Video Game: Viscera Cleanup Detail

Have you ever played through a first person shooter or watched a sci-fi movie, seen somebody be reduced to Ludicrous Gibs and think "Boy, I feel sorry for whoever has to clean that up"? In Viscera Cleanup Detail, that "whoever" is you.

Viscera Cleanup Detail is an indie first-person simulator game, developed by Runestorm and early released in April 2014. In this game you play as a janitor that's been sent to clean up after major battles in various space stations and such. No problem, you say? Not when the said area is one giant mess of body parts, gore, blood, shell casings, bullet holes, and rubbish. You are judged by how well you clean the entire place, if you've stored all the crates and barrels in the marked zones, if you've resupplied the med kits, and whether you filled out your paperwork.

There are two side games, Viscera Cleanup Detail: Santa's Rampage and Viscera Cleanup Detail: Shadow Warrior. In Santa's Rampage, you are tasked with cleaning up the bloody aftermath of a North Pole workshop following Santa's rampage, while Shadow Warrior has you cleaning up the temple's interior from the retrospective game's first level following Lo Wang's skirmish through it.

Viscera Cleanup Detail provides examples of:

  • Accentuate the Negative / Ungrateful Bastard: Try to leave the tiniest, most barely noticeable smear of blood or whatever, or just about anything that doesn't result in the place being 100% spotless, and the fellow co-workers will give you a feedback that makes you look like the worst employee in the world. If the place isn't cleaned up in at least 95%, the inspector will react as if you didn't do any cleaning at all.
  • Adminisphere: While nothing the player can do will result in a Game Over, doing a poor job will leave them with memos in their office detailing that they are being demoted, having their pay cut, their office be made smaller, and their position on the requisition wait list reduced. Contrarily, doing a good job will result in a notification of these things getting improved and an "Employee of the Month" picture to hang on their wall.
  • Alien Blood: The giblets of alien creatures tend to have greenish or yellowish blood splattered around.
  • Anti-Frustration Features
    • You can bring up the console and use cheat codes if you think you are missing something but can't find it. Also useful to getting at gibs that you can't reach.
      • Aside from the console, it's possible to cycle through different rendering modes. The wireframe mode makes it easier to spot items outside of the level geometry while the world normal mode makes objects and stains stand out clearly.
    • Some things may prove difficult to handle (like large bodies or body parts). You can use the Welder gun to cut it down to more manageable chunks, but you have to be careful not to go too crazy or you'll leave burn marks all over the place (which you'll need to clean up).
    • The Sniffer tool can detect both organic and non-organic trash that you may have missed. It also detects scorch marks, blood, ichor, and bullet holes.
  • Bloody Handprint: Seen occasionally.
  • Brick Joke: A rather morbid one. In the options, the tooltip for the View Bob-Setting mentions that if you see Bob, you should report it to security immediately. If you explore your office's locked rooms you find his "collection" of various body parts and a coworker he killed. He's currently on the run from the company.
  • Christmas Episode: Viscera Cleanup Detail: Santa's Rampage is this.
  • Cleanup Crew: The heroes of this game.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: The dying workers will sometimes write a generally nihilistic message in blood before dying. It gets cleaned up like the rest.
  • Creepy Souvenir: As you can steal any item that fits in your trunk, it's entirely possible to make off with body parts or even entire corpses and store them in your office. Bob had a collection of viscera hidden in the sewer room, the discovery of which prompted him to commit murder and go on the run.
    • There are achievements for collecting heads in the main game and Santa's Rampage.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: If you manage to die, you'll respawn with none of your cleaning undone, unless your cause of death was being blown up, in which case, you'll then have to throw your own giblets into the incinerator.
    • For the player it's cheap, but the "respawn" is a different employee sent in to cover for the deceased one.
  • Desecrating The Dead: You can do this to corpses, playing with the parts, dismembering them further, arranging them, or whatever takes your fancy. If reporting on how the corpse was handled there are fields for "Malicious", "Obscene", and "I Like Corpses".
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The business end of the Sniffer tool. Take a guess what it reminds you of.
  • Epic Fail / Finagle's Law: If you neglect to leave your workspace totally spotless, a news article will appear detailing how it caused something to go improbably wrong. Left a bucket sitting around? Someone trips over it and breaks their neck. Missed a bullet hole? Some poor sap's going to have a PTSD flashback and go on a rampage. Nice job breaking it, janitor.
  • Exploding Barrels: Barrels marked with flammable warning signs explode if placed in the incinerator or shot with the welder, spreading extra soot.
  • Fake Difficulty:
    • Some maps tend to have giblets and blood splatters place out of reach of the player character. The problem? Until the v0.38 update introduced the J-HARM, a portable elevator platform, Viscera Cleanup Detail had no implemented ladders or similar tools. To reach them, you either have to tediously stack up several crates nearby, or if that wasn't an option, use cheat codes to fly to them. The map Athena's Wrath takes this Up to Eleven; there are several very high windows holding rubbish, blood splatters, giblets, and a Plasma Welder. The map would have been a Breather Level had the player had the proper tool to easily reach the window ledges. Made funnier by the briefing page telling you this was supposed to be an easy level. If you had a second player with you, however, you could simply stand on any object and have them lift you up instead.
    • Some maps have bullet holes camouflaged against certain wall textures a little too well; the rock walls in Unearthly Excavation and Unrefinery are examples of this.
    • The collision engine can introduce elements of this when filling bins or stacking objects in the bonus areas. A bin filled with small objects can shift its contents around and even push items out while not moving. The same can happen if barrels or crates are stacked too close togther, as they can cause the entire piled to shift and collapse. This is especially bad in Unrefinery where the zones require four or five layers to stack all items.
    • On larger maps vending machines and incinerators located in out of the way spots significantly increase the game length solely due to increasing the amount of time you spend walking back and forth. Even worse are maps where the machines are not grouped together but scattered around.
  • Footprints of Muck: Walking through slime, dirty water, or blood will coat your boots in it, making you leave behind dirty footprints for a short while.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Some bodies are cut cleanly in half at the waist and otherwise untouched. If filling out a report on the body's disposal the correct category for its condition is "Halved".
  • Hope Spot: Intact bodies are easy to dispose of but are relatively rare. This makes the presence of seemingly intact bodies which fall apart into a dozen pieces when touched a minor example of this.
  • Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: The crew of the ship in Gravity Engine were apparently driven insane after using the experimental engine and seeing things outside the windows. Whether there was anything out there or it was just in their minds is not entirely clear.
  • Incompetence, Inc.: The company the player character works for regularly suffers from alien invasion, escaped mutant experiments, and any other set of messy blunders one can think of. Memos the player can read in their office implies that janitors are expected to do poor jobs, even the character can crank off early and count on the union to protect them (though this will not prevent their entirely meaningless demotion.)
  • Kill It with Fire: The main way of getting rid of giblets, shell casings and rubbish; you can either throw them into an incinerator, or in certain maps, burn them away with the Plasma Welder.
  • Kleptomaniac Janitor: There is a blue trunk (which is yours) and you can keep anything that you can stuff into that trunk. There is an achievement that entails taking the heads of all 5 species (including humans) into your office using the trunk, and the Shadow Warrior and Santa's Rampage games also have achievements that involve using the trunk.
  • Level Editor: The main game comes with one. Additionally, the v0.39 update introduced Steam Workshop compatibility.
  • Luck-Based Mission: The bucket and basket machines may randomly drop body parts that will dirty up the machine. The basket machine can get really nasty with the body parts as it can drop up to six body parts at a time, and it can drop multiple times in a row.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Basically, the enemy in this game. Intact bodies are actually extremely rare and in early maps aren't present at all.
  • Mundane Made Slightly Less Mundane: Sure, you're still cleaning up messes as a janitor, but said messes included disemboweled corpses, chunks of dead aliens, shell casings, and blood smears.
  • No Antagonist: The aliens are long gone (and likely fresh meat) by the time you reach the scene.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Did a perfect job? Your coworkers will hate you and send you death threats.
  • Rustproof Blood: Blood is always red and wet while cleaning, apparently never drying or changing color. Additionally water used to clean mops turn red rather than a realistic yellow.
  • The Scapegoat: The janitorial staff will always be the main focus of blame if something goes wrong due to leaving behind a stain or piece of garbage. The mistakes of other people involved are usually overlooked.
    • One of the more blatant examples is if all planters in Hydroponic Hell are not filled. Despite it not being part of a janitor's job, the people actually responsible for the task complain about it and Administration plays along because they hate the janitors.
  • Scenery Gorn: The levels when you enter them are absolute messes of dead bodies, Ludicrous Gibs, bullet holes, scorch marks, overturned furnishings, and blood splatters, showing something absolutely horrific happened here. Your job is to turn that all around and leave it spotless.
  • Schmuck Bait: Do not put a lantern into a bucket of water.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Spill one too many dirty buckets? Too much gore? Sick of the job? You can clock out whenever you want, even before you clean a single thing.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One of the levels contains a digital data pad with a log entry by one "Dr. Jordan Friedmann", a Theoretical Cryogenicist, who with his Dangerous Environment Vest and trusty prying bar is going to get to the facility's armory and fight back against the monsters now stalking the halls in the wake of a failed experiment. Remind you of anyone?
    • Santa's Rampage is one big shout out to "Weird Al" Yankovic's song "The Night Santa Went Crazy".
    • Gravity Drive is an obvious homage to Event Horizon, with a crew driven insane by horrors outside their ship during the maiden voyage of an experimental warp engine. Said engine is a near exact copy of the movie, complete with pointless spikes. The tagline on the Punchomatic even references spacefolding by noting the shortest distance between two points is zero.
    • Unrefinery was overrun when "Mantis" aliens from below the surface were disturbed by the excavation.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Unearthly Excavation has several piles of TNT that appropriately explode when thrown into the incinerator or fried with the Plasma Welder. Blowing up another player in multiplayer gives you an achievement. The Santa's Rampage side game also features TNT that work in the same way.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option:
    • Several achievements in the main game ask you to do stuff that you wouldn't think of intentionally doing. One achievement asks you to spill 100 dirty buckets, while another tasks you to track over 20,000 footprints, and another even wants you to punch out with a mess so bad that you get fired. The most ridiculous one by far asks you to get eaten by one of the pit creatures in Unearthly Excavation. The Santa's Rampage side game also gives you an achievement for blowing yourself up with TNT, as well as punching out with a worse mess.
    • If you manage to get a perfect score on the level, your character ends up being invited to a ceremony meant to congratulate them for their excellent work effort. However, during this ceremony, your character grabs the Idiot Ball and shakes hands with the station mayor without taking off his blood-soaked gloves, which results in the mayor getting a nasty infection. Because of this, the award he was going to receive is forfeit and he "only" gets an "Employee of the Month" award instead. There is absolutely nothing you can do to prevent this from happening. And this happens every time you get a perfect score.
  • Super OCD: You will probably develop this if you want to get a good score in this game.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: While the player is safe, in Zero-G Therapy you can throw trash out an airlock. Seeing as the incinerator is located on the roof, it's much easier to use the airlock.
    • Gravity Drive has a two-door airlock system which will kill any janitor inside if depressurized. It's also the only way to get rid of trash for the level.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: In Unearthly Excavation, there is a creature that looks like the Sarlacc Pit from Star Wars. You can feed it practically anything and it'll eat it. It will also eat you if you decide to jump in (in which your clone will take over the job afterwards).
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: However, if the above creature eats too much, it may vomit the items back out, possibly creating a big mess.