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Visual Novel / RE: Alistair

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Merui, Shiro, Derek and Travis

Merui loves nothing more than to play her favorite MMO Rivenwell Online. One day a player named Alistair hijacks Merui's kill in a boss fight and wins the Blessed Stone she aimed to get for herself. Merui, outraged by this, is determined to do whatever it takes to get it back (and to teach Alistair a lesson). This results in a bet initiated by Alistair:

Merui has a month to figure out his real life identity. If she does he'll hand over the Blessed Stone to her. If not, she'll have to relinquish her online earnings from the past month to Alistair.

With a lead and three potential suspects the player must guide Merui in this mystery. Along the way she may very well develop a romance with any of the three guys she's out to investigate...

RE: Alistair is a freeware Ren'Py-based English-language Visual Novel created by sakevisual with writer sake-bento, artist tooaya and programmer Thee Forbidden One. As a Romance Game its primary focus is on forming relationships, with the mystery being secondary.

The creators put out an updated re-release: RE: Alistair++. It can be downloaded from the creator's website or from Lemmasoft Forums. The game received a Spiritual Successor in Backstage Pass.

This visual novel contains examples of:

  • Aerith and Bob: Travis and Derek attend school alongside Shiro and Merui. There are some indications that the school is located in the Seattle area, so a Japanese-American student is hardly out of place, but "Merui" only sounds pseudo-Japanese.note 
  • Antagonist Title: Technically.
  • Backstory: Shiro gets the better end of this (in both the original release and the re-release). Derek stays more or less the same in both versions. Travis gets a little more in the re-release, though the part about his mother having cancer feels a bit...tacked on.
  • Becoming the Mask: Derek flirts with Merui and acts friendly towards her while continuing to troll her online as Alistair, and according to Travis has a history of toying with girls and then dumping them. Over the course of the month during his route, however, he's touched by Merui's honest friendship and he genuinely falls for her.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Merui with Travis. During an argument, he pushes her against a wall and glances at her lips for a few seconds.
  • The Bet: Basically what the story revolves around.
  • Big Man on Campus: Derek.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Derek goes out of his way to be as nice and appealing as possible. All while emotionally manipulating Merui.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • The MMORPG is called "Rivenwell Online" (MapleStory/Ragnarok Online).
    • Stores in the mall include "Boundary's Books" (Borders Books), "The Divide" (The Gap), and "Gamego" (GameStop).
    • Boundary's sells a book called "Planetost" (like Harry Potter, but with aliens instead of wizards), and Gamego sells "Movie Maniac" (SceneIt), "Diamond Moon: Final Phase" (Final Fantasy XIII), "Other Saga" (Animal Crossing), "Monochrome Diet" (Silent Hill/Fatal Frame), "Demon of Edo" (???, adventure/RPG), "Walk This Way" (???, puzzle game), and "Rock Festival" (Rock Band).
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Derek (blond), Shiro + Travis (brunette), and Merui (redhead).
  • Bookworm: Shiro.
  • Bridal Carry: Derek has an extra scene in which Merui accidentally gets hit in the head by a basketball and feels lightheaded, so he offers to carry her to the nurse.
  • The Casanova: Derek. He starts out like this but, if you play his route, he'll gradually become a Lady Killer In Love.
  • Catchphrase: Travis's "Hm... I wonder," whenever he doesn't care to give a straight answer to a question. Merui even pokes fun with it at one point.
    Merui: Do you always have to say that?
    • She also uses it against him in another dialogue, whereupon he says he probably had that coming.
  • Club President: Travis is president of the Computer Games Club.
  • Cross Player: Shiro playing Rivenwell Online as FionaWings.
  • Dating Sim: An element of mystery is added with trying to figure out who Alistair is in real life. However, the majority of the emphasis is on the dating/romance angle.
  • The Dog Bites Back: The ending where Merui gets Alistair banned.
  • Driving Question: Who is Alistair??
  • Education Mama: Derek's parents.
  • Evil Overlooker The artwork features all three of the guys who could be Alistair floating above and around Marui. And the one at the top, Derek, is in fact Alistair.
  • Fiery Redhead: Merui.
  • Foreshadowing: In his Knights and Knaves riddle to Merui at the beginning of the game, Travis uses the Knight and Demon character classes of Rivenwell Online in the "always tells the truth" and "always lies" roles. This is not only the first indication that despite his dismissive comments, Travis does play the game himself, it's also prophetic: Alistair's character class is "Demon," and he (and, by extension, Derek) lies to Merui a lot.
  • Gamer Chick: Merui.
  • Good is Not Nice: Travis, who has a way of being blunt and critical even when he's doing something nice. Contrast this with Derek.
  • Headbutt of Love: Shiro does it in his ending.
  • Hands-Off Parenting: Shiro's bitter about his parents never being around.
  • Hands-On Approach: When Merui helps Travis reboot all the computers in the lab, he demonstrates what she needs to do by standing behind her and guiding the mouse for her.
  • Headphones Equal Isolation: A little ironic with Shiro. While he is fairly isolated it has to do with his family and the rumors. The headphones are never used for this purpose. He just wears them as an accessory.
  • Healing Hands: FionaWings in Rivenwell Online
  • Honor Before Reason: What compels Merui to accept the bet with Alistair. Most people wouldn't bother dragging something from an MMO into real life. It's not even legal, anyways.
  • I Love You Because I Can't Control You: You can catch Derek's attention by NOT pining after a date with him.
  • I Was Just Passing Through Travis's reasoning for doing things like maintaining the school's neglected computer network. Admitting to Merui that he "finds her useful" is one of the first cracks in his emotional armor.
    • Think Nothing of It His general attitude about Merui commenting that he's a nice guy underneath it all.
  • Jerkass: Alistair. And Derek, by extension. Unless you pursue him, then he Becomes The Mask.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Travis is quite brusque with Merui, but turns out to have good intentions. Again, contrast with Derek, who's outwardly charming but - unless Love Redeems - proves to have a heart of jerk.
  • Kill Steal: Alistair killsteals a boss out from under Merui and touches off the whole plot.
  • Knights and Knaves: Travis's riddle. He lampshades it when Merui comes back with the answer, remarking that it's a common puzzle and he's surprised she hadn't already heard of it. The riddle also serves as the earliest clue that despite his dismissive comments, Travis does play Rivenwell Online: he references two of the available character classes with it.
  • Lampshade Hanging: In an encounter with Travis he and Merui nearly bump into each other. Travis jokes around by saying, "Don't tell me you were expecting me to say something like 'Watch where you're going, you stupid girl!'"
  • Literally Falling in Love: Both Travis and Shiro have a scene in which Merui loses her footing and falls into them. In Shiro's case it's also a Suggestive Collision.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Shiro. Both of his parents are professionals in high-income professions (a doctor and an engineer), and Merui is quite impressed by their Big Fancy House when she first visits. They also seem to be quite well-connected, which has caused a number of people, including Derek, to fear crossing due to some previous events.
  • Love Redeems: The ending where you win Derek's heart is the only one in which he doesn't come across as a complete Jerkass.
  • Luminescent Blush: Do something cute to embarrass one of the guys. Go on, try it. Shiro is especially prone to it.
  • Mineral MacGuffin: A virtual Mineral MacGuffin, the Blessed Stone. Whatever it is.
  • Minimalist Cast
  • MMORPG: The fictional Rivenwell Online
  • Multiple Endings: As per usual for the genre. In addition to romantic endings for each of the three guys and a "bad end" in which Merui not only ends up alone but fails to identify Alistair as well, there's also an ending in which she does not get any of the guys, but does get Alistair banned from Rivenwell Online.
  • Nice Guy: Shiro, even if he can display some surprising anger at times.
  • Parental Abandonment: Downplayed with Shiro's parents who are alive, but he never gets to see them.
  • Popular Is Dumb: Travis's mentality, best illustrated by his approving comments if Merui comes to school in a plain but comfortable sweatsuit - he admires her decision to dress for her own comfort rather than to impress other people.
  • Promotion to Parent: In the Updated Re-release, Travis turns out to have experienced a lesser form of this: due to his mother's illness, he's taken primary responsibility for his two younger brothers.
  • The Quiet One: Shiro
  • Replay Value: The multiple endings, CG gallery and bonuses to unlock make for some good replay value
  • The Reveal: Shiro being FionaWings when you play his route and win him. Most people were genuinely surprised by the revelation. Many players admitted they should've considered who FionaWings might've been in context of the story. Most people just dismissed her and assumed she was a minor character who's real life identity would never be revealed. Also, the fact that Shiro's a guy and FionaWings is female might've had something to do with the surprise.
    • In comparison, Travis being Oda and a global moderator for Rivenwell Online quickly becomes pretty transparent as his route progresses, particularly when Alistair mentions Oda being on his case just after Travis emails Merui to casually ask which server she plays on.
    • As for Alistair's identity, just how big of a reveal it turns out to be depends largely on which route you complete first.
  • Second Place Is for Losers/The B Grade: The attitude Derek says his parents have.
  • Serious Business: All this over a killsteal and an item in an MMORPG.
  • Sleep Cute: Study late with Shiro one evening and Merui will fall asleep sitting on the floor with him. When she wakes up, he's asleep on her shoulder, complete with Love Bubbles in the background.
  • Spiritual Successor: Backstage Pass is described as a "sort of" sequel by the creators.
  • Stoic Spectacles: Travis.
  • Student Council (Vice) President: Derek
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Travis as a mild male example.
  • Super-Deformed: The appearance of the Rivenwell Online characters.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Shiro does this once when trying to help Merui with a riddle.
    Shiro: I'm not saying you can't figure it out on your own... or anything...
  • Take a Third Option - Regarding Travis's riddle about knights who always tell the truth and demons who always lie.
    Merui: Couldn't you just ask something like "is one plus one equal to two?" and whoever says no is the liar?
    Travis: ...It doesn't work that way.
    Merui: In other words, yes, and you don't want to admit it.note 
  • Tsundere: Merui, type B. Normally sweet, but do not make her mad.
  • Updated Re-release: RE: Alistair++. The re-release includes extra additions and fixes a couple of problems that were present in the original release.
  • Visual Novel
  • Yaoi Fangirl: That picture above Merui's computer? Doesn't that remind you of a certain video?