A review and explanation of the plot of Fran Bow. The surreal adventures of a schizophrenic girl.
Are video games art? You've probably heard about this age-old debate. In my opinion, Fran Bow does more than just prove that it is. This game is able to put to shame the works even of famous creators. The gloomy atmosphere, the mesmerizing visuals, the stunning music - all of this allows you to experience a unique experience. Get comfortable, as you will be immersed in the nightmare generated by Fran Bowe's diseased mind. Enjoy the read!
The game begins in Oswald Psychiatric Clinic, one of the patients of which is the protagonist. The girl has been there since the death of her parents. A quick glance at this hospital is enough to understand that things there are the worst. But this is only the tip of an iceberg - after a can with red pills called Duotin was put at Fran's disposal, she receives a different, even more frightening picture - she begins to see monsters. The familiarity of the clinic was transformed, as if to reflect the hopelessness and squalor of the damned place. It's against this backdrop that Fran decides to run away to be reunited with what's left of her family - a cat named Mr Midnight and Aunt Grace.
The genre affiliation of the game can be denoted as a quest mixed with a psychological horror. However, the puzzles here are not intended to load your brain, but just to make a variety of passing. The feeling of the game can be described as an easy walk... in hell.
On the other hand, the game doesn't really try to scare. It only creates a special, unusually gloomy atmosphere. Together with the protagonist the player starts to get confused with what is going on, losing his ability to distinguish the truth from the nightmare. In other words - plunges into madness.
The visual style of the game, peppered with a fair amount of different animations, creepy imagery and surrealistic landscapes actively contributes to this. Not a single location is used more than necessary, and the dynamics of the events do not let the player get bored.
I usually try to go into more detail about the projects I'm reviewing, but in this case, there's no need. The formula for the success of Fran Bow is simple, but everything in it is done at such a high level that it can be freely called a masterpiece. Even with all due respect, I can't name a single flaw. I highly recommend you to get acquainted with this game to all those, who haven't done it yet. Believe me, it's worth it. Thank you for the attention!
I'll point out right away that it was extremely difficult to understand the plot of this piece. The main problem is that the narration is created from the main character's point of view. In other words it is impossible to be sure until the end, what is happening in the game was true and to what extent. However, this story was worth the effort. For comparison, I spent five hours on the first playthrough and twenty-six hours on the second. I suggest you check it out!
Fran is indeed the Keeper of the Key, which allows her to see other realities. Thus, all of the game's events, including the happy ending, really happened. It's a wonderful ending to the story, isn't it? Maybe... you should stop with this version and not look at the others?
Curiosity killed the cat, didn't it? Well, let's get started. This story begins with two crazy doctors, Leon Castillo and Oswald Harrison. If you thought this was a metaphor, you'd be wrong, because these two are real crazies! Leon suffered from horrible hallucinations all his life and Oswald was so obsessed with his research that he was willing to conduct any experiments on his patients, regardless of the moral and ethical side of the issue. Like sewing two twins together... But we'll talk about poor Clara and Mia later.
For his insane and unforgivably immoral purposes, Sir Harrison set up his own asylum, the Oswald Psychiatric Clinic, where no one could interfere with him and his associates. Included was a staff as loyal as they were incompetent: indifferent nurses, a paedophile guard, etc. The condition of this clinic also left much to be desired. The state of the clinic also left a lot to be desired - the patient woke up during a lobotomy... They were too lazy to even clean up after themselves! Flies came from all around to nibble on what they got out of that kid's head! By the way, this clinic specializes in treating children...
One of the patients of this clinic were two sisters, Grace and Lucia Dagenhart. Various experiments were performed on them, but the most interesting one for us is probably the one in which Dr. Castillo tried to induce the same visions in Lucia that he experienced himself. Little Grace was not neglected either, but by Dr. Harrison. He'd managed to create a strong attachment to her. A kind of Stockholm syndrome.
Even as they grew up, the sisters were not entirely free of Oswald's influence. But Grace didn't want to, unlike Lucia, who had started a family for herself, marrying Martin Bow and having a daughter named Fran. But bad heredity poisoned family happiness - baby Fran suffered from psychosis. This sweet girl had a dark side that only became more dangerous over the years.
Fran was an animal lover, but she could just as easily pet a rat as slit its belly (hence the large number of dead animals in her hallucinations). This unpredictability and aggressiveness made her an outcast at school. The other kids just didn't want to hang out with her. At one point Fran's parents gave her a cat she named Mr. Midnight for the black color of his fur.
Having a cat helped Fran, but not her parents: their marriage was bursting at the seams. Apparently, Martin didn't know about his wife's past, which made him blame her for what was happening to their daughter. In the end, they decided to get a divorce.
And that's where Grace, who has been acting from the shadows all along, comes into the scene following Dr. Harrison's instructions. Fearing that Lucia will take Fran away with her, Oswald has ordered Grace to turn the girl against her parents. Not her, to be exact, but Remora, the protagonist's other identity. Grace manages to gain Fran's trust and gain her dark side. So successfully that when Fran's parents told her about the divorce, the latter, feeling betrayed, flew into a rage and attacked them. Shocked by this outcome, they didn't even fight back...
Realizing what had happened, Fran ran off into the woods with her cat in her arms, where she collapsed. Soon, she was discovered by Grace and Edward, who took the girl to the Oswald Clinic. Now, most people who have been through this game have the question, "Who is Edward?" but more on that later.
Oswald, with the help of his subordinates, faked Fran's death, telling the public that the girl froze to death in the woods. To be credible, Grace killed Mr. Midnight and placed his remains in the coffin meant for Fran, so that during the funeral, the coffin's too low weight would not raise suspicion. And so began the cheerless everyday life of a little girl in a mental hospital.
Fran's doctor became Dr. Marcel Dirn, who was the only doctor with credentials in the hospital. With the help of hypnosis Dirn tried to figure out the circumstances of the main character's parents' death, but each time he failed due to the protective mechanism of the girl - she blamed some monster for what had happened. With one of such séances and starts a game.
After another failure, Dirne forces Fran to take a new drug - duotin. However, the nurse has not brought it - the real duotin (yellow pills) has been substituted for the experimental version (red pills). After taking the experimental duotin, Fran began to experience horrible hallucinations, after which she lost consciousness. Seeing such a depressing result, Dr. Dirn told the nurse not to give Fran the drug anymore.
After this incident, Fran lay in bed for several days, regaining consciousness only for short periods of time. While Fran was delirious, Dirn appeared to her and indoctrinated her with the help of a cotoy toy with two thoughts: the need to escape and the importance of continuing to take the red duotin.
Upon waking up, Fran began looking for pills and then a way to get out of the clinic. Itvold helped her in this, leaving her clues whenever she took the pills. When, during her research into the clinic, one of the patients had locked Fran in Dirne's office, he had intervened directly by opening the vent. Of course, at a time when Fran was under the influence of medication.
Phil (Fran's roommate) wouldn't tell her the alarm password. When the heroine asked him the reason for the refusal, the boy stated that "he doesn't want it," pointing to Remor who appeared. In fact, he was pointing at Fran. That's why Phil locked her in Dr. Dirn's office, hoping that it would get the girl transferred to another part of the asylum.
As a result, Fran had managed to get into the basement, and from there into the reception area. Disabling the alarm, the girl went out into the courtyard, where she was spotted from the observation tower. From the clinic, to the howl of sirens, an enraged guard jumped out, but, under Remor's control, the heroine managed to fight him off. After making her way through the maze, Fran left the clinic grounds, escaping through a conduit.
That's how she ended up in the woods. Drugged on medication, Fran ran away from the dreaded asylum, but fate was not kind to her - the girl fell down the well. The same well into which the bodies of twins Clara and Mia Buchalmet, who died a few weeks after they were sewn together, were thrown.
But it was an evil fate not only for Fran herself, but also for Yitold, who had in due course disguised the cursed well to cover up such a barbaric crime. Fortunately, he managed to locate Fran before it was too late. However, the girl's mental state left a lot to be desired - from the stress she had experienced, she began to lose touch with reality, imagining that the well was the home of the evil twins holding her cat.
And that's where False Mr. Midnight, another Fran personality, comes on the scene. If Remor embodied the urge for self-destruction, False Cat was the urge for life - the last spark of hope keeping the girl in this world. Unfortunately, while Fran was trying to climb out of the well on her own, she slipped and fell - this time slipping into a coma from her injuries.
When Yitward returned with his equipment to help Fran out, he found her at the bottom of the well, lying next to the remains of the twins he'd dumped there... Ironic, isn't it? He had no choice but to bring the girl back to the hospital where she could get medical attention.
But Oswald took the escape attempt as a sign... A sign that it was time to prepare the girl for surgery. So he told uninvolved staff that she'd never been found. Fortunately, Oswald decided to wait until Fran had recovered from her injuries, which gave the heroine time - a full two months. Two months spent in her made-up world, Iversta. She had lost all connection to reality, not even aware of the fact that she was back in the ill-fated asylum.
There she was cared for by two men, "Dr. Palontras" and "The Great Wizard." That was how Fran saw them. At first she was entrusted to Palontras, but he was filled with remorse over his involvement in the clinic's nightmare. For that reason, he was soon replaced by another specialist, the Grand Wizard, who was less squeamish about such matters.
When Fran finally recovered from her injuries (physically, of course), Eatward decided to meet her. He claimed to be a close friend of hers that she had forgotten about. And now it was time to tell about Edward, one of Dr. Oswald's handmaidens.
The scene from Fran's visions in which Grace and Edward find her. This is the only moment in the game where the player can see Yitward in his human form.
This man had worked at the clinic for several decades. Oswald entrusted him with some of his most questionable assignments. Including: keeping tabs on the Bow family, for Harrison didn't trust Grace fully, fearing she wouldn't go up against her own sister and niece. But he miscalculated badly: Grace proved to be, far more loyal than Edward, who was simply fascinated by little Fran. The sick bastard had amassed a collection of things he'd stolen from her!
All the while, Edward manipulated Fran into escaping from the clinic. And then, on December 17, 1944, he decided to lure the girl to his house to celebrate her birthday. His main gift was organizing a second escape, since Fran, because of her such a neglected mental condition, could no longer handle it on her own.
By the time the sirens blew a second time, Fran was racing away on the bike she'd once stolen. Once again Edward's will was at fault, as the girl lost control of the bike at the edge of the forest. The fall brought the heroine to her senses, and she went back to her original plan of returning home. To Grace...
Fortunately, the girl was met at the doorstep of her family home by Dr. Dirn. Not coming to terms with Fran's disappearance, he began his own investigation, for which he was fired from the clinic. That night Dirn intended to visit Grace to question her about the death of his ward's parents. It was probably a life-saving encounter for both of them.
Dirn took Fran to the cemetery to help him discover any clues or inconsistencies... while examining her parents' remains. That's how the fact that Mr. Midnight was planted in Fran's casket came to light.
Because of the stress she was under, Remor managed to gain control of Fran on the way out of the cemetery, whereupon the girl attacked the doctor, knocked him out, and then lost consciousness herself. That's where they were discovered by Grace, who had gone around all the places Fran might have gone.
And once again, the heroine found herself in Oswald's psychiatric clinic. This time Grace chained her to her bed so that she could not get out before the operation began. After awakening her niece, Grace began pressuring her psychologically to break her will to resist. She then went to Oswald to tell him about the girl's condition.
And now it was time to talk about the pills Fran had been taking all this time. According to Dr. Dirn, they blurred the line between the girl's mind and subconscious. But it didn't allow her to see other realities, as Leon and Oswald believed. Instead, Fran gained access to her mother's memories. And with them the nightmares that Dr. Castillo was so zealously trying to indoctrinate Lucia.
Attempting to contact Fran from another reality, the girl opened another memory segment associated with the cell where she had been locked up. Lucia Dagenhart's cell. That's how she remembered where her mother hid the keys to the chains with which she was often chained to her bed.
Once again wandering around the clinic, Fran stumbled upon Dr. Dirn, strapped to an electric chair. To wake him up, the girl injected the doctor with a syringe of red liquid (probably a type of experimental duotin). This brought Dirn to his senses... because of the incredible pain he was experiencing. Fran started to untie him, but at that moment Grace and Oswald entered the room.
Here the player first sees the main culprit of this nightmare - a crazy old man in a wheelchair, whose exorbitant ambition has cost the lives of many innocent people. And next to him stood Grace, perplexed as to how her niece managed to escape this time.
Grace decided to finally crush all resistance to Fran by telling the girl about her involvement in the murder of her parents. The final blow was throwing out the cage with the cat that looked so much like Mr. Midnight. But, contrary to Grace's expectations, instead of humility, Fran became enraged and lashed out at her aunt. Fearing for his girlfriend's life, Oswald shot Fran with a revolver.
By this point, Dirn had already managed to free himself. Seeing Fran's injury, he wanted to help her, but the mad old man forbade him to do so, barking: "I want her brain!" And then Edward burst into the room, killing Oswald and Grace. Following him comes Palontras, who saved the cat. Together they help the girl and treat her wound.
Fran, genuinely believing that she was saved by her friends from the other realities, cheerfully asks Dirn if he can see them now. To which the doctor replies that he sees monsters. The experimental duotin had already begun to take effect. But the dose was too high - the doctor soon lost consciousness.
Edward and Palontras wanted to leave Dirn at the clinic, but Fran stood up for him, saying that he was "good and trying to save her. This caused them to change their minds, whereupon they decided to take Dr. Dirn to his home, where he would wake up and mistake everything that had happened for a dream. That's how Fran was saved... by the crazy stalker who had been stalking the girl all her life.
In the franchise version, the player is able to see his face in human form and it's also possible to see his face in the form of an animal, which in the end of the game would be killed by Dr. Oswald who cut out her brain for his insane experiments. Fran bow Write a comment Total comments: 10