Long-term netrunners gradually lose the ability to take the virtual out of virtual reality. You are one such runner, Ransom Stark, implanted with an A.I. chip that helps you keep reality real. It also, rather fortuitously, helps resist other mental influences, such as being bitten by a vampire. But only for a while...
You must gather a party and find a way to free yourself of the vampire curse before the chip is overwhelmed and your humanity is forever lost.
- Awesome, but Impractical:
- Jury-rigging flamethrowers or Bio-Tech sounds great in theory, but the tendency for jury-rig weapons to explode makes them extremely dangerous (and disarms the user!) that the player is better off with a Shotgun - which does more damage then the flamethrower.
- Nimrod 7 is one of the most powerful NPCs you can have join your party. He is also a prolific and well-known assassin with no scruples about who he works for, and as a result he is hated by half of everyone you meet. Several potential party members will refuse to be on the same team as him, and some characters will attack on sight when you have him along.
- Aerith and Bob: Hanging out on scenic 175th Street are Phracktle K. Oss, Auntie Matter, Phree Thaught, Nai Hillistick... and Chuck.
- Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Zig-zagged. On one hand, Ransom Stark and street gangers frequently argue about whether cybernetic implants destroy or enhance the user's humanity, and a number of characters have had their brains fried by cybernetics (albeit in some cases with help from designer drugs). On the other hand, Stark is able to retain his humanity as a vampire only because of a neural implant, and even before that, the same implant was helping him function despite a severe mental illness. There are other examples of characters using implants to help with their mental illnesses, as well.
- Cyberpunk: Cybernetic implants, virtual reality hacking, mega-corporations... it has all the trappings, then adds vampires.
- Fictional Disability: Hopkins-Brie Ontology Syndrome (usually just called Hopkins-Brie Syndrome) is a mental illness caused by overexposure to virtual reality, in which the sufferer becomes increasingly unable to distinguish between the real world and the virtual world. The mental implant Ransom has that prevents him from becoming a vampire was originally installed to treat his Hopkins-Brie Syndrome, and an NPC in Central Park is suffering from a severe case that he keeps at bay with a set of special glasses (though they don't work all that well).
- Gainax Ending: The ending feels cobbled together from fragments of plot that were meant to be larger things.
- Gratuitous Foreign Language: Gerry Soo gives you a note written in French, German, and Spanish. You're expected to acquire a translation program called the Babel Code to read it. It's probably the best option, as the note was clearly written using a very early and half-baked machine translator.
- Obvious Beta: The sheer amount of dummied-out content indicates how unfinished this game was.
- Pet the Dog: Ransom is kind of a dick, but he also gives the schematics to his anti-Hopkins-Brie Syndrome implant to a man who is suffering from a serious case of Hopkins-Brie. (This is Pet the Dog and not Video Game Caring Potential because the man insists on paying, and the items he gives you are necessary to complete the game.)
- Point-and-Click Map: It has a map of New York with several markers on it, with more appearing as the game progresses; clicking on a marker brings up a list of all the locations in that area.
- Punny Name: Sis Konfigg, Holograham and on, and on...
- Soul Jar: To kill a vampire, its heart must be destroyed. The Big Bad of the game has discovered that with advanced medical technology, it is possible to remove a vampire's heart and hook it up to support machinery to keep both it and the vampire functioning...
- Strange-Syntax Speaker: Many of the characters in the game have odd manners of speaking. One's a Third-Person Person, one speaks in crossword clues, one supplies synonyms for every verb he says...
- Sycophantic Servant: Renfield. He really loves serving vampires. Even when they hate being a vampire and just want a cure, he'll still kiss up while following orders.
- The Corruption: Ransom Stark has an instant-kill bite attack, but each use of it decreases his humanity a little and brings him closer to the Non-Standard Game Over (in addition to the normal decrease of his humanity with time).
- The Renfield: The aptly named Renfield's purpose in life is to serve vampires.
- Timed Mission: You have only a few in-game days to find a cure to your vampirism or the implant will burn out, leaving you as a monster.
- Unwinnable by Design: Nimrod 7 has angered many of the gangs in the city through his choice of employers. Recruiting him means several characters will go hostile on sight if you forget to dismiss him beforehand, which makes the game impossible to finish as you must peacefully talk to them in order to gain access to key locations, even leaving combat without killing the NPC and returning without Nimrod 7 won't work as they stay hostile forever.
- There's also the fact that despite needing to sate your Bloodlust, you can use the instant-kill bite on any NPC. Including plot important ones. And there's absolutely no indication of who's plot important, making it all too easy to drain someone and screw your game without knowing until it's too late.
- Vampire Refugee: Ransom Stark's choice is to find a cure or lose himself to the thirst.
- Vampires Sleep in Coffins: Vampiric party members can only rest in a coffin (actually a sarcophagus you steal from the museum) lined with dirt from their home.
- Viewers Are Geniuses: Numerous references to Franz Kafka and Friedrich Nietzsche throughout the story.