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* YourCheatingHeart: Chandra is punished ''dearly'' for not waiting patiently for Karim to return (from a quest ''she'' sent him on). However, compared to what might have happened to her or Karim if either of them had touched that artifact, and considering that Chandra's ghost just barely stopped Karim from touching it, it's not ''that'' bad.


Alexandra "Alex" Roivas, a student at a Washington university, is completing her graduate degree in abstract mathematics and number theory. An early morning call from a detective brings her rushing to her grandfather's Rhode Island mansion, as she has to identify his body after his grisly and baffling murder. The detective is left clueless, as the house shows no signs of a break-in and the old man had no known enemies. The police's investigation into the murder eventually stalls, but Alex stays in the mansion to try figuring out the mystery behind her grandfather's death.

Her search of the mansion leads to a hidden book called the [[TomeOfEldritchLore Tome of Eternal Darkness]], a book that contains the stories of people throughout history who were involved in both unlocking and fighting against several [[EldritchAbomination otherworldly gods.]] As Alex reads the book, she is imparted with the knowledge these long dead people achieved -- as well as arcane magic unleashed by their explorations. Continuing to read the book loosens her grip on both reality and sanity, but Alex is determined to be the last link in the story -- and stop the evil forces once and for all.

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Alexandra "Alex" Roivas, a student at a Washington university, is completing her graduate degree in abstract mathematics and number theory. An early morning call from a detective brings her rushing to her grandfather's Rhode Island mansion, as she has to identify his body after his grisly and baffling murder. The detective is left clueless, as because the house shows no signs of a break-in and the old man had no known enemies. The police's police investigation into the murder eventually stalls, but Alex stays in the mansion to try figuring to figure out the mystery behind her grandfather's death.

Her search of the mansion leads to a hidden book called the [[TomeOfEldritchLore Tome of Eternal Darkness]], a book that contains the stories of people throughout history who were involved in both unlocking and fighting against several [[EldritchAbomination otherworldly gods.]] As Alex reads the book, she is imparted with the knowledge these long dead long-dead people achieved -- as well as arcane magic unleashed by their explorations. Continuing to read the book loosens her grip on both reality and sanity, but Alex is determined to be the last link in the story -- and stop the evil forces once and for all.



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* ActionBomb: Ulyaoth zombies sing and explode if you [[RemovingTheHeadOrDestroyingTheBrain don't remove their heads.]] If one starts singing all the nearby zombies sing and explode, and the more there are, [[DisasterDominoes the bigger each explosion will be.]]
* AnachronicOrder: There is a bit of an order to the chapters: While they do tend to jump around a lot, all the chapters that take place in the same location happen in the correct chronological order. {{Justified|Trope}} when you consider that [[spoiler:Mantorok can manipulate time. Every person got the book with the spells that they would need when they needed it in order to further his GambitRoulette.]]
* AncientConspiracy: For at least two thousand years, the Ancients and followers have been keeping their movements out of public view and have been working toward the overthrow of humanity. Mantorok, however, has done a lot of operating out in the open.

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* ActionBomb: Ulyaoth zombies sing and explode if you [[RemovingTheHeadOrDestroyingTheBrain don't remove their heads.]] If one starts singing singing, all the nearby zombies sing and explode, and the more there are, [[DisasterDominoes the bigger each explosion will be.]]
* AnachronicOrder: There is a bit of an order to the chapters: chapters. While they do tend to jump around a lot, all the chapters that take place in the same location happen in the correct chronological order. {{Justified|Trope}} when you consider that [[spoiler:Mantorok can manipulate time. Every person got the book with the spells that they would need when they needed it in order to further his GambitRoulette.]]
* AncientConspiracy: For at least two thousand years, the Ancients and their followers have been keeping their movements out of public view and have been working toward the overthrow of humanity. Mantorok, however, has done a lot of operating out in the open.



** There's also Roberto Bianchi, a Venetian architect who gets buried alive in what Pious refers to as "The Pillar of Flesh" (a monolith made of concrete and dead bodies) until his spirit is released over 500 years later; Ellia, a UsefulNotes/{{Cambodia}}n slave girl cursed to guard Mantorok's heart for more than ''800 years'' as a rotting corpse; and Karim, a Persian man cursed to spend a whopping ''900 years'' guarding another of the ancient artifacts as a disembodied spirit.

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** There's also Roberto Bianchi, a Venetian architect who gets buried alive in what Pious refers to as calls "The Pillar of Flesh" (a monolith made of concrete and dead bodies) until his spirit is released over 500 years later; Ellia, a UsefulNotes/{{Cambodia}}n slave girl cursed to guard Mantorok's heart for more than ''800 years'' as a rotting corpse; and Karim, a Persian man cursed to spend a whopping ''900 years'' guarding another of the ancient artifacts as a disembodied spirit.



** Bonethieves puppet their skin suits around while the original owner is still consious and aware.

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** Bonethieves puppet their skin suits around while the original owner is still consious conscious and aware.



* AnnoyingArrows: Paul and Roberto can find a crossbow in their chapters, but between their weak offensive power and their lengthy reload time, they make poor weapons again most creatures, with exception to Trappers, which die in one hit from any projectile or gunshot.

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* AnnoyingArrows: Paul and Roberto can find a crossbow in their chapters, but between their weak offensive power and their lengthy reload time, they make poor weapons again most creatures, with creatures. The only exception to are the Trappers, which die in one hit from any projectile or gunshot.



* AnyoneCanDie: Being a playable character does not exempt you from a horrible death (or worse) in the slightest. Out of all the playable characters [[spoiler:only three survive their stories, and at least one of them is implied to still be on the run and might not live for much longer.]]

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* AnyoneCanDie: Being a playable character does not exempt you from a horrible death (or worse) in the slightest. Out of all the playable characters characters, [[spoiler:only three survive their stories, and at least one of them is implied to still be on the run and might not live for much longer.]]



* BeatThemAtTheirOwnGame: [[spoiler:How Alex defeats Pious, by summoning her own Ancient to fight his.]] Almost leads to OutOfTheFryingPan when [[spoiler:Alex realizes she just opened the door to an equally dangerous entity that doesn't have an adversary and that has plans to also enslave mankind]] but avoided when [[spoiler:her grandfather intervenes to bind the Ancient, preventing any of this from happening]].

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* BeatThemAtTheirOwnGame: [[spoiler:How Alex [[spoiler:Alex defeats Pious, Pious by summoning her own Ancient to fight his.]] Almost This almost leads to OutOfTheFryingPan when [[spoiler:Alex realizes she just opened the door to an equally dangerous entity that doesn't have an adversary and that which ''also'' has plans to also enslave mankind]] mankind]], but avoided when [[spoiler:her grandfather intervenes to bind the Ancient, preventing any of this from happening]].



* TheBerserker: If you cut off the head of Chattur'gha's zombies, they will start swinging around and attacking like mad even though they can't see (until their head regrows) whhc makes them dangerous to approach in this state

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* TheBerserker: If you cut off the head of Chattur'gha's zombies, they will start swinging around and attacking like mad even though they can't see (until their head regrows) whhc which makes them dangerous to approach in this state



** One of the guns in Edward's gun case is an Elephant Gun. It takes Edward a second or two to level it, but you can shoot before that; if you do, Edward gets knocked back on his ass and it takes a moment to get back on his feet. And sweet Christmas is it powerful. Two bullet firing with a 7 point enchantment will kill a Guardian in one shot.

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** One of the guns in Edward's gun case is an Elephant Gun. It takes Edward a second or two to level it, but you can shoot before that; if you do, Edward gets knocked back on his ass and it takes him a moment to get back on his feet. And sweet Christmas is it powerful. Two bullet bullets firing with a 7 point enchantment will kill a Guardian in one shot.



* BreakableWeapons: Happens often with minor items needed to solve puzzles, and only once with an actual weapon. The first magic spell you learn is one that fixes broken items, though. Items break at plot-specific points though, so there's no damage meter or anything for them.

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* BreakableWeapons: Happens often with minor items needed to solve puzzles, and only once with an actual weapon. The Fortunately, the first magic spell you learn is one that fixes broken items, though. items. Items break at plot-specific points points, though, so there's no damage meter or anything for them.



** Deconstructed. [[spoiler:All of the characters, including Pious, have been feeding into Mantorok's plot this whole time, under the guise of saving the world (which they undeniably did) but their fate under Mantorok might not be terribly dissimilar.]] Even before the HundredPercentCompletion ending comes into play, [[spoiler:the only way Alex can conquer an Ancient is to summon the opposing Ancient into this world, which wants to dominate the planet just as much as Pious' lord.]]

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** Deconstructed. [[spoiler:All of the characters, including Pious, have been feeding into Mantorok's plot this whole time, under the guise of saving the world (which they undeniably did) did), but their fate under Mantorok might not be terribly dissimilar.]] Even before the HundredPercentCompletion ending comes into play, [[spoiler:the only way Alex can conquer an Ancient is to summon the opposing Ancient into this world, which and the one she summons wants to dominate the planet just as much as Pious' Pious's lord.]]



* DoWellButNotPerfect: Gamers who obsessively try to keep their stats topped off at all times will miss out on the eerie, fourth wall breaking sanity effects that are perhaps the game's most unique feature. If you want to see the various sanity effects, you have a pretty strong incentive to keep your sanity low. Just be warned that if you run completely out of sanity, enemy sightings end up draining ''life'' instead.

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* DoWellButNotPerfect: Gamers who obsessively try to keep their stats topped off at all times will miss out on the eerie, fourth wall breaking fourth-wall-breaking sanity effects that are perhaps the game's most unique feature. If you want to see the various sanity effects, you have a pretty strong incentive to keep your sanity low. Just be warned that if you run completely out of sanity, enemy sightings end up draining ''life'' instead.



*** Ellia is fast but has a tiny health bar and no magic. She's just a normal girl so she doesn't fight, she runs. She never learns any spells either [[spoiler:which is partially why she's mortally wounded by magic.]]

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*** Ellia is fast but has a tiny health bar and no magic. She's just a normal girl so she doesn't fight, she runs. She never learns any spells either either, [[spoiler:which is partially why she's mortally wounded by magic.]]



* ZeroEffortBoss: A [[BlackComedy morbidly hilarious]] inversion. One chapter begins with TheDragon summoning a giant guardian that looks like it'll be one hell of a boss fight. You open the door to its chamber with a message to the effect of: "Shall you put an end to this heresy?" There's a huge build-up with the dragon, with the characters declaring their intent to throw down -- then the guardian unceremoniously stomps you flat (or makes YourHeadASplode), and admonishes the dragon to not cramp its style. That's right: ''Your character'' is the anticlimax encounter. You get to fight them with a different character later along the timeline, however.

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* ZeroEffortBoss: A [[BlackComedy morbidly hilarious]] inversion. One chapter begins with TheDragon summoning a giant guardian that looks like it'll be one hell of a boss fight. You open the door to its chamber with a message to the effect of: "Shall you put an end to this heresy?" There's a huge build-up with the dragon, with the characters declaring their intent to throw down -- then the guardian unceremoniously stomps you flat (or makes YourHeadASplode), and admonishes the dragon to not cramp its style. That's right: ''Your character'' is the anticlimax encounter. You get to fight them with a different character later along in the timeline, however.



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* DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu: Played with.[[spoiler:It is the efforts of Alex and the others who foil the Ancients, but they never could have done it without Mantorok’s help. It’s basically “Did you and Nyarlathotep punch out Cthulhu together?”]]

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* DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu: Played with. [[spoiler:It is the efforts of Alex and the others who foil the Ancients, but they never could have done it without Mantorok’s help. It’s basically “Did you and Nyarlathotep punch out Cthulhu together?”]]

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* DuelingPlayerCharacters:
** In Paul Luther's story, you find [[spoiler:a deranged and zombified Anthony]] and have to put him out of his misery once and for all.
** The FinalBoss is [[spoiler:Pious Augustus, the second player character in the game]].

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* TakingYouWithMe: Mantorok may be bound and dying, but [[spoiler:the true ending shows that he planned his revenge on the other Ancients throughout time and space to kill all three of them as well.]]


* SoulJar: Whichever Ancient's relic Pious picks up ultimately becomes a Soul Jar for him: Alex cannot defeat him until it's destroyed.

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* SoulJar: Two examples:
** The obelisk in the basement of the Roivas mansion in Edward's chapter keeps the vampire alive. In order to kill the vampire, Edward must first destroy the obelisk.
**
Whichever Ancient's relic Pious picks up ultimately becomes a Soul Jar for him: him; Alex cannot defeat him until it's destroyed.

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* FakeUltimateMook: Roberto and Michael both encounter large purple worms with sharp teeth, whose appearance is preceded by a cutscene of the hero recoiling in shock. It only takes one hit from ''any'' weapon to send the worms away without a fuss.

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* ArbitraryMinimumRange: The OICW's grenade launcher: If you're too close to your target, the grenade will [[ExplosiveStupidity blow you up too.]]


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* ExplosiveStupidity: "Ashes to Ashes" features an OICW rifle, complete with grenade launcher. If you set it to launch grenades, and you're within a certain range of your target, firing it will blow you up too.

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* SceneryPorn: The environments are immaculately rendered and lit, still holding up several console generations later, and watching them change over the millennia the story takes place helps show them off further.


** Monsters that drain your sanity when you're spotted by them can't drain your meter multiple times. This allows you to at least get back most of your sanity when you perform your finishing move on them. Only one type of enemy can drain your sanity at a constant rate and even the, it does so slowly.

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** Monsters that drain your sanity when you're spotted by them can't drain your meter multiple times. This allows you to at least get back most of your sanity when you perform your finishing move on them. Only one type of enemy can drain your sanity at a constant rate and even the, then, it does so slowly.

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** This is required to permantly kill Xel'lotath zombies as any limbs that are hacked off are replaced by green ghostly equivalents. If you don't DoubleTap Xel'lotath zombies, they ''will'' get back up; Chattur'gha zombies that don't have their torso destroyed may do the same, once their HealingFactor regrows their limbs.

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* TheBerserker: If you cut off the head of Chattur'gha's zombies, they will start swinging around and attacking like mad even though they can't see (until their head regrows) whhc makes them dangerous to approach in this state


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* HealingFactor: Chattur'gha's zombies will regrow limbs and heads and may even get back up if not finished off. EVen if they have their torso destroyed (which will make them fade from existence) you can see the torso regrowing as they dissappear.


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* MadeOfIron: Unless they're struck with enough force to destroy their entire upper body, Chattur'gha zombies can survive having their head and both arms severed and just stand there, and that's before their healing factor regrows the limbs you cut off.


* GameplayAndStoryIntegration: A lot of the characters' stats actually reflect their personalities and dispositions quite well.
** Alex is a JackOfAllStats with very high magic regeneration and pretty good stamina. This is mostly because she's the final recipient of the Tome of Eternal Darkness and thus has all its power at her disposal as well as being in her physical prime.
** Edward is a SquishyWizard with terrible stamina, low health, but extremely high sanity and magic bars. He's a scholar, not a warrior, but his study of psychology means he's hardened to madness to the point where he was actually ''excited'' to start studying his family's odd history of mental illness.
** Pious is a LightningBruiser immune to sanity effects. He's a career soldier of a powerful empire so of course he doesn't bat an eye at monsters. Furthermore, being the first person recorded in the Tome means he never added to its arcane knowledge so he has no magic meter.
** Ellia is fast but has a tiny health bar and no magic. She's just a normal girl so she doesn't fight, she runs. She never learns any spells either [[spoiler:which is partially why she's mortally wounded by magic.]]
** Anthony can dish out and take damage with the best of them due to being a trained swordsman as well as a cursed undead.
** Karim has the largest health bar in the game. After all, he would have to be resilient to search for an entire year in the Persian desert.
** Maximilian, being a middle-aged, overweight man, is not fast, but he can still pack a punch.
** Lindsay has the highest sanity bar in the game, likely a result of his travels and fits with his CrazyPrepared nature to the point where he's well-armed in addition to having tools to look for clues.
** Paul is a SquishyWizard with high magic and sanity, but low health and stamina. The latter are likely due to his strong faith, even carrying a staff that can help him regain sanity.
** Bianchi is sturdy, but his magic is extremely low. He's an architect during the Renaissance when science began overtaking mysticism.
** Peter has high magic but extremely low health and the smallest sanity meter in the game. He's just a war correspondent, not a soldier, and the horrors of the war have left him shell-shocked.
** Michael is sturdy but has low magic and sanity. His job of course requires fortitude, but the combination of the Gulf War, stressful occupation, and then being thrust into an abandoned, underground city full of eldritch horrors would make anyone edgy and he's living in a time where superstition has plummeted.

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* GameplayAndStoryIntegration: A Happens quite a bit over the course of the game in lots of small ways (particularly things like sanity effects, with characters reacting to things that shock the player and using the ''lack'' of story integration ''as story integration'', as the point of the scene is that [[AllJustADream this isn't really happening]]), but in broader, more noticeable ways, too.
**A
lot of the characters' stats actually reflect their personalities and dispositions quite well.
** *** Alex is a JackOfAllStats with very high magic regeneration and pretty good stamina. This is mostly because she's the final recipient of the Tome of Eternal Darkness and thus has all its power at her disposal as well as being in her physical prime.
** *** Edward is a SquishyWizard with terrible stamina, low health, but extremely high sanity and magic bars. He's a scholar, not a warrior, but his study of psychology means he's hardened to madness to the point where he was actually ''excited'' to start studying his family's odd history of mental illness.
** *** Pious is a LightningBruiser immune to sanity effects. He's a career soldier of a powerful empire so of course he doesn't bat an eye at monsters. Furthermore, being the first person recorded in the Tome means he never added to its arcane knowledge so he has no magic meter.
** *** Ellia is fast but has a tiny health bar and no magic. She's just a normal girl so she doesn't fight, she runs. She never learns any spells either [[spoiler:which is partially why she's mortally wounded by magic.]]
** *** Anthony can dish out and take damage with the best of them due to being a trained swordsman as well as a cursed undead.
** *** Karim has the largest health bar in the game. After all, he would have to be resilient to search for an entire year in the Persian desert.
** *** Maximilian, being a middle-aged, overweight man, is not fast, but he can still pack a punch.
** *** Lindsay has the highest sanity bar in the game, likely a result of his travels and fits with his CrazyPrepared nature to the point where he's well-armed in addition to having tools to look for clues.
** *** Paul is a SquishyWizard with high magic and sanity, but low health and stamina. The latter are likely due to his strong faith, even carrying a staff that can help him regain sanity.
** *** Bianchi is sturdy, but his magic is extremely low. He's an architect during the Renaissance when science began overtaking mysticism.
** *** Peter has high magic but extremely low health and the smallest sanity meter in the game. He's just a war correspondent, not a soldier, and the horrors of the war have left him shell-shocked.
** *** Michael is sturdy but has low magic and sanity. His job of course requires fortitude, but the combination of the Gulf War, stressful occupation, and then being thrust into an abandoned, underground city full of eldritch horrors would make anyone edgy and he's living in a time where superstition has plummeted.plummeted.
** Pious' statue is shown in the corridor whenever a character claims the Tome despite being the primary threat for most of the game, and the chapters jump from time period and location for no clear reason, until the final ending. [[spoiler: Mantorok's manipulation of the timelines required the sacrifice of Pious Augustus because it would be his decision that split the one timeline into the three possible runs of the game. This creates the desired rock-paper-scissors wheel of mutual destruction for the other three Ancients, while making sure each character would get the Tome when it had the spells they needed to get past their obstacles.]]

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* IdentifyingTheBody: The game opens with Alex Roivas being called in to do this for her grandfather. She does so via his ring, as he's missing his head. After the police fail to solve the murder, she takes matters into her own hands, and finds [[TomeOfEldritchLore the Tome of Eternal Darkness]], beginning the plot.

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* BigFancyHouse: The Roivas Mansion, the family's ancestral home in Rhode Island which has existed since at least the 1700s, has had several rooms added to it over the centuries, and it stands as a reminder of their influence despite being persecuted when they emigrated to America. [[spoiler:Plus it was built over a whole subterranean city, Ehn'gha.]] The Ancients' agents occasionally turn it into an OldDarkHouse, but it was never enough to force the Roivases to abandon it entirely.

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