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Video Game / Cursed Mountain

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Cursed Mountain is a Survival Horror video game originally for the Nintendo Wii, released in 2009, with a European PC port released in 2010. It is set in the late 1980s atop a mountain called "Chomolonzo" (or "Sacred One") in the Himalayas and is thematically based in Tibetan Buddhism.

Eric Simmons is a famous mountaineer whose reputation overshadows that of his younger brother, Frank. Envious, Frank Simmons accepts a foolhardy mission to climb Chomolonzo and retrieve a sacred Buddhist artifact, or "terma", that his sponsor claims is hidden near the summit, in order to finally make a name for himself. When Frank vanishes and is presumed dead, Eric refuses to accept it and comes to Chomolonzo to try and find his brother. To his surprise, he finds the local Sherpas have begun abandoning the region in droves, taking with them nothing more than they can carry — which he admits is very unusual for them.

He soon discovers that Frank has angered the goddess of Chomolonzo through his deeds, and by opening the terma, has torn a rift between the mortal world and the Bardo, the realm in which the souls of the dead wander until it is time for them to either reincarnate or achieve Nirvana, allowing swarms of angry ghosts and demons to pour into the realm of the living. Eric refuses to get caught up in this mystical stuff, instead insisting that all he wants to do is to reach the summit and find his brother.

This game includes examples of:

  • Action Commands: After hurting a ghost sufficiently, Eric can use these to perform a "ritual of compassionate banishment", which sends the ghost back to the Bardo and gives him some health. These same commands are used to defeat the bosses.
  • Ambiguously Human: It's unclear whether Bennett was a demon all along or whether he died during Frank's expedition and lingered on in the physical world as an evil spirit due to the curse on the mountain and his murder of Mingma, though the latter interpretation seems to make the most sense overall.
  • Apocalyptic Log: You can find several notes and diary entries from Frank, other climbers, and villagers. The latter two kinds of entries almost invariably fall under this trope as the villagers and climbers desperately try to stay alive under the onslaught of ghosts.
  • Artifact of Doom: The terma which, upon opening, released spirits and demons into the living world.
  • Cliffhanger: Literally, in some fashion. The game ends with Eric on top of Chomolonzo, having just left Frank to die and be reincarnated at his insistence, with little available oxygen left for the journey down and no easy way to do so even if it were possible.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Averted. When Eric's health dips below a certain point, he slows down a bit and staggers.
  • Dark World: One level takes place inside the Bardo.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The display desaturates whenever a spirit is present or when Eric is in Third Eye mode.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave:
    • Most locals who had not fled Chomolonzo following the disaster are dead. At least Eric has spirits and demons to keep him company.
    • Possibly. Thod-Pa and Jomo Menmo might still be alive.
  • Evil Brit: Inverted in that most of the Western cast is British, played straight with Bennett and arguably Frank.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: Eric refuses to accept that there might be some sort of supernatural event going on, insisting instead that he's hallucinating from oxygen deprivation. He does this even as he banishes ghosts, fights demons, looks into the Bardo itself, and at one point is guided to safety by the voice of a helpful ghost. He starts to slowly drop it, until at the end he accepts Frank's death and leaves the Terma, stating that "the world is not ready for its power" and that he will "leave the Goddess to protect her own."
  • Foreshadowing: Upon entering the Bardo, you see a demon who's missing a leg. Bennett is missing the same leg.
  • Ghost Town: Chomolonzo, quite literally.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Other than Demon Bennett, none of the "boss" enemies that Eric encounters have any real bearing on the plot or foreshadowing of their existence before he runs into them. Even the final demon on the summit just shows up abruptly out of nowhere to provide a final challenge.
  • Glory Seeker: Frank constantly pushes himself, risking life and limb climbing mountains.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: The motivation for Frank to persist in climbing Chomolonzo was to climb out of his brother Eric's shadow.
  • Heart Container: The player can increase Eric's health by seeking out Jomo Menmo's prophecy pages. These are usually found by purifying certain marked Buddha statues.
  • Interface Screw: After Eric first meets with Jomo Menmo, he feels as though he has been drugged. As such he is reduced to a walking pace when following her. During this sequence the screen wobbles, blurs, and fades in and out.
  • Jump Scare: Used to demonstrate the health game mechanic.
  • Late to the Tragedy: Chomolonzo is mostly barren by the time Eric arrives.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In one of the last levels Jomo Menmo talks to Eric incessantly. At one point she says "You who play. You not believe. Stupid you!"
  • Mighty Whitey: Notes found through the game show that Frank was very rude and disrespectful towards the locals.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Long before Eric encounters the first enemy spirit, the display turns monochrome while walking through certain areas of Lhando. After the second occurrence, the game advises the player to move slowly so as to not alert any nearby spirits.
  • Notice This: Notes and important items can be identified by a white pillar of light. Healing items are bathed in a red pillar of light.
  • The Rival: Frank to Eric.
  • Ominous Fog
  • Powerful Pick: Eric's primary weapon, which makes sense given that he is a mountain climber.
    • Energy Weapon: When Eric first unlocks his Third Eye ability, he can fire energy beams from his pickaxe.
    • Swiss-Army Weapon: Eric can find various attachments to enhance his pickaxe's powers as well as grant new abilities such as being able to grapple spirits.
  • Press X to Not Die:
    • When Eric crosses a bridge on the way to Jomo Menmo, the player must hit A to jump to the other side before it collapses.
    • When Eric is captured by a spirit and bound to a sacrificial rock the player must shake the Wii Remote to avoid getting stabbed and free himself.
    • As Eric walks along a narrow mountain path the camera cuts to an overhead view and the player must press A to avoid getting crushed by falling rocks.
  • Redemption Equals Death: At the end, Frank decides not to return to his body, guilty and anguished after unleashing the hordes of the Bardo on the mountain and having been forced to confront his own inner demons. He instead chooses to drift into the Bardo and be reincarnated, hoping that he'll live a better life the next time around.
  • Regenerating Health: Eric can recover up to a third of his health by standing still for a while.
  • Roar Before Beating: Spirits usually do this when becoming hostile.
  • Scaling the Summit: About a mountain climber searching for his missing brother in a mysterious Himalayan village while combating various supernatural terrors.
  • Scripted Battle: At one point Eric picks up a small Buddha statue as a key item which triggers a mini-battle against a fast flying spirit. However, after some time passes the spirit automatically disperses due to Thod-pa banging a gong.
  • Shaky P.O.V. Cam: Prior to battling the vulture-like demon, the perspective switches to it flying overhead every time Eric activates one of the three nearby statues.
  • The Shangri-La
  • Sins Of My Brother: Because of Frank's actions, the shaman Jomo Menmo decides that Eric's death will appease the goddess of Chomolonzo.
  • Some Dexterity Required: The aforementioned ritual requires different Waggle commands for different types of ghosts. In theory they are all simple Wiimote slashes, but the horizontal and especially vertical practically require an architectural level to make sure the game accepts them, however it is generally acepted that holding the wii-mote like the pickaxe (upside up) while doing the rituals improves the detection a lot.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: The monk Thod-pa pulls this on Eric after teaching him how to use his Third Eye.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • The disembodied voice of Frank gives Eric several over the course of the last level.
    • Jomo Menmo does the same over the course of the third-from-last level, but her's are mostly just calling Eric stupid.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Eric is much more willing to believe that he is simply going insane than he is willing to accept the idea of spirits and demons actually existing.
  • Useless Item: There are red statues of a one-breasted Goddess hidden throughout the levels. The instruction booklet does not mention them once, they are not added to your inventory after being found, and no noticeable changes occur in the combat. If they actually do something in the game, it is unknown what.
  • Visible Invisibility: In certain sections some of the enemies are invisible but can be revealed by smoke from igniting nearby candles.