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Video Game / Rengoku

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"The androids were to perform in a cage, a dark arena of everlasting combat where hope was destined to be a forgotten memory..."

In The Future, humanity, trying to avoid casualties in wars, has started to rely on Robot Soldiers. Through the Lensman Arms Race, the ultimate androids have emerged, A.D.A.M. (Autonomous Duelling Armed Machine), capable of morphing their body into weapons with Elixir Skin, finally bringing the war to an end.

The victors, Deucalion Group, not knowing what else to do with an army of highly intelligent and purposeless war androids, have decided to reprogram them for an endless Gladiator Game. Not wanting to simply destroy them, Deucalion have created for them Purgatory, the first of the many Rengoku Towers, and sealed it away, while the repetitive ascension is being broadcasted for the public entertainment.

Until one A.D.A.M. gladiator, Gram, Grew Beyond Their Programming and decided to escape.

Rengoku: The Tower of Purgatory is an Action RPG for PlayStation Portable by Neverland and Hudson Soft, published by Konami in April 26, 2005. Features illustrations by Jun Suemi.

Rengoku II: The Stairway to H.E.A.V.E.N., released in April 27, 2006, is a Soft Reboot that takes place in another tower, with an A.D.A.M. unit awakening some of his wartime memories as Captain Gram and seeking answers.

Rengoku provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: AI Deucalion treats ADAMs like children and as her actual children, and is both angered and proud by the thought of a unit having a rebellious attitude.
  • Accidental Hero: Virgil has created ADAMs based on Captain Gram's memories. Beatrice, who was in love with Gram, has tampered with the uploading to remove his personality so there wouldn't be thousands of Grams and left only combat data. It turns out Virgil had a secondary plan to turn ADAMs into the new master race and needed them to develop consciousness. So while he was able to end the Machine War, Beatrice unwittingly made it so he was unable to start the new one against mankind.
  • All for Nothing:
    • Purgatory has no spectators, they've went extinct centuries ago. So all ADAMs are fighting each other simply becuase they don't or can't question the program.
    • Virgil wanted his ADAMs to replace humanity and has waited for them to grow self-conscious. Humans eventually went extinct for unknown reasons regardless, while the ADAM units got forever stuck in the tower, failing to grow. The only ones with their own ego turned out to originally be humans with amnesia.
  • Amnesiac Hero: The ADAM protagonist of the second game has pieces of Captain Gram's memories, and is looking for the rest of them. Turns out Gram and the floor bosses were human mercenaries and victims of being consumed by nanomachines with a side-effect of Brain Uploading into brand-new ADAM units, and this tower was designed by Beatrice to hopefully trigger flashbacks from him.
  • Amnesia Loop: It's heavily implied that being defeated by Gryphus on the last floor also completely resets the ADAM, as floor masters react to Gram as if they've fought countless times already. It's intentional in both games, as in the first game Deucalion awaits an ADAM with enough will to break the cycle, while in the second game Beartice waits from Gram to recover his memories.
  • Big Bad: In the first game, AI Deucalion, the overseer of Purgatory, is enforcing all ADAMs to continue the Gladiator Games despite there be nobody to watch them. It's also training the ultimate fighting machine when there's nobody else to fight, and keeps Gryphus as her guardian. In the second game the last enemy is also Deucalion, further elaborated as being instructed by Virgil to make ADAMs turn on humans when they prove to have grown a will of their own.
  • Bizarrchitecture:
    • Each of the Rengoku Towers has the floors floating separated and misaligned from each other.
    • The doors on the 8th floor in the second game act more like portals, as the "rooms" are floating platforms that are separated from each other.
  • Blinded by Rage: Each boss is said to be so "blinded by their sin", they would have recognized that Gram is their Captain if not for spending too much time in own self-loathing.
  • Blind Weaponmaster: Lycaon in the second game has his eyes burned and allegedly can't see, yet he can jump right onto the player with his heating swords and turn invincible.
  • Blood Knight: All ADAMs are programmed to fight without thinking about anything else, but Briareos especially finds joy in it.
  • Camera Lock-On: The player can lock onto the enemies and switch between them, making ranged and melee weapons aim at them automatically.
  • Child Soldiers: A flashback in the second game tells that Captain Gram was wiping blood during the Machine War when a normal kid would play with toys, and was considered a veteran at a very young age.
  • Continuing is Painful:
    • Downplayed. Dying makes you Meltdown and return to the floor entrance, while dropping all carried weapons in the room to be picked up later. Depending on if the player has any backup set of weapons, it may be a challenge to not only progress through the floor, but also getting the old gear back.
    • Played straight with HEAVEN challenges in the second game, which use a separate inventory. On Meltdown, HEAVEN-A puts you 4 floors below, while HEAVEN-B and HEAVEN-C kick you out enitrely.
  • Dead All Along: The first game's manual mentions that the Towers have been set up for the entertainment of human spectators, so it comes quite a surprise when one of the boss mentions that humanity has been extinct for centuries.
  • Disappointed by the Motive: Near the end of the second game Beatrice explains that she has ressurected Gram as ADAM becuase she wanted to see him again after his horrible death. But, becuase he has lost his memories, in order to help him recover, she has ressurected his comrades as ADAMs as well. And made Gram kill them all, which turned into a convinient chance to give him closure for the past incident. He tells her they all should have just stayed dead and attacks her hologram.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: After defeating Gryphus in the second game, Beatrice unlocks another tower called H.E.A.V.E.N., with the high-level AI Deucalion, named after the company that created ADAMs, at the top.
  • Divided We Fall: In the past, Mars got killed by overusing own AI Suit, Lycaon got burned alive by Gryphus and Minos out of Revenge went against Gryphus alone, thus Gryphus getting 4 AI Cells. It was proposed by Statius and Sphinx to do the same and fight him with 5 AI Cell Suits versus 4, though of course they wouldn't wait for consensus. In the end Gryphus managed to get all AI Cells with Gram finally killing him before dying himself.
  • Do Androids Dream?: The protagonist android in the first game stands out by protecting his "will", while others have, according to Statius, have been in a cycle of fighting over 6 million times and are either okay with it or don't have enough ego to go against it.
  • Eternal Engine: The 3rd floor in the second game is a factory level filled with rivers of liquid metal and flaming pipes.
  • Ethereal White Dress: Beatrice in the flashback is a regular human operator and a researcher in a labcoat. By the time of the Tower's construction, she wears something resembling a Fairytale Wedding Dress and acts as the only force of hope in the game.
  • Everything Breaks: The second game introduces a lot of destructable obstacles like crates, pillars and sliding doors.
  • Evil Is Bigger: Mars, Sphinx and Alcmaeon bosses in the second have a unique body shape that is a couple times larger than any ADAM.
  • Evil Gloating: In the second game Gryphus, both as a boss and in the backstory, mocks Gram for having emotions, while he patiently waits doing caluclations to defeat Gram each loop. When killed, he gives an Evil Laugh considering that Gram has yet to remember the rest, which Beatrice expositions shortly.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: Rengoku towers are combat arenas for ADAMs with an explicit Hell analogy.
  • Experience Points: The games have five separate Skill bars, that are filled by defeating enemies with respective weapon type. Each level multiplies the stats of weapons of that type. Each eqipment can also gain up to 30 points from continuous use.
  • Final Boss:
    • Gryphus in both games is the mysterious champion of Purgatory and the master of the last floor. In the first game he has to be defeated at the end of the second ascension as well.
    • The first protagonist, or at least an ADAM with the same equipment, is boss of HEAVEN-99 in the second game, and after that is just a gauntlet against Mooks and a Zero-Effort Boss.
  • Fluffy Cloud Heaven: Paradisus in the second game, desgined after Heaven, has disconnected stone platforms overgrown with plants, floating in the sky surrounded by clouds.
  • The Future: The game takes place in "the near future" where using robots and remotely-piloted machines for wars became so common, human soldiers became obsolete.
  • Gainax Ending: In the ending of the first game the Big Bad tells the protagonist that his growth was part of the Purgatory Project the entire time and blesses it to leave for future battles, with no elaboration what either of those mean.
  • Gladiator Games: ADAM soldiers are reprogrammed to fight each other, while humans watch from home, bewildered and amused by their combat capabilities and gamble on champions.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: It's heavily implied that Virgil of Deucalion Group deliberataly gave Captain Gram's squad AI Suits that are easy to oveheat, so when someone eventually dies they would start fighting each other out of paranoia and provide him with better combat data. It's also unclear where did Gryphus get the idea that looting his squad memebers for AI Cells can make yourself stronger, since the squad wasn't told this. Later, seeing how much better the natural data is compared to previous androids, Virgil secretly installs an overseer program to keep Rengoku on a loop until ADAMs start thinking like humans and eventually replace them.
  • Greed: In the second game Sphinx is excited to steal Gram's Elixir Skin for himself. It reflects his Past-Life Memories where he wanted to kill his teammates to have their AI Suits.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: In the second game Lycaon says he'll loot the player's weapons because they look superior. It reflects his human self wanting Mars's Suit becuase he envied Gram's strength, but he was killed by Gryphus by glitching out his Suit.
  • Grew Beyond Their Programming:
    • The protagonist android of the first game has developed an ego after all the fighting and decided he had enough of it.
    • Captain Gram stands out as being capable of emotions while ADAMs are believed to retain no thought process that isn't useful for combat. One of the first signs of it is checking the sky for no specific purpose. Him having human memories would explain it.
    • Minos in the first game, unlike other bosses, shows sign of own will, though is compelled to continue fighting due to the programming. During the second ascension Deucalion takes over him to remove the "programming flaw".
    • In both games it turns out Gryphus is Not Brainwashed. In the first game he acts as Deucalion's bodyguard becuase there's nothing left for them outside, while in the second game he has regained his human memories of Gram's traitorous teammate and chose to wait for him instead of leaving himself For the Evulz.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Minos in the second game is said to attack anyone he's angry at before even thinking and hates everyone for increasing the heat on the floor. It reflects his human life's impulsive nature.
  • Hard Mode Filler: in the first game, beating the final boss on the 8th floor has Deucalion taunt you, and you have to replay ever floors again with slightly harder enemy spawns and new boss dialogues. Clearing the new 8th floor shows the true ending.
  • Healing Factor: As long as an ADAM unit isn't taken down, the Elixir Skin will regenerate any damage. Even if they Meltdown, they liquify and return From a Single Cell later.
  • Hell Is War: The Tower in the second game is described as hell where ADAMs have to keep fighting, unable to die or have other thoughts.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: In both games the protagonists can be renamed at the start, while GRAM is the default name.
  • Hit Stop: In the second game depleting boss's health pauses the game and the camera shows the player then the boss before continuing.
  • Hub Level: In the second game the 0th floor has transporters to all other floors.
  • Humanity's Wake: Statius in both games drops that there are no spectators, humanity have died out ages ago and the Purgatory remained automated. ADAMs are fighting for literally no reason, but can't go against the programming. In the second game Beatrice says she and Gram are the only "souls" left on the planet.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate:
    • Minos in the first game complains that as an immortal who can't resist commands in his head, he can only wish to be "released".
    • Mars in the second game lives in constant pain, which is a reflection of his human self being consumed by the AI Suit, and thanks Gram for putting him to rest.
  • Inconveniently-Placed Conveyor Belt: The 4th floor in the second game is filled with conveyor belts. While it makes traversing the floor faster, it can hinder the combat.
  • It's All Upstairs From Here: Both games involve going from the 0th to the 8th floor and defeating the floor masters along the way.
  • I Want My Mommy!: In the second game Mars calls out for his mother before disintegrating, saying he can finally sleep.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: The game manuals only provide the basic summary, while the rest of the story is told by bosses and post-floor cutscenes one at a time. While the plot of the first game is still minimalistic, in the second game many named characters have a lot to say about how the Tower came to be.
  • Kill Enemies to Open: Some doors in the second game are marked with an orange flower, meaning they can't open upon entering without defeating the enemies.
  • Kill It with Fire: In the second game Minos has flamethrowers and can leave trails of fire on the floor.
  • Launcher Move: Using a grapling weapon throws an opponent upwards. Using two graple weapons lets you make the opponent unable to do anything.
  • Lazy Bum: In the second game's backstory Briareos was a mercenary who never did much, to not "do anything wrong". He end ends up being shot after trying to flee from Gryphus. As a boss, he uses ranged laser weapons to attack and conveyer belts to move around.
  • Level Grinding: Leaving a floor and returning brings back the enemies, which is the way to get strong enough to challenge endgame bosses.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: During the war, the Program put defeated ADAMs into a virtual reality combat "nightmare" for AI training, while they have memories manipulated to assume they fight for real, before actually returning to the battlefield.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: One of the possible arm equipments are shields that reduce damage at the cost of durability.
  • Lust: Statius in the second game is a Blood Knight with a "lust for battle", searching for a feeling he doesn't understand he gets by defeating enemies.
  • Mini-Boss: Each floor in the second game has several Challenge Rooms, which spawn high-level orange-colored ADAM enemies. These are required to be cleared to unlock the floor boss.
  • My Girl Back Home: During the war, Beatrice, a machine operator, has fallen in love with Captain Gram, a mercenary, and waited for him to return. She cries Tears of Joy and horror when she notices the prototype-ADAM learning data had his memories inside.
  • Nostalgia Level: H.E.A.V.E.N. in the second game is a copy of the Purgatory tower from the first game, along with the music.
  • Nanomachines: Elixir Skin are described as autonomous AI cells that shape an ADAM with liquid plastic fibers and create weapons. In-game they act as currency for upgrades.
  • New Game Plus: Clearing the last floor in the second game unlocks the second tower, but lets you challenge the Tower again many times, while keeping everything you have. But all enemies get their health and attack upscaled with better weapon tiers.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted, the default name of both protagonists is Gram, but they have separate backgrounds and both can be renamed. Bosses also share names across games, but are unlikely to be the same.
  • Overheating: Using weapons or dodging fills the heat meter of the respective body part. Using the same weapon without alternating causes it to Overheat and be unusable for a few seconds. Some weapons are fire-oriented and are used to disable the opponents.
  • Palette Swap: The boss of HEAVEN-66 is just Gryphus but blue instead of red.
  • Pride: The second game tells that Mars, who is associated with Pride, has lacked discipline or self-restraint and have overused his AI Suit, which ended up killing him.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: Mozart's Lacrimosa is used in the final cutscene of the first game.
  • Quest for Identity: In the second game an ADAM keeps getting memories of Captain Gram and decides to uncover them. Killing bosses makes him remember they were his comrades, and Beatrice who is in love with him has designed the tower to help him remember.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: The opening cutscene for the second game uses the Evacuation theme from Armageddon (1998).
  • Resurrective Immortality: The ADAM units are made of Nanomachines, so when they are killed they liquify, return to the base and resume the fight.
  • Robot Soldier: The Great Offscreen War has evolved into what's called the Machine War, with everyone fighting with remotely controlled machinery and later androids. The new ADAM units were so efficient, they've quickly put the war to an end.
  • Training from Hell: Defeated ADAMs in the second game are said to be put into a Program, a combat simulator after which they either return stronger or have an "AI breakdown".
  • Seeks Another's Resurrection: ADAMs normally have no personality or distinctive characteristics, so when the deceased Captain Gram's memories were discovered in ADAM prototypes, Beatrice tried everything to restore him the way he was.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: The floors in the second game are themed after Pride, Envy, Wrath, Sloth, Greed, Gluttony, Lust, with Paradise as the last one.
    Mars, whose pride proved his downfall.
    Lycaon, who envied the strength of others.
    Minos, whose actions were ruled by rage.
    Briareos, who was too lazy to live his life.
    Sphinx, whose greed could never remain hidden.
    Alcmaeon, the glutton who hungered for passion.
    Statius, who lusted for joy even in battle.
  • Shapeshifter Default Form: All ADAMs with no equipment default to the appearance of a naked man with Tron Lines.
  • Shapeshifter Weapon: ADAM units can morph their arms, head, torso, and legs into swords, guns, hammers, crossbows etc.
  • Starter Equipment: Without weapons, the player can still be a Bare-Fisted Monk, just with very low attack and defense.
  • Stationary Boss: Sphinx in the second game cannot move from the center of the room and relies on ranged plasma rifles.
  • Soft Reboot: The second game requires no knowledge of the first game, though there are some spoilers shared by both games. All named characters are given new personalities and elaborate backstories. While Purgatory is namedropped in the flashbacks, the current Rengoku is simply called the Tower, while the second tower that heavily resembles the one from the first game is called HEAVEN.
  • Sound Test: The Gallery menu saves almost all background music encountered, alongside the cutscenes viewed during the story's campaign and some promo art and renders.
  • Speech Impediment:
    • Mars in the first game speaks by colliding words.
      Talking-is-irrelevant. It-only-delays-progress. Disengage-your-speech-circuits-and-switch-to-battle-mode-like-the-other-combatants.
    • In the second game Briareos is a Blood Knight that constantly stutters and repeats his thoughts.
      I-I-I-I'mgonnadestroyeverythingI'mgonnadest... Uh, y-y-y-yeh, y-y-yer right."
  • Super Prototype: The backstory of the second game tells that Gram, based on a human Captain Gram was a wartime android who has grown higher intelligence. Virgil, the chairman of the Deucalion, seeing it as a symbol of strength, has created the ADAMs based of his AI data to finish the war, but Beatrice has removed his memories from the template for personal reasons. After his revival, the way he is identified is by having an unparalleled combat skill.
  • Ultimate Life Form: ADAMs are considered the ultimate weapon with their Resurrective Immortality and growing intellect. Virgil believes they should even replace humans.
  • Unusual Weapon Mounting: One of the more commonly seen weapons are a cannon in the chest or a giant pistol as the head.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: A defeated enemy has an additional health bar, attacking it before it despawns gives additional loot.
  • Villainous Glutton: In the second game Alcmaeon is a fat boss who considers Gram his "meal" and calls his weapons "tasty".
  • Villain Override: In the first game AI Deucalion takes over Minos during the second ascension for thinking too much.
  • Visionary Villain: According to the second game, the chairman of Deucalion Group, Virgil, have deduced that his ADAMs are the better lifeforms than humans, added a secret purpose to the Purgatory tower to help them develop self-awareness. In case they grow conscious like Captain Gram, the AI manager Deucalion would unleash them to the world. Ironically, Gram Was Once a Man and escapes himself after humanity have long went extinct.
  • Walking Armory: Stronger ADAMs are normally equipped with blades, rockets, and lasers at the same time. The game heavily encourages mixing weapon types and categories.
  • War Is Hell: Even before the Great Offscreen War have become the Machine War, it's described as "endless grief and desolation". Nobody even remembers how it started or what it was for.
  • Was Once a Man: The flashbacks show that the ADAM bosses in the second game were human mercenaries of Captain Gram's squad with a strong bond. They were once given "AI cell suits" by Deucalion for "testing", and were told they just have good shock-absorbtion. Mars got consumed by it, while Gryphus has killed Lycaon and Minos for power. The others have killed each other thinking they can counter Gryphus and eventually he got 8 cells, but was shot by transformed Gram. And now all of them are ADAMs.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: The second game is heavily inspired by The Divine Comedy, with the hero going through the "seven circles of hell" before reaching "Heaven", with Beatrice and Virgil as important characters. The strongest sword in the game is called Dante.
  • You Don't Look Like You: All bosses in the second game share names with ones from the the first, but all are given new Non-Standard Character Design except for Gryphus who looks the same.
  • Zero-Effort Boss: AI Deucalion is the last enemy in the second game, but it doesn't attack. It calls Gram a War God and hopes he enjoys fighting forever, with a teleporter to return to the game. Alternatively, if you attack it, it dies in a couple of hits and shows the ending cutscene.

Alternative Title(s): Rengoku The Tower Of Purgatory, Rengoku II The Stairway To HEAVEN