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Video Game / Sin and Punishment

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Sin and Punishment (subtitled Successor of the Earth in Japanese) is an action game developed by Treasure and Nintendo R&D1 released in Japan for the Nintendo 64 in 2000.

It is best described as a rail shooter, though its game engine requires platforming and evasive maneuvering along the way. The playable characters move independently of their shooting, which is done using a combination of a gun and sword that can be set to lock onto targets or be aimed manually with higher damage output. The sword can be used at close range, and well-timed slices can deflect projectile attacks toward other opponents.

The story takes place in Japan in the year 2007. The world is under attack by hordes of rampaging mutant creatures known as "Ruffians". A volunteer army has been formed to fight against them, but are creating even more problems with their disregard for collateral damage and suppression of the civilian population. In response, a second resistance movement is formed by a messianic Mysterious Waif called Achi, dedicated to defending the innocent from the Ruffians and the renegade army alike.


When the game opens, the resistance movement has been slaughtered by a surprise attack, leaving only three survivors: Achi, androgynous badass Saki Amamiya, and action girl mechanic Airan Jo. Refusing to give up, they set out to destroy those responsible.

Sin and Punishment was originally supposed to be a North American release. The plan was foiled when the Nintendo 64 stopped production in North America earlier than expected, and it was first seen on Western shores when it was launched on the Wii's Virtual Console in late 2007. It required almost little-to-no localization since all of the spoken dialogue was already in English. Due to its popularity on the Virtual Console, a sequel was released in 2009 in Japan, May 2010 in Europe, and June 2010 in North America. In addition, Saki made an appearance in Super Smash Bros. Brawl as an assist trophy. The game would see new life once again in 2021 as part of the Nintendo Switch's subscription-based online game library, although like with the other N64 titles on it, it requires an Expansion Pack subscription upgrade.


Not to be confused with Persona 2.

Note: The sequel has its own page. Tropes pertaining to it should go there.

This game provides examples of:

  • Ace Custom: Brad has his own squadron of custom fighter jets.
  • Advancing Boss of Doom: Halfway into Stage 3-2, an invincible giant Ruffian chases Saki and some soldier-like enemies until he runs into the dragonfly Seemers. Later in the same stage, a giant fire-breathing Centipede Seemer chases after him.
  • Attack Reflector: Your sword can reflect certain projectiles such as missiles back at the opposition. In some boss fights, it becomes a requirement, as certain bosses can only be defeated by reflecting their attacks.
  • Babies Ever After: 15 years after this game's events, Saki and Airan have a son, Isa, who becomes the sequel's protagonist. He makes a brief cameo during one of Airan's hallucinations.
  • Battleship Raid: Stage 2-1 takes place inside a battleship, and Stage 2-2 has you fighting a whole fleet of them, including going straight for their mothership.
  • Battle Strip: Airan takes her jacket off at the start of Stage 2-1.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Brad, after Achi taunts him into transforming, just decides to let himself be caught in an explosion instead.
  • Big Bad: Achi, aka your boss, is actually an alien lifeform who wishes to mold Saki into the ultimate warrior in order to fight an unspecified enemy. However, her plans involve destroying much of the Earth and reshaping it to her liking.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Stage 0-0 has you fighting off swarms of bees and centipedes; the mini-boss of Stage 1-2 is a moth that sprays laser beams from above; Stage 2-3 has flies that appear to be made out of glass; the last stretch of Stage 3-1 has various swarms of spider Ruffians (spiders that either charge into you, shoot fire at you, or explode on contact), including a big one that can electrocute you with its webs for the stage boss; and Stage 3-2 has huge dragonfly Ruffians that shoot laser beams from their tails and you get chased by a larva Ruffian of some sort that also spits fireballs at you halfway into the level.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Airan delivers one to Achi before Stage 2-3 starts, but she accidentally ends up yelling at her future son Isa when she finds herself in a subway train on Long Island ten years into the future.
  • Bloody Murder: During Ruffian Kachua's second phase, she can summon tidal waves with the blood you're standing on.
  • Boss Game: Much like previous Treasure games, there is a heavy emphasis on boss fights, with several minibosses showing up at the end of each shooting segment.
  • Bottomless Pits:
    • The boss battle with Radan has them, given that you're fighting at a launchpad on top of a building. They can be used to your advantage by pushing her off the arena with your sword.
    • The boss fight with the Crawlfish Seemer has them in addition to the Deadly Walls you have to avoid.
  • Bowdlerise: Proof that Tropes Are Not Bad, the Virtual Console release accidentally made the ending more clear and the plot's transition into the sequel's go smoother.
  • Chick Magnet: Brad, who had some kind of relationship with Achi, Radan, and Kachua, though only the last of them seemed genuine on his part. Leda apparently has something for him, too.
  • Climax Boss: The build up to the flooding of Tokyo and Saki's transformation ends in a big boss fight.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: In an odd sort of way. Two players use a single controller to play the game; under the default control scheme, one player controls the aiming and the shooting while the other controls the character's movement.
  • Crapsack World: Not only does Earth get overrun by alien bio-weapons, but the army assembled to fight them isn't much better.
  • Create Your Own Villain: The Ruffians were created to solve world hunger, but went wild. However, Achi says that Brad wrote, directed, and starred in his own war so he'd become a hero and be accepted by humanity, implying their rampage was anything but accidental.
  • Crosshair Aware: In your stand-off with Brad, you have to avoid his aim.
  • Darker and Edgier: A meta example; this game was designed by Nintendo to appeal to older-than-usual audiences, especially in Western markets. Essentially, it would have filled N64 absent Metroid's role, demographic-wise.
  • Deadly Walls: One mini-boss fight involves chasing a Ruffian along a series of narrow bridges separated by walls, and colliding with a wall damages you.
  • Destination Defenestration: The fight with Brad requires you to parry his attacks and eventually smack him out the window of his cruiser.
  • Didn't Need Those Anyway!: Stationary Boss Armed Voluteers weapon Vigilanced System/22 tosses its own tank treads at you.
  • Die, Chair, Die!: Throughout some of the stages, there's inanimate objects (barrels, subway seats, bookshelves, etc.) you can destroy for points, some of which are holding point items inside.
  • Difficulty Levels: Your standard Easy, Normal, and Hard difficulties, each affecting how many continues you start out with and how much your life meter recovers from a life-up. Each difficulty also affects which enemies or bosses you will face and their attack patterns.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Brad is dealt with halfway through the game. The game reveals the real villain immediately after: Achi.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: The mole seemer attacks with rocks and earth on a train where there is no visible dirt. Then again, it is just an illusion.
  • Double Jump: Both protagonists are given a mid-air jump to aid their mobility.
  • The Dragon: Kachua is Brad's loyal subordinate. After she is killed, his pet Leda fills the role.
  • Dual Boss:
    • One boss fight has Saki fighting against Radan and Kachua, although Kachua doesn't fight back at all unless you're playing on Hard mode. Nevertheless, she can be beaten for extra time and points.
    • Airan battles both Brad and Leda simultaneously.
  • Dual Wielding: Several armed volunteers wield two blades. Colendron is a boss variety, after which the rest could be considered Degraded Boss versions of him.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The final boss is a copy of the Earth, which you must destroy with mutated Saki's own powers.
  • Flash Step:
    • Saki's dodge move in Ruffian form is a quick sidestep that is equivalent to teleportation, replacing the dodge roll.
    • Brad's response to the player trying to shoot him is to move very fast to dodge the projectiles.
  • The Foreign Subtitle: Inverted, the "Successor of the Earth" subtitle was omitted in the English release.
  • Gameplay Grading:
    • At the end of each stage, you get bonus points for your remaining HP, Time, and total Hit-chain. Stage 2-2 is the one stage where it is possible to miss the end-stage bonus if you don't slash the mothership's core at the end.
    • The final battle grades you on how much damage the Earth took from Achi and a whopping Perfect bonus if you manage to save the Earth unharmed.
  • Giant Spider: During the last one-third of Stage 3-1, you fight off over-sized spider Ruffians, including a more giant one as a boss.
  • Glass Cannon: Kachua has impressive attacks, but once you can hit her directly, she doesn't hold up too long.
  • Good Morning, Crono: "Good MORNING, Saki!" just before you start Stage 1-1. Granted, this isn't at the very start of the game, but since Stage 0-0 was a dream level...
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Saki has some Ruffian blood from Achi in him.
  • Hopeless War: The game is in the future during a losing battle between humanity and the Ruffian invasion.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Achi and any human with some of her blood look like average people, but have the power to transform into massive, dangerous monsters.
  • Lack of Empathy: This trope hints at Achi's true nature when she casually walks over Leda's dead body, and when she enjoys it a little "too much" as the Armed Volunteers are wiped out. And how off-handed she is when she's talking about Brad's reasons for staging the Ruffian war just so mankind would love him rather than fear him.
  • Laser Blade: The main weapon our heroes use is the Dolphin Gun, a gun that doubles as a beam sword.
  • Last-Second Chance: While Achi is revealed to not exactly be better, she offers Brad to "come back to her" after the Armed Volunteers are exterminated, "or" she taunts him to transform into his Ruffian form "for one last evil gasp." Brad chooses neither and lets himself die as the harrier he's standing on goes boom.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Brad leads a charge on ruffian Saki after being ordered to retreat. Leda tries to fight Airan despite Brad ordering her to stay back.
  • Levels Take Flight: Stage 2-2. Achi uses her powers to rip apart the floor of Brad's ship to provide Airan some solid ground, then flies it all across the sea, where the Armed Volunteers mobilize their attack on Ruffian Saki.
  • Life Meter: A traditional gauge-type display is used for the player's Life Meter.
  • Locomotive Level: Stage 2-3 takes place inside a subway train on Long Island.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The Seemers are monsters that resemble grotesquely mutated Earth lifeforms. "Seemer" is a real word meaning to "one who seems; one who carries or assumes an appearance or semblance".
    • The title of the series refers to the sin of the protagonist, rebellion (Saki's against the Armed Volunteers), and the punishment of being constantly hunted down for it.
  • Mêlée à Trois: The enemy of my enemy is not my friend here, as the Armed Volunteers and Rebels both want the Ruffians gone but don't work together. For that matter, the Ruffians have their own divisions — namely Achi's Ruffians, which she allows to attack her own rebel group, and Brad's Ruffians, which were made to fight Achi's but also attack him and his own Armed Volunteers.
  • Mercy Invincibility: If the player takes too much damage at once or is knocked down by an enemy, they are given a few frames of invincibility to recover.
  • Mind over Matter: Kachua is capable of teleporting and flinging the bodies of screaming soldiers at you during her boss fight, as well as an airplane and a portion of a building.
  • Mind Rape: Achi attempts to convince Airan to side with her by placing her inside the mutated Saki and showing a Bad Future, and is extremely convincing to boot. This takes up a whole level, but it only Makes Just as Much Sense in Context. Completing the level results in the Mind Rape not working out, and Achi bumped up to Big Bad.
  • Mind Screw: The story starts off normal until Saki turns into a giant monster.
  • Mooks: The Armed Volunteer soldiers and lesser Ruffians you deal with are mere cannon fodder to you.
  • Mundane Utility: After escaping from Ruffians, Saki uses his newly-made flamethrower to make barbeque Ruffian. It's awesome to watch, but this is a break from all of the stuff that had just happened.
  • Playing with Fire: The Man Seemer mini-boss near the end of Stage 3-2 shoots beams across the ground to attack you with flaming pillars.
  • Power-Up: Time pick-ups boost your timer, Life pick-ups recovers your Life Meter (varying by difficulty), and Point items boost your score.
  • Punched Across the Room:
    • Airan counters Brad's jump attacks, flinging him across the room and out of a glass window.
    • Saki punches Achi over a railing before the final fight with her.
  • Revenge by Proxy: Brad tries to kill Saki to punish Achi for Kachua's death.
  • Riddle for the Ages: We never see what Brad's Ruffian form is, as he dies without ever using it.
  • Right-Hand Cat: Brad's small talking cat-like Ruffian Leda serves as a mini-boss and later joins him in his own boss fight.
  • Rule of Cool: Presumably the reason that Tokyo is inexplicably flooded by a sea of blood after Saki defeats Kachua's human form. Aside from making thematic sense, there isn't much plot bearing on it, but it does make for an awesome battle with Ruffian Kachua.
  • Sand Is Water: On the beach level, an octopus boss rises out of the sand.
  • Savage Wolves: A portion of Stage 2-3 is littered wolf-like Ruffians that shoot energy balls or pounce at Airan. You see them again running from the spider Ruffian infestation.
  • Say My Name:
    • The rebels the armed volunteers kill in the intro cutscene if you don't press start cry out to Kachi for help. She hears them and doesn't forget in a later battle with the armed volunteers.
    • Whenever the player loses. Notable in that this is Achi's voice, which happens even after her Face–Heel Turn and even during the final battle against her. Well, she didn't want you to die, just to follow her bidding. However, if you lose during the Bad Future segment when playing as Airan, Isa will instead cry out, "Mommy!"
    • Kachua goes out by screaming Brad's name before going Ruffian.
  • Scoring Points: This being a Shoot 'em Up, you know what to expect. To elaborate, you score points by damaging enemies and destroying objects in the environment (if possible). There's also point items that you collect that boost your score. Collecting one will give 1,000pts and will mount up all the way to 50,000pts as you collect more without taking damage; if you get hit, the bonus points from point items resets to 1,000pts. Occasionally, there's also targets you can shoot down for an extra 50,000pts. You also get a "CMDR BONUS" for defeating bosses, although some bosses give you a bit of an opportunity to milk the fight for all the points they're worth.
  • Sequel Hook: During the ending, Achi leaves Earth defeated, but muses over the potential of Saki having a child that also inherits her blood, which she could use for her plan to defeat her enemies. Meanwhile, Saki and Airan discuss the fact that Saki could potentially turn into his Ruffian form and destroy the rest of the world, as well as mentioning their future child. Both of these actually do turn up in the sequel; the main character is Saki and Airan's son, Isa, and Saki, as it turns out, did indeed succumb to the powers of Achi's blood.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The instructor and her father in Training Mode have the eyes and mouth of Melon Bread, a boss from Gunstar Heroes and Alien Soldier, which were both developed by Treasure.
    • The technical name of the heroes' weapon is "G&R-M64-JPC DOLPHIN POLICE STANDARD".
  • Some Dexterity Required: The controls are extremely weird and unconventional (you move left and right with the C-buttons, jump with the shoulder buttons, aim with the control stick, fire with the Z-trigger, and switch between auto-lock and manual aiming with the A button). Fortunately, the sequel switches over to a much more intuitive Wii control scheme. The Virtual Console re-release also supports the Classic Controller and GameCube controller, so players can use the D-Pad for movement and the stick to aim.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Contra III: The Alien Wars. The games share programmers, as Treasure was founded from former Konami employees. The base setting and stories of both games are also quite similar, if a lot more developed in Sin and Punishment. Well, at least till Saki transforms into a giant Ruffian, and Achi reveals more about her intentions.... Also, Stage 3-2, most of it being a side-scrolling level, is a outright Shout-Out to the 2D Contra games, further cementing a connection between the two series.
  • Spoiler Opening: Achi does the still that shows her compensating for something is done at the end of the game when thinking about a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Saki and Airan become a couple by the end of the game. It's considered a star-crossed love because, according to the sequel, it appears to end horribly.
  • Storyboarding the Apocalypse: One stage is a vision of ten years in the future, showing what will happen if Airan doesn't save Saki. It happened anyway in the sequel.
  • Subtitles Are Superfluous: They are all in Japanese, even in the international releases, save one internal monologue at the end of the game and the game's tutorials that had to be translated overseas.
  • Swiss Army Weapon: The "Dolphin" weapon that Saki and Airan use, which is a gun that doubles as a sword for close-quarters combat and also a shout out to the prototype name for the GameCube.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Kachua wanted to capture Radan and experiment on it, thus was not too happy when Saki cut it down.
  • The Tokyo Fireball: Instead of burning in flames, though, the city is literally drowned in blood, to the point there is a red mark on Japan that can be seen from low orbit. At the end of the game, all of Japan is ruined.
  • Theme Naming: The original is subtitled "Successor of the Earth". The sequel is subtitled "Successor of the Sky".
  • They Would Cut You Up: Saki's initial reason against going to America, at least before the conversation is interrupted.
  • Threatening Shark: Shark-like Ruffians pop up in the beach area of Stage 3-1.
  • Touched by Vorlons: Most of the super-powered characters in the story, on both sides, received blood from Achi. It is implied Airan wasn't, though. Brad thinks she was and she has a messed-up arm, but finds the super powers everyone else demonstrates to be weird. There is definitely something up with her and she is just as capable as Saki until he transforms.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: Ruffians were originally part of a program to end world hunger, but Brad started using samples of Achi's blood to breed monsters when he learned what her intentions were for Earth and that she had already been breeding her own to ruin the project, and then they got out of his control.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Set in the year 2007, which was, at the time of its release, Next Sunday A.D..
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: Stage 3-2, the second to last level, becomes a free-roaming side-scroller that unfortunately suffers from controls not meant for such a genre.
  • Unwitting Pawn:
    • Saki and Airan are one to Achi, who intends to transform them into powerful warriors for her own ends.
    • While Brad appears to genuinely care for Leda and Kachua, Achi theorizes that Brad was using them as guinea pigs to test the waters of assuming a Ruffian form.
  • Video Game Delegation Penalty: The game allows you to activate an aim-assist feature at the cost of your shot power. This can carry the player until the end of Stage 2-2, when a boss shows up that must be killed before it inflicts a lethal hit to the player. If the player insists on having aim assistance on at this point, they will find that they cannot do enough damage to defeat it. Most players get stuck at this point and have to be told to switch to manual aiming.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Saki normally has the voice expected of a teenager, but has an inexplicably deep and rugged grunt whenever he takes damage.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Polestar teaches many players not to rely on auto-aim mode to coast through the game.
  • Walk on Water: Ruffian Saki makes his debut by walking on the surface of a sea of blood.
  • Walking Tank: Armed Volunteer's Sentry Machinery are walking tanks that can hover.
  • War God: Achi's plans for Earth would have culminated in the creation of one. She does not get what she wants, though.
  • Was Once a Man Was Once a Human: Brad and Kachua imply Radan was one, saying she was jealous of them for being together. Achi implied that Leda used to be one.
    Achi: "Change can be a scary thing if you don't know how to change back."
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: This is a short game, so it's inevitable, Brad's quirky mini-boss squad get what precious little characterization that can be hinted at in their brief time on screen before they bite the big one.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Made uncomfortably clear when the entire volunteer army dies:
    Achi: "Hahaha! Look at them! They can't even escape! They're crying! They're crying Brad's name! Hahaha!"
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Achi calls off the protagonists for not following her orders multiple times.
  • Whip It Good: The lizard seemer has this function in his arm organically, and uses it on several armed volunteers before trying to turn it on Saki.