TimeStrike and published by Sega in November 2005 for the Nintendo GameCube video game platform. With its predominantly dark atmosphere, horror-themed setting, and its exploration of taboo topics and behaviors, TimeStrike director Athena Panacea believes this game to be the company's most serious and most mature outing yet. Uninterested in responsibly handling the job her father prematurely passed down to her, the childish and immature Morticia the Reaper goes to slaughter all the world's great heroes and do whatever it takes for her to live life the way she wants to live it. However, along the way, she begins to subsequently (and unwittingly) awaken a greater evil than her that these saviors were working their whole lives to fight off and keep in check. Shall she release this waiting evil, the world is predicted to plunge straight into chaos...
The game is TimeStrike's first game to be available on a Nintendo platform, following the discontinuation of the Sega Dreamcast and that company's subsequent decision to produce games for third-party platforms. It was revealed 16 years later that the events of The Reaper's Lament occurred roughly 27 years before COLD❄BLOOD, and that both games are entries in the Zaxiverse.
The game's visual and sound aesthetics, particularly in fully-animated cutscenes and in the game's trailers, are greatly inspired by classical horror flicks from the early 1930's, namely Dracula and Frankenstein. However, the game's cast and setting remain having a cartoonish flair similar to the likes of TimeStrike's previous works such as Crescent Kicker or Aftershock.
- Morticia the Reaper is the latest in a series of reapers on the decomposing world named Kosmoxeth, thinking the world to be unengaging and uninteresting because it's kept so well in check by the heroes trying to prevent the place from falling apart. She was prematurely forced to place herself on her father's mantle after he retired unusually early because he can't bear the burdens of paranoia and anxiety that came with his job, and his child's rebellious behavior didn't help matters. The moment her father disappeared from the public view and hastily handed his contacts to his daughter, the immature reaper decided to kill all the big-time heroes keeping the world safe from this great evil that's been lurking under the surface for ages, in spite of the warnings and pleas she received from family and friends around her. Stubborn with her beliefs, unwilling to listen to others, and ridiculously self-centered because of how much power was passed onto her, she goes through with her goal to bring the world's yin-yang balance off guard, wishing to live the life she wants to live. The notorious reaper, who had been reaping souls for fun and letting chaos unfold, wasn't ready for the consequences that would come as a result of her actions: she would release the great evil and cause it to assert dominance over the world, leaving only a matter of time before it would consume everything...
- When this unnamed evil climbs out from underneath the surface after all the heroes holding it back were destroyed by Morticia the Reaper, it begins to swallow the world up with its darkness. Now it's up to her to resurrect the heroes she unfairly put to rest, once she realizes how many family and friends she lost to this evil she refused to believe the existence of. She lost not just her hometown to this hideous creature, but her father (which she loved but disobeyed) and her ability to enjoy life. She now must grow and mature over the course of the story, trying to follow her father's teachings and advice without his guidance and trying to swallow the newly-settling idea that the world hates her for the horrible things she's done. She now has to hold the world on her shoulders as the situation continues to grow graver and graver, her self-confidence beginning to fade as she slowly begins to understand why she was given her job and why what she did was wrong. You are seeing a character evolve from a child into an adult as the reality of growing up crushes down on her, forcing her to survive and adapt and make friends out of her enemies...
The world of Kosmoxeth is a decomposing and crumbling one that seems to have a persistent "dead aura" to it, with much of the world's vegetation and life wasting away and the landscape appearing to be mostly grey with hints of blue and green. Here on Kosmoxeth, any metropolitan grounds appear to be abandoned and what was green before is now grey instead, with the worldwide silence only occasionally interrupted by bellowing winds. Take a closer look at the world, and you'll realize that it was once thriving in futuristic technology- flying cars were invented, wireless communication was the norm, and there were enough solar panels to go around. Prior to the events of The Reaper's Lament, however, dark clouds began to scatter across the skies and render solar panels inefficient- with all other sources of fuel depleted, human civilization found it hard to adapt to a world without technology, and began to die out. Thus, much of the world appears to be abandoned, with only small bursts of electricity here and there being provided by some of the world's last-remaining coal and oil resources. The "Dark Winter" began affect the rest of the world, critically affecting the health of Kosmoxeth's vegetation and letting crime rates sharply increase all across the world.
The people of Kosmoxeth were mostly just your average human beings, with no particularly defining features that would make them stand out from the rest of their species. When the immortal thing that should not be from another world out in the cosmos came to rest on Kosmoxeth and then feed off of this world's energy, however, there quickly became changes in the world's people- the "influence of hollowness" prompted the new religion named "Malum", where people devote their lives and causes to fuel and attempt to awaken the supernatural creature resting somewhere in the Bermuda Diamond. The followers of "Malum" are some of Morticia's main enemies throughout the game. There's also the "Bonum" group, another religious cult that's dedicated to not just destroying Malum and the great evil it supports, but taking out anyone else not devoted to their cause- all people Morticia must wind up fighting as well. These groups are led by Priestess Raina and Priest Star, respectively. Besides all this, superpowers have been persistent on Kosmoxeth for ages now, founded thousands of years ago by scientists- though humans have always been challenged with understanding and grasping the concept, some exceeded with it and would become heroes... or in some cases, villains. The line of reapers exists to cast death down upon those no longer happy with their lives or upon those ready to die at long last.
The "Sleeping Village" was once a popular metropolitan center for the human race, but when the great evil threatening to consume the planet crashed right nearby, its reputation plummeted hard once it was realized the systems of the village weren't operating properly anymore. Now it is a ghost town, inhabited by overly tall, slender human-like creatures, like Morticia and her kind.
A la FantendoQuest, the player can choose three difficulty settings, which each significantly impact the gameplay.
- Normal: The standard setting for the game. Enemies have normal HP and stats, and everything else behaves how it does in accordance to this page. It and Hard mode are initially the only available modes to play on.
- Hard: A stronger difficulty setting. Enemies have more health and stronger stats, and shop items are generally more pricey. Enemy drops aren't as common, either, and reaped souls heal less.
- Lunatic: Very harsh setting that gives enemies tons of health and formidable stats, complicated by the player gaining minimal stats through the game! Scraping enough blood for Bloodstone Chunks is really hard now.
In the overworld, the player controls Morticia as she walks around the decomposing world named Kosmoxeth, with her and her partners displayed from a top-down perspective. While traversing the dying lands and riding between the barren trees, Morticia can dig up lost graves to retrieve items, speak to the dead to hear their thoughts or receive directions, and collect currency for the underworld shops. The central hub for The Reaper's Lament is the Sleeping Village, a ghost town that Morticia can practice and hone her skills in. Through entering open manholes on the streets, they can enter the hidden Underground, which is where they can exchange Bloodstone Chunks or souls for items or upgrade/polish their weapons and armor. To save the game, Morticia must kneel before gravestones with glowing white crosses, which are either found in important places or immediately after felling bosses. Smaller graves also appear upon killing less notable enemies, but they cannot be saved at- sometimes they'll have items spread across their tops, however, that can be taken for any purpose, left there by the people who mourned over their family or friends' passing away. By resting one's feet in the Holy Fountains spread across the world, they can freely heal their HP (Hit Points) and MP (Magic Points) as well.
As the player moves around the desolate world, they will be doing a little bit of platforming and puzzle solving here and there with Morticia. She can fiercely swipe with her scythe or charge with it in the overworld, both of which are good for triggering events or for rushing right into battle. As an example, she can use her scythe to snip ropes- that's her initial ability. Over time, she can learn to performing a dashing slash with her scythe across the ground and through the air or use it like a pogo stick to reach higher places. Her scythe can be eventually used to slow down time for puzzles, but this will eat at her Magic Points (MP), so they must be quick with it. Finally, she can also learn how to teleport to Pink Gravestones located across the globe, allowing her to efficiently travel across the Kosmoxeth labyrinth without easily getting lost. If the player is at the grave of a miniboss or a non-rival boss enemy, they can cast their scythe into the ground and tug away at the coffin to fish up the enemy's soul- they will not just be souped up and offer much more experience upon defeat, but their soul will be consumed for good and will come with many and many benefits.
Enemies are not encountered randomly in The Reaper's Lament. When they spot the player, an exclamation mark will pop up over their head first before shuffling their way over to them or trying to run away from them instead. If they're not encountered in any particularly special way, neither side will have the advantage when the battle begins. Get ambushed from behind, and the player will be helpless for 5 seconds- the same applies to the other side too, however. The player can always look towards the enemy face-to-face to ensure they won't get ambushed from behind, but if they run about in circles and try to confuse the enemy, they can sneak upon them from behind. Like in EarthBound if an enemy's too weak to have a full-on battle against, they will be defeated instantly. Additionally, Morticia can strike an intimidating pose to scare enemies away, or taunt them by wagging her finger towards herself to tempt a battle. Some enemies are resistant to the player's methods, however, so all enemies should be studied before being approached.
It is in the overworld where the player can check their team's status, check and organize their inventory, and swap around Darklings/Partners without consequence. Their inventory is shared by the whole team, holding up to 120 items, with identical items stacking up together. Over the course of the game, Morticia will find sets of special robes with lovely patterns on them, which she can use to replace her standard robes in combat. Not only do these new sets of robes alter her stat distribution, they also give her her own unique elemental powersets and come with their own pros and cons.
Sometimes found in the overworld are Bloodstone Capsules, which are the player's key to currency exchange in The Reaper's Lament. For every enemy the player destroys in battle, they will be able to receive between 1 to 30 "bloodstone chunks" to fill their on-hand capsules with, receiving less from early-game enemies and way more from later-game ones. Each Bloodstone Capsule can hold up to 100 of these chunks, and the player can find up to twenty of these capsules in the overworld. By visiting Beck in the Sleeping Village, she can increase the size of any Bloodstone in the player's collection, able to triple their capacity for a price.
In the overworld, the player can use to confirm commands and to cancel them. They can also use for speaking to NPCs. and can be used to use her current overworld abilities, which can be swapped between through and . Pressing opens the menu.
When the player's about to participate in battle, the screen does a slideshow transition to show Morticia and her foe(s) ready to duke it out on an arena inspired by the setting they're currently within. Traditional turn-based battles are not present in The Reaper's Lament, dropped in favor of real-time battles, meaning that both the player and enemy's sides can attack at any time. This means that the player must strategize and act fast to have the upper hand in battle, as enemies may be attacking them while they're setting up. To ease matters, Morticia has the power to read her enemy's next three moves, which applies to all enemies on the battlefield- and there's a countdown timer showing when each of those moves will be executed. The player's goal is to fell all enemies so they can move on- once this is accomplished, the player will gain Experience Points (EXP) from battle as well as (usually) reap the defeated foe(s)'s souls, allowing her to either nibble down upon them to restore HP and MP or store them to exchange them for items later on her journey.
Through using and , the player can respectively confirm and cancel actions, and through using the and buttons, the player can immediately swap between their lead character and partners at any time. Use at any time to swap out active partners for ones on the backburner. If the player uses at the right times when Morticia's using any of her attacks, she will either continue dishing out damage or execute the next stage of her move, dealing more damage overall. The player can manually set up her two partners to follow particular strategies so that Morticia can focus on her own combat. The player has to be careful, however- once they throw out an attack or use a good, they will be put on a short cooldown timer, allowing them to only use the Hugs, Defend, and Run Away commands until it expires. A staleness factor also comes into play in The Reaper's Lament- should an attack or spell be used twice in a row or more, the move will gradually become somewhat weaker and the cooldown timer will slowly drag out more and more, forcing the player to mix up their strategy. Keep in mind that if someone confirms their next move while being attacked by an enemy, they won't execute it until the enemy's move is finished.
Many defensive measures can be taken in gameplay. If the player sees the enemy flash with white colors, they'll have just enough time to hit to halve the damage Morticia receives. The player needs to time the button press well, however, or they will take the full blunt of the attack. If the enemy glows red colors, that means they'll use an exceedingly powerful move that can punch a huge hole in the reaper, meaning the player should absolutely try to block the attack or they might take mortal damage. As the player or the enemy takes damage, their HP odometers (inspired by EarthBound) will begin to roll down, with more urgently painful attacks bringing down the meters faster. The player can heal themselves at any time, even when they've taken a blow that would otherwise lead to their deaths. Morticia can reasonably take damage well since she has a lot of HP, but each of her partners have far less, meaning she has to carefully monitor them.
In battles, the player has three standard moves of attacking: Attack, Magic, and Overdrive. The first of these, and the simplest to understand, allows the player to use their basic attack, which always has them use their signature weapon. It's not just the quickest attacking command to use, but it's the most versatile for Morticia and its cooldown timer expires the fastest. Magic attacks absorb Morticia's MP, which is important to keep note of as almost all of her non-scythe moves revolve around magic. Some partners rely on MP to be efficient, especially those with more defensive or supportive roles in battle. Overdrive is the character's strongest move, which can only be used after filling the O.D. Meter- it's filled by both taking damage and dishing it out. Morticia and some of her more offense-oriented partners have very deadly Overdrive attacks, while her other partners offer strong team support through the Overdrive moves they use. Once an Overdrive attack is used, it makes the character Over-Energized for a brief amount of time, allowing them to land numerous attacks or moves over the next 15 seconds uninterrupted before being struck with a bigger-than-usual cooldown timer.
The player's other commands are Goods, Hugs, Defend, and Run Away. Goods allows them to access the team's shared inventory- it may seem a bit useless initially since only Morticia can conveniently access the menu and she's the team's driving attack force, but she can actually set up her partners or Darklings to give her specific items under specific conditions even when they're not currently out on her team. The game will ask the player if they want [X] to use an item on them, and they can confirm it by circling the button around once. "Hugs" allows Morticia to hug her current party members and restore a little bit of HP and MP for everyone at the cost of temporarily rendering everyone immobile, "Defend" allows the character to automatically defend against attacks that come upon them infinitely until Morticia snaps at them. Of course, "Run Away" allows Morticia and her party to leave the battlefield, provided it works- the more powerful the enemy, the hardest it is to run away. Bosses cannot be escaped.
In the first half of the game, the player only has "Darklings", which she can purchase from her reluctant father through the mail for combat. They have simplistic attacks and can be given items like street lamps, tree branchses, and hammers to fight with. They can also be eaten up by Morticia to raise her stats or her HP or MP, depending on if they're black, red, or blue. Their main use is to gang up against enemies she's having trouble dealing with alone. They can be purposed for offense, defense, or support- respectively, that means they'll go all-out with attacks, preserve their energy, or only provide Morticia or themselves with items. In the second half of the game, as she resurrects the heroes she's killed off earlier in her adventure, she can recruit them onto her team to replace the Darklings (who scattered after her father's death). They have their own special statistics and have much more advanced strategies they can use. Morticia can still consume their souls to get particularly great stat upgrades, but they can be spat back out at any time, unlike her Darklings.
Once the player's finished with a battle, they'll gain Experience Points (EXP), which are shown as droplets of blood filling up a glass. The higher the player's level, the higher the glass's top will reach. Once the glass is filled, Morticia will just snatch it and drink from it, leveling up- the player's stats will raise subsequently. These stats are HP, MP, Offense, Defense, Speed, Vitality, and Courage, and they're each raised by 2-4 points, besides the former two which can increase by higher amounts depending on their current Vitality. The player can always choose which stat to give an extra boost to upon leveling up.
- HP: The player's vitality. If the number drops to zero in a character's HP odometer, they will be fall unconscious. Leveling up HP increases the amount the player has, giving them a better chance of surviving attacks.
- MP: The player's magic point count. The player must have enough MP to use the special attacks they desire to use. Leveling up MP increases the amount the player has, giving them more versatility with what special attacks to use.
- Offense: How much damage the player's physical attacks deal. Having more Offense is important, as it can make dealing with Defense-high opponents less of a hassle.
- Defense: How much resistance the player has to attacks. This stat is useful to have when facing high-powered physical attacks from the enemy team and couples well with Offense.
- Speed: Makes the character more likely to attack more than once in a row with standard attacks against slower enemies. Also decreases cooldown on certain attacks by a pinch.
- Vitality: Vitality is an important stat that only increases rarely and just barely. However, if the Vitality stat is increased, HP and MP have a stronger chance of receiving massive buffs per upgrades rather than just 1-5.
- Courage: Courage is much like Vitality in purpose, except that it deals with Offense, Defense, and Speed instead of HP and MP. The stat rarely increases, so the player will have to raise this stat themselves.
It should be noted when the player's in battle, they can swap between elemental movesets at any time, although they can only reliably use up to four without taking excessive damage / MP loss.
The Reaper's Lament has a somewhat diverse soundtrack that's rooted in early 70's rock and metal. The overworld music is usually characterized as being brooding and dark in its atmosphere, with thick basslines usually carrying the beat singlehandedly, but sometimes it will tease the player with classic pop and rock arrangements, inspired by bands such as the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Deep Purple. This is especially apparent when themes like love and friendship are explored, or when the mood is currently a good one. However, a classic horror flick's lingering taste is left over much of the soundtrack, especially the more dire tracks, intending to make the somewhat small world of Kosmoxeth sound bigger than it really is.
The Reaper's Lament takes inspiration from early 70's metal music for its battle themes, such as from the likes of Black Sabbath, Blue Öyster Cult, Aerosmith, and KISS. Though the tracks are usually somewhat upbeat and catchy for the game's standard battling themes, especially when Morticia is facing off against any of the Seven Heroes, the tracks get much heavier and slower when she's facing up against serious threats and thus get layered with much more atmosphere. Sometimes there won't appear to be music at all when Morticia's critically low on health- the music will be turned all the way off as one can hear the reaper's heart pumping. Should Morticia become capable of using her overdrive, early "thrash rock" music will be heard playing, inspired by Queen and Sabbath's faster compositions.
The game's main theme, given the eponymous title of The Reaper's Lament, is the only track in the game to have lyrics, and was released physically as a single. Its instrumental was included on its B-side. The game's soundtrack, given the title The Harvested Sorrows, was released on the same date as the game, and is now available for streaming on Spotify.
Due to the page's massive size, it has been divided into portions.
Where you should go to read up on characters. This includes the main character, the party members, and all the NPCs.
Where you should go to read up on the places you go to. This is so you can feel like you're exploring the world of Kosmoxeth.
This is a list of items that you might find yourself holding in your inventory, from key items to emergency supplies.
Where you should go to read up on enemies and bosses. Read up on hip tips and strategies here!
- The game is considered a spiritual successor to Morning Sun: Eyes of a Child, which was also inspired by the EarthBound series. However, Athena considers The Reaper's Lament to be more of an original title than a homage to any particular video game.