The series as a whole:
- Cult Classic: The games have developed a very strong cult following in the years following their release.
- They Changed It, Now It Sucks: The 2.5D spinoff brawler ObsCure D was set up to become a full series reboot following acquisition by Focus Interactive. Eventually it was rebranded as its own original title, Final Exam, following fan backlash.
- Vanilla Protagonist/The Scrappy: Stan. In the first game, the only reason you even encounter him is because he's inside a room where the key to a locked door is located. While Shannon and Ashley went to find the missing Kenny, Josh tagged along because he had a crush on Shannon, and Kenny joined the party after he was rescued, Stan seemed to join the group simply because he was there and had little better to do. He could've been written out entirely, and the plot wouldn't have changed at all. In the second game, he literally drops in two-thirds of the way into the game following Mei's death with nothing more than a cameo appearance in the introduction, and then gets into a relationship with Shannon and becomes the main hero because of Corey's suicide, with literally zero set-up.
The first game:
- Spiritual Adaptation: The first game is this to The Faculty. In both works, a group of high school students from across various cliques and social circles battle monsters who used to be their classmates (only with less Body Horror and more paranoia in The Faculty), and it turns out that the school's administration is a major part of what's happening. Word of God even stated that Josh Hartnett's character in that film was a major influence when they were creating Stan.
- Tier-Induced Scrappy: The characters all had unique abilities, but due to Anyone Can Die, aren't necessary to complete the game. Shannon had two unique talents, but both of them could be accomplished in the hub zone. There were only a handful of locks in the game, making Stan's ability useless. By contrast, Josh was invaluable for figuring out if items were still in a room, Ashley made combat easier, and Kenny was good at running away from tough enemies and rushing in and out of melee combat.
- But in the other side, the combination of Josh and Stan made the game more easy than having with the others, due to one's ability to find objects and the other to unlock really fast which helps when sometimes that you are unlocking a door monster would attack you, having Stan quickly unlock it and enter the room before the monster attacks gives some relief to the player. Ashley has a damage bonus with every weapon (Except the Laser) which makes her a good partner, but Kenny's ability to run doesn't bring too much in the table when you can kill monster with Ashley easily and if you run faster you'll live your partner to his demise.
The second game:
- Anvilicious: From the second game's opening scene, it's shown that the students at Fallcreek only care about two things. Then just in case the player didn't get it, it is then stated outright, through a report in the hospital level, that the infection which consumed everyone on campus was spread due to rampant sex and drug use. To really drive home the point that those are bad things, by the end of the game all the characters that were partying at the beginning have been killed off, mostly in an arbitrary and brutal fashion.
- Complete Monster: Richard James is a professor of biology at Fallcreek University and a high-ranking scientist working for the Delta Theta Gamma Brotherhood. When monsters attack his fraternity house and slaughter several of his students, Richard spends his time reading a book in his office. After being saved from a monster by Kenny and Amy, Richard dissects its body to satisfy his curiosity, knowing very well that it was once a innocent student. Discovering that Amy is pregnant with Kenny's child, Richard praises Kenny for having raped her, giving him a chance to continue his research and kidnapping her along with the rest of the group, despite everything they had done for him. When confronted as to why he had watched his students get brutally murdered without doing anything to stop it, Richard shrugged off their deaths as being "inevitable sacrifices". Unlike the other antagonists, Richard was only a cold-hearted sociopath with an obsession for scientific discovery.
- Contested Sequel: While the Anyone Can Die mentality and minor differences between the characters were enjoyed in the first game, the second game introduced some twists. The scripted deaths, starting with Jun, really turned off a lot of the fans.
- Designated Hero: Shannon. She only helps out halfway through the game, and belittles her brother when he is struggling to adapt to the spores. Given that she adapted already, perhaps a little more practical advice could've helped instead of insults.
- Ensemble Darkhorse: Corey and Mei ended up being the most popular new characters introduced in the second game. A Google image search for Mei alone brings up a good deal of fan art of her, and Corey himself has a few. It helps because Mei suffers a completely unexpected and brutal death at the hands of Kenny, and poor Corey commits suicide after being infected. Game Informer even listed Corey and Mei #14 in their list of Video Games' Cutest Couples.
- Foreshadowing/Fridge Horror: Hey, remember in the "nightmare" stage at the beginning of the game, where Mei and Corey encounter Jun, Sven and Amy's mutilated corpses? Take a good look at the manner of wounds that seem to have done them in. A quarter of Jun's face and entire right arm have been torn out, Sven's missing both his arms and has a gaping hole in the middle of him, and Amy's corpse is lying upon a large flower with her arms streched out and her entrails spilled out of her stomach. What does this have to do with anything? Jun's wounds seem to imply mauling at the hands of an animal, Sven's implies chainsaw injuries, and something seems to have bursted out of Amy's stomach. Mauling at the hands of a monster, a chainsaw, and a monster infant is what kills the three respectedly!
- Goddamned Bats: The Harpies. They're fast, they attack in groups, and they're almost impossible to hit with melee weapons, force you to waste precious ammo to defeat them.
- Moral Event Horizon: Former hero Kenny, following his mutation, takes a flying leap over the horizon following a Face–Monster Turn, starting with crushing Mei's head under his heel while her boyfriend Corey watches, then abducting his girlfriend Amy to rape her offscreen.
- Moral Guardians: When the second game was released in Britain, one paper openly criticized it on their front cover due to Corey's suicide, despite the fact that it was treated extremely seriously. However, this was around the same time as the Manhunt 2 controversy...
- Nightmare Fuel: The mannequins that appear in the dream sequence of the prologue. And that sound they make when you hit them.
- Strangled by the Red String: Shannon and Stan. Granted, there is a Time Skip between the two games, but there is no mention of it previously, and their kiss just comes out of the blue.