Video Game / Lisa

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A game about survival, sacrifice, and perverts...
Steam Description

Lisa is a series of indie videogames developed by Austin "Dingaling" Jorgenson. All games share the same title and take place in the same universe as well as the similar themes of domestic abuse, rape, depression, and addiction. Released on September 10th, 2012, the original Lisa (re-named "Lisa: The First" to avoid confusion with the second game) is an Adventure Game created using RPG Maker 2003 that explores the non-specific but not exactly vague ways that the unfortunate circumstances of a young girl's life have affected her. She not only tries to escape from them, but she also tries to escape from the man at the center of it all as well. You can download it here.

Following in the tradition of Yume Nikki, the player guides Lisa through various worlds, connected to a lobby by different doors, and must collect different items and navigate obstacles in order to progress through her journey. The horror elements are mostly atmospheric, preferring haunting, creepy music and bizarre environments that are left quite available for the player to observe to jump scares and brief glimpses of monsters.

On December 15th, 2014, Dingaling released another game with the same title. But it wasn't aYume Nikki inspired Adventure Game like last time. Instead, it was an Earthbound-style RPG sidescroller taking place in a world without any women. The protagonist is a bald, aging and troubled martial artist named Brad Armstrong. When Brad's surrogate daughter Buddy, the (supposedly) last female on Earth, gets kidnapped, Brad sets out on a journey to rescue her while facing the horrors of a world filled to the brim with idiots and perverts, and up to 30 recruitable party members, each with their own unique personality and abilities. One of the more notable features of the game is its "sacrifice" system. Sacrifices are everywhere in the game, such as the choice of either having your arm chopped off or a valuable party member slain. It's called "The Painful RPG" for a reason.

A DLC epilogue, Lisa: The Joyful was released on August 24th, 2015. Taking place after the events of Lisa: The Painful RPG. It focuses on Buddy trying to conquer Olathe while uncovering the mysteries of her world and her past.

Compare and contrast other indie RPGs with a MOTHER flavor, such as Ib, OFF, and Space Funeral. Though we're not sure if this game is TEARING YOU APART.

(The tropes you see in LISA increases your need for Joy.)

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    General Tropes 
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: The Armstrong family is filled with some really messed up people.
  • Black and Grey Morality: Brad and Buddy end up doing a lot of unsavory things as well as Lisa, who corrupted Buzzo, yet for as many innocent people they face, there's just as many rapists and people with even worse morals.
  • Black Comedy: A majority of the comedy in the series will be this.
  • Crapsack World: An example that gets progressively worse with each game,
    • The First: While we don't see much of the world in the game, characters like Marty get away with being abusive and face no legal repercussions, as The Painful RPG implies.
    • The Painful RPG: The world is post-apocalyptic, after society had collapsed following the White Flash. While there's still pockets of safety, there are bands of warlords vying for power, many characters that are just plain out for blood, and a frighteningly commonplace drug that turns people into mutants with repeated use.
    • The Joyful: The amount of Joy mutants frighteningly grow as Doctor Yado's plan comes to fruition, and while there are some organized attempt to fight them, a cult that worships the mutants kills anyone that tries. Peaceful characters like Rando and Mr. Beautiful also die, leaving the world in the hands of Ax-Crazy conquerors like Buddy.
  • Deconstruction: Of many JRPG tropes.
  • Driven to Suicide: A frequently used trope.
    • The most important suicide is by Lisa herself, after the abuse by Marty in the First gets too much. Her suicide ends up creating or influencing the motivations for Brad and Buzzo, and is something that constantly haunts the two characters across the next two games.
    • Random background characters will kill themselves; sometimes, you meet them and a bit later you'll find them dead, such as the rave dancer in the second game. One fight in the Painful RPG is against a man that will blow his brains out on the first turn.
  • Fan Sequel: There was a canceled one, "LISA: The Spiteful". It follows the point-of-view of a new and unknown protagonist before and after several life events. Here's the trailer. And now there's another one, LISA: The Hintful". A fan continuation starring Terry Hintz. Here's the trailer.
  • Kill 'em All: By the end of the series, all the main characters except for Buddy are dead. As for the background character, there are the remnants of Buzzo's gang, and the Easter Egg W 2 D worshippers, with the fate of the other half of Olathe unclear.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Most of the unambiguously good characters tend to suffer a lot.
  • Running Gag: Ridiculously long climbs that leads to statues of middle fingers.
  • Surreal Horror: In both subtle and not so subtle ways.
  • There Are No Therapists: Neither Lisa nor Brad seem to have ever gotten any kind of help for their trauma, as Lisa commits suicide at a fairly young age, and Brad is still traumatized to the point of hallucination and substance dependency.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: All of the games feature hallucinatory segments brought on by Sanity Slippage through trauma.

    LISA: The First 
  • Abusive Parents: Marty, Lisa's father: a drunkard who lives in squalor and keeps everything, including Lisa herself, locked up as much as possible. And for a disturbing reason. he molests Lisa.
  • The Alcoholic: Marty.
  • Blinding Bangs / Hidden Eyes: Lisa has these, and they're more likely than not symbolic.
  • Body Horror: The "melting-face" Marty creatures and the fields full of eyes.
    • May also be Foreshadowing for the sequel. Marty is a pill-popper, and the ones with melting faces bear an unsettling resemblance to the "mindless sheep" type of Joy mutants.
  • Double Entendre: "Tricky Rick", who speaks in nothing but these.
  • Downer Ending: The end was already a huge downer, with Marty telling Lisa that she'll never escape him, but the sequel takes it further by implying Lisa killed herself because of Marty's abuse.
  • Fat Bastard: Marty. The fact that he's a nasty son of a bitch is about the only thing we know about him.
  • Flat Character: Marty, again; everything you need to know about him can be surmised in the first few minutes of the game. The Painful RPG fills out a bit more details on him and even makes him The Atoner.
  • Groin Attack: Lisa's murders of Tricky Rick are a sort of symbolic version of this.
  • Memento MacGuffin: The Necklace. We're never told why it's important, just that Lisa treasures it.
  • Nobody Poops: Subverted and played straight; there are toilets all over the place, but the urine (being the product of a drunken asshole) is all over the floor. Interacting with them plays a weird retching sound note  though Word of God has stated that it wasn't meant to represent vomiting.
  • Rape and Revenge: The essence of the plot, though it's a lot weirder than the phrase suggests.
  • Rape as Backstory: And regular story, too.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Lisa, possibly; the game takes place in a sort of dreamscape, but there's not really any indication that Lisa is actually asleep, and neither of the endings have her waking up.
  • World of Symbolism: Everything can be seen as evidence of Lisa's really horrible life, although for some of it, it's up to the player to decide exactly how it all adds up.
  • You Suck: The Rope World, where Lisa will spend an unfairly long time climbing a rope to get to a platform... which just has a big hand sticking up out of the ground, flipping her the bird.

    LISA: The Painful RPG 
  • Abusive Parents: Brad has repeated flashbacks to he and his sister's abusive father. He also ends up becoming one himself, without realizing it.
  • Adaptational Villainy: A few prominent kickstarter backers fall into this. Matt and Pat will blow up a town if they get their hands on dynamite and Mike Nnemonic is the Bonus Boss, Satan. Averted in the case of "Slave Lord" Jim, which fits Jim Sterling's online persona.
  • After the End: Set in a Fist of the North Star-esque post-apocalyptic wasteland during the dying days of humanity.
  • All for Nothing: Brad, failing to protect Buddy, succumbs to despair and dies. He then turns into a joy mutant hours later. Rendering all of Brad's sacrifices meaningless.
  • All Men Are Perverts: In a world where women are extinct, porn magazines have become such a valuable commodity that people use them as currency.
  • All There in the Manual: Large chunks of backstory aren't elaborated on at all in the main story, and are only discernible through incidental texts, bonus scenes in Pain mode, interviews with Dingaling and the Kickstarter reward art book. It's possible to play the entire main quest without even finding out who the game's actual villain is.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: Most battle screens have (still) backgrounds made from a distorted, overlayed version of whatever the background was at the time right before the battle, very likely as a homage to EarthBound's trippy battle backgrounds.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Averted in regards to Brad, whose sprite changes depending on the amount of limbs he has left and will shift accordingly depending on the way he's facing. Even in the beginning, after his head injury, Brads scars will shift sides depending on the way he's facing.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Depending on the choices he makes, Brad can end up paying this way.
  • Anti-Grinding: Nearly every enemy encounter is hand placed and nonrepeatable. The only enemies that respawn as the Shadows in dark caves and snakes in the Fishman Swamp, but their experience and mag payout is so minuscule (and, in the case of mags, nonexistent with the snakes) that you're better off fighting the hand placed encounters in most cases.
  • Anti-Villain: To go with the Grey and Gray Morality of the game, some of the enemies Brad fights are hardly evil. The crowning example would have to be the bulldozer section of the game, where the only thing the people in Brad's way are guilty of is... being in Brad's way.
  • Anyone Can Die: It is completely possible for all of your party members (except for Brad, of course) to be killed, either by game events or by a few extremely dangerous enemies that will kill rather than incapacitate your members.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: No matter how many people you recruit, you can only have a four-man party at any time.
  • Asshole Victim: It's a Crapsack World full of perverts, many of whom openly state their intentions if they find 'The Girl'. However, not everyone that Brad can kill necessarily does something to deserve his wrath, and there's some serious Deconstruction thrown in here and there.
    • When Tardy Hernandez starts ranting to Brad that he didn't help him out for nothing and "I want a piece of [her]", it's pretty obvious what's coming next.
    • Similarly, depending on the makeup of your final party, certain allies may admit the same thing.
  • Author Avatar: Widdly 2 Diddly, the name Dingaling went under as the game's composer, appears as a man wearing a disco ball on his head and dancing wildly (and unresponsively) to his own personal rave in a small house on the way to the Joy Factory. Upon returning, you find he's hanged himself, and in the Joyful you can find his followers worshiping a sort of shrine dedicated to him. According to Word of God, he's hailed as a musical hero of the Olathian wastelands, and as such, the acronym "W2D" is graffiti'd in several areas throughout the game.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Brad is a martial artist who starts off with a lot of health and fights primarily through punches and kicks and can even learn a Kamehame Hadoken. Depending on his choices, he might end up losing his fists and is forced to simply resort to biting at his enemies.
  • Berserk Button: Inverted. At one point, after one of Buzzo's goons hits Buddy, Brad begins to cooperate so he won't do it again.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: There are really two main antagonists in the game. The first, and most obvious, is Rando, a Rao styled warlord who leads a massive, brutal army and is Brad's main opponent in saving Buddy. The second antagonist is Buzzo, an enigmatic warlord who is heavily involved in the Joy trade and is obsessed with psychologically breaking Brad for unclear reasons.
    • It's implied by both the Joyless ending and the Pain Mode ending that Rando is not an antagonist at all, but rather a former student of Brad's who seeks to repair the world. Instead, the Big Bad Duumvirate may consist of Buzzo (who is implied to be the one who cut off Dust's face in the Pain Mode ending) and Dr. Yado, who created both Joy and the Great Flash (and who is also the Trumpet Man, who can be seen hanging around several of Dr. Yado's labs).
  • Big Damn Heroes: Subverted. Right before Brad's final faceoff with Rando's army, the party members he'd previously abandoned show up...in an attempt to stop him, turning it into Fighting Your Friend.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: BURN: KICKSTARTER BACKERS is one of the many, many things featured in the Credits Gag.
  • Black and Grey Morality: A recurring theme. Brad's motives seem the most noble, but he's willing to do a number of horrendous things to achieve them. He even admits to Buddy that everyone's motives were selfish, including his, since he never considered her feelings and denied her freedom in the name of protecting her.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Powerful enemies that are put into critical health will start coughing up blood, dealing themselves a bit of damage. Joy mutants also cough up blood occasionally.
  • Body Horror: Strange distorted monsters that used to be men dot the lands as difficult mini-bosses. They are implied to have been mutated by overdoses of Joy. In the ending, Brad turns into a Joy mutant due to Buzzo forcing him to overdose and starts crawling towards Buddy.
  • Bonus Boss: A few, mostly consisting of mutants that dot the landscape, blocking passage to amazing items. One of the most powerful mutants, Beady, guards the item that lets you fight Satan the evil trucker.
  • Bookends: The story begins with Brad and Buddy together, coming across a lone daisy, and ends with a much different Brad passing by a similar lone daisy.
  • Boss Bonanza: The final boss fights, which consist of your party members, 3 waves of Rando's army, and finally Rando himself.
  • Brick Joke: The guy who leads the orphanage in Area 1 is the guy that should have gotten the degree instead of the bulldozer boss. He even refers to this as the "second worst thing to happen in his whole life".
  • Brown Note: The interspersed hums that can be heard whenever Brad hallucinates about his father, usually accompanied by a red image of what appear to be organs. The note is heard for the last time just before Brad attacks and kills Marty.
    • An astute player might notice that the sound is very similar to the noise Joy Mutants make when they use their scream attack.
  • But Thou Must: Certain required fights give you the choice to escape, but call you out if you try and restart the fight. Doing this enough times can outright lead to an instant game over.
    • On the hilarious side, you cannot do anything else for the orphans aside from burning them alive.
    • Despite being given a choice whether or not to let him live, Brad will not spare Marty when the two meet.
    • No matter what you say about Hawk Hollywood's looks, he'll take it as an insult and attack.
  • Call Back: There are several references to the original Lisa game, such as the Palace where Brad finds different Joy mutant "art pieces". This area also gives him the map for Resort Island, which contains another call back in the form of the dirty area of the original Lisa, where everything is covered in red and yellow splotches. The mutated versions of Marty can be seen in the resort as well, and the room Brad enters upstairs contains the same couch and TV that Marty can be seen watching in the original Lisa, coupled with a happy Marty face from the white world sticking out of the TV.
  • The Cameo: As one of the Kickstarter rewards is to be made into a character in the game, there are characters who are based on recognizable figures. For example, you can come across Jim Sterling as well as Matt and Pat.
    • Expy: Super boss Satan is of this to Mike Nnemonic, who got in as a result of kickstarter.
  • Chocolate Baby: One Flashback heavily implies that Rick's son isn't really his.
  • Could Have Avoided This Plot: Near the start of the game, Rick suggests to Brad that they should just give Buddy to Rando and his army. Turns out he was right, as Rando has the best intentions for Buddy.
  • Crapsack World: In a world with no females, society has completely collapsed. With the human race doomed to extinction, everyone is hopeless.
  • Creepy Souvenir: Should you opt to have Buzzo cut off Buddy's nipple, he gives it to you as a reminder of your choices.
  • Dark Reprise: "Goodbye Baby", played when climbing the insanely tall rope ladder and during the first round of the fight with Rando's army, gets a slower, more dramatic revision simply titled "Goodbye" during the very next round of the fight with Rando's army.
  • Dead Little Sister: Brad is haunted by visions of a dead little girl in white, implied to be his sister the original Lisa from the first game.
  • Death Seeker: The deranged mascot Wally, reveals to Brad that he wishes for death, when encountered in the pain mode.
  • Deconstruction: Of RPGs in general, and the notion that these games have no "sacrificing". Party members can die and not be brought back to life in certain circumstances, Brad is a far cry from normal protagonists and is someone you do NOT want to be, and the game ends with Brad dying, succeeding in his quest but losing literally everything else.
  • Denser and Wackier: While the story still deals with the dark themes of the previous game, it's also incredibly silly in places as you deal with some ridiculous characters and situations.
  • Dingaling Thinks Of Everything: When Brad abandons his party to find Buddy alone, you can see that each individual party member has a "sleeping" sprite.
    • If you go to the final area with no one in your party at all, where Brad would normally fight his party he instead fights a hallucination called "Shadow of Friends".
    • If Brad loses both his arms, he can no longer equip armbands.
    • If Harvey gets kidnapped, the ransom note will say "...fish?" in place of "guy."
    • If you actually bother to go back to the construction site after killing everyone there for TNT, a guy will be there to block you from entering, bluntly telling you that you're not welcome.
  • Disk One Nuke: Getting some party members earlier than intended can cause you to trounce certain areas of the game.
    • Buckets can be gotten as early as the beginning of Area 2, and while obtaining him does require you to complete the Russain-Roulette sidequest, losing a large amount of your party or savescumming like crazy, his mid to lategame damage and abilities can become a huge help.
    • Harvey Alibastor can also be obtained as early as Area 2, and his excellent damage output, high bleed, sleep, paralysis and pissed chance abilities, excellent single-target nuke and even a debuff-remover for a single party member can be very useful the entire rest of the game.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: There are a lot of enemies that will attack Brad and his gang for petty reasons. The crowning example is the Men's Hair Club trying to kill Brad because he's bald.
  • Distressed Dude: If you rest outside of an inn, you may find one of your gang members kidnapped for ransom.
    • Toby, Crisp Ladaddy's lover, becomes this if you hold him for ransom in exchange for Crisp joining you.
    • Fardy Hernandez, who you can choose to leave behind.
    • Parodied with Rooster Coleman and his prize hen Goldie, who you can hold hostage for a crazy amount of mags or his compliance in joining your party.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The strange image of Sticky in Brad's Joy-induced fight with him. This symbolic Sticky has a very phallic shape, asks Brad not to be angry with him for having sex with/most likely raping Buddy, and when he is killed, has some kind of clear outer layer surrounding himself, with a protrusion emerging from the top of it.
  • Downer Ending: No matter what happens, Brad dies and transforms into a mutant in the end. There are slight variations, but that's it.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Brad copes with his visions by taking doses of Joy and drinking. The game proper begins with him waking up after a relapse.
  • Drugs Are Bad: The Fantastic Drug Joy makes the user happy, stronger, and in combat it even heals. However, it is also highly addictive, inflicting addicts with the withdrawal status effect, crippling them in combat, and causes the user to be ruled by their base desires. It also happens to turn the user into a Humanoid Abomination over time. Joy is the wedge that gets between Brad and every person he cares about, and ultimately leads to his downfall.
  • Endless Daytime: One of the secondary effects of The Great White Flash is that Olathe is almost always stuck in midday, with night rarely if ever coming.
  • Expy: Rando is one for Raoh. He's even an Anti-Villain.
  • Face–Heel Turn: For varying degrees of Heel, but near the end when Brad is asked to let Rando keep Buddy for her own good, and he refuses, your party turns on you, forcing you to kill them before facing Rando's army alone.
    • Anti-Villain: Some of them, like Terry and Harvey, join against Brad because they genuinely believe that he's in the wrong. These characters will sometimes gain the crying ailment or waste turns regretting it.
    • False Friend: Some characters, like Rage, admit that they were only in it for Buddy, and will not waste turns attacking Brad.
    • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Some characters, like RT or Crisp, admit that they've hated Brad the whole time and can't wait to pummel his face in, and they're not exactly wrong. Justified in Crisp's case however, considering that the only reason he's even in your party is because you took his boyfriend hostage.
  • Fantastic Drug: Joy, a painkiller that doubles your attack and defense and eventually mutates you into a hideous monster.
  • Final Death: A recurring danger, what with kidnappings, poisonings and bosses with One-Hit KO skills, it's very unlikely you'll get through the game without losing someone.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • If you talk to the Salvation Rangers after they retreat into their cave, Blue will tell you that he's been feeling strangely violent lately. He's been taking Joy, and later mutates into a Joy monster that kills all of the other Salvation Rangers.
    • If you played the first game, you probably noticed that Sticky and "Tricky Rick" have a similar appearance. This is not a coincidence.
    • In the intro, Brad stumbles onto Buddy as an infant. He tries to calm her down, and even manages to toss her into the air a few times...but at one point he fails to catch her. It's a subtle hint as to how Brad might not really be the best person to be a parent to Buddy.
    • When you inspect Rando's body after his defeat, it says that "he's done" instead of "he's dead", which foreshadows that he only suffered a Disney Death, leading to his appearances in the Joyful.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: During the end credits, strange bits of text appear interspersed between the actual credits, and you may not notice them at first. They contain phrases such as "Special Thanks: Martin Armstrong", "Lisa Lisa Lisa Lisa Love", and "Wake up Buddy Buddy Buddy". The Stinger reveals that these were Brad's dying thoughts before he mutated.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: The man who cuts Buddy's face effectively declares he's doing this: after having such a shitty life, he's "making his mark on history!"
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Using Joy will affect the ending of the game.
    • Losing limbs causes the number of types of moves Brad can do in Dial-Combos to go down, along with increasing the need for Joy, removing/weakening some moves and halving your stats.
    • Towards the end of the Rando Army fight, the music for Joy Mutant fights will begin to play at the 3rd round. While this may seem like a purely stylistic choice, in hindsight it makes sense, as Brad is turning into a Joy mutant at this point.
    • Once the mutation into a Joy monster begins to take hold of Brad, his class changes from "Nobody" to "Failure", reflecting his mental state.
    • A lot of the Joy Mutant bosses are immune to the "fallen over" status, which makes sense as a part of gameplay balance, and also because most of them don't have legs.
  • Gendercide: An unexplained event known only as "the great white flash" somehow wiped out every woman on the planet. However, Buzzo later makes reference to a hidden group of women, which isn't elaborated on.
  • Gender Rarity Value: All over the place, Buddy is revered as a messiah by some and treated as an object by others, even Brad unintentionally denies her the freedom to be herself. The only ones in the game that seems to care about her as a person are Rando and Marty.
  • Give Her A Normal Life: Brad tries to invoke this with Buddy, hoping to be a better father to her than Marty was to him and his sister and to keep her as safe and happy as possible. Subverted, however - he ends up returning to Joy and following the same path of addiction and neglect toward Buddy, inevitably becoming just like his father.
  • Going Cold Turkey: Brad attempts this early on, dumping his supply of Joy over a cliff so he can focus more on making Buddy happy. However, his nightmarish visions eventually drive him back to the pills, leading to the start of the game. He can attempt to quit Joy in-game, which changes certain dialog. In gameplay, every so often, all characters who have previously taken Joy will be inflicted with a withdrawal status.
  • Groin Attack: Brad's fight with Sticky after being forcefed Joy seems to be this.
    • Played for laughs with a short sidequest wherein Brad and co. get jumped by a weirdo who kicks Brad in the crotch and then runs away. You can catch back up to him and initiate combat, followed by Brad kicking him in the crotch and instantly winning.
  • Guide Dang It: The achievement, "...". After defeating Rando, instead of continuing to meet Buddy and trigger the ending sequence, you have to go back and find the man that would be revealed to be Yado, which is something nobody would think if.
  • Handicapped Badass: Depending on decisions taken, Brad can end up with both of his arms severed. While this does severely impact his fighting ability, he's still capable of performing kicks and tackles.
  • Hero of Another Story: Rando, who leads his own Badass Crew; all of them with different armor, weapons and personalities, not unlike Brad's.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Inverted - non-player characters constantly mention how ugly Buddy is, although both her in-game sprite and her character art show her to be a cute little girl.
  • Interface Spoiler: On July 7, 2014, the game went on sale to coincide with the release of the digital artbook. The image used to advertise the sale? The scene from the ending where a dying, Joy mutated Brad gives Buddy the wilted flower as Buddy gives him a comfort hug.
  • It Runs in the Family: The Hernandez siblings (Fardy, Shardy, and Tardy) all deal with transportation services. Fardy joins Brad as a party member and gives him the ability to fast travel with his truck and uses said truck for attacks, Shardy gives boat rides to the secret islands, and Tardy also runs a boat service but you have to help him build a new one in order to look for Buddy.
    • Continues in The Joyful: after killing Lardy, Rando says that he transported supplies all around Olate.
  • Joke Character:
    • Terry Hintz, your first party member, deals terrible damage, has low health and starts out with a weak heal move that costs most of his SP. He gets better after a while, but it takes a good four or five levels before he's even barely competent.
  • Inn Security: Resting at campsites can be risky; you never know what you might wake up to...
    • Averted with the actual inns, though. Even the inn in Area 2, with the creepy music and the weird looking proprietor.
  • Karma Houdini: Buzzo never gets any comeuppance despite being a total psychopath throughout the entire game.
  • Killed Off for Real: Oh boy, the game loves doing this with your party members. In addition to the Sadistic Choices Buzzo gives you, there is also the Russian roulette game, and a few enemies have literal instant kill attacks.
  • Last of Her Kind: Buddy is the only known female left on the planet, and it's not exactly a good thing to be.
  • Lethal Joke Character:
    • Terry starts out as bar none the weakest character in the entire game, but after leveling up a bunch, Terry becomes a fairly good healer (if a bit squishy). Level him up to the near-max, and Terry gains some truly devastating attacks, including the strongest attack in the game, full stop.
    • Birdie is a drunkard who initially seems useless due to being, well, a drunkard, that requires being drunk to actually be effective. His basic move isn't even an attack- it's the ability to make himself drunk. If leveled up, Birdie becomes a fairly strong support/tank hybrid with a move that has a guaranteed chance to Oil (and a lower chance to blind) opponents, causing fire damage to be multiplied by %250. He also has a good full party heal, and decent single-target attacks. Considering that both Brad and Mad Dog, two of the most powerful characters in the game, have fire moves, Birdie suddenly becomes freakishly useful and borderline necessary for Satan, the Bonus Boss.
    • Bo cannot attack at all- his basic attack is a dial combo that can be used to perform songs. Despite this, Bo can be ludicrously useful as a support, with numerous buffs for your party, AOE debuffs for the enemy, and a debuff remover for your whole party.
    • On the side of enemies, a lot of ridiculous looking enemies turn out to be surprisingly dangerous. The crowner has to be Kim Sex Machine, a male stripper with low health. And also has two insta-kill moves, which is typically reserved for mutants and bosses.
  • The Last Dance: By the time Brad faces off with Rando, he's very clearly mortally wounded, but he will still stop at nothing to, in his mind, rescue Buddy.
  • Lord British Postulate: Whenever Buzzo gives you a Sadistic Choice, there is also the option to fight Buzzo instead. However, Buzzo is massively overpowered and takes out even maximum level characters in a single hit. It is still possible to defeat him if you get lucky. If you do that, Buzzo says you shouldn't have done that, and you get a game over anyway.
  • Loser Son of Loser Dad: Brad becomes this, following in his father's abusive and addicted footsteps.
  • Lost Forever: Friggin' everywhere. Completing certain sidequests out of order can lock you out of party members, some items are only available once, and entire villages full of party members, items, and stores can be wiped out. For specific examples:
    • That choice to give Terry away at the beginning is genuine, and you'll lose him as a party member. He will also come back to kick your ass later.
    • You will be attacked by the Scholar Boys after leaving Factory Town (which is not something that's alluded to), and they'll go on to destroy Factory Town if you're defeated; this will kill off everyone in the town and prevent you from recruiting Mad Dog.
  • Lots And Lots Of Characters: The total number of party members you can recruit is somewhere around 30, and even bit characters and enemies are all mostly unique.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Russian Roulette. It's entire possible to run out of party members and be unable to advance; Brad isn't allowed to play, and you need to win three rounds in order to move on. There's no tactic for it besides Save Scumming and hoping you get lucky.
  • Magikarp Power: For most of the game Terry Hintz is utterly useless, but at his final level becomes incredibly powerful.
  • Meaningful Background Event: In some areas, a trumpet remix of one of the background themes plays. It's being played by Doctor Yado. Going up to him makes him stop playing.
  • Mood Whiplash: Done beautifully several times over the course of the game. One minute you'll be laughing, the next, paralyzed with fear or disgusted.
    • The EWC, a hilarious pro-wrestling sendup full of wrestling in-jokes, memes and affectionately poking fun at it's source material is a few screens away from the third crossroads, where you either give up Buddy's fucking nipple, or your current party, and either your arm, severely limiting your moveset and your stats or all of your supplies- healing items, bottles, the works.
    • The Wallys section- a pretty funny and calming area of the game that parodies fast-food ends with Brad entering the restaurant that the food comes from and seeing that "Wally" is a deranged psychopath whose face has been melted off, making the delicious Wallyburgers out of human meat, which quickly turns to intense nightmare fuel.
    • Dismal Island, a weird bonus area with some absurd humor like a man whose mustache is so long you can climb up it and a wacked out slave trader ends with an extremely difficult Joy mutant fight, laden with instant kills.
  • Mook Horror Show: In the finale, Brad becomes one.
    What's with this guy?! He's a fucking monster!
  • Mr. Exposition: Parodied by Nern, who begins telling you the history of the Great White Flash and what happened to all the woman, but then get's distracted and ends up rambling about how he was jealous of his neighbor's hot wife.
  • Multiple Endings: The epilogue is different depending how many limbs, if any, Brad has by the end, and how much Joy Brad took throughout the game. In addition, completing the game in Pain mode unlocks a new epilogue that reveals Buzzo and Rando's backstories.
  • My Greatest Second Chance: After first finding Buddy, Brad refers to her as his "second chance".
  • Nominal Importance: Every enemy you fight (as well as every party member you can recruit) has a first and last name, even the Kickstarter backers. Dingaling mentioned in an interview that he'd given everyone some kind of identity to "keep encounters fresh", making every encounter with someone more special the first time, since you can't tell who's an NPC, enemy, or recruit.
  • Nintendo Hard: While it isn't extemely difficult, many players might be shocked at just how tough many of the enemies are, requiring Brad and co. to utilize everything in their arsenal to survive.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: A recurring theme. During the opening, Brad gets badly beaten by a Gang of Bullies by taking the heat for his friends, then has to limp home afterwards. Choosing to protect your allies also often leads to Brad getting disfigured in the process.
  • Noob Cave: The ravine where Brad wakes up is plastered with signs written by Terry Hintz, offering tips about the controls and whatnot.
  • Not Quite the Right Thing: While sounding like a noble and well mentioned goal at first, Brad's quest to save Buddy not only costs humanity it's future, but also throws what's left of it into chaos.
  • Off Model: Brad's amputated arm (should you choose to cut it off) is usually consistent, but certain sequences like Shardy's boat trip will have it on the wrong side.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Brad is out of commission during the battle between Rando's and Buzzo's armies at the end of Chapter 2. He only sees the aftermath.
  • One-Hit Kill: A LOT. Expect squishier party members to die a lot if you don't stunlock enemies or deal enough damage in short bursts.
  • Optional Party Member: Almost everyone. Out of the 30-or-so recruitable party members, only 4 join you over the course of the main story.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: Brad does increasingly horrible things as the game progresses, becoming almost as bad as Buzzo by the end.
  • Pro Wrestling Is Real: Aside from the few times you are asked to throw the match, the wrestling matches you can take part in are as real as any other fight.
  • A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil: There are hints throughout the game that Rando was actually Brad's old student; they even have the same stutter, and calls him Master Armstrong. However, this trope is subversion since Rando has the best intentions for Buddy.
  • Recurring Riff: A sequence of notes that first appeared in Lisa The First's tracks "The Sireen's Call" and "The Royal's Call", appropriately, all tracks based around this riff in The Painful RPG's OST are referred to as "[something]'s Call".
  • Redemption Equals Death: Marty has ceased his abusive and neglectful tendencies, and is clearly angry if Brad kicks Buddy out of the way in order to attack him. Regardless of your choice of whether or not to kill him, Brad kills him without hesitation.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Dusty and Buddy replaced Lisa for Brad. However, where Brad begins to legitimately care about Buddy, however misguided that care may be, he does not acknowledge his adopted son Dusty, and in the Joyful, he plainly tells Buddy that he never had a son at all.
  • Revenge by Proxy: Buzzo specializes in this, targeting Brad's party members in order to force Brad to choose between himself and their lives.
  • Russian Roulette: Brad is forced to play with his gang members at least once during the course of the game, and you can go back and play again. Most players are hesitant because of the risk, but it's one of the games most plentiful sources of mags, plus it nets you a decent pistol-type weapon and Buckets, a Disk One Nuke.
  • Sadistic Choice: Many, primarily concerning whether you leave a party member to die in order to save yourself, or risk your life to save them. In line with the game's cynical tone, choosing to save your party members almost always results in Brad getting disfigured and getting an appropriate stat deduction.
  • Save Game Limits: In Pain Mode, save points are now one-time use and disappear in an explosion thereafter. They also disappear even if you cancel out of the save menu, so it's best to really think about whether to save at a certain location before consulting that crow.
  • Save Scumming: How most players approach Russian Roulette. Notably the nearest save point to the warehouse is several screens away specifically to discourage this, and Pain mode limits you to using each save point only once to make this mostly impossible.
  • Schmuck Bait: When you go to the Bees's place, you can talk to a guy looking into a pool of water who tells you that he thinks he sees the fish people in there. He doesn't, but the fish people ARE at a 1 tile-wide hole a little further away from the brothel.
  • Secret Character: Almost every party member is optional, making them all this. Some characters stand out as more secretive as others though.
    • Buckets is unlocked by clearing the Russian-Roulette sidequest.
    • Harvey Alibastor is found by completing the Fishmen Court sidequest in the secret Fishman Village. Similarly, Carp can be coerced into joining your party by handing him the Green Paste, also obtainable in the Fishman Village.
    • Geese Thompson can be obtained by sleeping in the Area 2 Inn (the one that he resides in) three times, talking to him each time you wake up.
    • Ollie Nickles is found by traveling to Garbage Island, locating him, and paying off his "huge" loan of 2 mags. While that sounds relatively simple, Garbage Island is an entirely optional area that most people won't know even exists due to the obtuse way of finding the map to it, hidden in the Fishman Village.
      • Ditto for Fly Minetti who is also situated on Garbage Island, but can be obtained by beating a relatively simple sidequest, specifically the "Shopping Cart Race" sidequest.
  • Secret Level: All the Islands; Garbage, Resort and Dismal. Garbage houses some items, two party members and a funny sidequest, Resort Island is definitely definitely totally not at all a horrifying place, and Dismal Island is... uhh.. weird.
  • Serious Business: Pro-wrestling. The EWC promoter even lampshades it, noting that losing a Eternal Championship ranked match is a game over when normally wrestling matches are a non-lethal KO, because losing a push in wrestling is as bad as losing your life.
  • Sound-Only Death: Russian Roulette games end with a Smash to Black punctuated by a gunshot.
  • Shown Their Work: Dingaling is an acclaimed martial artist, and a few of the melee characters are given explicit fighting styles in the artbook. Some are obvious, like Birdie having Zui Quan, but even characters like Terry Hintz have some theory behind them.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Nier, with the whole Father Figure whose actions and intervention actually do more harm than good.
  • Sprint Shoes: The child's bicycle allows Brad to travel at increased speed and jump gaps.
  • Standard Status Effects: In addition to the usual ones (poison, paralysis, crying, etc.), there are recurring debuffs such as withdrawal and depression. They can be cured with Joy.
  • Stealth Pun: Rooster's basic attack is called "Slap". Another name for a Rooster is "Cock". It's a Cock Slap.
    • The Marty spiders. They're a "Daddy Long Legs".
  • The Stinger: After seeing the dying thoughts of Brad (including content such as "Taste her, It's your fault" and "Kill her, Brad Armstrong), we are treated to the sight of Brad, fully mutated. The mutant Brad drags his body over to Buddy where she sleeps, and calls her Lisa, crawling up to Buddy right before the Smash to Black. If you've taken the Joyless ending, you're treated to a conversation between Buzzo and Yado.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: Before the third crossroads, you can clearly see the Joy gang hiding. You still have to trigger their ambush to continue on.
  • Super Serum: A report posted in the Joy laboratory implies the project may have been started to create one of these for the military. An extra scene unlocked by completing the game without taking Joy opens with a report stating that it is a failed version of this.
  • Take a Third Option: Subverted; whenever Buzzo gives you a Sadistic Choice, there's usually an option to fight him. Doing so is a very bad idea; at best, he'll just beat the hell out of you and then offer you the choice again, at worst, he'll beat the hell out of you and then do both the options.
    • You may also end up with the fourth option with you fighting him and winning. The result: Buzzo ends the world in retaliation.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: In particular, Rooster and Crisp only join Brad's gang because their loved ones are being held hostage (Rooster's chicken Goldie and Crisp's boyfriend Toby), but Fly just really hates Brad due to being dethroned as the cart racing champion of Garbage Island.
  • Theme Naming: Plenty of characters have names with relevant meanings, but several of them double as slang for, or references to, various aspects of sex, body parts, or innuendo, illustrating exactly why this world of sex-starved men devoid of women is so dangerous for a little girl (for instance, one enemy carries the last name of Diddles, as in child molestation). The earliest (and arguably most blatant) are Sticky, Rick, and Cheeks. Rick gets special mention due to the presence of "Tricky Rick" in the first game though of the three of them, Sticky is the rapist. Maybe.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Brad has unsettling visions and Flashbacks from time to time, which results in...
  • Unreliable Narrator: ...his point of view being sometimes made questionable by his mental state, particularly when he's taking Joy. It's notable that when Sticky apologizes to Brad and the tone and the dialogue implies he raped Buddy, Buddy herself says they only talked. It's possible that Sticky never actually laid a hand on her, he only told her the truth about what she means to the world, and he's apologizing for Brad for giving her "the talk" before Brad thought she was ready to hear it, not violating her. All the phallic imagery could just be Brad's assumptions and fears, filtered through a drug-addled mind.
  • Use Your Head: Rage Ironhead is a wrestler who specializes in headbutting his enemies to death. Brad has several moves that involve tackling his enemies headfirst.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Completely averted, most status effects skills also do damage, and bosses are just as vulnerable as normal enemies with few exceptions.
  • Video-Game Caring Potential: When you return Goldie to Rooster, your only options are to demand pay or demand that Rooster join your party, however, when you return Toby to Crisp, in addition to the above two options you can simply give him back completely free of charge.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: An early Sadistic Choice gives you the opportunity to give up Terry to keep your things. Given that Terry is initially useless, a player would be fairly tempted to trade him away. Terry will later return as a Bonus Boss at his full potential.
  • Violence Is the Only Option: There is no way to advance the game without beating Rick to death with a spiked club whether you want to or not.
    • He doesn't actually die, he comes back later to stop you from killing Sticky
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Damn near nobody wears a proper shirt in Olathe (outside of the occasional football gear, poncho, or tank top), the most you'll find a majority of the population with is a shawl covering only their shoulders.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Charmy is the first mutant boss you face and the first one capable of killing off party members. Even when exploiting his weakness, it's still a long and dangerous battle.
  • Weird Currency: Porno magazines.
  • Wham Line: From the Pain Mode exclusive ending scene:
    Dusty/Rando: Master Armstrong? ...Dad?
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Buzzo implies that there's a group of women hidden off from the rest of the world, but it's not further elaborated on. Although, Sweetheart from The Joyful is heavily implied to be a woman and be from this group.
  • The Worf Effect: The entire Rando Army (plus possibly Rando himself) completely flatten Buzzo's Joy Gang with few casualties, cementing them as not only the bigger threat, but also turning it into this trope. When Brad fights them by himself, however, they get destroyed. Justified in that Brad is turning into a Joy mutant at this point, and the stronger a person is before mutation, the stronger the mutant becomes. Brad, being one of the strongest people in the entirety of the wasteland, naturally produces one hell of a mutant.
  • X Meets Y: Earthbound meets Nier meets Fist of the North Star.

    LISA: The Joyful 
  • Abusive Parents: As per the tradition of the Lisa series. In the beginning, we see Brad force Buddy to kill a man to teach her to fight. Also, Yado isn't exactly the best biological father.
  • Action Commands: All of Buddy's sword techniques.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: And will attempt to assault you if you approach the shopkeepers without a mask. Then the shopkeepers eventually turn into Joy Mutants and attack you regardless.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: The game now focuses on Buddy.
  • The Atoner: Buzzo after realising that forcing Brad to overdose didn't alleviate his guilt over Lisa's death.
  • Babies Ever After: In the "Free" ending.
  • Bigger Bad: Lisa. Her influence scarred Buzzo mentally, causing him to push the blame onto Brad and ruin his life, which then caused Brad to become abusive to Buddy, which caused Buddy to become the bloodhungry conqueror we see in this game.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The "Free" ending ends with Rando, Buzzo and all the warlords (including the good ones) dead, and Buddy with serious psychological scars, but also with Yado dead, a Joy mutated Brad somewhat sentient and docile and most importantly Buddy grown up, healthy, safe from mutants, and with a child.
  • Bonus Boss: Harry, a hidden Joy Mutant. He has 99,000 HP, but beating him gives Buddy an upgraded weapon.
  • Boss Bonanza: Much like The Painful RPG, the final bosses are this. Consisting of Sweetheart, Dr. Yado/the Rando hallucination, the Brad hallucination, and finally Joy Mutant!Buzzo.
  • But Thou Must: Averted: the game assumes you're taking Joy, but you never actually have to.
  • Call Back:
    • Hawk Hollywood, Buffalo Van Dyke and other characters that appeared The Painful RPG are on The List.
    • The hallucination battle with Brad at the end recalls parts of the intro of the first game, especially the Dad segment.
    • In The Painful RPG, there's an NPC that wears a helmet that dances to music who later commits suicide. There's a secret area in this game where several people are honoring him; what makes it further heartwarming is that they're among the few people that Buddy leaves alone.
    • The missing Salvation Ranger turns out to be alive. He isn't interested in Buddy, nor does he want to join her party.
  • Cool Mask: Buddy can collect and wear masks throughout the game, including Rando's, Buzzo's army's and A Terry Hintz mask.
  • Darker and Edgier: There's very little humor, a lot more subdued visuals and the games color palette is subdued compared to the last game.
  • Death by Despair: Buzzo finally succumbs and turns into a Joy mutant after realising that killing Brad didn't do anything but hurt more people, and that there is no way to atone for Lisa's death.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Averted. After the brunt of the abuse is done by men (namely Marty and the many pervert gangsters of Olathe) we find out that Buzzo fell in love with Lisa, who manipulated and abused him emotionally to mutilate her with a buzzsaw. The scene after leaving the Joy Lab also implies that she made him shut out his female friends, possibly due to insecurity. This led to Buzzo tormenting Brad and blaming him for his own mistakes. He atones for this, right before turning into a mutant
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: In a mirror to Painful's pain mode, an update to Joyful added Larry Stinz who offers to make the game easier, which involves a stupidly overpowered weapon, 99 healing items, and two hilariously easy boss fights against Larry and a Scarecrow, after which the game spits you out to the main title. It was apparently added after a rude Steam user complained that Joyful was too hard.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: If Bolo tries to molest Buddy, Sweetheart pounces on him and rips off his head. Even Dr. Yado doesn't like rapists.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Unlike the Joyful, using Joy doesn't affect the end game because Buddy is canonically suffering from Joy withdrawal. Additionally, with the scarcity of healing items in the difficult late game, it's pretty much impossible to go through the game joyless.
  • Gotta Kill Them All: Buddy's goal is to kill all the remaining warlords of Olathe so that she alone rules the land.
  • Ironic Name: Lisa: the Joyful is anything but.
  • Jerkass: Buddy, while this is semi-justified due to her intense danger of being killed or raped, she acts openly hostile to people like Rando and Tooley, who don't want to hurt her.
    • Took a Level in Jerkass: While she acted cold toward Brad, she was never nearly this hostile in the Painful. This is possibly due to the Joy she's been taking and she seems to mellow out toward the end.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Buzzo was this for Lisa.
  • Lost Forever: The shopkeepers will start a fight with Buddy if she walks in without a mask and can ultimately be killed, locking her off from their shops. Even if you don't kill them, they've eventually turn into Joy Mutants toward the end of the game.
  • Meaningful Background Event: Polka dotted flags that's the same pattern as Doctor Yado's appears throughout the second trailer.
  • Money for Nothing: In the second half of the game, the shopkeepers start turning into Joy Mutants and the game keeps pushing you toward using Joy, so the only real use for Mags is if you want to try out easy mode.
  • Multiple Endings: A number of different ones, dependent on whether you took the Joy vaccine or not, along with certain actions, causing two separate large endings and then 3 separate epilogues.
    • The two endings:
      • Free: Buddy comes to terms with Brad, Buzzo, Rando and her legacy, and decides to use the vaccine on herself. The somewhat sentient Brad-Mutant acts as her pet, and she controls the Joy mutant hordes with her biological fathers trumpet. Cut to Buddy years later, grown up and powerful, and now with a child.
      • Queen: Buddy rejects the cure and becomes a Joy mutant, ripping Brad apart and living with Rando's body, now the largest and most powerful joy mutant in Olathe.
    • The three epilogues:
      • Yado Yado discusses his master plan of taking over the world with joy mutants with an unknown person (heavily implied to be Buddy's mother) and ends with him shooting her in the chest.
      • Lisa: Buzzo and Lisa discuss her abusive life, and Lisa asks Buzzo to maim her with a saw so that Marty won't touch her anymore. It's unclear whether or not Buzzo went through with it, and whether or not she died from the maiming, or if the maiming did nothing to stop Marty, and this is what drove her to suicide.
      • Father: A young Brad talks to his father, who forces him to drink his first beer after being asked how to be tough. He then says that he will take Brad (who is most likely intoxicated) to "go see his sister", heavily implying that he forced Brad to rape Lisa, or watch him do it. This is what most likely drove Brad out of the house and fuels his guilt.
  • Nintendo Hard: Oh yes. The fights aren't much easier than in the first game, and you only have two (later one) party members. In the later half, you're almost certainly going to have to turn to Joy to survive the boss fights.
  • One-Woman Wail: "Voices Hum", something of a lyricless variation of the ending theme, "Voices", used as the title screen theme.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: Buddy goes from just trying to survive to wanting to slaughter all in her way, and becomes increasingly brutal as the game progresses. If you got the joyless ending in the previous game, you'll know why- Joy (which Buddy is taking) causes the user to become more violent and angry, along with fueling their desires to a twisted degree and making them unable to think about anything else, willing to kill any and all in their way.
  • Redemption Equals Death: After Buzzo saves Buddy from Yado's Joy mutant Sweetheart, he is badly mutilated by it, and finally succumbs to his overdose on joy and becomes a mutant himself.
  • Silliness Switch: 666 Kill Chop Deluxe seems to accompany the sillier encounters in the game, which is appropriate given its strange content.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Pretty much every single named character that is still alive after the first game either dies or mutates. Seriously. Even the shopkeepers.
    • A big twist given right at the beginning of the game is that Rando is still alive. Guess who doesn't make it to the end of the game!
    • The green Salvation Ranger can be found in a secret area if the player collects a certain special item. He remains friendly even if Buddy talks to him without a mask. At some point after you finish The List, he commits suicide offscreen.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Buddy starts to fall apart due to joy use near the end of the game, hallucinating parts of the final battle.
  • Too Dumb to Live: A lot of early enemies. Sure guys, try to get at Buddy, especially while she's with the former conqueror Rando (granted, he's weaker but he's still fairly powerful).
  • Took a Level in Badass: Buddy goes from a girl barely trying to survive to a ruthless conqueror.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Due to her Joy usage, Buddy hallucinates throughout the game.
  • Video-Game Caring Potential: The enemies at Mr. Beautiful's pacifist village are completely optional and can be spared save for Mr. Beautiful himself and a Joy mutant.
  • Villainous Rescue: Buzzo captures Mutant Brad before he can kill Buddy.
    • Later on Yado commands a Mutant to stop Bolo from touching Buddy.


A FEW STRONG MEN

A SEA OF DIPSHITS

AND PERVERTS

A DESIRE FOR...

SKIN

LISA LISA LISA LISA LISA LISA LISA LISA LISA LISA LISA LISA LISA IS DEAD...
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/VideoGame/Lisa