|Genre(s)||Psychological horror, Visual novel, Adventure|
|Mode(s)||Single-player (First-person view)|
Theresia (テレジア?), known in Japan as Theresia: Dear Emile, is a psychological horror visual novel adventure game developed by WorkJam and published by Aksys Games, released exclusively for the Nintendo DS. It is one of the few DS games to received an ESRB rating of M for "Mature" and a CERO rating of C or "ages 15 and older". The game was released on September 11, 2008 in Japan and on October 30, 2008 in North America.
The game is a part of the mobile phone game series of the same name.
Theresia is a psychological horror visual novel adventure game from a first-person perspective, consisting of two stories, each sharing a common background: an unnamed country, presumably under strict martial law by the time the game takes place, is engaged in a fierce and bloody war with an unspecified opposing nation. No further details are provided: the player is then thrust directly into the role of Leanne, protagonist of the first half of the story. Upon completion, a shorter second chapter with an unnamed protagonist is unlocked, providing a deeper insight into the overarching background narrative.
Throughout the course of the game, both characters have to explore their confinements, trying to escape and learn the details of their past, avoiding traps and coming face to face with personal demons and other psychological dilemmas along the way. The game made use of the Nintendo DS touch screen capabilities.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (September 2012)|
Dear Emile - Leanne, a teenage girl wakes up in a small, barely lit room. She has no memories, and the only tangible clue is the word Theresia scribbled upon a piece of paper. The first areas of the game are used to instruct the player on the controls, set the atmosphere and introduce the survival aspect: in fact, the building reveals itself to not only be merely the sub-basement of a larger complex, but also to be riddled with traps, each hidden in even the most unexpected places. Only careful observation or usage of a 2x4 can reveal them to the character (as a gameplay mechanic, the wooden piece will shatter upon use). Most of the doors are locked, barricaded, or lead to places blocked by environmental hazards created by the state of disrepair permeating the structure. Proceeding, Leanne discovers that the place is an underground facility containing a prison, stretching over several underground stories and including waterworks, storage and torture rooms, even some unknown crypts; the decrepitude of the place is evident by a suddenly flooding level, fallen sustain braces and short-circuited equipment, as well as strange red beads crawling all over the walls - later discovered to be called Theresia.
By reaching the upper levels, more of the setting and personal background of Leanne are revealed: The country is losing the war, and the prison is part of a military installation (now decimated) which includes a testing laboratory, run by a woman named Maylee, who Leanne has seen in flashbacks. She also has flashbacks of a young man named Sacha and a silver-haired woman, who was drenched in and smelled of blood.
Evidence reveals that the testing revolves around a bioweapon of the enemy, known to cause uncontrollable hemorrhaging, high fever, madness, amnesia, and ultimately death as the body gradually swells and turns purple. After the death of someone infected, it becomes a highly contagious airborne virus, making the corpses highly contagious. In order to stop the virus, known was Epicari, from spreading, the bodies would be burned. As Leanne finally reaches the surface, she visits the above-ground portion of the installation, built under a church (thus explaining the crypts and other religious features, such as an angel statue), until finally reaching the commander's office.
Journal entries and notes Leanne has discovered along the way cause her to have flashbacks and gain back bits and pieces of her memory. She remembers that, as an infant, she was the sole survivor of a village destroyed in the war. The silver-haired woman who haunted her memories was Emile-a torturer for one country's military,-who found her. She took the girl in as her daughter, giving her the name "Leanne".
Leanne grew up mostly at the church, watched over by the priest who ran it. She caught the eye of a young boy named Sacha and longed to talk to him, but had not due to her mother making her promise never to talk to anyone but her. Emile would often visit her, but she recalled her mother as cold and frightening, and she wonders if the woman cared for her at all.
Sacha and Leanne began exchanging letters in secret. When Emile discovered Sacha embracing Leanne, the woman ran at him with a knife. One of the other church members got in the way and was killed. Emile was restrained and taken to the underground part of the facility. She was no longer allowed to visit Leanne.
Epicari had begun to surface, and many people were dying. Maylee showed up with a bunch of scientists and was able to create a cure from Emile's blood. This was called "Theresia", which was her last name. She reminded Maylee of someone, whose blood also was used to create a cure in the past. Leanne also made her think of this person, as the girl would pray for the infected without fear as their corpses were burned.
As the virus continued to spread, the military decided to move everyone underground, to the large area they had been using as a base. Though Sacha tried to convince Leanne to run away with him, as the two had fallen in love with each other, Leanne couldn't forget Emile. She asked Maylee to take her to see her mother. The minute Emile saw Leanne, she took her to one of the prison cells, put her in chains, and locked her up. Leanne did not mind this, though, as she was happy to be her mother's alone and enjoyed being visited by her.
Eventually, the military ordered the deaths of everyone not on their staff, hoping to finally stop the virus from spreading. Sacha came to release a reluctant Leanne, but was discovered by Emile. He pointed a gun at her, but she calmed him down and hugged him by singing him a lullaby she often used to sing an infant Leanne. She took the gun from him and shot him in the head, killing him. Then, she tried to escape with Leanne and was assisted by Maylee, who had come to care for the two of them. Emile murdered many of her own comrades in an effort to protect her daughter, and it is the memory of this which makes Leanne realize that her mother really did love her.
At some point, Leanne herself had become infected with Epicari. She was given the vaccine Theresia made from her mother's blood by Maylee, but a side-effect of both the virus and the vaccine was amnesia, thus why she couldn't remember anything upon waking up. The one who left her journal entries was likely Emile, who wanted her to remember. Emile is also the one who set up the traps, out of a twisted sense of love. She was keeping Leanne safe by preventing people from getting to her, as well as preventing her from leaving.
In the commander's office, Leanne finds what seems to be the body of her mother and mourns her death. She leaves some red flowers that also held a strong place in her memory, as she often spent time with both her mother and Maylee among them. She takes the final key needed for her escape, with her mother had seemingly been protecting. Casting aside everything on her person, along with the pendant her mother had given her, Leanne escapes the destructing facility.
Outside, she finds an abandoned infant, which she resolves to take in. After the credits, the camera zooms in on Leanne kneeling outside with the baby, Emile standing behind her. There is a strange noise, and the camera falls over. It is unclear what this means, though popular theories are that the body Leanne found was not Emile's, and that the woman was still alive and had attacked her in order to stop her from escaping or that this was symbolic of Leanne still being in her mother's clutches, as she starts to follow the same path as her-taking in an orphaned child and passing on a twisted sense of love.
Dear Martel - The second chapter more directly focuses on the war and its effects on the populace through the struggle of an unnamed character. Like Leanne, he wakes up in a rundown location-in the case, a mansion-with no memories. Also like her, he encounters many traps and slowly regains his memories through flashbacks prompted by journal entries and notes he finds. He also comes across many hateful and cryptic messages scrawled on the walls.
The protagonist is eventually revealed to be a doctor. Martel was the name of his sister, who had a different father than him. After the death of their mother soon after she was born, he sent her to an orphanage ran by their grandfather. He was adopted and continued his studies. Years later, he returns to the orphanage to be a doctor and to do research. He is reunited with Martel, who has grown into a kind, beautiful young woman. The two seem to get along well. He also becomes friends with two other doctors there Franz and Maylee. The doctor becomes very happy with his new family.
Unfortunately, the doctors unknowingly create the Epicari virus and infect the children. As the virus spreads, they request help from the government. Soldiers come, but only to forcibly take samples from the children. The orphanage is then quarantined. As more and more children die, the doctor, Franz, and Maylee struggle to find a cure. Martel buries the dead children without fear of being infected herself, and the fact that she doesn't eventually leads to the creation of the vaccine Theresia from her blood(it's theorized Martel and Emile share the same father, since the blood of both could be used to make the vaccine, meaning they shared DNA).
By this time, Franz was unknowingly infected with Epicari. He had suddenly started hiding his face, claiming he hated how he looked. One of the symptoms of the virus was the exacerbation of personal issues, but because they falsely believed the virus only affected children, they didn't realize this until it was too late. Eventually he went mad and attacked people with an axe. When his mask fell off, he killed himself by ramming his face into the axe embedded in the wall.
Maylee was also infected and suffering from the symptoms of the virus, during which she became intimate with the protagonist. She was cured of the infection by the vaccine her and the doctor would create.
Though they finally managed to create the vaccine, the place was stormed by soldiers. The staff tried to tell them that they now had a cure, the soldiers were relentless and used flamethrowers to massacre all the children and many of the staff. The doctor managed to hide with Martel, but was separated from Maylee. She ultimately survived, going on to try and create more of the vaccine as shown in Dear Emile's story.
When everything was over, the doctor and Martel left their hiding places. A disheveled and slightly-bloody Martel stepped on and killed an insect without realizing it. The doctor, who was unknowingly suffering from Epicari himself, snaps from this sight and strangles her. He buries her amongst the red flowers she had grown outside the orphanage. Knowing he will soon forget, the doctor leaves the notes and journal entries to remind him what he has done. He also sets up the traps and writes the messages on the wall, as a way to punish himself for what he has done.
After getting the vaccine and remembering everything, the doctor desperately tries to dig up Martel's body but cannot find it. He is happened upon by Maylee, who talks with him. She tells him about another side-effect of the vaccine, which is unknown to the player, which makes him smile bitterly. The two then walk off together.