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Cave Story (Japanese: 洞窟物語, Dōkutsu Monogatari) is a freeware game released in 2004 by Japanese developer Pixel over the course of 5 years. It has gathered quite a large following and has been ported to the Wii, Steam, DSi shop, Xbox, and 3DS.
An English fan page launched in 2005.
The story of Cave Story is highly accredited and praised by most players. Please consider playing the game before reading the spoiler below.
Caution, contains spoilers!
Misery transports the player to the Labyrinth deep inside the island as punishment for interfering with the Doctor’s plans. Curly Brace has also been thrown into the Labyrinth and they cooperate to escape. Balrog helps them to move the boulder blocking the exit, revealing his kind nature. The pair find and defeat the Core, a magical creature whose power keeps the island afloat. However, the Doctor steps in to save it before the island collapses. Depending on certain conditions, the player may rescue Curly Brace, who had sacrificed her air tank to save the player character. When he returns to Mimiga Village, he finds that the Doctor has captured the Mimigas. In the Egg Corridor, Kazuma offers the player a choice to escape the island with him using a Sky Dragon, leading to an alternate ending in which the Doctor conquers the surface world while Kazuma and the player hide in the mountains. The player may instead choose to confront the Doctor and destroy the island’s Core, which would return the Mimigas to normal. The player scales the outer wall of the island to reach the Plantation where the Doctor is using the Mimigas as slave laborers to grow red flowers. The Doctor’s servants capture him and place him in a jail cell with Sue. She is taken away before the player wakes up, but her letter reveals that the Doctor was a member of the research expedition that included Sue’s family and Professor Booster, but he betrayed them once he found the Demon Crown. Sue directs the player to find her mother who may have a plan to stop the Doctor.
If the player saved Curly Brace earlier, the player may find an item to restore her memories. She remembers that the player character’s name is Quote, and that they were not the killer robots who slaughtered Mimigas in the past. Instead, they were sent to destroy the Demon Crown to prevent its power from falling into the wrong hands. Quote finds Sue’s mother, Momorin, who is building a rocket which will allow access to the top of the island where the Doctor resides. After helping her complete the rocket, Quote confronts Misery and the Doctor. The Doctor has purified the essence of the red flowers into a crystal, which allows him to survive even after Quote destroys his body. The Doctor’s spirit possesses the Core of the island, but Quote succeeds in destroying that as well, causing the island to begin falling to Earth. Under certain conditions, the player may proceed into a bonus stage called the Sanctuary where the creator of the Demon Crown, Ballos, is imprisoned. Ballos, Jenka’s brother, was a powerful wizard who went insane after being tortured. Misery forced Ballos to create the Demon Crown, but she and Balrog became cursed to serve whoever possessed it. With the help of Curly Brace, Quote defeats Ballos and stops the source of the negative energy that was causing the island to fall, saving its inhabitants. Balrog saves the two before they are crushed by Ballos’ collapsing prison--he had been sent by Misery as thanks for breaking her curse. Quote, Curly Brace, and Balrog leave the island to live out their days in peace.
Pixel, also known as Daisuke Amaya, developed Cave Story in his free time over the course of five years. He began the project when he was in college and continued working on it after getting a job as a software developer. He started by writing the title screen music and programming rudimentary character movements. In an interview, Pixel admitted his lack of planning caused “problems down the line” because he lacked dedicated map editing and data management tools. Pixel describes the game as having an “old-fashioned feel”, reminiscent of the games he played as a child. In early versions of the game, the main character, Quote, was named Curly Brace and Balrog was a common enemy. Pixel also admitted that he based Balrog on a bar of soap.
People have cosplayed as characters from Cave Story, such as Quote, Curly Brace, Date Fuyuhiko (The Doctor), and various others to show that they love the game Cave Story. There has also been various fan art on sites such as Deviantart and some fans have started their own mangas based off of the story line of the game. Some vary to going by the story completely, some adding their own twists. There have also been spin-off games using the Cave Story engine, such as Wtf Story where the timeline takes place after the events of Cave Story.