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Video Game: Fear Effect

An action/adventure/horror game published by Eidos Interactive and released midway through the original PlayStation's life cycle, the game is the tale of three merciless mercenaries—Hana, Glas, and Deke. The daughter of a rich and powerful businessman has been kidnapped, and the trio has been hired to find her. Although, the three of them plan to ransom her back to her father if all goes well. However, everything is not what it seems to be, and the kidnapped girl in question is the key to an epic ordeal—possibly involving the fate of the world itself.

The game spawned a prequel, Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix, which shows how the three main characters met, and introduces Rain, Hana's love interest. Their mission in this game is to stop an epidemic of a highly dangerous disease.

The gameplay features typical action/adventure elements (run and gunning enemies, stealth sequences, keycard-fetching and puzzle solving), but the setting fuses influences as diverse as cyberpunk and Chinese mythology. What is somewhat unique is each character you control has a "fear/confidence meter". Essentially your life bar, however, there are no medicines/health packs in the game. By solving puzzles and taking out foes quickly, your character's meter stays green for longer, or recovers if he/she took damage. When you screw up, the meter goes down. When it's red, your character has all the defense of wet paper.

There was to be a third game for the PlayStation 2 (Inferno), but it was cancelled.

No matter how fitting it sounds, Fear Effect isn't what you get for playing too much F.E.A.R., although coincidentally, they're both horror games.


This series provides examples of:

  • Absolute Cleavage: Hana's green party gown in Fear Effect 2. As Rain said, "You're wearing that?! Why don't you just walk in there naked."
  • Action Girl: Hana.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Not all of Glas gets out of the first game intact. Except in the true ending.
  • Art Shift: Somewhat. After the first game's discs one and two had exaggerated animations by hand in the cutscenes, disc three suddenly shifts to mocap animation. It's actually rather jarring.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Hana and Glas have something like this. They have a habit of pointing guns at each other and giving tough talk to each other. Glas is the one who gives her a hand and helps her up in various situations. Hana did give Glas a hand and help him up in the first game. Also, the one female of the Eight Immortals says to Glas about Hana being his friend, which he tries so very hard to deny. A Fear Effect Inferno trailer shows Glas putting a hand over Hana's hand. He awkwardly tells her that "I just want to say...be careful, you know?" A few seconds later, she smiles and puts her head against his back, surprising him. She responds "We've all got to be careful." Considering what happens later...well, see the Love Triangle entry below.
  • The Big Guy: Deke.
  • Cain and Abel: Glas and Drew, with Glas being Abel and Drew being Cain. Rain and Mist, with Rain being Abel and Mist being Cain. Subverted in both cases, with Glas and Rain not only surviving the attempts on their lives, but end up killing off Drew and Mist.
  • Catch Phrase: Glas definitely has one. It goes like this: "You draw on me? You better be prepared to face the consequences!"
  • Cel Shading: The games use an impressive fake cel-shading technique - instead of using real-time lighting for the cel-shading, the developers textured the character models to look like they were cel-shaded, then applied basic flat lighting to achieve the full cartoon-like look. True real-time cel-shading would not arrive until the Sega Dreamcast, most likely due to a lack of hardware power in the fifth-generation consoles or a lack of precedent in programming cel-shading effects.
  • Chinese Vampire: In The Temple of Xi'an in the second game.
  • Curse Cut Short: Deke tells Glas "You need a shave and a haircut, mate." Glas says "You mother-" before Hana interrupts him. It is likely that she did not interrupt Glas because of his cursing (Hana can curse, too), but because she needed to ask Deke questions and she could not do that if a fight broke out between Glas and Deke.
  • Did You Just Shoot Cthulhu: In one bad ending, Hana shoots the King of Hell right between the eyes. In the true ending, Glas shoots the King of Hell, and the King of Hell falls into a pit, apparently dying. He was meant to come back in Inferno, but that game was cancelled, so the King of Hell is most likely going to stay dead.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: An effect that saves Hana's life from time to time.
  • Distressed Damsel: Rain.
  • Doppelgänger Spin + Evil Twin: Part of the prequel's climax and determines whether you get the good ending or the bad ending.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: And they do. However, the students in the aquaducts will leave you alone if you don't go around actively shooting them, the Immortals will not fight you if you make the right choices (i.e. not shooting the students), and the girls in the yellow suits will ignore Rain for as long as she doesn't have her weapons armed.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Hana, Glas, Deke, and Rain start out like this in Fear Effect 2. The problems associated to this come up in the first game. Inferno, the bonds between the four of them have improved significantly. In fact, the four of them seem to have started romantic or sexual relationships with each other - except for between Hana and Deke, and Glas and Deke.
  • Freudian Trio: Hana is the leader who tends to drag Glas into situations he does not want, which would put her between Id and Ego. Glas has been a leader, tends to be concerned about his profits, and he tries to figure out all the angles, which would put him in Superego territory. Deke has little problem working with Hana and Glas, and he tends to kill people left and right when he is alone, which would put him in Ego and maybe towards Id. Of course, this is before you put Rain in there.
  • Girly Run: Rain definitely runs like this. Hana does not. This serves as a contrast between the characters, with Hana being more masculine and Rain being more feminine.
  • Gorn: Both games have death sequences that are oh-so-lovingly crafted (and happen often), you'd think the developers were shooting for this trope.
  • Guns Akimbo
  • Jerk Ass: Try Deke. In his profile for both games, he's described as a "borderline psychopath". Hana and Glas get several Pet the Dog moments, with Rain being a borderline woobie.
  • Left Hanging: The trailers for Inferno reveal a number of things. One scene shows Jin/Yim Lau Wong alive and plotting with an unnamed man about Hana. This unnamed man is probably a member of the Triad Hana has to work for. There is a website that unfortunately may no longer exist that said that Hana reached to the point where she decided to go against her contract with the Triad. It is hard to say if that means she got enough money at that point or that she simply had had it. Either way, a woman named Minx threatens to kill Rain if Hana goes against the contract. Hana does not take threats like that lightly, so she decides to kill Minx, with Glas, Rain, and Deke helping her. There is next to nothing revealed about Minx. She may be a member of the Triad, or perhaps a servant of Jin/Yim Lau Wong. The outcome of the mission to kill Minx is not revealed. Trailers and Wikipedia indicate that Hana was captured and put in an insane asylum (Or she may have been killed and sent to hell, forcing the other characters to find some way to get to hell and rescue her). Unfortunately, the insane asylum is controlled by Jin/Yim Lau Wong's demons. She also has visions and gains some abilities. She even gains some kind of sword and uses it against a boss. The boss is an asylum doctor who is a monstrous creature whose brain pops open - and if Hana loses, a cutscene plays showing the monster ripping off Hana's arm and adding it to his body. Oh, yeah, and Deke infiltrates the asylum as one of the patients. As you can probably guess, so very much of Inferno is Left Hanging.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: A real annoyance in the first game (particularly after death scenes), but was fixed in the prequel.
  • Losing Your Head: Deke. Well, not completely. Just enough to be really, really gross.
  • Love Triangle: Trailers for Inferno reveal that one would have developed between Hana, Rain, and Glas. Hana loves Rain very much, and she begins to show affection to Glas. Rain loves Hana very much, and she appears to want to have sex with Glas and maybe more than that. Glas begins to show affection to Hana, and he appears to be willing to have sex with Rain and maybe more than that. This would have been one complicated Love Triangle and how it would have been handled has not revealed. One trailer indicates that Rain and Deke have formed a relationship. Talk about complicated relationships.
  • Male Gaze: We get several close ups of Hana's body in both games. An in-universe example is averted when Hana threatens to kill Deke for peeking at her.
  • The Many Deaths of You: This series had an entire cottage industry devoted to the various ways for Hana, Rain, and their friends to die in various horrible ways: devoured by a horde of rats, crushed to death, burned to a cinder, etc. Arguably worth suffering through for the Ho Yay.
  • Mexican Standoff: Part of the first game's climax. You choose who fires first, and it decides your ending. On Hard, however, you don't have to choose, and both characters make it out alive.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Hana, from gratuitous shower scenes to stripper disguises to running around in nothing but a towel.
    • The solution to one puzzle in the first game (Hana having a gun pointed at her point-blank, any mistake gets you shot), while you're only wearing said towel? Go into your inventory and use the towel - she takes it off. Nice butt, Hana (the guy with the gun? Deke breaks his neck while he's distracted).
    • Try Rain. She can easily match Hana in terms of being Ms. Fanservice.
  • New Rules as the Plot Demands: The penultimate level reveals that when Wee Ming comes into contact with blood, anyone in the surrounding area mutates into a monster, and yet Lam somehow doesn't mutate in the brothel like all the prostitutes even though he was standing right next to Wee Ming. Similarly, when Lam mutates at the very end, Glas is unaffected by Wee Ming's Blood Magic even though he is standing nearby.
  • Nintendo Hard: The first game has virtually no margin for error in many fights and is full of adventure-game-style instant kills if you aren't very careful; if anyone were ever to make a list of the top ten hardest games on the PlayStation, Fear Effect should have a place of honor on it. Retro Helix isn't quite as difficult, but it's still a challenge.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: When the fear meter is red (or damn close to it).
  • Pixel Hunt
  • Poor Communication Kills: Glas is the poster boy of having little to no communication skills. In Fear Effect 2, he could have explained to Hana why he is so opposed to having faith in someone else. In the original Fear Effect, he fails to explain to Hana why he thinks Wee Ming is the cause of the problems they faced so far. A lot of grief could have been spared if he just explained rather than go on a wild rant. Then there is the fact that he does not try to find out the significance of the paper doll or even mention it to anybody. At least Deke handled the matter of the paper doll than Glas ever did. Oh, and Glas also reveals that he does not speak Chinese. Honestly, does the army cause or teach people to have no communication skills? At least in Inferno, Glas tells Hana to be careful and he clearly shows that it was very hard to get that out of his mouth (i.e. Cannot Spit It Out).
  • Prequel: Fear Effect 2.
  • Running Gag: Each character has a sort of theme in terms of what their missions are like. Deke just can't stop falling off things, Glas has an unfortunate tendency to get caught on fire, and Hana seems to have a compulsion to strip once a disk.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Glas encounters the first emperor of China and they have a short dialogue that was clearly taken from Ghostbusters and paraphrased a little bit. When Glas fights this fellow, said fellow uses an attack that was clearly lifted from a certain black-robed figure in Return of the Jedi.
    • The Shop, the organization that Glas used to work for, is almost certainly taken from the books of Stephen King.
    • The scene where 5-year-old Hana witnesses her parents get shot and killed right in front of her may very well have its roots go back to Batman.
    • The disease EINDS is similar to the disease AIDS. Also, AIDS is not that big of a problem when compared to EINDS. Oh, and AIDS has yet to be cured, unlike EINDS.
    • One website said that Jin/Yim Lau Wong is essentially the Kefka of Fear Effect.
    • The King of Hell falling down a pit and apparently exploding is something that can be compared to a certain scene in Return of the Jedi.
    • In the second game, Hana suddenly gets a Distressed Damsel female love interest. Given the timing, it's remarkably similar to Willow getting s lesbian paramour.
  • Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers!: Glas is the cynical one. Hana is the idealistic one. Glas is treated as the Butt Monkey and The Lancer. Hana is treated as the Iron Woobie and The Hero. It probably won't surprise you that the best ending in the first game essentially has Hana winning out without having to shoot Glas.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Okay, this is a tough one. There are points in the series that are certainly cynical. However, there are points that are idealistic. One good example is the contrast between Hana and Glas. Hana proves to be the idealistic one, while Glas proves to be the cynical one. In fact, the ending of the first game could be viewed as the result of a battle between idealism and cynicism. The true ending has Hana winning out, with Glas surviving (as well as regaining the arm he lost) and Deke being resurrected, thus causing the series to lean towards idealistic. Of course, the three of them failed to get any money out of the job, so the series also leans toward cynical. In Fear Effect 2, the manual claims that EINDS is a worldwide epidemic and causing theft, murder and terrorism to become big business. However, the original Fear Effect shows people going about their daily lives and not at all acting like the world is coming to an end. The true ending of Fear Effect 2 has the characters put together a cure for EINDS and make it available to everyone worldwide and not just the highest bidder, which may explain that. The series could be put in the middle of idealistic and cynical.
  • Sprite/Polygon Mix: Real-time 3D foregrounds, pre-rendered animated 3D backgrounds shown as FMV.
  • Survival Horror
  • Swarm of Rats: One of the possible deaths in the second game. They rip apart a Mecha-Mook, and you if you're not careful.
  • The Other Darrin: All three protagonists changed voice actors between games.
  • To Hell and Back: The end of the first game takes place in the Chinese version.
  • Took a Level in Badass: A trailer of Inferno shows Rain looking like an expy of Zero Suit Samus. She is trying to open a locked door. She finally gets it open with one powerful jump kick. She also knocks some guy over with one powerful punch, while wearing a red Chinese dress and high heels. If only she could have done these moves in gameplay.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Practically breathes the trope.
  • Trippy Finale Syndrome: It seems normal enough at first, and then suddenly it starts turning into a precusor to Eternal Darkness...
  • Use Item
  • We Have Reserves: The Shop, the organization Glas used to work for, sent Glas and his entire squad on a mission. Said mission caused the squad to end up in an ambush that left them all dead or captured, except for Glas. Glas tried to order the squad to abort, but it was too late. Glas unexpectedly encounters his brother Drew and Drew shoots him in the back. Drew claims that the Shop knew that the squad would be ambushed on this mission, but it sent the squad on it anyway. Glas and his squad were not informed of this. Does anyone realize how much the idea of knowing that an ambush is going to occur and not warning anyone about it makes no sense at all?
  • What Could Have Been: The game was going to be titled Fear Factor. Some think the name was changed because of the TV show Fear Factor, but Wikipedia claims that the title was changed because it was too similar to the popular heavy metal band Fear Factory.
    • A live-action film adaptation was in Development Hell for years. Originally going to be helmed by Uwe Boll, it fell apart after a deal he had with Eidos fell through, and had since changed hands for years before falling off the face of the planet.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: Hana says this at the end of Fear Effect 2. It shows the King of Hell surrounded by fire and laughing hysterically. Those who have played the first game should know exactly what happened.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Hana encounters a frightened old woman in a fishing village. She then leaves the old woman behind and is not seen or heard from again. Really, Hana should have been given a What the Hell, Hero? scolding for that.


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alternative title(s): Fear Effect
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