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Video Game / Beware

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Beware is a Survival Horror Driving Game by Ondrej Svadlena, currently only available as a demo. Despite being extremely bare bones, its unique atmosphere and intense chase scenes have immediately awarded it a huge cult following.

The player is driving through the desolate country in the middle of the night, where they're harassed and hunted by fellow drivers.

The game provides examples of:

  • Abandoned Area: The entire map is this - driving around, you'll find no less than two Ghost Towns, numerous abandoned farmsteads and, of course, the utterly empty RV park where you begin the game. There are abandoned cars everywhere.
  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: Your trusty steed will never run out of gas, or whatever else powers it, and its accumulator will never run out of power. This is for the best.
  • Adult Fear:
    • This game very effectively plays on the latent fear every late-night rural driver has upon seeing headlights in their mirror: "Is that person just a random driver going somewhere else... or am I being followed?"
    • That crazy old man who drives like a total lunatic? He has a kid in his backseat. The kid looks absolutely terrified.
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  • After the End: Hinted to take place in such a setting. There’s barely any people, abandoned buildings everywhere, dilapidated ruins, a field full of dead cattle, and various other elements that indicate the region isn’t doing so hot. And if you complete the old lady’s side quest, you get a message on the movie screen about a disaster that overwhelmed the government and led to an exodus, and references to a famine of some kind and blackout.
  • Ambiguous Situation: You start the game already in the car, in the middle of an abandoned RV park, and there's nothing you can do but drive.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: The time period the game takes place in is difficult to ascertain, as while many cars look like they came from the 80s, such cars are still quite common out in the countryside (especially in East Europe, which is where the game seems to be set). On the other hand, the other ghost town has slightly futuristic vehicles.
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  • Artificial Brilliance: The AI is frighteningly good at driving. It will perform PIT maneuvers, pace and block you if it happens to be in front of you, block the road if it's stopped and you try to drive by... and it usually won't drive far into the muddy fields after you, avoiding getting itself stuck.
  • Battle Theme Music: The background music only comes on when you're being pursued, which can turn into a battle depending on how aggressive (or lucky) you're feeling.
  • Car Fu: The stalkers will try to ram you to death.
  • Chekhov's Gun: When you pass the dam, you may notice that there are two cars in the parking lot...
  • Closed Circle: The map is this. All the roads either loop on each other or end, either in road barriers or natural blockades, locking you in with everyone else.
  • Closer Than They Appear: Naturally, for a car-based horror game.
    • This being said, inverted when the pursuers are tailgating you - the way the rear view mirror shows them, they might as well be sitting on your back seat, despite the fact that there's still a car and a half between you and them.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The two pursuing cars can be differentiated by the colour of their headlights - one's are regular white, while the other's are a dirty shade of yellow.
  • Controllable Helplessness: Once your get stuck in the mud for good, you're pretty much just waiting for your pursuers to get out of their car and beat you to death, but the game still lets you look around, play with the headlights and try to drive. This being said, there is a (very small) chance that in their rush to bash the hell out of your car, the goons will end up pushing it back to solid ground.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: You can avoid the entire chase by turning off your headlights and sneaking by the dam when the sentry’s not looking.
  • Dark Is Evil: The stalkers are pitch-black aside from their heads.
  • Darkness Equals Death: Inverted. Driving in the dark, turning your headlights off, can help you to lose your pursuers... or prevent the pursuit from happening at all.
  • Deadly Road Trip: Whatever your reasons for driving, you'll be hard-pressed to get through this trip unscathed.
  • Diegetic Interface: The game has no UI other than controls, which can be toggled on and off; rather, you can see your speed, RPM and whether you have reverse on by the indicators inside the car, and assess the damage by the state of the hood.
  • Don't Go Into the Woods: Inverted; the pursuers will keep to the road unless they must, so deep in the woods is one of the safer places to hide in - provided you have the driving skills to match, and the forest cooperates to give you a wide enough clearing.
  • Drives Like Crazy: There's another car in the game, which is non-hostile, but no less dangerous due to the reckless high-speed antics of the driver - which certainly can't be good for the crying child in the back.
  • Drone of Dread: The pursuer's theme is a synthwave piece that uses a lot of drones.
  • Eldritch Location: Underplayed, but some parts of the forest are... strange, to say the least. There is a section where it straight-up grows sideways, and the tunnel has a copse of trees that somehow grew inside it.
  • Evil Old Folks:
    • The stalkers look like four old men, but they're almost certainly not human to begin with so it hardly even matters.
    • The driver of the other car is an elderly man who, while not hostile, Drives Like Crazy, making him almost as dangerous to encounter.
    • The old lady near the swamp certainly looks like one, but she has a secret to share with you...
  • Excuse Plot: In the current version at least. You’re driving along and you get attacked by crazy stalkers. That’s about the extent of the story so far.
  • Four Is Death: There's four stalkers per car, one for each seat.
  • Ghost Town:
    • This particular backwater burg is pretty much vacant; the only other people you can see are fellow drivers passing through, their passengers and the old woman and the boy in spider hoodie. To make matters worse, eight of them want to murder you.
    • Later on, you will find a bigger town, with numerous apartment blocks, and not a single soul to be seen. Stranger still, this ghost town still has power.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: When the pursuers attack the car, they don't punch or kick it, but simply throw themselves at it and slam their heads on the windows. It will still kill you.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy:
    • The guards seem to have far weaker hearing than humans, and so long as you're not blasting at full speed you can "sneak" past them, despite no indication that your car is an electric.
    • After you deal with the first car, the rest of the pursuers will come out to chase you... and promptly leave the dam’s gate wide open.
  • Guide Dang It!: Since this game is still early in development, finding out a lot of what can happen is a bit less than intuitive:
    • You can avoid the chase altogether by turning off your headlights and driving slowly by the dam while the patrolling thug is looking away.
    • There is an old woman near one of the swampy areas who will normally be afraid of you, but if you meet a certain critera- evading or incapacitating both cars- she will instead lead you to her home and clue you in about a lever at the dam.
    • Once you've drawn the second car out of the dam's parking lot, they'll leave the gate open for you to access the lever, which will restore power to the entire map- including a projector not far from the starting area. This projector shows a film of a long line of cars stuck on a highway and a crawl saying such things as "EXODUS", "DISASTER", "FAMINE", "BLACKOUT" and "GOVERNMENT OVERWHELMED".
    • Take a few turns into dirt roads and you'll see a cavalcade of spiders marching towards... something. Follow them and you'll find a kid in strange glowing clothes that make them look like a glowing, floating spider. If you're able to stop yourself from panicking long enough to let him approach... well, voila, you have your first passenger!
    • There's a building out in the wild that has an underground garage. Going down eventually leads to a hall of empty shelves with lights along them, and pools of some black liquid covering the ground. On its own, the place is a mystery, but if you make a specific car safe from goons and follow it down into the same basement, you unlock a way to undo the damage on your car and becomes the new spawn point.
    • The kid in the spider outfit will wait patiently in your car at first. But if you tail the bus full of hazmat-suited figures without them noticing you, they will stop at various locations, get out and start taking pictures- and a second child may wander up. The kid in your car will get out and coax the second one to get in with him. (After that, the figures on the bus will no longer run from you, but instead sit in the bus and stare at you.) Take them back to where you picked up the first child, and he'll run out to one of the campers and bring a picture back of the second child and the old lady.
  • Hanlon's Razor: The old guy in the other car is non-hostile, but he manages to be almost as dangerous as the stalkers due being such an awful driver.
  • Hair-Raising Hare: One of the updates added a pack of bunnies that start congregating around the car at some points, which only serves to make the situation stranger.
  • Hope Spot: Managed to leave that pursuing car in a ditch? Think you're home free? Didn't you notice that second car in the dam's parking lot?
  • Humanoid Abomination:
    • There's no way the stalkers are human. You only get a few glimpses of them, but the way they move and their heads are just too bizarre and otherworldly. They're still shaped like humans and have the abilities and limitations of humans, though, although they're strong enough to wreck your car with their bare hands if you get stuck.
    • Subverted with the figure in the woods. At first, they look like some kind of glowing, floating spider humanoid, but if you get close enough, you'll see it's just a kid in a very fluorescent jumpsuit.
  • Impractically Fancy Outfit: The kid with the glowing clothes you can pick up in the woods. Does it look cool? Yes. Does it scare away anyone willing to help while also alerting anything that can see light (such as the pursuers who hunt by the headlights) to their presence? Also yes.
  • Insurmountable Waist-High Fence: Several examples.
    • The dam is surrounded by a flimsy chainlink fence that looks like it could be toppled with a glare, but ramming it will be ineffective - you have to lure out the two cars first, as they'll leave the gate opened.
    • While most roads in the map loop back on themselves, one leads outside, only it happens to be blocked by a road barrier, akin to the ones that stop you from driving over a train track. Your car can't cross it, and the area around the barrier is impossible to drive on, but the only thing stopping you from going past is the fact that the game doesn't have the option to leave your car.
      • This particular roadblock was eventually removed in a later update as another part of the map was added.
    • The tunnel entry is likewise blocked with a road barrier. Subverted - your car can easily bat it aside, letting you drive in. Then double-subverted, as the other side of the tunnel is blocked by an Insurmountable Chainlink Fence. Then triple-subverted, as much like with the other chainlink fence, one of the pursuer cars can ram it open, if you attract their attention.
    • Likewise, it's pretty much game over if you get stuck in the mud, even if you've lost your pursuers, despite the fact that a person in that situation should be perfectly capable of leaving the car and continuing on foot. And it's not like there's some environmental concern stopping you from leaving, either, as the old woman doesn't seem concerned with covering her face at all.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: The game has a day-night cycle (which, in the current version, can be accelerated), which is rather important when trying to hide. It remains cloudy and misty throughout, though.
  • Late to the Tragedy: Whatever happened to turn this small rural town into a desolate, monster-haunted hellhole, you missed it. You can, however, find multiple remnants of said tragedy, including dozens of crashed cars.
  • Laser Sight: The bus in the newest update has a laser sight that it will shine in your face if you start tailgating it.
  • Light Is Not Good: The game is unique in that if you see lights (in this case, headlights), you're fucked.
  • The Lost Woods: The non-Ghost Town parts of the map are evenly split between muddy plains and a thick, oppressive forest where strange things lurk.
  • Musical Spoiler: When you start hearing background music, it's time to floor it and start looking around - it only comes on when you're being pursued, sometimes before you can see the other car.
  • Non Standard Game Over: You can do the stalkers' jobs for you by killing yourself with terrible driving.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: When you're not being hunted - or if you've never triggered the hunt in the first place - all that's out there is you, your car, the Ghost Town, and a mounting sense of dread.
  • Post-Apocalyptic Gas Mask: The passengers of the bus wear gas masks, which is slightly alarming considering no-one else in the area does.
  • Raincoat of Horror: The latest update adds a bus with a number of people inside, all of which are wearing yellow raincoats.
  • Real Is Brown: The game's world is comprised almost entirely of various shades of muddy brown. Somewhat justified, however, as you're travelling through dirt roads, in what seems to be autumn, late at night and in the rain, and there are few exceptions, such as the startingly white street lights in some places, and bright yellow raincoats of the bus passengers.
  • Scenery Gorn: For a random indie horror game, the environments are damn near photorealistic sometimes. It's still oppressively atmospheric survival horror though.
  • Sound-Coded for Your Convenience: There's no background music while you're simply driving, but the pursuers have their own leitmotifs that come on when they start chasing you, slightly different for both cars.
  • Stripped to the Bone: One of the open fields is dotted with a plethora of cow skeletons absolutely stripped bare.
  • Superpersistent Predator: The hostile drivers simply will not let you go. If they know where you are, they will chase you down, and they'll do their best to bring your car to a halt so that their passengers can finish you off. The fact that both vehicles are faster than yours, and the drivers are both highly aggressive and quite skilled at handling the roads, means the player must be creative in order to lose them- but it is possible.
  • Surprise Creepy: Inverted in one single case. That glowing floating spider creature? Actually a kid in a weird outfit, and a neutral NPC that's trying to hitch a ride from you.
  • Unspecified Apocalypse: What exactly happened to the world is unclear, even if you manage to activate the projector back in the RV park. There are references to a famine and blackouts, as well as numerous crashed cars and cow skeletons, but what exactly happened and how all the above relates to the Humanoid Abominations chasing after you is a mystery.
  • Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay:
    • As can be expected, driving at full speed on narrow country roads is likely to get you killed without any input from your pursuers.
    • Getting rammed by your pursuers is far less likely to stop your car than getting stuck in the off-road mud.
    • Whoever's operating the laser sight in the bus is likely trying to blind you with it, but has an understandable difficulty keeping it aimed while driving on a bumpy road.
  • Urban Legends: Its basis seems to be a very vague adaption of the infamous "Flashing Headlights Gang Initiation" urban legend.
  • White Bunny: The Hair-Raising Hares that sometimes appear around the car are always white.


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