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Video Game / DUSK

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Welcome to Dusk. Population: x6x66 and slowly decreasing.


DUSK is a retro-inspired first-person shooter developed by David Szymanski and published by New Blood Interactive, taking direct inspiration from the likes of Doom, Quake, and Blood, though more on the Quake and Blood end of things.

The plot (what little there is) is essentially thus: your First-Person Ghost player character, a guy nicknamed as the "Dusk Dude", is a treasure hunter by trade. After learning of a "hidden treasure" hidden below the quaint, small town of Dusk, he sets out to see what he can find — only to be knocked out and hung up on meat-hooks by the insane hillbillies that currently resides in the town. After wrenching himself free and fending off his attackers, Dusk Dude slowly learns of a more serious threat — something from beyond the pale of our reality has touched the redneck residents of Dusk, and it is driving them to do horrible things to each other. Armed with an arsenal of old-fashioned guns and magical weapons, a running speed that would put an Olympic runner to shame, and a whole lotta moxie, Dusk Dude sets out to stop the cultists the only way he knows how: with the business end of a shotgun.

The gameplay is primarily the standard '90s shooter-fare: incredibly fast movement and a wide variety of dangerous guns. What sets the game apart are two features. Much like Blood, the game hinges quite a lot on the horror side of things, to the point of actually being somewhat scary. That being said, it still adheres to Rule of Cool, meaning that there are a ton of small little things to discover that you can do such as being able to flip while in the air, with Black Comedy seeping through every crack of the game.

The game was released from Early Access on December 10, 2018, with the third and final episode. It can be found on Steam here. Compare with AMID EVIL, another retro-inspired shooter by the same publisher, more in the vein of Hexen and Heretic.

On October 28, 2021, the game received a digital Nintendo Switch port, and Switch owners who pre-ordered the game receive DUSK '82 for free. Physical Switch copies of the game will be released in 2022, which include a download code for DUSK '82 and a full-color manual. They can be found here.

See also FAITH: The Unholy Trinity another game made by New Blood Interactive, and also takes place in the same universe as revealed in Chapter III.

No relation to the similarly-named Russian FPS.

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  • 100% Completion: The color of the level icons shows how many challenges you've completed in a said level. These include "Completionist" that includes killing every enemy and finding every secret in the level.
  • Abandoned Mine: The Cutty Mines, filled with cultists. Also filled with the first jump-scares of the game.
  • Adaptation Expansion: While the graphic novel covers only the first two episodes in 24 pages, it features more dialogue from the cult leader, much of it alluding to his final fate within the game.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Picking up weapons shows messages on screen with alliterative verbs and subjects (ex. "Snagged a Shotgun" and "Hunted up a Hunting Rifle") similar to Rise of the Triad.
  • A.K.A.-47: The weapons bear more of a resemblance to real ones than the game's primary influence, but in the grand classic-FPS tradition they're referred to by generic monikers such as "Shotgun" (a Winchester 1887), "Assault Rifle" (an M60), etc.; the only ones with more specific names are entirely fictional, e.g. the "Riveter" (rocket launcher stand-in).
  • The Ahnold: Big John, a boss in Episode 2.
  • Alien Geometries: In full effect in E2M5, The Escher Labs. And pretty much the entire second half of Episode 3.
  • All the Worlds Are a Stage: E3M8, As Above, So Below. The level is a mix of parts of previous levels in the game, warped and twisted to fit the Eldritch Location theme of Episode 3. This extends even to the soundtrack of the map, which is a remix of the music of previous levels.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: Due to prominently taking place in backwoods and military complexes in Dusk, it's hard to place what time the game takes place, but the occasional personal computers that appear suggest that it takes place at least in the late 1980s to 1990s. The achievements support that the story takes place in the 1900s, but conspicuously scrawls off the last two digits of the year, keeping the trope in effect.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: The protagonist ends up unwillingly becoming Nyarlathotep's new right-hand man at the very end of the game.
    Nyarlathotep: Who you were before is insignificant. Who you are now is inconceivable.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • The sole secret of "The Dweller in Darkness" allows the player to skip the entire gauntlet of enemies ahead of them if they decide to go any further instead of heading back (although there's graffiti that calls it "the coward's way out"). Said secret also has a Crystal of Madness, which can significantly lighten your load due to causing any enemies in the vicinity of its mist after being broken to start infighting.
    • As mentioned below, DUSKMARE is a one-hit kill mode, but self-damage from splash-damage weapons like the mortar will only do normal damage. This means you don't need to worry about gibbing yourself while frantically dodging everything else trying to kill you.
    • The game, with the exception of explosions, will not count enemy infighting as the player killing enemies, which makes Pacifist Runs a bit easier.
    • The Y-axis of your camera will be reset after landing a flip if it was beyond the bounds of how far you can look up or down while on the ground, helping to lessen disorientation.
    • The Climbing Thing power-up will respawn once it runs out; preventing secrets and even mandatory progression that relies on it from being missable or Unintentionally Unwinnable retrospectively.
  • Apocalypse Cult: The cultists are pretty much involved in this.
  • Attack Reflector: Sickles can deflect fireballs back at enemies, if times correctly.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Soap. It deals 1,000,000 damage to anything that it's thrown at, more than enough to One-Hit Kill anything in the game, including the bosses. Its insane damage is balanced by the fact that throwing it, picking it up, and throwing it again is very impractical when fighting a large group of fast moving enemies, some of which actively zig zag to avoid your shots. It doesn't help that the soap is tiny and requires a high degree of precision to pick up while moving.
  • Ax-Crazy: Everyone in the town. If the bag headed, chainsaw-wielding Leathernecks who are your first encounter in the game aren't a tipoff, then perhaps the floating, fireball-chucking Wizards will be?
  • Badass Longcoat: Dusk Dude sports one combined with a wide-brim hat in a style reminiscent of Caleb.
  • Badass Normal: As far as the story is concerned, Dusk Dude is a normal human being and treasure hunter, albeit quite acrobatic thanks to his ability to flip mid-air and climb walls efficiently with the right power-up equipment. This doesn't stop him from carving a bloody path singlehandedly through armies of cultists, military and horrors alike.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: When Jakob is mortally wounded by Dusk Dude, a group of cult acolytes surround him and attack, accusing him of being "unworthy". While you can finish off Jakob yourself, letting the cultists kill him for you is necessary for a Pacifist Run.
  • Bag of Spilling: In the classic form, where each new chapter takes away all the weapons the Dusk Dude accumulated across the previous one, leaving him only with the starting sickles. Starting the game in Intruder Mode takes it up to eleven and has the Dusk Dude lose his weapons between each individual level, in the vein of pistol starts for classic Doom.
  • Bait-and-Switch: A memorable set-piece in E1M3 features this. You go to open up a red door… and the floor opens up right beneath you, sending you straight into a monster arena.
  • Big "NO!": Played for Laughs when you flush yourself into the Ratacombs secret level.
  • Blackout Basement: There's a few areas that are naturally very dark, and no less horror-filled than the rest of the game. Also, your flashlight will break a couple of times in Episode 2 and 3, forcing you to make your way through nearly pitch-black areas until you can find a working replacement.
  • Blood Magic: Nyarlathotep grants the cult the ability to create energy from mulched human meat.
  • Body Horror:
  • Booze-Based Buff: Drinking beer bottles raises morale by one point up to a max of 100, but drinking several in a row temporarily messes with the camera, making it much harder to aim.
  • Boss-Only Level:
    • E2M10, The Gauntlet, which only has one enemy: the Guardian, who protects the portal to The Nameless City.
    • E3M10, Dusk, only has two setpiece encounters — Jakob the cult leader and Nyarlathotep. The only section besides their arenas is a quiet opening area where you can stock up on supplies.
  • Bubblegloop Swamp: E1MS (That is, the secret level in the first episode), the Dim Slough, takes place in a swamp being polluted by a nearby factory of sorts. And filled with mad cultists.
  • Bullet Time:
    • The Serum of Blistering Heat introduced in Episode 2 causes time to slow to a crawl when you are not moving.
    • The janky, but still workable nbwoohoo cheat which slows the game down by half.
  • Canon Welding: Late in Chapter III of FAITH: The Unholy Trinity, it's revealed that Faith and DUSK take place in the same universe as the two big bads of each game: Gary and Jakob have a Villainous Friendship, with Jakob even giving Gary a pet Horror.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The first episode is a badass brawl against a town full of madmen, ending in your victory. The second episode takes place in military complexes in a much more intense fight for survival, and the locations get darker and darker over time, such as you descending into a massive Human Resources harvesting plant called the Thresher that leaves you without a flashlight, surrounded by invisible enemies, and later into the entranceway to an Eldritch Location called "The Nameless City".
  • Character Overlap: Big John, from the Rise of the Triad remake, shows up as a boss in the second episode, reusing his voice clips from that game.
  • Compressed Adaptation: The Graphic Novel covers the first two episodes, but cuts certain elements to fit the first two episodes into 24 pages, such as removing "Unseen" in favour of introducing the Wendigos in "The Infernal Machine", and ends at the Erebus Reactor.
  • Cool Sword: Found only in episode 3 and certain secret areas in episodes 1 and 2, and has a charged attack (available when your health is at 100 or above) that is pretty much a One-Hit KO against any non-boss enemy. An update gave it the ability to reflect projectiles when you have 50 or more morale.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: While it initially seems to start as a Religious Horror story, it slowly morphs into this trope around the midpoint of the second episode. Ultimately, the protagonist fails to win, and ends up becoming Nyarlathotep's new right hand.
  • Crate Expectations: This game features crates that can be picked up, thrown, and destroyed. Crates also contain various pickups.
  • Creator Cameo: In E1M7 (Dead of the Night), and again in E2M5 (The Escher Labs), you come across a picture of a young man, interacting with it prompts the message "appears to be a cult leader". This is actually the yearbook photo of Dave Oshry, the founder and CEO of New Blood Interactive, the game's publisher. The cult leader who speaks to you throughout the game does indeed have a face based on Dave's.
  • Creepy Basement: You begin the first episode trapped in one. In fact, most of E1M1 (Head Cheese) takes place in said basement.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: Throughout the game, essentially used as the only exposition for the game.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: The Guardian, the final boss of Episode 2, has 17,000 hp. To compare, the two Experiments fought at the end of Episode 1 have 6000 and 4000 hp. Luckily, the stage in which you fight him has a lot of Riveter rivets; you're gonna need them.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Implied to be the case for Dusk Dude in E3M7 "Homecoming"; Dusk Dude seems to remember the house if you decide to inspect it, and doesn't want to clarify if you look at pictures.
    "It hurts to remember."
  • Daylight Horror: The midpoint of the first episode and the beginning of the second episode.
  • Degraded Boss: A single Cowgirl is a boss in "The Facilities", but becomes a regular enemy one level after.
  • Developer's Foresight: The crossbow can shoot through walls. Many of the boss encounters are prefaced with a large door you have to open yourself and unleash the boss from behind it. You might get the idea to... yes, the boss is not just spawned into the map, but is there all along, and you can damage it with the crossbow before you can even see the boss's health meter!
  • Difficult, but Awesome:
    • Despite the sickles being generally weak, they can also deflect bullets, albeit with the drawback of the timing being fairly picky, not being as lenient as it is with the sword's deflective properties. If the player is able to consistently deflect bullets with the sickles, however, it allows them to save ammo and morale for the much more dangerous enemies.
    • While the Crossbow is very good as a conventional weapon, it also is a very powerful speedrunning tool when used properly due to its ability to go through walls and trigger switches, which can allow players to skip chunks of levels, though with the obvious caveat of requiring knowing where the switches are in the level beforehand, which can be fairly picky, along with the low ammo count of the crossbow.
  • Downer Ending: Dusk Dude defeats Jakob, the leader of the cult, only to then face up against the true mastermind behind it all, Nyarlathotep himself, and right as the final blow seems to be struck, it turns out to be both unharmed and impressed, and decides to turn Dusk Dude into a superior replacement for the now-deceased Jakob.
  • Dual Wielding: This is how Dusk Dude uses the Sickles.
  • Dug Too Deep: The cultists of Dusk dug too far into the earth, and as a result unearthed something not of this world. It's later implied the military was responsible, or at the least were influenced to dig by said cult. Several specific levels take you through the tunnels in question, such as "The Cutty Mine" (E1M7), the ruins in "The Unseen" (E2M2), and, well, "The Dig" (E2M9).
  • Early-Bird Cameo: In "Through The Gate", a level in the first episode "The Foothills", the corpse of a Welder can be found, before they become a recurring enemy in "The Facilities", the second episode. A single scientist also shows up in the last level of the first episode before they become recurring threats in the second.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The E3 Demo (which probably never made it to E3) has some different enemy designs (with the militia members being less blocky and looking more mercenary, and the Wizards being zombified soldiers who shoot green fireballs), flipping some of your weapons won't cause melee damage to enemies (something the Pre-Pre-Pre-Alpha also had in common), and it didn't have narration from the main villain.
  • Easter Egg:
    • If you manage to get out of bounds in some levels, such as Ghost Town, you can come across a message telling you "You're not supposed to be here. Go away.". Ghost Town's was eventually turned into its own Achievement.
    • Hidden somewhere in E2M9 is a drawing of the "Wife of Intoxigator". This is a drawing that was sent to the devs by a 6th grader, and they liked it so much they hid it in the game as an achievement. You can read more about the story here.
    • In E1M2, you can find Rachael's secret, while Lavender's secret is in E3M8. Rachael and Lavender are David Szymanski's wife and daughter, respectively.
  • Eldritch Location: Many parts of Episode 2 (Escher Labs especially) and all of Episode 3.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Nyarlathotep, the Crawling Chaos, is the main antagonist of the game.
  • Eternal Engine: E2M4, The Infernal Machine, takes place in one filled with the mulched flesh of the victims of the "Thresher" you got into in the previous level.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Literally. Every NPC you encounter will try to kill you.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: E2M8, Blood and Bone, has a giant tower (surrounded by smaller red lit boxes, as well as obelisks) harvesting unknown energy from an unknown area. It's implied that this energy is used to power the Crossbow bolts as well as the teleporter to the Nameless City.
  • Exploding Barrels: Red barrels create a damaging explosion when shot at.
  • Fireballs: Cultists tend to shoot balls of fire.
  • First-Person Ghost: Dusk Dude has no visible features in the first-person view and the held weapons appear to be floating, with no hands to hold them up.
  • Flesh Golem: The Guardian, the final boss of Episode 2, appears to be a walking pile of abstract gore adhered to some kind of bipedal skeleton.
  • Foreshadowing: Blood and Bone has the "The Darkness is Spreading" on a wall, as well Crypt of the Flesh features, also on a wall, "The Chaos Crawls to me", and the penultimate level is named "The Dweller in Darkness", alluding to various identities taken by Nyarlathotep, the main antagonist of the game.
  • Four Is Death: Two of the creepiest levels are the fourth missions of their episodes: specifically "The Infernal Machine (E2M4) and the "Crypt of the Flesh" (E3M4). Averted with episode 1, where "The Steamworks" (E1M4) is merely So Okay, It's Average compared to the other levels.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Dusk Dude is a treasure hunter, so picking up treasure increases his morale (the game's equivalent of armour).
  • Gas Mask Mooks: The Possessed Soldiers, which replace the cultists as the main enemy you'll face in Episode 2.
  • Genre Throwback: To first-person shooters of The '90s. The fake MS-DOS startup screen even lampshades this by claiming the game is loading from a folder labelled "dmclns" ("Doom clones", what people used to call FPS games before about 1998).
  • The Ghost: The evil voice that mocks you throughout the game, but is never shown. He turns out to be the leader of Nyarlathotep's cult.
  • Ghost Town: The town of Dusk. There are no regular people anymore, just monsters and possessed abominations. It's even the name of the level that takes place in it, E1M9.
  • Gravity Screw: The main gimmick of E3M7, "Homecoming".
  • Guns Akimbo: Dusk Dude can use dual pistols and dual shotguns if he can find an extra one of each. Doing so doubles his rate of fire but takes a major hit to his accuracy.
  • Gun Twirling: The "R" key does this instead of reloading, taking various forms for different weapons, from the basic "twirl the gun by the trigger guard" for the pistol, basic shotgun and Riveter, to "flipping the gun on its axis" for stuff like the super shotgun, and in the case of the crossbow, even "spin the bolt itself in a circle over the bow". This also doubles as a weaker and shorter-ranged melee attack for some of the weapons. This 'attack' can stunlock certain enemies, too.
  • Hailfire Peaks: E3M2, "Fire and Ice", which consists of lava-filled caverns underneath snowy ruins.
  • Hellish Horse: The Experiments are grotesque horse-like monsters.
  • Hell Is That Noise: Is the Escher Labs, you get the red key from what appears to be a ship made of viscera and bone, populated by Wendigos and speeding through a black, red-streaked void. The background noise is an unceasing combination of scream and gale-force wind. When you teleport back out, the cacophony instantly cuts out, replaced with the dim buzzing of the lab's fluorescent lights.
  • Heroic Mime: Played with. Dusk Dude does talk from time to time, but what he says just appears as text on the screen.
  • Heroic Willpower: Dusk Dude doesn't collect traditional armour or the like, instead of gaining "Morale" from the treasure and loot of the former occupants of Dusk. So his durability against gunshots, explosives, magic, claws, syringes, and potential brushes with death contraptions comes entirely from the satisfaction of pilfering riches. He needs it.
  • Hillbilly Horrors: Barring the final levels, the first episode is full of this trope. Isolated cabins, farms, swamps, abandoned sawmills, derelict mines...
  • Hitscan: Zigzagged. Your firearm weapons hitscan, but the enemies' firearms don't, even when they use the same weapons you use.
  • Hope Spot: Done twice, consecutively. In the final level, the Dusk Dude kills Jakob and appears to have finally put an end to, or at least wounded, Dusk's cult, and seems to be allowed to exit until they're thrown into darkness as the true mastermind, Nyarlathotep, reveals himself. And then he fights Nyarlathotep, and when he has one hit point remaining, decides to turn the Dusk Dude into his new second-in-command, rubbing salt in the wound by saying he has many more forms, basically telling Dusk Dude that he had no chance of winning.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Although it isn't obvious at first, Nyarlathotep is this. In an unusual example of this trope, he's also the final boss, which brings the inevitable Downer Ending.
  • Human Resources: The portal to the Nameless City is powered by offering sacrifices of "blood and bone" to eldritch concrete altars found in the ruins below Dusk. Put the "thresher" (seen in E2M3 and E2M4) and the lack of non-cultist inhabitants in Dusk together and the implications are clear.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: With a question mark next to each difficulty level that gives a description of what to expect.
    • "Accessible": Intended for players of any skill level.
    • "Go Easy": Easy difficulty. Slow enemies and projectiles with minimal damage.
    • "I Can Take It": Medium difficulty. Recommended for a first playthrough.
    • "Cero Miedo" (Spanish for "Zero Fear"): Hard difficulty. Enemies are fast and deadly and armor is less effective. Recommended for twitch shooter veterans.
    • "DUSKMARE": For masochists only. Enemies are ruthless and their attacks kill in one hit.
  • Industrialized Evil: It doesn't get more industrialized and more evil than building a giant machine to perform human sacrifice en masse.
  • Implacable Man: Dusk Dude himself basically transcends Determinator status, and just all out becomes this in spades. Getting impaled on meathooks, being shot with bullets, magic, and explosives a lot, falling from absolutely comical heights with nothing but a broken flashlight, and the most any of it seems to be capable of doing is slowing him down slightly.
  • Invisible Monsters: The Wendigos, introduced in the second episode, start out completely invisible until you hit them once.
  • Kaizo Trap: Usually, defeating a boss lets you use a switch that opens the way forward. Except for the two (the first Experiment and the Son of Intoxigator) that immediately start another boss fight.
  • The Klan: The cult takes several cues from the KKK. The members wear robes and pointed hoods, there's an elite mook called the "Grand Wizard", and there are two bosses named the "Duke Brothers" (possibly a reference to David Duke; a real-life Klan leader).
  • Last Stand: Endless arenas are basically this. You face waves of increasingly difficult enemies until you eventually die, your only objective is reaching a new high score.
  • Lethal Joke Item: Every level has a bar of soap in them somewhere. Throwing it at an enemy will kill them instantly, even if it's a boss.
  • Lethal Lava Land: E2MS (The secret level in Episode 2), The Foundry, is the game's strongest candidate, featuring no small amount of the stuff. Unless you have a Thermal Suit, falling in there will kill you in seconds, even if you are at full health.
  • Leitmotif:
    • Aside from each level having its own theme, there's the aggressive musical sting when a Wendigo is revealed from invisibility.
    • A variation — many of the nastier enemies (Cowgirls, Horrors, etc) each have distinct moans, rasps, or other Vader Breaths that warn the player of their presence... and build paranoia, natch.
  • Level of Tedious Enemies: E3MS, the Ratacombs, fittingly contains no other enemies except rats and one giant rat as a boss.
  • Locked Door: In order to proceed through some doors, the player will need to collect color-coded keys that match the locked doors. There are red, blue, and yellow keys available.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: In pure '90s FPS fashion, dealing more damage than necessary to kill an enemy will reduce that enemy into a shower of blood and meat chunks. Bosses leave even bigger amounts of gore behind, even the smaller ones.
  • Meat Moss: Like most horror tropes, it forms part of the decor in several levels, most specifically in the Crypt of Flesh.
  • Mirror Boss: Jakob, the penultimate boss, has the exact same arsenal the player can accumulate, and can also strafe jump exactly like the player.
  • Misidentified Weapons: The Assault Rifle is based on an M60 machine gun and should actually be called "Machine Gun" instead. As in DOOM (2016), this was probably done to make the lack of reloading less conspicuous by using a belt-fed weapon instead of a true magazine-fed assault rifle. One of the devs later claimed that in the DUSK universe belt-fed weapons are called assault rifles (and also magazines are called clips) to cover this mistake.
  • Muzzle Flashlight: A given, and particularly worthwhile given that the game takes away your regular flashlight at a few points. This becomes the main use of the pistols after a point, as they A) have plentiful ammo and B) are only useful for Cherry Tapping the weakest opponents.
  • Nintendo Hard: Difficulties influencing projectile speeds and damages aside, Episode 1 is like the appetizer that introduces you to the game and thus only really gets difficult towards the end. Episode 2, on the other hand, jumps from one to a hundred from the first level onwards as the devs stop holding back and the likelihood of dying significantly increases. Episode 3 increases the difficulty even more.
  • No-Damage Run: Managing it for a level gets you the "Untouchable" achievement for it.
  • Nothing Is Scarier:
    • The Wendigos are introduced in E2M2 by way of you going through a few minutes of the level with no enemies. At first, they're just not there, but after a little bit of progress you find plenty of them — as corpses that something else already killed. The only hint as to what happened before your arrival is writing on the wall telling you "DON'T GO IN THE RUINS". Alas, the door to those ruins is locked with the yellow key, so you know exactly where you're going...
    • The Horrors get the same treatment in E3M4. You start the level in near-complete darkness, with no enemies in sight, but with a horrific moaning/wheezing sound coming from the locked door to a nearby basement. Pressing a switch laying around shows a message: "The basement door opens"...
  • No Sense of Units: Mostly averted, it is a game after all, but there are a few outliers.
    • Apparently, no one outside Dusk's exclusion zone is aware of a giant Blood Magic generator or a towering laboratory in the sky, considering that it's implied that the structures are very tall.
    • Despite being classified as a town, Dusk once had a population in the five hundred thousands and even has about eight skyscrapers (according to the level design in Erebus Reactor), making it more of a large city than a town.
  • Ominous Floating Castle: E2M7, Neobabel, takes place in the eponymous labs miles above the Erebus Reactor. The first half of E2M8, Blood and Bone, has you exploring the deeper reaches of the labs before descending back to ground level and finding the entrance to The Dig.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Zig-zagged when playing on DUSKMARE difficulty. Technically, you still have the full quotient of hit points, so you can still rivet-jump or otherwise hit yourself with splash damage without instantly gibbing yourself, but all hits from enemies will instantly kill you, making you this trope in spirit.
  • One-Hit Polykill: The Crossbow's speciality, being able to pierce enemies and walls. The Hunting Rifle's bullets are also able to hit a second enemy behind the first one if the first enemy has been killed by the shot.
  • One-Man Army: Dear God, Dusk Dude. When cultists, soldiers, and things that basically make no sense barely stand a chance against him, you know he qualifies as one of these. He still can't properly punch out Nyarlathotep, though.
  • Out of Focus: The fork maidens and scarecrows don't show up as often in Episode 2. Justified, due to the episode having less of an emphasis on Hillbilly Horrors and more on fighting the possessed military, as well as the eventual travel to another dimension. They return in the third episode near the end, where Dusk Dude is battling through memories of previous levels.
  • Pacifist Run: You can actually make it through many levels without killing any enemies, which the results screen will note.
  • Puzzle Boss: Nyarlathotep. He's immune to all your attacks unless you hit the cracks in the wall he creates when trying to crush you to a pulp. This causes sunlight to shine on him, rendering him vulnerable for a short time.
  • Raising the Steaks: A common enemy in Episode 1 are the Black Philips; zombified/demonic goats who attack by spitting blood at you. There are also undead rats scattered across all episodes.
  • Reality Is Out to Lunch: While Episode 1 is fairly realistic and Episode 2 has quite a few vistas and setpieces that conceivably might be in Dusk's established world if you squint and don't think about it too hard, all bets are off once you get to Episode 3 and encounter floating islands made of your character's memories, flip gravity to walk on walls and ceilings, pass through vastly larger or smaller versions of previous levels, and of course encounter Nyarlathotep himself.
  • Recoil Boost: Several weapons will slightly increase your jump height if you fire them downwards while in mid-air.
  • Retraux: The art style closely emulates early 3D first-person shooters of the 1990s, especially those that use the Quake engine, complete with a startup screen that emulates running the game through MS-DOS. Options are available for retro purists to turn off texture filtering and enable a low-resolution mode for an authentic '90s look. The developer even complained once that the biggest difficulty in developing the game was undoing every visual improvement the Unity engine received.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: Breaking crates, barrels and vases often yields items.
  • Rocket Jump: Riveter's explosive ammo can be used to gain extra height at the price of health.
  • Rule of Cool: Why else have the ability to flip while you're jumping or the ability to slide?
  • Sackhead Slasher: The Leathernecks, burly men in overalls with potato sacks on their heads, are the first enemy encountered in the game when a group of them try to dice you up in a basement with chainsaws.
  • Scare Chord: Plays whenever you reveal a Wendigo and continues until it's dead. This is also used for comedy when one secret opens up to reveal a Dopefish.
  • Scary Scarecrows: A common enemy in Episode 1, and they have shotguns!
  • Secret Level: One per episode. The entrance to The Dim Slough is located in E1M2 (Down On The Farm), the entrance to The Foundry is in E2M4 (The Infernal Machine), while the entrance to the Ratacombs is in E3M4 (Crypt of the Flesh).
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: Enemies that hit each other by accident have a good chance of turning against each other. This is very useful in large environments with a lot of enemies. This tactic also works on bosses, save for in "The Dweller in the Darkness".
  • Sewer Gator: The mutated "Intoxigator" that inhabits the sewers of Dusk. You later fight Son of Intoxigator in Episode 2.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Averted with the lever-action shotgun, which is decent at medium range (so long as you don't pair it up to increase the fire rate), but played completely straight with the double-barrel Super Shotgun, which utterly annihilates enemies at point-blank range but can't hit the broad side of a barn at a few feet.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The cultist mages' chant references DUSK's video game inspirations, including Blood and Heretic.
    • A few levels have computers with gameplay footage. Pressing the use key on them will display the message "Don't have time to play with myself".
    • Another Duke 3D reference is with the Quick Melee button, which when hit will print the message "Mighty sickles engaged", much like when using the quick-melee button in Duke 3D.
    • The chainsaw-wielding Leathernecks, with burlap sacks over their heads, heavily resemble the Chainsaw Ganados from Resident Evil 4.
    • The Red Syringe powerup incurs the same Bullet Time effects as Superhot, wherein the effect only works when you're not moving - the pickup message is even "Time only moves when you move", one of the game's mottos. To further cement the reference, the item is referred to as the "Serum of Blistering Heat".
    • The very first level is named "Head Cheese", which is the original name given to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974). The level itself is reminiscent of the movie, being an isolated house full of Hillbilly Horrors. To drive the point home, interacting with the chainsaw laying on the kitchen counter will prompt a message: "What a massacre!".
    • Upon picking up the Shotgun for the first time, a message appears on screen: "Groovy".
    • The Crossbow is identical (in form, but not in function) to the Ethereal Crossbow from Heretic.
    • One of the enemies introduced in Episode 2 is the Cowgirl, an emaciated female cyborg with a rocket-launching Riveter for a right arm, just like a certain Strogg.
    • One area in E1M3 is a one-by-one recreation of a similar area in Doom's E1M2, where imps fire on you from above, and then to proceed you need to press a switch that opens up two doors to the side.
    • One secret area in E1M4 ends with a wall dropping along a Scare Chord to reveal the Dopefish. Hitting the Use key on it prints the message "Dopefish Lives!".
    • The multiplayer component of the game is titled Duskworld, echoing Quake's enhanced-netcode offshoot Quakeworld.
    • Weapon pickups are alliterative and there are jump pads, traps, and coins to collect, all in the same vein as Rise of the Triad.
    • The Mortar works identically to the Grenade Launcher in Quake 1 and 2, albeit with the ability to manually detonate your grenades with secondary fire. The Hunting Rifle acts like a less-flashy version of a Railgun as well, with a slow-firing, but heavily piercing shot that can multi-kill.
    • The first episode ends with you fighting two demon minibosses one after the other - aside from being sequential, it's similar to how Doom's first episode ended.
      • There's also the two "Duke Brothers" in E1M7, which somewhat mirror the first encounter with Barons of Hell, being larger and stronger varieties of the common Wizard and, later, paving the way for stronger Grand Wizards.
    • The Gas Mask Mooks in camo are dressed similarly to the HECU grunts of Half-Life. In addition, the physics puzzles hearken to its sequel. The Escher labs interior resembles some sections of the Black Mesa Research Facility from the first Half-Life, there's even a PA system that sounds similar to VOX.
    • According to the devs, the goat demon is called Black Phillip.
    • It's implied that the name of E2M8, "Blood and Bone", as well as the architecture of two areas in E2M10, are nods to a line muttered by Jack Lupino in Max Payne.
    I have seen beyond the world of skin, the architecture of blood and bone marrow.
    • E2M5, The Escher Labs, besides the work of M. C. Escher, also references Constantine's Mansion in Thief. In fact, finding the secret Sword in said level will display a message: "Thanks, Constantine".
    • The max FoV option is called "Cynical".
    • The Big "NO!" heard when entering the secret level in episode 3 is borrowed from AMID EVIL, where it plays when falling in a Bottomless Pit.
    • In E1M7 "Dead of the Night" there's a room with a well and a bottle of lotion. Mousing over it has the game prompt "Rub lotion on skin", doing so will have Dusk Dude say "No hose for me."
    • The "Mamma Mia Gore Palace" Endless Mode map that debuted with the Nintendo Switch port is a replica of Peach's Castle from Super Mario 64, except it's made entirely of Meat Moss. The video showcasing the map drives the point home by having the Dusk Dude enter the map through the portrait of Jakob, he and all the enemies use voice clips and sound effects from the gamenote , and the Slider theme plays before transitioning to "Murder Machine Inc."
  • Sickening Slaughterhouse: The Thresher, a machine designed for the mass slaughtering and mulching of Human Resources. And then it's exaggerated with "The Infernal Machine", where we see a sea of mulched human meat flowing through the interior of the massive, mechanical hell.
  • Sinister Deer Skull: The Wendigos are represented in their modern depiction, zombies with a deer skull as a head.
  • Skippable Boss: The player has the option to bypass almost every boss fight in the game through tactics such as waiting for a clear path to the exit or having enemies in-fight. The only exceptions are Jakob and Nyarlathotep, the final two, where fighting them is mandatory to proceed.
  • Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom: A few levels in Episode 2 feature deadly crushers on tight corridors.
  • Smoking Is Cool: You can equip a cigar that regenerates a single point of health per use. It also has the bonus of having an insanely high zoom.
  • Special Guest: Stephan Weyte, famous for voicing Caleb in Blood, is in the game as Nyarlathotep.
  • Springs, Springs Everywhere: The game features jump pads that launch the player up in the air. The height varies per jump pad.
  • Standard FPS Guns: Played straight at first and later subverted. Of the 10 weapons Dusk Dude can use, a few serve shared purposes but separate roles. For example, the Hunting Rifle and the Crossbow both serve as a high-damage long-range option. However, the crossbow fires faster, can pierce targets and holds more ammo, while the Rifle has a longer-ranged zoom and does more damage with hitscan bullets.
  • Suspiciously Cracked Wall: If you spot one, hitting it with anything explosive will reveal a secret.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Dusk Dude never needs to come up for air. This also comes with Guns Firing Underwater. In Episode 3 you get into an extended gunfight with the Chomper.
  • Telefrag: Part of how teleporters work in this game, though the enemies and level design rarely make it useful. In one instance you can use it to instantly kill a boss, which requires deliberate maneuvering and probably several attempts.
  • Teleporting Keycard Squad: From enemies that suddenly appear when you're backtracking to ones that just blatantly teleport into the same room. It is a throwback game, after all.
  • Title Drop: The final level in the game is titled, "Dusk."
  • Toilet Teleportation: Flushing yourself down the toilet in E3M4 is how you unlock The Ratacombs.
  • Villainous Breakdown: After Jakob reaches only 500 health, several Wizards he inducted into his cult will come into the room to kill him as he is "unworthy", as he screams that they were his disciples, completely losing the calm demeanor he had prior.
  • Violation of Common Sense: To end E3M8, "As Above, So Below," you have to impale yourself on the meathooks you escaped at the start of the game. Seeing as the rest of the level is a deeply surreal combination of Planet Heck and a Journey to the Center of the Mind, it's clear "Common Sense" died a while back.
  • Wall Crawl: The Climbing Thing introduced in episode 2 allows you to climb up walls and jump off them.
  • The War Sequence:
    • E2M6, The Erebus Reactor, pits you against dozens of enemies in a huge-ass reactor room. And after that, there's the Big John boss fight.
    • E3M9, The Dweller In Darkness, consists of a gauntlet of waves upon waves of increasingly difficult enemies.
  • Wendigo: One of the enemies in the game, which are invisible up until you hit them.
  • Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: Jakob's facial expression.
  • Wham Line: In the final level, the player finally defeats Jakob, and makes their way through a tunnel of light... Only for it to become suddenly dark, and someone to start speaking.
    "He was worthy, you know. And he accomplished so much. But then... You came along. You, who were stronger. You, who were faster. You... I like better. Who did you expect at the end of all this? God? The Devil, perhaps? No... It's just... me."
  • Wreaking Havok: The sole "modern" gameplay mechanic is that items like boulders, human bones, sawblades, barrels, and boxes have physics applied to them, allowing you to pick them up and push them around. They can occasionally be used to circumvent some low walls to get into secrets, but they're really not made for stacking on top of each other, and they can be used to shield yourself from enemy attacks, but they won't last long before breaking, so the best use for them is tossing them at enemies — which, depending on the size and distance you throw them from, is generally an instant kill. Smaller and lighter objects are generally the best because the Dusk Dude will throw them faster, thus needing less space between him and a target to get the best results; sawblades are about as effective as you'd expect, moving fast and bouncing off walls to hit people if you miss with the initial toss, but the truly deadliest physics object is the humble bar of soap, at least one of which is available in every level. There's even one hidden in secret areas in the finales of the first and second Episodes — and if you toss it at either the Experiments or the Guardian, it'll instantly kill them the same as it will anything else.

We traded God for demons...


Video Example(s):


Bar Of Soap

Hidden in every level is a bar of soap that will instantly kill an enemy when thrown at them, even if they are a boss.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / LethalJokeItem

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