Now as we all know, growing up can be hard on a kid. The shifting mass of a body going through puberty, new feelings and questions surging through a burgeoning brain, and more complex interactions between peers and the world at large. Even within the confines of seemingly normal circumstances, growing up can still be an incredibly trying situation and it leaves one to wonder what happens to those growing up in harder situations. That's what we're going to be learning about in this let's play for Rule of Rose.
Released in 2006 for the PS2 by Punchline (who had only made and would only make one other game known as Chulip), Rule of Rose garnered not only generally positive buzz for it's interesting aesthetic and ideas but also generated quite a bit of controversy regarding the game's content. With the intro movie alone the player is given privy to what the game will have in store; dark, bleak settings coupled with violence against children and finally bizarre subtly sexual imagery towards children. This nearly got the game banned in a few places or heavily censored in others, but the game finally got a release uncensored in most nations. But beyond all that lies what I feel to be a fairly interesting psychological survival horror title in the same vein as Silent Hill.
Now regarding the story, I sadly can not delve too deeply into that without giving away the beauty of it all. But we play as a young girl named Jennifer as she happens to stumble upon a rather dilapidated mansion in the English countryside. The whimpering of an animal, the shadowy figures of other children, and a sense of familiarity accompany her on her journey through the mansion and will continue to hound her for the rest of her journey. She won't be alone in her travels though and she won't be defenseless; she'll actually gain a very interesting companion to help her on mission to uncover the truth and that becomes a very central theme to the game. The uncovering of hidden truths and invariably finding out how the entire world becomes an intertwined web of pain through which none of us can escape.
Jennifer is our timid and awkward protagonist. Alone on a bus in the middle of the countryside, Jennifer finds herself in a very strange and dangerous situation. But what is this poor young girl forgetting and who are these strange beings working against her?
Brown is Jennifer's ever faithful canine companion and friend who joins in on her magical adventure through the airship, helping her to find all sorts of mysterious hidden items. Brown also attempts to defend Jennifer against the evils that may come but in the end, he can merely be a distraction against the perils that await in the wings of the ship.
Eleanor is the first of the upper echelons of the Aristocrats Club that we get to know, though it only scratches the surface. Fore you see, Eleanor is an incredibly cold and distant girl even to her 'friends'. As such people are only left to guess what's going on in her mind as she wanders about the ship carrying along a bird cage and seemingly finding her only real company in the caged bird.
Meg is the second member of the royal class of the Aristocrats Club that we get to know and the picture we get is definitely a sorted one. With her nose almost constantly embedded in a book or in the hind quarters of Diana, Meg seems somewhat book smart while also incredibly co-dependent. Now whether she is actually as cruel as her inventions give the impression of, or whether she's just trying to make Diana happy, it's difficult to tell but in the end it's not going to work in Jennifer's favor.
Diana is the final member of the royal class of the Aristocrats Club and she appears to be something of a ringleader for the club. With a disdainful and apathetic look she reigns over all the other girls, working over multiple angles to demean and keep the other girls in line. But will her machinations and attempts to control the other girls backfire on her? And is there something darker lurking beneath her spite-filled surface?
Amanda is the only other girl that is on the same class level as Jennifer in the Aristocrat's Club but is probably more hostile towards Jennifer than any of the other girls. Labeled by the narrator as 'small-hearted' and shown throughout the game to be borderline schizophrenic, she is usually seen either sewing endlessly on a hidden project or cowering like a cornered animal in a slaughterhouse. What's her story? Why is she so hostile towards Jennifer? And what could she possibly be hiding in her secreted away room?
Wonderful Fanart made by Grimwit
Even more wonderful fanart by Panzer Skank
A wonderful dream shown in fanart by EchoPrima
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