->''"Look, prophecies aren't in my job description, OK? I'm just a humble P.I. trying to save the world as we know it."''
-->-- '''Tex Murphy''', ''Under a Killing Moon''

In 1989, Access Software developed and published ''Mean Streets,'' a noir adventure thriller for several different platforms. The game starred Tex Murphy, who represented the epitome of an old-fashioned, black-and-white noir private detective.

Access would go on to make five games; The sequel to ''Mean Streets'', ''Martian Memorandum'' (1991), was released strictly for the IBM PC and was not terribly revolutionary. The third game, ''Under a Killing Moon'' (1994), was a whole different ball game: it introduced a 3D virtual world and made extensive use of full motion video cutscenes. The fourth game, ''The Pandora Directive'' (1996), included the same system and was Access' most ambitious effort. Number five, ''Overseer'' (1998), was essentially a replay of ''Mean Streets,'' but brought into the modern video game era with Access' usual movie work.

Tex Murphy's setting is a post-apocalyptic America after WorldWarIII. Tex, a gritty PrivateDetective who lives in San Francisco, is genetically resistant to the effects of radiation but lives amongst numerous mutants. He tries to tiptoe along the dangerous fault lines between the world of the mutants and the world of the "norms".

The plots of the five games can generally be summarized thusly: Tex is down on his luck, has no money and is largely reduced to eating dog food. A client appears and offers him a relatively simple job: Find a MacGuffin, track down my friend, etc. In the course of his investigations, Tex discovers that he is a pawn in a plot to bring about TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt. He then saves the world, making sardonic quips along the way.

The final three games were, as mentioned, notable for their "interactive movie" quality. They featured solid writing, sharp acting and some surprising celebrity appearances. (Russell Means, Creator/MargotKidder, Creator/JamesEarlJones, Barry Corbin, Tanya Roberts, John Agar, Michael York, Richard Norton, Joe Estevez, Brian Keith and Creator/ClintHoward)

At least two additional games were planned, but they were binned when Microsoft bought Access in 1998 and sold it to Take Two Interactive. Take Two eventually shut down Access, apparently killing the Tex Murphy franchise. However, the original developers eventually formed Big Finish Games, acquired the rights to the series (via a clever loophole thanks to the novelizations that series creator Chris Jones had written), and teased fans with the announcement of "Secret Project Fedora".

After years of speculation they finally confirmed that Fedora was indeed a new Tex Murphy game and eventually released it as "Tesla Effect" on May 7th, 2014 after a very successful [[http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/251414413/tex-murphy-project-fedora Kickstarter project]]. It was published by Creator/{{Atlus}} in addition to the Kickstarter backing.

You can get the Tex Murphy games at [[http://www.gog.com/games#/all_genres/search/tex%20murphy/#search=tex%20murphy GOG.com]] or (as of June 12, 2014) on UsefulNotes/{{Steam}}.

!!Provides examples of:


[[folder:The series in general]]
* AlwaysNight: Part of the CityNoir atmosphere of the game series.
** The Daylight Reversal Act mentioned in ''Under A Killing Moon'', which came about because of ozone layer damage after World War III. Most everybody sleeps during the day, which is why it's always dark during gameplay.
* AffectionateParody: Almost every trope from old-school, black and white, noir private eye films is lovingly re-created and mocked.
* AfterTheEnd: World War III came and went, leaving behind radiation and a completely shot ozone layer. Due to the latter, governments have enacted a "time reversal": regular business hours are during the night while most people sleep during the day. It's much healthier that way.
* BigBad:
** Mean Steets: [[spoiler: J. Saint Gideon]]
** Martian Memorandum: [[spoiler: Thomas Dangerfield]]
** Under A Killing Moon: [[spoiler: Lowell Percival]]
** The Pandora Directive: [[spoiler: Jackson Cross and Regan Madsen]]
** Overseer: [[spoiler: John Klaus and J. Saint Gideon]]
** Tesla Effect: [[spoiler: The Translator]]
* BrainFood: Fresh off the grill at the Brew & Stew.
* CrapsackWorld: Post-apocalyptic San Francisco ain't a pleasant place.
** The cause for this is revealed in ''The Pandora Directive'' as [[spoiler:the US military using untested ImportedAlienPhlebotinum to blow up a Middle-Eastern country, which results in WWIII]].
* CreatorProvincialism: While Tex himself is firmly based in San Francisco, mentions of Utah pop up with unlikely frequency (Access Software is based in Salt Lake City).
* CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass: Tex Murphy is incompetent with technology, bad with people and generally denser than a dwarf star. Yet despite all that, he's a good detective with a talent for MacGyvering and logic puzzles.
* {{Cyberpunk}}
* DaChief: Mac Malden comes off as this.
--> '''Mac''': ''You seem to have a habit of forgetting that I'm a cop. And right now I'm a tired, pissed-off cop.''
* DeadpanSnarker: As the series goes on, Tex becomes increasingly snarky, to the point that in ''Tesla Effect'', he has about twice as much snark as normal dialogue.
** Then again, Tex is far more stressed than usual in ''Tesla Effect'', having lost seven years of his memory and finding out he apparently became a total bastard in that time.
* DeathByAdaptation[=/=]SparedByTheAdaptation:
** A few characters have different fates in ''Overseer'' than they did in ''Mean Streets''. Most notably:
*** [[spoiler: In ''Mean Streets'' Slade is just a hired goon and Tex kills him in a shootout about halfway through the game; in ''Overseer'' Slade has a more prominent role in the story, has a ClimaxBoss confrontation with Tex and Sylvia towards the end, and survives to menace Tex again in ''Tesla Effect''.]]
*** [[spoiler: In ''Mean Streets'' it's mentioned that Gideon tried to flee the country and was arrested by the authorities, while in ''Overseer'' he commits suicide after Tex gets the better of him.]]
** A number of characters die in the novelization who didn't in the games, mostly in ''Under A Killing Moon'', namely [[spoiler: The Colonel, Alaynah Moore, Eddie Chang, and Eva in ''Killing Moon'', as well as Archie Ellis in ''Pandora Directive''. Also, at the end of ''Tesla Effect'' it's strongly implied that Dalton Fiske and the Translator go down with the Immortal Coil, while in the game they're a lot further away when the explosions begin and possibly escape unharmed.]] Also, [[spoiler: Mantus]] survives in the novelization of ''Tesla Effect''.
* EitherOrTitle: The chapter titles within the games follow the Noir pattern.
* TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt: All of the game plots involve Tex trying to stop someone from either destroying the world or taking it over.
* FantasticRacism: Allegedly there's no longer any discrimination against races. Genetic discrimination against mutants has taken its place, however, and is a recurring theme throughout the series.
* FilmNoir: Increasingly parodied as the series goes on.
* FlyingCar: All over the place. Tex has a really cool one.
* FunWithAcronyms: NSA now stands for National '''Surveillance''' Agency.
** And much more blatantly, C.A.P.R.I.C.O.R.N.
* TheFutureIsNoir
* GaiasLament: It is not prominent, but there are background details about how the environment has gone to hell and back.
* GrumpyOldMan: Rook Garner, a crusty old WWIII vet with a face like a raisin and a tongue like a butcher's cleaver.
* HammerSpace: Being an adventure game character Tex often carries items that are either too large or too plentiful to keep on his person. {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d in one short cinematic from TPD when Tex pulls a 10ft bamboo pole out of his trenchcoat pocket.
* HardboiledDetective: Tex is an AffectionateParody of the stock character.
* HintSystem: With the exception of ''Mean Streets'', all the games in the series have a built-in hint guide.
** ''Martian Memorandum'' has a "Help" option, which, when clicked, allows you to choose any object in the room (including ones [[InterfaceSpoiler you haven't found yet]]) and tells you exactly what you're supposed to do with it.
** From ''Under A Killing Moon'' onward, the game has a more helpful hint system where each incremental hint cost a certain number of points (gained by solving puzzles) and the system was structured so that it was impossible to "look ahead".
* LaserHallway:
** Tex has to navigate through lasers on a hoverboard in Big Dick Castro's vault in ''Martian Memorandum''. It's less fun than it sounds, with the camera only showing a small part of what's ahead of Tex.
** ''The Pandora Directive'' has a laser hallway at Roswell, right before the entrance to the facility
** Another laser hall shows up in ''Tesla Effect'', with rapidly moving beams and almost no margin for error.
* LimitedWardrobe: The classic depiction of Tex (established in ''Under A Killing Moon'') is that his entire wardrobe consists of several of the same dress shirt and tie, pants, overcoat, Fedora hat and sneakers.
** By the time of Tesla Effect, Tex has a collection of fedoras of many colors hanging on the wall of his office.
* LoveInterest: Chelsee Bando is Tex's romantic interest through most of the series.
* MacGyvering: Combining random items into whatever crude instrument required to advance past a given obstacle is an absolute necessity in these games.
* TheMentor: "Colonel" Dobbs, who taught Tex most of what he knows about being a private investigator.
* MinorCrimeRevealsMajorPlot:
** ''Mean Streets'' and ''Overseer'': Investigating a suicide leads to [[spoiler:stopping a WellIntentionedExtremist and a corrupt political party from taking control of global politics]].
** ''Martian Memorandum'': A kidnapping leads to [[spoiler:preventing a madman from destroying Mars by unwittingly unleashing a SealedEvilInACan]].
** ''Under A Killing Moon'': An art theft leads to [[spoiler:thwarting an AncientConspiracy planning to wipe out all life on Earth]].
** ''Pandora Directive'': Tracking down a missing person leads to [[spoiler:a race to recover functional alien technology before it falls into the hands of evil government agents]].
** ''Tesla Effect'': Tracking down whoever attacked you and gave you amnesia leads to [[spoiler:stopping a WellIntentionedExtremist from using the lost work of UsefulNotes/NikolaTesla from accidentally destroying the Earth trying to open a portal to Heaven.]]
* {{Novelization}}: Two novels were written based on ''Under a Killing Moon'' and ''The Pandora Directive''. A novel for ''Tesla Effect'' has also been released.
* OddJobGods: The Big P.I in the Sky - the God of Private Investigators played by James Earl Jones - who appears in the HaveANiceDeath sequences of ''Under A Killing Moon'' and some of the alternate endings of ''The Pandora Directive'' and ''The Tesla Effect''
** At the beginning of ''Under A Killing Moon'', this god hilariously bemoans that all the great private investigators of the past have died of old age, meaning they're stuck with Tex Murphy instead. James Earl Jones knows funny, people.
* OnlyKnownByTheirNickname: "Tex" is a nickname that he receives as a kid after crashing through the ceiling with the hole looking exactly like the state of Texas. His real name is rarely, if ever, used. [[spoiler:In Tesla Effect, his given name is revealed to be James Tiberius Murphy.]]
* TheOnlyOne: Tex is a textbook case. Unfortunately, his enemies tend to notice this quality about him, frequently resulting in him being turned into an UnwittingPawn. Tex always manages to clean up his own messes in the end, though.
* PrivateEyeMonologue: Tex is prone to give those throughout the series.
* SaveTheWorldClimax: Somehow Tex always winds up having to save the planet from conquest or destruction.
* ShoutOut: According to WordOfGod, Tex's recurring police contact Mac Malden is named after actor Karl Malden. They both also have an unusually large, round nose.
* UnwittingPawn: Tex Murphy, OncePerEpisode.
* WithThisHerring: Largely averted. Tex's clients don't exactly overwhelm him with aid when they enlist his services, but they usually pay him a nice retainer and give him solid leads to begin the case.

[[folder:Mean Streets (1989)]]
* AdaptationalVillainy: [[spoiler: In this game, John Klaus was just one of the eight scientists working on Overlord and he's the most helpful to you of all the ones who are still alive. In ''Overseer'' he's an ally of the crypto-fascist Law and Order party and the mastermind behind the killings of the other scientists in order to obtain all eight passcards to control Overlord.]]
* AllThereInTheManual: This game is near-impossible without the leads first outlined in the manual.
* ChessMotifs: The instance where the possible passwords are anagrams of chess terms. In the same room where you find the encoded passwords is a chess set with a bishop missing.
* DrivenToSuicide: The fate of Carl Linsky, though as with most of Tex's cases, there's more to it than it seems.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: ''Mean Streets'' was scarcely in the same genre as the following games. {{Lampshaded}} in ''Tesla Effect'', when Tex has a flashback to one of the combat sections from ''Mean Streets'' and says that he decided never to get into a shootout again.
* GeniusProgramming: Mean Streets could do music and speech on PC speaker. Yes, that very PC speaker that's seemingly only capable of beeps and boops.
* KleptomaniacHero: Tex can take cash and valuables in the locations he searches.
* RedHerring: There are plenty of false leads. One location even lampshades this with the suspect eating a red herring.
* StartsWithASuicide
* UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans: [[spoiler: J. Saint Gideon plans to implant mind-control devices into the world leaders in order to speed up the peace process. If the program wasn't so easy to misuse for controlling the global population - and so likely to fall into evil hands - Tex might've supported Gideon.]]

[[folder:Martian Memorandum (1991)]]
* AGodAmI: The ultimate villain goes full megalomaniac in the finale, believing The Oracle Stone will make him this.
* AncientArtifact: The Oracle Stone.
* BlahBlahBlah: Used as a date dialogue option, which appears if you already chose the failing conversation track.
* DialogueTree: Only [[TrialAndErrorGameplay one path]] in the whole tree is useful. Don't worry, you get [[WelcomeToCorneria multiple tries]].
* ImprovisedWeapon: In the game's final puzzle, [[spoiler:a bra is used as a slingshot]].
* MacGuffin: The Oracle Stone.
* NamedAfterSomebodyFamous: Lowell Percival is named after Percival Lowell, a 19th century astronomer and mathematician who among other things observed canals on Mars and formed the first theories about the existence of Pluto. There is also a fitness instructor named [[Creator/JayneMansfield Jane Mansfield]].
* TrialAndErrorGameplay: The only way to get through several of the game's sequences, such as the jungle sequence and the casino vault heist.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: [[spoiler: Ultimately, Dr. Dangerfield's goal was to deliver justice to a mass murderer. Even his AGodAmI megalomania at the end after he got The Oracle Stone wasn't directly malicious against anyone. Unfortunately, his misuse of the technology would have blown up the planet if Tex hadn't stopped him.]]

[[folder:Under a Killing Moon (1994)]]
* AdaptationalWimp: In the novel, the Chameleon is a French disguise artist rather than a Native American shapeshifter. This change may have been due to the somewhat oddity of having a mutant serving as TheDragon for a genocidal group of purists.
* AncientConspiracy: The Brotherhood.
* ApocalypseHow: A Class 4 biosphere extinction is prepared by the AncientConspiracy.
* BatmanColdOpen: The first day involves Tex catching a serial burglar with no connection to the main plot of the game, [[spoiler: apart from a minor-but-vital part later where Rook agrees to give Tex a much-needed vintage silver dollar as thanks for solving that case]].
* BigGood: The Big P.I. In the Sky, played by Creator/JamesEarlJones. He steers fate in Tex's favour and berates him during the HaveANiceDeath sequences.
* BittersweetEnding: The game ends with Tex right back where he started, financially and romantically.
* DialogueTree: The conversations allow for different options depending on which particular wisecrack you want to make.
* HaveANiceDeath: The Big P.I. In The Sky berates you for whatever careless behavior caused your death. Occasionally, he will give you advice on how to avoid it happening again before sending you back to do it right. (i.e. let you reload a save game)
* ICantBelieveItsNotHeroin: The bum behind Rook's place is addicted to chocolate syrup, as in "goes into withdrawals without a fix."
* MacGuffin: The bird statuette. [[spoiler: Turns out the statuette doesn't actually even do anything, and the AncientConspiracy just wants it for religious reasons before they cleanse the planet.]]
* PixelHunt: The pixelated graphics of garbage on the ground make it difficult to tell the difference between random clutter and the objects you're supposed to pick-up.
* RidiculousFutureInflation: One of the in-game items is a single postage stamp. It costs 10 dollars.
* ShapeShifterSwanSong: Your final confrontation with The Chameleon.
* ShoutOut: Tex is hired to find [[spoiler: a rare statue of a bird]] that several parties are desperate to find.
* TrialAndErrorGameplay: The cryo-tank puzzle where you revive Eva.
** In a hilarious subversion, Tex will complain to the Great P.I. In The Sky during the HaveANiceDeath sequence if you fail to save Eva about how unfair the puzzle is and how there's no way to win except through blind luck. The Great P.I. will agrees with Tex and gives him a second chance without needing to reload a save game.

[[folder:The Pandora Directive (1996)]]
* AlienAutopsy: The video at the cabin depicts one.
* AlignmentBasedEndings: You can get up to eight[[note]](in reality there are only six unique endings with two being recycled for different paths)[[/note]] different endings depending on where your KarmaMeter is along the NiceGuy[=/=]{{Jerkass}} axis.
* ApocalypticLog: Tex watches a Video message of the last survivor inside the Roswell complex before that person gets taken by the evil cloud alien.
* {{Area 51}}: Tex has to search the facility at one point in the game.
* AxCrazy: [[spoiler:Jackson Cross has shades of this.]]
* BittersweetEnding: The good/neutral ending. [[spoiler: You save the world but fail to romance Chelsee. But hey - at least you're caught up on your debts for the moment.]]
* BloodFromTheMouth: The injured alien in the AlienAutopsy video footage at the cabin spits blood.
* BookcasePassage: A secret door behind a bookcase at Elijah Witt's place.
* ConcealingCanvas: The painting at the cabin hides a safe.
* DamselInDistress: Emily Sue Patterson.
* DismantledMacGuffin: Tex has to find five pieces to assemble the Pandora Device.
* DuelToTheDeath: Tex vs. [[spoiler: NSA Agent Dag Horton posing as]] The Black Arrow Killer.
* TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt: Tex has to prevent this.
* GovernmentConspiracy: [[spoiler: The plot revolves around the supposed UFO crash at Roswell in 1947. The NSA makes sure it stays secret.]]
* HalfHumanHybrid / HumanMomNonhumanDad: [[spoiler: Gordon Fitzpatrick]] turns out to be a partial alien.
* HypocriticalHumor: Tex comments on a book titled "Men are Imbeciles, Women are Erratic," saying ''"The author generalizes too much, and I think all people who generalize are idiots."''
* IWorkAlone: Tex emphasizes this principle to Regan.
* {{Jerkass}}: The player can make Tex a glaring example of this if he chooses the "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" path.
* JustInTime: Depending on your Karma, [[spoiler: Tex will either pull this off or fail miserably when Dag Horton attacks Emily.]]
* KarmaMeter: A big part of the game.
* LaserHallway: At the entrance of the Roswell bunker.
* LethalLavaLand: [[spoiler: In the Mayan temple, there is a long chamber with a narrow maze above several lava pits. Tex has to get to the other side and try to open one of the four doors (whichever one opens is random) -- all while avoiding fireballs. This room is only in Game Player's mode, though.]]
* MacGuffinDeliveryService: NSA official Jackson Cross lets Tex do the dirty work, so he could reap the fruits by the end. It doesn't pay off for him though.
* TheMaze: Day Nine in the Mayan temple, in Gamer Mode.
* MultipleEndings: Eight unique endings. Well, for a given value of unique. In truth, there are six unique endings but two of them can be reached through multiple paths. One of the "neutral" endings is reached through the good path if you committed one major screw up that prevents the best possible ending. One of the neutral endings is reachable from the evil path if you tried to redeem yourself after falling from grace. And three the four "evil" endings [[spoiler: end with Tex dying and pondering how horribly out of character he was acting.]]
* OneLastSmoke: Tex pulls this to arrange his escape [[spoiler: after the NSA agents kill Malloy.]]
* OnlyInItForTheMoney: Regan is only concerned with the profit she could make of her father's discoveries.
* OptionalSexualEncounter: You can sleep with Regan on Day Eight, but [[spoiler: doing so makes you unable to finish the game with any ending better than the Neutral one.]] You can bed Chelsee Bando in the good ending, but only if you treat her and everyone else nicely.
* PhoneTraceRace: Tex tracks down Elijah Witt with a tracking device from the electronics shop.
* OutrunTheFireball: How Tex escapes from the warehouse.
* RansackedRoom: The cabin has been thoroughly searched and trashed by some other party before Tex arrives.
* RelationshipValues: Utilized to a small extent. Your actions and conversational choices help decide whether Tex ends up with Chelsee, tries to end up with Chelsee but strikes out, or ends up with Regan ([[spoiler: and ends up dying as a villain for his trouble]]).
* RoswellThatEndsWell: The catalyst of the story.
* SealedEvilInACan: The Roswell base and the gaseous alien entity that killed everyone before the underground complex was sealed off.
* ShoutOut:
** Day 3's subtitle: Film/OutOfThePast
** Day 6's subtitle: [[Film/NorthByNorthwest South by Southeast]].
** The morgue has several references to ''Film/YoungFrankenstein'', including a book on one table called ''How I Did It'' and two brains in a Lost and Found cabinet labeled "Use This Brain" and "Abnormal - Do Not Use This Brain."
* SteppingOutForAQuickCupOfCoffee: The pathologist at the morgue is "taking a long lunch break" so Tex can have the place for himself.
* TheSociopath: Jackson Cross.
-->'''Jackson Cross''' (to Tex Murphy): ''I've always wanted to kill you. It's not that I don't like you. I thought you were a very resourceful fellow. I wanted to kill you because I enjoy killing people. [[AxCrazy I find it very satisfying.]]
* TakeMyHand: Tex helps Regan to climb on the rising pole at the temple.
* TakeYourTime: At one point, you have to light a stick of dynamite and throw it at a door. You can light the dynamite while in another building, go outside, over to the other building where you have to throw it, throw the dynamite, then just as lazily walk to a safe distance. The dynamite won't blow until you're out of reach anyway.
* TapOnTheHead: Tex gets this on the first day, which takes him out for several hours and makes him miss his date with Chelsee.
* TrouserSpace: Tex pulls a 4-foot long bamboo pole out of his pants.
* TheVamp: [[spoiler: Regan Madsen.]]
* TheWorldIsNotReady: What Malloy thinks this of his discovery.

[[folder:Overseer (1998)]]
* AdaptationalVillainy: [[spoiler: In ''Mean Streets'' Klaus was just one of the 8 scientists working on Overlord. In ''Overseer'' he's an ally of the crypto-fascist Law and Order party and the mastermind behind the killings of the other scientists in order to obtain all 8 passcards to control Overlord.]]
* AntiVillain: [[spoiler: J. Saint Gideon]] who is also a MagnificentBastard.
* ArrogantKungFuGuy: "Big Jim" Slade, as played by Australian-born martial artist Richard Norton.
* ChessMotifs: Pops up everywhere. Both John Klaus and J. Saint Gideon are avid chess players, though only Gideon goes as far as to decorate his entire mansion with chess motifs [[spoiler: and use chess-related code names for each aspect of the STG Project]]
* CliffHanger: The end where [[spoiler: Tex's speeder is stolen and he and Chelsee get a ride from a stranger who, after a few moments of pleasant conversation...turns around and shoots them!]]
** The radio theater sequel [[spoiler: reveals that Tex and Chelsee survived, but got wrapped up in a conspiracy, which also ended on a cliffhanger. D'oh!]]
** [[spoiler:Finally, all is explained in ''Tesla Effect'', although Chelsee only comes back if you put in a lot of effort throughout the entire game trying to determine what her fate was.]]
* DamselInDistress: Sylvia Linsky.
* GracefulLoser: At the end, [[spoiler: after Tex destroys Overlord, a defeated Gideon graciously shares a final scotch and cigars with Tex, even giving him his lighter as a keepsake, before committing suicide.]]
* ShutUpHannibal: An unusual case where this is delivered ''retroactively'': Once Tex is done telling the story in flashbacks, he comments how the game's WellIntentionedExtremist "was probably right". Chelsee's response: "[[PunctuatedForEmphasis NO. HE. WASN'T.]] ''You'' were!"
* TheStarscream: [[spoiler: Towards the end, Slade kills Klaus and plans to auction off the eight Overlord control cards off to the highest bidder. Tex stops him, though.]]
* TimeBomb: Tex must remove an implant from his skull before it kills him. Of course the plot requires that you remove it anyway (the entire game is a flashback, after all) so there's no danger of Tex dying.

[[folder:Tesla Effect (2014)]]
* AlignmentBasedEndings: The game has multiple endings. There are a total of five endings, but only four unique endings (largely determined by whether you [[spoiler: pursued one romantic interest, pursued the other one, stayed fixated on Chelsee's fate, or were too indecisive to stick to any one path]]) with the fifth being a slight variation of the fourth ending.
* AxCrazy: [[spoiler: Mantus and the Morlocks, as a result of going mad from the cryosleep process.]]
* CallBack: Chandler Avenue is littered with mementos from Tex's previous cases. In most cases, examining them triggers a verbal description and then a cutscene from an earlier game.
* CameBackWrong: Tesla perfected cryogenic preservation, but the subjects are killed when they are frozen and revived after being unfrozen. This has some unfortunate side effects for most subjects. Most are turned into partially decayed, insane cannibals known as Morlocks. [[spoiler: Charles Johansson avoided all of the more obvious side effects when he was revived by Gideon Inc., but came back with a dangerous dose of megalomania, turning him into the Translator.]]
* CollectionSidequest: The Mike and Ike Hammer Candy Comic books. [[spoiler:Collecting all 20 comic books and finishing the game creates a post-game file that unlocks the storage room in Tex's bedroom that allows you to watch the game's cutscenes and listen to songs.]]
* CuttingTheKnot: [[spoiler: Can't get an armoire to open and there's no key for it? Use C4 Chewing Gum to ''blast it apart.'']]
--> '''Tex Murphy''': ''Uh... [[LampshadeHanging maybe that was a little overkill]], but was effective.''
* DarkIsEvil: [[spoiler:The Translator, Dalton, Big Jim Slade and Tex Murphy ([[FaceHeelTurn before]] having his memory erased). They all wear black and aren't exactly the nicest guys.]]
** DarkIsNotEvil: Tex Murphy wears darker colored clothing in contrast to the previous games.
* EarthShatteringKaboom: [[spoiler: Revealed to be the side-effect of the Translator's plan to merge Heaven and Earth. Fail the final puzzle of the game and you get to watch it happen in a pretty cool CGI sequence.]]
* EndGameResultsScreen: Tesla Effect assigns you a rank based on your score at the end. Getting the highest rank after completing the "Somewhere I'll Find You" story path is an alternate means to unlock access to the storage room in Tex's Office if you fail to find all the Mike and Ike Hammer comics.
* FakingTheDead: For most of ''Tesla Effect'', it's assumed that [[spoiler: Chelsee]] has been dead for a long time after the events of ''Overseer''. However, it turns out [[spoiler: Margaret and her allies faked her death to protect her, due to her actually being Margaret's daughter]].
* EasyAmnesia: Subverted. At first Tex thinks his memory loss is caused by the bullet that grazed his head, but a doctor points out it doesn't work that way.
* LaserGuidedAmnesia: The Trance Inducer chemically erases selected memories.
* LongRunnerTechMarchesOn: A few of the things that seemed impossibly high-tech when the series started are now obsolete, but preserved in the game for continuity. Okay, Tex still having a fax machine is a joke and entirely plausible, but the vidphones seen throughout the game are considerably inferior to any iPad.
* LukeIAmYourFather: Chelsee is [[spoiler: Margaret Leonard]]'s daughter.
* NonStandardGameOver: Most deaths go to a quick RIP sequence and oftentimes the cause of death is not even explained. Some, however, have special [=FMVs=]. [[spoiler:For example, if Tex throws the Tesla Egg out of the Coit Tower, instead of giving it to Slade.]]
* PermanentlyMissableContent: One of the collectible comic books is on top of a shack in the swamp. If you remove the ladder before grabbing it, there's no way to get it.
* RelationshipValues: Tex's actions will determine whether he ends up with Taylor, Ariel, [[spoiler: Chelsee]], or none of them because he was too indecisive.
* SchizoTech: ''Tesla Effect'' makes lots of references to 2000's technology, yet Tex ''still'' has a fax machine.
* SequelHook: [[spoiler:''Tesla Effect'' seemingly ends with the BigBad and his [[TheDragon Dragon]] escaping (although the Dragon is seemingly dealt with in the "bad" ending), and ends with a news report of the Nights Templar getting killed. There's also the sub-plot regarding J.T. Donnelly and Anastasia and the White Russians, which is indicated to be entirely separate from the Translator's plot and is never fully resolved. Tex mentions in the closing scene that it all seems to be part of something bigger, and he'd better be ready for it.]]
* ShoutOut: The fact that Kevin Murphy voices the ExpositionFairy doesn't go uncommented upon. When examining a gum-ball machine, Tex muses that it would nice to have a [[Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000 talking one of the kind as a sidekick]].
* TheStarscream: Slade who tries to cash in the Tesla Egg, but he gets killed by a vengeful Mantus.
* TimeSkip: Seven years have passed until the beginning of ''Tesla Effect''.
* TheTunguskaEvent: The event wasn't a meteorite impact, but the result of a trial run of UsefulNotes/NikolaTesla's Death-Ray.
* UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans: [[spoiler:The Translator wants to merge the living and dead realms into one. This would hedge into BlueAndOrangeMorality territory if every reliable source wasn't certain that all he'd accomplish would be blowing up the planet by accident. He doesn't even do much to directly harm Tex.]]
* WhatDidIDoLastNight: What did Tex do for ''seven years'' leading up to ''Tesla Effect''?