Cursery: The Crooked Man and the Crooked Cat is the second spin-off game in the Dark Parables franchise. This game takes place in 1885 in and around the fictional town of Silvery Coral Village in France. As the Unnamed Protagonist, we must rescue our sister Reneé from the Crooked Man.
WARNING: This section contains massive spoilers! (So read at your own risk)
The game opens in the dark of night. A full moon lights our way as we (as the Unnamed Protagonist) travel in a horse-drawn carriage with our sister, Renée. She tells us about kidnapped maidens who have all gone missing from this very same path.
Suddenly, a black cat, with two different colored eyes, blue and yellow, jumps out in front of our carriage. A tall, lanky man appears and grabs Renée. We reach out to stop him, but he disappears with our sister in a puff of black smoke. His cat follows after. The forest around us changes into a dark, mystical place that was hidden by illusions previously.
While trying to find our way in the dark forest, we find and rescue a trapped lamb. A shadowed figure emerges from the forest to thank us. She tells us her name is Marianne and she tells us the sad tale of the nobleman who fell in love with a common girl who died before they could be wed. She tells us this Count is the Crooked Man that has been kidnapping young women in the hopes of finding the reincarnation of his beloved fiancée, Cheryl. Marianne tells us that in order to save our sister, we must defeat the Crooked Man once and for all.
We head deeper into the forest, following the trail of the Crooked Man. Along the way, we run into the ghost of a young man named Laurent who begs us to rescue his fiancee, Amely, from the Crooked Man. We take his pocket-watch to deliver to her if we can.
Following the Crooked Man brings us to a gigantic tree with a door in it. He's set a Lynx to guard the door and keep us from going through, but it doesn't delay us for long and we head into the tree. Here, we find Amely hanging onto a branch for dear life after a failed escape attempt. We throw her a rope and pull her back inside, then give her Laurent's pocket-watch. Distraught, she heads off to find him and we continue our search for Renée and the Crooked Man.
We head into a tower, where we could've sworn we saw the Crooked Man's Crooked Cat turn into a human...? Before we can worry about that, we find Renée locked in a cell. She assures us she'll be alright, but asks us to find her a weapon to defend herself. In our search for something to give her, we find another kidnapped girl being kept in a locked birdcage. We also encounter a strange-looking man who turns into the Crooked Cat right before our very eyes!
After finding a dagger, we rush to give it to Renée, who urges us to save the other girl first. We head off to do so - but we're too late. The Crooked Man places a ring on the girl's finger and she turns into a wooden puppet. He laments that this girl is not his fiancée (which is why she turned to wood), and lets us know that he has done this to many girls before this one... and our sister is next.
We're attacked and knocked out by the Crooked Cat in his human form. When we awaken, we're locked in a prison full of the remains of other people who have gotten in the Crooked Man's way by trying to rescue their loved ones. We manage to free ourselves, and go to look for Renée. We find the cell she was in empty, and the dagger we gave her has been left behind by the Crooked Man with a picture of a village we've never seen before.
Underneath a pool of quicksand, we find a secret entrance underground and evidence that this is the path the Crooked Man has taken with Renée in tow. We also keep seeing the ghost of a woman who looks eerily like Renée and seems to be the woman who is memorialized all over the Crooked Man's lair. The Crooked Cat shows up, as well, warning us to stop interfering with his master's plans... or else.
Of course, we're not going to listen to that warning. We find a passageway underwater that brings us to Silvery Coral Village. This is where the Crooked Man has taken Renée, hoping to spark memories in her of his fiancee's life there. We catch up to them, but the Crooked Man uses his magical cane to destroy the building we're standing in - nearly destroying us, as well.
We make it out in the nick of time, and manage to make it to the Windmill where the Crooked Man has taken Renée. We arrive just in time to see him place his enchanted ring on her finger - only Renée doesn't turn into a wooden puppet like the other girl did. Instead, she suddenly remembers her past life as Cheryl. She also remembers being chased to a cliff by him and falling over. She blames him for her death.
It's then that the Crooked Man spots us and makes his getaway with Renée, via a tower of crystals. We set out, once again, to hunt the two of them down. On the way, we run into the ghost we have seen repeatedly since this nightmare began. She tells us she is the spirit of Cheryl herself, but that she will disappear now that Renée recalls her previous life. She urges us to help Renée - and to free Blaise, the Crooked Man, from the curse he's under.
We track the Crooked Man and Renée back to the Chateau de Count Morellus. The Crooked Man, who we now know is also Count Blaise Morellus, tells us to stop interfering or he'll send his Crooked Cat, to hunt us down. Renée also speaks, telling us to let her be so that she can finish what was started in her past life. Of course, we don't listen.
In our continued poking around in the mansion and grounds, we learn of Mother Goose, who travels the realm cursing people with enchanted objects and rhymes. She is the one who gave Count Morellus the magical cane and ring that caused his madness - as well as the magical bell used to turn Parn the kitten into the Crooked Cat he now is.
We head into the chateau, where Parn is waiting to threaten us again. He runs off without making good on his threats and we continue on our way. We find Renée, but she seems to be unconscious. We wake her, only to be confronted by the Count and Parn, who unceremoniously throws us out the window. We try to enter the mansion again, only to find him blocking our progress. We knock down a beam supporting the roof, bringing the ceiling down on Parn and exposing him to the moonlight - which seems to burn him. We use this against him and watch as he turns into a wooden puppet when the moonlight strikes him.
Heading back through the dark forest, we set out to find the Crooked House that Blaise has taken Renée to. Once there, we find it's in a Wonderland-esque pocket of the forest. Inside the house, we find Renée in a wedding gown, surrounded by the marionettes of all of the Crooked Man's previous victims. Blaise is also there, and he's about to kill us when Renée begs him to stop hurting people. She stands up to him, telling him that she will stay with him, but she refuses to marry him because his love has become warped and is no longer real.
The Crooked Man reacts with fury, destroying the house in the woods and dragging Renée off to force her to marry him against her will. He declares that he will destroy the world and kill everyone in it, so that the entire world can be her "cage". She tells him he's insane. We sneak up on the two of them and shoot his cane with the enchanted ring, destroying the magic in them both.The Crooked Man begins to crumble apart. He goes after his cane just as lightning strikes the statue beside Renée. There is a flurry of activity and a cloud of debris and smoke as the statue crashes to the ground. When the dust clears, we see that Blaise left his cane to fall off the nearby cliff in order to make it to Renée's side and protect her from the falling statue. He tells her that the saddest moment in his life was watching her die the first time and he could never watch her die again. He tells her she is free now... and he steps back off of the cliff to his death.
Differences from Dark Parables Edit
- The game takes place in the late 1800s. The canon games of the Dark Parables franchise take place in the present day.
- The Cursery games both have a darker atmosphere than most Dark Parables games. This is most markedly so in the bonus game, Humpty Dumpty, which is probably the darkest and most twisted game in the series.
- Snippets of lore about the tales in the world of Cursery are called Cursery Rhymes instead of Parables.
- The Crooked Marionettes created by the Crooked Man bear a striking resemblance to the work of Geppetto.
- A book with "The Crooked Man and the Crooked Cat" appears in a secret room of Geppetto's in The Final Cinderella. The book itself looks similar to the books and parchments found throughout the Cursery world.
- Puppets of the Crooked Man, the Crooked Cat and the Crooked Mouse appear in Geppetto's secret room. These puppets are the same ones found in the marionette theater beside the Woodshed in the Chateau de Count Morellus. They do not appear to be the work of Geppetto, himself. It is likely he found them in his travels, while looking for wood to make his puppet masterpiece, and brought them home with him - proving that, at the very least, the Cursery world is accessible to the Dark Parables world.
- Mother Goose bears more than a passing resemblance to the Evil Witch. Not only are depictions of the two similar, but the habits of Mother Goose (traveling around and dispensing curses and cursed magical items randomly) sound eerily like those of the Evil Witch. Since the worlds are connected somehow, it is likely that the two characters are one and the same.
- The release of this game (see InfoBox above) was almost five (5) months from the release of Dark Parables 5: The Final Cinderella.
- According to a newspaper found in the beginning of the bonus game, the time period is the late 1800s. The date was 12th September, 1895. Which means the main game took place in 1885, if the bonus game took place 10 years after the main game.
- There is a blurred but legible story in a newspaper clipping in Chateau de Morellus. It states that a man was preparing for his wedding by polishing his family's gun, but was unaware that it was loaded, and accidentally shot himself before he could get married. The page also says the funeral is being planned. (This is a reference to the L. M. Montgomery series of books, where a man named Malcolm Ward shoots himself from anxiety about he and Emily King's wedding.)
Creative Director: Steven Zhao
Production Manager: Gavin Wong
Art Lead: Gloria Lok
Game Designers: Steven Zhao, Vivian Cheung
Cutscene Team Lead: Snix Cheng
Artists: Evelyn Tsang, Teresa Tse, Suki Chan, Sung Hoi Chow, Steven Kwok, Karla Wong, Mandy Wong, Jacky Tam
Game Engine Architect: Chan Ho Yuen
Programmers: Nick Mok, Chan Ho Yuen, Kenneth Djuwidja, Andy Liang
Puzzle Designer: Vivian Cheung
Animation Specialist: FCP
Cutscene Artists: Wan Leung, Ricky Siu, Frankie Yip
Scripting: Jennifer Lee, Mandy Lam
Audio Production: SomaTone Interactive Audio