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Video Game: The Consuming Shadow
Try not to go mad and shoot yourself. This is important.

A shadow is trying to enter our world. One of the Ancients. Its presence is felt all over the country as its looming shadow slowly twists, perverts, and poisons the minds of men, and turns the towns it touches into festering breeding grounds for its horrifying minions. It will arrive in three days at Stonehenge where the barrier between the worlds is at its weakest. The good news is that the right ritual will banish it and put a stop to its invasion attempt, the bad news is that you are not sure which of the Ancients is the force behind it all, and performing the wrong ritual will undoubtedly make the already bleak situation much, much worse.

You know what you must do: explore places touched by the Ancients, fight its minions, and assemble clues to piece together the banishment ritual and the identity of the invading god, while trying to keep your own rapidly deteriorating grasp on reality from slipping too far in the process. But you are not sure how you know all of this. For some reason you can't shake the sensation of deja vu, as if you have done all of this before...

The Consuming Shadow is a Lovecraftian Roguelike by Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw, inspired by Eternal Darkness, FTL: Faster Than Light, and the board game Arkham Horror. The game is still under development, but is currently available as a public beta at Yahtzee's website.

Tropes:

  • Alternate Universe: Every playthrough is implied to be this.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: A teased feature. Yahtzee has mentioned that he plans on implementing other playable characters in future versions of the game.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Sealing the correct Ancient One without going insane ends the game with you getting a text-message from "T," your friend in the Ministry of Occult Affairs, telling you that he has a little job for you.
  • Anonymous Benefactor: You sometimes receive random donations, and oftentimes, from untraceable numbers.
  • Badass Bookworm: The main character is a scholar, and he's quite the master of kicking eldritch ass.
  • Bittersweet Ending: If you seal the correct Ancient One while insane, your character becomes an institutionalized paranoid schizophrenic, but in the real world the shadow is gone.
  • Body Horror: This happened to many of the victims, and at least a few of the monsters. For example, bursting boils in the back of the throat.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: Yep.
  • Determinator:
    • There's no point in trying to fight the Tall Man or the Hunter, you can only run. If one is blocking the only exit to the room, well...
    • The protagonist is definitely one, considering all the crap he goes through in the average game. You can be bleeding, have a broken arm and a broken leg, and he'll still force himself onward.
  • Downer Ending: Any ending where you fail, essentially.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • The protagonist will attempt to shoot himself if his sanity is too low, but the player can prevent him from doing so. It gets harder the lower his sanity is, and virtually impossible if it is especially low.
    • You can also shoot yourself at the main menu, before even playing the game!
    • If the player fails to get to Stonehenge in 72 hours, the protagonist shoots himself to avoid getting absorbed by the darkness.
    • And if you banish the wrong god, the invading one leaves you alone, possibly seeing you as an ally. Your character considers living through the apocalypse... but decides not.
  • Drugs Are Good: They fill up sanity, although they wear off over time.
  • Enemy Mine: Of the three Ancient ones, the one that is neither the invader, the accomplice, or a bystander is trying to help humans for its own reasons. This doesn't mean that he'll tell his monsters to stop eating you, though.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: The revelation of basically everything relating to the shadows will decrease sanity. Magic burns even more.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: The good ending: The protagonist has managed to seal away the invading god, and didn't go insane from his experiences, but no one other than him and the Ministry of Occult Affairs will ever understand the strange events that plagued the country or know that he saved the world from utter oblivion.
  • I Have Your Wife: "We know where your children sleep. They will be eaten first. Greased and spit roasted alive as they howl for their father."
  • Interface Screw: At low sanity...
    • the screen periodically gets covered in a static effect while an ominous sound plays, lowering your field of vision.
    • the investigation options have a constant chance of randomly turning into a prompt for the player to kill himself.
    • a visual effect similar to vision spots randomly occur, distracting you.
    • the screen can flashes repeatedly as you enter a room, obscuring your vision as a monster approaches.
    • there's a chance you'll be shown as having no ammo and won't be able to fire, though the effect leaves and you get your ammo back when you leave the room.
    • when you enter a dungeon, the objective that usually scrolls across the screen can randomly switch to messages like "imsorryimsorryimsorry" or "helpmehelpmehelpme."
    • a monster might approach, then disappear the moment you attack, possibly wasting a bullet.
    • while driving, random faces or hands, in complete white will show up in front of the windscreen out of nowhere, then disappear immediately after.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The narration at the beginning of the game.
    Example: For some reason I can't shake the sensation of deja vu. I have memories of assembling a ritual, fleeing through darkened hallways, and firing a gun at something unimaginable. I feel like some distant part of me may have died this way. Hundreds of times. Perhaps thousands.
  • Lovecraft Country: The whole of Britain, apparently.
  • The Masquerade: Some scenes have the protagonist reinforce this, e.g. telling a man that the monsters who attacked him were actually youths in halloween costumes.
  • Mental Time Travel: It's implied your character is doing this each time you restart, serving as the explanation as why you retain your levels.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • References to Chzo Mythos are scattered all over the place.
    • Chzo is one of the possible Ancients, with his servant, The Tall Man, as an end-of-dungeon pursuer. Although, he is not necessarily the god of pain in this game, nor is the Tall Man necessarily his minion.
    • You work for the Ministry of Occult Affairs, same as Trilby had been recruited to.
    • Some messages are sent by "T", who may well be Trilby.
    • "Objective: pain pain pain pain pain pain pain" (a reference to "it hurts")
  • Nintendo Hard: A given, it's a roguelike after all.
  • No Name Given: According to Word of God, the main character has no name for immersion purposes.
  • Press X to Not Die: Rapidly click the mouse to pull your gun away from your head!
  • Puppeteer Parasite: One enemy is a guy colonized by the small, Spider-like enemies who crawls slowly towards you. Kill the host and a horde of them jumps off his corpse.
  • Sanity Meter: Sanity is generally easy to lose and hard to recover. The only thing that permanently restores it is a small number of random events or one of the more helpful runes you may find inscribed on walls.
  • Sanity Slippage:
    • The protagonist is already doubting from the beginning if everything he experiences is truly real. It only gets worse from there.
    • Also happens to "T" from the Ministry.
    "Been rolling my cyanide pill around my mouth all morning, wondering if I should bite it. Tastes like one of those chewable vitamins. -T"
  • Shout-Out: Many of the equippable items are from other Survival Horror games.
    • The flashlight is taken from Silent Hill 2.
    • The stock to stabilize your aim comes from Resident Evil.
  • Too Awesome to Use: The spells - because you really don't want to go to zero sanity until you're at Stonehenge. And then, when you do reach zero sanity and try to cast a spell, "I can't... I can't focus."

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