“Restricted to an abandoned mansion on the outskirts of London in fulfillment of a promise to her father, lonely Cardia lives day to day isolated from the world. Her body carries a deadly poison that rots or melts anything her skin touches, prompting the locals to call her a “monster.” Her last conversation with her father two years ago, telling her to stay out of sight and never fall in love, is the furthest back she can remember. One day, her quiet solitude is interrupted as the Royal Guards break in to capture her. It is then that Cardia meets Arsène Lupin, a chivalrous thief, who helps her escape the soldiers’ clutches. She soon finds herself on a journey with Lupin to locate her father, who holds the answers to her mysterious condition. The two are soon joined by four more interesting and handsome gentlemen…”
⚙ General Route ⚙
So, this game differs a bit in that it has a common route that is longer than the actual individual love interests’ routes! It is a total of eight chapters, with five chapters for each individual guy. You may get some different scenes depending on the choices you pick, but it is practically the same. There is a lot that happens, so I will just go over a general overview so you don’t get a headache from reading!
Cardia is a girl who regards herself as a “monster” – her skin is poisonous and anything that touches it will melt. She is to be captured from her seemingly abandoned home in the woods, when she is taken by gentleman thief Arsène Lupin. This commences their mission; Cardia is desperate to find her father and rid of her poison, and Lupin says he will help her. Lupin has been traveling with engineer Impey Barbicane who dreams of going to the moon, while staying at a Count Saint-Germain’s mansion – a mysterious count who lodges them because he finds it “entertaining.” Along the way we find Victor Frankenstein – an alchemist who has been wanted by the government for supposedly commencing terrorist attacks. We also meet Abraham Van Helsing – a human weapon formerly part of secret organization Twilight – when he decides to shoot up a fair (typical).
Twilight is this creepy organization that seems to be after Cardia. She has a gem in her chest called the Horologium that is supposedly very wanted as some sort of weapon, as well as the source of her poison. We find out that this is what acts as her heart – she has no heartbeat. Along the way, we find out clues about Isaac Beckford, Cardia’s father and an expert scientist who disappeared without a trace. They try to find clues about him from getting a prize from an airship contest and even hijacking a train with Twilight’s leader Finis, who calls himself Cardia’s brother.
Finally, they get a solid clue as to where Isaac’s laboratory is from Isaac’s notes they won in the contest, which is where we find out a bit more about Cardia from Finis, who set up the whole scheme. Cardia is a Homunculus, the 666th trial of an experiment to find a body to stabilize the Horologium in. While what happens next is a bit dependent on whose route you go onto, Saint-Germain ultimately stabs Finis, and the Twilight soldiers who accompanied him on the hijack escape. Cardia, not wanting to trouble the others with her issues, decides to run away from the mansion.
⚙ Victor Frankenstein ⚙
Now THIS is a character Mary Shelley would be proud of! Seriously, if I had known Dr. Frankenstein was such an adorable bishounen, I probably would have really payed attention when I read that book. I mean, I guess saying that Frankenstein gave you “doki dokis” probably isn’t considered classic English literature. Probably. On a more serious note, I do enjoy the fact that they stayed closer to the true Frankenstein, meaning he was an actual scientist and not a stitched together zombie. While our Victor and Shelley’s Victor are different in many ways, I do tire of having so many “Frankenstein” characters that are the monster and not the man behind the madness, so props to the writers for that!
When in the lab with Finis, he pulls out a red gem that reacts with the Horologium before he is killed. This causes the Horologium to heat up, putting Cardia in a lot of pain. This pain goes on and off for several days, while Victor has suddenly disappeared. Apparently there has been another terrorist attack on Steel London which was blamed on him. Cardia is all worried, when she gets a letter from Victor to meet on Tower Bridge. It was a setup from Twilight, but not to worry – our adorable alchemist Frankenstein comes to save us.. well, at least try. I say try because his way of escape is jumping off the bridge, so it’s not EXACTLY a great save, but at least they were safe in the end. He explains that the attack was a set up. It used Zicterium, a substance that was created accidentally when they were trying to make a philosopher’s stone. It was used as a poisonous gas in the Vampire War two years previous, causing mass murder.
Victor and Cardia plan to sneak into the castle to speak with Queen Victoria. They manage to get in and speak with her, telling of the plans of the use of Zicterium. She divulges the truth to them – she was the one who set this up. She wants to cause disturbance within Britain, then in other countries in order to start a war before other countries’ technology catches up with theirs. It is also revealed that the Horologium is transforming, and soon Cardia will become a monster, releasing mass amounts of poisonous gas into the atmosphere. Victor, however, pledges to find a cure. During another attack of Zicterium, Victor and Cardia help citizens escape. While Cardia was feeling sick before, after being exposed she suddenly felt energetic, giving Victor the idea that the Zicterium can reverse the transformation.
During this time, we also find out about Victor’s past. The reason he was so knowledgeable on Zicterium is because he was the one who created it while researching the philosopher’s stone for the Royal Society. He didn’t mean for it to do harm, and he ran from the government when he found the mass murder it caused. After he finishes his story, Cardia and Victor go out, when Cardia finally realizes that she loves Victor. But, they are caught by Twilight. Victor is to find out where the Zicterium Victoria is using is stored, and Cardia is kept for some sort of insurance. Victor goes on to find where the Zicterium is, and back where Cardia is being kept she manages to escape. She meets up with Victor, and they follow Victoria down to where this “tree” of Zicterium is conserved. She sets it to launch, and when Victor tries to stop her, she puts her knight Leonhardt on him. While they fight, they are both gravely injured, but Leonhardt eventually gives up, not agreeing with Victoria’s plans. Victor is able to turn off the device and set it to self destruct. But, he must extract the Zicterium in order to get it to Cardia. He barely makes it in time, and gives it to Cardia through
kissing mouth to mouth.
In the true end, they both escape, along with Leonhardt and Queen Victoria and all is well. They go on to live a happy life, and Victor – being the genius alchemist he is – creates a medicine for Cardia to take that will keep the poison at bay so that he can touch her. In the normal end, Cardia ends up killing herself before Victor could give her the Zicterium so that she couldn’t hurt anyone. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to like Victor too much when I first saw the characters – I’m usually not into the meganes. But, Victor was absolutely ADORABLE. From his attitude to his voice, he is just such a sweetheart ugh. My precious snowflake.
⚙ Impey Barbicane ⚙
Impey is the expert engineer! Well.. more like a giant dork engineer. He is such a wannabe playboy, and makes flirtatious comments so much that the entire crew makes it a norm to ignore them. He is always taking big hits and being totally fine, and is used to things just exploding in his face (engineering life). He is based off of a character from the French novel From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne.
At Isaac’s laboratory, we find a tip that Nemo, a crazy scientist we met at the airship race, is somehow connected to Isaac. When they go out to find him, sky pirates had stolen something of his. He freaks out in his over-dramatic voice, but Impey says he will get it back for him. Using a tracker Nemo supplied, they found the sky pirate hideout and started their stealth mission to get Nemo’s device back, that is, until Nemo decided to bust in there with his bombs and cause a whole show. They had to use Victor’s potions to knock some of the enemies out, along with Nemo, and Impey carried both of them out under his arms, then proceeded to kick all of their asses while outside. Cardia suspected that his strength wasn’t human. When she confronted Impey, he confessed that he was a vampire. I found this detail a bit misplaced. Don’t get me wrong, it makes sense, but it felt sort of.. pushed aside? I did wish it had a bit more emphasis. It would’ve made more sense if he said he was some sort of cyborg honestly.
When they get back, they ask Nemo some questions then are given rooms. When Cardia goes to check on Impey, she overhears Nemo talking, saying that he knows Cardia is actually a Homunculus and is part of his plan. She rushes over to Impey’s room to tell him, but Nemo found out and gassed the room, knocking them out. When she awakens, she is tied with a piece of the Horologium missing. Nemo comes in and blabs his usual nonsense, and Cardia is able to escape and knock Nemo out. She runs to Impey’s room, where he blasts the door off as well as some Twilight soldiers using a gun that shot out a toilet seat cover LMAO. They run but are cornered with a heavy door at the end. When opened, it turns out they are up in the sky in this giant thing called the Nautilus. When Impey asks how it flies, he finds out that it is using a device called a gravity alleviator – the thing Impey has been looking for. Before Nemo can capture them, Impey does what any rational human being does and JUMPS OUT OF THE FLYING MACHINE. As they are plummeting to their deaths, Impey asks if Cardia loves him and if she believes in love at first sight. This man has A+ timing. Of course, they can’t die yet, so they are miraculously caught by Lupin in the Orinthroper – a weird version of a helicopter Impey invented.
When they are safe and sound at home, Victor gets a chance to examine Cardia. If she doesn’t get the missing piece of the Horologium back, she will die. While this is happening, the Nautilus starts to terrorize London, bombing parts of the city and killing many. The British forces alone are not enough to conquer the Nautilus. While talking about it and the gravity alleviator, Impey finally explains about being an engineer and going to the moon. He was an outcast in his village, and lived alone on the outskirts of town. When he first saw the locomotive, he thought it was amazing and started to build imitations. One day, an old man who was said to be strange saw these and offered to help. Thus, the old man and Impey began working together, and he taught Impey about being an engineer. They started “The Cannon Club” in the hopes of one day going to the moon. When the Vampire War started, he was away from his village when it was gassed with Zicterium. When he got back, the old man was dead.
The crew decides to team up with Queen Victoria and her troops to help take down the Nautilus. Impey has created a device that will mess with the magnetic field of the gravity alleviator, blasting it into the atmosphere. The air squadrons work with them while the crew uses an airship to cause damage and eventually board the ship. The air squadrons shot the device Impey made onto the ship. When it was time, Impey grabbed Cardia and JUMPED OFF OF THE AIRSHIP THROUGH THE GLASS ON THE NAUTILUS. Someone really needs to stop him, honestly. He presses the button to activate his device, but it doesn’t work. They have to head down to the engine room, where they are confronted by Nemo. Impey is able to defeat the Twilight soldiers and Nemo, and then proceeds to grab the Horologium with HIS BARE HANDS. Since the gravity alleviator no longer has any fuel, the ship is going down. Cardia refuses to leave Impey, and they try to land it in the river Thames. Luckily, they were able to do it and escape with all limbs intact. Afterwards, Impey and Cardia are alone at the mansion while they work on their dream of getting to the moon. In the normal end, Cardia leaves Impey to find an escape, but the pathway back to him is blocked. Impey lands the Nautilus alone, and he is never seen again – not even his body was found. Impey had a really enjoyable route. It was definitely one of the more entertaining and fun routes, while still having its intense moments. Impey has ended up being one of my favorites, even though I hadn’t anticipated it.
⚙ Abraham Van Helsing ⚙
Ah, Van Helsing – the infamous vampire hunter from the original Dracula novel by Bram Stoker. While he did kill many vampires in the Vampire War, he is most known for being a “human weapon” in the secret organization Twilight. Also, during the common route we meet a young vampire named Delacroix II, the boy whose father was killed by Helsing. Helsing says that when he finishes whatever he is supposed to do, he will let “Delly” (nicknamed by Impey) kill him. Helsing is quite the serious character, but he is a bit of a softie. He always is shooting his gun, but a lot of times he uses rock salt as ammo so that it doesn’t cause any major damage to enemies.
When Cardia decides to leave the mansion, no one is there to stop her. She takes off to go back to Wales to her original home, but the trains have stopped for the night. She decides to wander into the city, when she is captured! Her assailant has poison proofed gloves, and when she wakes up she can hear a woman’s blood curdling screams. Out comes Jack the Ripper, a man who was known for murdering woman in the late 1800’s. Apparently he was hired by someone to capture Cardia, but we don’t know who. When he leaves, Cardia is able to escape. She runs into a dead end but keeps running, coming to a blood stained part of the sewers. She is cornered by Jack, when Van Helsing comes to the rescue. Apparently Jack has gone insane due to a failed government experiment called “Hidden Strength” that was used to bring out human’s hidden potential during the Vampire War. When there, they come to this strange room with the name “Azoth” written on the wall, and a voice on a recording saying that there will be mass violence in London. Helsing is sure that it is Finis, who he believes to be immortal. Then, to leave no trace, the place has a bomb that explodes. They come out ok, but are questioned by police after.
This route is a constant battle between feelings. Cardia just wants to be with Helsing, and he’s always like, uh no. It gets really frustrating, honestly. But, while all of this is going on, crime in Steel London keeps increasing at an alarming rate. Helsing wholeheartedly believes it is Finis. He believes he is immortal since he blew his head off once, yet he came back to life. Helsing also has this tendency to just go off and get all bruised and battered, then come back and be off the next day.. wyd. During all of this madness, Helsing decides to team up with a Jimmy A. Aleister, an old friend from Twilight. Aleister recruited Helsing into Twilight, and they fought in the Vampire War together. Helsing had to become part of the vampire society during the war, and when he realized they weren’t bad, Finis held his family hostage and threatened to kill them if he didn’t. The same thing happened with Aleister, and it deeply pained Helsing to kill all of the vampires that had been so kind to him. Cardia desperately wants to help Helsing with the investigation of Azoth, but he refuses to let her. She really has to sneak her way into helping him, like when Aleister visited and she said everyone was inside before Helsing could refuse. He also enjoys totally disappearing as well. I swear, I’m not sure how Cardia survived this man. She’s a toughie. When she runs after him when he is about to find Azoth, he is all like, no you can’t come we’re not friends bye. He gets angry and asks why she’s always trying to be by him when he’d be putting her in danger. He knocks her out and brings her to an empty house out of the rain, then goes to the old chapel.
Finis is there, and Helsing keeps shooting him out of anger for what he did. But, turns out Finis has several bodies. Aleister ends up killing Finis, saying he also knows the source of his immortality, shocking Finis. Now, this is when we find out the real truth. Aleister is actually the criminal Azoth. During the war, he was the one who took their families hostage and killed them himself. He planned this so that Helsing would grow a deep hatred for Finis. Hidden Strength, the thing that drove Jack the Ripper, as well as many other people (including one of Delly’s fathers good friends) to madness, had been slowly used over years on Helsing. Aleister wanted someone to understand him, and he thought Helsing was the perfect candidate. He let his anger overwhelm him, turning on Hidden Strength, giving Aleister full control over him. Sometime during this debate Cardia had woken up and arrived, and so Aleister commanded Helsing to kill her. Cardia says that it was okay, that if killing her would make him feel better he could do it. However, Helsing cannot and he falls. Cardia is yelling and crying over his body, when he finally wakes up, saying that he couldn’t die with her screaming over his body LOL. I should also mention Aleister also died after Helsing became all cuckoo since he was finally satisfied having someone understand him.
In the true end, Delly decides not to kill Helsing and becomes a delegate for surviving vampires. Helsing is a bodyguard for a human man who also helps vampires. He is always busy at work, but one day he comes home. They get all dressed up and go on this super cute date where they dance. They don’t have a cure for her poison yet, but Helsing says he will wait to touch her until they do. In the normal end, Helsing doesn’t wake up in the chapel. Cardia has been staying inside, and Delly stays with her. Then, she decides to visit Helsing’s hometown and his family’s graves to tell them about him. Honestly, Helsing isn’t my favorite. His route was wonderful, and he had some amazing scenes, he just isn’t quite my type. I also forgot a lot of his route, so I’m really sorry if I left anything out. His review is a bit shorter than the others, but I did try and get all the main points in. I do have to say, though, in his extra scenario his CG was probably the best, but I’ll let you guys see that if you ever get to play the game hehe.
⚙ Saint-Germain ⚙
Sainty-G my man (nickname courtesy of the nickname master Impey)! While his route was most definitely not what I had expected, he did end up being my favorite. Saint-Germain was based off of historical figure “Comte de Saint Germain” born in the 1700’s – man who was interested in science and the arts who claimed to be much older than he appeared.
When Cardia tries to run away from the mansion, Sainty-G offered to take her to his hideout. They went together, walking for over a day, when they arrive at a mansion that is exactly the same as his other mansion. He asks if she wants to go back, but she refuses and thus they go in and have dinner. While they have dinner, however, it seems he drugged her food. He carries her to her room, and when she wakes up he is there with a blade in his hand. He is trying to kill her, but Cardia refuses to believe that he would do it of his accord. He wants her to hate him, and is trying to kill her as painlessly as possible, as his blade is coated with some sort of anesthetic so that she will not feel any pain. She resists, and he is unable to kill her. He says the next dose of the drug will be ready at midnight the next night, so she has until then to live.
Saint-Germain brings her meals, even though she says she actually doesn’t need to eat to survive. When she asks why he couldn’t kill her, he says it’s probably because he loves her (I’m totally not sobbing). That night, Cardia tries to escape but practically everything is poison proofed and the window won’t break even when hit with a chair. The next day, Sainty-G is like, gotta tie you up because you were making a ruckus! Cardia is still confident that she will escape, and she manages to that night. When she runs away, she is only 10 minutes away from the familiar city, and heads to the mansion where she meets a huge armored assailant who tries to kill her. Luckily, Victor and Helsing come to her rescue, and the whole crew meets up at a hotel to discuss what happened. They go over what happened, and remember that Germain said that he was part of the “Apostles of Idea” when he killed Finis, so they decide to trek back to Isaac’s lab to find some clues. When there, they find that Idea is some ancient organization that guides history. They run into the assailant again, but Saint-Germain comes to the rescue. Apparently the assailant is named Guinevere, and when stabbed right in the chest he is totally fine and tells the crew to escape, practically giving Cardia an existential crisis.
When going for a walk, it starts raining and everyone disappears except for this old woman in a wheelchair. She is Omnibus, leader of Idea. She explains that they guide history to save humanity from their sins. Saint-Germain is one of the apostles, and he must kill her since she is part of Isaac’s experiment. He apparently made a mistake in the past, and ended up killing many because of it. She tells her to go to Tower Bridge at midnight so he can kill her. She, of course, goes and meets with him. Saint-Germain, however, can’t kill her and pledges to instead kill all of the apostles so that she can live. He also tells his story about his mistake. He played as a village doctor at a village that was predicted to bring the plague. He saved a young boy who then followed him around, and when the village showed signs of the plague he poisoned the water supply and killed the others, except for the young boy. Because he didn’t, the Black Plague spread, killing ⅓ of Europe’s population. No pressure or anything. He uses an anesthetic to have Cardia black out so that she cannot chase after him.
So, now Saint-Germain has killed two apostles and Guinevere is asked to battle him. She also had a tragic love story, falling in love with one of the knights from her husband’s round table and causing mass chaos, leading to her suicide. They battle for days, while back at the hotel Cardia devises a plan to convince Omnibus to save Saint-Germain. She takes a red pendant she found at the laboratory that causes the Horologium to transform, and goes into the forest with the crew to find Omnibus. While only Cardia is able to come to her house, she goes with her plan and threatens the gem to Omnibus to save the one she loves. Omnibus agrees to save him if they can beat Guinevere, but she will have to destroy her Horologium after. She agrees, and is transported to where he is, battered and bruised. She tells the plan, minus the last part. He fights Guinevere, and ultimately wins. Omnibus comes, and asks Cardia to destroy her Horologium. Germain, however, gets on his knees and begs to wait until they can find a heart for Cardia. Guinevere is on their side, and she agrees. In the true end, they are traveling about, trying to find a heart for Cardia. In the normal end, Germain ends up dying and Cardia becomes one of the Apostles of Idea. I love Saint-Germain so much – he is so graceful and beautiful. I was afraid he would end up some crazy yandere in his route, but his end is so sweet and he makes such a huge sacrifice for her it’s just so ugh. His and Helsing’s routes are definitely the most heart wrenching in my opinion.
⚙ Arsène Lupin ⚙
Arsène Lupin is based off of a gentleman thief from books by Maurice Leblanc. His distaste for detective Herlock Sholmes is also in one of the books in the series. I actually thought Herlock was a name made up by the creators, but it was actually used in the books! (P.S. We do find out that he really is Sherlock Holmes and Herlock Sholmes was some sort of dumb alias he used to not gain attention). Now, I love Lupin, but this route I felt focuses much more on Cardia than Lupin. I found that he didn’t have as much as an impactful story on me as the other characters. Again, the main focus really was Cardia. I love her, but I wish they had a bit more about Lupin in there, especially since he’s advertised as the main love interest.
When Cardia leaves the mansion, she goes home to Wales to try and find clues about her father. She finds a paper, but not before villagers come to attack her, blaming her for all of their misfortunes. They chase her into the forest, and attack her, when Lupin comes in to save her, admonishing all of the villagers for their poor character then running away with her. They get on a train back to London and read the paper, which talks about the plan “Code: Realize.” The train stops outside of London – apparently there is a revolt happening and the government is under attack. They decide to team up with Leonhardt to save Queen Victoria and get her help in raiding the traitors base – the cathedral. They are able to successfully save the Queen, and she agrees to helping them. Along the way to Buckingham Palace, Lupin tells Cardia of his past. He was an orphan who stole to live, when one day he was caught by a man. That man taught him all he knew. One day, however, the man betrayed what he said about not doing bad anymore. Lupin informed authorities, and the organization destroyed itself from the inside out. The man was originally part of Twilight. After this, Lupin wanted to find out more about terrorist attacks.
They raid the cathedral and find Finis along with a strange device that is apparently his actual self – the secret to his immortality. Before they can do anything, the Nautilus driven by Nemo picks up Finis and the device, along with Cardia. When she wakes up, Finis is there. He holds up his red gem, starting to transform the Horologium, putting Cardia in a lot of pain. He explains the plan of Code: Realize. Both he and Cardia are two parts of a whole to make their father, Isaac Beckford, a god. Cardia asks Finis why he is doing this, and he says because he wants father to love him. Father always loved Cardia, but never him, so he wants to do this so that their father will finally love him. Finis uses some sort of potion to speed up the reaction of the Horologium, which causes Isaac to come through Finis, his hair glowing white. He talks to Cardia, and he says that she actually isn’t his real daughter, but made after the image of his daughter.
Cardia’s Horologium is transforming, and she is brought into the device that gave Finis life. In there, she sees the memories of her father. He worked in a village and helped them defeat poverty and famine, and they applauded him. He lived with his wife and children Cardia and Finis. One day, however, these things came back to the village and they blamed him. When he was away one day to try and figure out a solution, he came back to his house burnt down, his wife stabbed and children crying in pain. He couldn’t save them, and he went back to London, where everyone said he went mad. Ultimately, he wanted to be a god to raise the dead – to bring back his wife and children. In this dream Cardia is having, she hears Lupin’s voice. He pulls her out of the device, and they run away. But, Cardia stops and says she will release a poison and kill him. Lupin is stabbed by an agent from Twilight, and then shot several times by Finis who has returned to himself. Cardia is brought back to the room with the device.
Of course, Lupin comes back to save the day, as he was just wearing a protective vest that spurt out fake blood (of course). Finis returns to himself, as the Nautilus is going down. He slides off the side and Cardia saves him, but he ultimately lets go. Lupin and Cardia fall as well, sharing a kiss as the last of her poison is released and finally wears off. The crew catch them in the airship, and they are alright. In the true end, everyone is gathered and they get married! I was so happy that at least one route got a marriage end LOL. In the normal end, after falling off the ship they are never found again. I love Lupin – I wanted to play him first until I figured out you had to play him last. They really brought together all of the separate routes. He also had one of the best endings, but, as I stated earlier, I wish there was a bit more about him instead of all about Cardia.
⚙ Overall ⚙
This game was absolutely wonderful. It was really cool that they used historic figures and characters from older fiction in the game. The story-line was intriguing, and the heroine actually had a backstory and character development. I don’t always mind the blank heroine, but when they give her a real personality and backstory it makes the story so much more interesting. I do enjoy darker themes in stories, which Code: Realize has, but even if you don’t the story is just generally amazing and isn’t scary (I like dark themes but not scary ones). The art was wonderful, but my favorite part was the scenery. Seriously, I want to marry that background artist, they did such a beautiful job. One other thing I loved was the opening, I’ll probably listen to it a lot from now on. This is one of my favorite otomes, and I seriously recommend this to anyone and everyone – whether they’re interested in otome or not.