Video Game / Viscera Cleanup Detail

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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. It entered Early Access in April 2014 and was fully released in October 2015.

The year is 2183 and you are a janitor working for Aerospace Sanitation Inc. The Company takes contract work from other space-faring corporations and as a result you are sent to clean up various space stations, colonies, and ships. No problem, you say? Not when these locations have been the sites of major catastrophes, leaving them one giant mess of body parts, gore, blood, shell casings, bullet holes, and rubbish. Your job is to take out the trash and leave the place sparkling.

You enter each level with four tools: A mop for cleaning up blood, soot, and other fluids; a "sniffer" that can detect nearby messes; a PDA for taking notes; and your hands for picking up trash. Additional tools such as brooms, shovels, and welding lasers can be found within the level. Vending machines produce buckets for cleaning mops, bins for collecting trash, and other useful items while incinerators dispose of any trash. At the end of your shift the Company will evaluate your performance based on how thoroughly the site was cleaned. Bonus points can be earned by stowing cargo properly, filling out paperwork, and performing other menial tasks.

There are three side games: Viscera Cleanup Detail: Santa's Rampage, Viscera Cleanup Detail: House of Horror, and Viscera Cleanup Detail: Shadow Warrior. In Santa's Rampage you are tasked with cleaning up the bloody aftermath of Santa's homicidal rampage at his North Pole workshop. House of Horror is a Halloween-theme level taking place in a haunted suburban house and its surroundings. Shadow Warrior has you cleaning up the temple from said game's first level following Lo Wang's departure.

Viscera Cleanup Detail provides examples of:

  • Accentuate the Negative / Ungrateful Bastard: Leave a single piece of rubbish or drop of blood uncleaned and your co-workers will give you 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 you can do will result in a Game Over, doing a poor job will result in memos detailing your demotion, pay cuts, reduced office size, and lost spot on the requisition wait list. The worst that can happen is being fired, which destroys any items collected in your Office. 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.
    • Notably despite all the memos about gaining or losing privileges, nothing actually changes about your office.
    • Many mission briefings shows signs of the disconnect between the administration and janitors. This ranges from casually dismissing potential safety hazards and hostile aliens to casually dismissing the death of the previous janitor assigned to the job.
  • Alien Blood: The giblets of alien creatures splatter green or yellow blood.
  • 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.
    • While carrying items clicking the fire button will turn them right-side up but holding the button will allow you to rotate the item to whatever angle you desire. This makes stacking items and storing trophies neatly much easier. Additionally, while most objects "snap" to upright when you click, a bucket full of liquid will rotate slowly so it doesn't trigger a spill.
  • Artifact of Doom: The artifact in Unearthly Excavation drove the miners and archaeologists insane. Those who didn't feed themselves to the sand worms killed one another.
  • 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: Messages written in human blood are common, left by either the victims or killers depending on situation. They get cleaned up like the rest of the blood.
  • Crate Expectations: Crates and barrels of varying design are scattered around every level. Stowing them in marked cargo areas rewards bonus points, which requires careful stacking due to limited space.
  • Crawl: The News Ticker machine appears in some maps and streams a number of stories. The stories largely focus on the "heroes" who created the messes you're cleaning up and the various antics of their new celebrity status. The ticker specifically provides examples of:
    • Artificial Meat: One story notes that "pasture produced meat products" haven't been used in more than a century.
    • Celebrity Endorsement: Some of the stories are blatant endorsements by said heroes.
    • Paparazzi: Several stories are largely gossip about the heroes and their activities, up to and including their lunch. The news service providing said stories is "Papanazzi".
  • 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.
  • Cub Cues Protective Parent: The scientists in Paintenance Tunnels were experimenting on the local underwater fauna. They realized too late that they were the offspring of an absolutely enormous creature.
  • 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".
    • Some aliens do this to their human victims as well. In Hydroponic Hell some of the mutants completely dismantled several corpses and arranged them in a ritual pattern.
  • 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 have giblets and blood splatters placed out of the player's reach. 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. Reaching them required finicky crate stacking or cheat codes.
      • The map Athena's Wrath took 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; without them a massive amount of cleaning cannot be done and the bullet holes cannot be repaired.
    • 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.
    • Alien blood is a rather dull color which can make it difficult to spot on metal and rock surfaces, which are exceedingly common. This means it's entirely possible to do a thorough mopping of an area without noticing large splatters of alien blood.
  • Fake Longevity: 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. Some maps also include bloody alien footprints which can sometimes go onto the walls.
  • Gale-Force Sound: "The Bigbanger Supernova Edition" in-game radio. While the regular Bigbangs won a contest by having "Earth-shattering" loudness, they only produce enough sound to be heard throughout the level and bounce around a bit. The "Supernova" edition on the other hand will automatically default to its loudest setting, which is louder than any other effect in the game. At the same time it will shake nearby objects, send smaller objects flying, and even shake the bucket machines and bin machines in to producing buckets and bins.
    • Oh, and it also ignites any nearby flares or explosives. The radio is first encountered in the Unearthly Excavation level which coincidentally has a large amount of explosives.
  • Gameplay Grading: After completing a level an inspector will evaluate your performance and give you a percentage score based on how well you cleaned. No cleaning is 0%, 100% is fully cleaned; negative percentages can appear if you actually make a bigger mess. If your score is too low, you'll be fired and not receive an achievement for completing the level.
    • Side objectives add extra points to your rating, allowing completion above 100%. This also includes your end-mission reports which are graded based on your accuracy in number of items dealt with and details of a victim's death.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Some bodies are cut in half at the waist. If filling out a report on the body's disposal the correct category for its condition is "Halved", in addition to any other mutilations.
  • 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 player works for a company contracted to maintain various space stations and colonies. Memos the player can read in their office implies that janitors are expected to do poor jobs. The union covers for janitors who do incomplete jobs, though it's not competent enough to ensure properly functioning equipment or job safety. Your office is located on a space station which is home to many of the other maps, all of which have suffered some catastrophe unrelated to one another within the same year.
    • Even outside of your station, ships and colonies regularly suffer from alien invasion, escaped mutant experiments, and any other set of messy blunders one can think of.
  • 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.
  • Late to the Tragedy: Everyone's already dead and the monsters are gone. All that's left is corpses and bits of story from which you can piece together how they ended up that way.
  • Level Editor: The main game comes with one. Additionally, the v0.39 update introduced Steam Workshop compatibility.
  • Locked Door: On some levels there are locked doors that only open when you enter a code on the keypad. Thankfully a datapad nearby usually has the number needed.
    • In the Office there are three locked doors hiding Bob's "collection", Bob's special collection, and Dave's corpse. Two have codes which can be determined based on the panel flickering when a correct number is entered while the third requires a keycard.
  • 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.
  • Mutagenic Goo: Caduceus contains several vials of glowing green goo, namely samples of an alien virus. It infects and transforms anything that comes into contact with it.
  • 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 for taking their promotion.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Briefings usually warn that the location is most likely safe but there are no guarantees. The J-HARM malfunctions frequently as do the vending machines, the furnace apparently emits toxic gases, and any on-site deaths merely result in another employee being sent in with no delay.
    • Gravity Drive has two open shafts with no guardrails which lead to thirty foot plunges, one of them directly onto the titular spiky, rotating engine.
  • Not Enough to Bury: Aside from bodies reduced to chunks of meat, some are outright disintegrated or liquefied.
  • Our Slogan Is Terrible At the end of an advertisement for the J-HARM lift, the sentence "You can't afford to be safe anymore!"
  • Palette Swap: Three of the alien species are identical aside from difference in coloration and skin texture.
  • Plant Aliens: Athena's Wrath was home to research on sentient alien plantlife, specifically breeding to create variants capable of guard duty. Things went predictably sour.
    • Hydroponic Hell had Plant Mutants, created due to splicing plant and animal genes in an attempt to create new products.
  • Punny Name: While most name tags are randomly generated, some are pre-determined and obvious puns. For example, in the underwater Paintenance Tunnel level there are names such as Dr. Pescador, George Seaman, and Keel Ovaar.
  • 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.
    • Scenery Porn: Some of the levels are surprisingly breath-taking once cleaned and the stackables are moved to their zones.
  • 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.
  • Strawman News Media: The News Ticker and various articles in your office are written by an obviously biased staff. The News Ticker is blatantly in love with heroes, depicting them as unable to do wrong, while the articles heap constant abuse on the janitorial staff. They are almost solely fluff with only a few articles of actual journalistic merit, and then only due to a massive disaster.
  • 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.
  • Testosterone Poisoning: The game pokes fun at the over-the-top violence of video game protagonists with their mission orders and various news stories. The orders include secondary objectives such as "Kick alien ass!" while news stories involve them being hyper violent and one giving a near-incomprehensible speech at an academy which boiled down to "Those bastards gotta pay! THEY GOTTA PAY!!"
  • 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.
  • Underwater Base: The location of Paintenance Tunnels is an underwater base on an alien planet.
  • Vengeful Vending Machine: The bucket and bin machines periodically malfunction, instead producing additional gore and blood stains to clean up.
  • 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.
  • Violation of Common Sense: Some levels contain guns, virulent pathogen samples, and priceless alien artifacts. How do you safely handle these things? By throwing them in the incinerator, of course.

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