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Video Game / Elvira

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A series of point and click/role playing computer games based loosely around the Cassandra Peterson character Elvira. In 1990, HorrorSoft Games released the first installment, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark. The game was surprisingly well received by critics and adventure/horror fans, and in 1992 the follow-up, Elvira II: The Jaws of Cerberus was released to even better reviews than the original. In addition to being surprisingly good, the games were also known for being ridiculously challenging and ridiculously frightening, while maintaining a dark, tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. Not surprisingly, the majority of laughs came from Elvira's comments.

An almost identical IP from the same company, Wax Works, was released in 1992.

Tropes within the game include:

  • Absolute Cleavage: No points for guessing who does that trope apply to.
  • Character Class System: The second game lets you choose from four professions:
    • Stuntman, who dishes out the most damage, but has low intelligence, magic resistance and, ironically enough, accuracy;
    • Private Eye, the resident Jack-of-All-Stats;
    • Computer Programmer, this game's Squishy Wizard;
    • Knife Thrower, who has the highest accuracy and hitpoints at the cost of poison resistance.
  • The Chew Toy: If you are a gore fan, the protagonists, as you can let them die in a lot of gruesome ways.
  • Eye Scream: You can die with your eyes torn out by a hawk, you can get them fried, you can get one of them burned by acid...
  • Fan Disservice: At one point in the haunted house, you can join a lovely young woman in bed. Is it sexy? At the beginning, yes. At the end? HELL NO. There's a reason one YouTube comment referred to the woman as "Lamprey head"...
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  • Giant Spider: There's a gigantic black widow in Elvira II.
  • Guide Dang It!: In Eivira II, you have limited resources to cast a wide array of spells, without many clues about how many casts of each ones you'll need to complete puzzles and evade traps. If you use up critical components for the wrong spells, the game becomes Unwinnable
  • Gorn: Scenes from both games include things like blood on walls, limbs cut in half, severed heads, exploding heads, piranhas eating your arm to he bone, maggots feasting on a dead man's ripped throat, and that excludes the death scenes...
  • Holy Burns Evil: Downplayed, in the sense that having a crucifix on yourself won't harm vampires, only prevent them from attacking you (and even then, it doesn't work on the vampire from the coffin).
  • Inventory Management Puzzle: In the first game you can only carry so much weight before you start losing strength with every step, and some items have other items inside of them. The sequel takes this a step further, as items will be damaged or destroyed under certain circumstances (like being struck by fire, falling into a trap or going underwater). This obviously includes one-of-a-kind items you need to beat the game, if you haven't wasted them on preparing a non-essential spell before. A cautious player will know to leave items in rooms where they can pick them up only when they're needed.
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  • The Many Deaths of You: Boy howdy. The games seemed to take a sadistic pleasure in showing the player gruesome death screens depending on how they were killed.
  • Nintendo Hard: For starters, strategy guides straight up recommend reloading if you get hit once, because healing items are that rare.
  • Non-Combat EXP: Elvira 2: Jaws of Cerberus grants you experience for going into unexplored map squares and casting spells. Technically, you could get unlimited experience by preparing and casting a lot of free spells (but you'd have to wait for your Power Points to regenerate, so it would take a long time.)
  • Possession Implies Mastery: Zig-zagged in the first game. You can arm yourself with a crossbow, but you'll always miss the target. However, after managing to hit the bullseye of a practice target with only four shots, you'll be called a "master bowman" and become able to use it.
  • Perverse Puppet: If one of the books you find in the library of the Haunted House in the second game is by any indication, all the monsters you fight through the game are animatronic puppets created by the studio´s crew that have become sentinent and turned evil, including Cerberus.
  • Potion-Brewing Mechanic: In Mistress of the Dark, you can create magical potions by combining various ingredients you found. For example, consuming Herbal Honey gives you knowledge of the true names of all plants and eating Alphabet Soup gave you knowledge of Runes.
  • Regenerating Mana: Elvira II: Jaws of Cerberus. Power points replenish themselves automatically over time, though very slowly.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: There is a hairy man standing in your way to a key, who will beg you for a Mercy Kill, before he turns into a wolf that will eat your neck if you don't kill him with a silver tipped crossbow bolt.
  • Schrödinger's Gun: In the second game there are three places where Elvira may be hidden; no matter in what order you reach them, the first two Elviras will be fake and transform into monsters.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay
  • Unwinnable by Design / Unwinnable by Mistake: Even if you do avoid the many, many pitfalls, you might still lose something vital in a fireball trap.
  • Yet Another Stupid Death: In the Studio 2 from Elvira 2, there is a zombie, that will appear in front of you, if you walk in the wrong direction. Normally, you will faint and die from the sight, but this can be avoided, if the Courage spell has been activated, he will just stand there, then you can use the Turn Undead spell to get rid of him... or just stand there, which will lead to the zombie killing you by biting your neck. It even has a unique death scene!
  • Your Head Asplode: The witch you encounter early on in The Jaws of Cerberus goes down like this. Complete with her one eyeball flying toward the screen!

Alternative Title(s): Elvira Games


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