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Video Game / Downfall (2009)
aka: Downfall

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Downfall is a 2009 Horror Adventure Game developed by Harvester Games, who have also released The Cat Lady and Lorelai.

Joe Davis is a troubled man. Lately his thoughts have been occupied by his wife, Ivy, as she appears to be in the middle of a serious psychological breakdown; she is constantly talking in riddles, cursing vulgarly, and belittling him, and that is only when she is not wildly hallucinating about blood or having panic attacks. During his attempt to get her help from a specialist who lives some towns over, the couple has been surprised by a violent storm and forced to pull over in a small town.

Deciding that they aren't getting any closer to their destination for today, Joe checks them in at the local Quiet Haven Hotel and rent a room there for the night. And then, things go downhill from there. First, Ivy keeps muttering about the hotel, repeatedly claiming there is something wrong about it, before she drags Joe into a bizarre argument about their troubled marriage. Joe just brushes it off as her psychosis talking, but then Ivy disappears mysteriously, and the hotel has even more mysteriously changed into something horrible, like it was taken out of her macabre ramblings, having rooms covered with carnage and debris, walls coated with blood and weird messages, and a dining room full of faceless corpses, and a strange, clearly malevolent figure stalking the hallways, armed with an axe. Now Joe, along with a mysterious woman named Agnes, must find Ivy somewhere in the nightmarish hotel before it's too late.


The original 2009 version can be downloaded as freeware. Due to the original game's code being corrupt (and therefore incapable of being put on Steam) a complete remake was developed. It should be noted that the remake changes some plot details and characters from the original in addition to having updated artwork and soundtrack, to the point that it's now considered the second game in its trilogy after The Cat Lady.

Should not be confused with the film Downfall, even though that one has its share of Nightmare Fuel.


The game contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Heroism: Depending on your choices in the remake, Joe can become much kinder and compassionate compared to the original game. Since in the remake Joe never force fed his wife to the point of obesity, and has a much lower body count than in the original.
    • The references of Doctor Z being a nazi in the original game were completely removed in the remake.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: The Cat Lady's Susan is far more attractive compared to how she looked in her game. Though it could be a case of her Informed Attractiveness being addressed.
    • Actually all of the characters are subjected to this due to the updated art style in the remake. Ivy and Agnes most of all, with the former going from a pixelated figure to being a fully rendered eerie pale skinned brunette and latter well just look at her in the original compared to the remake.
    • It could also be a small clue that she's recovering from her depression and is taking better care of herself, having put on some weight as well and looking less frail.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different:
    • You switch to Agnes halfway through the game.
    • In the remake, the last third of the game is played from the perspective of Susan, the protagonist from The Cat Lady.
  • Art Shift: The entirety of the remake is upgraded from pixels to have a similar art style and feel to The Cat Lady.
  • Asshole Victim: Harrison belittles the second incarnation of Sophie, even going as far as to encourage suicide upon her in the remake. He proceeds to be blown up into pieces shortly after.
  • Author Avatar: The game's author, Remigiusz Michalski, has stated that Joe Davis's character is based on him. Whatever that may entail.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: After spending her entire game destroying parasites that kill other people or that make people kill themselves, it's revealed that The Cat Lady's Susan is now encouraging people to commit suicide in the remake's Downer ending.
  • Big Bad: Played with a bit. For most of the game, Sophie fills this space nicely. Then things get complicated and you discover that Joe was the Big Bad all along. Even then, the biggest Big Bad of them all might be the Quiet Haven Hotel itself.
  • Bittersweet Ending: One of the possible endings in the remake. Ivy is brought back to life and saves Joe from being killed by Susan (from The Cat Lady). The pair then reconciles their relationship and promise to stay with each other till the end. However they are hunted by the police and their fate afterwards is ambiguous.
  • Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress: Only if you shoot Agnes
    • Averted when Agnes falls over Harrison's legs and lands in the mush that came from the Sophie Joe blew up with gas from the stove. She stands up with no visible gore on her dress.
  • Boss Corridor: The player knows from the very beginning that everything leads to the big mirror in the Twilight Lounge. Especially obvious when cutscenes show the mirror cracking after each Sophie is murdered.
  • Bridal Carry: Joe does this to Ivy after he murders her.
    • The same thing happens in the remake, the difference being is that this time Joe carries Ivy to Dr Z's machine to resurrect her after she's already died.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: How Joe and Ivy's relationship starts in the remake. Unfortunately their first meeting ends with Joe's brother getting blown up by a grenade. So they immediately went their separate ways, until they met later on in life and officially started being together.
  • Cosmic Plaything: Poor least in the remake. From the moment his brother died, his life turned for the worse. His own mother committed suicide out of grief, from his father blaming him entirely and assuring him that it would have been better if he was the one that died. Meeting Ivy again and marrying her was one of the last moments of joy and peace he had before she started becoming anorexic and making herself sick which resulted in their marriage collapsing on it's knees. He can spend the rest of the game bitterly trying to pick up the pieces of this broken relationship until it's made abundantly clear that there's nothing left. The fact that he falls into his own Darkworld is just the icing on the cake, it's evident that his story can't end well. That is unless he gets the Golden Ending and reconciles with Ivy
  • Dark World: Pretty much the entire game, in great part due to the look of the game, which is both stylish and horrifying. Especially evident in Joe's memory of the construction site. One can assume that this is due to the entire game being seen through Joe's eyes, who is a very disturbed individual.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Several distinctive rooms use this, usually with a Splash of Color by way of blood. Perhaps the most obvious example is the entire 'Black Widow Studio' part of town, which is completely devoid of any color.
  • Downer Ending: Joe murders the detective and then proceeds to carry on with his cycle of madness. Even if the player chooses the Suicide option.
  • Fetch Quest: Doctor Z sends you back and forth a few times to help him along with his experiments. It's too bad you weren't there when that monstrous creation of his decided to steal his brain.
  • Here We Go Again!: When Joe carries Ivy out of the building at the end of the game, it's implied that the cycle will begin again. Or did the entire ending sequence happen before the events that took place during Joe's time in the Quiet Haven Hotel?
  • Hero Antagonist: At the remake's final act Susan (from The Cat Lady) takes this role and confronts Joe in the climax.
    • In the original it's the detective, as he faces Joe at the end when he's electrocuting his wife.
  • Horror Hunger: Sophie used to eat rather disgusting things so she could get fat to get the attention of her lover.
  • It's All My Fault: See You Bastard! below. Basically, the game constantly faces you with decisions that are blatantly misleading or outright lies all in the name of making you feel awful about yourself. Also, "Meow"
  • It's Up to You: Poor Agnes's fate completely rides on whether or not you choose to defend yourself against what you assume is going to be a horrible monster that comes to take you from your premature grave. Turns out that the two rotting corpses that told you to shoot on sight might have been lying to you.
    • Although, this is hardly the only example. Another notable one is where Joe can either cheat on Ivy with a lonely ghost, or stay faithful.
    • Oddly enough, the ending seems to play out largely the same regardless of which of the three options you pick. It goes without saying that, besides whether or not you have Agnes hanging around, your other decisions don't carry much impact on the story either.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: The remake's prologue starts with a young Joe Davis, his brother Robbie, and Ivy.
  • Multiple Endings:
    • "On the Run" (Normal Ending): Susan ambushes Joe with her weapon, with Mitzi joining her shortly afterwards. The pair mourn over Ivy, and Mitzi leaves to call the police while Susan stays a few minutes longer. Just as she is about to leave, Joe stands up once more, bloody fireaxe in hand as the screen goes black... He is later seen escaping the hotel with Ivy's corpse in hand.
    • "The Impossible" (Golden Ending): Susan ambushes Joe with her weapon, with Mitzi joining her shortly afterwards. The pair mourn over Ivy, and Mitzi leaves to call the police. While she is gone, Ivy begins to have a pulse again, and Susan calls out to call an ambulance instead. As she takes a few steps, a hacking sound is heard, and Susan falls to the ground with Joe's axe in her back - but it isn't Joe who attacked her, it was Ivy. Ivy goes to Joe, who is still alive, and the two escape the hotel. Susan is still alive, and the fire is blamed on the escaped couple who have left together.
    • "The Sixth Parasite" (Bad Ending): Susan ambushes Joe with her weapon, and finishes him off by placing him on the chair and electrocuting him before incinerating Ivy's corpse. She then returns to her flat on her computer, where she is on a blog with a person contemplating suicide. The camera pans over her "trophies", including the mace used to kill Dr. X, the Pest Control Man's gas mask and shotgun and two rings marked under "J and I", and then returns to Susan and her computer, where she tells the person to "do it" à la Eye of Adam. Joe and Ivy's corpses were found burnt to a crisp in the basement, together on the operating table.
  • Mythology Gag: In the original version, after the kitchen is blown up, Agnes is upset at the gruesome scene and covers her eyes and Joe jokingly asks what if she ends up tripping over a pair of legs. In the remake, Agnes actually does trip on the legs in the exact same scene.
  • Not Quite Dead:
    • Joe. In the "On the Run" and Golden Endings, he is ambushed by Susan Ashworth. In the former he rises to his feet as the Axeman, now cornering the unarmed Susan, and in the latter he is saved by Ivy, who attacks Susan and escaped the hotel with him. In the last ending, "The Sixth Parasite", Susan notes that he is tough - and promptly finishes him off by electrocuting him on the chair.
    • Susan herself counts, as in the Golden Ending she is last seen bleeding on the ground after being hacked in the back by the resurrected Ivy, but the newspaper clipping at the end mentions that she is a survivor of the hotel events, and though she claims to have been attacked by Joe and Ivy the article also mentions that she "sustained no injury and did not require medical attention".
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: The ghosts in this game carry on with their daily lives as if nothing has happened, seemingly all living in their own version of reality. Similar to Silent Hill 2's trio of characters. One even tries to seduce Joe because of how lonely she is. Although it's hinted that she may just be another force trying to make Joe face up to the horrible things he's done to Ivy.
  • Rage Against the Reflection: A lot of the mirrors that dot the game are shattered. One can only assume that it's no coincidence that this game deals with themes such as eating disorders, insanity, and facing up to one's sins.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: In an interview, the creator states that the main inspiration came from working as a nurse, the same deal with The Cat Lady. The things Ivy says also comes from things he's heard from conversations he's had with patients.
  • Red Herring: There is absolutely no way to get into the Room 666. Word of God states it was a "little experiment" to mess with players expectations.
    • The room can be entered in the remake, inside it is The Queen of Maggots herself. Players don't even know they entered it till after they've left.
  • The Reveal: The Doctor wasn't a bad person, he was Joe's therapist. Sophie was really a representation of Ivy's self esteem issues and anorexia. Joe was really just insane, and he killed Ivy after keeping her locked up and force feeding her for so long. The people he killed weren't ghosts, they were real. This was all Joe freaking out. Depending on what you do, he can kill Agnes too.
  • Sanity Slippage: Very obvious towards the end of the game. Especially when you murder Sophie's adult form with a freaking chainsaw at the behest of several disfigured dolls nailed to the walls. Oh yeah, did I mention she's obese, mute, and doesn't even react to Joe when he enters the room?
  • Shared Universe: With The Cat Lady, specifically after the events of the game, as both Susan and Mitzi appear in the remake's climax to strike Joe down.
  • Shout-Out: A few are present in the remake.
    • If Agnes grabs the doll from the toilet maze and goes back into the woods (before talking to Ivy, as the entrance will disappear if you do) you can see a figure that looks a lot like Slender Man. There is an achievement for doing this.
    • If the player picks certain phrases during Joe's final argument with Doctor Z, it can wind up sounding a lot like a certain memetic motivational speech Shia LaBeouf gave. "Just do it!". Like the above, there is an achievement for doing this.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: It's possible for the player to make Joe and Ivy like this in the Remake, however this makes the collapse of their marriage all the more tragic. Just look at them having a heart to heart in their bed. [1]
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Near the end of the remake Joe sees Agnes as monster , it's not clarified if this was the truth or just Joe's perception being altered by the receptionist.
  • Together in Death: Occurs in one of the remake's endings between Joe and Ivy, after the Cat lady electrocutes Joe and burns Ivy's corpse. Their charred corpses are shown embracing each in the blacked remains of a bed
  • Too Dumb to Live: Joe's brother picks up a mine, expecting to sell it. You know how this turned out.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The once meek Susan Ashworth (from The Cat Lady) is now a genre savvy parasite killer that mastered MacGyvering various weapons and is utterly ruthless and efficient in dispatching anyone she sees as a parasite. This is demonstrated when she nearly kills Joe during his attempt to resurrect Ivy.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: You find out Doctor Z had some fascination with Hitler after doing enough things in his room.
    • This side of him is not shown in the remake.
  • Villainous Breakdown/ Villainous BSoD: Joe experiences one or the other at the end, depending on how you play it. Of course, it is implied - and confirmed in "The Cat Lady" - that he's really in the midst of an extended Villainous Breakdown, causing or resulting from Sanity Slippage.
  • When She Smiles: Invoked by Ivy. Joe recalls how her smiles and laughs are part of the reasons he fell in-love with her.
  • You Bastard!: Pretty much the entire game. Most notably, when the player thinks he's defending himself from Sophie, but really just murders Agnes at the behest of two talking corpses. Made especially awful by the fact that you are forced to play as her for a bit before the penultimate moment, regardless of your decision beforehand. This has the effect of causing the player to fall in love with Agne's character just in time for you to murder her senselessly. Worse still, it's very possible that the player will see this coming after it's too late, and spend much of this chapter in denial about whether or not Joe will really shoot her.

Alternative Title(s): Downfall