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Headscratchers: Amnesia: The Dark Descent
  • So how exactly is Alexander the bad guy here? From what we hear near the end, it seems that all he wants to do is go back home, which he can't do because Wayer stole that opportunity. Now he's stuck on Earth, sustaining his life for centuries, waiting for that jerk to help him. But Wayer is all "Send me Agrippa! There is a big chance that I will just start completely ignoring you after that, but still, do it!" Alexander even agrees and starts working on it... and then Daniel happens. I feel as if Wayer is a huge jerkass that just screwed Alexander over.
    • All of that may be true, but Alexander was willing to torture and slaughter hundreds, thousands of people. Most of them probably criminals, true, but he had no qualms about taking innocent lives... even those of children. That's not exactly "good guy" material there.
      • Also, keep in mind that the only reason this conversation took place was because ALEXANDER KIDNAPPED AGRIPPA in an attempt to get W*e*yer's assistance. It's absolutely sane that Weyer would have issues giving in to a kidnapper's demands, and want to make sure he can guarantee Agrippa's safety as a condition of help. Considering the rest of Weyer and Agrippa's portrayals, they seem relatively decent (helping Daniel after he dies even if they had no concrete incentive to after Alexander died) and might have been willing to help had Alexander not gone for kidnapping and torturous hostage keeping. Couple that with the fact that the reason Alex is on the planet at all is because he was thrown out from wherever his home was, and the fact that he remorselessly lies to Daniel and you for his own gain (something we have no evidence Weyer or Agrippa do), and you see the issues here. To put it this way: if a leader of FARC kidnapped your best friend or teacher and held him or her hostage in a cave with the mutilated remains of his previous victims around in order to force you to help him build something, would you do it?
  • So why take the amnesia potion and then travel all the way to the other side of the castle? Why not just stay where the orb was shattered?
    • Perhaps he didn't think it would be wise for his memoryless self to wake up in the center of hell without a clue as to why he got there.
    • I've got a different explanation: Daniel was running from the Shadow. We know that Alexander meant to trap Daniel so that the Shadow would find him and consume him whilst he escaped to the other world; we also know that the Amnesia potion caused Daniel to pass out for a short while before later awakening and having next to no memory of his past. Having fed the potion to the people he had tortured many times before, he likely already knew that drinking Amnesia would have that side-effect and so hastened to get himself to a part of the castle that was Shadow-free before he passed out. Notice how relatively deserted the area he woke up in was; he fled somewhere safer whilst the potion knocked him out. Also, he wanted to write himself a note explaining to himself what he must do when he awakened; I doubt the Inner Sanctum had an abundance of paper and pens lying around...
  • Daniel giving himself amnesia was totally pointless. He didn't need it to take out the Baron. He just did it to assuage his guilt, which he could have done after he killed Alexander. He just made his goal much harder.
    • He was traumatized by the memory of what he had done to the point that he almost could not function. Giving himself the potion made him forget the actual murders (minus the one you have to re-do near the end in a flashback), making it so that he knew what he had done, but couldn't remember, saving his sanity and allowing him to function. Also, since he was obviously really torn up about that the fact that he realized he was a monster, he probably wasn't thinking in a terribly logically.
  • Spoiler alert: At the end of the game, if you push over the three unstable pillars and thereby kill Alexander, the ending thereafter states that Daniel has atoned for his sins. My only question is: in exactly what way has he atoned for his sins? The only one he's saved by his actions is himself. He has already tortured all of Alexander's prisoners to death in order to keep the shadow at bay, and preventing Alexander from passing through the portal doesn't save anyone else; by that point, Alexander had all the vitae he needed and just wanted to go home. It wasn't as if he was trying to conquer or destroy the world; if he'd succeeded, no-one except Daniel would've suffered from it. At most, the only "good" thing he accomplished was punishing Alexander, and maybe saving Agrippa. It seems as if the protagonist is very easily forgiven for all the horrible things he's done.
    • He took out the man responsible for the deaths of thousands, his own torment and (temporary) fall to darkness, and even (apparently) placated the Shadow. I think he did plenty to deserve redemption.
    • You’re making a mistake by taking Daniel’s words at face value. Daniel is an Unreliable Narrator, constantly presenting his version of the story, and the whole thing reeks of self-deception. It reminds me most of the infamous Milgram electroshock experiment. Daniel was ordered to continue torturing victims well after his conscience told him to stop. He shouldn’t have been so ready to trust Alexander, but he let himself believe the convenient lie that they were all guilty because it benefited him. He committed horrific torture on people with supposed crimes as petty as forgery. He clearly knew he was doing wrong — at one point he protests to Alexander that their victim “will die,” then covers the pang of conscience with “too quickly, I mean.” In the end, he kidnapped an obviously innocent young girl and her family, presumably for the purpose of torture, but didn’t admit any guilt until she accidentally died. Even then, he only admits his actions were wrong, but still places all the blame on Alexander for corrupting him. Essentially he uses the Nazi defense of “I was just following orders.” The different endings are summed up by Daniel’s statement that he could understand killing a villain to save an innocent, but killing an innocent to save a murderer is a different matter. The good ending is when he sacrifices himself to save Agrippa, who had been kept in a state of living death for centuries. By giving up his own life to save an innocent (though how innocent Agrippa is is up for debate, but we have no indication he’s committed the sort of crimes Alexander and Daniel did), he truly atones, and Alexander dies in that ending too. However, by pulling down the pylons, Alexander and Agrippa both die. Daniel sacrifices an innocent to save himself, a murderer. This is the bad ending, but Daniel doesn’t notice because he’s too lost in self-deception. He has become just as much a monster as Alexander, but he congratulates himself on eliminating the supposed cause of his actions. Without accepting his own responsibility, he is bound to continue committing crimes, blindly blaming others the whole time for forcing him to do it.
      • Maybe a little, at the end, but mostly it was just my interpretation of the character based on his actions. I said Daniel was full of it as soon as he started talking about how he had "done the right thing."
      • Didn't Alexander only start murdering innocents when Agrippa ruined his first attempt at returning home? Oh, who knows. This game is full of unreliable narrators.
  • The lantern. What does he light it with?
  • The protagonist has to light torches and lanterns to hold back the darkness and keep his sanity. He will pass hundreds of books and pieces of wooden furniture just lying around over the course of the game. Apparently, those don't count.
    • Burn a book? That's horrible.. he might have killed a lot of people, but he wouldn't burn a book!
    • Also, light sources other than one lantern cannot be moved under any circumstances (there are plenty of candles around) and they can only be lit by a tinderbox, never from another light (including the oil lamp you carry).
      • There's a bit of a running gag among some parts of the fandom that Alexander had his servants glue all of the candles to the tables.
      • Those could be justified (Albeit weakly, like he doesn't want to risk setting the room alight), but on more than one occasion you come across windows blocked by curtains that you can't remove or pull aside to let light in. For a game based heavily around physics something like that is just silly.
      • Not pulling aside the curtains is justified by the fact that while being in the dark is bad for your sanity, not having dark to hide in is bad for your continued existence.
    • Speaking of which, why does darkness make you insane?
      • You're being hunted by a shadow. Why wouldn't the dark make you paranoid and nervous?
      • Daniel is nyctophobe ; he can't stand the idea of being trapped in darkness. That also explains why his Sanity decreases when he's in the dark, whereas Justine's doesn't, since she doesn't share his phobia (her vision does blur and distort, but unless she's looking at a Suitor or walking in the Crypt, her Sanity remains crystal clear).
  • You pass bandsaws, but can't pick them up as a weapon. Or the hammers nearby. Or the shovel. You can pick up a crowbar to open a door, but it's dropped immediately upon use.
    • Would you, being an average guy, engage a huge freakish monster, that can knock down doors, in melee combat? I know I wouldn't.
    • Perhaps Daniel just has the sense to know he doesn't stand a chance against the powerful monsters.
      • You never saw Gordon Freeman give up when all he had was a crowbar.
      • I saw Gordon Freeman give up when he didn't have his HEV suit though...
      • Even if he can't kill the monster, at least he might be able to use the crowbar / shovel / hammer to wound and distract it. In fact, when you throw crates and other items at the monsters, it actually delays them and gives you more time to escape. So wouldn't it make more sense for Daniel to keep his weapons instead of discarding them?
      • Didn't Daniel say towards the beginning of the game that he'd already tried fighting the monsters with weapons, and that it had no effect?
      • Then why does throwing a box at them work so well? Even if he can't kill them, I'm sure a crowbar in face will distract them.
      • I mostly thought that it was because of two factors: 1, Daniel is really scared and doesn't want to even go near those things, preferring to run as fast as possible. 2, if he gets too close, they hit him and wound him badly, causing him to drop the weapon and leaving himself vulnerable.
      • No. Daniel said that there was no way to fight back against the Shadow. It said nothing of not being able to fight back against the monsters.
      • Daniel didn't know anything about there being actual monsters before the events of the game. Although he's distressed by the Shadow, he's obviously terrified by the horrible creatures which defy logic.
  • In the level the entrance hall you need to dissolve the meat moss blocking access to the refinery, however attempting to leave the castle reveals that the door is blocked off by the same meat moss. Daniel could have escaped the castle right then and there by using the acid he found to dissolve the meat moss blocking the exit and gotten out of there. (however because the devs think of everything trying to do this has no effect)
    • It could be that Daniel, in spite of his amnesia, still senses the shadow closing in on him, and, since his past self is all he has to go on for information, and his past self is saying to go deeper into the castle and kill Alexander, he thinks it would be better to follow his own advice and try to fix the problem instead of running away. However if they had thought of everything, they should have let you go out the door, walk a few hundred feet, hear the noises of some monster, and get dragged off into the swamp like some of the notes that you pick up hint at happening. Would have added some "My God... That was almost ME" paranoia to the game, because God knows it needs more of it...
    • This is something that the designers at Frictional are aware of, according to the in-game commentary. The dissolve-the-slime-barrier-with-acid puzzle was one of the first designed, and while that section of the game went through several redesigns, the puzzle stayed the same. In the original version, the Meat Moss did not start filling the entrance hall as the player progressed, but was added later, and kind of undermined the concept of the puzzle. However, by that point in development there was not enough time in the project schedule to come up with a different puzzle that fit the newer level design. They left it in because they needed something there for the player to overcome, but were not fully satisfied with the end result.
  • In the 'Entrance to Cistern' there is a puzzle requiring you to lower an automatic ladder, except that for some reason a pipe is in the way. Makes you wonder if the ladder was put in first, and the plumber decided to mess with the engineer, or some lazy engineer decided to slap the ladder down early and call it a day
  • At some point in the game, you have to inject yourself with the blood of a corpse to pass into the next level. Anyone ever wonder that just maybe that guy might have a different blood type than Daniel?
    • Circumstances dictate actions, and at that point, it was do or die, so yeah
    • Daniel frequently hallucinates about giant Hissing Cockroaches, which are indigenous to Madagascar... Despite his only time spent in Africa, to the knowledge of the player, is in Algeria, on the other side of the African continent.
  • What exactly is the point of the Justine content? What connection does it have with Daniel's story beside his letter and a few mentions of characters from the dark Descent? Also, the fact that Justine turns out to be the player, and is such a cruel bitch who doesn't get Karma bugs the hell out of me.
    • Why should it have close connection with Daniel's story? It's an independent short game, more scares for fans of the original game who can't wait for a proper sequel. And do you seriously expect that a horror game like Amnesia would conform to common moral sensibilities to preserve your peace of mind?t
    • Yes. Daniel gets his redemption and victory after beating the Big Bad. I would have at least liked a chance for multiple endings, one where the Justine gets Karma'd. Karma Houdinis just bug the hell out of me. It makes me not want to play the game when the person I'm playing as is some cruel, dumb bitch.
      • But you don't know she's a cruel dumb bitch till the end. Plus, due to the lack of save points, you can purposefully let her get Karma'd if you let the Suitors kill her.
  • What exactly is the sound we hear when Daniel is at low Sanity ? It's commonly described as "teeth chattering", but it sounds more like grinding that the clack-clack sound the chattering implies (unless my vocabulary is just plain wrong). Either way, teeth grinding does not sound like that either, unless your teeth are completely rotten. So what is this?
    • The Coconut Effect at work. It's a sound that communicates Daniel's teeth grinding, even if it sounds nothing like actual teeth-grind.
  • Laudanum (the item which you heal yourself with) is actually Opium. What.
    • It's by the same reasoning that you "heal" yourself with painkillers in Max Payne', Deus Ex, and morphine in Cry of Fear''. It makes the pain bearable so you can continue.
  • After knocking all the pillars and interrupting Alexander's ritual, Daniel is spared by the Shadow and backtracks all the way to the Entrance Hall. But even assuming the Shadow withdrew its Meat Moss from the whole castle because it had no grudge against anyone anymore, how does Daniel manage it ? The elevator is completely trashed, for starters, and if I recall correctly other parts of the castle collapsed once Daniel had left them the first time. Did the Shadow magically reset the castle to the state it was in before Daniel's arrival ?
    • When you reach the elevator leading down to the Inner Sanctum you find it to not only be broken but partially disassembled. Did Daniel break it himself to trap Alexander down there before going to wipe his own memory?
    • There's probably many ways out, like staircases. Especially considering how elaborate the dungeons are, it seems unlikely to me that there's just an elevator leading to them. Same thing for the collapsed parts.
  • Why the hell are all of the Cockroaches I find in this castle Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches? They're quite large for any other species and they hiss. Did Alexander just happen to go on a trip to Madagascar, look at these and say "Aw, hell yes! I totally want a breeding pair of those!"note 
    • It's strongly implied that the cockroaches are hallucinations, as they only appear when Daniel's sanity is low, and they dissappear mysteriously. Daniel was an explorer and archeologist, so it's very possible that he has visited Madagascar, and had a traumatic experience with the cockroaches.
      • Or he just really didn't like bugs.
  • Thinking too hard about Justine, but: if you save all three hostages, they bang on the door at the end. Getting past Alois? Well, as long as you closed the door behind you, not too hard to do. Basile? He's the most sane of all of them, and as long as it was clear they weren't Justine, he would probably let them pass. But how the fuck did they get past Malo?! Unless Justine left a fully loaded shotgun laying around, I don't see how they ALL would have made it past him to the end chamber.
    • They probably all just ganged up on him to knock him out or something — Malo is still only human, after all. Alois and Basile might have even helped — last time I checked, the suitors weren't exactly friends. Basile especially may help the hostages just to spite her, since that seems to be his main goal in life now.
      • Yeah, a human who can knock down giant steel doors with his bare hands while starving and who runs ridiculously fast for being half-dead. Maybe I'm just jaded after dying by his hand so many times, but it seems like even teaming up, they wouldn't be much of a match for Malo.
  • Could the monsters' horrific body appearance be a hallucination? Hear me out, in Archives Daniel will hallucinate two of monsters. If memory serves me, Daniel in his journals and notes commented on Gatherers strange behavior but never their appearance(thanks to Alexander having them wear robes that concealed their appearance). And since real monster encounters start to happen past this point, that means that Daniel never saw any of Alexander servants before. Since we know that Daniel has fear of darkness and is bit insane and tends to have hallucination, that could mean that Gatherers in truth look different than presented in game.

Alice: Madness ReturnsHeadscratchers/GamesAmnesia: A Machine For Pigs

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