I was poking around the Visual Novel Database recently, and in looking up the Angelique series, I came across an intriguingly unfamiliar entry:
Ignore the fact that most of these games aren't actually visual novels; it's the highlighted title with the Engrish name that has our attention. ANGELIQUE-far from mind of the calls-, likely meant as something like Far from the Heart of the Call, or Far from the Beckoning Hearts. (Yearning Hearts Torn Asunder?) Clicking the title brings up a bizarre discovery:
Spelling aside, I recognize those character names, but not those titles: the Beautiful Devil, the Ruler in the Dark. The pencil-sketch box art and "[unofficial] Angelique" label, however, reveal that this (if it exists - see below) is a fan game, one of which I hadn't previously heard. Furthermore, the VNDB listing has a link to an archive.org capture of the game's homepage:
I am a Queen.
I hear the voice of the Holy Beast, cultivate a universe, and watch over it from day to day, together with my Aide...
The day it happened was a day like any other...in which I was cultivating my new universe!
But, that day...in my office, I heard a voice in my mind.
Saying to me: "Help us...help those of us still screaming in the dark."
It sounded familiar to me, brought back memories...but I scarcely had the thought before I was flung to another land.
There...I found the age where Leviath and his subordinates were fighting a revolution, still in their original forms.
I, Angelique, know nothing...I am at the mercy of fate.
What will become of me?...I'm so, so scared!
This is an alternate story based on the idea of "Emperor" Leviath meeting Angelique in another form.
A tale of Queen Angelique being flung to the planet of Armis in the past, near the Imperial capital.
Lost in a world with Sacrea but no need for a Queen, the girl happens across Leviath's path.
(Naturally, this means there's no Arios. Don't get your hopes up.)
The page calls it a "mixed-media alternate-universe game," a "novel game with romance" "scheduled for production." A page with further details talks about the two discs as if they're separate scenarios - seemingly, one from Collet's point PoV, one from Leviath's. Here's the Beautiful Devil:
In a flash...a girl is summoned to another world. She is a goddess...one who beckons victory for Leviath and his subordinates.
She is unaware, however, that Leviath wishes to use the Queen's power only for revenge.
What is destined to become of her, then? It all depends on you.
And the Ruler in the Dark:
Leviath finds a girl who seeks help from him as if by instinct...and who is the image of his dead lover.
Upon meeting her, Leviath plots to deceive her...then eliminate her.
Can the darkness in Leviath's heart ultimately be dispelled?
An otome Zapping System? Perhaps not really - I doubt Collet was going to have to decide whether to forgo the machine gun or side pack to save them for Leviath later - but we all like to say "Zapping System."
Based on the scant single sample page archive.org has managed to save (of Collet waking up in an unfamiliar environment in a rainstorm), it seems that the game was intended to be akin to an HTML-based CYOA, with hand-drawn illustrations above text and clickable choices. It was also intended to have voice acting, with the promo page listing actors slated for Leviath and his knights. Oddly, a number of VAs were slated to appear in both scenarios but voicing totally different characters: Leviath's VA in the Beautiful Devil, for example, is listed as voicing Walter in the Ruler in the Dark, with Walter's actor in Devil shifting in Ruler to...Eugene. Cain's VA in the former was to voice Gerhard in the latter... I don't know why you would have your VAs switch roles, much less to characters who are drastically different in personality.
The website offered a trial zipped in .lzh format, but it doesn't seem to have been saved - archive.org offers an .lzh from the download link, but it's only a fraction of the trial's listed size, and it doesn't unzip.
The game is by a studio called Rosy Poison, professed by its page to have also been producing a small number of original games. None of those titles, though, seem to have come to fruition - the latest news from their page (which is still up, incidentally) lists all its games as still "in production." The archive.org captures of the webpage run from Jan. 2002 to Apr. 2003. The Angelique doujin game was listed as to have been offering a trial in "February of next year" (meaning, at the time: 2003, though this page lists it as 2002), with the games following in "June of next year" (again, 2003; again, same disclaimer with that page); looking ahead to that time reveals no news.
It was at this point that I remembered the era in which these announcements were made. In the early popularization of the internet, in the mid to late '90s, with the dawn of emulation and folks dissecting the elements (sprites, maps, etc.) that created the commercial games we loved, many enterprising fans took these resources, combined them with internet's democratization of software distribution and programming educational materials, and tried to make fanfic sequels and spin-offs and tributes to the games they adored. I recall the numerous Phantasy Star fangame projects out there, all of which evinced a lot of love for PS, and a lot of creativity and enthusaism, but which didn't have great track records for bringing their visions to fruition. 2002–2003 would've been a little past that period, and it seems like Rosy Poison was really futzing around with webpages and digital media rather than any stuff involving game engines proper (the game was, the studio says, originally conceived as an HTML choose-your-own-adventure hosted on the web), but the point is: getting big projects past the finish line is hard (see my backlog of stalled translation projects and attempts to LP Angelique games), and this wouldn't be the first time around this era that a team's ambition and love for a franchise outstripped its ability to put out a finished product.
So if I had to put money on the question, I'd bet that these games probably don't exist in a finished form. But my questions extend past what we have on archive.org...to the existence of the VNDB listing itself. Who put this listing up? How did someone get wind of this title? Other Angelique titles have VNDB entries dating back almost ten years, with the more recent games listed somewhat near their release dates (Tenshi no Namida) or a few years after (Retour). Far from the mind of calls was listed on Dec. 10, 2022. This suggests that it was discovered recently.
I can find no links to Rosy Poison's webpage out there, no other mentions of this fan project on the modern internet - so how did whoever made the listing learn of it? Did they do so by finding, in a bunch of used stuff or old files, a copy of the missing trial - or maybe, just maybe, a copy of the fan game itself?
Is the discoverer out there? Do they have a copy of either the trial or, is it exists, the actual game? And, man, could they get in touch with me if so?
Fake EtA: As I was assembling this post, I checked out the latest version of Rosy Poison's update page archive.org has available - updated in Dec. 2001 - which notes that the "online HTML version" of far from the mind of calls was in that update "deleted." Are they referring to the downloadable .lzh - which was still linked in that Dec. 2002 page capture - or was there a full HTML version of this game (minus voice acting, music, and illustrations, I imagine) at one point?
The update page also gives an early version of the subtitle as Tooki Kioku no Yobigoe, or Call of Far-off Memory.