Hey, does anyone remember the show Code Lyoko? It was a French television series for kids, which eventually made its way to the United States in April 14, 2004. Ever since I could remember, I was absolutely in love with everything about it.
I loved the story, the characters, Lyoko, you name it. I had some of the merchandise (such as clothing, toys, and books), and I owned both DS titles and the Wii title, Quest For Infinity.
You could say that I was obsessed with the show. I still sorta hold up my obsession for it now to this very day. If anyone had any questions concerning the franchise, I was the person to go to. I was very excited to find out that a fifth season would soon be airing. Finally, after all this time, season five would be here!
But then, things took a turn for the strange when I went back to play the first DS game, simply titled Code Lyoko (Get Ready To Virtualize). I hadn’t played it in a while, probably about four or five months. I decided that it would be a nice way to revisit some good childhood memories, and to get me pepped up for Evolution. It was a fairly easy game, with the exception of some of the puzzles featured in it. I popped the game into the top slot of my white DS and turned it on.
The usual DS opening screen was shown, along with the DS menu. I pressed the A button to start the Code Lyoko game. The logos for the game’s development came up, and soon the title sequence. It was exactly the same thing as the opening sequences to seasons two and three, except there weren’t any vocals, just the background music. I was feeling nostalgic all over again as the familiar tune made its way into my ears.
But then the menu screen for the game came up. This was were things started to a little strange. First off, the music that was heard in the title sequence wasn’t being played here at all. I checked to see if my volume was turned all the way off. It wasn’t. In fact, it was up all the way, and I even had my headphones on. Secondly, the characters that were displayed on the top screen of the menu weren’t available at all. It was as if they all vanished. Even the Code Lyoko banner was missing. I tried to put away my analyzing and went over to the load profile section of the menu.
The Choose Profile text was available on the top screen. However, the text names for the three profiles said Empty. I could tell that this was impossible, seeing as though I entered my name on the first profile slot. The chapters on the lower part of each profile slot all said Chapter - (100%). Okay, now I knew that something was up. There were a total of 15 chapters in the game, so if anything, my profile slot should be at Chapter 15 (100%) and the other two slots below it be at Chapter 1 (0%). I selected the top profile slot, and hoped for the better.
I noticed that the chapter text wasn’t being displayed. It was just two black screens for five seconds, and then the game began. The first thing I noticed was the background music. It was playing the music where you go into the Hermitage, Ermitage Abandonné, as it’s also called. The next thing I noticed was the graphics. They weren’t the same colorful and bright tones as before.
Instead, the colors all around were much more somber, and were also either gray, white, or a mixture of gray and blue. Everything in the area was almost hyper realistic looking, as if taken straight from a photo. Okay, I’ll admit that had me freaked me out a little. The person I was controlling was Yumi, and she seemed to look okay. Yumi’s avatar was fine, as if not touched in the slightest.
I tried to control her by moving to the left, but she didn’t move. I tried moving to the right, but still no movement. The more I tried to move her, there wouldn’t be a single budge. Finally, after a total of thirty seconds, Yumi’s text speech appeared at the top of the screen. Her speech sprite had a solemn and almost scared look on her face. She only said one thing: “I have to get to the others.”
Now I was able to move her. I looked up a the map on the top screen, and, along with the know surroundings, was able to determine that Yumi was located at the School Gates. I motioned her north, which lead to the area Park North Path 1.
The surrounding area here wasn’t much better. The trees all appeared to be dead, and everything looked very desolate. All except for one thing. The sprite of the boy that was usually sitting on the edge of the park bench with a box feeding the birds wasn’t in his usual position. Neither were the birds for that matter. Instead, the boy was hunched over on his side, with his arm out above him on the ground.
His entire pixilated body was a mixture of light blue and gray, and his eyes were open. Instead of small dots however, they were big black holes, with small streams of black protruding from them slowly. I need to know what’s up here….. I thought to myself. There’s no way that any of this could be real.
I lead Yumi over to the area labeled Park- Passage to Administration, then near the Administration Entrance. The two sprites that were there before were also in the same state as the young boy. The two were laying away from each other, the man hunched over on his side in the fetal position, while the girl was on her back, with a black substance leaking out from her chest. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the once insignificant pixilated inhabitants of Kadic. Who…. Or what, could have possibly done this? XANA….. ?
No. He couldn’t possibly be this cruel… could he? When I looked back over to the top screen, I saw a glowing red XANA symbol, located near the center of the map. Now I knew where to go. Figuring it would be simpler to go through the Administration Hall to get to the given destination quicker, I moved Yumi over to the door. However, when she got there, an icon popped up of a door with a lock beside it. The door was locked.
“I can’t go through here.” Yumi said in text.
Well, duh, I thought. I directed Yumi away from the door and towards the left of the screen, where an arrow pointing west came up. I pressed the A button, and Yumi was now in the area School Crossroads North. To my surprise, I found more pixilated bodies on the ground, with exactly the same colors as the ones beforehand.
The two bodies that were discovered not only had big, black eyes with small black streams coming out of them, but there were also holes that reached from their chests down to their torsos. The male with the garden shovel was positioned on his stomach, with the garden shovel obtruding outward from his back. I felt my heart racing as I lead Yumi closer. Suddenly, I saw Yumi do something strange. All by herself, she got down on her knees and lowered her head. I was in shock as this occurred.
I wasn’t even controlling her on my own. I tried to move her, but much like at the beginning of the game, she wouldn’t move. It was like she was… crying. After thirty seconds of not being able to control Yumi, she got back up on her feet and wiped off which I assumed tears from her face. Then again, she spoke in text, with a saddened expression on her face. “I have to carry on.”
I felt compelled and obligated to do the same. I had to figure out what was going on here, even if it was a dream. I felt connected to Yumi in a sense in this situation, as if we were allies. We’re a team now, and together we would figure out what the hell is going on. I directed Yumi to the School Crossroads South area. The once blue dot that indicated where the player was now a bright silver shade, and was almost in the center of the XANA symbol displayed on the map.
Yumi did another thing that was out of my control. Surprisingly, she looked towards me. Oh my god… Yumi was actually looking at me. Making eye contact with someone beyond her reach. She then pointed to the left of the Science Building.
“This way, Clarice.” she spoke in her text language. What? She… knew my name? But… how was that even possible? My profile name had been deleted when I saw it. How did she know? I guided Yumi closer to the direction she gave me, and when she got close enough, an arrow pointing west came up. I took a deep breath to calm myself down a little, and I gently pressed the A button. The graphics became much more somber here, and I gasped at what I saw next. The young digital girl usually sitting on the ground up against a tree with what I assumed was a book…..
Was pinned up against that same tree, her arms spread apart and in a similar state from the other bodies. But what made this different shocked me worse than the others I saw. She was gutted from her neck down to her torso, and one of her eyes was popped out of her skull. Her jaw was hanging down from her mouth, a black void of nothingness. And to add insult to injury, a small squirrel was actually eating her organs from the inside of her body, as a small puddle of blood was beneath her feet.
I threw up in my mouth a bit, and grabbed a nearby garbage can to spit it out. I found myself to be tearing up in one eye and shaking involuntarily as my hands reached back for my DS. Yumi looked back at me once again, and her sprite was shaking slightly, as if she was feeling the same emotions that were coursing through my veins.
“We both have to move on.“ Yumi moved by herself once more, nearer to the building closest to the screen.
Yumi moved herself to the edge of the screen, and an unfamiliar arrow popped up. Instead of the arrow pointing south towards the Park Crossroads, it faced west. Okay, now I knew this was impossible. The only arrow that would normally be shown would be the south arrow, not the west arrow. Yumi was facing west. She said one last thing. “This is it.”
She was right. This really was it. We were about to enter a new territory, and hopefully be reunited with the others. After another deep breath, I hesitantly pressed the A button and hoped for the best. After a five seconds of two black screens and silence, Yumi and I were in the new area. It was the same building from the last area except the side was shown.
It didn’t even appear to be part of the school. The building was entirely white, and the doors were closed with an electric blue highlight to their windows. There were also two dead bushes on both sides of the building on the ground leading to the small stairs leading to the doors. The sky was a neutral blue, and there was a concrete pathway extending to the west.
To me, this area seemed to be a bit out of place, and seemed to feel like a futuristic train station to me. It didn’t even hold a place on the map, either. The music was changed to the XANA alert music, or L‘Alerte de XANA. XANA’s essence was here. Just then, some speech text appeared, except it wasn’t coming from Yumi. The text read “STOP.”
Suddenly, a polymorphic specter appeared in the form of one of the Men In Black. The sprite spoke once more. “YOU ARE NOT PERMITTED IN THIS AREA.”
“CLARICE, RUN!” Yumi’s speech text read.
I instantly knew what I should do. As soon as I moved Yumi in the west direction, she was no longer walking, but actually running, making it perfectly clear that she had to get away. Yumi was soon launched into a brand new area, similar to a bus stop, but with a new building and a brick pathway with some translucent sheltering over it.
I moved Yumi as quickly away from the polymorphic specter as possible, but by the time I got her to the center of the screen, it had already caught up with her. The polymorphic specter lifted up one hand, and actually lifted her up into the air. The last thing I ever saw from her speech text was:
“Clarice…. get to the others…..“ Yumi tried to break free from its clutches, but the screen cut to black.
“Y-Yumi? Yumi?!” I found myself exclaiming to the DS, shaking it a little.
I let out a scream and dropped my DS at the split second image I saw next, along with a piercing screech coming from it. It was Yumi but… much gorier. She was sprawled out on her back with blood all over her body and her eyes entirely black. Her mouth was wide open and blood was streaming out of it with her eyes.
“YUMI!” I called out again.
I began to sob quietly, mourning over her. Why… why would XANA do this? No…. This can’t be true…. this all has to be a dream. There’s no way any of the things I’ve seen so far could be real. I pinched myself multiple times, but I wasn’t waking up. As I got closer to my DS, the screeching noise faltered and I saw some bold red text appeared. It read:
“You shouldn’t have crossed me.” I was puzzled. What did this mean?
I managed to gather the nerve to pick up the DS once again. The text eventually faded away and was replaced with the ever familiar factory bridge. There were thick, dark gray clouds in the sky, and the bridge itself looked rusted. I looked outside my bedroom window of the apartment complex that I lived in, and saw exactly the same clouds, along with the occasional sound of thunder.
Okay, this is getting way too suspicious. Near the manhole at the bridge stood the pixelated bodies of Ulrich, Odd, Jeremy, and Aelita. There was complete silence, and I wasn’t able to take control over whomever I was playing at next. The silence was almost maddening. Finally, Ulrich’s speech text came up. “She’s gone…” How did he know…?
All the sprites moved independently towards the factory, and I was able to move around Aelita. I moved her inside the factory, but before I could get her over nearby the elevator with the others, the power went out all over inside the house. A loud cackle of lightning was heard outside, and the screen on my DS turned to black.
I looked closer, and saw that both the screens were switching from black to the Main Hallway of the factory, as if they were being controlled by the lightning. For another split second, Ulrich and Odd were shown being levitated into thin air the same way Yumi had. Another blurb of speech text came up from Odd. “Clarice, get Jeremy and Aelita-”
Odd was soon cut off by another screeching noise as the screen cut to black once more. When the black screen cut back to the lift entrance, both Ulrich and Odd were both lying on the ground, their skin completely in a gray-blue tone. Aelita inched closer at her own will.
“Ulrich…. Odd…..” her text read.
“We have no time, Aelita.” Jeremy’s text speech came up next. “I have to get you and Clarice to Lyoko.”
Wait, I was going to get to go to Lyoko…? I felt my heart race, but not in excitement. It was in fear. I quickly had Jeremy and Aelita enter the lift. After they were inside, I pressed the B button to have them enter the Laboratory. Jeremy and Aelita both made it successfully.
“Good, now just to send you and Clarice to Lyoko and-” There was another flash of lightning, and for another split second, the screen turned to black. Jeremy and Aelita moved around frantically.
“What- what’s going on?!” Aelita’s speech text read.
The room was soon shaking, along with the laboratory in the game. I clutched myself and the game, and huddled to a corner. The shaking in both the game and in real life soon came to a stop. The laboratory was soon being filled with some kind of green gas.
Jeremy and Aelita huddled closer together in fear of what was happening. Jeremy tried to reach the computer, but the gas filling the room sent him falling to the ground. Aelita eventually collapsed to the ground because of the smoke. Jeremy spoke for one last time. “Clarice… it’s up to you to….”
The screen slowly faded to black. The lightning came down harder and more frequently. I cried quietly at the events that just happened. I wished all of this never happened. I wished I had never touched this game…. None of this would have happened if I had just left this game alone. Another screeching noise came out of my DS, causing me to drop it once again.
This time, the screeching noise was louder and was much more menacing. An evil, sadistic laughter then appeared to my ears. I took one final look at my DS screen. It was entirely black. “Please…. I just want this nightmare to be over….” I told myself quietly.
Some more text then appeared. With much hesitation, I took a glance at what it had to say anyway. I gulped, and looked down at my screen. The phrase went on one word at a time.
“XANA IS GOD.”
After a couple seconds of silence and me trying to calm myself down, I really thought that it was over. But another pixilated screeching noise came out, and I hunched over on my side in the fetal position, covering my ears. I cupped my hands around my ears.
“Please……. just let this be over……”
I opened my eyes, feeling weaker than I usually have. I had my open and shut off DS in my right hand, and I was back on my bed. When I looked out my window, the sun was out, with the exception of some minor clouds off in the distance. I smiled warmly to myself, and sighed contently. “Oh thank god.” I said to myself, chuckling a little bit. “It was only a dream. There was nothing to be worried about at all….”
I heard a knock at my door. My mom entered. “Clarice, are you okay honey?”
“Yeah, I’m fine mom. Why do you ask?”
My mom went over and petted my head. “Oh, I was just checking on you. That was quite a wicked thunder and lightning storm last night, wasn’t it kiddo?”
I then looked at her in a bewildered state. “A thunder storm?”
“Yeah Clarice. It was all around the world, on the same day nonetheless!” My mom exclaimed. “Boy, the news people are really over exaggerating the story if you ask me.”
My eyes slowly widened. “You mean…. it wasn’t a dream?”
“Well of course not! Why else would there be a whole news story on it? Then again, you probably must have slept through it all.” Mom patted my head once again. “Now, you come on out for breakfast and help me out with the broken sliding window, okay?”
I nodded as I got off of my bed. “Okay, mom.” My mom shortly left my room, and just as I was about to leave to go follow her, I heard a faint, but distinct, moaning noise. I turned around, and saw that my DS was turned back on. Maybe I accidentally turned it on when I got up? I went over to turn it back off, but some bold red text brought my previously thought nightmares back into existence.
“THAT WAS A WARNING.”