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File:ShadowMemories.jpg

An Adventure Game released for the Play Station 2 by Konami in 2001, and titled Shadow of Memories originally and outside of the US. It was later ported to the PC, X Box, and eventually the PSP.

The main character of the game is Eike Kusch, a young man who is killed during the game's first cutscene. Pretty short game? Well, not really -- Eike is promptly revived by a being called Homunculus, who offers him the chance to change his fate. Eike, naturally enough, accepts. However, the killer isn't going to be put off by being thwarted just once. If Eike wants to live, he'll have to find the real reason someone's out for his blood, which may be rooted deeper in history than he can imagine.

The game soon falls into a pattern: Eike is killed at the beginning of a level, revived, and then must travel into the past in order to prevent his death from occurring. The plot, however, swiftly becomes very complicated, as details about the reason for Eike's deaths, the possible identities of his killer, and the Homunculus's true motives are brought into play. The choices the player makes over the course of the game retroactively decide Eike's true origin and nature, and determine which of the six possible endings will be shown. Another two endings become available once the first six have been completed.


This game provides examples of:

  • Ambiguous Gender: Homunculus. He's referred to as male and has a male voice, but you'd be forgiven for thinking he was a girl.
  • Artificial Human: Homunculus. Or so we are led to believe
  • Dead to Begin With
  • Deal with the Devil: Subverted. Eike assumes that Homunculus wants his soul in exchange for bringing him back to life, but Homunculus denies wanting any such thing. This is then Double Subverted in Endings D and E.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The levels set in the distant (1900's) and far past (1500's) are shown as shades of gray and sepia, respectively.
  • Empty Room Psych: The Cathedral. It's present in every timeline, but can only be entered in two occasions in the present, and it has nothing inside. Well, except for some interesting architecture and an energy unit, but who cares about that?
    • The Wagner's house and parts of the Museum also qualify, both have a lot of nice rooms with nothing in them, not even paintings to add to your One Hundred Percent Completion.
  • Gainax Ending: Particularly the EX endings.
  • Genre Savvy: Eike in the EX endings. Subverted, as he ends up erasing himself from existence because of his own Genre Savviness.
  • Gossipy Hens: The two older women and the little girl. Especially their incarnations in the medieval era.
  • Have a Nice Death: "I don't think returning to the present is the way to solve this problem."
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: MARIO is the voice of Homunculus.
  • Identical Grandson: Many of the characters in each era.
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Eike Kusch. Since the game appears to be set in Germany, the name is most likely supposed to be pronounced "Eye-kuh Koosh", but the English voice actors pronounce it as "Ike Kush". Dr. Wagner's name is continuously mispronounced as "Wag-ner", whereas anyone with even a passing knowledge of classical music can tell you it should be "Vahg-ner".
    • Eike's name is actually pronounced that way in the Japanese version as well, so it wasn't a localisation mistake in any case. [1] Same deal with the mispronunciation of Wagner, which is "Wahgunah" in Japanese phonetics, which is the same as how the original Wagner's name is written in Japanese. The only one whose pronunciation did change was Dana, who was "Day-na" in the English version but "Dan-na" ("Dana" in Japanese phonetics) in the Japanese version. Incidentally, both are acceptable pronunciations of the name.
      • Wagner's pronunciation was corrected on the PSP version.
  • Insurmountable Waist High Fence: "I guess this is as far as I go."
  • Justified Extra Lives
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Inflicted upon Dr. Wagner by Homunculus so he does not get to enjoy his eternal youth.
  • Literal Genie: Homunculus during Ending E. Although it's fairly obvious, given his personality and actions throughout the game, that he's just being cruel for the sake of it.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Eike is closer to Dana and Hugo than any of them realize....
  • Mineral MacGuffin: The Philosopher's Stone.
  • Mind Screw: With a plot designed to make sense after you've played the game six times, it's only to be expected.
  • Multiple Endings: An interesting example, as the game's time travel theme essential means all the endings are possible in their own way.
  • My Grandson, Myself: Eike, though he doesn't know it.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: If Eike ever touches a past or future self, both get erased from time. Notably, this is one of the only ways you can get a Game Over. In one possible outcome, you can have Hugo erase himself from time when he grabs his older self to protect his sister. Also, One of the secret endings involves you destroying Homunculus by throwing the Philosopher's Stone at him and destroying him. This works because the stone is basically him crystallized as Sealed Evil in a Can.
  • New Game+: The EX endings, accessible by playing the game after completing all six regular endings.
  • Place Beyond Time: Homunculus' pad. A checkered floor floating in darkness, artfully decorated with broken statuary, strewn books, grandfather clocks, and a floating window. For an immortal genie, he's a bit of a slob. This is where Eike gets dumped after dying. Homunculus mostly hangs here to avoid paradox erasing him from existence if Eike dies.
  • Parental Incest: Ending E, where Eike ends up with Dana, who is his own biological daughter from the medieval period. Neither of them are aware of this though. Though she does insist that she sees you as a father figure-type of guy (though it doesn't stop them from acting on their mutual attraction).
  • Screw Destiny: One of the main themes of the game is that you can choose your fate, as demonstrated by Eike.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Ending C. Oh, God, Ending C.
  • Spiritual Successor: Time Hollow for the Nintendo DS, made by the same writer.
  • Time Travel
    • San Dimas Time: Used to give each level a half hour time limit.
    • Stable Time Loop: The game is full of these, lots of them in optional sidequests. In fact, the main plot could be considered a stable time loop.
    • And notably averted Timey-Wimey Ball.
    • Tricked out Time is how Eike survives a good deal of his deaths.
  • Playing Against Type: Homunculus is voiced by Charles Martinet, who is also the voice actor for Mario.
  • Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: This is how Eike can get the EX endings. The dialog options on the New Game+ change to reflect that he knows he's had this happen before. Armed with Out of Character knowledge, he can change his actions and end the game in the opening chapter! And erase himself from existence in the process.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Homunculus's plot, which was the creation of a Stable Time Loop that would result in his creation becoming assured and thus giving him full immortality and protection from Temporal Paradox. In fact, this could be bordering on Gambit Roulette...
  • You Can't Fight Fate: One of the main themes of the game is you can't fight what's coming to you, as demonstrated by Homunculus. (Yes, this directly contradicts the Screw Destiny theme. We told you it was a Mind Screw.)
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Averted in the extra endings.

Notes

  1. His name is written as "Aiku Kasshu" in Japanese phonetics, which would sound like "Ike Kush".
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