Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
This article may reveal major plot points, especially considering the game had either been released recently or not in specific countries yet.
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is a visual novel adventure game developed and published by Spike as the first game in the Danganronpa series. The game was originally released in Japan for the PlayStation Portable in November 2010 and was later ported to Android and iOS in August 2012. Danganronpa was localized and published in English regions by NIS America in February 2014, and for PC, Mac, and Linux in February 2016.
Hope's Peak Academy is home to Japan's best and brightest high school students — the beacons of hope for the future. But that hope suddenly dies when Makoto Naegi and his classmates find themselves imprisoned in the school, cut off from the outside world, and subject to the whims of a strange, murderous little bear named Monokuma. He pits the students against each other, promising freedom to anyone who can murder a fellow classmate and get away with it. It's up to you to find out who Monokuma really is, and why you've been taken from the world you once knew. But be careful what you wish for — sometimes there's nothing more deadly than the truth...
Why It Rocks
- The story is well-written, intriguing, and gripping.
- Like its two successors, it has a cast filled with strong, highly developed, and complex characters.
- A whole new section of the school opens up after each trial is over. This gives you a new supply of rooms to discover and mysteries to stumble upon, made all the better by Danganronpa’s intuitive quick travel system that rarely forces you to walk around the school on foot (though you can, if you want, in first-person view). Made all the better by Danganronpa’s intuitive quick travel system that rarely forces you to walk around the school on foot (though you can, if you want, in first-person view).
- It has an incredible soundtrack.
- What's special about the Trials is that there’s no prosecution and no defense. Everyone has their suspicions, but these trials are really massive blame games that slowly whittle down to a few culprits. A trend that would continue throughout the Danganronpa series.
- Speaking of the Trials, they're fully voiced, and that’s actually quite enjoyable as the game is brilliant in the trials, and the fact that they're voiced means you don’t get taken out of the experience by being forced to read exposition. And the voice acting itself is brilliant.
- The game is emphasized on character development, and specifically on talking to various characters, learning more about them, and at times befriending them, leaving you attached to them and making the deaths all the more impactful.
- Speaking of the characters, they're all very different, colorful, and have a talent that helps distinguish one from another.
- Sayaka Maizono, the Ultimate Pop Sensation, is the lead singer of an incredibly popular idol group who's willing to do not-so pretty things to achieve her dream.
- Leon Kuwata, the Ultimate Baseball Player, is the boisterous star player of Japan's champion high-school baseball team who, oddly enough, doesn't care much for baseball.
- Chihiro Fujisaki, the Ultimate Programmer, is a shy but smart crossdresser who's secretly developing his own A.I. programs.
- Mondo Owada, the Ultimate Biker Gang Leader, foul-mouthed and doesn't take orders well, but would never hit a girl or break his promises.
- Kiyotaka Ishimaru, the Ultimate Moral Compass, is an enthusiastically straight-laced student who is a stickler for rules.
- Hifumi Yamada, the Ultimate Fanfic Creator is am otaku artist whose work sells in the tens of thousands and has an interest in 2-D women.
- Celestia Ludenberg, the Ultimate Gambler, is a soft-spoken but cunning femme fatale renowned for her exemplary luck in games of chance.
- Sakura Ogami, the Ultimate Martial Artist, is a strong and fearsome but gentle student who's occasionally mistaken for a male due to her appearance and voice.
- Yasuhiro Hagakure, the Ultimate Clairvoyant, is laid-back and dimwitted student and a big name in Japan's fortune-telling community.
- Aoi Asahina, the Ultimate Swimming Pro, is a bubbly, air-headed student who excels in athletic sports, especially swimming, and has a love of donuts.
- Toko Fukawa, the Ultimate Writing Prodigy, is a nervous and aggressive girl with a second personality, Genocide Jill, and an obsessive crush on Byakuya.
- Byakuya Togami, the Ultimate Affluent Prodigy, is an arrogant and haughty student who's the successor of a highly successful family corporation.
- Kyoko Kirigiri, the Ultimate ??? (Detective), is an aloof and enigmatic girl who is at first hostile towards Makoto but warms up to him as the game goes on.
- Makoto Naegi, the Ultimate (Un)Lucky Student (Ultimate Hope), the protagonist, is a boy who describes himself as "an ordinary high school boy", but is also very caring, merciful, and compassionate.
- The endings for Dangan Academy (and the gameplay progress as well for those who not only did not make it at the end) are incredibly heartwarming.
- Aoi says she wants to go out on a date with Makoto, who assures her that she doesn't have to change anything about herself.
- Byakuya asks Makoto to be his secretary to help him understand 'ordinary people'.
- Celestia promotes Makoto to B-Rank, calling him her knight while saying that she's certain with him by her side, she can make her dream come true.
- Chihiro tells Makoto the truth about his identity and Makoto says how much he respects his strength and courage and how he's overcome his weakness.
- Hifumi asks Makoto to be his assistant and his friend.
- Mukuro tells Makoto he makes her feel real and Makoto promises to help her find a new dream.
- Kiyotaka plans to become a politician to change the country and asks Makoto to do so as well.
- Kyoko asks Makoto to put his trust in her and he says he looks forward to helping her find what she lost.
- Leon says he's going to both sing and play baseball and that he was able to figure out that approach because Makoto was there to listen to him.
- Mondo promises to build Makoto a house when he becomes a carpenter.
- Sakura tells Makoto he taught her the importance of withstanding the difficulty of living inside the school.
- Sayaka calling it a miracle that she and Makoto are together and that she had faith because he'd never give up.
- Toko says she can't have her delusions anymore because Makoto genuinely wanted to be with her and asks him to be with her and he promises to stay with her.
- Yasuhiro says he wants Makoto to stick around, saying Makoto takes him as he is.
- The graphics, while intricate, look somewhat aged by today's standards.
- Certain things simply don't respond to camera rotation as well as they could, something the later games improve on.
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc Has received favorable reviews in Japanese game media and was awarded a pre-release rating of 36/40 by Famitsu. The English localization of the game has earned a Metacritic review aggregate score of 80 for the PS Vita release and a score of 82 for the PC port, indicating generally favorable reviews.
The English adaptation won several awards, including Game Informer's "Best Vita Exclusive of 2014" and "Best Adventure of 2014", RPGFan's "Best Story of 2014" and "Best Graphic Adventure of 2014", Hardcore Gamer's "Best New Character of 2014" (Monokuma) and the Metro's #14 in their "Top 20 Games of 2014".