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Video Game / Paprium

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Alex, Tug and Dice ready to clean the streets.

Paprium is a 2020 indie Beat 'em Up action game developed by WaterMelon studios, specifically to run on the Sega Mega Drive, with aesthetics resembling old-timey arcade action games from the late 80s and early 90s.

Set in the futuristic year of 842 (!!!) note  after a nuclear war decimated most of humanity, a new Megacity is formed somewhere between the ruins of what used to be Tokyo, Shanghai and Pyongyang. Said city is called Paprium, and is a hive of criminal activity filled with thugs and murderers who controls the streets.

Players assume the roles of three soldiers, Dice(the Jack of All Stats), Alex (the Fragile Speedster Token Female), and Tug (the Mighty Glacier Scary Black Man), who will restore order to Paprium by way of fists.

The game is notable for using a on-cartridge co-processor to decompress data to send to the console, and being extremely finicky as it will not run on certain MegaDrive models, and most certainly not on emulation-based hardware like the Hyperkin or the AtGames made ARM-based Genesis clones. It also could not be emulated due to its co-processor for which there is currently no support in any existing MegaDrive emulator.

Paprium contain examples of:

  • After the End: Set after a nuclear war several generations ago which decimated most of the world's civilizations. With local culture being cobbled together from remnants of three cities in Japan, China and Korea.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Because of the setting being in a crapsack future after a nuclear war, most of the population of Paprium have oddly-coloured skin, including yellow, orange, silver… two of the bosses, Retro and Rondo, are respectively purple and green.
  • Artificial Limbs Are Stronger: The Final Boss, Murdock, have a metal right arm which doubles as a Power Fist, capable of taking entire chunks of your health away.
  • Artificial Stupidity: There's a stage in an aerial catwalk with holes underneath, which you risk falling through and losing a life. Mooks in the same stage - somehow - will, in a blindsided attempt to charge at you, repeatedly run into the holes and fall to their deaths. It's really easy to exploit this trope by staying near these holes when fighting, tricking mooks into killing themselves for no reason.
  • Balance, Speed, Strength Trio: The three playable characters, Dice, Alex and Tug, in that order.
  • Boss Tease: Rondo, the boss of the subway stage, shows up right at the start of the level as a bystander lingering in the background with his hands in pockets, making no attempt to interact with you fighting mooks. He appears as you board the train too, as a casual passenger... the moment the train stops, you get off and fights him at the end of the stage.
  • Chain Pain: The Machu-class mooks use chains as weapons, and sometimes you can collect their chains for battling foes.
  • Circling Birdies: Performing repeated combos on enemies will stun them, with circling stars over their heads as they stood still for several seconds allowing you to finish them off.
  • Creepily Long Arms: One of the game's recurring enemy is a deformed, mutated midget with arms longer than their entire bodies, which they drag along the floor while walking.
  • Degraded Boss: Most of the bosses you fight returns in the final stage, as Murdock's bodyguards and Mini-Boss nowhere as strong as their initial encounter.
  • Destination Defenestration: When you defeat the Final Boss, Murdock, in his penthouse office, the ending cinematic will have you upper-cutting Murdock through the penthouse windows to his death.
  • Dressed Like a Dominatrix: There are female mooks clad in a leather one-piece and knee-high boots, armed with whips which they will repeatedly use to lash out.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: The TVS enemies are always seen in gasmasks.
  • Interchangeable Asian Cultures: The street buildings have signs mixed with Chinese, Japanese and Korean language at random, which makes zero sense if translated by the speakers of either / all three language. Kind of justified since the game is set in the remnants of three different cities from either country after a nuclear war.
  • Locomotive Level: The third stage is set in a subway, where you board a train and fight every mook inside until there is nobody else left to beat up.
  • Mecha-Mooks: You fight legless Fembots as a recurring enemy after the subway stage, being hovering enemies with rocket boosters beneath their waists and very visible mechanical breasts. Who can fire laser beams from it's tips.
  • Pipe Pain: One of the recurring weapons, steel pipes the size of baseball bats for you to swing and smash.
  • The Place: The entirety of the game is set in the Wretched Hive city of Paprium.
  • Powered Armor: There arer two areas in which you can collect armour that boosts your health and attack power, the second occasion being after destroying two higher-grade robots - one of them will drop armor for you to pick up.
  • Retraux: The game is designed to look exactly like old-timey arcade games, from graphics to sound and music, to the point where it can work on original Sega hardware. Note that this is a game from 2020.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: You can punch and destroy vending machines, road signs, dustbins, ladders, signboards, as well as the usual crates and background objects, all which will drop objects for points. Subverted occasionally when certain objects like vending machines explode and take away some of your health.
  • Rollerblade Good: The second boss, Retro and his mooks flanking him wears rollerskates, and can spin their way around the arena and take potshots on you randomly, making it difficult to score a hit.
  • Shock Stick: Shock batons are among the most common pickups players can use on mooks, capable of stunning anyone hit for a few seconds with brief X-Ray Sparks.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Machu-type mooks, being effeminate bare-chested black thugs in skintight pants, who attacks by dry-humping you and taunt you from afar by slapping their own butts, is practically cribbed from the arcade classic Vendetta (1991).
    • Slaine, one of the bosses, is dressed like Mario, together with a familiar-looking red hat and a thick beard.
    • A billboard in the background final stage reveals that this game is set in a future where toilet paper no longer exists as a luxury. Isn't that the same crapsack future from Demolition Man?
  • The Tooth Hurts: It's slightly hard to notice, but occasionally after punching mooks (those which aren't robots and / or obscuring their faces, that it) repeatedly in their faces, you can see their teeth popping out with each blow.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Showtime, one of the bosses, fights with wrestling moves and is clad in wrestling gear.
  • Unique Enemy: Large-sized hovering robots appears in two areas, two at a time. You fight a couple halfway into the game, and another two appears near the end. In the second encounter one of the destroyed robots can be converted into armor.
  • Wrench Whack: You can collect heavy wrenches as weapons. They are slightly shorter than pipes but deals more damage with each hit.