Progear (2001) is a Bullet Hell Shoot 'em Up by Cave with artwork by "Joker" Junya Inoue. It is Cave's first Horizontal Scrolling Shooter, and one of three Capcom-distributed Bullet Hell games to be programmed on the venerable CP System II hardware (the other two being Takumi's Giga Wing and Mars Matrix).
Progear contains examples of:
- Babies Ever After: Rivet's ending
- Bittersweet Ending: The war is lost, at least in the sense of the Parts Kingdom no longer existing, even though the Motorouin leaders have been quashed. But the characters survive and move on to other things, or get married and prepare for the next war.
- Child Soldiers: Rivet is the oldest player character by a whole three years, and she is only 18 years old. Then again, the very theme of the game is the conflict between the vital, change-capable youths on the one hand, and the immortal, stasis-craving elders of the Motorouin on the other.
- Demonic Dummy: The boss of stage 3. "Hey! Stop trying to hide behind me!"
- Diesel Punk: The game's setting has technology roughly equivalent to about 5 to 10 years after World War I.
- Face Death with Dignity: The final boss shouts, "I do not fear death!" In the first loop, anyway, and that's probably a reference to his wired-in immortality. When felled in the second loop, he just screams in horror and pain as Volvox blows up around him.
- Government Conspiracy: The plot of the game.
- Immortality: The technology exists, but it's so difficult to implement that only the wealthiest denizens of the Parts Kingdom can even consider partaking of it. Only the five leaders of Motorouin are known to have done this, and it looks like their immortality has made them decide that they're the only ones fit to determine how the people shall live.
- Our Presidents Are Different: The president is a lion. Actually, he has a lion's mask, to conceal his actual wired-up face, which you'll see on the second loop. Drill must have had problems getting the immortality tech to properly take.
- Relationship Values: Part of the game's ranking system.
- Spiritual Successor: To Data East's obscure shmup Boogie Wings'', which features similar Diesel Punk aesthetics, and a first level of the plane escaping a burning hanger.
- Theme Naming: All of the player characters are named after components that are used to hold things together: Ring, Bolt, Chain, Nail, and Rivet. The bosses are named after tools. This also extends to the organization the bosses comprise, Motorouin. "Motor", but it's also Japanese for "senate". And then there's the name of the game—"gear", but with the "pro" at the beginning it sounds a lot like "progeria", a medical condition in which the victim ages particularly quickly. This is probably meant to evoke the game's theme of youths being forced to adopt mental maturity much earlier than usual.
- This Cannot Be!: "How could I have lost to a mere child!"
- True Final Boss: President Leonard Drill's sphere thing has one last layer in the second loop.
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The ending ten years after the war has been lost.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: On the second loop, the 4th boss screams, "I never knew that living forever would be so painful!" when you defeat her.