|Release date(s)||PlayStation 2
GrimGrimoire (グリムグリモア Gurimu Gurimoa?) is a real-time strategy video game for the PlayStation 2, co-developed by Vanillaware and Nippon Ichi. It is published by Nippon Ichi in North America and Japan, and by Koei in PAL Regions.
The main character, Lillet Blan is a young magician admitted to a prestigious magic school, the Tower of Silver Star. Though she attends normal classes for the first four days and meets the various professors and students, on the fifth day she awakens to learn that everyone in the tower is dead. Before Lillet is also killed, she is suddenly propelled back in time to her first night at the school. She then relives the five days before the tragedy over and over again, retaining the knowledge of the magic she learns in those five days and desperately trying to solve the mystery to prevent the same events (or worse) from taking place. Lillet discovers dark secrets about her classmates, teachers, and even the school itself before she discovers the truth.
Lillet appears onscreen as a cursor which is used to guide troops around the field. Units known as familiars are created by placing summoning circles called runes on the map. Mana can be spent to upgrade the Runes in each fight. New runes and familiars are found as Lillet collects and studies the grimoires. Resource gatherers take the form of elves and other small creatures who harvest mana from crystals. Unexplored areas of the tower are shrouded in a fog of war.There are a number of ways to select individual or multiple units. The game consists of a story mode and a series of bonus maps that are unlocked upon completing the story mode for the first time. The game's plot is presented through cut scenes with large, animated character portraits. Only the familiars are under the player's direct control.
System of magic
There are four different magic schools with a rock-paper-scissors arrangement of strengths and weaknesses among the schools. Glamour summons fae-type creatures such as elves, fairies, and unicorns. Glamour is strong against necromancy and weak against alchemy. Necromancy summons undead units, which are astral and cannot be affected by most physical attacks. However, they are weak against magic. Necromancy is strong against Sorcery and weak against Glamour. Sorcery are units which are demonic in nature and have high hit points. Sorcery is strong against Alchemy and weak against Necromancy. Alchemy units specialize and have fierce ranged attacks. They are strong against Glamour and weak against Sorcery.
Lillet Blan (Lillet Blaw in Japan), voiced by Ookubo Aiko (Japan) and Wendee Lee (US). Lillet is the main character of the game. She was invited to Silver Star Tower. In her first four days there, she met her companions and befriended Margerita. Lillet comes from a poor family and wishes to become a great magician in order to provide for her younger brothers. In the game, Lillet works tirelessly in order to save her companions. Lillet is very studious, quickly mastering powerful runes. She is named after Lillet Blanc, a brand of French aperitif wine.
Margarita Surprise (Margarita Frozen in Japan) Margerita is Lillet's first friend. She has been at the school for six months. She carries Surely, her talking frog familiar on her head. It was Gammel Dore who brought her to the academy, rescuing her from a town of persecuted magicians. Despite appearing very carefree, Margerita is a servant of Calvaros. She was sent to Silver Star Tower to retrieve Calvaros' soul. If she refused to do this, she would have been burnt at the stake. Margarita is named after margarita, a type of cocktail.
Bartido Ballentyne (Batido Ballantine in Japan) voiced by Yamauchi Yuuya (Japan), Michael Soirch (US) Bartido is a senior who majors in alchemy. He has a rustic, blunt personality, but is observant of the events around him. He finds that Lillet is keeping a secret when she uses sorcery she acquired during one of the time loops. During the first time loop, Bartido awakens Lillet so she can escape. He dies after leaving her. In the third time loop, Lillet learns that he is an enemy spy from another nation. He soon gives his soul to Advocat in order to save Lillet. However, when times go backwards, the contract does not go with it and he lives. He is named after Ballantine's whisky.
Hiram Menthe (Hiram Green in Japan) Hiram is a senior at the school who studies necromancy under Opalneria and maintains a close relationship with her. He is an honor student with a kind personality, and is a close friend of Bartido. He is of royal origins. Hiram's name is a portmanteau of crème de menthe, a type of French liqueur, and Hiram Walker, a brand of the same type.
Amoretta Virgine (Amaretto Vergine in Japan) Amoretta is an ephemeral student at the academy who has a Grimalkin familiar. She is harassed by Advocat but Lillet rescues her from him during their first meeting. Amoretta's body is a homunculus created by Chartreuse who claims Amoretta has no love of her own. As a result, she is unable to live outside her flask. Lillet promises to give her as much love as she desires, and vows to protect her. However, Amoretta sacrifices herself in order to save Lillet from Grimlet in the third and fourth loops. Lillet defeats Calvaros and Grimlet in the final loop, thus preventing Amoretta's demise. In the epilogue, Amoretta lives with Lillet in the city. Amoretta is named after Amaretto, an almond flavored liqueur.
Gammel Dore (Gammel Drask in Japan) Dore is a legendary magician and the headmaster of the school. In the past, he has defeated the wicked Archmage Calvaros and sealed the devil that had made a pact with him. He made the school to be like Archmage's Silver Star Tower. He sends invitations to promising youths in order to better educate the next generation of magicians. His full Japanese name, Gammel Drask, is a reference to Gammel Dansk, a Danish brand of alcohol. His American name, Gammel Dore, is a reference to Dumbledore from J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series.
Opalneria Rain (Opalnera Rain in Japan) Rain is a teacher of necromancy. She is Lujei's apprentice. Though she appears cold-hearted, she is passionate and has unrequited feelings for Chartreuse. She is named after Opal Nera, a brand of black sambuca.
Advocat (Advocaat in Japan), voiced by Yuri Lowenthal (US, uncredited) Advocate is a devil that teaches sorcery. He is the uncle of Amoretta. Though he usually acts like a gentleman, his nature as a devil occasionally shines through. His real name is Mephistopheles. His purpose at the school is a mystery, and he will not reveal if he has a contract with Gammel Dore. Advocat does not actively collect souls while at the school but Lillet distrusts him. Advocat knows more about the events in the Silver Star Tower than he cares to reveal. He is named after advocaat, a Dutch liquor.
Chartreuse Grande Grande is a professor of alchemy cursed with the head and other features of a lion. Opalneria laments that he was once a handsome young man. Grande remains unconcerned about the curse and rejects attempts to undo it despite being told that the power of love would restore his original body. He wishes only to continue his search for truth. He is named after Chartreuse, a French brand of liqueur.
Lujei Piche is a vengeful ghost who haunts Silver Star Tower. Lugei is one of three great magicians who created the legendary Philosopher's Stone. Lujei was betrayed and assassinated by her lover and student under orders from the kingdom. Upon her death, she became a wandering ghost and now carries a staff with the skull of her former lover whom she killed. Gaff says her ghost is good for keeping naughty children in bed. Lujei also appears in Soul Nomad & the World Eaters, another Nippon Ichi title.
Calvaros (Calbados in Japan) Calveros was a previous archmage. With the help of Lujei and Gammel Dore, he created the Philosopher's Stone at the request of the kingdom. He later made a contract with an ancient devil in order to use the Stone's power for himself. Though he was killed by Lujei and Gammel, he remains sealed within the tower and plots to restore himself. At the end of the fifth day, he is about to kill Lillet before she is sent back in time. His soul is eaten by Grimlet. His name comes from an apple brandy made in Calvados.
Grimlet (Gimlet in Japan) Grimlet is a devil who Calvaros made his contract with. He seeks to gain a host so he can conquer the world. Grimlet is sealed within Gammel Dore's brooch. He breaks free and controls Gammel's body. He is twice destroyed by Amoretta but on the final night in the game's second-to-final stage, Lillet tricks Grimlet into breaking a contract with her, which banishes him to hell for 1,000 years. His name in the Japanese version is a reference to the alcoholic drink with the same name.
Gaff is an elf who accompanies Lillet in the beginning of the game.
GrimGrimoire was well received by the gaming press. It received an average ratio of 78% at GameRankings and 79% at Metacritic. GameSpot gave it an 8.4 and praised it for its storyline, characters, and aesthetics. IGN, which also gave it a score of 8.4 praised the cut scenes, battle system, and 2D gameplay. RPGamer gave a score of 3.5 out of 5 and also praised the game's interface and its voice acting.
GameSpot and RPGamer criticized the small soundtrack and the lack of map variety. 1up gave the game a C+ and criticized the game for being "too watered-down" compared to the layers of complexity found in other titles from Nippon Ichi Software America.
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