The Zodiac Trial
The Zodiac Trial is a horror/mystery visual novel written by indie developer Themisian. It was released on Steam on January 21, 2021.
|The Zodiac Trial|
|Game||The Zodiac Trial|
|Release date||January 21, 2021|
|No. of scenes||4|
|Gags||Unspecified (in Mouse's flashback)|
Stuff gag (on Dragon route)
None (all other scenes)
Mentions of character death
|This section contains spoilers. Read at your own risk!|
Depending on the player's choices, two different damsels can find themselves in bondage at certain points of the Zodiac Race: Monkey, and the player character, Mouse.
If Content is selected as one of the "deviant" personalities after the fourth round, Monkey will immediately confess her personality to the group, volunteering to sacrifice herself so that the maximum number of players can escape the game alive. While most of the group is trusting at first, Rooster accuses her of simply trying to gain their trust so she can betray everyone later. He convinces the other players to tie Monkey up so that she can't do anything sneaky while everyone else is exploring the school, and Monkey quickly agrees, though she jokingly asks if it's too late to change her answer when Rooster is a little too eager to start binding her. Sure enough, Rooster winds up being the one to tie her up, using a jump rope as a rudimentary chest harness and securing her ankles to the chair legs with duct tape. Internally, Mouse notes that Rooster "seemed to take particular delight in the restraining process, a mildly concerning fact".
From here, Monkey's captivity can proceed in several different ways depending on the route the player takes. On Pig and Rooster's routes, Monkey is freed from her chair ahead of schedule, either to help with the search for Pig on the former route or to aid in the Ending Ritual on the latter. On Monkey's own route, however, she decides seemingly on a whim to kill all of the other players in order to save herself. Using her skills as a psychiatrist, she manipulates Sheep into killing Pig (or Mouse in one particular bad ending), setting off an elaborate chain reaction of paranoia-induced killings until only Mouse, Dog, and herself remain. If Mouse is able to deduce the true cause of the killings, Monkey will briefly reveal her true personality, talking about her role in unintentionally instigating the Zodiac Race and gloating about how easy it was to set everyone off. This monologue also marks the first point in the game where Monkey's real name, Jae Hansen, is revealed to the audience. Mouse leaves the cafeteria to fetch Dog, but by the time they return, Monkey has disappeared, having seemingly cut the jump rope with a hidden weapon while she was unattended.
There are three distinct points in the game where Mouse finds herself in some degree of bondage for a short period of time. Unfortunately, since Mouse is the viewpoint character and is never illustrated in game, none of these incidents are shown visually, instead being depicted solely through text. (Then again, since a few of these scenarios can lead directly into bad endings where Mouse is killed, that may be for the best depending on your perspective.)
At the very start of the game, Mouse has a brief flashback to being kidnapped by the Jade Emperor. While her actual restraints aren't described in much detail, she recounts being tased in the back, swiftly gagged and blindfolded, having her hands bound behind her back, and then being loaded into the back of a vehicle.
On Mouse's route, if Mouse confesses to having the Clever personality, the other players will agree to tie her up similarly to Monkey in the above-described route. Unlike Monkey, she refuses to be tied up, only to be knocked out by Horse and tied in what's implied to be the same position as Monkey. Upon waking, Snake explains the situation to her, then leaves. Shortly after, Rooster arrives and admits to being the other deviant personality, mistakenly believing that Mouse only surrendered herself to earn the group's trust so she could kill them off easier. Not thinking through the implications, Mouse admits that she genuinely did intend to sacrifice herself, forcing Rooster to kill her to keep his identity secret.
On Dragon's route, during the late stages of the game, Ox will come up with a plan to have Mouse disguise herself as the recently-deceased Rooster, allowing them to conduct a fake hostage negotiation with Dog and trick the two remaining teams into taking each other out. Mouse dons Rooster's clothes and allows Ox and Tiger to tie her to a chair in the cafeteria. Before putting Rooster's animal mask over her head, Ox insists on stuffing a rag into Mouse's mouth, claiming it's to help disguise her voice in case Dog asks "Rooster" to say something. Privately, Mouse notes her suspicion that Ox may have had more fetish-related reasons for wanting to gag her.
Once Ox leads Dog to "Rooster", Mouse makes a show of struggling and screaming into her gag. Tiger, acting as a guard, slaps the back of her head to shut her up, with Mouse thinking she's getting a little too into her role. After the negotiations end and Dog leaves, Ox and Tiger take a moment to discuss the next part of their strategy, and Mouse makes multiple attempts to contribute despite still being tied up and gagged, resulting in several dialogue lines of unfortunately unvoiced mmphing. Eventually, Ox decides to untie and ungag Mouse for a short while so it's easier to discuss their next steps, but ties her up again not long after, albeit this time with a deliberately easy-to-untie knot so Mouse will be able to free herself during the hostage exchange. Mouse asks Ox where he learned to tie all these knots, to which he claims he used to be a Boy Scout. Not wanting to risk Dog coming back and seeing "Rooster" out of costume, Ox and Tiger hastily set to work binding and gagging Mouse again, leaving her to stew in her chair until Dog's return. Eventually, Dog arrives at the cafeteria with what appears to be Dragon's body, and Ox turns the disguised Mouse over to him. Preparing herself to deliver the killing blow, she quickly undoes her bonds and spits out her gag, only for Dog to reveal he saw through the ruse from the start, launching a counterattack alongside Bunny and a secretly still-alive Dragon.
In the bad ending path where Mouse chooses not to fight back against the other teams, Ox and Tiger will be forced to knock her out to keep her from getting them killed alongside her, and she'll wake up tied to a chair wearing Rooster's outfit, implying that Ox and Tiger attempted the fake hostage plan using her unconscious body. Unfortunately for her, she wakes up just after the plan has fallen apart and gotten all the remaining players killed, leaving only moments for her to witness the aftermath before her collar triggers and executes her.