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Video Game / Echo Night

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Echo Night is an obscure Survival Horror series that debuted on the PlayStation by FromSoftware. Each of the games uses the First Person Adventure format, putting the player directly in the shoes of the unfortunate Richard Osmond, solving puzzles and struggling to survive while helping ghosts.

The original Echo Night was released in 1998 at home, and in 1999 globally. It opens with Richard being called to the torched remains of his late father's house. While sorting through the rubble, he stumbles across a hidden room with a mysterious painting... which abruptly transports him onto the deck of the Orpheus, a ship whose passengers and crew met a mysterious end decades ago. All appear to him as mere shadows, bound to the ship by past regrets; as he helps them resolve these issues, he gains strange crystals called Astral Pieces. Of course, not all of the ghosts are patiently waiting to be freed, to say nothing of the mystery surrounding what happened to the Orpheus in the first place...

The second game in the series, Echo Night 2: The Lord of Nightmares, followed in 1999, but it never saw its planned English release. Richard's girlfriend Rebecca Morgan has vanished; his search for answers leads him to a beautiful-but-haunted mansion, and to pictures of a woman who looks exactly like Rebecca despite having lived ages ago.

The third installment was released in 2004 as the series' only entry on the PS2, and it also jumps the series into the year 2044. Echo Night: Beyond sees Richard Osmond and his fiancee Claudia Selfer about to fulfill their dream of being married on the moon. But before landing, their shuttle takes severe damage, and Richard wakes up outside the station disoriented and alone.

The series provides examples of:

  • Apocalyptic Log: Found throughout Beyond by checking out past footage of the moon station shown through video monitors.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Soul Stone in all 3 games. It can grant the wielder's desires, but it requires sacrifices to power it, and With Great Power Comes Great Insanity.
  • Babies Ever After: In one of the endings of Lord of Nightmares, the faceless protagonist and his fiancée have twins.
  • Betting Mini-Game: In Echo Night, Richard can play roulette, Blackjack and the slots.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The standard endings of the first two games. The Big Bad is killed, but the Artifact of Doom is still around to cause trouble down the line.
  • Book Ends: In Beyond, if the player gets the game's best ending, the game begins and ends with a shot of a coffin containing the body of Claudia floating through space.
  • Clockworks Area: The last area of Echo Night 2 is the clocktower on an island. The player navigates through the clock mechanism to reach his wife before the villain does.
  • Completion Meter: The inventory screen in Echo Night keeps track of the game's percentage completion, complete with a grading for the player's performance so far (Good, Average, etc.).
  • Creepy Child: Various ghost children; in the original game, the first "aggressive" ghost you have to deal with is a constantly giggling little girl named Claudia.
  • Cute Ghost Girl: The first game's Claudia briefly becomes this after being reunited with her dolly.
  • Darkness Equals Death: A gameplay mechanic of the first and second game, where ghosts will only attack you in dark rooms. The first course of action is always to find a light switch whenever possible.
  • Downer Ending: Some of the multiple endings.
    • In one of the bad endings in Lord of Nightmares, Richard Osmond releases his fiancée in the clock tower, Albert Clancy threatens him with a shotgun. Christina jumps in front of Albert to protect Richard and is shot. Seeing that his only means to save Jessica is lost, Albert leaves the room and shoots himself. Later, Richard climbs down the clock tower and sees an awakened Jessica just outside the entrance, goes to her and stabs her with the red stone dagger.
    • In one of the endings in Beyond, Richard kills himself.
  • Earn Your Bad Ending / Earn Your Happy Ending: A common trait of the series is that to get the most conclusive endings (The good/evil endings of the first two games and the happiest ending in Beyond), you'll need to go the extra mile to get 100% Completion (Get all Astral Pieces in the first game, get all or no Astral Pieces in the second game, and pick up some items from a room unlocked by helping all the ghosts pass on in the third game).
  • Fetch Quest: To help the ghosts move on from their unfinished business, you'll often have to complete these, bringing something to the corresponding specter that fits with their last request.
  • Feuding Families: The Rockwells and the Osmonds in Echo Night.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In Lord of Nightmares, one of the very first rooms is a chamber where the body of Jessica Clancy lies. The doors that lead to said chamber are double doors with a female face on each, hinting at the twin reveal later in the game.
    • In Beyond, the only character that seems alive is Kenneth. When you find he is a android, it hints on how you managed to still be alive as well.
  • Flying Dutchman: The Orpheus.
  • Ghost Ship: The Orpheus from Echo Night. There's also in Beyond, where Richard wakes up in a crashed spacecraft—with a ghost one floor above him.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: The first two games have Astral Pieces as a collectable, obtained from successfully appeasing ghosts and helping them pass on. These can be exchanged for useful items and getting all of them is required for each game's Golden Ending. Inversely, getting none of them in the second game is the key to the Evil Ending.
  • Guide Dang It!: Some parts of Beyond give no explanation as to what has to be done. To make things worse, certain objects that you examine cannot be examined a second time, meaning you can miss important information by clicking around on the walls.
  • Haunted House: The setting of The Lord of Nightmares, the large Clancy Mansion estate.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: The first game includes an Internal Game Clock, which is tied to certain puzzles. Also, the on-board casino closes at 6:00 AM, and Richard will get kicked out if he's still gambling at that time.
  • Justified Save Point: Phones in Echo Night. This begs the question: who's on the other side of the line when Richard calls to save the game...?
  • Human Sacrifice: A key plot point in the games is the existence of a red stone, usually in the form of a knife, that grants wishes. As can be expected from a knife, there's only one thing that must be done first...
  • Last-Second Ending Choice: Beyond downplays this. The climax of the game has the player decide whether or not to accept the Soul Stone from Claudia's spirit, but the endings are also slightly affected by whether the player picks up Claudia's ring and Richard's letter.
  • Late to the Tragedy: A recurring theme in these games. Since they heavily revolve around you helping the ghosts in an area move on, there is always a tragedy that populated the area with so many ghosts to begin with.
  • Life Meter: Represented in Beyond as an EKG readout, which starts out at 80 bpm; strange encounters can make it rise, and if it goes above 300+, Richard dies.
  • Love Makes You Evil: The motivation of Lord of Nightmares's main villain: he wants to save his dying wife with the use of the red stone, and goes to extreme lengths to accomplish his goal.
  • Multiple Endings: The first game and Beyond have four endings each, while the second game has three endings.
    • Echo Night 1's endings are based on whether you can escape the Orpheus during the final escape sequence and (if you get all of the Astral Pieces) whether you accept the Soul Stone.
    • Echo Night 2's endings are based on how many of the Astral Pieces you collected.
    • Beyond's endings depend on whether you accept the Soul Stone from Claudia's ghost and whether you saved all of the spirits and picked up Claudia's ring and Richard's letter.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Although the prime mover of the plot of Lord of Nightmares is the master of the mansion and his henchman, the mysterious red-haired woman is the one who provided him with information on the red stone. At the end of the game, the red-haired woman may kill the main villain in one of the endings, and makes the protagonist a last offer: to own or to refuse the red stone.
  • Obviously Evil: The medium from Echo Night. Whatever his deal is, he clearly enjoys the results that the stone ends up causing.
  • Ominous Fog: In Beyond, fog makes the shades more hostile, so Richard must find ways to clear away — or, if failing that, avoid — the fog.
  • One Twin Must Die: This is how the red stone works in Lord of Nightmares: the red-haired woman's sister first found it and sacrificed herself to save her from an illness, with the bonus effect of giving her immortality. Also, this is why Albert Clancy, the BigBad, wants to use Christina/Rebecca to cure his fiancée Jessica: despite killing his own family and estate's personel to fuel the red stone, he could not save Jessica definitely, so resorts to use her long-lost twin sister.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: There are two kinds, with both usually requiring some trinket that will resolve their Unfinished Business.
    • Aggressive ghosts appear when the lights are off and have ghoulish features.
    • The other ghosts can only be seen when the lights are on and appear as featureless black shades.
  • Pensieve Flashback: In the first two games, Richard can enter the flashback memories of various ghosts in order to learn how he can help resolve them. He can also carry items from these flashbacks to the present, and vice versa.
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • Averted with the Astral Pieces in the first game — the whole ship can be explored any time to collect any missing Astral Pieces.
    • Played straight in Lord of Nightmares. You need the oil lamp to find one ghost (that another ghost relies on), but you lose the oil lamp for good once you are imprisoned. If you don't find that ghost within that window you can never finish collecting the Astral Pieces. In addition, seekers of the Golden Ending can lock themselves off if they make a mistake during a quest that completes the mission without getting the Astral Piece.
  • Plot Coupon: The Astral Pieces.
  • Replacement Goldfish: In Beyond, Richard is a robotic copy of the original made by Claudia.
  • Robotic Reveal: In Beyond, Kenneth and the player character, Richard, are both android copies of their human counterparts.
  • Schmuck Bait: One ending in the second game has a woman offer the player the Soul Stone. The woman clearly has no love for the Stone and all the pain it caused and she has just shot the previous owner in the back. If you accept, she'll make sure you join him.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Three in a row in Beyond, although one relies on the player's input. Before the events of the game, Richard sacrifices his own life to the Soul Stone to try to see Claudia again, only for Claudia to come to the colony and sacrifice herself to try to bring Richard back. Claudia's sacrifice doesn't work, causing her to haunt the colony, killing any living beings that arrive there. The android Richard activates some time later, and if the player didn't pick up the ring and letter belonging to the former two and accepts the Soul Stone from Claudia's spirit, the android tries to sacrifice himself to save Claudia, with his lack of a soul causing this sacrifice to fail as well.
  • Separated at Birth / Long-Lost Relative: In Lord of Nightmares, Christina Collins, Richard Osmond's fiancée, was born Rebecca Morgan, the twin sister of Jessica Clancy (née Morgan). After a zeppelin accident, the twins' parents die, Rebecca loses her memory and becomes separated from her sister.
  • Spiritual Successor: Déraciné, a 2018 VR game by FromSoftware, follows in the footsteps of Echo Night, being a first person, part-adventure game with horror elements involving time travel and interacting with echoes of the past. It even revolves around red and blue stones (inlaid within rings, this time) with the power to change destiny. You don't play Richard Osmond, though.
  • Thematic Series: In each game you play a character named Richard Osmond and are able to visit echoes of the past, usually to stop some evil plot involving a cursed red stone. However, these Richard Osmonds are not the same person, and the lore of the stones is slightly different in each installment.
  • Theme Naming: The ship in the first game is called Orpheus and the airship in the second game is called Eurydice. The story of Orpheus rescuing Eurydice from the underworld holds a lot of symbolic relevance to the games, especially to Lord of Nightmares, in which the main villain's motivation is to save his wife from death, but ultimately fails.
  • Undeath Always Ends: This happens in the best ending of the second game: after getting rid of the stone for good, the mysterious red-haired woman loses her immortality granted by said stone.
  • Unfinished Business: You help every ghost fulfill their dying wish in exchange for glowing purple crystal spheres of unknown significance.