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Video Game / Encased RPG

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Encased is a Post-apocalyptic Western RPG, developed by the Russian studio Dark Crystal Games and published by Black Tower Entertainment. It was released for PC in Steam Early Access on September 26, 2019 and was fully released in September 7, 2021.

The story begins in 1971, when a geological expedition to the archaeological zone C-12 Nashville discovered a mysterious alien mega-structure called The Dome. Further archaeological remains of a civilization named The Forefathers were found there. An international organization called the CRONUS Foundation was founded in order to explore the Dome and exploit the technologies of the Forefathers.

In 1976, CRONUS loses touch with the original C-12 Nashville site, which had become one of their richest sources of Forefathers artifacts. After losing touch with the rescue team as well, CRONUS sends you, one of their newest employees, to find out what happened and reestablish contact.


You arrive to find the facility in chaos, with all of the staff either dead or insane. Upon making your way into the lower levels of C-12 Nashville, you attempt to neutralize an artifact which seems to be the source of the madness, only to apparently release the force inside it...and wake up several years later, in a world that has been profoundly changed by the awakening of what all under The Dome have come to know as Maelstrom.


This work encases the following tropes:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Justified in the loading blurb for the residential district. It mentions that the Magellan sewage system is absurdly spacious because it's an emergency exit route.
  • Achievement Mockery:
    • The "Wake Up!" achievement requires you to fail the main quest by skipping time in Concord Station, thus netting you a death and game over.
    • "Changed My Mind" is gained for taking an opportunity to leave the Dome via Concord cargo lift, with spectacularly gory results.
    • "Getting Hot in Here" for getting inside the empty coffin and getting cremated.
    • The "Like a Cockroach" achievement requires you to fail attribute/skill checks when riding a certain elevator resulting in death and game over.
    • The "Wrong Turn" achievement requires you to behave in a stupid manner, leading to you crashing a hijacked car and dying.
    • The "A Thousand and One Deaths" achievement requires you to get all the achievements mentioned above.
  • Achievements in Ignorance: The "As a Bag of Hammers" quirk. Your character's intelligence is rock bottom but you get a wide array of very beneficial abilities as you climb the skill trees.
  • Advanced Ancient Acropolis: The ruins of the ancient and mysterious cities of the Forefathers inside the Dome.
  • Agonizing Stomach Wound: One person in the Nashville facility is washing the floor, with his own disemboweled intestines.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The Maelstrom, the alien artificial intelligence created by the Forefathers, to serve and help the latter, an advanced and advanced artificial intelligence beyond any imagination, which had rebelled against the Forefathers, then accidentally awakened by the protagonist, causes the devastation of the world and of the human race.
    • Also the various Androids you fight, though that's said to be programming corruption caused by the Maelstrom.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Mostly justified as not only are they general maintance tunnels with electrical, steam, and water systems running along them, but being underground bunkers they have to be that large to move enough air through them. That being said there is an amount of ventilation shafts that don't warrant being able to move through.
  • Alternate History: The discovery of The Dome in 1971 had led to the end of the Vietnam War and by extension, the Cold War. It started a reconciliation between the United States of America and the Soviet Union, as they put aside their rivalries to create the CRONUS Foundation in order to explore The Dome and exploit the alien technologies inside it, which led to a new scientific revolution. The awakening of Maelstrom, however, had led to the situation rapidly evolving, to the point a nuclear war occurred while the protagonist was trapped inside the "mental sphere".
  • Archaeological Arms Race: Conducted first by the CRONUS Foundation to control and dominate the technologies of the Forefathers inside the Dome, then directly the major world powers after the awakening of the Maelstrom.
  • Assimilation Plot: The Maelstrom aims to unify all human minds, in one and only mind, creating a "common Consciousness" or a "collective consciousness".
  • "Ass" in Ambassador: Carmine Height's representative to the Council, Karma Ishtwani, is openly rude and almost hostile to just about everybody. Especially the player character even after it is proved that this individual might be the only person alive who can use the Emulator Project to move the Maelstrom. That is, the Dome's only hope at the moment. While her job is to defend Carmine Height's interests, her personality is in stark contrast with most of the other representatives who are civil at the very least. Even the warlike Phalanx is at most rather laconic. She paints her faction in the worst light, being obstructive and quarrelsome.
  • A Taste of Power: In your first dungeon, the last area before you get into the open world, you are given a Mark III Servoshell. Although you cannot take it with you into the open world afterwards, the servoshell makes the area much easier due to the high protection it affords you as well as a great boost to strength allowing you to bash open locks you might not be able to pick just yet.
  • Base on Wheels: The second act gives you a quest to obtain the Ursula, a land train that serves as your mobile base from that point on.
  • Boxed Crook: The Orange Wing are composed of criminals given jobs under the Dome.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The five branches within CRONUS are the Color Wings, each with a different specialization.
    • The White Wing are scientists, who are in the Dome to study the relics of the Forefathers.
    • The Blue Wing are technicians, doing the work that keeps CRONUS' operations running.
    • The Black Wing are corporate security and troubleshooters (as in, they shoot trouble).
    • The Silver Wing are managers, chosen both for their people skills and their psychic potential.
    • The Orange Wing are the odd wing out, as they're not officially a specialty as such. Instead, they're criminals recruited for general labor under the Dome. Unofficially, they specialize in getting in where they're not supposed to be, and in carrying heavy loads.
  • Cow Tools: In-universe with the Relics. Whenever you scan one, the Codex has a list of purposes it could have. And some of the speculations can get downright peculiar.
  • Crapsack World: The territories within the Dome are dominated by the Forefathers military drones, which will kill or destroy everything that comes their way. The surrounding territory is also hostile, made of marshes, deserts and rugged lands interspersed with the Forefather ruins and full of ferocious wild animals, marauder and raider bands, and the fanatical religious sect.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The Dome before the Maelstrom. 25 percent of all residents die, you can never leave, and with various hardened criminals brought in for manual labor. But the pay is amazing, the facilities shiny, and with almost magical technology rampant.
  • The Cult:
    • The Sect of Cybersattiva, a New Age-like religious sect, founded by a guru called Jootha Jones, which is based on the spiritual aspects of Forefathers and Dome technologies, religion venerates the Forefathers as gods, like gods supreme, believing that they were a spiritually superior civilization and that the Forefathers, had evolved and progressed to a higher stage of existence, believe that even advanced and advanced technologies such as Robots and Androids, can have a soul and that the advent of a "Singularity" can make the human race progress and evolve spiritually.
    • The Church of the Maelstrom is a religious organization that spread inside the Dome after the awakening of the Maelstrom, and venerates it as a God.
  • Death World: The Dome even before the Maelstorm. 25 percent of all employees are killed due to the various hazards. And the trip is only one way.
  • Due to the Dead: Scanning dead employees has elements of this, especially with the CRONUS points you get for it. You might not be able to bury them, but at least people know what happened to them.
    • The side quest "Tribute to the Memory" is collecting the dog tags of the fallen members of a Black Wing Unit so the lone survivor can symbolically bury them.
  • Dungeon Bypass: Don't want to do a faction's quests to get what you need from them for the Emulator Project? That's okay. You can stealth through, pick locks, and take or arrange what you need without talking to them. Most of the factions won't be willing to work with you in the ending if you do this, though.
  • Equipment Upgrade: Weapons can be upgraded by using special technical manuals and some crafting materials.
  • Fish out of Water: The Main Character entered the Dome in 1976 as stated by the intro, in a technologically advanced world, finds themselves thrown forward into 1978, in a post-apocalyptic world, devastated by the awakening of the Maelstrom, which caused the collapse and decay of civilization.
  • Funny Schizophrenia: The Fops' hat in a nutshell. They're less a faction and more where all the people mentally destroyed by the Maelstrom yet are vaguely functional group together.
  • Global Currency: Even after the fall of the Cronus Foundation, the Foundation's combonds are still the standard currency under the Dome. That said, one Phalanx merc questions whether they'll be valuable for much longer; the main things keeping them valuable are the New Committee and the Cronus vending machines.
  • Groin Attack: One of the public bulletins in Nashville station, when things start to go to hell, says that all male personnel are to be castrated. The operation will be performed with two bricks. No anesthetic.
  • Human Popsicle: At the end of the prologue, the protagonist ends up trapped in a "mental sphere" generated by the Maelstrom, and only awaken from this "hibernation" five years later, in a world destroyed and devastated by the "Liberation" of the Maelstrom.
    • You can also find random NP Cs in the Open World that suffered from similar effects and send them to any one of the main factions for a minor reputation boost.
  • Insane Equals Violent: Justified yet Averted. Justified in that it's a form of supernaturally caused insanity by the various Forefather artifacts and averted in that you run in plenty of people that aren't violent from the same causes.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: You can get a psi-katana named Anjin in the game with very nice stats.
  • Lost Technology: The technologies of the Forefathers.
  • Magikarp Power: The Silver Wing PC isn't especially good at combat, and their Influence stat is something anyone can pick up. What they do get, though, is two extra skill points per level, which over time will exceed even the Black Wing's varied allotment of combat skills.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: What kicks off the plot was the Nashville Facility uncovering the Maelstrom and things going to hell from there.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The necroids are the analogue in this game to Fallout's ghouls. More traditionally, they are generally reanimated human corpses. However they are reanimated by the Anomalies in the Dome resulting in gross physical mutations and, in some cases, gaining Elemental Powers. This results in shambling mounds of flesh with great resistance to conventional firearms and various elemental attacks.
  • Permanently Missable Content: The quests in Concord Station will be lost forever once you leave Concord Station for the main quest. The game gives you plenty of warning that there is no turning back from there.
  • Powered Armor: The "Servoshell", a heavy military armor used by the CRONUS soldiers, mainly used by the "Black Wing", that is, the security wing of the CRONUS Foundation.
  • Psychic Powers: Characters have a Psyche attribute and a Psionics skill that affects their usage of psychic powers. There are four flavors of psychic powers, represented by the four types of psychic glove weapons: psychic, cryogenic, pyromantic and electric.
  • Precursors: The mysterious alien civilization of the Forefathers, which colonized the Earth at the dawn of time and space. They created the Dome and then the Maelstrom, but had mysteriously disappeared afterwards.
  • Press X to Die: Sure, order the Maelstrom to encompass the entire Dome. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
  • Reduced to Ratburgers: Cockroach and Rat enemies are a great source of cooking ingredients for the PC and Companions. However it does give them a status debuff as even two years After the End no one is happy to eat it.
    • Subverted with the Rat Roast. It's actually considered as good as regular food.
  • Replacement Goldfish: At least two members of the White Wing have made kid androids into the children they can't have due to living in the Dome. Yoko is one of these and a party member.
    • Then you later find out that Yoko is a straight example of the trope. The original Yoko died from radiation posioning.
  • The Remnant: The "New Committee" faction, founded by the remains of the Cronos Foundation after the awakening of the Maelstrom. They are nostalgic of the past and aspire to restore both the glory of their foundation and the advanced society before the awakening of the Maelstrom. While they try to restore order and stability in The Dome, their government is also authoritarian and oppressive.
  • Scavenger World: The Post-Apocalyptic society inside the Dome, after the awakening of the Maelstrom.
  • Shout-Out: The game has multiple of these towards other post-apocalyptic/survival games.
    • The player character can throw bolts and screws to detect, disrupt and discharge anomalies, just like in the Stalker games.
    • The Servoshell is an obvious one towards Fallout's power armor. Likewise, the structure of C-13 Nashville's interior and Vault 15 is rather similar, and the bodysuits assigned to C.R.O.N.U.S. employees are very similar to vault suits in the Fallout series.
      • One of the fictional drugs in game is called "Airplane", similar in effect to Fallout's Jet.
    • The gas station where the protagonist arrives, before reaching the C-12 Nashville, is called Roadside Picnic, which is a reference to the novel Roadside Picnic by the Strugatsky Brothers. The novel is also a source of inspiration for the aforementioned Stalker series.
    • One of the preset characters is a brute named Boris Britvin - translated from Russian he's almost Boris the Blade.
    • The icon for "Analytical Mind" ability depicts Ikari Gendo in his famous Finger-Tenting pose.
    • You can find the body of Zap Rowsdowser. Fittingly enough he choked to death on a cap of a beer bottle.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: The Cook Perk. It only adds 50 exp points whenever you cook. However that's for each item you make, any item. You can get 50 exp points just for heating up a can of beans, and lots of animal enemies drop cooking ingredients.
  • The Dead Have Names: You can occasionally find dead CRONUS employees in the field. You can then use the scanner to scan their bodies to learn of their names and how they died.
  • Timed Mission: The introduction mission is timed and requires the player to finish within a day. If the player does not finish the quest in a day by either waiting out the timer, being arrested for committing a crime or sleeping repeatedly, they will get a death sequence (and an achievement).