Ryan, a bartender, hasn't been sleeping well. Haunted by nightmares and strange visions, he eventually dreams of a monk-like figure telling him about seven evil people who, if united, will destroy the eponymous Dreamweb, and send mankind spiralling into chaos. And there's a serial killer on the loose, and thanks to these blackouts and nightmares, Ryan isn't entirely certain it's not him.
Rapidly descending into madness and just wanting his nightmares to stop, Ryan accepts his mission, then wakes up in a puddle of cold sweat next to his beloved girlfriend in her house, and late for work. Again.
The game is now free, and can be downloaded here.
Provides examples of:
- All There in the Manual: The game originally came with the "Diary of a (Mad?) Man", which greatly fleshed out the main character, his mental problems, and the world he lives in. In fact, the story of the diary is far more detailed than the game itself; it also features a progressive rendering of symbol seen in dreams, necessary to unlock one of the final doors.
- Anti-hero: Ryan himself is a Type 1 Everyman Loser kind of guy, and even admits that he's a loser and that it's his own fault if his life kind of sucks.
- Bittersweet Ending: Ryan succeeds in his quest, but gets shot by the police. Can be Downer Ending if you think the whole thing was just a mad man's imagination.
- Coitus Interruptus: Crane is having sex when Ryan breaks in to kill him. The woman screams and hides under the bed while Crane lies there staring at Ryan's gun. This brought controversy, because the scene is completely uncensored, including Crane's "equipment."
- Computer Equals Monitor: A security computer gets disabled/destroyed by shooting the screen.
- Cool Shades: Ryan has to put some shades on to obscure his identity after he is wanted for murder.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: A few victims, who don't get killed by Ryan's pistol, undergo this. Diane Underwood arguably had the worst among them. Ryan messes with the circuit box that controls her house's guard turret, which promptly blows up. Unfortunately to her, this releases heavy bolts of energy that bisects her body. And yet she's still alive when Ryan gets to her! The injury is so bad, she begs him to Mercy Kill just to end her suffering.
- Cyberpunk with a Chance of Rain
- The Hero Dies: In the end, the cops come along and shoot you for all the killing people that you did. So, you just saved the world and they gunned you down as you came out of a blackout? What a bunch of ungrateful-
- Guide Dang It!: A lot of the game's challenge comes from that it's not clear what items you should bring with you.
- The Law of Conservation of Detail: Averted - there's plenty of items a player can take, but most of them are useless, and would just clutter their inventory. (things like plates, cups, lighters, and so on)
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: It's never been clear if the whole adventure was real, or if Ryan is just frikkin' crazy.
- Our Graphics Will Suck in the Future: Home computers have no graphics at all. The user is stuck with a clumsy DOS-like interface to access everything from his e-mails to fetching the latest news broadcast (which consists of text, too, of course).
- Painting the Medium: The "Diary of a (Mad?) Man" is printed to make it look like it was handwritten. At one point Ryan goes for several days without sleep to avoid the visions he sees in his dreams, and his handwriting gets progressively worse over this period.
- Pixel Hunt: The game window is rather small, with a secondary window which shows a magnification of whatever's below the cursor. Giving the trope a whole new level.
- Reality Ensues: What do you expect, the police do not understand, or even know, about the threat they pose to the world. In the eyes of the police, you are just some spree killer, who just murdered a series of people. In the end, they will assume that Ryan is actually the dealer, and not Dr. Beckett.
- Through the Eyes of Madness: Whether what you're seeing on screen is real, or Ryan's delusions is an intentionally unanswered question.
- Unwinnable by Mistake: The game allows you to go back to retrieve any items you missed, but there're still a couple incidents where you can't:
- If you've jammed the hotel's elevator without getting an axe from firepoint (necessary to escape from the place), well, you're screwed.
- You must pick up the purple crystal on your first or second trip to DreamWeb. It's required to defend yourself when assassinating your next target. At least this one is less likely to screw up, as one of the monks advises you to get it before you leave.
- When All You Have Is a Hammer...: At some point, Ryan just foregoes subtlety and starts shooting most of his problems with his plasma pistol. In fairness, that tends to solve the problem, but it obviously leaves a big mess behind that ends up drawing lots of unwanted attention.