[[quoteright:320:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ps291-1_6645.jpg]]
[-[[caption-width-right:320:[[SuperSentaiStance Pose as a team,]] [[LetsGetDangerous because SHIT JUST GOT REAL.]]]]-]

->"''You answer the phone in a hard boiled manner. You explain to the woman gruffly that you'd love to help her out, sweetheart, but you're up to your neck in all this weird puzzle shit. You hang up.''"

''[[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4 Problem Sleuth]]'' is the third webcomic under the ''MSPaintAdventures'' banner, written by AndrewHussie, and was arguably the one which first brought Hussie and his work into the limelight. Written and presented [[InteractiveComic in the style of]] an ersatz text/point-and-click adventure game, it details the antics of three especially {{hardboiled detective}}s -- [[TheHero Problem Sleuth]], [[TheLancer Ace Dick]], and [[TheSmartGuy Pickle Inspector]] -- in their attempts to [[LockedInARoom get out of their offices]], all the while working to aid the turmoil-stricken Kingdoms of the Weasels, Clowns, Hogs and Elves, and to foil the dastardly plots of Mobster Kingpin.

While initially presented as a take on the FilmNoir genre, its strength is in how it parodies numerous point-and-click adventure and JRPG mechanics and tropes, and in its [[KudzuPlot ever-increasingly complicated story]] which still neatly ties up all loose ends. Much like its successor ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'', it also demonstrated a very steady level of ArtEvolution up until the end, evolving from relatively crude static panels to featuring increasingly complex AnimationBump panels depicting {{Super Move Portrait Attack}}s, SummonMagic and {{Wave Motion Gun}}s galore.

'''Warning: High chance of spoilers. Proceed with caution.'''
----

!!Pose as a team, because tropes just got real:
* AffectionateParody: To {{JRPG}}s and {{Adventure Game}}s.
* AllJustADream: [[spoiler:Averted.]]
* AllThereInTheManual: The [[DVDCommentary author's commentary]] in the published edition often explains (jokingly) a few plot points not otherwise apparent, including a few {{Aborted Arc}}s.
* AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence: [[spoiler:Godhead Pickle Inspector.]]
* AmateurSleuth: All three protagonists, allegedly: they never actually do any sleuthing.
* AnachronismStew: Despite being "vaguely Prohibition-era", characters will play board games invented in the 50s, paint ethnically diverse murals of the 90s, and use computers to search [=GameFAQs=].
* AndTheAdventureContinues: "There's a problem. And you'll be damned if you aren't gonna be the fellas to sleuth it."
* ArcWords: Shit just got real. [[spoiler: Shit is real]]
* AssKickingPose: because [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome SHIT JUST GOT REAL]].
* BehindTheBlack: A [[spoiler:giant mural celebrating ethnic diversity]] is unexpectedly revealed to be on the 'fourth wall' of Problem Sleuth's office.
** On a FourthWall? Wouldn't that be symbolic of the comic's audience then?
*** [[FridgeBrilliance HOLY SHIT]]
* BodyHorror: DMK.
* BondOneLiner: "You drop your cold blooded line which you spent the last few minutes thinking up."
--> [[spoiler:''Hate to cut and run...'']]
* BornLucky: Mobster Kingpin. "[[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000864 As luck would have it, your VIM gauge maxes out.]]" [[spoiler: Later, it's revealed that [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001294 he was cheating]].]]
* BottomlessBladder: Lampshaded/subverted: [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000299 "You remember you're pissed off at Ace Dick, and in addition to which, you haven't been able to pee once in the 13 and a half hours you've been locked in your office."]]
* BrickJoke: Almost every BrickJoke is also a ChekhovsGun, but one example that fits better here is Ace Dick [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001484 walking]] the [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000522 UGLY DOG]].
* BulletDodging: Each hero's "Auto-Parry" does it differently: Problem Sleuth on purpose via UnnecessaryCombatRoll, Pickle Inspector [[AttentionDeficitOohShiny accidentally via distraction]], & Ace Dick auto-parries by... [[{{Kevlard}} taking the shot directly in his gut]].
* CallBack: Many {{Call Back}}s develop into {{Running Gag}}s, making it difficult to distinguish between the two.
** The story is manifest out of building previous one-off gags into stable pillars of the game world. From the FAQ:
---> For instance, the seemingly idiotic and highly ignorable command "Build fort out of desk" lead not only to a short-term humorous payoff, but to an entire imaginary universe paradigm, and in a way, a whole gaming system which appeared to exist from the beginning, but only became manifest through the command.
* CallAHitPointASmeerp: There's no end to them. Vitality Carats. Gumption Wafers. Pep Gold.
* CallingYourAttacks: SEPULCHRITUUUUUUUUUUDE!
* {{Calvinball}}: Game mechanics adhere to RuleOfFunny and RuleOfCool, and nothing else.
** The game PI plays against Death. It is an enormous mesh of sudoku, chess, ''VideoGame/{{Tetris}}'', Sorry, a Western, and ''DungeonsAndDragons''.
* CanonImmigrant: [[spoiler:Ace Dick ends up falling ''backwards'' in canon [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001555 into]] ''JailBreak'', revealing answers brought up to questions ''in a different game''.]]
** [[spoiler:Ace Dick also [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001577 visits the swamp]] from [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=2&p=000215 BardQuest]].]]
* TheCassandra: [[ExpositionFairy The Infinite Summation Honeybee Professor]] might be [[StopHelpingMe annoying]], but it turns out his advice would've actually been pretty useful.
* CharacterAlignment: [[invoked]] Using the [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000617 ALLEGIANCE MENU]].
** And later the [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000787 ALLEGIANCE MESH]].
* ChekhovsGun: Many, including just about every named battle command, but the one with the longest time to fire and biggest effect would have to be [[spoiler:Problem Sleuth's CANDY CORN.]]
* ChekhovsSkill: PI and the [[SolveTheSoupCans Labyrinthine Sudocube Comprehsensile]].
* ChessWithDeath: Happens quite a few times, even without anything at stake, and never once with chess.
** Well...[[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001008 never once with chess and chess alone.]]
-->You desperately bargain with Death, challenging him to any game you can think of for the fair damsel's life. CLUE, CONNECT FOUR, UNO, BATTLESHIP, SUDOKU, well ok not SUDOKU, but how about SNAKES AND LADDERS, that's fun, or what about HUNGRY HUNGRY HIPPOS god you LOVE HUNGRY HUNGRY HIPPOS.
* ChewBubblegum
-->You're here for two things: to fucking ruin someone's shit, and to play a friendly game of make-believe.
-->AND YOU'RE ALL OUT OF IMAGINATION.
** Also, in an extra:
-->You're here for two things: to rain unspeakable devastation down on the forces of evil, and to flail your limbs about in a playful manner.
-->AND YOU HAVE NO ROOM IN YOUR FORT TO FLAIL ABOUT WHATSOEVER.
* ChickenWalker: Candy mecha is a sentient example. In fact, even after the head is detached so that it can fly off to fight the villain, the legs still are used for various purposes.
** Don't forget the first beast the party slew, which Problem Sleuth then mounted the legs of and walked around in.
* ClosedCircle: The entirety of ''Problem Sleuth''. It gets to be a BIG [[spoiler:(imaginary)]] circle.
* TheComputerIsACheatingBastard: "[[spoiler:Sensing his impending demise, DMK [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001742 grows a few extra health meters]]]]."
* ComicBookAdaptation: There is now a book of the first five chapters at ''[[http://www.topatoco.com/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=TO&Product_Code=MSPA-PS-BOOK01&Category_Code=MSPA/ Topatoco.com]]'', with commentary and a foreword by [[Webcomic/DinosaurComics Ryan North]].
** And chapters 6-9 in Volume 2!
*** And chapters 10-13 in Volume 3!
* ConcealingCanvas: Frequently subverted and otherwise played with.
* ContinuityNod: [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001506 Over 1000 strips later]] and we rejoin the sunglasses that were stolen from the Starsky bust.
** Although the plot relevance makes this technically a Call Back, it has the largest "time since last mention":"relevance to plot" ratio in the game.
* CoolAirship: [[spoiler:Mobster Kingpin]]'s ship, [[http://mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001057 the CHICAGO OVERCOAT]], black thorn of the [[spoiler:imaginary]] skies.
* CreationMyth: [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001682 With equal parts absurd myth and hard science.]]
* CriticalHit: by many names: BRUTAL AFFRONT, SAVAGE UPBRAID
* CutAndPasteComic: Lampshaded in some of the "Pose as a team" commands; [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000509 "You copy and paste your previous poses into a new file and animate the background rapidly."]]
* CuttingTheKnot: [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001377 After having a solved puzzle reset, Fiesta Ace Dick uses this to solve it a second time.]]
* DangerousForbiddenTechnique: Five separate times Problem Sleuth tried to call forth the "righteous fires of charisma" of [[spoiler:Sepulchritude]], and [[http://mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000876 every]] [[http://mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000930 time]] [[http://mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000970 he]] [[http://mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001106 was]] [[http://mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001282 stopped.]] After it is finally used, he [[spoiler: turns grey and beaten and, greatly weakened, falls into BHMK's Event Horizon]].
* DeathByOriginStory: [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001524 Your losses cause you to feel an all-consuming sense of vengeance. You feel like every superhero origin cliche is swirling around you at once!]]
* DeathIsCheap / DeathIsNotPermanent: You get 3 imaginary lives, and if your physical body dies, you can challenge Death to the game of your choice in the afterlife, or [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001586 just sneak out while he's not looking]].
* DeliciousDistraction: [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000436 Battle Technique: Torso Flail]].
* DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment: [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001718 If your IMAGINATION was a face you would punch it. In the face.]]
* [[DesignatedGirlFight Designated Distaff Counterpart Fight]]: Hysterical Dame + Nervous Broad vs. Madame Murel.
* DeusExMachina: [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001486 DEUS EX SEWING MACHINA]]
* DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu: No, ''[[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001027 Fluthlu]]''
** Also, defeating [[BigBad DMK]] certainly counts as well.
* {{Dissimile}}: "the candy mecha's legs scramble around like a chicken whose head decapitated itself and flew into the sky to fight a demonic mob boss."
* DistaffCounterpart: Both played straight and played with: Each of the three detectives eventually had spirit quests, where they were psychically linked with female counterparts of themselves. [[spoiler:They later meet the counterparts.]]
** Directly as described on the site:
--->PS, AD and PI each have a lady counterpart, in accordance with deep seated mythology that dictates that any man secretly wishes to have sex with a female version of himself (re: Alvin and the Chipmunks, [[MickeyMouse Mickey/Minnie]], etc.) HD is PS's counterpart, NB is PI's, while AD is his own counterpart because he has a very poor imagination. So that's one duplicate AD, the one with the wig/helmet.
* DividingByZero: All the damn time. Their favorite method seems to be ramming a window through itself.
* DontFearTheReaper: Death is actually a pretty nice guy [[spoiler: with a love of games.]]
* EpicFail: Past Future Pickle Inspector's ultimate attack against the Midnight Crew in [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/extras/ps000020.html this bonus strip.]]
* WickedWeasel
* EarnYourHappyEnding: All the boys wanted was to escape their offices and get on with their sleuthing. To do so, they had to journey through fantastic worlds a hundred times over, die a few times, solve a perplexing number of preposterous puzzles, subject themselves to reality-warping shenanigans of a profound nature and engage in an entirely too long and highly difficult and complex fight against [[spoiler:a demonic mobster]]. But in the end, they get their reward. [[spoiler:The world is real.]]
* ExpositionFairy: The Infinite Summation Honeybee Professor.
* FightWoosh: Going outside with a window unplugged would make the world become metaphorical for a moment. And then a Beast appears!
* FighterMageThief: Team Sleuth consists of an easily-riled stocky brawler, an imagination-wielding loon, and a dagger-throwing, smooth-talking speedy bastard.
** Additionally, the whores collected by NB and HD become this.
* {{Film Noir}}: The series started out as a pastiche of this before things [[GrowingTheBeard got considerably more zany.]]
* FinalBoss [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001069 Battle]]: Parodying several tropes:
** HighAltitudeBattle
** OneWingedAngel: [[spoiler:It's MK's hideous ultimate form, DEMONHEAD MOBSTER KINGPIN.]]
** TurnsRed
** WeakSpot: [[spoiler:DMK's [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001281 NETHER-REGIONAL VULNERABULB]] blooms]], briefly exposing his WEAK SPOT.
* FiveManBand: Due to a series of odd events, the three detectives fit into this.
** TheHero: Problem Sleuth.
** TheLancer: Ace Dick.
** TheSmartGuy: Pickle Inspector.
** TheBigGuy: Fiesta Ace Dick and Zombie Ace Dick.
** TheChick: Hysterical Dame and Nervous Broad, female counterparts to Problem Sleuth and Pickle Inspector.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Mixed with CallBack due to the strip's improvisational nature.
* FriendlySniper: PI becomes one, which is vital to taking down MK.
* GasLighting: Done subtly and hilariously to the audience at the beginning. The readerís [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000219 introduced to a private detective,]] and the reader assumes as part of his profession, possesses a gun. [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000220 Second panel, he is commanded to retrieve his gun,]] and [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000221 the third panel shows he rebukes the notion.]] Might also cross into FridgeLogic and {{Foreshadowing}} due to answering how the audience saw the gun in the first place? [[spoiler: Through the audience IMAGINING a private detective would own one for self-defense. Now, think how the story continues late in the game.]]
** Later, [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000228 the key becomes a gun]], double subverting the command to retrieve the gun-it happens, just not right away. It could could also be more {{Foreshadowing}} concerning the plot. Think about it-the key turning into gun could parallel shit getting real [[spoiler:to shit IS real.]]
* TheGodsMustBeLazy: [[spoiler: GPI]] will only respond to the command [[spoiler: "Fondly regard creation."]] He actually does do two things, but those things are [[spoiler: create the universe via StableTimeLoop with the help of the temporally replicating Pickle Inspectors and sewing the universe back together when it is torn apart.]] Never once does he directly help the protagonists.
** Surely you mean "only once", since [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001115 this]] is a thing that happened.
* GoodBadBugs: Every real weapon has a tendency to not be a weapon. [[invoked]]
* GoodOldFisticuffs: [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000996 You call for a diplomatic laying down of arms.]]
* GravityIsAHarshMistress: [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001058 You suddenly remember the universe is upside-down!]]
* GrievousHarmWithABody: AD attempts this with [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000978 BATTLE TECHNIQUE -> LV. 2 TORSO FLAIL]], but fails at even providing a DeliciousDistraction like with the original [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000436 Torso Flail]].
* HalfTheManHeUsedToBe: "[[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000374 The window loses it's extra-dimensional portal properties, and severs you mid-way through. You are dead.]]"
* HandCannon: The [[spoiler:Sniper's Sextant]] controls a giant cannon. Not a strict example, but a roundabout literal one.
* HappyDance: Frequently. [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?game=save&s=4&p=001030 THIS one is REALLY impressive.]]
* HardboiledDetective: The titular hero and his friends.
* HardGay: ''Hunk Rump'', and by extension most of the gay porn magazines featured.
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler:the candy corn.]]
** [[spoiler:[[DangerousForbiddenTechnique Sepulchritude]] was presented as one, but Sleuth survives it. Also, the Collider of the Pickle Inspectors.]]
* HumongousMecha: Made out of candy.
* IFellForHours: When characters fall, they sometimes have enough time to decide to [[RunningGag "fall in more [adjective] manner"]].
--> [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000647 PS:]] Quit falling and land already!
** In fact, [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000680 it took a cheat code that skipped hundreds of pages]] [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000682 for Pickle Inspector to finish falling.]]
* ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice: [[spoiler: Mobster Kingpin]] ends up falling onto the Ham Needle from an really large distance.
* IncrediblyLamePun: [[spoiler:Fondly regard creation/crustacean/crenellation/donation.]]
** [[spoiler:Succumb to unfathomable bloodlust/bratwurst.]]
** [[http://mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000477 It has a HAIRPIN trigger.]]
** [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001688 It could be that these are the one thousand angels which are said to dance on the head of a pin...]] [[spoiler:[[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001689 Or the head of a KINGPIN.]]]]
** You attempt to woo your fan by [[DoubleEntendre turning it on.]]
** The [[ExpositionFairy Infinite Summation Honeybee Professor]] peppers his speech with bee-related puns ("Avoid 1:1 duplications which will lead to unwelcome 100% matter accretions, and you'll keep ''hiving'' a ''honey'' of a time!") until he gets [[StopHelpingMe muted]].
---> Very well, ''bee'' that way!\\
\\
Asshole!
*** And then he gets right back at it once he gets unmuted.
--> Once we have completed building your [[color:red: Impetus Comb]], and all of its [[color:red: Jocose Honey]] has ripened and is sweet as can ''bee'', that is when the fun ''bee''gins!!!
** And then there's [[http://mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001598 this.]]
* InteractiveComic: The TropeCodifier, as it pretty much refined the technique of ''MSPaintAdventures'' as a whole.
* InterdimensionalTravelDevice: There are two ways to travel between the real world and the world of imagination: Either climbing through a window, or entering a fort and imagining really hard (booze helps with the latter).
* InterfaceScrew: The whole keys/gun thing mentioned above in GasLighting. Each of the three main characters and their female counterparts have a similar problematic weapon. It's supposedly a bug in the game that gets exploited for laughs and frustration. See also YouCantGetYeFlask below.
* ItMakesSenseInContext:
** [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000625 "Appoint Pickle Inspector as chosen savior of the weasels."]]
** [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001045 "You cannot descend into the sky because the universe is not upside-down!!!"]]
** [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001667 It's DMK's third and final face. He is more fearsome than ever, with THREE HEALTH METERS, and a deadly BLACK HOLE VERSION OF HIS NON-IMAGINARY SELF pulsing on top of his HAT.]]
* {{Kevlard}}: Ace Dick's variation on the Auto-Parry technique involves taking the attack in the gut. Zombie Ace Dick extends this to taking attacks in his rotting body as a whole.
* KitschCollection: Fancy Santas.
* KleptomaniacHero: Your motto is [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000257 "Let no inventory go uncluttered"]].
* LampshadeHanging: [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001416 "You feel it is incredibly important that events in this adventure maintain strict adherence to the laws of physics, because it would just be so stupid if there were any inconsistencies."]]
* LastBreathBullet: [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000997 Zombie Hired Muscle heroically saves Problem Sleuth from the last of the Cultural Rainbow mob.]]
* LegitimateBusinessmensSocialClub: Mobster Kingpin's LEGITIMATE ESTABLISHMENT, a front for his speakeasy.
* LimitBreak: Charm Break, Comb Rave, Schema Form, Ostentation Drive, Murder Flux, Parliament Uproar
** Also, some characters share a common limit break bar.
* LockedDoor: Almost all of them, except, ironically, [[spoiler:Death's door]].
* LockedInARoom: Problem Sleuth and Ace Dick start out bitterly hating each other and both locked in their respective offices [[spoiler:and the game ends when they finally escape.]]
* MagikarpPower: Ace Dick has a special attack called the [[Film/TheGoonies Truffle Shuffle]], which has absolutely no effect and usually ends with him being killed. However, if he combines his Truffle Shuffle with one or more additional Ace Dicks, it can turn into an incredibly devastating attack.
* MarathonBoss: The battle with DMK lasts for about half the duration of ''Problem Sleuth.''
* TheMerch: For a $20 donation, AndrewHussie would draw a short comic of any command the donator wished (until increasing demand forced him to stop.) Past ones can be seen [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/unlock.html here]]. Also, there are several prints and shirts, and a Sepulchritude hoodie, still available at Topatoco.
* MightyGlacier: Pickle Inspector's "Tootsie Roll Frankenstein" transformation. Twice as strong as an actual glacier, but twice as slow, too!
* MindScrew: It can become increasingly difficult to tell where (and when) everybody is. Summed up in this line: "You're not totally sure, but you think this means there are now three Ace Dicks running around."
** MindScrewdriver: Thank goodness Godhead Pickle Inspector [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000843 explains it all]] at one point. He also thinks [[MST3KMantra you should just relax and have fun, and not worry too much about it.]]
** And then Death [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001330 provides a recap]] later.
** And later there's one by [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001696 The Devil.]]
* MorphWeapon
* MundaneMadeAwesome: So very, very much. Highlighted in the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9LT4Kd1ETM Clip Show Tribute]] which takes all the frames of the entire comic and sets them to orchestral music.
** Best example: [[spoiler: [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001731 DING]].]]
* MythologyGag: Running gags from other games, such as:
** Trusty knives
** Hunk Rump magazine
** [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000605 The pumpkin]] doesn't count, because clearly there [[http://mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001295 is not]] and [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001256 has never been]] a pumpkin [[http://mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001298 there]].
** [[LampshadeHanging You can't imagine]] [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001555 what could possibly go wrong]], unless you [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=1&p=000096 remember]] the [[NoodleIncident Unexplained Aftermath]] from ''[[SequelDisplacement Jailbreak]]''. This is [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001577 followed by]] [[HomageShot a series of homages]] to ''Bard Quest'' (each linked in the description texts).
* {{Nice Hat}}: If Problem Sleuth's regular hat doesn't qualify, the Admiral's Hat certainly does.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: DMK and BHMK never would have formed as they did if not for Fiesta Ace Dick's actions.
* NoFourthWall: On a couple of occasions the characters look up an FAQ for the game on [=GameFAQs=] and input cheat codes to bypass certain parts of the 'game'.
** Also, at one point in the game, Ace Dick beats someone to death [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000721 with a stat meter.]]
*** Also also, when DMK's final form starts generating additional life bars, Problem Sleuth starts physically attacking the life bars.
* NonStandardGameOver:
--->[[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/extras/ps000016.html Sunglass-Free Stiller Bust: Emerge from the tear in space-time, floating slowly and eerily towards the viewer.]]
* OminousLatinChanting: "Fast-paced organ music and a haunting vocal chorus accompanies your epic struggle."
* OntologicalMystery: When you boil down the plot, the characters are trapped in their office building[[note]]and the imaginary world, which together form a very large Closed Circle[[/note]] and need to learn how to use their environment[[note]]Despite being trapped in his own office, Problem Sleuth knows remarkably little about it.[[/note]] in order to escape.
* OppositeSexClone: Ace Dick had too little imagination for a DistaffCounterpart, and instead just became a clone of himself with a blonde wig/[[NiceHat Prussian Picklehaube]].
* PaperThinDisguise: [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001398 A quick change in headgear makes all the difference.]]
* ThePenIsMightier: The Tectrix of the Arbitor has item confusion with the legendary [[CoolSword TECTRIXCALIBUR]].
* PhysicalGod: [[spoiler:Pickle Inspector]] ascends to godhood at one point. [[spoiler:One of many Pickle Inspectors.]]
* PlayableEpilogue
* PlotCoupon: Anything can be a PlotCoupon... even your own ''skull''.
* PortalCut: What happens if a window loses power while something is in it.
* PortalNetwork: What would at first appear to be what is outside Problem Sleuth's window.
* {{Porn Stash}}: Gay porn stash. Problem Sleuth seems to have a tendency to be keeping ''[[{{Exactly What It Says On The Tin}} Hunk Rump]]'' magazine somewhere nearby.
* PotHole: "[[spoiler: [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001649 Death throws down his hat in disappointment.]]]] He really must remember to invest in stronger [[http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&q=woodwind%20instruments security measures]] for [[spoiler:the afterlife]]."
* PowerGivesYouWings: [[spoiler:Problem Sleuth]] gains a pair of wings upon using [[spoiler:Sepulchritude]]
* PowerLevels: Understandable in the sense that this IS an RPG.
* PowerTrio: Early on, before the cast expands:
** Ego: Problem Sleuth
** Id: Ace Dick
** Superego: Pickle Inspector
* PrettyLittleHeadshots: [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000997 Dramatic variant.]]
* PrivateEyeMonologue: Parodied, in several [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000263 places.]]
--> This is what being a [[HardboiledDetective hard boiled problem sleuth]] is all about. It's about being a strong, silent type, oozing with confidence, charisma, and other fine qualities such as not being trapped in your own office. It's about having a working phone. A real desk. Not one, but two steak dinners. And some hysterical broad on the line, yackin' about some fella she's got troubles with. It's always the same thing with dames. You comfort yourself in your sublime fantasy by now and then saying things into the phone such as, "Now calm down a second, toots..." and "Hey, take it easy, sweetheart. I can barely understand a word you're sayin'..."
** [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001889 The epilogue also features one.]]
* PungeonMaster: Honeybee Professor
* PuppetGun: Pickle Inspector aims the CLOCK TOWER SNIPER CANNON via the SNIPER RIFLE.
* RealityWarper: Pickle Inspector, in the Imagination realm
* RecapEpisode: Two of them (the first one by Death, [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001696 The second one]] by the Devil), and a third one on the wiki.
* RedHerring: Several items are presented to the reader as possible scopes for the SNIPER RIFLE before Pickle Inspector finally gets one.
--> The Swain makes a valiant play for his eyepiece, which in no way shape or form could ever be used in conjunction with a sniper rifle, and possibly could serve as one of numerous red herrings to this effect.
* RevealShot: [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001689 Technically]] a CloseupOnHead, at least by name.
* RolePlayingGameVerse: All of the detectives and the Mobster Kingpin have (weirdly named) stats and hitpoints -- towards the end more and more bizarre bonus powers also appear.
** Imagination: Magic, intelligence, and bonus to power in Imaginary areas.
** Pulchritude: Evasion and Diplomacy/Charisma.
** Vim: Strength and Health.
*** Each also has a expendable item that temporarily boosts it much in the manner of potions. Imagination is boosted by alcohol, Pulchritude is boosted by candy, and Vim is boosted by hotsauce.
*** Early in the game Vim is boosted by [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000337 coffee,]] so really any hot drink will do.
* RubeGoldbergDevice: A puzzle so particularly difficult that it's solved by loading a save state from a point after the puzzle is solved. [[spoiler:It is later revealed that a time traveling Pickle Inspector did it.)]]
* RunningGag: Items switching back and forth between weapons and completely unrelated objects (e.g. a revolver becoming keys or a chainsaw becoming lipstick), responding to characters attempting to ride something like a mechanical bull (at times something about to explode) with "Wow, what a fucking waste of time!" and weasels "flipping the fuck out".
** Business cards loaded with DoubleEntendre.
*** [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000457 Subverted with Glass Blowers Inc.]]
** Ace Dick punches X in the snout to establish superiority. Xhearst is particularly enamored by your rowdy, no-nonsense brand of ruffianism.
** And of course: "Quickly retrieve arms from [X]." "You've already got arms, [another word for idiot]!"
** "Throw hat down in disgust."
* SciFiWritersHaveNoSenseOfScale: "Complain that the MASS of the OBSERVABLE UNIVERSE is only thought to be 3x10^52kg.\\
DMMK, at 100x10^100kg, weighs about thirty trillion trillion trillion trillion times MORE than the MASS of the OBSERVABLE UNIVERSE."
** [[WordOfGod Reply from]] AndrewHussie:
--->[[WorldOfCardboardSpeech Actually this sort of bothers me too.]]\\
\\
The bottom line is I just started rattling off numbers without even realizing how big I was making them.\\
\\
A while ago I went back and changed the volume exponent, just so the number wouldn't indicate that he was almost infinitely tiny. I left the mass as it was, because I didn't think it mattered too much if it was just indicated as "VERY BIG".\\
\\
[[{{Foreshadowing}} But I might go back and just delete the exponents altogether, and just string more zeros after base of "10".\\
\\
It's safe to say that with the numbers as they are now, MK would be the biggest black hole in the universe.]]
** [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001747 The universe is becoming a rather crowded place.]]
* SerialEscalation: How utterly ridiculous can the game mechanics get? How ridiculously powerful can the cast's attacks get? Answer: Very.
* SeriousBusiness: Any and all forms of [[ChessWithDeath anything but chess with Death]]. Such as [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001078 Sudoku]].
* SesquipedalianLoquaciousness: Newly-introduced names take on more and more of this further as the game gets along.
* ShoutOut: [[WebAnimation/HomestarRunner Get ye flask.]]
** PS: CtrlAltDel. [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000788 GAME FUCKING OVER]] May also qualify as a TakeThat.
** [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000871 You're here for two things:]] [[Film/TheyLive to fucking ruin someone's shit, and to play a friendly game of make-believe.]] [[VideoGame/DukeNukem3D AND YOU'RE ALL OUT OF IMAGINATION.]]
** And let's not forget our history! It comes, of course, in the form of a delightfully charming [[http://mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000975 KATE BEATON-style comic.]]
** [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001008 Death plays]] [[Literature/HarryPotter Wizard's Sudoku]] with one of the characters.
** [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001327 Summon Moe.]]
** [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001383 One of the scythe's forms]] is ''Webcomic/DinosaurComics''' T-Rex, after Ryan North's praise of ''MSPA''.
** [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001403 Another form the scythe takes]] is the head of Manny Calavera from GrimFandango.
** The Space Whale and "This all seems highly, highly improbable." [[Franchise/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy Guess.]]
** [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001629 LV. 4 HOOPTECH]] -- [[KatamariDamacy DMMK KATAMARI BALL]]
** [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001514 You got the CHRONOSCOPE!!]] '''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZelda NYARGH PARODY DUMB]]'''
** Ace Dick and Bathearst head out West in the board game ''Life'', shifting an unnamed parody of ''VideoGame/TheOregonTrail''.
** When the [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001561 Dapper Gentlemen are beating up Fiesta Mobster Kingpin]], the narration launches into "A British Tar" from ''Theatre/HMSPinafore''.
* SilentProtagonist: There's not a lot of dialogue in this game.
* SinisterScythe: [[TheGrimReaper Death's scythe]], which Problem Sleuth borrows for a while. It [[MorphWeapon transforms]] too, into (among others) a rocket launcher, a F-16 fighter jet, a [[Webcomic/DinosaurComics T-Rex]], and an [[NuclearOption atomic bomb]].
* SniperRifle: The '''[[spoiler:SNIPER'S SEXTANT]]'''
* SolveTheSoupCans: More and [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000604 more weird puzzle shit]] as the story progresses. The Moonlight Sonata piano from VideoGame/ResidentEvil makes a cameo.
* SpaceWhale: [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001551 Harpooned.]]
* StatMeters: Not merely an abstraction.
* StronglyWordedLetter: Provides the page image.
* SuperMovePortraitAttack:
** Sleuth Diplomacy is structured like one of these, with a quick-moving background and a zoomed-in pose.
** The introductions of the Gambit Schema make them sort of like Epic Move Portrait Attacks.
* SuperSentaiStance: ...because SHIT JUST GOT REAL.
* StairwayToHeaven: [[spoiler:DMK: [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001744 LADDER TO HELL]]]]
* StoutStrength: Ace Dick and his various forms, as well as Mobster Kingpin.
* StrangeMindsThinkAlike: A command suggested switching hats with an enemy to disguise Problem Sleuth, but to no avail. [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001398 Later]], Mobster Kingpin does this successfully.
* SummonMagic: You do not have enough [[PlotCoupon ELF TEARS]] to summon the [[FisherKing WEASEL KING]]!
** SUMMON HENRY CLAY
** You call forth the blistering white hot fury that is [[ShoutOut MOE]].
*** [[UselessUsefulSpell You unsummon MOE]]. MOE will be of absolutely no use to you in this battle whatsoever.
** [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001014 MK: SUMMON WILFORD BRIMLEY]]
* SwissArmyTears: Elf tears.
* {{Thememobile}}: The whore-mobile.
* ThemeTable: Each detective has a certain body type (which in turn are each associated with a type of food, a truck carrying that food, and a district of the city that is named after the makers of that food, a gentleman with some sort of optical accessory, and a room in the Sleazy Brothel in the sky), an office, something keeping them from escaping their office, a different kind of window/portal to the World of Imagination, a stat in which they excel, a standard weapon/key, a candy weapon, a type of candy armor, a SuperMode based on both a classic movie monster and type of candy, a DistaffCounterpart (each of which have their own weapon/other object, two of which get a weapon/object used in painting and a undergarment that warps their physical properties, and one of which is just a clone of one of the detectives wearing a wig), an ultimate move, and a non-human race they go on a quest for (each of which terrorizes another of the races somehow, and each of which has some kind of emissary and a champion that represents a [[FantasyCharacterClasses Fantasy Character Class]]). Mobster Kingpin gets in on most of this as well.
* TimeTravel: [[spoiler:Pickle Inspector, [[SerialEscalation to downright incredible levels]].]]
* TransformationSequence: [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001043 An incredible transmutation takes place.]]
** And then subverted, when [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001717 a phenomenal transmutation takes place.]]
* TheTreacheryOfImages: The window on Problem Sleuth's front door quickly turns out to just be a piece of paper taped to it. Inverted with Ace Dick, when the piece of paper taped to his door turns out to be an actual window.
* TurnsRed: The 3 forms of [[spoiler:DMK]]. [[spoiler:Ace Dick]] does this literally when he becomes [[spoiler:Fiesta Ace Dick]] in the TransformationSequence linked immediately above.
* UnstoppableRage: "The [Weasel] Emissary [[RunningGag flips the fuck out]]!"
* UnusualEuphemism: All of Problem Sleuth's gun attacks are named for negotiation techniques-the longer and more complicated, the more powerful.
* UselessUsefulSpell: [[SwallowedWhole BELLY OF THE WHALE!!!]] Ace Dick's Operandi is basically an instant-KO move, swallowing the enemy whole . . . only problem is whenever its used its either completely ineffective or simply extorted and turned against him. The only time it ''DID'' work was [[ItMakesSenseInContext when he used it to swallow himself]].
* VictoryPose: [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001030 Victory dance!]]
* VisualPun: The typewriter/tommygun [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001736 used near the end of the comic.]] Another nickname for the tommygun is the Chicago Typewriter.
* VillainProtagonist: Mobster Kingpin takes user commands just like the three detectives.
* WaveMotionGun: [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001793 The most recent instance.]]
* WeaksauceWeakness: Mobster Kingpin is completely invulnerable to all harm... until his Emotions or Blood Sugar are raised.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: The (Zombie) Hired Muscle stops appearing after his death, not even in the afterlife like many of the other deceased characters. Though the character Higgs Bonehead bears a resemblance to him, and the gentlemen encounter a mustachioed new gentleman who looks a lot like the HM at the end.
* AWinnerIsYou
* WordOfGod: AndrewHussie often made posts responding to suggestions individually in the Suggestion Box.
* WorldOfChaos: The world accessed through desk forts and window portals.
* WorldsStrongestMan: Ace Dick. Fiesta Ace Dick is [[UpToEleven stronger than that]].
* WrittenSoundEffect: [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=000222 Thud.]]
* YouCantGetYeFlask: Averted, since the command parser is a person. You DO get ye flask!
** Except when the game refuses to acknowledge the existence of the [[spoiler:pumpkin]] you're trying to get.
---> What [[spoiler: pumpkin?]]
*** [[spoiler:''[[http://mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001298 THIS FUCKING PUMPKIN]]'']]
----> [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=1&p=000016 I beg your pardon?]] I'm fairly sure that there's nothing resembling a [[spoiler: thick-skinned, orange, and woody-stemmed gourd]] here. The very idea is as incredulous as it is silly.
** Incidentally, WordOfGod has stated in the published edition that he had no idea "get ye flask" was a reference to ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner''.

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-->'''[[http://andrewhussie.blogspot.com/2009/03/end-of-problem-sleuth.html 03/10/08 - 03/10/09]]'''
-->3 detectives
-->365 days
-->1621 pages
-->1915 images
-->142 megabytes
-->45,000 words
-->0 sacred urns toppled
-->0 mystic ruins desecrated
-->0 hallowed tombs defiled
-->--AndrewHussie

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[-'''[[HomePage Start Over]] | [[MSPaintAdventures Go Back]]'''-]
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