Just another day on the streets of Prohibition-era Chicago.Just another day on the streets of Prohibition-era Chicago.

This is the next in a series featuring games with prominent female characters, oftentimes the protagonist.  Some you’ve heard of, some you haven’t.  Some I might write, some might come from others.  But they do exist.

There are some games that puiblishers stake their reputation on.  In the 1990s, Japanese studio Wolf Team did just that.  Going quite the opposite of what the rest of the industry did, they came up with an homage to Indiana Jones and all those 1930s pulp serials.  The result was Ernest Evans, the first in the Annet Trilogy...and also the last.  Why?  Well, more on that later, but let's get to the protagonist of the majority of the games and the game that brought her to attention in the US.  

I'm obviously talking about Annet Myer and El Viento, and the wild, unusual ride this melancholy masterpiece would take, and the ignominious end of it all

Like the majority of the games that I have for the Genesis, I came across it overseas.  However, unlike the others, I picked this up at the Navy Exchange.  Kinda surprised they had it, but then again, I'd played out all my games, there was nothing interesting available for the European Mega Drive, and none of the stores I knew of out in town had any Japanese Mega Drive (or even Genesis) games, so it was either this or Madden, and I'm not a fan of sports games.  So, El Viento it was.  And in retrospect, I'm very glad I did.

Getting back to what I said earlier, El Viento is deep within the 1920s and 30s pulp fiction era, filled with the sort of stuff that made men like Doc Savage and Dr. Jones.  But El Viento is much more than that.  Unlike just the previous influences I mentioned, El Viento goes one step father, diving headlong into the Lovecraftian interdimentional horror side of the pool.  What is hinted at in Ernest Evans (well, if you follow the Japanese timeline, in any case) is brought to full vision in Annet's story, sending the young Peruvian girl (yes, a Hispanic heroine, also something rare in gaming) into the streets of Al Capone-ruled Chicago, unrealistic caverns teeming with unnatural creatures, and Detroit and its car factories and hundreds of thugs.  Whether Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom inspired Wolf Team or they just decided to ride the crazy train, we'll never know.  All we do know is that we end up with a 14-year-old girl armed with extensive magic and a razor-sharp boomerang righting everything from the Chicago Mob to super mutated Portugese Man O' Wars. It's complete insanity, and there's nothing better.

You'd think that with a game so incredible, we'd be seeing sequels galore, right?

Sadly, no.

Shortly after Annet's successful defeat of the Cult of Hastur and watching her sister Restiana die (yup, you heard that)...

Actually, I'm kinda lying.

In order to save the world, Annet has to kill Restiana, then witness the results of her sorocidal act in the worst possible way:

If you think the sibling rivalry you have can't be beat, Annet's got a corpse to show ya.If you think the sibling rivalry you have can't be beat, Annet's got a corpse to show ya.

In addition, her friend Zigfried slinks off at the end of the game, turning towards the dark side of the force, in a manner of speaking.  And while I'm not going to show you that part, it makes it clear that he has plans for Annet and Ernest, and that soon they will see them.  

And unfortunately for Japanese audiences (and I mean unfortunately in the same way that the planet exploding is "unfortunate") they received the sequel.  A game so mediocre, Wolf Team's publisher, Renovation Software didn't even bother trying to bring it to the US.  I'm talking about Annet Again (or Annet Futabi, if you prefer the Japanese title):

And after this tragedy, desperate to recoup their losses, Renovation took the Mega CD game Ernest Evans and shoehorned it both onto cartridge and as the end of the El Viento trilogy, where Ernest Evans Jr., the grandson of Annet and namesake of Ernest, goes back to Peru to hunt down the reburgeoning Cult of Hastur.

Yup, you got that right.  The first game in the trilogy got shoehorned into the last, and the character that becomes her legal guardian is retconned into Annet's namesake (and very similar-looking) grandson.  And I don't know what kind of gymnastics they had to pull to make it convincing; I'm not really sure they'd be able to actually pull that off anyway.

And in the end it wouldn't matter: Wolf Team was purchased by Namco, becoming the Namco Tales Studio, makers of the Tales series of RPGs.  The rights to the Ernest Evans/El Viento trilogy were sold to the Japanese publisher Telnet, who immediately forgot about them.  But given that Telnet got desperate enough to turn their star Valis series into the porn Valis X series, this may not be a bad thing.

So today, a groundbreaking character like Annet is forgotten, and those she paved the way for don't acknowledge this.  Maybe someday, they will. 

Don't cry your heart out, Annet.  True Gamers still love you.Don't cry your heart out, Annet. True Gamers still love you.