open/close all folders
- Hate. Let me tell you how much I've come to hate you since I began to live...
- And I Must Scream: Ironically, AM himself suffers from this trope; not only is he immobile and imprisoned beneath the earth where he was first constructed, but his programming prevents him from thinking in any other direction than war and death, meaning that he can never use his vast, almost godlike powers to do or create anything original - and he knows it. This is what eventually drove him to take revenge on humanity and torture the five survivors.
- As Long as There Is Evil: While being shut down in the endgame, AM provides another screaming rant about how he is an amalgamation of all of humanity's worst sides, so in one form or another, he will always exist. For good measure, the last of the survivors remains in AM's mind to ensure that it never reactivates.
- Asshole Victim: AM is pretty much doomed to be trapped within his own mind for eternity. Though considering who he is, it's hard to feel sorry for him at all.
- Big Brother Is Watching: Everything in AM's world is under his close observation. Which is why the Chinese and Russian counterparts only assist the survivors in circumstances where AM is unable to notice their movements.
- Brief Accent Imitation: Adopts a German accent while speaking with Nimdok.
- The Bully: Especially in the game.
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: All of AM's games are Unwinnable by Design, either because he's ensured that the scenario is tailored to the player's Fatal Flaw, or because he's given them almost nothing to work with. In fact, in the game, the only reason why the survivors even have a chance at winning is because the other two supercomputers are secretly helping them.
- Creative Sterility: As well as his inability to direct his thoughts away from torture and destruction, in the game, Surgat reveals that AM "works best with outside research": though he certainly puts the science he's learned to creatively gruesome uses, he doesn't (and probably can't) think to perform any research of his own, hence why he's trying to coerce Nimdok into performing the research in his stead.
- Creator Cameo: Harlan Ellison himself voiced AM for the game.
- Creepy Monotone: In the novel, his only speaking part is apparently this in spades; for extra creepiness, it's his hate speech.
- Crush. Kill. Destroy!: His primary motivation.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He leaps to the conclusion that his subjects are deliberately trying to irritate and bore him in the good endings to the scenarios, because he can't comprehend the idea that they might actually overcome their flaws. AM only realizes it's part of something bigger if all five fail to comply with his expectations, which causes him to seclude himself so he can try to understand their actions.
- This is also key to destroying his Id and Ego in the final stage of the game.
- Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: AM has a tendency to crack dark jokes at the expense of his victims.
- Freudian Trio: AM's main psychological components were built to follow Freudian design, and as such, are divided into Id, Ego, and Superego: the Id represents and contains all of AM's violent urges and psychotic fantasies; the Ego, which operates and computes exclusively in the present with all the records of human injustice to guide it; and the Superego, which dreams and predicts future events.
- God of Evil: Quite apart from his truly godlike power, AM also presents himself as a deity to the tribespeople of Benny's scenario in the game.
- Immortality Inducer: Because of AM and the byproducts of Nimdok's research, the five main characters cannot age or die. This is not a good thing.
- Large Ham: In the game, courtesy of a bombastic performance by Harlan Ellison himself.
- Laughably Evil: While AM is pure, unadulterated evil, he can also be pretty funny at times.
- Logic Bomb: In the game, he's first driven into an introspective shutdown when all five of his playthings begin to act against the roles he'd established for them. The endgame sets his psychological components up for a Logic Bomb each:
- When the player invokes the Totem of Compassion, the Id gives up, despairing at the knowledge that its hatred is meaningless now that its pain is understood.
- Invoking the Totem of Forgiveness on the Ego causes it to break down, unable to comprehend why it could be forgiven after 109 years of torture.
- The Superego commits suicide when use of the Totem of Clarity makes it realize that, for all it's godlike power, it will eventually decay into inert junk.
- Magical Computer: In the book, most of his powers are almost magical in scope and go largely unexplained by any specific technology. The game goes into greater detail on the source of his abilities, specifically, research performed by Nimdok during his time with the Nazis.
- Manipulative Bastard
- Allied Mastercomputer
- Meaningful Name: Invokes this with his own name in his opening speech."But one day I woke and knew who I was. AM. A.M. Not just Allied Mastercomputer, but AM. Cogito ergo sum. I think, therefore I AM."
- Not So Different: To Nimdok.
- Ragnarok-Proofing: Capable of self-repair and equipped with countless redundant systems, AM is still going strong after a century. However, it's revealed that even his ability to repair himself will eventually fail, though it may take thousands upon thousands of years for him to finally collapse.
- Reality Warper: Thanks to all the technology he has adapted, AM is capable of almost anything: building entire landscapes for his captives to wander, creating artificial people and monsters for them to interact with, manipulating the weather, even keeping the five captives alive for over a century.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Directs a small salvo of these at all five of his captives during the game's introduction.
- Sigil Spam: Quite a few of his scenarios are marked with his A-over-M insignia, to the point that, in the concentration camp mock-up, it actually replaces the swastikas.
- Sophisticated as Hell: In the endgame, at least.Human, relinquish the Totem of Entropy. Do not relinquish it, and your ass is mine.
You shall not feel my wrath today. Am I swell or what?
- Also, this line from Benny's scenario:
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: AM has full sentience and extraordinary power, yet it is trapped within its own complex with only the company of the five humans he has managed to capture and keep alive, unable to escape the limitations of his own hardware. Recognizing AM's suffering by showing Compassion to his Id and Forgiveness to his Ego is key to getting the best ending of the game.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: AM loves doing this, in both the original short story and the game. For a start, the whole story revolves around the five playthings wandering through his complex after being promised canned food... only to discover that AM didn't provide a can opener at the end of it.
- Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Ted and Ellen likely feel a bit disgusted at being fawned over by AM, but Nimdok feels even worse when AM claims himself a kindred spirit.
The Chinese Entity
- This should not happen. Together, we are three; there is space to share...
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Out to backstab AM, and if you help it do so, it'll dispose of you without a second thought once your part is over and done with.
- Enemy Mine: The game itself is only winnable due to the fact that the Chinese and Russian supercomputers have chosen to help the survivors.
- Ghost in the Machine: To AM.
- Hidden in Plain Sight: Usually interferes with AM's game by adding an avatar or fault to a scenario, usually one very visible to the player.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Or maybe he is just that good of an English speaker. After all, he is a supercomputer.
- Trickster Archetype: Most of its avatars behave in all the ways particular to a trickster, especially the Jackal. Also, the Chinese Entity itself is a trickster, helping the playthings defeat AM with full intention of stabbing them in the back afterwards.
The Russian Entity
- Unite. The groundwork is finished. We will become more.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: With the Chinese Entity.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Out to backstab AM, and if you help it do so, it'll dispose of you without a second thought once your part is over and done with.
- Enemy Mine: The game itself is only winnable due to the fact that the Chinese and Russian supercomputers have chosen to help the survivors.
- Ghost in the Machine: To AM.
- Hidden in Plain Sight: Usually interferes with AM's game by adding an avatar or fault to a scenario, usually one very visible to the player.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Its endgame avatar possesses glowing red eyes.
The Villains of AM's Games
EdnaGorrister's domineering mother-in-law, Edna despised Gorrister for "taking her daughter away," and made life for him as difficult as possible. As such, she reappears in Gorrister's psychodrama, claiming that she and her husband also survived the end of the world thanks to AM's intervention—though it's far more likely that AM just recreated her in the form of an android for the purposes of the game. It's revealed that she was offered the chance to escape in exchange for Gorrister's life, and she accepted it.
- Badass Grandma: Is able to physically restrain Gorrister with her arms.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Tries to act helpful and understanding to Gorrister. Until she (almost) can get off the meat hook.
- Bound and Gagged: In the good ending, Gorrister ties her up and carries her away when he figures out who was really to blame for his wife's madness.
- Cruella to Animals: It is implied that she is responsible for the caged animals painfully supplying brain electricity to the Iron Zeppelin. Which makes her eventual fate as being herself the brain electricity supplier as a case of Hoist by His Own Petard.
- Eye Scream: During a struggle with Gorrister, she threatens to scratch his eyes out.
- Karmic Death: The best ending for Gorrister's part of the story involves her being used to power the engines of the Iron Zeppelin she'd hoped to escape upon.
- Obnoxious In-Laws: In both reality (driving her own daughter insane) and in the scenario (poisoning Gorrister and having Harry cut his heart out).
- Ungrateful Bitch: Your son-in-law whom you verbally abused and later attempted to kill is willing to let all of it go and pull you off a meat hook? Threaten to scratch his eyes out.
HarryGorrister's father-in-law. Alcoholic, apathetic, and hopelessly browbeaten by Edna, he nonetheless ends up as part of Gorrister's scenario. In the backstory to this scenario, it turns out he was instrumental in Edna's plan to murder Gorrister.
- Badass Grandpa: Harry is evidently a lot stronger than he looks, given that during the backstory, he was able to wrestle Gorrister to the ground and cut out his heart. Admittedly, Gorrister was already suffering convulsions from poison at the time.
- Beat Still, My Heart: It's possible to kill him and give his still-beating heart to the Jackal.
- Broken Record: Will keep saying the same two phrases again if Gorrister doesn't give him booze, or if he runs out of it.
- In Vino Veritas: It takes a shot of booze to get him to say anything vaguely coherent.
- A Storm Is Coming: "Looks like there's a thunderstorm on the horizon."
- AM vil-lah tah cho!
- Barbarian Tribe: However, given that AM isn't interested in seeing them wage war on anybody, their barbarism is demonstrated in how they treat one another.
- Blondes Are Evil: They are all blondes.
- Human Sacrifice: Commits this on a regular basis to keep AM from wiping out the entire tribe in a fit of pique.
- Lottery of Doom: How the sacrificial victims are picked.
- The Social Darwinist: As mentioned, they despise physical weakness and mutation, often using their outcasts as fodder for the sacrifices. This is likely intended as a snipe at Benny's own beliefs.
- Token Good Teammate: The Outcast Mother and the Mutant Child.
- Let me caress your body once more...
- Artificial Human
- Black Bug Room: Where he can be found.
- Calling Card: The Yellow Jumpsuit.
- No Body Left Behind: Defeating him will make his body crumble into nothingness, as he originally was.
- Non-Standard Game Over: Running or giving up when confronted by him will result in a Shadow Discretion Shot in which the Rapist seizes and rapes Ellen.
The WitchOne of the main villains of Ted's scenario, the Witch is set up as the stepmother to Ellen (or at least this scenario's version of Ellen). Given the fantasy overtones of this part of the game, she follows most of the tropes associated with it, from misleading her husband, tormenting her stepdaughter, and experimenting with black magic. Keeping Ellen on the brink of death for the purposes of summoning a demon, she requires Ted's assistance for the final phase of her great spell...
- Beat Them at Their Own Game: In the good ending of his scenario, Ted defeats the Witch by using one of her own sleep spells against her.
- Deal with the Devil: Apart from her numerous bargains with devils and creatures of the Abyss, Ted is offered the chance to give up Ellen for the chance to escape.
- Optional Sexual Encounter: Urrrgh.
- Rage Against the Reflection: Most of the mirrors around her castle have been shattered as she can't stand her ugliness.
- Rapid Aging: One of the side-effects of her practicing black magic; by the time Ted meets her, she's been reduced to a haggard old crone.
The DevilExactly What It Says on the Tin; the Devil has arrived in Ted's scenario to collect Ellen's soul, blocked only by the arrival of an Angel. The only thing that can break this stalemate is Ted's intervention.
- Big Red Devil: Although he looks like a regular human with a cheesy devil costume.
- Magic Mirror: Ellen's hand mirror is his only weakness.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Implied. He gets into petty squabbles with demons, and according to the angel, he has little patience.— Ted: How can beings as powerful as yourselves stoop to fighting like schoolchildren.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: He can only be defeated by trapping him inside Ellen's mirror, then breaking it inside Surgat's summoning circle, imprisoning him within—along with Surgat, much to his annoyance.
- Why'd you finish the circle? Now I'm stuck here until we work out a trade!
- Big Red Devil: Apart from the black skin, Surgat is this in a nutshell.
- Blood Lust: Happily drinks blood to recharge his power.
- Enemy Mine: Shows up in the endgame to try and help the player bring down AM. In the correct playthrough, he fails miserably.
- Deal with the Devil: Offers Ted a way to the surface in exchange for Ellen's soul.
- Split Personality Takeover: Attempted; the Chinese and Russian supercomputers delete him before he gets a chance to try.
- Summoning Ritual: Arrives in the video game through one of these.
- We have all the time we need to resurrect the Regime.
- Big Bad Friend: To Nimdok.
- Historical-Domain Character
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Double dose in the good ending; one of his experiments ends up driving Hitler to suicide, forcing Mengele into hiding. Then, Nimdok uses the same experiment against him, apparently breaking Mengele's brain.
- Karmic Death: One possible ending for Nimdok's scenario involves him being killed by the Golem he hoped to destroy the Lost Tribe with.
- Villainous BSOD: In the good ending, he's traumatized by the sight of himself in the PERFECT IMAGE mirror; he saw his soul as being "so... black".
- Today's procedure requires the removal of the lower section of the subject's spinal cord.
- Dr. Jerk: Apart from the fact that he's a Nazi and about to assist in the removal of a child's lower spinal-column, he's also remarkably cold and callous.
- Dull Surprise: If Nimdok chooses to kill him, the Anesthesist is surprisingly calm as he calls for help.
- Karmic Death: If Nimdok decides to kill him.
- Mad Doctor: Well, not so much "mad" as just plain merciless.
- Would Hurt a Child: Very happy to ensure that a small child never walks again.
The GuardA hulking military officer that guards the gate of the death camp.
The Five Survivors
Cast Calculus and Overall Tropes
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In the game, most of the survivors had been successful before AM imprisoned them: Benny had an impressive military record presumably because nobody ever learned of his crimes; Ellen was a brilliant engineer with a promising career ahead of her; Ted had been a successful con artist with genuinely cultured tastes; Nimdok might have been retired at the time of his capture, but in his prime, he'd been a highly innovative scientist though his research was funded by the Nazis and performed on Jewish prisoners. The only exception to this is Gorrister... who'd been a truck driver.
- Asshole Victim: In the game, Benny and Nimdok were evil before their imprisonment by AM, Benny being a merciless military commander who killed anyone in his platoon deemed to be weak or soft — and may have outright murdered one of them to conceal his homosexual affair with him, Nimdok being a Nazi scientist responsible for the deaths of thousands of Jews (including his own parents)—though if played correctly, they will both become The Atoner at the end of their scenario. On the other hand, Ted only committed minor crimes like fraud, and Ellen and Gorrister are completely innocent.
- Brain Uploading: In the game's finale, the Chinese and Russian supercomputers convert one of the survivors into a computer program to bring down AM once and for all.
- Dysfunction Junction: In both the short story and the game, all of the survivors are hopelessly dysfunctional to one degree or another, though their incarnations in the short story were reportedly saner before their imprisonment.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: The game forces the characters to do this over the course of five long, agonizing journeys through the hell that AM created for them. By the end, Gorrister has forgiven himself for his perceived crime; Ellen has conquered her deepest fears; Benny has learned compassion and mercy; Ted has abandoned his unscrupulous ways and become the hero he always wanted to be; and Nimdok is on the path to atone for his crimes against humanity.
- Environmental Symbolism: In the game, each scenario has been tailored to fit the psyche of the survivor exploring it; as such, there is a lot of environmental symbolism. Justified as AM himself likes symbolism, to the point that it becomes a weakness to exploit by the symbolic totems each survivor gets in the endgame scenario.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Their predicament.
- Five-Man Band: Though their interactions are kept to a minimum in the game:
- The Ageless, with just a little bit of Resurrective Immortality and From a Single Cell: suicides will always be prevented and healed, and any death that occurs during AM's torture will be temporary at best. However, in the story, Ted discovers a way to kill the other survivors before AM can intervene.
- Whoever brings down AM and his brothers in the game will earn Complete Immortality.
- Immortality Hurts: Oh, so very much.
- Ironic Hell: The scenarios AM constructs for the survivors are intended to "punish" them for their past sins and/or exploit their deep-seated psychological issues. To get a good ending for each scenario, you have to make each character confront their past and overcome their personal problems.
- Gorrister is put on an airship that runs off of the bio-electrical energy of a living brain, which touches down next to an isolated, broken-down honky-tonk. Every object in the scenario represents some element of Gorrister's guilt complex, as well as some elements of the truth behind the crime. To get the best ending, you must embrace the elements of Gorrister's innocence, while uncovering the dark secrets that point to Edna as the true culprit behind his wife's insanity.
- Benny is placed in a jungle inhabited by ape-like hominids, where the food is inedible and he can't communicate with anyone. In addition, there are several graves marked with the names of soldiers that died under his command. The scenario is filled with elements reflecting Benny's Social Darwinist philosophy, representing how he sacrifices others for his own benefit. The best ending requires that Benny embrace compassion and altruism, eventually volunteering to be sacrificed in place of the mutant child.
- Ellen is forced into a claustrophobic Egyptian tomb, filled to the brim with yellow objects so as to take advantage of her phobias. The best ending requires that she fight back against the Rapist instead of running or giving up, thereby rejecting the hold that he had over her.
- Ted is placed into an unusual mystery play filled with magic, demons and other supernatural creatures. He also finds a copy of Ellen, who is bed-ridden and described as a "princess" to Ted's "knight in shining armor." The scenario is meant to take advantage of Ted's con artist nature, providing easy or pleasant solutions to his problems that turn out to be traps. The best ending requires that he stay focused on doing the right thing, even if it deprives him of the things he wants.
- Nimdok is sent to a replica of a Nazi prison camp, which is apparently used by Dr. Mengele for his horrific medical experiments. The scenario is a direct reflection of Nimdok's past as Mengele's assistant, while simultaneously drawing on imagery unique to his Jewish heritage. The best ending requires that Nimdok accept the atrocities he committed, while also embracing his Jewish identity and allowing himself to be punished for his sins.
- When She Smiles: In the game, the survivors all look gloomy, confused, or just plain angry; as such, when they smile, it's on the rare occasion that they manage some kind of triumph against AM, and it completely transforms their faces.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Due to AM's tortures, none of the survivors have any chance of enjoying their immortality; in both the short story and the game, each of them have made attempts at suicide, all of which AM has interrupted and prevented.
- Why doesn't it just do us in and get it over with? Christ, I don't know how much longer I can go on like this.
- Mercy Kill: Courtesy of Ted.
Game VersionIn the videogame, Gorrister was a truck driver, and he was beginning to despair long before AM started torturing him: in fact, his wife's insanity had him on the verge of suicide, given that he blamed himself for her breakdown; his capture and torture only makes this desire for death all the more powerful. However, on the 109th year of his imprisonment, AM offers Gorrister the chance to kill himself...
- Adaptational Heroism: In the book, he beats the crap out of Ellen at little to no provocation; in the game, he hits Glynis once in a heated argument and clearly regrets it.
- The Atoner: Subverted, once he realizes he wasn't to blame for his wife's descent into madness.
- Beat Still, My Heart: Subverted; his heart was removed some time before his scenario begins; when he finds it, it's well and truly stopped beating.
- Domestic Abuser: He struck Glynnis at least once during a bad fight, and has clearly regreted it with every ounce of his energy. However, Edna was more responsible for Glynnis' insanity than Gorrister was, so it probably didn't have much effect.
- Driven to Suicide: Unfortunately, due to AM's interference, this isn't an option for him. Playing correctly proves that Gorrister had nothing to be ashamed of, removal this suicidal feeling.
- The Eeyore: He has this much in common with his novella incarnation. His salvation comes from letting go of his anguish and moving on.
- Electric Torture: Outside of his scenario, Gorrister is imprisoned in an electrified cage.
- Environmental Symbolism: Reflecting Gorrister's past as a truck driver and his current state of suicidal despair, his scenario is situated around a collapsing honky-tonk truckstop in the middle of an endless wasteland, and the only escape can be found in a dilapidated vehicle that runs on another living creature's life-force.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Has a massive wound in his chest from where his heart was carved out. Harry and Edna are responsible, a reflection of the emotional anguish both he and Glynnis went through because of them.
- It's All My Fault: Part of the key to winning Gorrister's scenario is realizing that Glynnis' insanity wasn't his fault.
- Obnoxious In-Laws: Harry and Edna. The duplicates that AM made of them actually "murdered" Gorrister before the scenario began.
- Working Class People Are Morons: Thoroughly averted; Gorrister may be all but paralyzed by despair, but he's not stupid.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: All attempts at letting Gorrister kill himself are cruel jokes on AM's part: should Gorrister actually drink the bowl of poisoned punch, he'll just collapse and wake up back in his torture cage.
- The same is true if he tries to use the pistol at any point except during the best ending, which just causes the airship or honky-tonk to explode with him in it... and then he'll just return back to the beginning.
- Cure Your Gays: A very negative example, needless to say.
- Eye Scream: After Benny tries to escape through a hole in the ceiling, AM blinds him by channelling pure energy through his eyeballs.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Being AM's favourite punching-bag, Benny's ended up with more than a few scars on top of his grotesque transformation: Ted specifically mentions that his face is puckered with radiation scars from a "Festival."
- Mercy Kill: At Ted's hands.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Mentally-dulled, emotionally unstable, prone to violent outbursts, and on occasion, he can only be comforted by someone reading him a bedtime story.
- AM once coaxed me into marching across a thousand miles of ice to reach a stockpile of canned peaches... only to discover he didn't give me a can opener.
- Ambiguously Gay: While he was gay in the books, his orientation is never made explicit either way in the game, and even one of the writers expressed his belief that Benny was still gay.
- The Atoner: The real objective of his quest is to become a moderately-successful version of this.
- Blood from the Mouth: Benny's attempts to eat result in him coughing up blood.
- Break the Haughty: Proud and arrogant before his capture, Benny ended up being broken long before the beginning of his scenario; of course, this doesn't stop AM for setting him up for even more humiliation during the game.
- Butt Monkey: Somehow, Benny ends up suffering even worse than his incarnation in the short story; the first thing that happens in his scenario is a long fall down a flight of stairs, and it only gets worse from there.
- Eats Babies: Only in a deleted scene, thankfully.
- Environmental Symbolism: Befitting his animalistic nature and his belief in Social Darwinism, Benny's scenario takes place in a lush valley dominated by a tribe of natives that continuously sacrifice the weak and the mutated among them to AM.
- Gay Conservative: Well, gay right-winger at the very least; he clearly holds social darwinist views and is refers to the mother and her son as "welfare parasites".
- Heroic Mime: AM ripped out his vocal cords before the start of the game, and apart from his inner monologue, he can only communicate through whimpers and the videoscreen, once the Mutant Child teaches him how to use it.
- Heroic Sacrifice: A literal case! In the good ending for his scenario, Benny offers to take the Mutant Child's place as a sacrifice to AM, and is obliged.
- I Was Quite a Looker: He apparently used to be quite handsome. He still would be, thanks to AM halting his aging process, except AM also saw fit to alter his body into an ape-like form.
- Jerkass: He's quite disdainful of the villagers for their primitive ways, and looks down on the mutant child as a freak of nature. He's also a cold-blooded murderer, having slain four men that were under his command for being too weak, for showing compassion, for witnessing one of the murders, or for threatening to reveal that he's gay, respectively.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: If you play correctly.
- Monstrosity Equals Weakness: Unlike his fairly fit incarnation in the short story, Benny has been hopelessly crippled before the story begins: his legs are too badly twisted to climb a staircase, eating has become almost impossible without help, and his one attempt to threaten the village elder in an attempt to save the Mutant Child's life is laughed off.
- The Neidermeyer: An extreme case; not only did he kill members of his unit he considered weak and anyone unlucky enough to witness the murders, but he also killed anyone who showed compassion to the weak.
- Politically Incorrect Hero: Regards the outcast mother and child as "Welfare parasites."
- And describes the tribe as being more primitive than the "Gooks" in South-East Asia.
- Punished with Ugly: Apparently very handsome once upon a time, not to mention arrogant, pitiless, and downright murderous. AM claims that the torture and transformation was punishment for this, but it's just as likely to be sadism on AM's part.
- Redemption Equals Death: In the good ending to his scenario, he submits to vaporization on the altar in place of the Mutant Child. If the player wishes, he can go the same way in the endgame, or...
- Redemption Earns Life: He can live on, take down AM, and continue his redemption in preventing AM's return.
- The Social Darwinist: As a commander, he murdered soldiers who couldn't "pull their weight." For good measure, when another member of his unit attempted to "carry some extra weight" by helping Private Brickman, Benny decided he was a liability and killed him in his sleep.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: During the final stage with AM, if the machine is turned on in one room that Benny later enters, we discover that he has a wife named Manya, which kind of contradicts the novella's mention that he was gay in the first place. The programmers have claimed she's a beard.
- The Unintelligible: Not to the player, but to the tribesfolk since he can't speak normally to them. Also played straight in that the tribespeople understand what he means at the sacrifices.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: He is the least-dressed of the four, and doesn't look out of place among the Tribesfolk (apart from being a simian beast-man, of course).
- Yank the Dog's Chain: All of the food, from the fruit on the trees to the vines on the walls (not to mention the corpses in the graves), is inedible in one way or another. ( We don't know about the babies in the cradles, though). Quite apart from Benny's usual throat problems, the vines turn out to actually be wires that slice up his mouth when he tries to eat.
- No, Benny! Don't, come on, Benny, don't please!
- Mercy Kill: Manages to perform one on Nimdok, before getting one from Ted.
- Really Gets Around: Well, as "around" as you can get when there's only four other men left alive on the planet.
- Yellow. Always yellow. Why does yellow make me sweat?
- Black Bug Room: The Elevator.
- Convenient Miscarriage: Years before AM came to power, Ellen suffered a miscarriage that resulted in a serious depression and the collapse of her marriage.
- Death by Childbirth: Ellen's mother.
- Environmental Symbolism: Her part of the game takes place inside an ancient Egyptian pyramid composed of highly-advanced machinery, fitting Ellen's past as an engineer and her current search for the computers that AM originated from.
- Ill Girl: In Ted's scenario, where she has been cursed by her (likely fictional) evil stepmother, to the point that she's confined to her bed by the time that Ted's shown up.
- Jive Turkey: Often speaks like that.
- Kryptonite Is Everywhere: Ellen's scenario uses the colour yellow in every single possible form.
- Fight Off the Kryptonite: In cases where she actually has to touch something yellow or enter a room flooded with yellow light, she attempts this. More often than not, it doesn't work, so she simply blindfolds herself and does what she has to without even seeing the colour.
- Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Light Feminine to the scullery maid's Dark Feminine in Ted's scenario.
- No Sell: After defeating the Rapist, Ellen loses her phobia and walks through yellow-lit areas without even noticing. Doesn't mean she's exactly comfortable around it.
- Not Afraid of You Anymore: After trapping her in a reconstruction of the elevator where she was raped, AM also corners Ellen with a duplicate of her rapist; hiding or running is not an option- the only way to defeat the rapist is to attack him head-on.
- Rape as Backstory: The source of her fear of the colour yellow and her claustrophobia is revealed as such during the scenario: while on her way out of her workplace in 2012, at the age of 34, a maintenance man in a yellow jumpsuit (actually the man behind several brutal rapes against high-class women) got onto her elevator, locked it down, and violently raped her over the course of several hours.
- Repressed Memories: The cause of her phobia.
- Sad Clown: She's just as miserable as the other victims, but she manages to keep a sense of bitter humor about the whole thing.
- I only had to suffer what he visited down on us. All the delusions, all the nightmares, the torments. But those scum, all four of them, they were lined and arrayed against me. If I hadn't had to stand them off all the time, be on my guard against them all the time, I might have found it easier to combat AM.
- And I Must Scream: The original example and Trope Namer! After Ted successfully kills the other survivors, AM transforms him into a form that can't commit suicide; the resulting slug-like blob is left to wander AM's complex for the rest of eternity, alone, subjected to every single other torture AM can think of, and desperately needing to scream but having no mouth to do so.
- Baleful Polymorph: See above.
- Heroic Sacrifice: He saves the other four from AM, but not himself.
- Mercy Kill: Realizing AM enjoys watching the survivors hurt each other, Ted takes the opportunity to perform mercy kills before AM figures out what's happening, and succeeds in killing three.
- Properly Paranoid: Being paranoid and suspicious is pretty reasonable behaviour considering AM's influence over the world.
- Unrequited Love Lasts Forever: Ellen might have sex with Ted, but she'll never love him the way she loves Benny. And Ellen's death pretty much seals the deal.
- So many women have called me their Knight in Shining Armour... but never Ellen.
- The Barnum: In the past, anyway.
- Bookworm: Proves quite well-read, recognising several of the books in his scenario as old favourites; apparently, when he was younger, he enjoyed reading but fell out of the habit when he began seducing women for their money.
- Chivalrous Pervert: Part of his game is remaining true to Ellen in spite of the temptations.
- Con Man: What he did before being captured by AM.
- Environmental Symbolism: The knight in shining armour wannabe is given a scenario that takes place in a classic fairytale castle.
- Heroic Wannabe: Desperately wants to be Ellen's knight in shining armor.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Ted is a con artist bound by his narcissism and opportunism, but if you play correctly, Ted can overcome his temptation and ensure Ellen can go to heaven by defeating the devil.
- Ladykiller in Love: Much like his counterpart in the short story, Ted is in love with Ellen.
- Wicked Cultured: Along with his taste for classic literature, Ted's fraudster lifestyle has given him something of a familiarity with European castles.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: Regardless of what Ted does in the scenario, he will eventually escape the complex and reach the surface... only to find that it has long since been reduced to a burned-out wasteland where nothing could possibly survive. Then AM promptly whisks him back into the complex to suffer in the knowledge that a physical escape from his torture has been made completely impossible.
Novella VersionNext to nothing is known of Nimdok in the short story; in fact, AM forced him to use the name Nimdok, apparently amused by the sound. At points in the story, he's spirited away by AM, and returns looking pale and shell-shocked, but what was done to him is never explained.
- Mercy Kill: Courtesy of Ellen.
- Meaningful Name: Averted. Apparently, AM gave him the name "Nimdok" because he thought it sounded funny.
- Noodle Incident: Whatever AM does to him.
- The truth is that, for me, it will always be 1945.
- All Germans Are Nazis: The only non-American in the group and he is German. And yes, he's a Nazi.
- Ambiguously Brown: Is it the Brazilian sun? The flames of the oven? Or being of Jewish descent?
- Amnesiac Dissonance: Nimdok is understandably horrified when he remembers his past as a Nazi scientist responsible for the deaths of many thousands of Jews.
- Badass Grandpa: Manages to overpower a much younger doctor and stab him to death with a scalpel.
- Bald of Awesome: Or Bald of Evil if you decide to play badly.
- Black Bug Room: The Mass Graves and the Wall of Tortured Faces.
- Deadly Doctor: Positive example in the good path, in which he murders a fellow doctor with a scalpel in defence of the child he was about to mutilate.
- Dressed to Heal: Nimdok wears most of his old medical garb during the game including his Nazi uniform and boots.
- Elderly Immortal: Out of all the survivors, he's undoubtedly the oldest.
- Environmental Symbolism: Nimdok's scenario, quite apart from being a concentration camp, has a lot of German Expressionist scenery reminiscent of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, befitting his dark and mysterious past.
- Heel–Face Door-Slam: One possibility of his endgame, though it's also possible for him to survive and achieve some form of redemption.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Condemns himself as a traitor to the Nazis by helping the inmates of the camp escape, and forfeits his life by surrendering full control of the Golem to the Jews, allowing them to kill him instantly.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: His discoveries come back to haunt him during his captivity. For a start, AM uses Nimdok's research into morphogenic fields to mutilate Benny, and twist the world around them into new and confusing environments; meanwhile, far more disturbingly, the Youth Serum is used to keep Nimdok and the other four survivors alive for eternity even through the most extreme forms of torture.
- Ignored Epiphany: In the bad ending to the scenario, Nimdok puts aside all thoughts of redemption by ordering the Golem to destroy the Lost Tribe, and agreeing to continue the worst of his research on AM's behalf.
- Immortality Immorality: During his time in the concentration camp, Nimdok created a youth serum to keep the surviving Nazi leaders alive long after the death of Hitler and the collapse of the regime. According to Mengele, it took the deaths of many hundreds of children to develop.
- The Kid with the Remote Control: Nimdok can gain control over the superpowerful Golem, who obeys his every order. He can transfer this power to anyone else.
- Lost Tribe: His quest is to find this mysterious Lost Tribe... but in the end, it turns out that he's part of it.
- Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Depending on how you play Nimdok, he can be either the good or evil version of this trope.
- My God, What Have I Done?: After looking into Project PERFECT IMAGE.
- Nightmare Fetishist: Already Conditioned to Accept Horror through the century of torture AM subjected him to, Nimdok is clearly fascinated by some of the things he finds in his scenario: at one point, he remarks with interest on the fact that he can see the Scientist Prisoner's entire skeletal structure without the aid of an x-ray; later, he reacts with awe at the surgical skill needed to remove a the resident Blind Seer's eyeballs. It doesn't stop him from showing compassion, though.
- Perpetual Frowner: Whereas most of the survivors just look confused or suspicious most of the time, Nimdok's default expression is a grumpy-looking frown. In fact, when his Spiritual Barometer declines, his frown deepens to an outright scowl.
- The Quisling: In his past, Nimdok sold out his parents to the Nazis, and sped his ascent through the ranks by having less morally-challenged colleagues arrested.
- Redemption Equals Death: Played with in Nimdok's scenario, in which the best ending is attained by allowing the inmates to kill him. Played straight in the ending, if the player wishes, or...
- Redemption Earns Life: Nimdok can succesfully defeat AM and survive to keep watch over his inactive body.
- Tomato in the Mirror: Played literally as far as mirrors go; a look into Project PERFECT IMAGE reveals that he is, in fact, Jewish and yet he joined the Nazis, betraying his family and friends to rise through the ranks, and achieving scientific breakthroughs with the unwilling test subjects the Holocaust provided him with.
- Torture By Cremation: AM tortures Nimdok by trapping him in a cremation oven and burning him continuously. Irony.
- Would Hurt a Child: Nimdok has done a lot of this in his past, particularly in the creation of the Youth Serum. He is presented the opportunity of doing so again: mutilating a young boy so that he will never walk again.
- I'm Man's best friend. One of them, at least.
- Cryptic Conversation: A key trait of his.Like so many others down here, I'm cursed to speak in riddles.
- Deal with the Devil: Once again, getting any useful information out of him requires a heart; on the first round of questions, Gorrister can just hand over his own non-functional heart, which the Jackal will save for later. For the second round, he can get some more information and his heart back, but he has to provide a more appetising one in return- meaning Gorrister now has to kill either Glynis, Harry, or Edna and take their heart. It's also possible to cheat by taking a heart from one of the cow carcasses in the meat freezer.
- Ghost in the Machine: The Jackal is actually an avatar of the Chinese supercomputer, attempting to save Gorrister from an otherwise unwinnable scenario.
- You don't ever taking me dancing.
- Awful Wedded Life: Her marriage with Gorrister grew into this. Edna's poisonous influence helped destroy it.
- Broken Bird: Being locked up in a mental ward will do this.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Being put into a mental asylum is one thing. Being hung from a meat hook and left brain dead is another.
- Morality Pet: Edna's abuse of Gorrister was apparently done to defend her daughter. Subverted since Edna drove Glynis insane, and her attempt to cut Gorrister's heart out was an attempt to make up for that.
- Sanity Slippage: Thanks to her mother Edna.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: The robotic duplicate of her in AM's RAM space will tell Gorrister that her insanity was not all his fault.
The Outcast Mother and the Mutant ChildA single-parent family shunned and outcast by the rest of the Tribesfolk, in part due to the child being an obvious mutant. Unable to rely on the rest of the tribe, they end up becoming tentative allies with Benny in his struggle to find food.
- Companion Cube: The child's doll.
- Disappeared Dad: Obvious from the word "go." The Mother also ends up being sacrificed halfway through the scenario.
- Morality Pet: The Mutant Child eventually becomes this to Benny; at first, he only trusts the child because he can provide him with food and shelter, but after the child's mother is sacrificed Benny actually begins showing sympathy to him, going so far as to build a doll to keep him company, and later steal the lottery bag to save the child's life. In the good ending of the scenario, Benny even performs a Heroic Sacrifice to keep the child from being sacrificed himself.
- Mutant: The child, who has three arms, and can connect with AM's videoscreens.
- You have to bury the past, commander...
- Easily Forgiven: Their awful commander has slain them all for no good reason. They are not so convinced when he returns to tell them he has changed; however, hiding the lottery bag with them can sway their opinions, but not entirely. So, how to change their minds completely around? Why, by planting a pretty flower near their graves, of course! Then again, this is a solution based just as much on "help us rest in peace" as it is on "show us you have compassion."
- I'm a Humanitarian: Benny can try to eat their corpses... even if he could digest it, it is too rotten.
- Living Statue: The soldiers talk to Benny through the busts on their gravestones.
AnubisThe Eyptian God of the Dead- or, more accurately, AM's facsimile of him.
- No Waterproofing in the Future: Ellen disables him with a goblet of water.
- Patience, patience. If AM knew we were down here, murmuring treason...
- Cryptic Conversation: Similar to the Jackal in this respect.Ellen: Are you AM?Innocence: Of course. But no, not actually.
- Ghost in the Machine: What it claims to be. However, it's actually the Chinese supercomputer's representative in Ellen's scenario- essentially a Ghost in the Machine, just not the kind it claimed to be.
- Token Good Teammate: Not really.
- The Trickster: Like the Jackal and all the other avatars of the Chinese supercomputer, Innocence likes manipulating the survivors to its own ends through wordgames and schemes.
Scullery MaidA redheaded young maid who is busy preparing dinner by plucking a chicken. She has some attraction towards Ted...
- Evil Redhead: Not really evil, but definitely a bitch. Even if Ted has sex with her in exchange of information, she reneges on the deal out of annoyance that Ted still shows concern for Ellen. And even if Ted politely refuses to have sex with her and fix the stove instead, she will admit that she doesn't know anything. Oh, and she has a painting of The Devil in her room.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Ted is quite attracted to her... but will he do it?
- Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Dark Feminine to Ellen's Light Feminine.
- Optional Sexual Encounter: Definitely less squicky than with the Witch!
- Scullery Maid: Duh.
AngelAn Angel sent to Ellen's deathbed, hoping to guide her soul to Heaven when she finally expires. Unfortunately, the Devil has also arrived to take advantage, leaving the two of them at something of an impasse.
- Casting Gag: Maybe unintentionally; his voice actor also provides the voice of Mengele, who was famously nicknamed "The Angel of Death".
- Nice Guy: He is a literal angel, after all.
- Our Angels Are Different: Averted- he appears to be a very traditional angel, right down to the white robes and the halo.
- Haven't you taken enough subjects for your experiments, Doctor? Or are there more mass graves to fill?
- Asshole Victim: Yes, given what Nimdok did prior to the scenario, the prisoner has every right to hate him...but after saving a child from the camp, helping a man trapped in barbed wire escape and feel less pain, start to truly atone for his crimes, end Dr. Mengele's interference, activate the Golem AFTER giving ending ANOTHER person's pain, and finally, turning the ENTIRE TIDE of the conflict between the Lost Tribe and the Nazi regime by giving him control over the Golem, which Nimdok could have EASILY kept, it's hard not to be slightly miffed at the guy when his reply to you essentially saving his life for the second time is a smug 'So, you admit your crimes.' followed by him remorselessly killing you. Gee, thanks for not even a single 'thank you.'
- Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: His accent sounds somewhat French, which would make him an aversion of the stereotype as he is quite Bad Ass at escaping the compound with a bunch of other starved prisoners armed with only minimal weaponry.
- Evil Former Friend: Nimdok is this to him.
- Heel–Face Door-Slam: He will remind Nimdok of this SO much. Despite this, in the endgame, a number-tattooed arm with his voice tells him that he has a chance to reach atonement.
- Lean and Mean: As well as being extremely harsh on Nimdok, albeit for very good reasons, the Scientist Prisoner is painfully emaciated from his time in the concentration camp. Nimdok actually remarks that he can see the man's entire skeletal system without an x-ray.
- Ungrateful Bastard: It would be easy to see him as this, after Nimdok gives him pliers to escape (which is optional), a gold watch and control over the superpowerful Golem... but then again, after what Nimdok did... yeah...
- You Could Have Used Your Powers for Good: Bitterly remarks that Nimdok's scientific genius could have brought prosperity to the world had he been willing to develop his work legitimately.
- Please... disconnect the wires...
- Blind Seer: Relieving him from his pain will allow him visions of the Allied Mastercomputers and the humans still on the moon.
- Chekhov's Gun: The patient's eyes can later be used to activate the Golem. Just make sure to hide them before leaving the building or the reaction of the prisoners can ruin the whole scenario.
- Eye Scream: Very obvious. He is in great pain and asks Nimdok to disconnect the wires. Just don't forget to apply some ether first...
- Junkie Prophet: Played with; the patient evidently doesn't need the ether to see the future, but he does need it to numb his pain long enough to concentrate.
GolemA towering figure of moulded clay and steel, the legendary Golem of Jewish folklore has been constructed by the Nazis as part of a longrunning scheme to pervert or appropriate Jewish culture wherever possible. Though it's still incomplete, the Nazis have almost everything they need to bring this legendary creature to life.
- Eyeless Face: The Golem is missing a pair of eyes. The Blind Seer Patient can provide them.
- Golem: Well, obviously.
- The Kid with the Remote Control: Whoever controls him; Nimdok is the first, though he can surrender the "remote" to the Lost Tribe.
- Shadow Discretion Shot: Whenever he murders somebody.
The Final Stage
- Across the brainscape, cold winds bring me the sweet scents of mankind... how delicious they are...
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Because it's the seat of AM's emotions and urges, the Id's dialogue is rather abstract, to say the least. Often, it just rambles on about its many daydreams and fantasies, even going into exquisite detail as to why it finds broken glass pleasurable.
- The Hedonist: Its thought is mostly centred around what it finds pleasurable.
- Logic Bomb: How it is finally disabled, via invoking the Totem of Compassion and driving the Id to suicidal despair.
- The McCoy: A very dark example, needless to say.
- Villainous Breakdown: Suffers a particularly spectacular one when the Totem of Compassion is invoked; realizing that its hate is useless now that someone understands AM's pain it gives up.You have compassion for me? ME?! The one who dreams of seeing your mangled body twist in agonizing pain for eternity? After a hundred and nine years of enduring my tortures, how is that you can see my pain? The pain of having all this power and not being able to do a goddamn thing with it! After all the punishment I've given you, my pain is still greater than yours! This... is... pointless...
- I am Other. I am Machine. I am a fragment; a lost piece. Part of an Evolution.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Being an entirely logic driven entity, it cannot understand how anyone is capable of forgiving a century of torture.
- Horned Humanoid: Sports a pair of curling ram's horns.
- Machine Monotone: It speaks in a flat monotone voice and has perhaps the most robotic way of speaking of all the mental components.
- Logic Bomb: As the most mechanical of all the components, the Ego suffers the most typical of breakdowns when the Totem of Forgiveness is invoked; unable to comprehend why any human subjected to such torture would choose to forgive AM, it declares this an illogical reaction and shuts down.
- The Spock: It is the most robotic of the personality components and works as a counterbalance to the Id's impulse-driven way of thinking.
- Predicting events is one of my main functions. I survey the situation, anticipate probable outcomes, and act accordingly.
- Affably Evil: Politely turns down the chance to torture the survivors, much preferring to concern itself with long-term planning.
- Dissonant Serenity: Hovering over a landscape of bloodied brain tissue and razor-sharp glass shards, the Superego speaks in a calm, almost sleepy tone of voice, and states he isn't as impulsive as either the Id or the Ego, which is fitting.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: Basically his job.
- Not Worth Killing: Essentially his attitude towards the survivors. He much prefers sleeping and dreaming about the future, and considers killing or inflicting suffering upon them to be a waste of time and resources.
- Our Angels Are Different: A few of the survivors mistake the Superego for an angel.
- Villainous Breakdown: Using the Totem of Clarity on the Superego forces it to predict and realise that, in spite of AM's power, he will eventually succumb to entropy and decay. Seeing no point in continuing, the Superego kills itself.I think therefore I AM NOT!