For over a decade, an unnamed astronaut has been living solitarily in a small space station located on a planet close to the center of a galaxy. While the astronaut initially enjoyed their solitude, they now primarily experience boredom and depression. Now the astronaut's only joy is their vivid dreams during their constant sleep. However, recently the astronaut's lucid dreams have become more disjointed and difficult to control. As our protagonist continues to sleep and dream, they realize that they have painful demons from their past that they must come to terms with.Miserere ("have mercy" in Latin) is a freeware game made on RPG Maker by the independent game developer Snow Owl. It is highly inspired by the RPG freeware game Yume Nikki, another Surreal Horror game made on RPG Maker which involves heavy exploration of bizarre dream worlds. The most recent version of Miserere, v1.02, was completed August 2012. This version can be downloaded here.Many of these tropes are found within plot twists revealed during the endgame. Therefore, expect many unmarked spoilers ahead. It's recommended to play through the game before perusing the tropes on this page for the best possible playing experience anyway.
The game provides examples of:
Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Present in some of the dreams' settings. Additionally, the protagonist lived happily here with their mother during their childhood.
Alien Blood: Averted. Despite being half-alien, the protagonist's death-scenes within their dreams show them having human-like red blood.
The Aloner: The protagonist has been living in a remote space station by themselves for over a decade.
Protagonist: "I can't remember the last time I saw another human being....Or actually, I can. The real problem is, I can't remember the last time I saw a REAL human being."
Ambiguous Gender: From their sprite's androgynous appearance, the protagonist may either be a male with shoulder-length hair or a female in unisex clothing. The fact that the protagonist never reveals their name doesn't help to clarify this mystery. They could be something else entirely, considering they are half-alien.
Bad Future / Crapsack World: In the time period that the protagonist lives in, rats are frustratingly commonplace. In comparison, rabbits, snakes, and monkeys are extinct. Oxen, tigers, horses, sheep, roosters, dogs, and pigs have been extinct for so long that the protagonist cannot identify them.
Biblical Motifs: Motifs from Christianity found within the dreams include crosses, stained glass windows from a cathedral, God's pointing hand from the Creation of Adam painting, and disembodied bishop heads. Satan is mentioned once in a short story and even appears to the protagonist in reality from the dream world as a possible hallucination.
Bittersweet Ending / Gainax Ending: So by the end of the game the protagonist has managed to kill their darkest inner demon within their dreams, who took the form of their mother's murderer. The last scene of the game is the protagonist mourning over their mother's corpse. But does the protagonist ever wake up, recover from their clinical depression, or return to Earth in at least a happier mood? No one knows.
Black Bug Room / Bleak Level: None of the surreal, dimly-lit areas in the protagonist's dream world's Beautiful Void are exactly chipper. However, near the end-game the protagonist can now fall asleep in the bed near the mechanical controls room. The dreams the protagonist explores while asleep in this bed are even more dreary than the dreams experienced before, since this is where the protagonist confronts their deepest, darkest memories.
Creepy Doll: The doll head that the protagonist acquires always looks toward their general direction no matter which angle the protagonist is viewing the head.
Cry for the Devil: In the short story "The Devil Is Just a Tired Human", the Devil is disgusted by humanity's moral vileness after living amongst them and observing them for 500 years. He bemoans how the purpose of his existence was merely to come to this conclusion, and wishes something would change.
Disappeared Dad: The protagonist's mother was murdered in the past, but where exactly was their father the whole time?
Doppelgänger: During one event the protagonist watches their shadowy doppelganger commit suicide.
Dream Land: Every setting except those within the space station is this.
Dream People: More like dreamcreatures. The only actual "person" the protagonist can have a meaningful conversation with in the dream world is the game's villain Carrie.
Driven to Suicide: After having watched their shadowy doppelganger commit suicide by jumping off a building's steep ledge, the protagonist contemplates suicide also; however, they don't follow through with it.
Protagonist: "There is nothing between me and certain death. I get vertigo just by going close to the edge."
Empty Room Psych: The rusted ship area has quite a few jammed doors that the player will not be able to open, even with the various keys they may find throughout the game. Also in the rusted ship are two rooms which hold nothing of real importance. Either way, the player may furiously try to open the doors or explore these useless rooms trying to find something important or interesting...
Evil Laugh: By the villain Carrie, right before the final boss battle with her.
Faceless Eye: The little eyeball people in the fungus cave area
Fan Nickname: Players of Miserere need to have some way in which to refer to the nameless protagonist! The most common given names for them is "Protagonist", "Main" (this is actually the file name for their sprites), "Nameless", and "Miserere Guy/Girl". "Daniel" has become a decently known name for the 'male headcanon' protagonist
Fan Sequel: Miserere is heavily inspired by Yume Nikki. However Miserere is not as similar to Yume Nikki as other fangames such as .flow or Yume 2kki since it has dialogue, characterization, and a coherent plot. In this sense, it is similar to other "second generation" fangames such as Answered Prayers, Fleshchild, and The Looking Glass.
Fantastic Racism: The protagonist and their mother, who are half-alien and full-alien respectively, suffered persecution from regular humans and had to live in the sewers for safety. Eventually the mother got murdered by an alien exterminator.
Fantastic Ghetto: Aliens and alien-human hybrids must live and hide in the sewers to escape persecution from humans.
Knight Templar: The organization Terra Puritatem wants to exterminate all aliens and alien hybrids in place of the ineffectual government because these undesirables "...attack citizens, they eat our crops, and they befoul our homes!"
Freak Out: The protagonist experiences this when they finally begin to remember their childhood in the sewer, but can't remember what their beloved mother looked like.
Go Mad from the Isolation: Over a decade by themselves in the remote space station may be the reason why the protagonist is having increasingly deranged and disturbing dreams as well as possible hallucinations in reality.
Good Morning, Crono: The game begins just as the sleepyhead protagonist wakes up at their desk. The protagonist then remarks that they should do some work, and this gives the player a chance to explore the space station.
Gotta Catch Them All: The protagonist must collect all parts of a doll to give to the lonely old lady in order to progress to the second part of the game.
Gratuitous Latin: The game's title Miserere ("have mercy") and the alien exterminating organizationTerra Puritatem ("pure Earth"). This is especially apparent since this game takes place in a future that includes distant space travel, massive animal extinctions, and illegal extraterrestrial immigration. What use would a long-dead Classical language be in this high-tech era?
Gray Rain of Depression: Many of the areas in the clinically depressed protagonist's dream world are dark and rainy. Even the sky bridge area, which is relatively well-lit and with upbeat music, is rainy.
Guide Dang It / Quicksand Box: This gameplay mostly involves finding an item in one area and then using that item in some other specific area to progress the game. Considering that the dream world is a Wide Open Sand Box, this entails lots of exploration, attention to detail, and trial and error if a player is to abstain from a strategy guide.
Though interestingly, this game is actually somewhat more forgiving in this aspect than Yume Nikki and other fan-sequels, as the areas are slightly more linear, smaller, don't wrap around themselves (meaning there aren't any of the void-like open areas these games are known for), and are connected a bit more coherently.
Hallucinations: After particularly traumatizing dreams the protagonist will begin to see these in reality.
Hand in the Hole: At one point the protagonist encounters a small, square, arm-depth hole in the wall. If the protagonist chooses to reach their arm into there, then they will obtain a key with no harm done to them.
Hollywood Atheist: Years ago the protagonist used to be a devout Christian. However, years of regularly reading science novels and time alone to ponder their beliefs led the protagonist to no longer believe in any deity.
The space station could count, as well, since the two different beds connect to entirely different dream worlds.
Humans Are Bastards: This is the conclusion the Devil came to in the short story "The Devil Is Just A Tired Human."
Human Mom Non Human Dad: Inverted. The protagonist's mother is a humanoid alien, and judging from the protagonist's appearance of a regular human, most likely had a human father.
I Just Want to Have Friends: The old lady in the short story "The Sad Lady" has all the wealth in the world, yet yearns for a friend above everything else.
Instant Waking Skills: Surprisingly enough this is always the case for the sleepyhead protagonist, whether they're waking up from a nasty nightmare or not.
Jump Scare: The falling corpse in the rusted ship area
Leap of Faith: At one point the protagonist encounters a bottomless hole which recently had a boulder covering it. Depending on which areas the player had already explored in the dream world, the protagonist may have encountered some nasty things and died in-dream. The protagonist has the option of entering the bottomless hole, but there is the risk of dying in-dream. However, entering the hole is nonlethal and the protagonist can exit from the hole again.
Light Is Not Good: There are monsters in the church area that resemble priests' heads that can kill you.
Living Statue: Sometimes the giant mossy statues may sniff at the protagonist as they walk past them.
Lonely Piano Piece: There is one in the rusted ship area by Boards of Canada, which is fitting since the ship is abandoned and severely dilapidated. The red planet area also has one, which is fitting since this area is very dark with a lonesome atmosphere.
Missing Mom: The protagonist's mother was murdered in the past.
Mood Whiplash: So in their darkest dream yet the protagonist has been uncovering painful memories from their past. They do this while exploring a dark and dilapidated abandoned movie studio which has music from Silent Hill 3 playing in the background. The protagonist then finds a conspicuous suitcase. The cheery and surreal world they find within the suitcase looks like a René Magritte painting with influences from Monty Python.
Mysterious Past: The protagonist's. They began their life as an orphaned, persecuted human-alien hybrid who lived the the sewers. Just how did they go from that to an astronaut granted their own space station to live and work, which presumably requires intensive higher education and permission from a national space organization?
Nightmare Face: At one point the protagonist encounters the face of a giant which looks corpse-like but with a gaping mouth full of sharp teeth and wild, angry eyes.
There's also the mossy statue with the creepy grin in the "MORE SACRIFICES" room.
No New Fashions in the Future: From their sprite, the protagonist looks like they're wearing a plain black sweater, baggy denim jeans, and white tennis shoes.
No Paper Future: Averted. The protagonist owns several books, manuals, a notebook to write down ideas from dreams, and a movie poster.
Nothing Is Scarier: In certain creepy areas you may hear faint ominous noises (like a crying baby or indecipherable whispering) in the background, yet you can find no discernible source of the noise...
Off With Their Head!: During one event the protagonist gets their head bloodily slashed off by a yeti.
Ominous Fog: This, coupled with the poor lighting in many of the environments, makes exploring the highly detailed environments a challenge.
One-Hit Kill: Malicious creatures in the dream world can kill the protagonist in-dream by simply touching them, causing the protagonist to wake up.
One-Winged Angel: For the final battle Carrie transforms into a giant snake-like sewer monster.
Overly-Long Tongue: During some jump scares in the game the protagonist will briefly get this for some reason.
Pig Man: The piglet people in the pig pen area have human bodies and pig heads. However, they're not huge and boorish as this trope typically depicts.
Pinch Me: This is how the protagonist wakes up from their dreams.
Portal Painting: A painting of a red flower in the abstract art gallery transports the protagonist to the red art gallery.
The Reveal: While the protagonist appears to be a regular human, they are actually an human-alien hybrid. The protagonist and their mother lived happily in the sewers until Fantastic Racism made the game's villain murder the full-alien mother.
Sanctuary of Solitude: At one point of the game the protagonist will rediscover one of these within the space station. Given all the emotional stress the protagonist had experienced up to this point, they have the option to pray at the sanctuary's alter again despite having become an atheist years ago. Incidentally, this sanctuary is one of the most serene areas of the game.
Sanity Slippage: Apparently, the protagonist's sanity has been slipping long before this game even started. And considering this is a Surreal Horror game, their sanity will continue to slip as game progresses. As a dream denizen remarks to the protagonist, "You're really starting to lose it. When was the last time you woke up not feeling depressed?"
Scenery Gorn: Many of the game's areas are very reminiscent of those in Silent Hill, being severely dilapidated and covered with blood and rust.
Scenery Porn: The graphics in this game are much more detailed than most other Yume Nikkifangames. Particularly beautiful areas of mention are the mossy statues area, the red planet area, and the sky bridge area.
Shout-Out: Certain denizens of the dream world recite an outside entity's quote or paraphrase of a quote relating to Miserere's theme of dream exploration:
Protagonist: "I have found that sleeping has become my one and only enjoyable past time. So I sleep. And sleep. And then sleep some more. Occasionally I make a few rounds and check instruments. Then I sleep."
Teleporters and Transporters: There is a teleporting maze where giant grinning worms teleport you throughout a filthy, abandoned locker room.
Through the Eyes of Madness: Were the objects that begin to appear in the space station always there without recognition from the protagonist, or is the protagonist simply beginning to hallucinate them due to the intensive dream exploration?
Video Game Caring Potential: At one point the protagonist has the option of returning a dream denizen's lost black box. This does nothing to progress the game and doesn't reward the protagonist any useful skills or items. However, the item's owner is "thankful. Greatly, deeply thankful."
Your Mind Makes It Real: Averted. Even if the protagonist gets grisly killed off in a traumatizing dream, the health scanner in the space station will always detect the protagonist's body to be without any injuries or diseases.