Japanese Dreamcast cover art
Illbleed (イルブリード Iruburido) is a survival horror video game developed by Crazy Games (formerly known as "Climax Graphics") and published by Crazy Games in Japan and AIA in the US for the Sega Dreamcast. It was released in Japan on March 29, 2001 and later in North America on April 16, 2001. Despite being financially unsuccessful, this game received a worldwide cult following for its notable combination of nonlinear gameplay elements (e.g. trap detection) and bizarre B-movie style comedy horror theme, dialogue and voice acting.
The gameplay of Illbleed differs from other survival horror games. The player is encouraged to not rush through the level, but to slowly walk from place to place, looking around and at the environment. Using a tool named the Horror Monitor that consumes the player's adrenaline, the player can mark various places suspected of being a trap. These traps burn, slice, scare, and hit the player in various different ways, resulting in blood loss, rise of pulse, and lowered stamina so that means that even the environment itself is a threat to the player, in addition to the enemies.
The player is given tools and items to prevent the character from bleeding to death, running out of strength or adrenaline, or being scared to death. If the player fails to keep the character alive through the course of the level, they must be revived outside of the level and has to continue the level with another character. If the player runs out of characters, then the game ends.
When engaging enemies, the player is not allowed to exit the battlefield until the enemies are cleared out. If the player tries to go beyond the battlefield, it will flash blue. In some cases, the battlefield has a smaller green square with a letter "H" on it; a helicopter hovers over the area (even indoors and when a concrete roof is above you in 'the homerun of death'). The player may attempt an escape by standing on the green square and pushing the B button repeatedly to call for help. Successful escape clears out the enemies.
Four senses and horror monitor
A character has four senses: Sight, hearing, smell and sixth sense. Each time the player gets near items or traps, one or multiple senses will register on the meter located on the top of the screen these senses are indicated like a heart monitor. The player may utilize the horror monitor, which consumes adrenaline, to mark the spots suspected of hoarding items, traps or lurking enemies. Any spot marked will display a glowing blue orb, which the player can survey. Some traps will be successfully defused this way and the spent adrenaline will be returned to the character.
Items may be purchased at Bloody Mary Drugstores located in the amusement park, found throughout levels, or obtained as the plot unfolded. Some items restore, reduce or raise the upper limit of certain character stats; items unused will not be carried to the next level. There are also upgrade items that can be used at emergency rooms in the game.
Initially, the player may only choose Eriko. As the player rescues each of Eriko's friends, the player has more choices of characters to play with. After beating the game for the first time, Eriko will wear less clothing for each character she fails to rescue in future playthroughs.
Each character has their own strengths and weaknesses, with two all-around average characteristics (Jorg and Kevin Kertsman). Eriko Christy, the main character, can recover more quickly after being scared by a trap or enemy. Randy Fairbanks, the dim-witted slasher movie fan, has the highest strength and health, but lowest adrenaline. Would-be psychic Michel Waters has the lowest health, but the highest adrenaline (as Jorg).
If the player does not pick up Randy's brain in the Woodpuppet stage and rescues him, the player gets Brainless Randy. He has all the same stats as regular Randy but has no adrenaline (as the adrenaline is shown by a brain icon in normal gameplay). Brainless Randy's dialogue is changed to groaning in stages and gibberish, although the other character's dialogue is not changed to reflect this.
The opening scene in Illbleed starts with the main protagonist, Eriko Christy, giving a speech for an 18th annual speech contest. She talks about her troubled childhood in which her father, who was a horror theme park designer, tested out all his new traps and props on her until she was six years old, when her mother left him. At age seven, Eriko only watched many different horror movies and then later, at high school, she created the "Horror Movie Research Club" with her as the club president. All of Eriko's friends are members of the club (with the exception of Jorg, whom they meet much later in the game).
After Eriko's speech, Eriko, Kevin, and Randy meet outside to discuss Eriko's speech. In the middle of their conversation, Michel excitedly runs up to them holding invitations to "Illbleed" received as a Petco promotion, rumored to be the most exclusive horror theme park to date. The invitations also state that the first ones to clear all the traps and exit alive will be rewarded with $100,000,000.
They beg Eriko to go with them, but Eriko remains unimpressed and is certain that the park is just a hoax with cheap props and scares. Smitten with the idea of victory, Kevin, Michel, and Randy all set out for Illbleed and leave Eriko with her ticket.
Three days pass without word from her friends, thus Eriko decides to head to Illbleed in search of them. She enters the park and this is where the game starts. As Eriko progresses through each level, she can successfully rescue her friends and meets Jorg in the fifth stage of the game (Jorg doesn't appear on the character selection screen because he is not one of Eriko's friends but in the killerman stage he is taken away on a cart by a zombie showing the player that he needs to be rescued).
After the levels are all completed, Eriko is forced to venture into the "Michael Reynolds' Horror Museum." She fights one of three bosses that Michael Reynolds, the creator of Illbleed and the main antagonist, has set up for them in order to complete the game. The number of friends saved will determine the ending of the game.
If all three friends and Jorg are saved, the best ending consists of Eriko and friends (except Jorg) at a beach enjoying themselves and trying to decide what to do with their prize money. Eriko suddenly states that she is going back to Illbleed and tells them not to follow, despite their enthusiasm to return with her.
If Eriko fails to rescue a friend, the bad ending comes with the camera scrolling through the park, Eriko speaking in the background (who now sounds older) saying she got the prize money, but lost her friend(s) in the process, saying she would give up the money to bring back her friends,(even though there is a visitor bank that the player can use to revive any of Eriko's friends he/she failed to rescue) the screen ends with the camera closing up on a grave of her dead friend.
If the player finishes the game a second time, and does not save anyone, (including Jorg which means the player won't get the bonus cash in the killerman stage) the true ending is shown. Eriko finds out that the mastermind behind Illbleed, Michael Reynolds, is actually her father. Reynolds reveals that his true intention is solely to scare Eriko after being unable to do so when she turned six. A fight ensues with Eriko emerging as the victor and commenting on how Reynolds "destroyed himself" and "scared the living hell out of her".
After the credits roll, a picture shows Kevin and Eriko embracing with Kevin announcing that he is taking over as club president as Eriko has become a very timid person after her second visit to Illbleed and refuses to visit another horror house. He further explains that she needs protection now and that he would be the one to provide it. The game ends with a close-up of an invitation ticket to "The Arcade" which has a similar layout and appearance to the Illbleed invitations as seen in the opening scene.
Each level is unlocked one by one in the order as Theaters Section indicated. The player approaches a theater and is asked if they would like to begin the level or not. If they select "Yes", the level begins with an intro. After completion, the player cannot replay the level and the level theaters only have 2 signs that show the correct prize cash you get at the end of the level.
- Minnesota Hell Cinema - Homerun of Death: The player explores a burned-down hotel, Chateau Banbollow. Throughout the level, they have repeated encounters with Gale Banbollow, the flamethrower-toting owner, who was badly maimed in the fire and driven mad by the loss of his son, Jimmy, who was burned to death in the fire. If the player nears the end of the level in under 50 minutes, they will find and save Kevin.
- Cinepanic - The Revenge of Queen Worm: The player explores an abandoned campground, where they discover the ghost of worm farmer David Rodriguez, who seeks their help in putting his gigantic, prized breeding worm, Rachel, out of her misery. If the player finds Michel within the 30-minute time limit, they will save her.
- Boogie's Fun Movies - Woodppuppets: A vindictive tree spirit named Trent kills lumberjack and chainsaw enthusiast George MacLachlan, then takes over his mill, turning the workers into killer mannequins. The player must enter the mill and destroy the diabolical plant and its army of "Woodpuppets". If the player finds Randy within the 50-minute time limit, they will save him. There is also an Easter egg in failing to find Randy's brain. If the player reaches him within the time limit but without getting Randy's brain, he will become "Brain-less Randy" who is the same but with no adrenaline.
- Shock It to Me Theater - Killer Department Store: The player enters the ruins of the Cashman Department Store, facing haunted merchandise and the ghost of its greedy owner, Donald Cashman. This stage gives the player the prize money instantly because the traps take away your cash in this stage.
- Hall of Resentment - Killerman: The player must help solve a murder mystery in a broken attraction. If the player finds Jorg after the zombies capture him, he will become a playable character and if the player guesses right they will win a million dollars but if they fail to rescue him no matter who they pick then will get no prize money which is bad for players trying to get the true ending.
- Child Palace - Toyhunter: The player takes on the role of Cork Inda, a cross between Woody from Toy Story and Indiana Jones, and help him travel to Toy Hell and back to rescue his lover, Sexy Doll, from the clutches of the ruler of Toy Hell, Zodick the Hellhog (a monster based on Sonic the Hedgehog).
- Michael Reynolds' Horror Museum - The Final Battle: The player confronts Reynolds and one of his three sinister boss monsters in order to claim their reward, the Bullstinger (presumably a nod to Blue Stinger, another title by Shinya Nishigaki and the hardest boss), the Cashman spider or Ohnoman. An alternate ending allows the player to discover the sinister connection between Eriko Christy and Michael Reynolds.
Illbleed can be won or lost based on the characters stats at the end of the game (or the middle if one dies). At the end of each level, the remaining stamina, adrenaline, pulse, etc., is tallied, and the player loses some prize money if the values are either exceeding or below the values specified at the beginning of each level. These extra ranks get harder to reach with each and every stage.
- Stamina: The character's overall health. When depleted, the character dies.
- Adrenaline: The character's ability to mark traps with the horror monitor. (and special horror monitor received when the player gets the true ending).
- Pulse: The character's heart rate. When it reaches either 255 or 0, the player dies. When the player is scared or wounded by traps, the player's pulse will go up. Pulse is raised by two units each time the player uses dodging technique.The characters pulse slowly decreases by 1 over time.
- Bleeding: The character's wound level. Bleeding increases as the character runs. Wounds slowly heal as the character stands still or walks. The higher the player's bleeding level is, the slower the character will move. Higher levels of bleeding will also affect the character's stamina. If the character is bleeding too much he/she will die from blood loss. If the character is bleeding a lot the heart rate drops below 50 until it reaches 0 or the bleeding heals. The Erole magazine is made for this purpose to stop the heart rate reaching 0 but only for this reason should you use it.
|This section requires expansion. (December 2013)|
Three years after Illbleed's release, Shinya Nishigaki, the CEO of Crazy Games (formerly Climax Graphics) died of a heart attack. Prior to his death, most of the programming team quit because of a merge with a larger company. After the merge, they announced that they would release a remake for the Xbox some time in 2003 and a sequel titled Illbleed 2: Reynold’s Revenge. But with continued budget cuts, the game was never completed and remains unreleased.
- "Sega of Japan catalogue page for Illbleed". Retrieved 21 August 2012.
- "Illbleed US back of box". Retrieved 21 August 2012.
- Anthony Chau (April 18, 2001). "Illbleed review on dreamcast.ign.com". IGN. Retrieved June 8, 2001.
- Shinya Nishigaki, dead at 42