Years ago, in the colossal laboratory of Edo, genetic experiments produced the twin attributes of Silhouette and Mirage in a child called Armageddon. The twin attributes were opposite, complementary, and necessary for each other's existence, like yin and yang. Yet due to their very nature, they sundered Armageddon into two beings: Hal, who was all Mirage, and Megido, who was all Silhouette. Once started, this split infected all life on Earth. Many organisms were killed by the transition. The survivors were divided into two factions based on attribute, with Hal and Megido as their leaders.
Responding to the devastation, the artificial intelligence Gehena created Shyna Nera Shyna, the Messenger of Justice (although most seem to know her as the Messenger of Destruction), a member of the rare Proteans, beings who combine the attributes of Silhouette and Mirage. Shyna's mission is to repair Edo's computer system and neutralize the two attributes by re-uniting them, effectively reversing the event that created the world as it currently exists.
With run-and-gun elements in which the attribute of attacks, enemies, and other entities plays a central role in gameplay, it could be considered a different-genre analogue of Ikaruga.
This game provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Shyna, the Messenger of Justice (or Destruction, depending on who you ask) who's capable of using various parasites for different shot types, reflect attacks of the same element, and can punch foes in the face to make them cough up money.
- After the End: The game's setting is after a biological holocaust.
- Ambidextrous Sprite: The whole idea of Shyna's design (and arguably the jump-off point for the game's development) was to avert this. Much in the same manner as Gill in Street Fighter III, Shyna's attacks change depending on which side of her is facing the screen.
- Ambiguous Gender: Justified with Zohar, in that they change gender depending on their current attribute. Metatron is male and has the Silhouette attribute, and Sandalphon is female and has the Mirage attribute.
- Ambiguously Related: Armageddon's last words to Shyna are "If only... Sis..." If it refers to their shared status as creations of Edo or anything else is anyone's guess.
- Arms Dealer: The rabbit running the shop. You can buy (or sell) your weapons, as well as replenish life and spirit from him.
- Attack Reflector: Shyna can create a barrier to reflect attacks with the same attribute as hers and the green-colored Normal attacks back against the attacker.
- Auto-Save: The Saturn version automatically saves your progress over the course of the game; the PlayStation version uses manual saves.
- Big Bad Ensemble: Hal, the leader of the Mirages, and Megido, the leader of the Silhouettes.
- Boring, but Practical: Sloth is just a basic bullet attack...unless you find the hidden max level Sloth in the first stage, which is a high-powered machine gun that will easily carry you through the rest of the game.
- Bowdlerise: In the English PlayStation version, an image of a cross behind an inferno was changed to a Tyrannosaurus-like monster rampaging the scene.
- Brains Evil, Brawn Good: At least, the Silhouette leader supports Shyna and the Mirage leader tries to stop her.
- Brains Versus Brawn: According to Bug, "the brainy Mirages and brawny Silhouettes have never gotten along". He does mention that they have finally found some common ground as both factions want Shyna dead.
- Breath Weapon: Grattoni.
- Bulletproof Human Shield: Grabbed enemies can be used to take damage from other enemies instead of you.
- Cat Smile: Dynamis and Serah bear them.
- Calling Your Attacks: "Power Punch!" "Reflector!" "Parasite Bomb!"
- Chromatic Arrangement: Silhouettes are blue, Mirages are red, and Normal is green.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Dynamis. Most of her lines are nonsense about flowers.
- Cutscene Power to the Max: Zohar shows insane power in cutscenes, like slicing a building in half, but their abilities in actual gameplay appear to be on a level with Shyna's.
- Daddy's Little Villain: Geluve, who is Har's biological daughter.
- Dark Is Not Evil and Light Is Not Good: The "dark" Silhouettes and "light" Mirages both include friendly and enemy characters.
- Defeat by Modesty: Shooting at Polly Peepers sometimes causes their mask to fly off, causing them to retreat while covering their face in embarassment.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Bug, a boss encountered early in the game, turns to your side soon after, and becomes the means for traveling between levels.
- Difficulty by Region: Working Designs, in their usual Woolseyism attempts, also deliberately made the game harder by, among other things, making shots of one nature drain power when hitting a target of the same.
- Disc-One Nuke: It's possible to acquire a Level 6 Sloth parasite in the very first level. It turns the basic bullet-shooting weapon into a rapid-firing machine gun that melts just about everything in the game while maintaining the Sloth's energy efficiency.
- The Dragon: Zohar is Hal's most loyal and powerful minion, and the one he sends to personally lead the attack on Shyna.
- Dumb Muscle: Goliath and Samson are Silhouette muscle-heads forced into servitude to the Mirage faction. Samson is a dumb, unthinking brute that's not even capable of speech. Goliath is slightly better in that he can talk in Hulk Speak, but isn't aware that he's a slave of the Mirages.
- Easy Level Trick: Pablo is kind enough to tell you how to transform him back.
- Emergency Weapon: All of your attacks require Spirit. If you run out of spirit, your equipped parasite will be consumed to regain 100 points. If it was your last parasite, you will be given a Sloth (basic shot) parasite as well — however, this only happens once; run out of spirit with just a Sloth left and you're screwed. This is considerably more annoying in the North American version, where Spirit is your Mana Meter, than in the Japanese, where Spirit was only drained by enemy attacks. Although they did grant a mercy that when you were stuck with the Surosa, you never lost it.
- Evolving Weapon: The seven main weapons are all parasites that inhabit Shyna. Each can be leveled up into something bigger and badder several times over the course of the game.
- Fake Memories: Guardian Angels are insane because they know who they are, so Hal gave Zohar a Conveniently Unverifiable Cover Story.
- Gainax Ending: The somewhat vague ending text may propel the game into Mind Screw territory.
- Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: You can be forgiven for not anticipating the out-of-nowhere battle with Hal's jealous daughter, Geluve, added to the PlayStation version.
- Good Wings, Evil Wings: Bird wings for Mirages, bat wings for Silhouettes. Shyna has both on her hat — usually one of each, but three of each when she uses her power.
- The Greatest Story Never Told: If you restore the world to its original state as we know it today.
- Grievous Harm with a Body: You can punch an enemy into another and damage them that way.
- Grotesque Cute: The Specters, Silhouette Mooks, have heads that look like dark green Jack-o'-Lanterns and Super-Deformed proportions. Conversely, the Polly Peepers, their Mirage equivalents, have ugly faces hidden under blandly cutesy masks. Dynamis, the first of the Guardian Angels you must face, looks like a giant fish with tentacles and a cute little girl's face (pictured above).
- Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Zophar's two different forms have different fighting styles. The masculine Metatron fights with a sword while the feminine Sandalphon uses a ray gun for her attacks.
- Hollywood Science: Bizarre mangling of genetics and cybernetics are part of the game's plot.
- Homing Projectile: Cavitas.
- It's a Wonderful Failure: The game over screen depicts Shyna exploding.
- Justified Tutorial: "Techniques lost during suspension can be re-learned via Practice Mode."
- Kleptomaniac Hero: Need some cash to buy better weapons or replenish life/spirit? Answer: Grab the nearest goon and beat the tar out of 'em until their pockets are empty!
- Life Meter: Your Life Meter (red/blue); dubbed Mana in the English version.
- Little Miss Badass: Shyna looks like a cute little blonde girl with goofy hair and strangely-colored eyes. She is also nicknamed the Messenger of Destruction for a reason.
- Living Weapon: Parasites are living beings whose energies Shyna can harness to obliterate her enemies.
- Lonely Piano Piece: Ending of the Starry Sky.
- The Man Behind the Man: While Hal and Megido come from him, it's implied that Clod/Armageddon is now a part of Edo and is thus responsible for most of the world's problems. Restoring Edo, therefore, effectively makes him God.
- Magical Computer: For inadequately explored reasons, the world displays Matrix-like properties as if it's all a big computer program, but as far as anyone can tell, it's the real world.
- Mana Meter: The Spirit Meter (green) below Mana; dubbed Fatima in the English version.
- Monochromatic Eyes: Megido, as a final boss.
- Mercury's Wings: Shyna's winged hat gives her the ability to glide and Triple-Jump.
- Multiple Endings: There are four distinct endings, and which one you get hinges on whether you win or lose against certain bosses, and which path you choose in a certain cut-scene.
- Noblewoman's Laugh: Hal in the Japanese version. In the English version, it's a straight up Evil Laugh.
- Non-Elemental: The green-colored Normal attribute, which can damage both Mirages and Silhouettes but can also be reflected by Shyna's Reflector regardless of her attribute.
- Ominous Latin Chanting: Marginal example. Ominous Wordless Singing (just "ah", basically) shows up in several music tracks, especially in the track used during Guardian Angel battles.
- Our Monsters Are Weird: One look at Dynamis — who has a fish's body, a head of an anime girl, and tentacles arms protruding from her body — is bound to raise questions on whether or not the dev team was on drugs.
- Optional Boss: The Reaper was added to the PlayStation version about two thirds of the way through the game.
- Prehensile Hair: Shyna can use her hair to grab enemies and punch them to get money out of them. She can also vault over them while grabbed, punch them across the area, or hurl them upwards.
- Psycho Prototype: The Guardian Angels, who are all prototypes of Shyna who were discarded and left to die when she was chosen to be the Messenger of Justice/Destruction until Har made them his bodyguards.
- Puzzle Boss: Delia's cooking show, and the G.A. Gargantuan, both of which can quickly become That One Boss if one does not pay attention to cut-scenes.
- Rainbow Speak: More so in the Japanese; Mirage in red, Silhouette in blue, Normal in green, and other emphasis in yellow.
- Recurring Boss: Zohar is fought three times over the course of the game. You can potentially fight it a fourth time when Hal transforms Zohar into the proper Guardian Angel form, Cypher Za-Zohar.
- Reset Button: The goal of Shyna's quest is essentially this. The game allows you to choose not to do this in some endings, allowing the world to continue to exist in its current state.
- Shout-Out: Aside from all the allusions to the Bible, Shyna's appearance is a Shout-Out to the classical depiction of Hermes, with wings on her cap.
- Seven Deadly Sins: The theme of your parasitic weapons; most of their names in the English version are either derived from their Latin or English spelling. To wit: Surosa: Sloth; Priday: Pride; Angara: Wrath (Anger); Rasti: Lust; Grattoni: Gluttony; Envia: Envy; Cavitas: Greed (Covetous).
- Solemn Ending Theme: Ending of the Starry Sky.
- Something about a Rose: Megido. He throws them like darts in a fan-like spread.
- Spell My Name with an S: The names of many of the characters and locations in the game are taken from the Bible, and from Christian and Jewish cosmology in general. Most of this was lost in Working Designs' translation to English, either through discrepancies between Japanese and English phonology or through deliberate name changes: Har became Hal (which, admittedly, may have added a reference to a certain famous AI); the seven attacks Shyna can use, named for the Seven Deadly Sins, became arbitrary strings of syllables; Moses became Bug; Delilah became Delia; Keruv became Geluve; etc.
- Throw the Mook at Them:
- Enemies in this game display either of the two attributes, Silhouette and Mirage. Silhouette-attribute energy is harmful to Mirage enemies and vice versa.
- You fight Delia, a Mirage boss, in a room where the two are out of reach of each other. The only thing he does is fill his mana meter by inhaling the Mirage soup in the huge pot and use a long-range special attack. And the only way to damage him is to poison the soup by chucking Silhouette cooks into the soup.
- Gargantuan gathers energy by absorbing same-attribute matter from the outside. If it absorbs matter with different attributes, it will take damage and change its attribute. The player character wonders where to find the "matter", but as soon as the battle begins, mooks of the both attributes start appearing...
- Geluve has the ability to possess mooks and use them as her "arms". The only way to do damage to her is to blast her arms. The game has a Game-Breaking Bug in which she will not summon new mooks.
- Time-Limit Boss: Zohar in their third fight. It won't kill you, but it will effect which of the Multiple Endings are available.
- Title Scream: At the title screen: "Silhouette Mirage!"
- Tomato in the Mirror: Zohar is really a Guardian Angel that s/he hates and Shyna is not the core program of the body.
- Tutorial Failure: Gehena never tells you how to drop down through the platform.
- The Unfought: Despite his constant nagging and creation of Guardian Angels, Hal is never fought himself, except indirectly, when facing Clod/Armageddon. Megido, on the other hand...
- Victory Pose: After defeating a boss, Shyna will spin around and put her fist into the air with a triumphant look on her face.
- Xanatos Gambit: Once Shyna is activated, all life-forms with attributes will disappear even if she fails.
- Yin-Yang Bomb: Shyna is a textbook example. Her body is actually split down the middle, Mirage on one side and Silhouette on the other. Zohar, another Protean, does it somewhat differently, with alternate Silhouette and Mirage appearances, which also happen to be different genders.
- You Have Out Lived Your Usefulness: Several characters do this. Zohar threatens Bug with this. Then Hal may or may not do this to Zohar themself, depending on several choices you make. THEN, in another alternate turn of events, Hal's own daughter Geluve does this to him. AND THEN Megido says something similar to Shyna since she has restored Edo. AND FURTHER STILL, Clod/Armageddon says this to Shyna before he attempts to kill her.
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Zohar attacks you at the Area Cleared screen after Area 3.