Playing as the villain in a game isn’t all that uncommon. We have titles where you make decisions that alter the course of your adventure. There are also ones like Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits where someone might “seem” like a bad guy due to preconceived notions, but have sides to them others aren’t seeing. Virgo Versus the Zodiac is a game where everything is painted in shades of grey. We have a heroine who is acting without considering anyone else and has the potential to do some devastating things, and the reactions of the people around her help us better understand who she is and the consequences of her actions.
Virgo Versus the Zodiac’s title does a fairly good job of summing up the plot. The Zodiac Realm used to be united in a Golden Age where everyone was aligned and orderly under a system. It ended, giving each realm’s ruler the freedom to proceed as they pleased. While most seemed quite happy with the turn of events, Virgo wasn’t. The Holy Queen decided to begin a crusade against the heretical sisters, invading their realms and stealing their crowns to forge the Golden Crown and begin the orderly Golden Age again. Those who oppose her are heretics. Those who see her and don’t agree with her consider her The Dreadful Queen.
As you might imagine, this sort of concept could have led to a very charged game. However, Moonana decided to broach things in a different way. While Virgo is a very fearsome and intimidating foe, a serious topic is handled in a comical way. Some around her will placate her, in an attempt to lead her into traps or wear her out before they get to the Zodiac ruler of the moment. Others mock her and her cause. This is all accompanied by a general jokey ambiance, where her own allies could reference saving goods from her trail of terror or humor is found in the sometimes bleak lives of Zodiac Realm members since the Golden Age’s end.
The jokes and players’ choices may have people wondering exactly what Virgo is. Is she a villain? Is she secretly the hero? There are opportunities throughout the game to make both big and small decisions, such as showing kindness to an NPC or sparing the life of a major opponent. Some of these can, in turn, alter the ending. Doing something like showing mercy to an opponent who is visibly beaten and bleeding, a site that is surprising even in a 2D game with minimalistic character sprites, doesn’t seem like something a potential tyrant would do.
But Virgo Versus the Zodiac is a game that is also good at foreshadowing. After defeating Capricorn, Virgo and Ginger head back to Pisces’ ship. Once there and en route to a new destination, we have an idea of what’s to come and what Virgo is fighting for. Pisces is an oracle, one that has seen a vision of an untimely end. Virgo’s fight against the heretics is one against fate. If she can defeat these enemies, maybe she can also defeat failure itself.
Knowing this provides a whole new approach for the player. It makes you realize that doing the villainous things, the ones that make Virgo a Dreadful Queen, could be the options that bring her closer to a potential happy ending. Does the end justify the means? Especially as Virgo spends more time with the people who really matter to her. Would a sacrifice be worth it if it voids Pisces’ prediction and provides an opportunity for an actual happy ending? Does that make you see the humorous or occasionally macabre moments in a new way?
Virgo Versus the Zodiac is a game that came get you thinking, amusing you while it does. What exactly is Virgo? The player will get to decide. How far will she go? As silly as it can sometimes be, does it really distract from striking down former allies she has known for years, people who might be taking the time to experiment and see what their futures could hold now that they are free?
Virgo Versus the Zodiac is available for PCs.