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Video Game / Sword of the Berserk: Guts' Rage

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The cast. Top row left to right: Annette, Balzac, Guts, Casca, Eriza; Bottom row, Rita, Puck.

"An outcast warrior enters a land plagued by an evil fate. He is not like ordinary men, for he carries the Dragon Slayer—a mighty blade of retribution, whose fury knows no equal. His enemies will know true fear, once he starts to swing."

Berserk Millennium Falcon Arc: Chapter of the Flowers of Oblivion is the first of two licensed videogames by Japanese game developer Yuke's based on Kentaro Miura's Dark Fantasy manga Berserk. Combining Hack and Slash game play with a strong story emphasis, it came out on the Sega Dreamcast in 1999 and received an English localization from Eidos Interactive in 2000 under the title ''Sword of the Berserk: Guts' Rage''. It uses an original scenario and characters created by Miura, and serves as an Interquel taking place between volumes 22 and 23 of the manga. Its 2004 PS2 sequel, Berserk: Millennium Falcon Hen Seima Senki no Shō, was less fortunate in terms of localization and did not get an overseas release.

WARNING: This works page contains Late Arrival Spoilers for the Berserk series if you haven't read up to volume 22 of the manga. Read it at your own risk!

In this storyline, Guts, Casca, and Puck come across a travelling performer by the name of Rita and rescue her theater troupe from some bandits. Upon stopping in a nearby castle town to rest, they discover that the town is afflicted with a strange disease that turns the victims into plant-like creatures called "Mandragorans" that become violent when attacked. Balzac, the lord who rules the city, tells Guts about the disease and how he is developing a cure for it, which may also cure Casca of her insanity. He gives Guts a proposal: bring him the heart of the great tree that grows in the infested village, and he will give Casca the cure. Taking the chance that his beloved might be well again, Guts takes Balzac's offer and begins the dangerous quest. Things grow more complicated when the townspeople begin revolting against Balzac's rule, and the chaos attracts the attention of the demonic Apostle Nosferatu Zodd. What waits for Guts in the village, and what is Balzac hiding from him?

Take care not to confuse this work with Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage (although Berserk has its own Musou game in the form of Berserk and the Band of the Hawk).

This game provides examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: If not familiar with Berserk, without reading the "World of Berserk" information in the menu, one would be lost to many things (what a Behelit does, who the Skull Knight is, why the Brand reacts to demons, etc)
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: The Final Boss is fought within the always hellishly surreal realm that appears whenever the God Hand are summoned by a Behelit. It appears to be set inside a giant spherical structure made up of constantly spinning bands, all of which are covered in blinking eyes. There's also no visible floor.
  • Armor Is Useless: Balzac's fully armored soldiers get shot full of arrows as if their protection wasn't there.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: When Rita calls Eriza's views insane, saying that no human would want to become a mandragoran, Eriza renders her speechless by asking whether she thinks the human village or the mandragoran village is happier.
  • Arrow Catch: Guts catches a knife thrown at him by Rita between his fingers.
  • Assimilation Plot: The tendency of the virus is to turn everyone in to Mandragorans if it is allowed to spread. Eriza argues that this should be allowed to happen, because if everybody became mandragorans then there would be no war or suffering.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: Zodd shows up and gets rid of Gyove and the soldiers in the village just as they're about to set upon Guts and his party. The problem is that now he wants to fight Guts instead!
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: The boss fight with Zodd takes place in the middle of a village that was set on fire.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Rita and Casca are about to be captured by bandits in the opening cutscene, when Guts shows up just in time for a cool rescue by dispatching the attackers with his throwing knives and BFS.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Balzac is slain, the Mandragora that had been plaguing the region comes to a definitive end, Guts and company are free to continue their journey, and Rita has grown from the experience. But the city has descended into anarchy, Guts is hated as a monster for slaughtering so many people mind-controlled by the Mandragora, and Casca's condition is still uncured.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The localization efforts leave a lot to be desired. There's a bit of Engrish going around, a lot of the dialogue is just plain wrong, and Guts is routinely referred to as Gatsu.
  • Book Ends: The game begins and ends with Guts, Casca, and Puck wandering in the wasteland. The scene of a mob beating a man accused of being a mandragoran also occurs again at the end of the game.
  • Bowdlerize: The characters section in the instruction manual (at least the English version) says that Casca's insanity was caused by witnessing the horrors of the Eclipse, with no mention of what actually did it. Inverted in the game itself, which had additional blood and gore added to the Western version...just like another Berserk game would do years later.
  • Brown Note: If a mandragora flower is uprooted, it screams loudly enough to kill or at least incapacitate anyone in earshot. If the victim doesn't die immediately, the mandragorans summoned by the scream will try to kill them.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Upon discovering that Rita's partner John is a mandragoran, the townsfolk start throwing stones at him and calling him a monster. This provokes him into growing tentacle arms and going berserk on them, requiring Guts to save everybody by killing him.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Guts can perform a powerful spin attack at the cost of some health. He also has a slower version that doesn't drain health, but is a Charged Attack.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Nico's behelit, first mentioned in Eriza's story, finds its way into someone else's hands by the end of the game.
  • Content Warnings: The EIDOS localization prefaces the game with the text: "This game is a work of fiction. It contains violent, unsettling images. Only mature audiences should play this game." Two Best Friends Play got a good chuckle out of this.
  • Cute Is Evil:
    • The Mandragora saplings look like adorable little sprites, but they're just as hostile as the more mature ones can be when threatened, and they release a piercing scream when pulled.
    • The Heart in particular looks like a giant child (because it is a child), but it's still a destructive monster.
  • Decapitated Army: After Nico is killed, and all traces of his heart have been destroyed, all other Mandragora die and free the people who were possessed.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: The Great Tree. Slaying it and claiming its heart is Guts' goal in the first half of the game, but things quickly spiral out of control once the deed is done.
  • Dynamic Entry: Zodd breaks into Casca's cell by crashing down through the ceiling, repelling the ghosts in the process.
  • Epic Flail: John, the first boss, has a whip-like appendage with a spiked ball on the end.
  • Enfant Terrible: The penultimate boss is a giant Mandragora plant shaped like a baby.
  • Escape Sequence: After defeating Balzac the first time, Guts controlled by the player has to flee down a corridor from giant roots erupting from the walls until the exit is reached.
  • Fisher King: Balzac's increasing bloodthirstiness and obsession seems to be reflected somehow in the misfortune of his domain and subjects.
  • Foregone Conclusion: If you've read the manga, you know that Casca won't be cured in this game.
  • Foreshadowing: As soon as they arrive inside the castle, Casca draws Puck's attention to a portrait of a beautiful woman in the entrance hall, and he wonders who she could be. This is the start of their quite accidental discovery of Balzac's backstory.
  • Hack and Slash: The main game play consists of controlling Guts from a third person perspective in melee combat with his sword.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: The bandits in the opening talk about selling Rita after they've kidnapped her, and get the idea of taking Casca with them too for some "fun" later.
  • Heal Thyself: Bags of elf dust are the game's main healing items, and can be used by the player when their health is low.
  • Hope Spot: The whole game, really. Balzac informs Guts that a Mandragora heart can cure any illness, and it might even be able to restore Casca's mind, which is more than enough to spur Guts on to seek it out. It works, and Casca does indeed regain her sanity...but only for a few moments.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Eriza points out that the Mandragora are peaceful when left alone, whereas humans are vicious creatures willing to spill blood to get what they want. It doesn't deter Guts from seeking the heart, though he does agree with her assessment. And of course, the ending where the humans begin to strike back at the people who used to be possessed by the Mandragora only drives the point further in.
    Guts: It's true. Vicious and cruel. That is what humans are.
  • Inconsistent Dub: Despite the game being called "Guts' Rage" and Guts being the official pronunciation, the game calls him "Gattsu" (his old fansub name) 95% of the time. The "world of Berserk" section has several inconsistencies as well, calling Zodd "Zoddo", Behelits "Beherites", and Apostles "Disciples".
  • Interquel: Takes place between volumes 22 and 23 of the manga.
  • Irony:
    • Dunteth is surprised to see that the mandragorans living happily in the infested village look more lively to him than the non-infected human folk, even using the word irony to describe it.
    • The effects of the mandragora's juice simultaneously give and take away. The medicine of the mandragora cured Balzac's wife physically, but robbed her of her personality and memories, so that even though she lives on it is as if her personality has died. The last cruel irony is that it makes sane people crazy, but crazy people sane. Therefore Casca is momentarily cured while absorbed by the mandragora heart, but relapses into her madness as soon as it wears off.
  • La RĂ©sistance: Dunteth and the commoners are revolting against Balzac in protest against his human experiments and draconian rule.
  • Licensed Game: In case you didn't notice, this game is based on an already popular manga franchise.
  • Locked in the Dungeon: Balzac puts any mandragorans he captures in holding cells, ostensibly to prevent them from harming his subjects when they go berserk. Later on, Balzac confines Casca in a dungeon to make sure that Guts keeps his promise.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Those who are turned into mandragorans lose their sentience, but Eriza argues that unlike humans they are happy and peaceful as long as they're not attacked. Another example is that the juice of the mandragora is a potent medicine that cures all bodily ills but makes the patient lose their memories.
  • Mad Scientist Laboratory: Balzac gives Guts a tour of his Castle's secret laboratory for mandragora research which contains shelves of books, scientific glassware, cadavers, and white-masked assistants performing experiments.
  • Outside-Context Problem: In the scope of the game, that would be Zodd, who is in no way involved with the Mandragora threat plaguing the city. He appears abruptly towards the midpoint seeking recruits for Griffith's apostle army before deciding to just fight Guts for fun, and then taking off once he's had his fill to continue doing his master's bidding elsewhere.
  • Pet the Dog: Guts is still a somewhat tactless and cold Anti-Hero in this game, but he keeps the players' sympathy by being deeply protective and even affectionate towards his beloved Casca. He is also unapologetic to Rita at first about killing John when he was out of control, but later he sincerely asks her forgiveness showing that he's a Jerk with a Heart of Gold on the inside.
  • Planimal: The mandragora transform animals as well as people into plant monsters, and Guts has to fight many of these on the forest path.
  • Plant Person: Any human infected by the mandragora flowers is progressively covered with root-like growths until they are part-plant.
  • Press X to Not Die: Although it was a Trope Codifier for requiring players to react to button prompts during cutscenes, this game plays it with a light touch. Most examples, if missed, only send you down a different path or force you to fight the next battle with some damage taken. A few boss battles, however, do have "Press X or Die" moments, usually right before the battle itself actually starts.
  • Rescue Introduction: Rita meets Guts at the start of the game when he rescues her from the bandits.
  • Shout-Out: When the mandragora flower is pulled out of the ground, it's screaming face resembles the main figure in the Edvard Munch painting The Scream. Notably, it's not a comedic parody but dead serious.
  • The Stinger: After the credits roll, the Skull Knight appears in the wreckage of the castle to consume the behelit that caused so much trouble, and then rides off for parts unknown.
  • Storming the Castle: The final level involves Guts storming his way into the castle to confront Balzac.
  • Super Mode: Inflicting or receiving damage fills the Berserk bar. When it's full, Guts automatically enters Berserk Mode, where he's stronger, faster, invulnerable, resistant to flinching, and his sword clips through walls, allowing him to freely use it in tight spaces.
  • Transflormation: Mandragora infection turns you into a Plant Person.
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Puck finds a mute girl in Balzac's castle, and also an old portrait of Balzac with a beautiful woman. Reasoning that the woman in the picture must be Balzac's wife, Puck decides that the girl must be their daughter who took after her mother. Lampshade Hanging occurs as he wonders aloud how such a mean dad could have such a sweet daughter, and quips about how fortunate she was to inherit her mother's looks instead of her father's. Subverted, as it turns out there is no daughter, and that the girl who Puck assumed to be Balzac's daughter is actually his wife.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife:
    • Dunteth is middle-aged and homely, and while his wife is more average than beautiful she's much younger and better-looking than he is.
    • Puck finds a portrait in the castle that depicts Balzac together with his beautiful wife, who is now presumably deceased. It turns out Balzac was actually pretty handsome back in those days except for his scary expression, and since then age hasn't been kind to him. Balzac's revelation that Anette is not his daughter, but his wife, completely shocks Puck and Rita because she still looks beautiful and young while he is old and ugly, but this is because the mandragora extract stopped her aging while he continued to age normally.
  • Villainous Rescue: Zodd ends up saving Casca from the ghosts that were about to kill her in the jail cell by smashing through the ceiling and scaring them off. Fortunately, perhaps because of his Noble Demon nature, he leaves her unharmed and flies off to look for Guts.
  • The Virus: Wherever the mandrake flowers grow, people get infected with plant-like growths that eventually turn them into mandragorans, who might be described as plant-zombies.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Zodd is far and away the biggest challenge in the game, but comes only half-way through the story.
  • You Monster!: When Guts discovers that Balzac has become an Apostle by sacrificing his wife to the God Hand he shouts "You animal! You sacrificed her!" In Guts' sight, Balzac has just crossed the Moral Event Horizon.