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Video Game / Desert Nightmare

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Desert Nightmare is a free-ware horror-puzzle game created by Kelven, the same person who created the horror game Schuld. A teenage girl named Sandra Richmont is on a trip with her parents but, after mouthing off to them too much, they leave her at a desolate gas station in the middle of the desert. Unable to call her parents and too far from home to go back, she continues on to the next city, an eerie place called Dusty Creek.


The game was translated from German into English by Azn Chipmunk, who also translated Schuld.

Desert Nightmare contains examples of:

  • A House Divided: Jake and Alan don't care much for each other, and both keep letting Sandra know as much.
  • Abandoned Mine: Connected to the original Dusty Creek.
  • Action Survivor: All of the main characters.
  • Accidental Murder: While Jake was defending himself from the Sherriff, the sherriff accidently falls onto some glass and possibly cutting his neck, which kills him, Jake doesn't feel too badly about it though.
  • Adult Fear: Not only were all of the traumas Sandra experienced brought on by her parents abandoning her, but they themselves get into an accident later on and are severely injured, without ever finding out if Sandra was alright.
    • Abusive Parents: Of course, abandoning your teenage daughter at a gas station in the middle of nowhere isn't a particularly loving thing to do to begin with, even if she DID talk back to you.
  • Agent Scully: Alan, who insists there's no such thing as the supernatural even after seeing the monsters himself.
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  • Asshole Victim: Jake, Alan, and all the residents of Dusty Creek. In the beginning, Sandra counts as well.
  • Attempted Rape: Jake to Sandra. Alan steps in.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Sandra starts off as this, as she talks back to her parents in the very beginning of the game.
  • Character Portrait: Only important characters have them.
  • Cop Killer: Jake kills the sherriff, he was about to inflict some Police Brutality on Sandra if he hadn't come along however.
  • Clothing Switch: Sandra spends the majority of the game in a green tank top and shorts, until she is captured, then she is put into a white dress, then after escaping with Alan and Jake, she switches to a red tank top and black jeans.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy/Domestic Abuse: Jake to Sandra, seemingly out of nowhere. A nightmare Sandra has foreshadows this.
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  • Disproportionate Retribution: Sandra starts out the game as a Bratty Teenage Daughter, and her punishment for acting like a normal teenage girl is... being attacked by monsters and imprisoned by cursed townspeople, as well as being called an "uneducated bitch" and nearly being raped by people she considered her friends. then, even years afterward, she still has nightmares about the experience. If this isn't an over-the-top punishment for the way she acted, then what else is there?
  • Everything Trying to Kill You
  • Flashback Nightmare: In the epilogue, Sandra says that many years after this incident, she still has nightmares about it even years afterward.
  • Fan Disservice: A lot easier to accomplish, being an RPG Maker game, but Jake's fantasy of killing Alan and having sex with/possibly raping Sandra definitely stands out.
  • Fan Translation: By Azn Chipmunk. In some parts of the game, the original German is still there.
  • Foreshadowing: When Sandra first meets Jake, he tells her that he's been in Dusty Creek since the day prior. Then, we find out that the town was cursed to have anyone who lives or stays there for too long become aggressive and cruel. This explains Jake's sudden aggression and possessiveness toward Sandra.
  • Ghost Town: Dusty Creek.
  • Have You Told Anyone Else?: The Police Chief asks Sandra if anyone knows she's in Dusty Creek. She claims that her parents know, and he acts like her lying is a Berserk Button.
  • Hearing Voices: When she stumbles upon the Indians' mass grave, Sandra starts hearing their whispers to 'kill everyone'.
  • Hell Hotel: The motel Sandra stays at in Dusty Creek.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Sandra states that she isn't sure whether the monsters are 'human' or not. Judging from the description of the curse, they are.
  • I Was Just Joking: When Sandra first meets Alan he tells her his car broke down when he was headed for a physics fair and she said he thought he might be one of "those". When he asks if that's what he really thinks of her she says yes. While she doesn't directly say this, the smile on her face suggests she was only teasing him.
  • Justified Save Point: Glowing red symbols are used as save points, with Sandra always commenting that "Somehow, it gives me a strange feeling..."
    • Ominous Save Prompt: Sometimes, the player will suddenly find themselves on the Saving screen. This usually occurs right before or right after a major event.
  • Justified Title: Sandra suffers nightmares whenever she tries to sleep in Dusty Creek, as well as years after she escapes.
  • Judo Chop: After Sandra discovers the body of a woman chained to the wall with her lips and eyes sown shut, a man behind her does this on the back of her neck, knocking her out.
  • Kick the Dog: After walking in on Jake trying to assault Sandra, Alan abruptly calls her an "uneducated bitch."
  • Let's Split Up, Gang: Despite stating that he will protect Sandra, Jake never protests when she goes off on her own, and even goes wandering about alone as well. Their separation leads to both Alan and Sandra getting captured by the townspeople.
  • Magical Native American: The Old Man.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Jake fantasizes about doing this to Alan, and succeeds later on.
  • My Car Hates Me: Cars always seem to malfunction around Dusty Creek. Even after the trio gets Alan's car, it doesn't take them far.
  • Nice Girl: While she may be a bit disrespectful and sarcastic at times. Sandra really isn't that bad a person. This is proven when she refuses to leave without Alan, despite the fact that the location she's in is covered in blood.
  • No Item Use for You: At one point, Sandra loses her backpack and has to find it again before she can use any items.
  • No Ontological Inertia: In the ending, after breaking the curse, the Indian zombie crumbles to dust before Sandra's eyes. She later learns that all of the surviving townsfolk of Dusty Creek ended up as burnt corpses.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: When Sandra is looking for Alan and enters the torture chamber, she is freaked out by the blood everywhere, but points out that she can't just leave if Alan is there.
  • Only Smart People May Pass: Lots of locked chests and some doors require some decoding. There's always a note or two around that holds the key.
  • Point of No Return: After leaving Dusty Creek and ending up at the original settlement.
  • Police Brutality: Inside the station, Sandra finds evidence of this in the interrogation room: blood stains, scattered teeth, and a tape recording of an 'interview'. Later, she nearly becomes the victim of this.
  • Psychic Dreams for Everyone: Sandra's dreams of Jake abusing her, killing Alan, and attempting to rape her are a premonition of what's to come, down to the letter.
  • Puzzle Boss: Any encounters tend to play out like this, with Sandra having to figure out how to evade her pursuers before they get their hands... or claws... on her.
    • Boss Arena Idiocy: In most cases, this involves luring the enemy into a hazard, like knocking over a barrel and getting them to slip on the contents. Often you can get them to try and cross this several times.
  • Sanity Slippage: The longer you stay in Dusty Creek, the more unstable and aggressive you become. Jake arrived the day before Sandra and Alan...
  • Save Point: The flashing symbols scattered throughout the game. Sandra always states that they give her a strange feeling.
  • She Knows Too Much: After getting caught eavesdropping, Sandra gets chased by the people she was spying on. Of course, they were planning to kill her anyway...
  • Shoot the Dog: Alan abruptly insulting Sandra may have been a gambit to draw Jake's ire and distract him long enough for her to escape. If so, it worked too well...
  • Shoplift and Die: At one point you have to steal from the store. The next day, the shopkeeper threatens to kill you if you return. If you don't heed his warning, he starts walking towards you...
  • Shout-Out: The save symbols are reminiscent of Silent Hill 3, and a large majority of the music was ripped from Silent Hill 2.
  • Sole Survivor: The Old Man is heavily implied to be the only survivor of the massacre that led to Dusty Creek's curse. Sandra ends up the only survivor of the trio.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: While some of the cursed villagers were born deformed, others look perfectly healthy, but are unnaturally aggressive and cruel.
  • The Many Deaths of You: The different ways Sandra can die are shown in a small FMV sequence, then we hear her scream and "Game Over" appears on the screen.
  • Tears of Fear: Sandra sheds these the first time she encounters a mutant, and several other times.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Dusty Creek, natch. In the past, the miners massacred some Indians who were protesting their digging gold out of their sacred mountains. As a result, they were cursed: children born in Dusty Creek were either born in warped, monsterous forms or looking normal, but with dark and twisted natures.
  • Untrusting Community: All the citizens of Dusty Creek are this, as the curse placed on them makes them naturally paranoid and quick to hostility.
  • Wild Teen Party: Sandra was planning to attend one at the start of the game before being dragged along on her parents's trip. Becomes the catalyst for why her parents abandoned her in Dusty Creek, as the argument between her and her parents start when she complains about missing "the best party of the summer," and her mother tells her that life isn't all about parties.
  • Woman in White: Sandra, after being caught and changed into a simple white dress. Also the poor woman she saw right before getting caught.
  • Yandere: Jake.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: If you don't remember to use the dreamcatcher after obtaining it, Sandra's nightmares turn deadly.


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