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Video Game / Dementium: The Ward

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Dementium: The Ward is a 2007 Survival Horror game developed by Renegade Kid and published by Gamecock Media Group for the Nintendo DS portable system. You play as William Redmoor, a man accused of murdering his wife and subsequently condemned to an insane asylum run by the mysterious Doctor. One night, after experiencing a disturbing nightmare, Redmoor awakens to find the asylum deserted, blood covering much of the area, and the PA system droning about an emergency. It doesn't take long to realize that something has gone very, very wrong, and soon enough Redmoor is forced to fight for his life as legions of zombies and other monstrosities have invaded the asylum.

A sequel, Dementium II, was released in 2010, published by SouthPeak Games. Having completed his very unpleasant brain surgery, Redmoor is transferred to The Doctor's main facility, Bright Dawn Treatment Center, to undergo "Phase 2" of his "treatment". Just as before, however, Bright Dawn becomes overrun with nightmarish demons, and once again Redmoor must struggle to finally get some answers from the Doctor, and escape with his life.

An HD port of the second game was released for PCs through Steam in December 2013. The basic engine and gameplay are the same, but the visuals have been noticeably upgraded (including replacing all the FMV movies with high-quality pre-rendered ones). Overall, the look is of a good-looking PlayStation 2 game with current-gen lighting effects. There are also more notes scattered around expanding certain aspects of the story, and the Colossus boss fight has been updated to feature a corridor filled with deathtraps instead of a simple block maze. Despite all of the improvements, the game has LESS content then the original version, the level design is untouched aside from textures, and the game is riddled with game-breaking bugs.

In 2015, Renegade Kid got the rights to Dementium back, and re-made the first game for the 3DS, with the intention to remake the second one, as well as possibly create a third title. Unfortunately, the low sales of the remake, combined with other factors, caused Renegade kid to close its doors, and split into two separate companies, one, Atooi, who would be handling the 2D properties, and the other, Infitizmo, who would be handling the 3D properties, with Dementium included. This split delayed, but did not destroy, any plans for a continuation of the series.

However, on September 17th, 2018, Gregg Hargrove, the founder and owner of Infitizmo passed away due to pancreatic cancer. With no word from the studio since, nor Atooi, the chances of a continuation are uncertain at best, and nonexistent at worst. That is, until mid 2023 where Jools Watsham announced on Twitter that Atooi has earned the rights from the franchise to make ports and sequels, with the first project being a Switch port of the first game, which is scheduled to be released on October 12th of the same year.

Dementium: The Ward and Dementium II provide examples of the following tropes:

  • All Just a Dream: The first game turns out to have been a hallucination brought on by Redmoor's brain surgery.
  • Apocalyptic Log: About halfway through the first game, you come across several journal entries detailing the writer's increasing worry over the Doctor's methods and the "experiments" he conducts.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Chest Maws can be instantly killed by striking their exposed heart.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: The entire reason you are in the hospital is due to the suspicion that you murdered your wife in a psychotic rage, but before the last segment of the first game, it was revealed that your wife was dead by the time you found her.
  • Cult: In the HD version of Dementium II, several notes can be found that clarify that the town where the psych hospital is located has a religious sect that worships some supernatural force tied to the various monsters. The Doctor and Chaplain are hinted to be members of this sect. Notably, they are apparently not a Religion of Evil and (with the exception of the Doctor) view the monster outbreak as a bad thing.
  • Dead Weight: Cleaver from the first game, Gorgamesh from the second. They aren't really zombies, but the trope can still apply.
  • Degraded Boss: In Chapter 4 of the second game, the Gorgamesh is not only degraded but reappears for a total of two times. Thanks to a Good Bad Bug involving its Collision Damage, the player doesn't have to kill it both times if they don't want to.
  • Difficulty by Region: The game is obviously designed with the DS controls in mind. On the PC version, with the much more responsive controls of a mouse and keyboard, the game becomes somewhat easier than intended and that's without even going into the various ways the HD version of 2 actually changes the game to make it easier, such as more overall health for the player and no ammo limits. Although, some of the later encounters do still present a fair challenge due to having to face many enemies at once.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The final boss of the second game, Malatesta is clearly this. The Colossus is a bit of a milder example.
  • Expy:
    • The Cleaver is very similar to Pyramid Head.
    • The Gorgamesh (the third boss) also counts as an Expy of the Cleaver, even though its presence is downplayed until after you defeat the Wendigo Witch.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Redmoor's brain surgery sets him on the path to recovery, but also caused the monsters from his hallucination to be released into the real world.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Dementium II indicates that the Doctor is just the host being used by Malatesta to break into the physical world.
  • Heroic Mime: Averted. William does comment on items and weapons he finds, albeit only in text form (it is a DS game, after all).
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Despite the fact that the Player Character is wearing extremely unusual attire (a hospital gown in the first game, and a prison uniform in the second), and has two broken legs, said character can still carry anything the game requires.
  • Invincible Minor Minion:
    • Two different types of ghosts/wraiths and swarms of flies appear in the second game. They cannot be harmed in any way and must be avoided by running away.
    • A third type was added in the PC version of the second game, though it was just an ice reskin of the ghosts encountered earlier Although they are averted, since they can be killed with the flamethrower
  • Kill It with Fire:
    • The flamethrower weapon in the second game makes this possible, and Reanimators are particularly vulnerable.
    • Ditto with the ice monsters in the PC version.
  • Moral Guardians: The Japanese Association of Psychiatric Hospitals opposed the game because it supposedly encouraged violence against psychiatric patients.
  • Nail 'Em: The second game has a nail gun.
  • Nintendo Hard: The first game got this reputation due to respawning enemies and while the remasters remove this, they also added harder difficulties that firmly push the game back to this on Hard mode alone before you even get to Demented mode.
  • Or Was It a Dream?:
    • Immediately after the fact that all of this is a dream is revealed, not only is the Doctor shown to be real, but he says that this was only "Phase 1"...
    • The sequel takes it a step further. Early on, the Doctor's "sane half" reveals that the monsters Redmoor fought in the first game were "in his head" (which explains the hallucination), and were inadvertently released into the real world by Redmoor's brain surgery.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Chest-Maws, the most common enemies in both games, look like traditional zombies at first glance. They are not zombies.
  • Psychic Powers: The Doctor is shown to possess some in the first game's final battle.
  • Redshirt Army: The Bright Dawn Security Guards in the sequel. Whether its against you or the monsters, they tend not to last very long. Late in the game, you come across some more powerful guards with assault rifles, but even some of them end up getting chumped by a giant demon (Gorgamesh) in a cutscene (though the remaining guards do manage to kill said demon).
  • Respawning Enemies: Used in the original DS version of the first game, it was removed from the second game and it's remaster due to being a heavily criticized part of the game.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: The revolver in the first game has a slower firing rate than the semi-auto pistol, but better damage and accuracy. The second game gets rid of the pistol and makes the revolver the first ranged weapon you acquire.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • The Doctor mentions a "phase 2" in the first game's ending.
    • The sequel ends with Redmoor seeing the Doctor in his own mirror reflection, only for the reflection to come to life and drag him into the mirror.
  • Split Personality: The sequel reveals that the Doctor has two personalities: The insane Big Bad of the series, and a remorseful, guilt-ridden "saner half".
  • Suspicious Video-Game Generosity: Particularly before the final boss of the first game, who is preceded by a room with stockpiles of pills and just about every type of ammunition there is.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Done literally in the second game's Gainax Ending. As he's about to escape the hospital, Redmoor passes by a mirror and sees his reflection, realizing that he is the Doctor. And then he's suddenly snatched by the doctor and pulled away. Smash to Black.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The big guy who 'drops' the hand gun in the first game. The entire situation he's in is dumb and the fact that he didn't realise there were monsters around him compounds it. Unless they spawn out of thin air which doesn't seem to be the case.
  • Tragic Monster: In Dementium II, the Wendigo seems to be implied to be Redmoor's dead wife, resurrected and compelled to seek revenge against him.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: In the second game, four of the five bosses are readily beatable with what you're given immediately prior to the boss fight. The final boss, however, can only be harmed with ranged attacks, and the game gives you very little ammo and no healing items for the 40 minutes leading up to that point. If you didn't save up enough ammo and at least a few healing items over the course of the game to fight the final boss, you can be stuck at the end. The relic boomerang doesn't use up ammo, but is an absolutely awful weapon to use against the final boss. Thankfully, the Buzz Saw can deal significant damage if you're able to get close enough, and if you can handle its horrendously long overheat cooldown
  • Unique Enemy: In the second game, there are only five security guards with assault rifles in the entire game, all of them appearing in the same general area. This makes sense, assault rifles are hardly standard issue at a psych hospital; these guys were the rare few guards who were hardcore enough to survive the outbreak and get tooled up enough to stand a decent chance again any monster that might come at them. You butcher them all.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: There is no limit to the amount of ammo and healing items you can carry. So, if you play carefully and horde items in the earlier areas, the later areas can be a lot easier. In fact on the PC version it's possible to get through most of the game using melee weapons only and healing for free at save mirrors, due to the more responsive controls making melee combat much easier.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The Doctor's "saner half" has one brief scene at the beginning of Dementium II, and then disappears for the rest of the game. Another example is "Craig" from the first game, who appears only to drop a gun and be dragged off.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: In the second game it's revealed that all of the monsters came from William's mind., although the collectible notes indicate the mental hospital has had a history of paranormal occurrences going back at least a couple hundred years. William was just the catalyst for the latest outbreak.

Alternative Title(s): Dementium II