Apocalypse How: The worst endings. In Finn's scenario, killing Erin triggers the Crystal to recreate the planet...well knowing that it doesn't have enough power to actually pull off the recreation part, leaving Earth a ball of dust and water. In Alvin's scenario, Kyle reveals that it is too late, he's already activated the planet's ancient defense mechanisms, and Alvin goes back to the surface to witness everyone dying by fire courtesy of the doomsday devices.
Anti-Hero: Pretty much every protagonist with the exception of Finn and the unplayable Ellen and Wolf.
Arc Words: The title words pop in Jack's head before he figures out what it actually means. It's Erin's real name.
Critical Hit: A perk allows Finn, Terry, and Jack to land these based on the amount of time they've been exposed to combat, and after a certain amount of time in combat (without extended periods of time out of it) they start dealing ridiculous amounts of damage. This gives the player incentive to play offensively. A perk for Alvin is the inverse of this, taking even less damage the longer he stays in combat.
Cuckoos Nest / Dark World: Jack starts out in one. All the demons who are attacking him in there are actually people not actually doing anything to him, and while killing them will get you out of it, you'll wake up in the real world with corpses around you.
Dead Person Impersonation: Jack C. Denton is the third victim of the car crash that claimed Terry and her boyfriend and is actually dead. "Jack" is just taking up his name after stealing his wallet and set of pictures from the morgue because his real name, Kyle, drives him insane each time he remembers it. This poses problems later, when a group of the real Jack's friends meets him and has to claim to not remember who they are. This gets even more problematic when themobs track him down.
This takes an even weirder turn when Erin becomes sealed into his crystal by the Big Bad, and as a result the real Jack manifests into reality. Though that isn't exactly the strangestthing to happen at that point.
Defector from Decadence: Wolf as well as Alvin and his F Company unit, should you choose to go for the better endings in his scenario.
Drugs Are Bad: Sometimes averted, sometimes played straight. Marijuana raises Jack's stability and increases Finn's health regeneration rate, but hamstrings their accuracy and agility for the next couple of hours. Alcohol, heroin, and ecstacy don't do anything good. Bluelit and Redac will heal, but at a heavy sanity cost for Jack (and if playing on Harder or higher as Finn, they don't work). Cocaine makes you move like a maniac, but good luck hitting anything. PCP has you take less damage against everything but high caliber magnum bullets and shotgun shells, but you hallucinate like crazy. It is also possible to OD on any of the "conventional" drugs except marijuana and die. The other two characters just refuse to take drugs.
Engineered Public Confession: You can come across one of Senator Murdoch's snuff tapes. It is possible to hijack the airwaves and broadcast it for all areas within signal to see. The next day? News crew comes in, and as they do he performs a Hemingway.
Fantastic Drug: Redac and Bluelit. The former is an incredibly potent stimulant, the latter leaves the user unable to act while being forced into enjoying everything that happens to them. Redac isn't used much for other things than recreational purposes, but Bluelit was used for extremely pleasant things such as date rape, torture, child prostitution, and creating obedient Wraiths out of children (some of whom were aforementioned child prostitutes.)
And the beneficial effects? Those are a result of them working completely differently to certain individuals. Those who have become Wraiths.
Harmful to Minors: Oh dear. Erin sells his body because he's been used to it for years as a child prostitute and being one in every past iteration of the world. That's not counting the sudden spike in (both involuntary and voluntary) child prostitution.
Hate Plague: Scarlet - the symptoms only appear after a subject's dopamine levels completely fail, though. Those infected are completely normal otherwise.
Hollywood Healing: Averted. All four characters need to rest or be maintained in Terry's case to restore any health, and it's only a small amount (fifteen percent, tops.) Jack doesn't even have this, which means what little health you have to start with has to last the whole game, and using certain drugs to heal yourself will reduce your Sanity Meter, and there's limited opportunities to raise it back up. This seems like it might make things Unwinnable if you sink below a critical amount of health, but every attack is designed to be avoidable and failing that you're given the option to refill your health at the cost of losing all your extra inventory when you restart a mission after failing.
100% Completion: The criteria of which has a different definition; obtaining this is actually judged by your Mission Score, which also has a Karma Meter component. Doing (or not doing) specific things will lower the Karma Meter and thus will lower your Mission Score.
Hypocrite: Erotic media with fictional children are banned, but the very same legislators that passed such bills employ the services of child prostitutes.
I Cannot Self-Terminate: Played with. In one of the worst endings, despite the Crystal telepathically telling Finn to kill Erin, the human Erin himself does not want to be killed because he knows it will kill off humanity, but the Crystal wanted it to happen because being part of the Evil Empire's army is a worse fate for humanity than extinction.
Normal: Default game rules, difficulty is preset for each stage of the game.
Ranked: Default game rules, except that a Dynamic Difficulty system is present based on Mission Rank and the minimum is clamped to Normal difficulty presets.
Harder: You no longer obtain any stat points, all optional mission objectives become required to progress, and a specific unique plot based handicap is placed on the character of the scenario you're playing.
Jack: The Stability penalty for taking the two widespread designer drugs to heal yourself doubles each use, and you cannot get any of your usual psychiatric medication, which means you have to rely on the heavily-controlled and rare marijuana to raise your Sanity Meter by items.
Terry: Collateral damage will cost you.
Finn: You are also immune to the beneficial effects of both designer drugs on top of your immunity to their detrimental effects.
Made of Iron: Unlike the other characters, Alvin does not take any permament damage until he is knocked down. Unfortunately, he cannot be helped back up by allies, but that's mitigated by being able to get back up by himself.
Magikarp Power: Being able to take Redac and Bluelit. The former gives you a resistance to pain and a flat 10% health bonus, the latter clears all poisons, wounds, and injuries, but both drive you further into the Cuckoos Nest. Later in the game, this doesn't turn out to be as bad a thing because Jack later is able to see people that should be killed mercilessly as glowing white while in the Cuckoos Nest. Just don't make a habit out of it.
Necessary Evil: Jack. The real one, that is. He was keeping the various criminal organizations in check with regards to distribution of the virulently popular designer drugs as well as making their distribution more efficient. When Terry kills him in a car crash, after a very short while their greed goes unchecked and flares up wars between the crime syndicates.
New Game+: Completing a scenario with the Golden Ending will allow other characters to be played, inheriting 2/3 of the previous character's stat and skill points (if playing on Harder or Realistic, you will instead be given 3 more stat points to spend to start with), with certain global mission objectives completed and people already saved...but depending on which characters are played, this can be used against the player. Advice: Don't save Jack's scenario for last. (This option isn't available if you're playing on Ranked, Special, and FUCK modes, because of the difficulty mechanic.)
Nice job getting into an argument with your boyfriend and killing yourself, your boyfriend, and the only guy keeping the crime syndicates from acting up for control over Bluelit production and distribution, Terry.
Nice job spreading Bluelit all across the country, Jack. No, not the guy posing as him, but you, Jack.
I don't know where I'm going to start with you, Alvin. All those children in the desert? You couldn't figure out exactly what happened to them until Wolf had to point it out to you, in which you went completely bonkers until he slapped some sense into you.
I don't think your brother wanted to come back to his family in the first place, else he wouldn't have shot himself in the mouth and driven a bullet-sized fissure through his brain.
Nice job saving the planet from the Scary Dogmatic Aliens, guys. They're so sore from getting their asses kicked that they called in so many of their friends that your planet can't handle them!
Overrated And Underleveled: Epic aversion in the case of the real Jack. He starts with a large amount of skill points (almost enough to level every weapon and misc. skill up to 4 out of 5) and near-perfect stats. To sweeten the deal, you can actually switch to him on the fly in "Jack"'s scenario, unlike other NPCs. You'll need to, given how Nintendo Hard it is.
Senator Murdoch's hard anti-gay stance ( and eventually, anti-interracial marriage stance) is only chump change for the rest of his horrible actions, such as filming personal snuff films with teenage girls as the stars. One of the (optional) objectives has you lead him to his well-deserved Karmic Death.
It looks as if the agents of theEvil Empire are about to be an aversion of this, but then the Big Bad of the story blurts out a crack at Erin being useless to his dead race by virtue of being homosexual in front of Jack.Guess what happens...
Revolvers Are Just Better: Averted, for game balance. They are more accurate and more powerful per shot than regular pistols, but they can only be loaded one bullet at a time slowly (slower than even a shotgun.)
Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: Partially averted. Erin and Ellen as crystals do remember everything, but when their human forms are rebuilt, they remember everything but not how they felt.
Scary Dogmatic Aliens: Taken to Anvilicious extremes in that the aliens are actually religious fanatic humans exiled from Earth hundreds of thousands of years ago and have created an intergalactic empire out of their terror in the time passing.
Shotacon: Not played for laughs. Jack is in a relationship with Erin and hates himself all the while because he himself is attracted to young boys and knows it's wrong.
Stone Wall: Alvin. He may not be anywhere near as ruthless or fast as the other three characters, but he is nearly impossible to kill.
Take Your Time: Subverted. It looks like you can just loaf around in the Wide Open Sandbox in between missions, but you will fail them should the events said missions were supposed to prevent take place.
Vampire Refugee: Jack. He's been infected with the Scarlet virus and has gone beyond the Despair Event Horizon necessary by way of emotional abuse from peers and family members to succumb to the symptoms and has the strength and perception of a Wraith, but his separate personalities keep him from turning feral like the others.
What the Hell, Hero?: Kyle calls this out on the real Jack due to his culpability for the widespread use of Bluelit. While Jack argues that it was a Necessary Evil to prevent a mob war from conflagrating, Kyle points out that what it ended up being used for wasn't muchbetter.