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Video Game / Crossing Souls

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Some discoveries are too powerful to be shared...

Crossing Souls is an indie 2D top-down Action-Adventure, developed by Fourattic, published by Devolver Digital, and released in April 2018. It is about a group of childhood friends in a small town, who one day discover a dead body near the local lake. The deceased also carried a weird pink pyramid-like stone with him, which the nerd of the group, Matt, soon identifies as the shard of the Egyptian Duat, which has the power to cross over the worlds of the living and the dead. Matt quickly fashions it into a way to see ghosts. However, this same Duat Stone is also searched for by its previous owner, Major Oh Rus, who hopes to use it to Take Over the World...

The game was funded on Kickstarter. It reached its funding goal on December 13th, 2014. It was released on February 13th, 2018.


Tropes present in Crossing Souls:

  • Action Bomb: The ghost Zombies (yes, really) who rise from their graves in the cemetery blow up upon death.
  • Advancing Boss of Doom: An example near the end, where the boss - ghostly green dragon - is actually in the background at all times, and the player is instead fleeing from the wall of green flame it is creating behind them.
  • Affably Evil: Dr. Spielgman is always polite and he really believes his plan is going to do good by letting dead scientists from the past work with the living ones. It's too bad he's fine with hundreds of people dying to feed the Duat to accomplish this. Moreover, Major only cares about this plan to the extent it lets him become a god, while Seth doesn't care about either of them, and just wants to "render his judgement" on all of humanity.
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  • A God Am I: Major Oh Rus falls heavily into this, right before he actually uses the Duat, to, in his mind, become a god. Too bad it wasn't all it was cracked up to be.
Major Oh Rus: Pay close attention! You're going to witness the birth of a new God: Oh Rus! Let your death serve as an example for those who dare oppose my reign!HAHAHA!'''
  • Agonizing Stomach Wound: Happens to Big Joe when Heartless shoots him.
  • Alien Blood: Spiders leave green or purple blood behind them. Ghosts can leave behind pinkish blood.
  • Another Dimension: Duat, the ghostly world of the dead, which you can enter at will once Matt develops his machine.
  • Arc Words: Besides the Tag Line above, there's "Together, always", which the main characters regularly say to each other. These are Matt's final words, and what Charlie says after she essentially commits suicide many years later to rejoin the group in the afterlife.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Quincy Queen's outfit.
    • Big Joe's belly is so big, his T-shirt fails to completely cover it.
    • Plenty of bystanders, like the cheerleaders around the ring where you first control Charlie.
  • Batter Up!: Chris fights with a baseball bat. He is so good at it, he can smash robots, and even deflect Energy Ball projectiles backwards, with no damage to the bat!
  • Beard of Evil: Major Oh Rus has a long grey one.
  • Big Bad: Major Oh Rus, who wants to Take Over the World by getting armies of ghosts with the power of the Duat.
  • Bland-Name Product: All the collection items are parodies of famous 80's crazes.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Played straight during the normal gameplay, where the gang do not kill any humans. Averted in the cutscenes, where there's blood whenever Major Oh Rus kills someone.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: It's unclear why Major and Spielgman went to the trouble of creating Cyborg Heartless and the elaborate sequence of disappearing platforms around him, when simply a room full of platforms that would have all sunk into the lava at once would have worked just fine.
    • Perhaps, because Spielgman wanted Matt to survive so that he could join him, he persuaded the Major to do something that would give him a chance. Even that looks needlessly elaborate compared to the laser fence that actually gets Matt and Chris to split up and allows Spielgman to talk to Matt on his own.
  • Cape Swish: Major Oh Rus does this with his red cape.
  • Circling Birdies: Circling stars appear over the heads of stunned enemies, be they village kids fighting you in the ring, or ghouls who miss with their leaping attacks and hit their head on the ground instead.
  • Concealment Equals Cover: The gang hides from the assault rifle fire of a dozen Last Regime soldiers behind a car. It is absolutely riddled with bulletholes, yet none of them get hit.
  • Convection Schmonvection: The battle with Cyborg Heartless occurs over lava, and yet, it only damages the characters when they actually fall into it, while standing on the platforms right next to it is fine.
  • Cool Shades: Quincy Queen wears these.
  • Creator Provincialism: Really minor example, but it's there. Among the items in the treehouse there are a Dash Kappei poster and a poster of a character from The Fruitties. While those are shows from the 1980s, it is extremely unlikely that kids from a small American town would know about them and be such fans of them. Developers Fourattic are from Spain, and so is The Fruitties, and Kappei was quite popular in Spain between the 80s and the 90s. Additionally, there are word choices that would not be used in America, such as "caravan park" for "trailer park".
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: This is what is supposed to happen when Major Oh Rus' plan comes to fruition. His portal will summon enough dead, all captive to his will, that they'll overwhelm the resistance from any living who disobey him within a day - hence he and Spielgman refer to it as the One Day War.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Major Oh Rus, wounded after his battle with Chris, still manages to remotely snap Matt's neck with a Force-Choke equivalent. Why he couldn't do the same to Chris, instead of jumping down to fight him, is never explained.
  • Damsel in Distress: Charlie gets captured in Major Oh Rus' compound, and is tied to a machine that'll kill her right before the actual battle with Oh Rus.
  • Deader Than Dead: Possessed Entities can kill other ghosts, and even eat the souls of the living.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: Happens at the end of every boss battle. While human bosses simply have the machinery they are using blow up while they themselves are merely knocked out, ghosts like Sarducci blow up themselves.
    • This also happens with the zombies (who are ghosts too, and not flesh-and-blood beings), though their explosion actually does damage, and is not just a visual effect.
  • Die, Chair, Die!: You can break environmental items like wooden boxes and trash cans to search for hearts. There's even a mini-sidequest, where a neighbour asks you to break apart a few watermelons she accidentally planted on her lawn.
    • On the cemetery, you can smash piles of skulls. Sometimes, it's the only way to get through to the next area. Interestingly, none of the characters comment on this, and this behavior doesn't stop the scale of souls to judge Chris' soul as being so pure as to defeat Seth.
  • Dimensional Traveler: Chris, Matt and the rest turn into these once Matt develops his machine from the Duat stone.
  • Dirty Coward: Randal goes from openly contemplating taking "credit" in front of Quincy Queen for the dead body found on the lake, to swearing he did nothing when Kevin overhears them.
    • Though, he does charge out in front of the group to protect Quincy Queen when they come to recover Matt's machine from him. Big Joe still brushes him aside in one move.
  • Driven to Suicide: A rare hopeful example in the epilogue. Charlie, having grown old, tells the events of the game as a story to her grandchildren. After they leave, she activates a machine that lets her die and be reborn in the afterlife as the girl she was during the main game.
  • Enemy Summoner: Carl the Bus Driver is a boss that simply summons members of his ghost militia (which includes red spiders) to back him up.
  • Energy Ball: Zed fires long bursts of yellow ones from his machine. Later, Matt's portable gun fires green projectiles like this.
    • Ghostly Priests fire a burst of three purple balls from their clasped hands.
    • Major Oh Rus can fire a spread of three from his hand.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Carl the Bus Driver.
  • Everything Fades: Defeated enemies only take a few seconds to fade away, regardless of whether they were destroyed like machines, "killed" like ghosts, or knocked out like humans.
  • Evil Laugh: Carl The Bus Driver has one.
  • Eye Glasses: Quincy Queen's firecracker throwers wear these.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Heartless essentially becomes Brain in a Jar, rigged to a giant killing complex.
  • Five-Man Band: You are playing as one.
  • Fatal Family Photo: Played with: you find Bronson's family photo right as you come across his dead body on a motorized rack, killed by Major for his failures.
  • Final Girl: Charlie is literally the only playable character to survive the events of the main game, with her telling the epilogue at the end, before choosing to die herself so that she can be with them.
  • First Kiss: Happens between Chris and Charlie in Major Oh Rus' base. Disturbingly, it occurs right after the last words of Matt, who had his neck snapped by Major Oh Rus.
  • Flash Step: Charlie can dash like this.
  • Flunky Boss: Most bosses summon back-up during their fights. Carl the Bus Driver does nothing besides summoning back-up.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Averted when Kevin dies, and we see a montage of Chris grieving over several days spent inside his room.
    • The kids also remember later on when Big Joe dies. However, when Spielgman convinces Matt they do everything for the greater good, and even says Heartless' fate was due to going too far, Matt somehow forgets that Bronson was tortured to death by the same people.
  • Frames of Reference: Kind and nerdy Matt wears huge circular glasses with light blue frames. Mischievous Kevin wears black-rimmed square glasses. Vain Quincy Queen wears Cool Shades. Wise Dr. Spielgman wears green-colored shades.
  • Friendly Fireproof: The attacks of ranged enemies never hurt their allies. Even if they are explosive, with a sizeable blast radius. However, zombies' death explosions do hurt other ghosts - a good thing too, given how many of them there are.
    • You can swing your weapons and fists in front of bystanders, and it'll pass through them without ever doing damage, let alone triggering any reaction from them.
  • Game Over: The screen here literally says that, overlaid over Major Oh Rus' face.
  • Gatling Good: Heartless' helicopter has a gatling gun on it. You would expect a boss fight, but instead, the kids are realistically forced to flee. Even so, Heartless' fire still gets Big Joe killed.
  • Ghost Reunion Ending: After Charlie becomes the only playable character to survive the main game, she lives out a full life, travelling to Ghana with an NGO and becoming a grandmother who tells this whole story to her grandkids. After they leave, she uses a machine based on Matt's discoveries to send her soul to the afterlife as a girl she was then, not the old woman she is now.
  • Giant Spider: The dog-sized Red Spiders.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Charlie has these.
  • Glowing Eyes: Major Oh Rus' eyes are glowing with lilac from the first scene we see him in.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Major Oh Rus has a long scar running down his face and across his eye.
  • Hand Blast: Ghostly Priests in Carl the Bus Driver's army fire energy blasts in bursts of three.
    • During his boss battle, Major Oh Rus can fire a spread of three energy shots from his palm.
  • Heart Symbol: The health icon, as expected.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Chris does this in the end, letting the Duat claim his life so that he could confront Seth.
    • Earlier, Big Joe choosing to push on ahead rather than waiting and trying to rest and heal after his bullet wound could be seen as this. It's even possible he would have survived otherwise, but Chris and Matt would not have gotten to Oh Rus' base in time to save the world.
  • Herr Doktor: Spielgman, Major Oh Rus' scientist who figured out how to open the portal between the world of living and the dead.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Characters get healed with SuguHeart candies.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: In the end, Chris' soul turns out to be so pure as to completely overpower Seth, and perhaps even defeat him for the rest of time. Don't ask how this squares with how they took the Duat off the body of a dead man in the first place, or the way you get to smash piles of skulls while on the cemetery, like they were any other environmental obstacle.
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests: Plain-looking wooden chests are present in plenty of secluded places. Perfect for the adventurers like you, strange for whoever placed them there in the first place.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: A dozen Last Regime soldiers with assault rifles under the command of Heartless fail to hit any of the kids as they flee them at mid-range.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted. First when Chris' little brother Kevin dies and then when Matt gets his neck snapped by Major Oh Rus. Then, when Big Joe is hit by a bullet from Heartless' helicopter, and eventually dies from it. By the end, Charlie is the only person out of the whole group to survive.
  • In the Hood: Ghostly Priests' face is completely obscured by their hood.
  • Joke Character: Kevin's only "abilities" are to fart, pick boogers and blow bubble gum. His uselessness foreshadows his early death.
  • Meaningful Name: Heartless is the most cruel of Major Oh Rus' officers, and thinks nothing of opening fire with live rounds on kids. It also becomes literal, when he's turned into a cyborg, whose heart is separate from the rest of the body, and is his weak point.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Used a lot in Major Oh Rus' base.
  • Neck Snap: Major Oh Rus does this to Matt, Darth Vader-style.
  • Nerd Glasses: Matt wears enormous glasses with light blue frames.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: The epilogue has you control Charlie old enough to have grandkids, which implies some 50+ years must have passed since the events of the game in 1980. For 2030s-2040s, there's not much new at her house besides some flashy screens.
  • Non-Fatal Explosions: All explosions in the game. Granted most of these come from either children's firecrackers or from ghosts and thus have unclear physical properties.
  • One-Winged Angel: After the kids defeat him as a human, Major Oh Rus decides it's time for him to become a god. Said "god" is a large red beast, too dumb not to run into the very crystals keeping it alive.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Averted when Big Joe is hit by one of the bullets Heartless fired from his helicopter's minigun. He seems to survive it, but spends the next section plodding and visibly wounded, before ultimately collapsing and dying at the end of it.
  • Our Ghouls Are Creepier: Some ghostly ghouls fight for Carl the Bus Driver. They can do leap attacks at the player. However, they'll painfully bump their heads on the ground if they miss, and become an easy target while they recover.
  • Platform Battle: The battle with Cyborg Heartless is fought over lava, with platforms regularly appearing and disappearing, and while you are also fired at with energy projectiles and missiles from above.
  • Playable Epilogue: The Dénouement Episode version, where you control old Charlie after she's just told the events you just played through to her grandchildren. You get to walk around her house, look at the key items and see her reminisce about them, before she reaches the machine that sent her soul to the afterlife as the young girl.
  • Playing with Fire: Vigo Sarducci's ghost moves.
  • Power Floats: One of Matt's inventions lets him float a short distance off the ground.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Bronson is a sympathetic link under Major Oh Rus and his second-in-commands Spielgman and Heartless. it's revealed he was only doing this for his family, through a photo found next to his dead body on a rack.
  • Puzzle Boss: Carl the Bus Driver cannot be attacked directly. Instead, Kevin must follow the sequence of presses that appears on the platforms before his throne in the same order. Doing it correctly will literally shock him.
  • Rat Stomp: The first battle in the game is against rats, small and large, in the burger place's basement.
  • Reference Overdosed: Every single collectible item is based on a piece of 80s popular culture, the plot is based on several famous movies from that period (from Stand By Me to E.T.), countless posters, leaflets and graffiti with shout-outs on them... It gets to the point that several reviews stated that the endless references become distracting and overwhelming after a while.
  • Retraux: The animated cut scenes have a grainy appearance to them, sometimes have bubbles cut in it like it's being played off an old VHS tape.
  • Save Point: Cassette tapes (though they look more like NES cartridges), as expected of its 80s setting.
  • Skeleton Motif:
    • Quincy Queen's music band/gang are named Purple Skulls, and have a logo to match.
    • Red Spiders have an exact representation of a skull on their backs. Possessed Entities are globs of slime with a skull inside them.
  • Shockwave Stomp:
    • Quincy Queen jumps up in the air holding out his staff, then creates a large shockwave of what seems like purple notes, with a huge blast radius.
    • Vigo Sarducci has a move where he jumps down and drives his sword into the ground, creating a fire shockwave around it.
    • Major Oh Rus has a similar move, though he's badass enough to just slam his fist to the ground for the same effect.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: The game is quite light-hearted at first, and even the appearance of the dead body and the introduction of ruthless Major Oh Rus do not seem to shake this too much. Sure, you are suddenly fighting dozens of ghost zombies at once, but none of the characters seem to care about it too much, so it must not matter, right. Then, Kevin, Chris' younger brother who takes nothing much seriously, dies in a stupid accident due to the Duat Stone, and everyone is forced to realize the gravity of what they had been doing.
  • Shout-Out: Multiple shout-outs to the various 80s and 80s-set works.
    • One of the houses has the family from Poltergeist, complete with the daughter staring into a staticy TV, and indian ghosts mad that the pool is digging into their graves.
    • A V symbol in the sewers has the main character hoping they don't run into Lizard Men.
    • Randall, the flunky in the Purple Skulls, shares a name and mannerisms with the class snitch of Recess.
    • The Vigo Sarducci boss is a carbon copy of Vigo the Carpathian. His name is probably referencing comedy character Father Guido Sarducci.
    • Another boss is based on the librarian ghost from Ghostbusters (1984).
    • Two agents named Zed and Tackleberry.
    • Matt's parents seem to be partially based on Egon and Janine, both in appearance and attitude.
    • Asian Store-Owner Shen Lee is clearly based on Mr. Wing from Gremlins, on top of that some dialogues seem to reference the parody of such characters that appeared on one Treehouse of Horror episode of The Simpsons.
  • Smug Snake: Quincy Queen, who looks down on all of his friends and genuinely doesn't understand why he doesn't want to hang out with him and the Purple Skulls instead.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Charlie is the only female playable character.
  • Spin Attack: The whipping attacks with Charlie's skipping rope.
  • Spread Shot: Quincy Queen fires a spread of three notes from his staff.
    • Major Oh Rus can fire a spread of three energy shots from his hand.
  • Sprint Meter: One is consumed when the characters are running, jumping, and with every attack or Unnecessary Combat Roll. There are even platform segments where you must watch your stamina to successfully get through them.
  • Status Quo Is God: The epilogue implies that since Charlie's grandkids don't realise their grandma was in the story, the events probably stayed secret and didn't alter the course of world history in any way. Spielgman and his scientists didn't get to do anything like what they intended, and the dozens of people who were drained by the Duat, to the point only their skeletons remain, were similarly brushed off by the rest of the world.
  • Super Drowning Skills: All the characters immediately drown if they fall into the water, and respawn at its edge.
  • Super Spit: Red Spiders spit out globs of entangling webs. An advanced version of Possessed Entities spits out delayed-explosion ghostly slime.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: Vigo Sarducci cannot be harmed as long as he stays inside his three portraits and launches fireballs from them. Every once in a while, however, he gets too proud to keep doing that, and flies out of one of them to attack the gang with his ghostly sword.
    • Major Oh Rus' second battle is a truly special example. The supposed "god" is a large red beast, which charges at the player and can't be damaged normally, but whose life is dependent upon the red crystals that appear in the corners of the arena. It appears that either Oh Rus is too enraged not to repeatedly crash into the very crystals keeping him alive, or his "god" form is just a beast that can no longer have such advanced thoughts.
  • Tennis Boss: Chris' bat somehow allows him to knock Energy Ball projectiles backwards. It's useful both against Major's turrets, and when dealing with his Hand Blast.
  • Trash Landing: Randall, Quincy Queen's ineffective flunky, is thrown there by Big Joe after his useless slaps annoy him too much.
  • Unnecessary Combat Roll: An important part of the combat system. Just don't drain the Sprint Meter too much!
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Dr. Spielgman wants to create an essential utopia by using the Duat to summon the ghosts of dead scientists so that they can work together with the living ones. As such, he considers any casualties Major and his forces cause to be "the cost of progress", since "we have all lost something on the path to enlightenment". As such, he also lets Major Oh Rus feed the Duat with the lives of hundreds of people, and lies to Matt about it. Sadly, Seth was never planning to let him do that anyway, and Oh Rus might have done away with him after becoming a "god" just like how he got rid of all other previous underlings once they stopped being useful.
  • Unwilling Roboticisation: This happens to Heartless, with him practically becoming a Brain in a Jar that controls tons of rockets and such. His heart is literally separate from the rest of the body, and his only weak point.
  • Vampiric Draining: This is what the Duat Stone does, in the absence of any other energy source. Kevin dies because of this, when he's startled by Quincy Queen, and takes off so quickly the gamma battery falls out of Matt's machine, and Duat Stone drains his life instead.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: The crown weapon of the machine used by Zed in his boss fight.
  • We Can Rule Together: Quincy Queen offers Chris early on to abandon his "loser friends" and join him and the Purple Skulls, so that they would "rule" the town together. Chris obviously knocks this back.
    • It eventually turns out that Major Oh Rus received a similar offer from Seth, who would let him rule the Earth in exchange for freeing him to take over everything else. However, Seth never intended to fulfil his end of the bargain.
    • Lastly, Spielgman offers Matt to work alongside him and the other scientists under his control, as the Duat would allow them to converse with any dead scientist from the past, and work on the problems together, while even their own death wouldn't stop them from aiding their colleagues. Sadly, while Matt accepts, Oh Rus petulantly killed him as soon as he lost his first fight to Matt.
  • Weirdness Censor: You can swing your fist, bat, skipping rope, etc. in everyone's faces, and nobody will bat an eyelid.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Dr. Spielgman clearly believes he can create an essential utopia by using the Duat to summon the ghosts of dead scientists so that they can work together with the living ones. As such, he considers any casualties Major and his forces cause to be "the cost of progress", since "we have all lost something on the path to enlightenment". This goes as far as letting Major Oh Rus feed the Duat with the lives of hundreds of people, even though it's not clear if this is needed for anything but Major's hope of becoming a god.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It's unclear just what happened to Spielgman, his two dozen scientists and the remaining Last Regime soldiers. Chris simply tells Charlie to get everyone out, and then we have a Time Skip 50+ years in the future, with none of them mentioned. There's no explanation for how she, a lone girl, managed to rescue all the people connected to the Duat, evading the soldiers in the meantime. Just as it is unclear why Spielgman and his scientists would apparently give up on all the equipment and research they have gathered.
  • Whip It Good: Charlie Baker uses a skipping rope as a whip.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: The final area is a particularly jarring example of this. Oh Rus has soldiers equipped with real, proper guns, but chooses to guard most of the base with knee-high Mecha-Mooks that easily get smashed with a bat. Even if he had to limit the number of human soldiers to a dozen or two for the sake of secrecy, it's again unclear why the robots couldn't be equipped with real guns, instead of fighting in melee, launching weak explosives or firing energy balls that get deflected with a bat!
    • Let's just say all of Spielgman's scientists failed to design a robot that could shoot a gun accurately without overheating or losing its balance from recoil. Even that doesn't explain why Oh Rus sends about a dozen of Mecha-Mooks at Chris in several waves before joining the fight himself, rather than just getting two soldiers who were next to him in the previous cutscene to empty their mags.
  • Wimp Fight: Just before the Quincy Queen boss battle, his flunky, Randall, attempts to take you on yourself, but the best he can manage is some pathetic slaps to Big Joe, the strongest member of the group. He gets annoyed, and chucks him headfirst into the nearby dumpster with a single move.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Both Oh Rus and Heartless don't mind offering their troops to kill the child protagonists. Both of them also end up doing it personally, with Heartless' bullet wounding and killing Big Joe, while Oh Rus personally snaps Matt's neck.
  • You All Look Familiar: There's only a couple of ghostly kid sprites for the sizeable crowd standing behind Carl The Bus Driver, so several of them are repeated.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Chris, the main character of the group, has blue hair, as well as his father.
  • You Have Failed Me: Major Oh Rus is introduced with a scene where he kills a masked mook for failing to locate the Duat Stone.
    • Then, Bronson also gets tortured to death on what looks like motorized rack at the end. Similarly, Heartless also appears to have been turned into a horrible cyborg due to his failure to eliminate the kids from a helicopter, even if Spielgman claims it's because he had gone too far.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Major Oh Rus does this to Matt, once he gets defeated by the other kids, and decides to straight-up transition to a "god".
  • X-Ray Sparks: This happens to Bronson, Zed and Tackleberry during their battle; first when they just power it on, and later as you deal damage to them.


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