D (series)

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D is a series of video games that follow the events of "digital actress" Laura and were published by now-defunct WARP. Officially, the series includes 1995's D and 1999's D2, though 1997's Enemy Zero is considered part of the series. Japanese musical talent Kenji Eno directed and produced each game in the series, considered to be one of the original survival horror series.[citation needed] Despite low sales and largely negative reviews by critics, the series has become notable due to its controversial nature (with extreme blood and violence, and a plot that involved cannibalism) and has generated a strong cult following.[citation needed]

D[edit | edit source]

Main article: D (video game)

Concept[edit | edit source]

As a teenager, Kenji Eno and some friends came up with the idea for a kind of game they christened "interactive cinema", which would revolutionize gaming. As Eno matured and gained programming knowledge, The 3DO Company caught his eye, due to its allowance of any playable software to be published, without restrictions, for the system. At the time video game violence was rare and simplistic, and due to D's gruesome, violent story, Kenji Eno saw this as his only window of opportunity. With the use of only three Amiga computers, and no prior programming experience, Eno formed WARP studios, and they were able to program then-innovative CGI visuals. Kenji Eno announced at a 3DO press conference that they would introduce the first “digital actress”, Laura into their new game. However, his plans were almost ruined when the controversy surrounding Night Trap established the ESRB rating system. Eno was worried that his game would receive an "M for Mature" rating, reducing the chance of strong sales. When it was announced that D would receive an "T for Teen" rating, WARP, 3DO and Eno were shocked, yet relieved.[citation needed] D was heavily inspired by Polarware's (later Penguin Software) Transylvania graphic adventure series of similar theme.[1]

Release[edit | edit source]

Though it initially sold well in Japan, D failed to make an impact in the US, likely due to heavy censoring. The video game company Acclaim took it upon themselves to port D over to the Sega Saturn, PlayStation and PC. Unfortunately, the release was plagued by controversy. Parents were outraged that the ESRB allowed such a tame rating to a game that discussed such subjects as cannibalism, insanity and mass murder. Besides the rating complaints, some said the emphasis on cinematic scenes over gameplay killed what could have been a great story, claiming that WARP's "interactive cinema" was more cinema than anything else. However, some agreed that D, along with games such as Sweet Home and Alone in the Dark, were inspiration for the hugely successful Capcom series Resident Evil, which created the survival horror genre.

After the low-key, cult success of D a series of limited editions were released. One of these was D's Diner: The Director's Cut. The director's cut featured new cinemas for the 3DO version (most scenes added were already featured in the Sega Saturn and PlayStation versions), an insert containing the game's story in detail and Kenji Eno's soundtrack.

Story[edit | edit source]

Laura Harris is in her late twenties and is a teacher at a school far from Los Angeles. Her father, Dr. Richter Harris, is director and supervisor of a local area hospital in Los Angeles. Laura's mother, Dr. Harris' wife, was violently killed long ago; she was found stabbed to death with her limbs amputated. Laura’s only keepsake from her deceased mother is a blue compact which appears in D and D2 and holds a power that can show hints of the future. As such, it is of great use and value to Laura.

The story begins when Laura is away at school. She is contacted by Los Angeles police and receives a disturbing message: Her father, Dr. Richter Harris, has gone on a mass murdering spree and has now barricaded himself in the hospital. In a panic, Laura rushes to the scene of the crime, desperate to find out what has made this studious and well-respected doctor kill. Upon entering the hospital, she is instantly horrified at the scattered and grotesquely mutilated bodies lying about the dark halls of the hospital. Inching forward, she is taken by a small metallic entity to a dark castle unknown to her.

Unwilling to give up her search, she continues through the dark, atmospheric corridors of this medieval hell. While attempting to find her father, she is frequently traumatized by a series of flashbacks of her mother's murder, visualizing her being continuously stabbed to death on her kitchen table. Eventually Laura reconciles with her father and is told a tale of her and her father's past. As the transformation begins, Laura has a choice: kill or be killed.

Enemy Zero[edit | edit source]

Main article: Enemy Zero

Production[edit | edit source]

After D's mild success, Eno had a revolutionary idea for a game: a shooter where the enemy could not be seen, and sound had to be relied on for guidance. Enemy Zero began life on Sony’s acclaimed console, the PlayStation. Due to Sony’s content restrictions of what could be allowed in a video game, Kenji Eno began to get irritated with Sony, and at an E3 conference, made a move that went down in gaming history. Eno showed a preview of Enemy Zero and its advanced graphics. At the end of the clip, the PlayStation logo appeared, but slowly transitioned into the Sega Saturn logo. Sony fans were humiliated as the Sega fans began to cheer.

While Eno did the music for D, Michael Nyman was hired to create a score for Enemy zero.

Released and received with much hype in Japan at the end of 1996, E0 was released in North America and Europe in 1997 under Sega Enterprises. Receiving mediocre reviews, as did D, in 1998 it was ported by Sega to the PC nonetheless. As promotion for Enemy Zero a replica of the gun used in the game was delivered to 20 recipients by Kenji Eno himself. Due to its popularity in Japan, Sega sponsored the support of a few Enemy Zero items, such as the official Enemy Zero soundtrack by Michael Nyman and a strategy guide. Both were published by Smiles, Inc.

Story[edit | edit source]

The exploratory biocraft Aki makes its way homeward through lonely vastness, its crew sealed in the long night of cryogenic suspension. Like a great steel heart, the spacecraft hangs floating in the black space. Shipboard system registers normal, and everything is quiet. Darkness, cold, silence and time. These are the elements of the void; in space, it is all there is… On a lower deck, a system failure in the storage bay is followed by a sudden impact of explosive force. The main computer engages its emergency program sequence, rousing the crew from their deep hibernation. Laura awakens as the nitrogen solution dissolves into mist, but the clouds of uncertainty remain in her mind. The system failure would only be activated if there was a problem.

There is something aboard the Aki other than its crew. An unseen predator, and enemy. Laura now must find a way to stop it, and to survive.

3DO M2 and the original D2[edit | edit source]

Production[edit | edit source]

Due to heavy demand from D's cult following, Eno began production of D2 on the unreleased hardware 3DO M2, which was to be the successor of the 3DO console. M2 boasted an impressive 1,000,000 polygon per second ratio with many other capabilities. Months before the release, however, 3DO announced that they had sold M2 technology to Panasonic (which Panasonic used in their DVD players), who never released the M2 to the public. Eno scrapped the project and began a new storyline for the Dreamcast version of D2. However, some of the original clips can be found on the WARP complementary disc for Enemy Zero and during the hijacking sequence on D2 for Dreamcast.

Story[edit | edit source]

Years later, we come to see Laura flying home to her family and with child. Little does she know that the very plane she is on is going to become her nightmare as ancestors work to reanimate the bloodline. It begins to storm and the passengers now grow uneasy. Praying and ducking for shelter, Laura is confronted by a demonic presence that takes her child away. The plane, unable to bear the damage, begins to spiral towards earth. Could this be the end of Laura? Even with vampire heritage, no one lives forever.

D2[edit | edit source]

Main article: D2 (Dreamcast)

Production[edit | edit source]

D2 was the first game announced for Dreamcast, after the 3DO M2 was scrapped. Eno would have to start from scratch for the new system, developing a new plot in the process. D2 was never released in PAL territories, since the D series' meager sales previous to this title gave Sega the impression that there was little profit to be made. Generally noted for its amazingly detailed and large atmosphere, D2 was the first game in the series to mix three types of games play: Third Person (for exploration), First Person (for fighting enemies) and RPG. Due to its cult popularity in Japan, a comic book was released based on the game. It told of Laura Lewis's journey, with similar story lines of that in the game. Although reviews were more favorable for this title than its successors, said reviews were mixed, and sales for D2 were little better than those of D or Enemy Zero.

Laura in the Canadian hills

Story[edit | edit source]

Canada, Christmas 2000. In the skies over Canada, Laura's plane has been hijacked by terrorists. The plane is filled with screams, shouts and fear as the hijackers terrorize the passengers and crew. In one of the seats a black-robed magician gazes into a crystal, chanting the phrase "Shadow, the final destroyer". Mysterious indeed. Laura's compact begins to glow. A vision of a meteorite hurtling towards the Earth is reflected in the mirror. Suddenly the plane is struck by the same meteorite that appeared in the vision, and falls towards the frozen tundra below.

In the middle of a raging blizzard, Laura opens her eyes to find herself inside a mountain cabin. She was saved by Kimberly, one of the passengers of the wrecked plane. 10 days have passed since the crash but Laura can remember nothing, not even her name. The door of the cabin opens and one of the terrorists enters. While Kimberly and Laura stare in horror, he transforms into a hideous monster. He is not the only one. Other crash survivors and locals have mutated into terrifying monstrosities and attacked people. Is there anyway to survive this living nightmare? At present it is shrouded in mystery.

Recurring characters[edit | edit source]

The D series is unique in the idea that a few of its characters are "digital actors", appearing in multiple games but with different personalities, last names, and backgrounds. The "actress" Laura appears in every game, while "actors" Kimberly and Parker appear in both Enemy Zero and D2. Since their roles differ in each game, information on each role is present on each game's individual page.

D series inspirations[edit | edit source]

Various game reviews often cite the D series as being a progeny of other ideas. While D has yet to be quoted as being like something else, the same cannot be said for its "sequels". Enemy Zero shares many similarities with the popular 1979 film Alien.

  • The reflection of the computers speaking in binary projected onto helmets appears in the opening scenes of Enemy Zero.
  • The objective in both is to carry a deadly creature back to earth for research.
  • The creatures in both often take refuge in the duct systems.
  • The ships both have similar structures with separate designated towers.
  • Enemy Zero features an African American actor named Parker who shares a similar appearance to Parker in Alien.

Many comparisons have been made between D2 and John Carpenter's The Thing, due to its location and similar symptoms after infection of the virus. Also, the plant-like creatures frequently encountered resemble a Thing seen near the beginning of The Thing, though they are not employed to as graphic an effect as in D2.

Laura's retirement[edit | edit source]

According to various gaming sources and Kenji Eno himself, digital actress Laura and her fellow actors have been officially retired. With the closing of WARP, it is very unlikely that there will be a D3 or any such adventure featuring Laura. While SuperWarp has been retired as well, Eno has built a new company called FYTO (From Yellow to Orange) that is dedicating itself to making games. Rumors were confirmed when Eno announced a title in development for the Wii.

D series database[edit | edit source]

Title Publisher Release Platform
D Acclaim 1995 PlayStation, PC, Sega Saturn, 3DO
Enemy Zero Sega 1997 Sega Saturn, PC
D2 Sega 1999 Dreamcast

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]