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Video Game / Rez

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Rez is a Rail Shooter produced by Tetsuya Mizuguchi and developed by Sega that's set in a futuristic computer supernetwork called the K-project where much of the data flow is controlled by an AI named Eden. Eden has become overwhelmed with the amount of knowledge gathered on the network, and then a virus infects her, causing her to doubt her existence and enter a shutdown sequence, which will mess things up big time since society as a whole depends too much on technology. The gamer plays a hacker, logging into the K-project system to reboot Eden while destroying any viruses or firewalls that happen to inhibit progress, and analyzing other sub-areas of the network to gain access to Eden's location. With visuals heavily inspired by the Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky, the game's music and sound react to the player's actions in a way that allows you to partially compose the background music as you play.


Rez was released on both the Sega Dreamcast and the PlayStation 2 in November 2001 in Japan, and in early 2002 in Europe and North America (though North America did not get the Dreamcast release). Due to its weak sales, it soon became a rare gem. However, thanks to the release of Rez HD on Xbox Live Arcade in 2008, anyone with a Xbox 360 and access to Xbox Live can now not only enjoy the game for 10 dollars (at least in the U.S.), but with even more stunning high-definition visuals and discrete 5.1 channel audio as well. Rez Infinite was released for the PlayStation 4 in October 2016, and utilizes the PlayStation VR headset to immerse players further into the world of Rez. Enhance Games, founded by Mizuguchi, is handling the port, which now supports 1080 visuals, 7.1 audio, and allows 120 frames-per-second on the VR headset. This version was later brought to Steam in August 2017, with higher resolution textures and maintaining VR support, now using the Vive or Oculus Rift.


The game received a prequel, Child of Eden, also produced by Mizuguchi and developed by Q Entertainment in 2011. The game was first released for the Xbox 360, utilizing Microsoft's new Kinect interface, and was later released for the PlayStation 3 which also utilized the Playstation Move motion controllers. It is about eliminating viruses in order to secure the first AI "birth", Lumi, the AI duplication of the first space-born human girl.

Not to be confused with ReZ, the host of the video game soundtrack review show ReZonance Soundtrack Reviews. But it does use the song “Buggie Running Beeps” from this game as its Theme Tune, though. It should definitely not to be confused with the song by Underworld (although the game's title was inspired by it). Nor should it be confused with the arch-nemesis of Gex.

These games contain examples of:

  • After Boss Recovery: Not with the stage 1-4 bosses, but after defeating each of the Personal Firewalls guarding the last boss, you get health and overdrives (if you can snatch them up fast enough).
  • Art Shift: Area X features more particle effects than the original Areas, and a visual style closer to Child of Eden.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Kind of. It's not really Eden going evil so much as her having a massive breakdown.
  • All There in the Manual: The story for Rez is found in both manuals and supplemental material.
  • Ancient Egypt / Pyramid Power: The design motif for Area 1.
  • And I Must Scream: Implied by the system if you lose to the boss:
    The system is trying to shut down, trapping you inside! Defend yourself until [Earth/Mars/Venus/Uranus].MEGA/GIGA/TERA is destroyed or self-destructs!
  • "Arabian Nights" Days: The design motif for Area 2.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: What the ending could be interpreted as.
  • Beehive Barrier: Venus's shell.
  • Bishōnen Line: Followed by the player, unusually; each level-up makes the humanoid player avatar slightly less abstract- except the penultimate form is a glowing sphere, and the ultimate form? A 2001-style space fetus.
  • Bonus Dungeon: The Lost Area and Area X.
  • Boss Rush: An unlockable mode. In addition, the last boss features abbreviated versions of the first 4 bosses before you fight the real thing.
  • Brown Note: The game's mission statement.
  • Computer Virus: What the player is supposed to be shooting, and what the player character could be interpreted as. It's also interpreted a computer virus caused Eden to doubt her existence.
  • Content Warnings: Rez warns players susceptible to seizures that they might have to exercise caution while playing.
  • Cores-and-Turrets Boss: Earth, the Area 1 boss. Venus, the Area 3 boss has a massive wall of turrets as its outermost protective layer.
  • Cyberspace
  • Cyberpunk Is Techno: Both artistically and musically.
  • Deadly Walls:
    • The second phase of Mars, the Area 2 boss, throws these at you.
    • Area 4 has a number of wall enemies; each one is defeated by shooting its four glowing nodes out.
    • Area 5 has the Gates of Truth that separate each section. If you don't shoot out the 8 locks in time, you'll still gain analysis (you'll always have 100% by the end), but you'll lose a form in the process.
  • Developers' Foresight: You can play throught all the Areas (Except for the fifth) by not shooting at the guardian and deal with all the virus present in later "Analyzations" by still remaining at the 0%.
  • Driven to Suicide: What Eden is doing if you don't stop her in time.
  • Dummied Out: The Rez beta used a mix of Underworld's Cowgirl and Born Slippy for Area 1. Area 2 used Aphex Twin's "Come to Daddy", Area 3 used Ken Ishii/Flare's "Extra", and area 4 used The Chemical Brothers' "Music Responce", however sources are not entirely clear on 2 through 4. (Area 5 was already using Mind Killer). Only a handful of samples made it to the final release.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Travelling mode gives you invincibility, but does not save your stats nor does it let you access Area 5.
  • Extreme Graphical Representation
  • Guest Fighter: The Morolian from Space Channel 5.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Not as absurd as Hackers, but close.
  • Jidai Geki: The design motif for Area 4.
  • Joke Character: The Morolian. It's essentially like being on the Zeroth Form (making you a One-Hit-Point Wonder) and you can't go up a form (meaning you always stay that way). It's basically there as a Self-Imposed Challenge and, of course, as a Shout-Out to Space Channel 5.
  • Logic Bomb: Eden is shutting herself down since a virus infected her and she thinks she's "surrounded by paradoxes".
  • Macross Missile Massacre: A common tactic of many bosses and occasionally a few enemies. Can be one of the most dangerous parts of a fight because unlike in many games, there's no way to dodge attacks, so you have to shoot down every missile. If you get overwhelmed you can go from 5th form to game over in a few seconds.
  • Marathon Boss: The bosses of Area 2 and Area 5.
  • Master Computer: Eden.
  • Mind Screw: Pretty much the entire game, but especially the Trance Mission mode, whose BGM is complete cacophony.
  • Multiple Endings: A It's a Wonderful Failure for losing to the Area 5 boss, a partial ending for defeating it, a Gainax Ending for defeating it and staying in your final form, and a Golden Ending for defeating it while in your final form and get a 100% clear in the whole game.
  • Nintendo Hard: Surprisingly averted, for a game that shares a lot of tropes with Shoot Em Ups. You die in one hit, have no mid-stage checkpoints and have to shoot down waves of enemies, but the game isn't especially hard, since you lock onto enemies instead of having to manually shoot them.
    • However, getting the good ending is extremely Nintendo Hard as it requires you to complete the fifth level and defeat the final boss while in the final form i.e. you must not take a single hit throughout the entire level and boss fight.
      • There's also a best ending which not only requires you to finish in final form, but take out every single enemy in the final stage. It should be noted that the relative length of the final stage, plus the fact that certain targets on the final boss drop Progress Nodes, mean it's very possible (but much harder) to fulfill the criteria after taking a hit or two.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: The all new Area X.
  • Off the Rails: A literal example in Area X, which allows for free movement.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Each form can only take one hit before you go down to the next one. If you get hit when you're playing as the zeroth form, it's game over. You start at first form and can rank up by collecting pick-ups from enemies.
  • Power Perversion Potential: In Japan, the game shipped with what was called The Trance Vibrator. Designer Tetsuya Mizuguchi says it has "no sexual meaning"...right. The Xbox Live Arcade remake offers vibration for three more controllers in lieu of Trance Vibrator support.
  • Rhythm Game: You hear music beats in place of sounds when you aim and fire, and your actions align with the music.
  • Scenery Porn
  • Scoring Points: Score Attack mode. Optimal scoring strategies revolve around getting as many x8 lockons as you can. Unfortunately, so is dragging on boss battles.
  • Secret Level: Lost Area.
  • Sequential Boss: Venus has three parts—a massive wall of laser turrets, seemingly endless streams of manic flying fish, and the core itself.
    • Eden, the boss of Area 5 treads the line between this and a Boss Rush.
  • Shoot the Bullet: Because the game is a rail shooter and you usually have no way to move your character, shooting down bullets, missiles, and whatever else is aimed at you is the only way you can defend yourself.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The final level's music, as per the Adam Freeland piece that it samples, features prominent usage of the phrase, "Fear is the mind-killer".
    • The Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky is credited for being a huge inspiration behind the game's visuals and goal to invoke synesthesia.
  • Smart Bomb: The overdrives.
  • Suspicious Video Game Generosity: The boss area of Area 5 starts by upgrading you to Final Form, and then you get support items between each of the sub-bosses. Given that the Final Boss will happily indulge in Macross Missile Massacre, you will very likely need all of this help.
  • Updated Re-release: The PS2 re-release, Rez HD on XBLA, and Rez Infinite for the PS4 and PC.
  • Variable Mix: By far one of the most prominent examples outside of a Rhythm Game.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Mars.TERA is far stronger than its own .GIGA counterpart, let alone Earth from Area 1. It throws barrier walls at the player twice as often (including mixing in walls that are twice as powerful), and its tentacle-guns fire much more often and rapidly.
  • Warm-Up Boss: Earth. The .MEGA versions of each boss, when compared to the .GIGA versions.
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: The Venus Personal Firewall's second attack pattern. It creates numerous clock shaped drones, and charges them by shooting lasers at them. The numbers light up as the charge builds and dim when you shoot them. They're destroyed when all the lights are dimmed, but they get charged faster as less and less remain. You get zapped when they're fully charged.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: The final stage, when you're floating above the world, and after going through the evolution cycle set up throughout the rest of the stage.

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