist), and Alissa, a mischevious young girl with a mysterious past. The setting takes place in Dolphan and several (but not all) of the game's characters are present, but they only play for the most part a cameo role in this story.
- Mighty Glacier: A number of your opponents in one-on-one duels are of this type.
- Money for Nothing: There's an Assets Level system in this game, telling your level of wealth from Commoner-like to Swimming In Dough-type, and you can increase it by doing Part-Time jobs, but it's mostly worthless as very few and minor elements in the game are affected by it.
- Multiple Endings: Aside from the 16 girls's happy endings, there's also 3 Bad Endings one where you leave Dolphan with the Holy Knight title but without a girl, one where you get neither of them, and one where you fail to get Sophia and Johan marries her, and comes with her as you leave to taunt you, as well as three secrets endings with 3 NPCs : Mieu, Prim and Luna, which occur if you get a Bad Ending and have met them during the game.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: All eight Generals of Valpha-Valaharian have badass and intimidating nicknames. Special mention goes to Wolfgario "The Ravager", leader of the Generals, and Zeelbis "The Bloody".
- New Game+: If you manage to meet and defeat Sparkster during a playthrough, and save your game in a Memory Card after having completed your run, the Secret Shop will be available in the game's Option, allowing you to start a new game with a stat-boosting item. However, most items need to be unlocked via various specific quests during the game, such as reaching Level 64 in order to unlock the most powerful item, the Mitsumete Sword.
- Not Named in Opening Credits: The names of the Eight Generals' seiyuu are not displayed in the second version of the game's opening, unlike in the first version which presents the heroines. This is probably to avoid busting The Reveal about Salishuan the Spy being Raizze Haimer, by showing their seiyuu's name, Yumi Touma.
- Parallel Porn Titles: There is a Eroge called Yumemite Knight.
- The Peeping Tom: If the Asian works part-time as a beach lifeguard in summer, he randomly can get at peeping at girls he knows via a nautical telescope. Aside from getting a safe-for-work CG of the girl peeped at wearing a swimsuit, and a drop in affection from her, you get the "Peeping Tom" (Nozokiya) Title for your List of Titles.
- Puzzle Game: The "Puzzle de Knight" minigame, unlockable and available in the Options once you finish a playthrough where you fought and beat Menesys at it.
- Pyrrhic Victory: The Battle of Parsir, where you fight Meehilbis of the Ghosts ; Dolphan wins the battle, but at the cost of one third of its army, due to a trap masterfully executed by Meehilbis.
- The Reveal: TONS OF THEM. Most characters have their secrets, and quite a number of them are groundbreaking storyline-wise. No wonder the Character Sheet is chock-full of masked spoilers.
- Romance Game
- Sad Battle Music: "Sorrowful Blade", the battle theme played when fighting the enemy Eight General Salishuan the Spy, alias Raizze Haimer (one of the winnable main heroines), when she's torn between her duty and her love for the protagonist. You actually need to hear this theme to get her ending: if not, she's unobtainable.
- Schizo Tech: Dolphan has a very advanced meditcine level for a medieval country: blood transfusion is a common technique, plastic surgery seems to exist and to be effective as Hanna manages to heal a deep claw wound on the face without a single scar in an Event, and researches on heart diseases are already ongoing.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: The Battle Cry of the evil nobles running rampant in this game, Johan leading them.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Unlike Tokimeki Memorial, this game is firmly set on the cynical side. This is a Crapsaccharine World where war and politics are dominant, with evil aristocrats effectively ruling the country you're fighting for as a foreign mercenary, using the King as a puppet: they are masters of the Screw the Rules, I Have Money! and We Have Reserves tropes, and deeply racist to boot. Grey-and-Grey Morality is the story's mood thanks to this and the fact the enemy country has valid motives to fight and is composed of mostly decent guys. Even most the girls you can woo during the game (i.e. the softiest part of the game) have heartwrenching storylines full of Break the Cutie moments, and even Anyone Can Die moments depending on your choices. And as far endings go, they are bittersweet at best, since, even if you get the confession of love of one of the girls, you'll be thrown off the country like an old rag after you win the war for the country due to the aforementioned aristocrats' racist stance, and have to leave the girls behind in some cases (others will leave the country with you).
- Shown Their Work / Reality Is Unrealistic: While the game has often gotten hammered by certain segments for supposedly being unrealistic, those who have studied feudal/royal politics and history will find that the game gets a LOT disturbingly right and most of the major events were probably inspired by either medieval history or the history of Imperial Japan. Yes folks, this stuff actually happened in reality.
- Snow Means Love: the Christmas Event in 3rd Year : as you and the girl in love with the Asian are going back home, snow will fall on Dolphan for the first time in the country's history since 38 years ago. However, in Anne's case, it's a case of Snow Means Death, since she realizes, as a Cute Ghost Girl who's on the way of getting rid of her regrets, she won't stay for long on this world.
- Tactical RockPaperScissors: Used in the corps' battle part of the war battles. Cavalry beats Infantry, who beats Archers, who beat Cavalry. There's a fourth unit type, the Mages, which can replace one of the three unit types if you have a Studies stat superior to your Horse Riding and Sword Fencing stats combined, which have double superiority, and this against all types, but are weaker defensively.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: Due to the fact the lives of several characters depend on your choices, there's a LOT of moments that fall in this trope.
- Woman Scorned: Just like in Tokimemo, except that here it's easier to manage it.
- Worldbuilding: The game thrives on this just as much as on the Anyone Can Die factor.
- Xanatos Gambit: The Battle of Parsir is this for Meehilbis, turning it to his favor no matter the outcome. If he won the fight, it would have been beneficial for Valpha-Valaharian. But if he lost (as it ultimately becomes the case), this still is beneficial for Valpha-Valaharian, since Dolphan's army was severely crippled with his plan (the fact that Dolphan's "win" was disastrous for them is acknowledged In-Universe).
Mitsumete Knight R : Daibouken Hen (the RPG) provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Sophia, Leslie, Linda and Hanna all Took a Level in Badass in this Alternate Universe and became this.
- Adam and Eve Plot: Christopher MacLeod and Fairy Queen Pako, who become the Saint Genesis Father and Mother, after leaping back to the beginnings of time.
- And Your Reward Is Clothes: Obviously, a part of this game's Virtual Paper Doll system.
- Anime Theme Song / Ending Theme: The game has both of them, both sung by Hiroko Konishi, the voice actor of main heroine Sophia.
- The Coats Are Off: Raizze does this in the anime opening sequence.
- Creepy Basement: The last floors of the The Very Definitely Final Dungeon look like the unholy child of Aliens 's Cocoon Hive and Silent Hill 's Alternate Hospital, among other horrors. It's an extreme contrast to the town where the dungeon lies, a paradisiac land populated by fairies.
- The Empire: Orcadia is actually revealed as a ghastly one, upon a second playthrough. The number of people and nations they screwed, and the horrific way they did it, in their thirst for power and continent domination, is astounding.
- Honest Axe: Occurs at Tripond Mountain, except that MacLeod drops in the water a dynamite pack needed to get a gem, instead of an axe. Pointing the correct dynamite nets you one of the three colored-dynamite packs allowing you to get either a Ruby, an Emerald, or Gold Bars (depending on the dynamite's color), along with the regular dynamite pack.
- Impossibly Delicious Food: Lesley thinks of Middmoney Restaurant's meal as this (to the point she sheds anime-style stream of tears), if MacLeod goes on a date with her there. She later explains the meal tasted very much like her mother's cooking, back when she was young.
- Instant Awesome: Just Add Mecha!: The Pyramid's true purpose is to hide and store an Humongous Mecha. Said mecha is the only way to cross a large river standing between you and the next land around mid-game.
- Isometric Projection
- Kamehamehadoken: One of the Super Love Attacks, which is only accessible if both female partners are deeply in love with MacLeod.
- Our Fairies Are Different: They actually reside in a parallel world to the Human World, and the access between those worlds is very strict.
- Put on a Bus: If you're not named Sophia, Raizze, Leslie, Hanna, Linda, or Carneau, you're a victim of this trope, being reduced as a mere cameo. Especially jarring in the case of Priscilla and Anne, which were poster girls of the original Mitsumete Knight game, major players in the storyline (even more so for Priscilla when taking the Drama CDs into account), and well-liked characters in the fandom.
- Replay Value: While Mitsumete Knight loved this trope, Mitsumete Knight R turns this Up to Eleven, milking this trope for all its worth, thanks to its New Game+ system : depending on if your playthrough number is an odd or an even one (i.e., if your playthrough is your 1st/3rd/5th/etc, or a 2nd/4th/6th/etc one), the epilogue and the endings will be different and you'll only get some of the clothes. What's more, depending on if you get a specific item at the very beginning of the game, the epilogue will further radically change ! And that's not entering into the fact there's a paired ending for each of the 5 girls, and that specific events will appear during the game only if you have the two required girls needed for them with you, or if you managed to gain high Relationship Values with a specific girl in a former playthrough.
- The Reveal: The Hero and Captain of Orcadia's Royal Guards, Christopher MacLeod, is actually revealed upon a second playthrough, as one of the O2 terrorist organization's Big Four, acting as The Mole waiting for the right time to strike and destroy Orcadia from within. He does this because he's thirsting for revenge, being the Prince of the fallen Kingdom Parmet, destroyed by Orcadia's schemes, and having seen his cute and beloved little sister Melinda slowly and horribly tortured to death by Orcadia.
- Shout-Out: One of the Printstation (the in-game Purikura system) pictures displays several characters from Konami franchises, such as Shiori Fujisaki and Saki Nijino, Twinbee and Madoka, Goemon and Ebisumaru, Vic Viper and a Moai, Takosuke and Koitsu, and Alucard to cite a few.
- Another Shout Out, this time for Twinbee : Aqua, a minor character who lives in the last Human World town, punctuates the end of her speech with the characteristic "-bee" Verbal Tic whenever she loses patience.
- True Final Boss: Two of them, who are mutually exclusive since they appear depending on if you're on a License of Heartless odd-numbered playthrough, or a even-numbered playthrough: General Kurgan of Orcadia in the first case, and Calbares, the One-Winged Angel form of Dark Prince in the second case. Hope you carefully saved up those rare Mandragore Roots/Magic Mushrooms you collected during your quest, because you'll need them against those guys.
- True Love's Kiss: Unlike in Mitsumete Knight, the protagonist of Mitsumete Knight R, Captain MacLeod, can get to kiss the girl closest to him in his Five Girl Band in several instances.
- Virtual Paper Doll: A major game mechanic. In fact, some Japanese fans go as far as describing this game as "a clothes-gathering quest disguised as an RPG". Only partially true, as the plot reveals to be quite deeper and very dark upon the second playthrough.
- Warp Whistle: The statues present in nearly every town of the game allow you to warp to any of those towns by touching them, but you first need to activate the system by gathering the 3 Slates of Earth, Sea and Sky scattered throughout the world, and then place them in the machine inside the Pyramid.
- Weapon of Choice: Each main character has one. MacLeod and Sophia both use a sword ; Raizze is a master fencer with the rapier ; Hanna has a boomerang as a weapon ; Leslie uses claws ; and Linda's weapon is a whip.
- Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: The true nature of the terrorist organization O2 (short for "The Opposition to Orcadia"), revealed upon a second playthrough.