Tuesday, July 15, 2014

5 games with strange storylines.

Every now and then certain games that enjoyed a very healthy sense of creative freedom are released. By creative freedom it means that at least the writer and designer could implement their original ideas without any corporate constraints. The cool thing is that sometimes these games come with strange storylines that go a little far from the good guy wins scenario and delve more into a "What the hell?" kind of thing. Today we are going to see 5 of them in narrative style, putting you in the shoes of the main character(s) and doing a little storytelling just to give you a sense of what the story of the game is all about.

Note: Some of the stories can contain details that could act as spoilers.

Baroque Wii
This guy is the very beginning of a twisted tale.

1) Baroque (Rpg - Wii, PS2)

You awake in front of an enormous tower with a strange archangel looking at you. You look to the sky and it is all red and your surroundings look like some apocalyptic wasteland. You talk to the archangel and he tells you that the world (as we know it) has been completely destroyed and that it is your fault. Now to atone for your sins you must take a futuristic looking riffle, enter the tower and slay "the goddess". You go into the tower and find yourself fighting grotesque monsters and after going up a couple floors you find the goddess. Instead of the horrible monster you expected, you find out that she also looks holy. You then aim your riffle at her anyway as your lack of trust gets the better of you and shoot. After making sure the problem has been dealt with, you head to the exit only to find that you are at a balcony and there's another version of you all the way down. You mutter something to yourself and jump to your death.

You awake again and find yourself in the same situation you started, with the archangel giving you the riffle and telling you what to do. You also find that there is a small town full of strange beings not far from there where you can explore a little. Now after your visit to the strange town you must do the same thing over and over in the hopes of finding any clues that can help you solve the mystery, which means dying a lot while you figure out what things you really have to do in order to get to the truth.

Rule of Rose
They seem innocent enough, but believe me these kids are cruel.

2) Rule of Rose (Survival Horror - PS2)

You are a 19 year old girl who is led by a mysterious "lost" small boy to an abandoned mansion. There you find a corpse in the mansion's courtyard and get attacked by a group of crazy children. You try to fend them off, but they pour water on you and keep hitting you until you pass out. When you wake up you realize that you are in a big airship that is been controlled by some kind of cruel hidden society entirely composed of children. You are mistreated and basically seen as a servant as you get by the air ship looking for clues. You don't only see harm done to yourself, but also between the children themselves as they show the cruel side of childhood in their little "games". After sometime trying to figure things out something happens and the airship crashes.

Now you find yourself on an old orphanage and the children are as crazy as ever resorting to killing each other while putting you through some sort of tests to see if you are worthy of joining the club (even though you are older than all of them). Now you must search for a way to end this once and for all, before it becomes even worse of a bloodbath, but not before asking yourself if you are as evil as they are.

Pandoras Tower
You play the entire length of this game feeling sorry for the poor girl.

3) Pandora's Tower (Rpg -Wii)

You are a knight of some distant kingdom, attending a ceremony on a nation that is an enemy to yours. Suddenly the main singer of the ceremony turns into a monster and chaos ensues. You help her escape with the help of an old woman who has a giant pot on her back that stores a mysterious monster that can only express himself with unintelligible moans and noises. The singer girl is half a monster now and you want to help her. The old woman tells you to slay some monsters in some nearby towers and bring their meat. You do just that only to discover that in order for the girl to be cured of the curse that have befallen her, she must eat the meat (raw). It all looks simple until you discover that she is a vegetarian (because of her religion) and isn't supposed to eat meat, let alone raw monster meat that looks as if it was rotten, so there's a lot of suffering going on from the get go.

Now, you must keep going to the towers, looking for the biggest of monsters (called masters) in order to get their special meat and basically keep feeding it to the girl until the curse is lifted. Regardless of how many times the girl eats the monster's meat it always disgusts her and there is always the doubt about if that "cure" will work because they are just taking the old woman's word for granted. It is also worth noting that she must keep eating lesser monster meat throughout the day to keep the curse from coming back in full effect. All this while the other nation's army is looking for you both as you became fugitives from the moment that the incident happened. One curious thing to notice is that those "masters" are organic weapons, made of living things (possibly human too) so what the girl is eating is sort of a mix of different kinds of flesh all lumped into one.

A mind forever voyaging
Let's just hope that we never have to do something like the PRISM project in this game's story.

4) A Mind Forever Voyaging (Text based - PC)

On this one you are a computer program who basically represents the personification of the first sentient computer which is called PRISM, developed by the (USNA) or United States of North America. On this story, the country is in very bad shape, basically becoming sort of a cyberpunk dystopia on its beginnings. Now the PRISM computer (and you as "Perry" which is the fake human used to run everything) must be part of some country "revitalization" government research project where the computer runs simulations of many alternate versions of a fictional town called Rockvil in South Dakota and see which of all the possible scenarios would really help in the country's path to recovery. On each of them you must play your role and make decisions that will alter the course of each scenario in very profound ways going from scientific, social and political aspects. At various points where you begin to see results, you will have to go back to the real world and report to the lead scientist in the project which happens to be your creator.

Your mission is to find a suitable plan before the government decides to pull the plug on the project which means that PRISM will be turned off and you will die. You are also at risk because of various people who want to destroy the computer so the government doesn't find any solution and the country can remain on the same path.The clock is ticking for North America and you will have to live many different simulated lives before you can have any chance of success.

I have no mouth and I must scream game
The game is based on the sci-fi horror short story written by Harlan Ellison.

5) I Have No Mouth but I Must Scream (Adventure - PC)

On this one, an evil AI takes control and destroys the entire human civilization except for 5 persons (each with their own story and a defect, mistake or tragedy of the past that haunts them) and after keeping them alive and torturing them for over 100 years, it makes them play a twisted game that involves solving different scenarios and escaping the places it puts them into. As a last attempt to escape they must solve each "game" and prove to the AI that humans are better than machines because humans are able to learn from their mistakes and redeem themselves. The thing is that each place and scenario has been carefully made to cater into each of the person's flaws so it becomes as hard to solve as possible.

Now here is where you enter the scene as you control any of the chosen people. You can be Gorrister who is a sad a suicidal man that lives with the guilt of wrongfully committing his own wife to a mental institution just to get rid of her, Benny who was a bad military commander that slaughtered several of his troops because they did not met his expectations, Ellen who is a rape victim which was a promising engineer, but lost it all after the incident and haven't been strong enough to recover, even developing a phobia to the anything that is yellow colored (because that is the color of the clothes that the rapist was wearing), Nimdok who is an ex Nazi physician involved in horrible and cruel experiments and Ted who was a con artist that used his "skills" to take advantage of several women. In which order or how you solve each of the scenarios is up to you, with their lives on the balance.

Rorschach blot

Wrapping it up

Here you go folks, 5 games with stories that go right into the "what the hell" category that can be quite fascinating if you like that kind of thing. Many of these involve several metaphorical and even philosophical meanings as well as the psychological aspects of human thoughts/behavior. Some are more controversial than others, but they are always worth a look if you want to play something a little out of the ordinary.

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