In this school, they teach you things you never wanted to know about.
Essentially Resident Evil IN HIGH SCHOOL!
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
, 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
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)
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 2½D 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
- Action Prologue: Kenny's stint trying to fight off monsters before the Title Drop.
- Ambiguously Brown: Ashley.
- And Your Reward Is Clothes: Beating the game unlocks alternate outfits in New Game+ mode for each character still left alive at the end. Ashley's gray shirt is switched out for the top half of her cheerleading uniform (though keeping her jeans), Stan's shirt is recolored in Jamaican/Rasta colors, Josh gets a Hawaiian shirt, Kenny's muscle shirt and track pants are recolored green and orange respectively, and Shannon gets the most dramatic makeover — a punk/goth ensemble that includes fishnet stockings and blue streaks in her hair.
- Anyone Can Die: No, really. No matter what combination of characters you have, it is possible for one or both of them to die. For unskilled or new players, its almost a certainty.
- Artistic License – Biology: Noted in-universe in Mr. Walden's files. The mortifilia plant's behavior is so unusual that he can't believe it's real — its stems are completely dry, implying that it doesn't need water to live, and it is not only not photosynthetic, but exposure to the light actually damages it.
- Boobs of Steel: Ashley, the team brawler.
- Camera Fiend: Josh. Complete with an Apocalyptic Log by the second game.
- The Cheerleader: Ashley.
- Controllable Helplessness: Kenny during the Action Prologue, which is one big Fission Mailed, but moreso Dan during co-op, since he's killed barely a minute after the second player takes over.
- Decoy Protagonist: You play the prologue as Kenny, only for him to get captured, leading to you spending the first half of the game searching for him. However, you're reunited with him eventually, at which point you can play as him again.
- Duct Tape for Everything: You attach guns to flashlights using duct tape.
- Evil Teacher: Principal Friedman. Mr. Walden's behavior also grows increasingly erratic over the course of the game, the result of his infection with mortifilia spores.
- Expy: Stan looks and dresses much like Josh Hartnett did in The Faculty. One of the creators stated that if the game were adapted into a movie, he'd want Hartnett to play Stan.
- Final Death
- Fission Mailed: Dan has to die, and Kenny can't escape the school basement during the Action Prologue, even though the game makes it look like you're supposed to fight off the enemies and escape.
- Five-Man Band:
- Frickin' Laser Beams: A laser beam weapon can be found near the end of the game. It is powerful as all get out, but has limited juice and no extra batteries. A laser with unlimited battery life (albeit with a cooldown period like the flashlights) can be unlocked during a New Game+.
- Going for the Big Scoop: Josh and his camera. Leaves behind an Apocalyptic Log in the sequel.
- Guns Do Not Work That Way: The most powerful shotgun in the first game appears to be some kind of hybrid of a double-barrel and pump-action shotgun that, in real life, could not exist as a functional weapon. Likewise, you attach flashlights to guns by simply duct-taping them together; if the recoil alone didn't cause the flashlight to go flying, the operation of a semi-auto pistol's slide would do it instead. The only gun that should've been able to hold onto its flashlight was the pistol found in Friedman's safe, which had a light built in.
- High School
- I Know Madden Kombat: Kenny's special move is a rapid sprint that comes from his days on the basketball court.
- Intrepid Reporter: Josh. So intrepid he leaves behind an Apocalyptic Log in the sequel.
- Love Makes You Evil: The Big Bad, Principal Herbert Friedman, is kidnapping and experimenting on students in order to find a cure for his brother Leonard's illness.
- Madwoman in the Attic: Principal Friedman's grotesquely mutated brother is hidden in the school basement.
- Male Gaze: It's a good thing the girls can't tell where Josh points his camera.
- Multiple Endings: Two of them, with the deciding factor being whether all five characters survive to the end or not.
- New Game+: Special Mode, which gives the characters alternate costumes and puts two new weapons into the game: the Morgenstern bat (a spiked club that does as much damage as the revolver) replacing the baseball bat, and a pistol with a laser beam weapon attached replacing the flashlight-equipped pistol found in Friedman's safe.
- Ominous Latin Chanting: As performed by a creepy boy choir.
- Ordinary High-School Student
- Plotline Death: Averted, as characters could only be killed off through player incompetence (except for Dan). You could theoretically finish the game with all five characters still alive, or with only one. It takes a Total Party Kill to get a Game Over.
- Red Shirt: Dan. He accompanies Kenny during the Action Prologue, and is promptly killed for good in an effort to show that Anyone Can Die — which is actually true (see above).
- Sassy Black Woman: Ashley.
- School For Scheming: Leafmore was founded as a way to gain test subjects for Principal Friedman's experiments.
- School Newspaper Newshound: Josh and his trusty camera.
- In the first game, a flyer in the girls' bathroom in the administration building tries to warn people that aliens are among us, which the characters dismiss as paranoid nonsense — a reference to The Faculty, one of the game's main inspirations.
- There has to be a reason why the first game has characters named Stan, Kenny, and Mr. Garrison...
- Jedidiah in the second game is a fairly obvious one to Leatherface.
- In Final Exam, Nathan's monster-trap special attack is this to Ghostbusters, even referencing it in the description.
- Two-Teacher School: The only faculty members shown running around the school (besides Friedman, for obvious reasons) are the biology teacher Denny Walden, the nurse Elisabeth Wickson, and the janitor Mr. Garrison, who gets killed offscreen. Keeping in mind that most of this game takes place after school hours, there are no other teachers present during the opening scenes where school is in session. Just who's teaching these kids anyway?
- On that note, the only teacher present in the sequel is also a biology teacher.
- Zombie Infectee: The main characters all get infected by Friedman about halfway through the game; the rest of the game has them looking for the antidote before the sun rises and triggers mutations. Mr. Walden was also infected earlier on, and by the end of the game is too far gone to safely use the antidote.
Tropes in the second game
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.