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Video Game / Barotrauma

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Embrace the Abyss.
Barotrauma is a Steam 2D submarine crew survival simulator developed by FakeFish Games and Undertow Games, and published by Daedalic Entertainment. Players, as a crew, brave the depths of Jupiter's 6th moon, Europa, as submariners. The game, inspired by Space Station 13, centers around crisis and resource management, where players must content with hull leaks, deteriorating equipment, dwindling welding fuel and ammunition for their small arms and submarine guns, and as is often the case, losing crew members to the Europan fauna that inevitably attack the sub. Or clowns who sabotage their efforts.

The game released on Steam early access in June 5, 2019.

This game contains examples of:

  • Artificial Stupidity: You can add AI bots to your crew to substitute for human players if you're running short or just want to play solo without having to do everything by yourself. They are not very flexible in their tasks, however: you have to order them around for them to actually do anything, and even then they will focus solely on that task even if there are more pressing matters at hand, like intruders.
    • Not all is lost on them, though. They can home in on hull breaches and broken devices, fixing them in a flash, their accuracy with weapons is pretty good, and they'll immediately report situations happening on the ship that they can see, such as hull breaches or injuries.
  • Character Class System: As to be expected for a submarine crew simulator, there are 6 classes to pick from which decides the highest skill one starts with:
    • Captain: Starts with the highest Helm skill. Its sub-classes tend to start with a simple gun, but otherwise its skill distribution is rather poor and is intended to formally represent the player in charge of navigating the sub and giving orders to the crew.
    • Security Officer: Starts with the highest Weapon skill, body armor, helmet and small arms. Their duty is to safeguard the crew from threats both internal and external. They are especially relied upon to use any force necessary to restrain or even neutralize crew members trying to sabotage the submarine (whether these are part of Traitor objectives or just plain griefing).
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    • Medical Doctor: Starts with the highest Medical skill, a syringe gun, health scanner goggles and some basic medical items. They're responsible for maintaining the crew's health. But a medic who gets the right ingredients can also craft toxins for fending off intruders, both alien and human.
    • Engineer: Starts with the highest Electrical Engineering skill and tools. Tasked with watching the sub's reactor and maintaining both its power levels and the various junction boxes and wires to provide power to all compartments.
    • Mechanic: Starts with the highest Mechanical Engineering skill and tools. Responsible for maintaining the engines and other mechanical devices, as well as repairing the sub's hull whenever there's a breach.
    • Assistant: The odd one out in that it has no particular focus in any skills or tools. Intended to be a beginner-friendly class that players holding superior rank can assign as needed.
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  • Critical Existence Failure: As long as your stamina bar is above zero, you can walk, talk, and do any task you want. As soon as it hits that magic number, though, you'll immediately ragdoll and go unconscious until you're either treated and revived, or die. Somewhat averted in the fact that certain injuries can cause your character to limp, reducing your walking speed.
  • Drinking on Duty: Some submarines contain ethanol, which can be a useful crafting ingredient for certain chemicals, but can also be directly ingested, giving resistance to Psychosis. This also, predictably, makes the user drunk, decreasing their maximum health, movement speed, and distorting their screen. Consuming enough can actually knock the user unconscious, and even after they recover, their screen will usually be so distorted that it's difficult to actually understand what's going on.
  • Explosive Breeder: The Beasts Within update for the Steam release introduced a literal one with the Hammerhead Matriarch. One blow to her pulsating head and it will violently burst out many Hammerhead Spawns.
  • Fantastic Drug: For the most part averted, you'll find some real-life drugs like methamphetamine and morphine, and other substances like adrenaline, all essential in the manufacturing of stimulants and treatments. The chief exception is Calyxanide, which treats the husk infection, and Hyperzine, a really powerful combination of anabolic steroids and methamphetamine (and their associated effects).
  • Hammerspace: The Toolbox item is a useful item for any character, basically granting a free extra twelve inventory slots. Although it's supposed to be used to store tools for workers, it can also hold multiple shotguns, loaded harpoon guns, and even explosives. Not to mention its extreme utility for doctors, who can use it to store far more medicines than they normally would be able to.
  • Heal Thyself: Averted. Healing isn't instant, and it isn't easy: you have to diagnose the condition first (either through opening the healing menu or wearing a Health Scanner HUD), and then find and use the appropriate treatment.note 
  • Living Ship: The Rusted Remnants update introduced the thalamus, a parasitic colony organism that infests wrecked submarines to animate as its "body". On top of using the craft's conventional weapons, the thalamus can also use organic growths to fire tethers at other submarines, reeling them in to puncture the hull with a spike that disgorges hostile Mega-Microbes. Players can board the infested sub in an attempt to sabotage its organs, and destroying the thalamus' brain will render the entire craft inert.
    • The legacy version of the game had a creature known as the carrier, a small submarine which has been infested with the husk parasite. Unlike the submarines infested with the thalamus, this one is fully mobile and can attack the player's sub by ramming into it, generally functioning like any other enemy. While it has been Dummied Out of the Steam release, it can still be spawned with console commands and the mission where you encounter it can be modded back in.
  • Master of Disguise: If the mechanic is enabled, wearing an ID tag that isn't yours and a mask allows you to assume other players' identity. As long as you don't give away your identity in voice chat, this can aid players who have been picked as a Traitor and given objectives to sabotage the submarine in any number of ways. Bear in mind this is different to genuine griefing, and brings to mind a certain other master of disguises and sabotage.
  • Mega-Microbes: Leucocytes are cell-like creatures that can be found in shipwrecks or spawned by a thalamus, capable of chewing through hulls and inflicting paralysis on humans they attack. When threatened they can also spawn smaller, palette-swapped versions of themselves called "terminal cells", which explode upon death.
  • Monster Clown: Clowns in Barotrauma are infamous among the community for usually being up to no good. Many players unfortunate enough to be donning a clown costume will be shot or arrested on sight. There's also an in-universe cult of clowns, praising the Honkmother.
  • Raptor Attack: Mudraptors are a common enemy that resemble a cross between a dinosaur and a shrimp. They possess armored beaks to break into ship hulls, and powerful hind legs that allow them to walk upright and even run once they get inside.
  • Sanity Meter: A downplayed variation exists in the form of the Psychosis ailment, which is contracted when a player handles a Psychosis Artifact or ingests Alien Blood, or too much methamphetamine or anabolic steroids. While not directly hazardous to the victim, if left untreated it causes the player to suffer hallucations of fire and screen shaking (the latter usually indicating the sub is being struck by big alien fish), making it difficult for them to report genuine emergencies. This has to be treated with Haloperidol if the ailing player is to continue being an effective crew member.
  • Seal the Breach: A common and serious issue that needs to be addressed by someone with a welder. The hull can crack with damage, causing compartments to flood and requiring the one responsible for sealing it to wear a rebreather. Larger breaches open the hull to the ocean, requiring a full diving suit to withstand the pressure, and potentially exposing them to Crawlers entering the ship...
  • Sci-Fi Horror: Humanity has achieved space flight, but Europa can't be colonized on the surface, so they went underwater instead. Naturally this means dealing with the omnipresent hazards of the Europan xenobiology, and more chillingly, the human element.
  • Social Deduction Game: The game has a 'traitor' mechanic that can be enabled; traitors then have to sabotage the submarine with the others being none the wiser.
  • Super Strength: Possible by consuming anabolic steroids, this makes a player able to do more melee damage and even resist trauma in close quarters.
  • Underwater City: Although perhaps not as large and sprawling as this trope would suggest, populations usually numbering at a dozen or so, the campaign mode features cities you can travel to and rest at, where you can search for jobs, hire crew members, and buy supplies, submarines, and upgrades for those submarines.
  • Underwater Ruins: Alien ruins can be found embedded into Europa's icy walls, with one mission type requiring players to venture into these ruins in order to salvage an Ancient Artifact.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: During the Mechanic tutorial in v., when prompted to fix a major leak that has flooded a room (and requires a diving suit), the player can, under certain circumstances, be sucked through the leak into the open water. If the player is sucked through the hole in the ship while patching up the leak, they will repair the seal completely while also blocking themselves from that area. Because there is no door to the top half of the tutorial area, the player can only enter the submarine underneath - and because the hatch separating the submarine and the main ship is unopenable (the game will say that the player has "unauthorized access"), the player cannot get back into the main area, and thus cannot complete the tutorial, forcing them to restart.
    • Unwinnable by Insanity variation occurs if the player knowingly seals the only entryway after being forced into the open water, instead of swimming back through it; the tutorial becomes unfinishable either way.
  • Variable Mix: The game's music will change depending on context, such as a creature being nearby, your submarine sinking, and so forth.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: If you want, you can certainly go Ax-Crazy on your fellow crewmates, taking a weapon and bludgeoning their skull, or shooting them until they drop. Do this at your own risk: some servers will ban you for this, and other crew members can (and likely will) fight back.
    • Server owners can also turn a feature called Traitors on to give random crew-members tasks to do, usually with the goal of either sabotaging the submarine or killing off some of the crew.
  • The Virus: Husks are former humans in discolored diving suits with a tentacle sticking out their mouths, plagued by what's simply known by the shorthand "husk infection". The only two ways to contract this is for human players to get attacked by Husk enemies, or a griefer injecting dormant eggs into them. The symptoms are invisible to anyone not wearing health scanner goggles, and as the infection progresses the victim eventually loses the ability to chat, and if left untreated the player will succumb and upon death will resurrect as an NPC husk that must be put down again. Later versions of the game introduced Husk Crawlers. As a reference to real life toxicology, medics need to loot husk eggs from NPC Husks as part of making Calyxanide, the one of two only medicine items able to treat the infection in its early stages. If the infection is left to fester to completion, the aforementioned cures will kill the victim.
  • With Friends Like These...: Par for the course when joining random games. You can never be sure if you'll get a serious crew or any number of clowns (you can literally dress as one) who will eagerly place an oxygen tank in a welding tool then fire it near the oxygen tanks to cause a suicide explosion that will absolutely wreck weaker subs. Or raid the armory for weapons and start gunning down everyone in sight.


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