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Video Game: Obs Cure
In this school, they teach you things you never wanted to know about.

Essentially Resident Evil IN HIGH SCHOOL!, ObsCure is a series of survival horror games by Hydravision Entertainment (later Mighty Rocket Studio). One of its most notable features was its two-player cooperative mode. Instead of exploring the haunted halls alone, the teens were Genre Savvy enough to stick together in pairs, with the player selecting who to take along as a partner. Said partner was either controlled by the game's AI or a second player, and each character had had a unique skill to make parts of the game easier.

Another part of the game's charm was its campiness. Styled after the post-modern, Genre Savvy teen horror movies of the late '90s (such as Scream (1996) and especially The Faculty), the games were flush with corny, Totally Radical dialogue and characters written as broad caricatures of teen movie heroes and villains. The first game even featured the song "Still Waiting" by Sum 41 as its theme song, as a nod to such films' "hip" soundtracks.

The first two games were rereleased on Steam in 2014.

ObsCure (2004)

Something strange is going on at Leafmore High. Students are disappearing, teachers are acting oddly... When Kenny Matthews, a varsity athlete, makes an horrific discovery under the school, four of his friends — his cheerleader girlfriend Ashley Thompson, school reporter Josh Carter, stoner friend Stanley "Stan" Jones, and little sister Shannon — join him in investigating what exactly the hell is happening. However, they quickly find themselves locked in the school overnight, and now there're things roaming the halls...

Notably, none of the five characters were ever required to advance the plot... mainly because all of them could be easily Killed Off for Real at any time. Losing somebody didn't instantly equal a Game Over; you could continue without them so long as you had somebody left to play as. Having every character still alive was also necessary to achieve the Golden Ending.

ObsCure II (2006)

The sequel, ObsCure II (known in America as ObsCure: The Aftermath), takes place two years after the events at Leafmore. Shannon and Kenny are attending the nearby Fallcreek University, while Stan dropped out and is working as a pizza delivery boy. Stan and Kenny have to take medication to stave off the aftereffects of what happened at Leafmore, while Shannon has managed to adapt on her own... something she frequently snipes at the boys about.

Unfortunately, there's a new recreational drug that's become trendy among the students, one that's made from a strange-looking flower that keeps appearing all over the campus. Naturally, it isn't long before the survivors of Leafmore High, along with a small group of other students, find themselves facing hordes of mutants and struggling to stop the contagion from spreading too far.

Unlike the first game, the partners (and deaths) for each section of the game are decided automatically as part of the plot, and each hero's skills are actually required to navigate past the various puzzles and obstacles. The original heroes suffer heavily from Not as You Know Them, and the game becomes a parade of Cruel And Unusual Deaths.

Final Exam (2013)

A spinoff called Final Exam was released in late 2013 on PC, Play Station Network, and Xbox LIVE Arcade. Unlike the first two games, Final Exam is a side-scrolling 2D Hack and Slash with a more exaggerated art style. It is about four former high school buddies — the football hero Brutal Joe, the nerd Nathan, the tough guy Sean, and the dancer Cassy — who get together for their school reunion, only to arrive and find the town overrun with monsters. It was originally conceived as ObsCure D, an interquel to the first two games, but that version was scrapped after Hydravision closed its doors; it was retooled into Final Exam, with an original story and characters, after former members of Hydravision founded Mighty Rocket Studio. While not officially part of the ObsCure series, it has enough Shout Outs to the games that fans consider it a sequel in all but name. The official page for it can be found here.


    open/close all folders 

    Tropes throughout the series 
  • Academy of Adventure: Leafmore High in the first game and Final Exam, Fallcreek University in the second.
  • Action Girl:
    • Ashley is the most adept at combat out of the five characters in the first game, with her special ability being a "rapid-fire" attack that allows her to get off two shots or swings in rapid succession. Shannon can also hold her own if one is desperate (i.e. if she's one of the last characters left), though her abilities make her more of a support character best left at the gathering site.
    • In the second game, Shannon has Taken a Level in Badass and become this. Sven also compares Amy to a valkyrie after watching her kick some monsters' asses.
    • Cassy in Final Exam.
  • Badass Crew/Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: They all fit neatly into every cliched teen movie category you can think of and still manage to be friends on some level. Then they find melee weapons and firearms. Cue the drug induced, one-liner filled chaos.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Ashley in the first game, and Cassy in Final Exam.
  • The Big Guy:
    • In the second game, Sven and Kenny have the ability to move large objects the others can't.
    • Final Exam has Brutal Joe, the strongest of the four main characters, whose combat specialty is in melee.
  • Body Horror: The games do not lack for messed-up monsters that had once been ordinary teenagers. The most grotesque example is probably the Licker Spider in the second game, which Amy dryly notes appears to have once been a pregnant woman.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The entire plot of the first two games revolves around one of the Friedman brothers trying to save the life of the other. Even their children get involved, human and plant alike.
    • Subverted in the second game, with the reveal of the Bigger Bad.
  • Hand Cannon: The revolver in the first game and in Final Exam. The item description for it in the first game even lampshades this, calling it "a powerful revolver."
  • Hollywood Nerd: Shannon and Josh in the first game, Mei and Jun in the second one.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: They are created through exposure to the mortifilia plant, and they are killed by the light.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better:
    • The revolver is one of the most powerful weapons in the first game, standing far ahead of the three semi-automatics available, and bested only by the double-barrel shotgun and the laser. Its description even refers to it as "a powerful revolver".
    • The same is true in Final Exam, where the magnum revolver is not only far more powerful than the semi-auto handgun, but stuns enemies as well. Given that you find it in the second level, it's practically a Disc One Nuke, especially if you're playing as Sean.
  • Save Game Limits: Both the first and second game do this in their own way. The first game gives you a limited number of CDs that you can use to save the game in any room provided it's clear of enemies. In the second game, there are fixed save points (represented by mortifilia flowers on the wall) that can only be used once, though given the second game's more linear progression, you'll rarely revisit old save points.
  • Solve the Soup Cans: Played straight in many puzzles (as per survival horror tradition), though some doors allow you to pick the lock. Thankfully averted, however, whenever you face a locked door with a glass window. The solution? See Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay below.
  • Stylistic Suck: The games' Totally Radical, "too-cool-for-school" attitude is part of their homage to late '90s horror movies.
  • Survival Horror: Complete with fixed camera angles.
  • Suspicious Video Game Generosity:
    • In the first game, before the final boss fight you are able to take a large amount of ammo and multiple first aid kits from Mr. Walden's bag.
    • In the second game, after the No-Gear Level, you recover all of your weapons — all of them stocked with plenty of extra ammo — just before the True Final Boss.
  • Totally Radical: Deliberate.
  • Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay: Some locked doors are opened not by rooting around for a key three rooms away or figuring out some bizarre puzzle. They're opened by using a baseball bat to smash the window, then reaching through the broken glass to open it from the inside.
  • Universal Ammunition:
    • The first game has only three types of ammunition: pistol bullets, shotgun shells, and the laser's batteries. It makes sense for the shotguns (which are all presumably 12 gauge) and the laser (for which there is no extra ammo available), but the same pistol bullets are fired out of everything from an old pocket pistol to a Hand Cannon revolver.
    • Final Exam goes further and has its ammo apply across all weapons, from pistols to shotguns to machine guns.
  • Unskilled, but Strong/Weak, but Skilled:
    • In the first game, Ashley and Kenny fall into the former category, with their special abilities (a rapid-fire attack and a quick sprint, respectively) being derived from their physical ability. Josh, Stan, and Shannon, meanwhile, fall into the latter category, with Josh able to find items, Stan being able to find locks and pick them faster than the others, and Shannon being skilled at first aid and also offering puzzle tips. Using Josh and Stan primarily on one's first playthrough can make life a lot easier in terms of not missing anything.
    • In the second game, most of the male characters fall into the former category, while all of the female characters fall into the latter. The bruisers Kenny and Sven don't do much of anything besides push heavy objects and hit enemies, while Corey's skills are also derived from his physical ability (in his case, climbing narrow ledges and being able to take more damage). Stan is the one exception among the guys, once again being able to pick locks. The girls, meanwhile, can all do some pretty unique things — Mei can hack computers, Amy can solve puzzles, and Shannon can suck dangerous dark auras out of the environment.
    • None of them seem to struggle with guns or chainsaws though. Gun Slinging 101 must be a requirement in high school and college.note  This was at least semi-justified with Ashley in the first game, as her file states she went through self-defense training prior to the events of the game.
  • Weakened by the Light: Zig-zagged. Light causes those infected with the mortifilia spores to start to mutate. A small amount of light triggers enough mutations to turn them into monsters, while a greater amount kills them, the mutations working like a fast-acting cancer. In gameplay terms, this means that direct sunlight and other high-intensity light sources (such as flashbangs, flare guns, and the lights in the cafeteria) kill the monsters almost instantly, and flashlights help weaken them.
  • We All Live in America: While the games are set in the United States, they were made by a French developer, and it appears that they were basing their impressions of Anglophone society more on the UK than the US. Metric measurements are frequently used in place of American Customary Measurements, dates are rendered in the form of "DD/MM" rather than the "MM/DD" format used in the US, British spellings are employed frequently, and a notice makes reference to the "Ministry of Health" (the US' equivalent is the Department of Health and Human Services). On top of that, one of the calendars still has the French names for the months of the year (octobre, janvier, avril). If it weren't for the American flag in the gymnasium and the brief reference to Friedman being born in Iowa, one might guess that the game took place in Quebec rather than the US.
    • Likewise, with the exception of the Friedmans (whose last name implies a German background), every single character who's not explicitly specified as being non-white (Mei and Jun) or otherwise foreign (Sven) has an English last name like Matthews, Thompson, Jones, Carter, Brookes, or Wilde. No corner of the US was exclusively settled by the English; even those parts of the country with substantial levels of English heritage (like New England, Utah, and the Southeast) tend to have Scottish, Irish, German, and Scandinavian ancestry mixed in as well. To English ears it probably wouldn't be out of the ordinary, but it certainly stands out to Americans.

    Tropes in the first game 

    Tropes in the second game 
  • Abandoned Hospital
  • Airborne Mook: The Flyers, former college girls.
  • Asian and Nerdy: Twin sisters Mei and Jun are both gamers, and Mei is also a skilled hacker who can break electronic locks with her PDA.
  • Awesome, but Impractical/Too Awesome to Use: Most of the weapons within the special boxes are powerful, but crippled by either a lack of ammo (the explosive crossbow, the flare gun, the mini SMG) or a tendency to quickly drain the battery (the high-powered flashlight). Outside of the stun gun and the flashball, you will be saving most of these weapons for the boss fights.
  • Back for the Dead: The secret cutscene, unlocked by opening all of the lock boxes, is a video showing what happened to Josh and Ashley, the two heroes from the previous game that didn't reappear in the sequel. They basically went back to the abandoned ruins of the school with a handheld camera to investigate, and got attacked by Jedidiah. The footage cuts out before we see a confirmed kill, but it's pretty clear that things didn't turn out well for them.
  • Berserk Button: Don't mess with Corey's car or you'll never hear the end of it.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Corey blows his brains out before the final boss battle. You can't blame the kid, given that he's lost his girlfriend, his car, and any chance at a normal life.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Kenny, Leonard Friedman, and Jedidiah.
    • Bigger Bad: Delta Theta Gamma, a Skull & Bones-esque secret society that views the mortifilia plant as the key to immortality. Both Professor James and the Friedman brothers were members, and the group used its deep connections to the federal government to cover up what the Friedman brothers were up to at Leafmore.
  • Bittersweet Ending/Downer Ending: Depending on how you look at it. On one hand, all the new characters introduced in the game suffered terrible and brutal ends, and Corey, the sole one of the new ones to make it to the very end... shot himself in the head after being unable to deal with losing his girlfriend and his car, and feeling no hope for him left. On the other, Shannon and Stan are still alive, and while they're in for a rough ride, they're more than ready to take it and kick ass.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Matt, an African-American student you meet in the dorm at the start of the game. When things go to hell you find the Professor dissecting a monster, who Corey identifies as Matt by his tattoo. Also, Mei and Jun, the only non-white members of the main cast, are the first among them to die.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: In the end, only Shannon and Stan are left alive, and they're facing down a massive cloud of black spores, with the implication that they're about to face Kenny's monstrous spawn.
  • Book Dumb: Stan. It's implied that he shouldn't have graduated high school, and judging by what he's like in the second game, there's a chance that he dropped out altogether. Not that it matters by the sequel, mind you.
    Stan: "Stan Jones. Average: F"
    Shannon: "Shannon Matthews. A+" And look where it has gotten us.
  • Chainsaw Good: Subverted. The chainsaw is not used as a weapon, but only for cutting through obstacles, and it requires battery power to run. That said, Jedidiah does use a chainsaw as his Weapon of Choice, and the final battle between Corey and Jedediah is a chainsaw duel straight out of Gears of War (or it would be, if this game hadn't come first).
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Take your pick.
  • Darker and Edgier: Along with Bloodier and Gorier.
  • Deadly Euphemism: In his last words, Kenny tells Shannon to take care of the child that he had with Amy — an Enfant Terrible that envelops the stadium with a cloud of spores not long after. Shannon vows to "take care of it" by destroying it.
  • Dialog During Gameplay: Unlike the first game, this one is flush with it.
  • Disc One Final Boss: Leonard/Jedidiah.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: The nightmarish drug trip sequence at the beginning is ripe with foreshadowing.
  • Driven to Suicide: Corey, right before the Final Battle, just to twist the knife.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Especially when they release spores that turn you into mutated monsters.
  • Dwindling Party: Out of the entire cast, Shannon and Stan are the only ones standing at the end.
  • Express Delivery: It only takes one night for the mutant spawn of Kenny and Amy to go from a zygote to a helicopter-destroying, black-spore-releasing monstrosity.
  • Face Monster Turn: Kenny, who crosses the Moral Event Horizon along with it.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Josh and Ashley who are very non Genre Savvy, suffer this offscreen between games and only seen in a video when they are murdered, presumably by Jedediah.
  • Final Girl: Shannon, along with her boyfriend Stan.
  • Funny Foreigner: Sven, the hockey player from Norway. He was only born there, but he ships his heritage for the entire game.
  • Goth: Shannon's turned into one.
  • Hillbilly Horrors: Jedidiah, being a fairly obvious Shout-Out to Leatherface.
  • Hollywood Hacking
  • Hot-Blooded: Corey.
  • How Much More Can He Take: Seriously, Kenny, just stay down. There are only so many things that can be dropped on you.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Poor Amy...
  • Kill 'em All: Well, it is based on '90s teen horror movies. By the end, only Shannon and Stan are left alive.
  • Lovable Jock: Sven.
  • Market-Based Title: The game was sold in America as ObsCure: The Aftermath, and in Europe as ObsCure II.
  • The Mole: Professor James.
  • Mood Whiplash: No matter how horrible things get, the characters never stop making quips. It's like they get over their trauma almost instantly. It fits, seeing as how this is basically a teen slasher flick in video game form.
  • Mook Maker: The Licker Spider produces swarms of tiny spiders, as well as having some really annoying attacks of its own. It's implied that they had once been pregnant women infected with the mortifilia spores.
  • No-Gear Level: The ending sees you stripped of your weapons and health items by the Bigger Bad.
  • Not as You Know Them: Shannon, Stan, and Kenny all have darker personalities as a result of their experiences.
  • Obviously Evil: Professor James.
  • Plotline Death: Played straight, unlike in the first game.
  • The Precious, Precious Car: Corey's lovingly-preserved classic muscle car. It gets stolen and crashed in the aftermath of the frat party, and it takes him the entire level to get over it.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Probably one of the most disturbing aspects of the game. It's hard to tell how much of an impact it's supposed to have on the game though, considering that Amy groans and cries occasionally, but shows no other signs of having gone through a traumatic experience. One would think she'd be freaking out when Kenny appears, or at least be more twitchy around the male members of the cast. Also, depending on your interpretation of the ending, her pregnancy literally spawns a possible sequel or hands out justice to the final antagonist.
  • Secret Circle of Secrets: Delta Theta Gamma is strongly implied to have a lot more in common with Skull & Bones than the drunken, hard-partying Delta House wannabes they appear to be at first glance. The Stinger confirms this.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Mei spends the first half of the game trying to track down her twin sister Jun and save her. If you manage to track her down, the game lets you control Jun's escape attempts, only to have her brutally killed seconds after yanking that control away. Things go downhill from there.
  • Sidequest: One of these is strung through the game, with a bunch of small keys scattered through the environment that open lock boxes. Each of them contains a unique, powerful weapon; in order, you get the stun gun, the crossbow, the flashball (a gun that fires mini-flashbangs), the flare gun, the mega-flashlight, and the mini SMG. Opening all of them unlocks a bonus video that reveals the fate of Josh and Ashley from the first game.
  • The Stinger: And how! See Your Princess Is in Another Castle.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: After surviving the events of the first game, Kenny gets killed in the sequel — in the most drawn-out, painful way possible, involving Body Horror and a Face-Heel Turn. Oh, and Josh and Ashley, the other two protagonists from the first game who don't return, are implied to have been horribly killed off-screen.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Mei and Jun.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Stan and especially Shannon have taken several of them since the first game.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Trailers? Try game covers. Mutant Kenny appears right there on the cover as an Evil Overlooker.
  • True Final Boss: Kenny.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Lincoln Stadium. The moment you look at the vast arena beyond the gate, with the sun about to rise just over the horizon, you know something big is about to go down. If the Suspicious Video Game Generosity that occurs moments before wasn't enough of a clue...
  • Wacky Fratboy Hijinx: One of the early levels has you sneaking into a frat house party, which is soon followed by you fighting your way out.
  • Was Once a Man: Kenny, after refusing to take his meds, turns into a mutated freak the size of a Land Rover with an enormous arm/mouth on his back that he uses to spit balls of spores.
  • Where It All Began: The end of the game takes place at the soon-to-be-demolished ruins of Leafmore High from the first game. Then the real end of the game has the protagonists returning to the Delta Theta Gamma house, which was where the mortifilia outbreak started — in more ways than one.
  • Your Head A Splode: Mei is killed by getting her head crushed under mutant Kenny's foot, right in front of her boyfriend.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: A major example. The game waits until after the end credits for its big twist: Professor James was The Mole, working for the Delta Theta Gamma fraternity, which is part of a larger conspiracy that was secretly responsible for the events of both games. Then you face the True Final Boss.

    Tropes in Final Exam 
  • Art Shift and Genre Shift: Even when it was still known as ObsCure D, it was far more cartoonish and action-packed than either of the other two games were.
  • Badass Bookworm: Nathan, whose combat specialty is in explosives, and whose special moves involve various gadgets, including an electro-shield, a monster trap straight out of Ghostbusters, and a high-powered flashlight.
  • Dance Battler: Cassy. Two of her special moves involve dancing as a means of attack, kicking and twirling enemies out of her way.
  • Degraded Boss: The Tank, after serving as the end boss of the first level, becomes this in the rest of the game.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Cassy's unique passive ability, Charm, has this occasionally happen to enemies, with them too busy ogling her to fight.
  • Divorced Installment: It was originally designed as an interquel to the two ObsCure games.
  • Expy: Each of the main characters is this to one of the protagonists from the first game. Brutal Joe is Kenny, Nathan is Josh, Cassy is Ashley, and Sean is Stan. Only Shannon doesn't have an analogue, and that's because she herself shows up in the game as an NPC.
  • Gun Nut: Sean, who is also...
  • The Gunslinger: Sean's combat specialty is in firearms, and his special attacks all revolve around them in one way or another.
  • I Know Madden Kombat: Two of Brutal Joe's special moves involve his background as a football player. One has him charging like a bull, as though he were running at another team on the field, and another has him putting on football armor to give him temporary invulnerability. All of the characters can also learn a tackle move to take down enemies.
  • Jane of All Stats: Cassy. She can upgrade all four of her skills (health, strength, precision, and explosives) quite nicely, making her the most versatile fighter, but can't upgrade any one of them as much as other characters who specialize in one skill or another.
  • Nerd: Nathan.
  • Stone Wall: Nathan can upgrade his health further than any of the other characters, but he can't upgrade his melee or firearm skills that much. (Explosives, on the other hand...) This is stated to be the result of him getting toughened up by years of bullying.
  • 2D

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alternative title(s): Obs Cure; Final Exam
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