My body lies in repose, in a castle room deep. To vanquish the curse, you must rouse me from sleep.
|—Briar Rose, Curse of Briar Rose|
Curse of Briar Rose is the first installment in the Dark Parables franchise. The game takes place in Edinburgh, Scotland. As the Fairytale Detective, we must investigate reports of ravenous vines taking over the lands. In doing so, we uncover the true tale of Sleeping Beauty, and save her from a terrible curse.
This game is based on the French fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty.
Opening Tale Edit
On the day the princess was born, the king held a great festival and invited all but one godmother, who was strong in sorcery yet wicked at heart. Upon hearing the news, the Evil Godmother placed a curse on the newborn child. Later in life, the young princess came across a spindle in a dusty old room and pricked her finger. The inhabitants instantly fell under a sleeping spell, while briars burst from the ground and shrouded the castle. One day, a daring prince braved the thick vines and ventured into the castle. Upon finding the princess, he gave her a kiss, which was foretold to free the princess from her curse. Though the kiss removed the briars and awakened the inhabitants, the princess never rose from her eternal slumber. Many years have passed and the truth behind the sleeping princess has been forgotten. What remains is the tale passed down through generations as "The Sleeping Beauty".
Detective, the case file you have in front of you may be connected to the tale of Briar Rose. I've given you a map to an abandoned castle rumored to be her resting place. Recent evidence shows vines are growing under the castle grounds. Your investigation will be to find the source of this anomaly and to quickly stop it from spreading further. This case is of the utmost urgency. If the vine growth is not contained, it will consume our city within seven days. Good luck, detective.
WARNING: This section contains massive spoilers! Read at your own risk!
The game begins with a cut scene showing a book with the words Once upon a time, which change to many years ago. A narrator starts telling the story (see above). After this we're transferred 1000 years into the future to present day Scotland, as the Fairytale Detective. We're given a quick briefing (see above) and our quest begins.
We enter the castle grounds and, after some exploration, a ghostly visage of a young woman appears before us. She says she is Briar Rose and that she means us no harm. According to Briar Rose's spirit, the curse has returned and a great danger looms. She says that she can help us stop it before it's too late and everything is consumed, but that we have to find her body deep in the castle and rouse her from sleep in order to vanquish the curse. Lastly, she warns us of the Evil Godmother who haunts this place. Briar Rose tells us to follow her... and disappears.
It takes us some time to explore the castle grounds and gain entrance to the castle itself. In the course of things, we learn that Briar Rose's curse was contained by five Godmothers who combined their powers together. We also find monuments to her parents, the king and queen, as well as the godmothers. We also see just how far of lengths the castle inhabitants had gone to in order to hide Briar Rose's very existence (let alone the location of her body) from prying eyes. We also learn of a potion that can lift the curse - but it will only work if the curse is active again, which explains why no one has ever been able to wake the princess previously.
Eventually, we find the secret chamber where Briar Rose's body has been sleeping for 1,000 years. The Evil Godmother is here as well - waiting for us to wake the sleeping beauty so that she can take over the princess's body and use it for her own nefarious purposes. We challenge her in a sort of "duel" by matching magical runes faster than she can destroy them, and manage to lift the curse before the Evil Godmother can manage to cast her spell to take over Briar Rose's body.
Now awakened, Briar Rose thanks us for saving her from the curse and warns us that there is another imminent threat that we must also face. She gives us a small crown and tells us to find the fabled Frog Prince, for we must release him from his curse as well, or else the world will be submerged in water.
After the Epilogue (see below), a message appears saying that you have obtained the Golden Rose item. You can now replay the game again in Hard Mode and access the locked room at the bottom of the well by using the Golden Rose in the vase beside the door. This room is literally called "Secret Room" and contains a statue of the Frog Prince and a few concept art sketches from development of the game.
Thought to be a fairy tale, you find the sleeping princess through your investigation and awaken her from the curse. Now that your city is safe, the princess hands you a crown and urges you to stop another imminent threat. Holding a map left by a carrier pigeon, you begin your next investigation in search for the fabled Frog Prince.
Curse of Briar Rose was released before the series began including parables. However, the game includes a set of Novels as bonus content. Among these is the tale of Sleeping Beauty from the Dark Parables universe.
- This is the first game to refer to godmothers. Godmothers play a large role in the fifth game of the series, The Final Cinderella. It's unclear if there's a correlation between the two kinds of godmothers.
- We see many birds on the rooftop of the castle, as well as a Carrier Pigeon sitting in the window of Briar Rose's sleeping chamber. It seems the Frog Prince has been sending the pigeons to keep an eye on Briar.
- Once awakened, Briar Rose tells us that we must now go and lift a curse from the Frog Prince, which serves as a teaser for the next game in the series - The Exiled Prince.
- The "Secret Room" (seen only in the second playthrough of the game in Hard Mode) contains a statue of the Frog Prince.
Game Design & Story: Steven Zhao
Programmers: Steven Zhao, Amy Lai, Olle Fredriksson
Level Design: Steven Zhao, Karla Wong
Artists: Karla Wong, Ricky Siu, Dennis Yeung, Yan Nam Ko, Snix Cheng, Gavin Wong, Mandy Wong, Kate Zhu, Val Viala, Robert Dowling
Music, Voice & SFX: SomaTone Interactive Audio