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Eldritch is a 2013 indie video game developed by Minor Key Games for Windows (Mac and Linux ports are forthcoming). Its gameplay is a combination of First-Person Shooter and Roguelike (with some Platform Game and Stealth-Based Game elements), using Minecraft-like graphics.It is set in the Cthulhu Mythos universe and requires the player character, an amnesiac librarian, to explore randomly generated levels in strange worlds in order to retrieve three souls, which are needed to open a library door leading to the final level. The world is separated into several parts:
The Library (hub)
Lost city of R'lyeh
The Endless Library (unlocked in the Library with the souls found in each of the other worlds)
Eldritch features examples of the following tropes:
Action Girl: Advertised as the player character on the official cover art◊. The default starting character is also female, but can be customized to be male, female, or a combination of both (male head, female body, or vice versa).
Advancing Wall of Doom: Azathoth, in Asylum. Stay in a single level for 3 minutes and it appears as a cloud of shadows and teeth. It can not be stopped, slowed down, or killed, but the slightest touch from it kills you instantly.
All The Worlds Are A Stage: The Endless Library contains every type of monsters and traps encountered in the previous three worlds.
Amnesiac Hero: The player character is one of the people who made the ritual which sealed the Old Ones in the Library, but the ritual left them amnesiac, and they remain there as a warden. It is implied that it happens again if the game is won without gaining the Golden Ending.
Artificial Stupidity: The enemies are damaged by the traps but don't try to avoid them. It isn't uncommon to enter a previously unexplored area, and then find a corpse stuck in the middle of a field of spikes.
Awesome but Impractical: The Summon Shoggoth spell in The Mountains of Madness. The Shoggoth it summons will wipe the floor with everything else on the level, but the Shoggoth is also hostile to you and impossible to get rid of. Ultimately, summoning Shoggoths just creates one more obstacle to get in your way when you're running through the levels in reverse at the end of the DLC.
Backstab: Any unaware enemy attacked by the player takes additional damage.
Benevolent Architecture: For Lovecraftian Eldritch Locations, the game levels are surprisingly easy for human beings to explore, considering the size of doors, the ceiling heights, the ladders, or the possibility to climb some wall blocks to reach another floor.
Boring but Practical: The dagger and the revolver are usually the first weapons you find in the game and are also the only two you'll ever really need. The hatchet is too slow to be practical and only deals a little more damage than the dagger anyway. The tripwire gun does less damage than the revolver and setting traps is never as efficient as just shooting them. Dungeon Bypass items like the grappling gun and pickaxe are useful occasionally but not usually.
Character Customization: The player's avatar can be freely edited in-game by swapping out heads and bodies. Oddly, the game doesn't separate the female ones from the male ones, allowing you to play someone with a beard and breasts.
Choice of Two Weapons: The player character can exactly carry two weapons (any combination of throwing one use weapon, mêlée weapon, ranged weapon, or just unarmed punches) and one magical spell on the same time.
Double Jump: The Lift spell is both an upgraded jump (when used on the ground) and this trope (when used in the air).
Elite Mooks: The lizardmen are this compared to the cultists and deep ones. Lizardmen are lightning fast, can jump around and dodge your attacks, and throw fireballs.
Everything Fades: Enemy corpses stay on the ground until they have been looted by the player. They disappear a few seconds later and the enemy respawns some time after.
Excuse Plot: You are an amnesiac adventurer exploring three randomly-generated Eldritch Locations in order to find three alien souls to unlock the big door toward the last level.
Extreme Omnivore: The Tinning Kit item allows the player to eat the dead enemies' bodies to regain health. I'm a Humanitarian is averted because they won't touch the dead cultists. Apparently giant floating eyeballs and lizardmen are okay.
Faceless Eye: One of the enemies is a giant floating eye that throws fireballs.
Fictional Document: Most of the game's plot is revealed in the scattered pages of The History of the Library and the Explorer's Journal.
The gloopy bubbling sound that means a Shoggoth is nearby, and its gurgly roar that means it's angry.
The cracking sound of a Strange Statue coming to life because you came too close to it. Better not look away from it!
The pained, gasping breaths of a Mummy.
Here We Go Again: Implied in all but the Golden Ending. Performing the binding ritual seals the guardian along with the Old Ones, and wipes his or her memory in the process, leading to the guardian attempting the whole process again.
Hub Level: The library level, which is devoid of enemies and holds doors to other levels, including the DLC levels and the final one, a sealed part of the library.
Hyperactive Metabolism: The player is required to eat fruit, meat, and drink water to regain health; water heals more than food and also serves as the game's HeartContainers. The Tinning Kit item allows to eat dead enemies in exchange for 20 artifacts.
Grievous Bottley Harm: Each bottle is a one-use ranged weapon. They're the first weapon found ingame: there are four of them in the starting area.
Another weapon is a rock which can be thrown and retrieved. If used too near to the target, its bounce can kill the player character.
In the Hood: The cultist enemies, which wear hooded robes completely hiding their faces save for the glowing eyes.
Interchangeable Antimatter Keys: Played straight. Any locked door can be opened by any of the generic green keys lying in the dungeon (or bought from shops), which immediately disappear after unlocking said door.
Invincible Minor Minion: Shoggoths, as well as Mummies and Statues. They can't be killednote Except with the Soul Trap spell, but that only appears in Asylum., though Mummies can at least be knocked out for a couple of seconds.
Item Farming: As enemies respawn and always carry a few artifacts, bullets, or keys, the safest way to gather enough of them is to randomly wander in the first and second levels (which only harbour the weakest enemies) to amass enough of this.
The Juggernaut: The Shoggoths. They only have an average speed, but are unkillable, can open doors, and can climb stairs. They are only stopped by un-jumpable walls, ladders, and one-square-wide tunnels.
Killed Off for Real: As with any other roguelike, when the player character dies, the game must be restarted from scratch (inside new Randomly Generated Levels). The only things remaining from previous player characters are the amount of artifacts stored in the bank chest and the worlds already unlocked (which isn't very useful, as the souls themselves must be retrieved again).
Carrying a Medical Kit when dying revives the player character in exchange of 50 artifacts.
Kleptomaniac Hero: Subverted. You can loot corpses for bullets, keys, and artifacts, but doing so causes a new enemy to spawn somewhere on the level. This forces the player to choose whether it's worth looting a body for extra resources, or if it would be better to let them stay dead and not have to deal with them anymore.
Living Statue: The Creepy Statues are statue-shaped monsters which seem to be still but can teleport behind the player (if still in their field of view) and attack him/her.
Lovecraft Country: One of The History of the Library books explicitly stated that the Library is built in New England.
Lovecraft Lite: The player character explores Lovecraftian places full of monsters... which can be killed by shooting them, stabbing them, or throwing rocks at them. There's no Sanity Meter or unwinnable boss fights against unkillable abominations. Possibly subverted in the bad ending, which states that some Old Ones managed to escape the boundaries of the Library and are wreaking havoc.
Luck-Based Mission: In the shops, the only items which can be bought are those displayed on the counters. The selection is always random.
Magical Library: The starting area is a big deserted library featuring three interactive "strange books" (which emit coloured rays). Activating one teleports the player character into a strange place. The Library is actually a prison for the Old Ones.
The Maze: Asymmetric example. Without including the Hub Level, the game is divided in four worlds, each of them having three levels separated by a hatch door. Each level is actually a three-dimensional maze of stairs, ladders, corridors, and doors (sometimes locked) occupying three floors.
Mighty Glacier: With 11 hearts, the giant penguins in The Mountains of Madness have the most health out of all the enemies in the game. However, they're very slow and limited to a short range punching attack; in fact, it's fairly easy to punch them to death yourself.
Downer Ending: The player character performs the Ritual of Bending but didn't manage to light all three candles. Some of the Old Ones are free to roam the Earth and the player character ends stuck as the library guardian.
Bittersweet Ending: The player character performs the Ritual of Bending after lighting the three candles, but didn't find the three special items - see below. The Old Ones remain trapped within the library, but the player character ends stuck as the library guardian.
Golden Ending: This one requires to find three items in the shadow worlds of previous levels - the Holy Symbol, Sandals, and Consecration Kit -, which are totally useless and take up an inventory slot. If the player characters carries all three of them while successfully performing the Ritual of Bending, the Old Ones will be trapped but the player character won't.
New Game+: Provides a harder difficulty after beating the regular game. It actually figures into the plot: if the player managed to perform the Ritual of Binding successfully but without the three items necessary for the Golden Ending, he is still trapped in the Library.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The amnesiac hero - which has been left in the Library as its guardian - explores the place and breaches the Old Ones' prison. If at the end the Ritual of Bending isn't correctly performed, some of them manage to get loose and wreak havoc on the Earth.
Nobody Here but Us Statues: The Strange Statues. Get close to one and you'll notice a cracking sound as they awaken. Look away from them after that and they'll attack in an instant.
Non Standard Skill Learning: Spells are learned by praying in front of a statue. Each type of statue grants a specific spell; only one spell can be learned at the same time and praying replaces the current spell with a new one.
Noodle People: The humanoid characters (including the player character) all have an exaggeratedly large head on top of a skinny body.
Oh, Crap: Looking up at the top-right corner in Asylum and seeing a time remaining of ten seconds or less, even though you're not anywhere close to the exit yet. (Or worse, "0:00" meaning Azathoth has already arrived. You'd better run!)
Perma Stubble: A couple of the male player character heads include this.
Practical Currency: The shop currency is Artifacts, blue engraved circles which are also the (non-regenerating) mana of the game, which serves to power spells and fuel some items' abilities.
Purely Aesthetic Gender: The player character gender is selected in the library level (after the game starts) by using a mirror to customize the player character's appearance. The PC's gender and appearance don't have any effect on the gameplay itself.
Razor Floss: The Tripwire Gun is a crossbow which fires a bolt linked to a wire. While directly shooting an enemy inflicts a few points of damage, the main role of this weapon is to shoot wires to set such traps. Preexisting wire traps can be found in the game from the second world on.
Schizophrenic Difficulty: It's generally agreed that the second world, Nyarlathotep, is a lot harder than the third world, R'lyeh. The second world has a number of very dangerous and annoying enemies, namely the Weeping Angel-like lizard statues, the unkillable mummies, and the lightning-fast, fireball-throwing lizardmen. The third world just has large enemies with lots of health, but who move slowly and are dealt with easily enough provided you farmed enough bullets from Dagon earlier.
Sealed Evil in a Can: The Library is actually a prison for the Old Ones. Failing to perform the Ritual of Bending sets some of them free.
Sequence Breaking: Once the later worlds are unlocked at the start of the game, it's often most efficient to take a quick tour of the topmost part of Dagon to farm for items but retrieve its soul last.
Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: There is an automatic infighting feature between monsters of different kinds. The game also includes a spell which briefly turns a monster into the player character's ally. The Mountains of Madness adds a spell that lets you summon a Shoggoth that will attack anything that moves, but since this includes you this limits its practicality.
Shoplift and Die: In the shops, stealing an item or lighting one of the dynamites on display will anger the merchant, who will attack the player character. He is a lot stronger than the identical looking monsters of the area, but he isn't invincible; a Deep One merchant can be killed with about 10 bullets, while a Star-Spawn merchant can be killed with 15. The big challenge is that they're a lot faster and shoot much more quickly than regular enemies, and the Deep One merchant can throw fireballs even though Deep Ones normally can't do that.
Alternatively if you don't want to waste the bullets or risk the chance of dying you can grab the materialize spell (if you're lucky right on the first floor) and seal the shopkeeper in his spot and shoplift everything while he's trapped. In later levels this can make gathering those few necessary supplies and emergency health that much easier on you.
Shout-Out: The Strange Statue enemies are likely a reference to the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who.
Spikes Of Doom: On the floor, on the walls, and sometimes under collapsing ground tiles. Hitting them drops your health by two hearts. Thankfully, the enemies aren't immune. The Mountains of Madness DLC has a ceiling-based variant in the form of falling icicles.
Stealth-Based Mission: Playing the game like this is quite effective, thank to a couple of features. Enemies only attack what they can already see, Backstab attacks inflict more damage, the Stealth Boots item allows you to walk and run without making any noise, the Cloak spell makes the player character invisible but still noisy (unless you have the Stealth Boots), the Tripwire Gun allows to set traps, and the player can throw bottles to distract enemies.
In addition, you can safely lean around corners (which can help in combat, but is invaluable for stealth), and crouch-movement is reasonably quick and almost completely silent.
Timed Mission: Asylum. Take more than three minutes on a single map and Azathoth comes for you.
Your Soul Is Mine: In Asylum, the main gameplay mechanic is to see how many trapped souls you can recover on your trip through the dungeon. Not only are you collecting lost souls scattered around the area, but you can also steal the souls of monsters using the Soul Trap spell, which is exclusive to this area.