Video Game / The Last Door

Malum in se note 

The Last Door is an episodic horror Adventure Game series set in 1890s Great Britain that puts the player in the shoes of Jeremiah Devitt, a man who's just received a strange and urgent letter from his old school pal, Anthony. When he reaches his friend's house, he finds everything in a very weird way: the house is seemingly deserted, spooky notes are scattered on the floor, and there's a murder of crows devouring... something in a very enthusiastically bloody way in the backyard. Obviously, Jeremiah has some questions and sets out to get to the bottom of this mystery. Using a traditional Point-and-Click Game layout very much akin to any given LucasArts Adventure Game, you'll guide Jeremiah as he unravels the mystery of what's occurred and why.

The game is played in chapters and takes Jeremiah from Anthony's estate to their old school and deep into the frightening past they shared. A great deal of attention is paid to the thoroughly unsettling atmosphere of the game, particularly in regards to the music and the basic quality of the graphics. The game's developer, The Game Kitchen, has indicated that two of their leading inspirations were H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe. It shows.

The game can be brought through Steam or be played on its official website here. Currently, the first season, consisting of four episodes has been completed, while a second season of another four episodes is currently in the works. In addition, several "minisodes" has been produced for the "Collector's Edition" version of the game.

Tropes Include:

  • Always Night: Most notable Episode 3 and 4. Chapter 1 and Chapter 7 both begin at sunset, however.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Did the events of Chapter 3 actually occur or were they all a hallucination? Not helping is a minisode in the Collector’s Edition where Dr. Kaufmann is interviewing a young woman with a story not unlike the one experienced in Chapter 3.
  • Ambiguously Evil: The nuns. We never find out enough to know if they were in on Father Ernest's use of the patients or if he did it all under their noses.
  • Anachronism Stew: The "Impossible Love" segment is done in the style of an early silent film melodrama, complete with intertitles and piano music. But the games take place in 1891, before films were ever long enough to warrant intertitle exposition and when such short moving pictures were still enough of a novelty in and of themselves that piano music had yet to be introduced to accompany the images.
  • Animal Motifs: To an extent. Crows (or ravens) appear to be a symbol for whatever strange malevolent force the schoolboys and Father Ernest awoke when they "parted the Veil."
    • There's also the parable about a rabbit tricking its predators that alludes to something not quite explained yet.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: According to Alexandre, Devitt was the one most devoted to crossing the Veil before he lost his memories. When Alexandre tries to bring him back, Devitt is so horrified at what the efforts of crossing the Veil have wrought upon Anthony and Father Ernest that he sets out to completely erase the Playwright from existence.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Versions not lethal to their writers show up in Chapters 2 (regarding the closing boarding school), Chapter 4 (regarding Alexandre’s deteriorating condition), and Chapter 6 (regarding Professor Wright’s experiments). Chapter 7 features a more traditional version written by Brighid Laidcend.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Season 1
  • Behind the Black: There are two instances (namely, the crows tapping on the glass before breaking into the attic in Chapter 1, the circle of rabbits in Chapter 2) where Devitt ought to have been able to see the scary things approaching but apparently didn't react because they were concealed from the player by text boxes. The latter is somewhat justified by it being in a Nightmare Sequence.
  • Bedlam House: The setting of Chapter 5, East Hill Mental Asylum.
  • Big Bad Friend: For Devitt, Alexandre. For Dr. Wakefield, Devitt.
  • Blond Guys Are Evil: As noted below, Alexandre was the fairest-haired amongst the Four Witnesses, and he also is the only one of them who wasn't horrified by what happened when they pierced the Veil but rather amazed by it to the point where he is trying to replicate the result.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: A male version with Devitt's circle of friends from the boarding school; he is the redhead, Anthony is the brunette, and Alexandre is the blonde.
  • Boarding School of Horrors: The setting of Chapter 2. Mainly due to the ritual performed by the Four Witnesses
  • Body Horror: Hugo’s fate.
  • Buried Alive: This is what happened to Baldwin’s victims.
  • Campbell Country: Large, isolated, rundown estates in the English countryside at dusk? Oh, yes!
  • Cat Scare: Just once, so far. And unlike most examples of this, it was meaningfully connected with the plot. See Eye Scream.
  • Christianity Is Catholic: Father Ernest and Mother Elizabeth are two prominent examples. It also appears that Jeremiah and Anthony's school was run by the Catholic church.
    • Also worth noting is one of Anthony's servants: the only religious object you can find in the mansion is a rosary.
  • Creepy Crows: Crows, particularly aggressive ones at that, are a recurring presence.
  • Daylight Horror: Though the entirety of Chapter 6 takes place during the day, it does nothing to deaden the fear of the manor’s basement, the cave, or the bizarre manner of Professor Wright’s death.
  • Down the Rabbit Hole: The climax of Chapter 2 invokes this motif heavily.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Dr. Wakefield's dream about meeting the man on crutches in an alley in the beginning of Chapter 5 eventually comes true.
    • Also in Chapter 5, Dr. Wakefield dreams of a conversation he eventually ends up having in Chapter 8.
  • Driven to Suicide: Anthony at the start of Chapter One, Monsignor Father Ernest at the end of chapter two.
  • Drone of Dread: Most notably in Chapters 6 and 7.
  • Eldritch Abomination: This is what the Eye of the Bird appears to be.
  • Eldritch Location: The Veil and Zha’ilathal
  • Empty Piles of Clothing: After comforting the nun at the window and watching her leave the room in Chapter 2, Devitt can find her abandoned clothes laying on the beach.
    • There's another, far creepier example in chapter 5, where you find a yellow robe and a cultist mask. What makes it creepy is that, until you remove the mask, it looks like someone is wearing them.
  • Eye Scream: Quite a few times now.
    • The first, and most memorable so far, is when Devitt breaks open a weak wall of fresh concrete in Anthony's basement and discovers a live cat trapped behind it. Its eyes have been torn out, presumably by Anthony,as there is a note written by him that suggests that he blinded the cat himself in his madness as a form of "punishing him for his mockery".
    • There's also the recurring allusions to the Eye of the Bird in both Devitt's nightmares and in Father Ernest's ravings. And Father Ernest burned out his own eyes.
  • Fantastic Drug: The “Hoopoe”, the name of the serum granting access through the Veil.
  • Foregone Victory: Despite the horrors Devitt and Dr. Wakefield face, dying while playing is impossible.
  • Four Is Death: Certainly seems to be! The Four Witnesses do not appear to be faring well.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom/Hellish Pupils/Black Eyes of Evil: All very good descriptions of The Eye of the Bird.
  • Guide Dang It: The one and only use for the rolled-up music score in Chapter 3 isn't easily discerned: you have to make Devitt blow through it at the feather in the cage.
  • Hammer Space
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Dr. Wakefield’s fate if you go behind the curtain at the end of Chapter 8.
  • Herr Doktor: Dr. Kaufmann.
  • Humans Are Cthulhu: The Mr. Rabbit story takes this approach with its Sudden Downer Ending. It serves as a microcosm of the overall plot of the series.
  • Humanoid Abomination: At the end of Chapter 6.
  • I Love the Dead: The "Impossible Love" film in Episode 2.
  • Idiot Ball: Devitt and Wakefield continually walk into situations that most sane people would run screaming away from. While they have their reasons to push on, there's often the feeling that continuing on into that creepy, dark cave is a really bad idea, But Thou Must.
  • In Media Res: Chapter 4
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Dr. Kaufmann succumbs to this in the beginning of Chapter 7.
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: Devitt is a university teacher in Classic Philosophy and has dedicated much of his life to his studies and as a result he leads a lonely life.
  • Jump Scare: The game's usual M.O. These are particularly effective when punctuating the eerie, spooky atmosphere that the games very effectively cultivate. Special mention goes to the one at the keyhole in Chapter 3. Even though you're expecting it, it doesn't actually happen until the third time you check the keyhole. The stress of knowing something is coming but now having no idea when makes its appearance all the worse.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Devitt was a victim of this entirely forgetting the experiment at the old boarding school. Turns out though he was much more involved in the Playwright society, and it was a second attempt to cross the Veil that erased his memories of the experiments.
  • Little Bit Beastly: Apparently part of the nature of people in Eilis Mor: developing animal heads on otherwise human bodies as a result of exploring the Veil.
  • Mad Scientist: Professor Wright.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: As-yet-unidentified people in yellow robes and white masks appear at the end of Chapter 3. They're apparently part of some cabal that worships the Bird/Eye of the Bird/King of Birds. They also offer Jeremiah a mask of his own, which he apparently accepts.
  • Man Child: Cattie, an elderly woman who still dresses and acts as she did back when she was a child prodigy stage singer in the 1840s.
  • Mind Screw: Plenty, and there's little explanation for any of it so far. Particularly near the end of chapter 3.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Anthony’s reason for suicide. Explored in more detail in Chapter 8: the guilt of losing his wife and dragging Devitt back into the Playwright.
  • Nothing is Scarier
  • Ominous Fog
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: At the climax of Chapter 2.
  • Opium Den: One shows up near the end of chapter 5.
  • Parental Abandonment: A flashback shows that Devitt's father shipped him off to boarding school after his mother died, with the excuse that "a man of his stature cant be bothered to raise a little boy", and tells him to not bother writing home.
  • Posthumous Character: Anthony Beechworth. While he does show up alive in the first game long enough to kill himself, we mostly learn of him and how he drives the plot after he dies. Especially since The Five Arches short story prologue is from his point of view.
  • Retraux: In two ways, primarily:
  • River of Insanity: Downplayed in The Five Arches, as they don't spend much time on the river; most of the story deals with them confronting Far, Far worse things.
  • Room Full of Crazy: There's more than a few.
  • Sanity Slippage
  • Scare Chord: There are many of these throughout the game. A notable example occurs when Devitt finds the note saying 'Baldwin lies' in the missing patient's bed.
  • The Scream: Chapter 4. Shows back up in Chapter 8 as well.
  • Secret Circle of Secrets: Shows up at the end of chapter 3, but there's hints of it in chapter 4 And may be related to the bunny scene in chapter 2. It doesn't help that this overlaps with the Mind Screw stuff that's going on.
  • Self-Immolation: Father Ernest sets himself on fire with a dropped lantern in the end of Chapter 2.
  • Shout-Out:
    • A couple to the The Raven
      • Upon looking through a keyhole, Devitt will comment "Darkness there, and nothing more."
      • An Easter Egg with a raven that says "Nevermore"
    • Devitt meets Alexandre and his cult in a theatre. The cult are all wearing yellow robes and masks.
    • The Angel statues that moves on their own accord in Episode 4 whenever someone aren't watching them. Now, were has something like that been seen before?
    • Chapter 7 is a massive shout out to the classic version of The Wicker Man. Which makes it all the more creepy if you've actually seen the film, but have no choice but to press on.
  • The Shrink: Dr. Wakefield and Dr. Kaufmann are both Type 3 - Dr. Wakefield for his dedication to helping Devitt, and Dr. Kaufmann for his clear knowledge on the dangers being faced.
  • Sinister Minister: Father Ernest, though it eventually gets revealed that he became that way because of some pitiable circumstances.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: While the music's generally on-tone with lots of dramatic strings and eerie laments, there are three instances of dissonance that deserve mention:
    • While in Anthony's manor house, you can turn on a gramophone that plays a cheerful, jaunty song, although it's in need of tuning.
    • While wandering the sewers in London, you can hear the pleasant hummed tune of "Hush Little Baby." It's creepy in context, but it still sounds nice. The singing is the spirit of a singer named Daphne, whose body grew into the tree found in the sewers
    • The "Impossible Love" film depicts a man romancing a corpse and scores it with a very sweet, treacly song.
    • Also worth a mention is the rather dainty and upbeat waltz playing as you seek Professor Wright's hidden tunnel through a creepy cave.
  • Starts with a Suicide: The opening of Chapter 1 has the player guiding Anthony to pick up a rope, sling it over a rafter, climb up onto a chair...
  • Sudden Downer Ending: An In-Universe example with the Mr. Rabbit story in Chapter 2. It starts off as a lighthearted story in the tradition of Br'er Rabbit, with Mr. Rabbit tricking a wolf, a vulture, and a snake in order to keep them from eating him. Then, in the middle of his getaway, Mr. Rabbit is abruptly killed by a human hunter. It mirrors how the interaction between Eldritch Abomination(s) and humans marks a sudden shift in the nature of human affairs.
  • Surreal Horror: There are numerous scenes that don't seem related to the main plot and feel like something out of a David Lynch film. Particularly the Rabbit Scene. This and the fact that they don't have any explanation makes them even more haunting and disturbing.
  • Stage Dad: Seems to have been the case with the delusional Cattie's father, who forced her to endlessly rehearse and repeat her songs and dances, and became violent and abusive when she asked to play outside after an 8 hour day of practice. Its implied she murdered him to put an end to it
  • The Drunken Sailor: Fred, one of the men Dr. Wakefield talks to in the Fisherman’s Lodge in Chapter 6.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted; Devitt visits a therapist in Episode 2 in an attempt to get over seeing Anthony's dead body and all of the terrifying visions since. And this in 1890 where psychological therapy was still kind of an obscure treatment.
  • These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: Literally a plot point, with the way the Veil is described.
  • Title Drop: Found in the recording that Dr. Kaufmann discovers in Chapter 6. "Primal terror is the key that we will use to open the Last Door."
  • Tomato in the Mirror: The founder of the Playwright organization is Jeremiah Devitt.
  • Town With a Dark Secret: Eilis Mor
  • Was Once a Man:Implied with the monster in chapter 6.