Twilight's shadow takes First Breath,
Where passes Terror's Embodiment?
The hallowed halls tremble in silence...
Past becomes lingering Present.
And I wander, and wonder that,
Maybe one day, looking around,
- no more.
Wraith is an indie computer game made by Neo Kuriyo, or Neok as he is known on the RPGmaker.net forums. It's a horror-based Adventure Game made with RPG Maker 2003, and was Neok's first game on the site.
According to the developer's description:
"During a 3-day workshop in Australia, a girl named Kana discovers a dark secret hidden beneath the manor she is staying at. Now she must work against time to save her friends from a fate worse than death. There are two objectives: Solve the mystery behind the existence of the wraith, and live to see the morning sun. Dawn is only a few hours away..."
The object of the game is to peruse the darkened manor, tracking down the servants and students before the titular wraith can get to them, then discover a way to destroy the soul-sucking entity on the loose.
The game features both a good and a bad ending, complete with unlockable cutscene CGs for certain events in the game. It features an overhead retrogame view and a First-Person Shooter-like battle screen. In terms of RPG Maker games, it is short, with around 4 hours of playthrough for those well-versed in the game. The game is on its third and final update (the second version accidentally caused the Good Ending to be impossible to achieve as it did not allow for some of the characters to be rescued). Apart from the inability to speed up text, the game is quite enjoyable.
While still a relatively unknown game, it is making headway in the gaming community. Upon the creation of this trope page, one Let's Play had already been added to the fan fray. The game can be found here.
There is also a short sequel, Sainth. It shifts the focus of the story to Lily, Kana's best friend, and takes the plot in a very different (and oftentimes confusing) direction. It can be found here. A third game, Candice, was originally planned, but seems to have been cancelled.
Wraith provides examples of the following tropes:
- Action Girl: Kana.
- A House Divided: Kana's believes that the story of an escaped wraith is too incredible to believe by word of mouth, so she takes Lily to another portion of the mansion to prove it. Kana then has to round up the servants and other students in order to save them, often having to retrieve Lily from another floor and traverse back over the mansion in order to get them all.
- And if Kana takes too long, the wraith sucks out the soul of anyone not rescued, save for Lily and the Wellingtons.
- Victor and Ramius.
- Almost Dead Guy: Supposedly dying people are able to say an awful lot before finally kicking the bucket in this game.
- Always Night: Almost the entire game is set during the night.
- Ancient Tomb: The Wellington mausoleum, to a degree.
- It also contains a hidden entrance to Victor's underground laboratory.
- And I Must Scream: It's alluded to that anyone, including Kana, has the potential to suffer this fate, as if s/he spends too long around the Wraith, s/he may become one themselves.
- This happens to half of the Wellington family during the backstory; Regina gets horribly mutated, and Erina gets turned into a wraith.
- Apocalyptic Log: Some of the notes from the scientists found throughout the underground labs have the feel of this.
- Also, Victor's journal in the good ending, to a degree.
- Attack of the Killer Whatever: This would be the wraith itself — a menacing supernatural entity that you can only temporarily frighten off, but not kill.
- To make matters worse, it can respawn in every new screen you enter.
- Technically, you can be rid of it, but only if you get the good ending.
- Big Bad: Cases can be made for both Eugene and Victor, though both are somewhat tenuous.
- Greater-Scope Villain: The Order.
- Big, Screwed-Up Family: Because of Victor Wellington's abusive father and unfortunate ancestors, he leads to his own family's doom trying to overcome his inherited bad blood.
- Black Comedy: Though the game advertises itself as horror, there are so many comic relief moments that it often feels more like this.
- Blind Without 'Em: Ryan.
- Body Horror: Poor Ramius and Regina Wellington; he prematurely ages, she becomes a mutant.
- Book Ends: Sort of. The poem quoted at the beginning of this article is displayed on the title and save screens (and is therefore the first thing the player sees), and its final two lines make up The Stinger.
- Bottomless Magazines: Sort of. Kana's supply of ammo never runs dry, though her gun does need to be reloaded.
- Although, when Eugene kills the scientists in the game's climax, he fires off ten bullets from that same gun without ever needing to reload; he plugged five of them into Cyrus beforehand, and kills the five scientists with one each.
- Cessation of Existence: What is implied to happen to a wraith that is destroyed by light.
- Child by Rape: Orvince Wellington, one of Victor's ancestors.
- Cliffhanger: In the good ending, Kana is taken by people who pretend to be from the Agency, and is never found again...
- Cruel and Unusual Death: If you make it to the good ending, you'll see that Erina Wellington fits this description, as she was bound and barricaded inside the unfinished lighthouse and left to die in order for her soul to become a wraith.
- Cryptically Unhelpful Answer: Victor's meaning behind why he said he "chose" Kana.
- Although, in the good ending and the sequel, "Sainth", there is enough information for the gamers to put two and two together.
- Curiosity Killed the Cast: Kana, on her trip to the bathroom, forgoes her bladder's urges to follow Ristof and Cyrus into the underground labs, where the wraith gets loose and she is sent on a mission to find a way to destroy it.
- Dare to Be Badass: Inverted, in a way. Everyone says that they won't blame Kana if she just waits out the night (and it is entirely possible for the player to do so if they desire), but she takes it upon herself find out the truth behind the wraith.
- Description Porn: Pretty much anything Cyrus says in his "reveal all" speech about the Wellington family background, the wraith, and random other factoids the player is yet to encounter.
- 11th-Hour Superpower: Using the Hand icon in the final battle allows Kana to use the soul mirror as a weapon, which basically functions as an infinite-use lightstone.
- Evil Is Visceral: The mutants look very disturbing because of this.
- Averted with the friendly mutant, who still has her hair and clothes. She's also not evil, though.
- Failure Knight: Eugene, who tries to exorcise Erina's wraith so she can die peacefully, but ultimately fails.
- The Family That Slays Together: In a sense, Cyrus is this, having been the son of Ristof — and, as such, becomes a member of the Agency. They only kill supernatural beings, though.
- Fate Worse than Death: The gamepage's summary (and the sequel) say that having your soul sucked out by a wraith is this.
- Though apparently, it just lets the soul go once it realizes it can't replace its own, so one wonders how it's actually worse than death.
- Guide Dang It!: During the final chapter of the game, one of the spare part boxes you need to find is guarded by a massive cluster of mutants that is practically impossible for Kana to get through without spamming lightstones (which renders the game practically Unwinnable). What the game doesn't tell you (or make any indication that it's even possible) is that it's possible to tell the friendly mutant to wait for you on the other side by examining an outcropping in one of the slime pools. With her help, the massive mutant battle becomes possible.
- The game also doesn't tell you how many available lightstones there are in the gamenote , nor that you need to save them up to have even the slightest chance of surviving the final battle.
- Heroic Sacrifice: The scientists sacrifice themselves to stop Eugene long enough to save Kana.
- Hold the Line: The final battle simply requires you to survive as long as possible.
- Knife Nut: Cyrus.
- Lineage Comes from the Father: In this case, the Wellington family curse leads to the destruction of the whole family—-including Erina, who just married into it!
- Made of Iron: Cyrus survives being hit point-blank with a bomb, then falling two stories. Later, they proceed to survive being shot four times. Ultimately subverted, however, as his wounds eventually do catch up to him, and he dies during the ending.
- Most Writers Are Male: Neo Kuriyo, fits this trope...but only in the sense he is male. Unlike many male developers, his female characters are all fully developed and are believeable, not just dainty or overly busty damsels. Though there's several jokes that appeal to both genders throughout the game.
- Multiple Endings: Two.
- In the "bad" ending, Erina's ghost escapes, and will probably be forced to wander forever and go on to kill other people.
- However, if you go through a certain chain of actions to prove that Regina's still alive, and Erina can therefore be exorcised, then you'll be on track for the "good" ending after the point where the game normally ends. In this case, Erina is able to die peacefully, and you learn the full Back Story behind everything. Kana gets kidnapped by the Order, though.
- Nerd Glasses: Ryan has these.
- Non-Action Guy: Todd and Ryan, as well as the male servants.
- No-Sell: Members of the Agency (and humans injected with Victor's mutagen) are completely immune to the wraith's soul-draining touch. In fact, the sequel reveals that their souls are so powerful, the wraith will be consumed if it tries to drain it.
- Oh, Crap!: Kana when she learns that the only way to destroy the Wraith is to be trapped in an elevator with it, then lure it to a glass cell until the scientists can destroy it.
- This is likely the reaction of the player every time the wraith shows up, as it appears without warning throughout the game.
- During the spare parts box quest, this happens big time when mutant fish converge on Kana as she tries to leave a watery area with one box.
- Our Wraiths Are Different
- Self-Made Orphan: Ramius kills Victor halfway through the game.
- The Stinger: It's nothing big, but after the "End" message comes up, the screen displays the final two lines of the title screen's poem ("Maybe one day, looking around, I'll find...you haunt me...no more"), which makes the story end on a pretty positive note.
- The Stoic: Eugene.
- The only case in which he shows any emotion is when he learns of Victor's plans to kill his own family and after the scientists ruin his plans by releasing the wraith.
- Timed Mission: Sort of, though it's a very lenient one. You have six (real-time) hours before daybreak, at which point the game ends.
- A straighter example is during the good ending, where you have twenty minutes to capture and exorcise Erina before the facility self-destructs.
- Unwinnable: If you have less than 5 lightstones by the end of the game, have taken heavy soul damage, or both, say goodbye to your chances of surviving the Final Boss.
- Wanton Cruelty to the Common Comma: Since this was Neok's first game, it has a large number of typos and grammar mistakes. Most frequently, there are quite a number of commas in places they shouldn't be, and some commas missing from places they should be.
- Weakened by the Light: Wraiths, which is why lightstones are so effective against them.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Eugene. He only wanted to let Erina die peacefully.
- Your Soul Is Mine: The wraith's soul-draining touch is the type 2 variant. It's revealed midway through the game that the reason wraiths do this is because they are a soul twisted and broken by hatred and negativity, so they desire a normal soul to replace their own. This is also why they specifically target blessed souls. However, this doesn't actually work; the only way for a wraith to find peace is to fix its own soul.
Tropes used in the sequel, Sainth:
- And I Must Scream: Lily's fate in the bad ending. She wanders the Frozen World for all eternity, and never finds Kana...
- Art Evolution
- Balance Between Good and Evil: The story takes the rare position of arguing for "evil" without resorting to Good Is Boring. According to Kana, everything always reverts to equilibrium, so if people try to infuse the world with positivity, the universe will conspire to introduce an equal amount of despair in order to return the world's state to neutral. So, perhaps the moral is that there's no point in doing anything?
- A similar mechanic is at play with sainths and wraiths; "exorcising" is just a fancy term for infusing them with negative or positive energy, respectively, which causes them to balance out and pass on.
- Back to Front: When you begin the game by the World Tree, you are only given the starting cutscene and one memory to go off of. The narrative slowly connects the present to the past as you find more and more memories.
- Beautiful Void: Though the memories are quite wordy, the actual game world itself is quite bleak and empty, with only a few ghosts to talk to here and there. You can encounter an apparently-alive group of miners at one point...but they, along with their cave, disappear forever after you obtain the memory there. Maybe they were never really there in the first place?
- Dare to Be Badass: Inverted again. The Agency repeatedly tells Lily that she doesn't have to become the true sainth if she doesn't want to, even up to the last moment. Lily does it anyway, because she feels she has to.
- Darker and Edgier: So very much.
- Dead All Along
- Flash Back: The vast majority of the storyline unfolds through these. The object of the game is to uncover all of Lily's memories.
- God: Kana says that she thinks a god/the Judeo-Christian God (since it's not capitalized, it's impossible to tell which one she means) is formed when a sainth and wraith fuse without cancelling one another out.)
- Grumpy Old Man: Barnes Etcher, taken Up to Eleven. Then subverted, when it's revealed that it was all an act he put on so that Lily would be more susceptible to his curses (which was what she wanted).
- Heroic Mime: Sort of. Being our narrator, Lily can be described as quite the chatterbox in the Flash Backs, but the only time she speaks during the actual game portion is in the Golden Ending.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Lily purposefully throws her destined battle with Kana, so she can give Kana the essence of a sainth, in order to prevent her from becoming a wraith. This ends up backfiring horribly.
- Midair Bobbing: Candice and Kana's image during her recorded messages.
- Multiple Endings: Two, one good and one bad.
- Palette Swap: Sainths have the same sprites as wraiths, but with the colors inverted.
- The Reveal: The final memory reveals that Lily sacrificed herself to save Kana, and has been Dead All Along.
- Visual Novel: There's much less actual gameplay to be had than in the first game.
"...Maybe one day, looking around, I'll find...you haunt me...no more."