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Video Game / Dark Deception

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The clock is ticking.

Dark Deception is a Pac-Man inspired horror game developed by Glowstick Entertainment.

You play as a faceless protagonist who apparently has met their end. Rather than go to the great beyond, you find yourself face to face with a woman named Bierce who offers you a chance to live again in exchange for a few small... tasks. Namely, heading into a few portals and collecting a few gems. Seems simple enough, save for the fact that the places she sends you to are nightmare realms patrolled by some very ghastly beings who aren't afraid to rip you apart on sight. Bierce offers a little aid, but for the most part, you're on your own with nothing but your wits to survive. Plus there might be the tiny little fact that Bierce might not be on the up and up...

A demo for the game featuring the first level was released in 2014, while the finished Chapter 1 (containing said level from the demo) was released in September 2018. Chapter 2 was released in January 2019, and Chapter 3 was released in June that same year. Chapter 4 was released in September 2021, with Chapter 5 releasing at an unknown date. Alongside Chapter 4's release was a massive Enhanced update that came with a variety of visual improvements and updated level design, including a set of secrets describing a mysterious person only known as "E" and their travels through this purgatory.


A multiplayer-based spinoff known as Dark Deception: Monsters & Mortals was released in November 2020. It is a four-player game where players compete in mazes to collect the most shards while avoiding being killed by one another. It received a crossover DLC based on Monstrum a month later. A second DLC based on Silent Hill was announced on March 21, 2021. On December 10, 2021, a third DLC based on House of Ashes was announced.

No relation to Tecmo's Deception series.


Dark Deception contains examples of:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The fourth level, Stranger Sewers, takes place in one.
  • Alliterative Name: The Murder Monkeys, Dread Duckies, Doom Ducky, and Trigger Teddy.
  • Alliterative Title: The game's title, as well as various levels, such as Elementary Evil and Deadly Decadence. The only exception so far is the first level, Monkey Business.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: The seventh level, Mascot Mayhem, takes place in one initially, and it's apparently run by a gang of demonic animatronics.
  • An Axe to Grind: The Gold Watchers will use one or two axes to execute the player in some of their death scenes.
  • And I Must Scream: Bierce hints at this since the shards are made up of human souls, presumably screaming in agony. This is also seen in Bearly Buried, revealing that anyone sent by Malak here to be executed are incorporated into the cave walls, apparently as agonized faces.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: If the player runs out of lives they are given an option to use last checkpoint, allowing the player to start where they left off previously. The catch is that you can't get S-rank anymore once you use it.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Two of these exist. The first are Bierce's Diaries, which examines Bierce's life prior to meeting Doug. The second are notes of a person named E, the last person who entered the nightmares prior to Doug's arrival, and the notes detail her use of an artifact she found to travel between nightmares.
  • Asymmetric Multiplayer: The main mode of Monsters & Mortals pits three mortals against one monster, the former trying to collect shards and summon a portal to escape, the latter trying to kill them all.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Four moments of this happen. In Elementary Evil, where Bierce unlocks the gym doors when Agatha traps Doug within it, allowing him to escape to Agatha's chagrin. In Bearly Buried, Tammy appears out of nowhere in soul form to rescue Doug from Mama Bear's clutches, doing so by electrocuting the Trigger Teddies escorting him. She saves him two more times after that, one from Malak's marking using the ring pieces, and at the very end from Mama Bear by opening the portal.
  • Big Fancy House: The second half of Deadly Decadence takes place in one made of gold and other riches.
  • Brought Down to Badass: Doug is stripped off of all of the ring pieces at the end of Mascot Mayhem with all of his power-ups and is left to die in the Cave. Doesn't stop him from getting all of them back and evading dozen of Trigger Teddies and Mama Bear.
  • The Chase: Every level usually ends with one.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Zone 3 of Mascot Mayhem reveals a set of crusher pistons around the beginning. These are later used to defeat the frenzied Joy Joy Gang, as well as subduing Joy Kill later on.
  • Circus of Fear: Crazy Carnevil, home to the Clown Gremlins.
  • Collision Damage: Using Vanish makes you hidden from view, not invulnerable. Touch an enemy in this state and they'll find you instantly.
  • Creepy Child: Agatha and the Trigger Teddies.
  • Creepy Doll: The Trigger Teddies' true form is this. Presumably the same with Mama Bear since she's wearing a costume.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: A bizarre case considering it comes shortly after a case of Cutscene Power to the Max: At the end of Mascot Mayhem, Joy Kill suddenly drops between Doug and the exit portal. However, unlike when Doug got cornered at the end of Torment Therapy, Doug makes no attempt to use his abilities to get past the monster, and ends up getting subdued.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Downplayed, but pops up with the cutscene at the end of Torment Therapy. Doug's usage of "Teleport" and "Primal Fear" is consistent with their normal uses, but attempting to use "Speed Boost" to push a Nurse across the hallway would not end well in normal gameplay, and that's assuming it was actually "Speed Boost" and not Doug pulling a new ability out of nowhere.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Secret rooms within the nightmares indicate, and the game later confirms, that the protagonist has one, and it involves letting his family perish.
  • Dismantled Macguffin: The Riddle of Heaven, which contains Malak's power, was split up long ago and placed in eldritch locations guarded by monsters. Now Bierce wants you to help her reassemble it.
  • Do with Him as You Will: A villanous example. It's revealed that this is how Malak dispatches his rivals, specifically by sending them to Mama Bear and her Trigger Teddies to eat or torture them at their leisure. He nearly does this to Doug too had a certain magical orb not save him.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: This happens quite a bit, usually with some of the enemies:
    • Malak could potentially count since we do see him in door form in the ballroom, albeit inactively. Other than that, his humanoid form makes a cameo twice in two levels before it becomes prominent.
    • In Monkey Business, we see a cardboard cutout of a Murder Monkey with chef clothing in the kitchen. The Chef Monkeys would appear in that location later on.
    • In Deadly Decadence, a larger stone version of the Gold Watchers appears inactive at the beginning. At the end, said watcher reappears behind the portal as a Titan Watcher.
    • In Stranger Sewers, the Doom Ducky appears several times prior to their boss fight, such as attacking the player in a hole at the start, roaring before you enter zone 2, and staring at the player through sewer grates.
    • In Crazy Carnevil, all four of the Goliath Clowns appear in a cloudy red room, laughing at us while we ride the roller coaster.
    • All four of the end chapter screens show an enemy related to the preceding chapter. This includes Agatha (Chapter 2), the Dread Duckies (Chapter 3), the Matron (Chapter 4), and the Mannequins (Chapter 5).
  • Eaten Alive: What seemingly becomes of the player if caught by certain monsters, and this presumably happened to others beforehand.
  • Eldritch Location: The game so far has two types of this trope:
    • Bierce's Ballroom, which is the main room, is pretty much a piece of ballroom floating in the middle of nowhere, surrounded on two sides by nightmare portals. The top of the stairway also leads to Malak, who is in door form and guards an as of yet unknown location.
    • The nightmares are pocket dimensions vaguely reminiscent of real-world locations and filled with dead spirits. These locations range from as simple as buildings with repetitive rooms to a network of smaller dimensions connected to one another.
    • As it turns out, both of the aforementioned locations are found in some sort of "dark dimension." Not much is really known about it, but according to Malak it's a place where all evil souls gather, slowly fighting one another to become the "ultimate evil."
  • Evil Laugh: Plenty of offenders: Malak, Bierce, Agatha, the Gold Watchers, the Clown Gremlins, the Reaper Nurses, the Joy Joy Gang, and Mama Bear all do this to varying extents. Hell, even the Dread Duckies do this, albeit in the form of repeated quacking.
  • Evil vs. Evil: While Malak is quite clearly the Big Bad of the game, Bierce herself is also hinted to be using the protagonist for her own sinister purposes. While she usually has a quick retort to Malak's threats, she responds with silence when Malak points out she's not being entirely sincere with the protagonist, asking her if she told them about all the people she used in the past.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: When the protagonist first interacts with Bierce, she states that she thought you would be bigger. Considering that you are eye-level with her chest, that probably means that she's quite tall herself.
  • Featureless Protagonist: In the main game, we never see what the protagonist looks like nor do we hear his voice, though he does get a model in Monsters & Mortals, averting this trope. Further averted when Malak invades the ballroom, where a weakened Doug is shown lying on the floor in the background.
  • Fission Mailed: The Mascot Mayhem level is this. Even if you manage to return to the portal to finish the level, the Joy Joy Gang will always catch you at the end. There is even a fake game over screen, before the game proceeds to a cutscene.
  • Flash Step: Speed Boost, the first power you get in the game, allows you to do this to escape enemies and other threats more easily.
  • Foreshadowing: Lucky claims that he never lose. Joy Kill also claims that it isn't over after his apparent defeat. Unfortunately, that's exactly how it goes, as Lucky and his gang manages to incapacitate Doug and leave him at Malak's mercy.
  • Gameplay Grading: At the end of every level, you get graded up to an S based on how you did.
  • Giant Medical Syringe: The Reaper Nurses from Torment Therapy wield giant syringes as their main weapons.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The gameplay revolves around collecting 100+ soul shards in each level to obtain one of the 9 Ring Pieces.
  • Hedge Maze: The first half of Deadly Decadence takes place in one.
  • Hellgate: The ballroom has 10 of these around it, and Bierce uses them to help connect to Malak's realm, which isn't exactly hell but might as well be.
  • Hell Hotel: The first level, Monkey Business, takes place in one where you're chased by killer monkeys dressed as bellhops and where you can be served free breakfast and murder until 10 AM.
  • Horned Humanoid: Malak.
  • Hostile Animatronics: Penny the Chicken, Lucky the Rabbit, and Hangry the Pig. The Murder Monkeys and Chef Mokeys also seem to be animatronics.
  • Hub Level: Bierce's Ballroom contains portals to every level in the game.
  • Human Sacrifice: In Bierce's Diary, she states that she sacrificed the maid's daughter to summon Malak and make a deal with him. Said sacrifice is implied to be Agatha.
  • Instant-Win Condition: During some maze segments, getting all the soul shards instantly despawns the enemies in the area. Doesn't matter if a monster was right on your heels, you're safe as soon as it's in your hands.
  • Jump Scare: If you get caught, the monster who caught up to you will do this.
  • Killer Teddy Bear: Both Mama Bear and her Trigger Teddies are first.
  • Living Statue: The Gold Watchers are golden statues animated by the ring that only move when you are not looking at them. Even if the walls are blocking your view, they will stay dormant as long as they remain within your cone of vision.
  • Legions of Hell: Malak's whole army can be viewed as this.
  • Living Toys: The Dread Duckies and Doom Ducky are living rubber duckies. Mama Bear and the Trigger Teddies are also living teddy bears encountered later in the story.
  • Maniac Monkeys: The Murder Monkeys.
  • The Many Deaths of You: For every world you enter, a slew of ways to die await you, whether it's by monsters, traps, or even the environment itself. Expect to get stabbed (quickly or otherwise), decapitated, eaten, strangled, blown up, ripped apart, impaled, beaten to a bloody pulp, electrocuted, disintegrate, and so on.
  • The Maze: Every level takes place in a differently themed maze.
  • Monkey Morality Pose: A painting in Monkey Business shows the enemies of said level doing this.
  • Monster Clown: The Clown Gremlins and the Goliath Clowns.
  • Monster of the Week: Each level contains a new and unique monster.
  • Mook Chivalry: Happens twice:
    • The Dread Duckies will take their time to do a dance when they stun you, giving you time to break out of the trance.
    • Penny the Chicken will do her joy joy dance when one of her eggs hit you, giving you time to escape.
    • Averted with the Reaper Nurses, who waste absolutely no time to dispatch you when you're stunned.
  • Mythology Gag
    • In lieu of the more common handle of "Pyramid Head", the Silent Hill DLC refers to the famous demon from 2 as "Red Pyramid Thing", which is how James referenced it.
    • One of the dead-ends in Monkey Business has graffiti that reads "Evans was here". This is referencing Detective Evans, who was the original protagonist of the 2014 demo of the game and also appears as one of the mortals in Monsters & Mortals. Interacting with the graffiti replaces the music with that of the 2014 demo.
  • Nightmare Face: Putting aside their already nightmarish faces, most of the enemies' frenzy forms tend to have these in the form of Red and Black and Evil All Over. In addition, several enemies are able to naturally make them:
    • Both the Gold Watchers and the Titan Watchers have the ability to twist their faces into gaping, cracked, angry faces, the former doing so when they catch you.
    • The Joy Joy Gang's frenzy forms basically expose some of the endoskeleton underneath them, making them look like animal versions of the Terminator.
    • The Trigger Teddies have withered doll heads underneath their normal bear heads, making them look like undead babies.
  • Nightmarish Factory: The third zone of Mascot Mayhem takes place in an automatic one.
  • No-Gear Level: Bearly Buried starts as one, due to Malak having cut Doug off from Bierce and stolen the ring pieces.
  • Noodle Incident: Noted twice in both Apocalyptic Logs. In E's notes, she notes to have visited nightmares outside the ones seen like a dollhouse and a cathedral. In the Bierce Diaries, Bierce mentions having attempted to get the ring pieces herself, but encountered monsters like giant spiders, rats, and Edgar only in his goat mask and a diaper.
  • Pink Is Erotic: The entrance to the hospital in Torment Therapy is lit up by pink signs, the hospital itself has a pink and red interior, and the level enemies are seductive nurses. This level is designed to represent Doug's lust for other women and sexual misconduct.
  • Power-Up: The "Enemies Revealed" and "Enemies Stunned" shards in each maze, as well as the power you get at the start of nearly every level.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Once you collect all the soul shards and the ring piece in a level, the enemies gain these. Malak can also gain this whenever he transforms into his phantom form.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Inverted. After Malak shattered the Riddle of Heaven, Bierce used one of the remaining ring pieces to seal herself in a ballroom, now trapped in the middle of nowhere and forced to call lost souls to help her escape. Then again, her innocence is ambiguous anyways.
  • Schmuck Bait: In Crazy Carnevil, a clown car leads Doug to a strength tester in a circus tent. It's obviously some sort of trap, but Doug hits it anyways out of Bierce's "request"...only to get trapped in a cage and is forced to escape it alongside several Clown Gremlins that ambush him.
    • More neutral this time around, but certain Trigger Teddies in the cabin will stand idle rather than chase Doug, instead making hug gestures while saying "Mama". Cue explosion upon touch.
  • Shout-Out: As Dark Deception is meant to be a celebration of the horror genre, all sorts of shout-outs to other horror media (among other things) can be seen in the levels:
    • Some of the paintings seen in Monkey Business are clearly nods to famous paintings, such as Three Wise Monkeys.
    • There's a secret location in Elementary Evil that reveals Agatha's hiding place, a dirty well. The achievement for finding it even shows her coming out of it.
    • The whole theme of the Gold Watchers being statues that only move if you don't look at them is a clear nod to the Weeping Angels (although Word of God confirmed that they're also based on the mechanics of Boo the Ghost.
    • One of the Dread Duckies' jumpscares is launching its second head at Doug, not much different from another creature with a nested mouth.
    • One of the secrets seen in Stranger Sewers has graffiti depicting a red balloon saying, "Float On." No points for guessing this one.
      • That, and also one of Bierce's death quotes:
    Bierce: "Yes, your corpse will float too."
    • In Zone 2 of Crazy Carnevil, at least one of the wall graffiti bears a resemblance to the clowns from Killer Klowns from Outer Space.
    • Assuming that the Joy Joy Gang's frenzy forms didn't make it obvious, one of the achievements for defeating their respective boss, Joy Kill, is called, "Terminated."
    • Lucky the Rabbit's last line in Mascot Mayhem is, "Goodnight, sweet prince," after Malak orders the Joy Joy Gang to send Doug to the portal, a small nod to Shakespeare's Hamlet.
    • The large runes seen in Zone 3 of Bearly Buried resemble the markers from Dead Space.
  • Source Music: Happens consistently at the start of all Chapter 4 levels, with two tracks being played in an area while one is played by the characters.
    • An implied example. Zone 3 of Bearly Buried reveals that thousands of souls make up the outer walls of the cave, and it's possible that they are voicing their agony through the level's tracks.
  • Tempting Fate: During the second part of Mascot Mayhem, Bierce hopes that you don't have to deal with the other animatronics after meeting Hangry. Cue Doug running into Lucky seconds later.
  • Turns Red: Enemies in their "nightmare forms" become a lot more aggressive and are slightly faster in speed.
  • Video-Game Lives: You start out with 3 lives to collect every shard, and you can unlock more starting lives and restore lost lives by doing well in the mazes.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Agatha eventually goes through one by the end of her stage after Bierce lets Doug free.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Bierce takes this role throughout the game, with the exception of Bearly Buried where Malak steals the role.
  • Was Once a Man: Nearly every monster (that we know of) were once humans who, after their death, had their souls twisted into new forms based on the sins they committed while they were alive. For example, the Dread Duckies were deceitful, the Gold Watchers were greedy, and the Murder Monkeys were murderers.
  • Wham Episode: Mascot Mayhem ends with Doug being caught by the Joy Joy Gang and Mind Raped by Malak, revealing his Dark and Troubled Past and allowing Malak and the Nightmare monsters to invade the Ballroom. Bierce uses a ring piece to drive them out, but not before she is wounded and the other pieces are stolen. Despite this, Malak is still able to drag the now powerless Doug into Bearly Buried, where he's left to be murdered by Mama Bear and her Trigger Teddies...if not for a mysterious blue sphere of light, who is actually Tammy, Doug's deceased daughter.
  • You Shall Not Evade Me: Dread Duckies reel in the player like a fish on a hook with their mechanical inner mouth in one of their death scenes.