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Video Game / Escape From St. Mary's

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2005's Escape From St. Mary's casts you as John Noronha, a student in a Catholic school. You supposedly want to just escape math class and get something to eat, but you somehow run into a whole series of adventures before doing so, all without leaving the school grounds. These include a trip through time, a government-sponsored alien search, a kung-fu battle and other archetypes of boyhood fantasy.

Author Ryan Menezes based the school on an actual school in Dubai, duplicating the real location's geography; the game includes an optional commentary on the real-life school and city alongside its skewed world of in-school ogres and cannibals, adding new information as you progress. The game's playable online at Adventure Games Live.

The game contains examples of:

  • Academy of Adventure: There seems a disturbing density of reality-bending adventures going on at this small campus.
  • Adults Are Useless: The teachers at large offer little help when you ask them about the deadly problems erupting in the school.
  • Alien Among Us: Mrs. Luanty thinks there's one. She's right...
  • All Just a Dream: A discussion on whether this is an acceptable story twist sparks a battle between two English teachers. Both endings invoke this trope for the entire game, although the "better" one goes on to turn it into Or Was It a Dream?.
  • Almighty Janitor: Agnelo doesn't speak much English, but he's one of the few characters who actually seem to control the school.
  • Asleep in Class: A couple of times, including the opening scene.
  • Bathroom Breakout: This is your first attempt at getting out of your classroom.
  • Bathroom Stall Graffiti: You never see it, but it's allegedly horrific.
  • Bookends: Murughesan's classroom.
  • But Thou Must!: Parodied when you open the fuse box and are given the option to turn off the power to any room in the school... but there are various humorous excuses for why you wouldn't want to turn the power off in that particular room for all of them except one.
  • Catholic School Girls Rule: The students of the school put on a fashion show, with the identical uniforms described as "eveningwear" and "lingerie."
  • Chain of Deals: Completing each adventure gives you an item required for another adventure. The exception is Mrs Desai's mission, which has the intangible benefit of emptying the chemistry lab of everyone in it, in case you need to bring something conspicuous to another location later on.
  • Chemistry Can Do Anything: You make them in the chemistry lab, but they border on magic potions.
  • Club Stub: No one in the school seems interested in joining the poor website team. And your contribution leaves them still worse off.
  • Cool Teacher: Mr. Anand spends his class playing the computer games that his students wrote.
  • Developer's Foresight: There are a few possible solutions to puzzles which aren't correct, but the player might reasonably think of, such as using the sheet of glass as a "cover" for the voodoo potion which give you a special result rather than the standard "you can't see how that would help" text.
  • Dumb Jock: Gary, with his vague relation to reality.
  • Education Through Pyrotechnics: Mrs Desai is convinced that's why you're looting the chemistry lab. You do end up with some explosions - in various other labs.
  • Elevator School: It's a high school for the most part, except for one quest which reveals the school teaches much younger students as well.
  • Everybody Hates Mathematics: Your hatred of math sets you off on your journey.
  • Food End: There's your anticlimax right there.
  • Game Within a Game: One of the quests involves completing an interactive fiction game written by another student.
  • Goodies in the Toilets: The means of accessing the secret area is hidden in the toilets.
  • Granola Girl: The Artist shows a bit of this.
  • Guide Dang It!: Several of the puzzles, such as how to sharpen the scalpel, aren't exactly intuitive.
  • High School: Wholly contained in one.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: A book called Voodoo Through Chemistry offers some instructions that, though helpful, don't quite ring true to traditional voodoo.
  • Human Aliens: The aliens you're searching for may not be the preserved man-in-a-jar that originally catches your eye.
  • Inventory Management Puzzle: You can open the bottle of juice, and the bottle and the bottle cap will be marked as separate items in your inventory. If you later use the bottle to carry anything, you need to remember to put the cap back on so it doesn't leak out a few turns later.
  • Invisibility Cloak: The cloak confers invisibility... in that it blinds the wearer.
  • Klingon Promotion: This is how the chemistry department operates.
  • Light and Mirrors Puzzle: You have a mirror. You have sunlight. You have a bunch of exposed eyes...
  • Mad Scientist: The game has scientists in four different labs, but Dr. Paul and Dr. Miranda, the omnicidal physicists, seem to qualify best as mad scientists.
  • Multiple Endings: Your ability to reach a "secret area" within the school determines whether, in the end, you actually do escape from St. Mary's.
  • Nintendo Hard: One of only two games on Adventure Games Live to be given the highest possible difficulty rating.
  • Non-Indicative Difficulty: Although the game has a lot of quests to complete which all run parallel to each other, its Chain of Deals nature means that once you manage to complete the first one things can fall into place quite quickly; it's one of the more complex games on Adventure Games Live, but it's not as hard as The Perils of Akumos (the other game given the top difficulty rating) or even The Game of the Ages (considered 2 points easier).
  • Noob Bridge: This game has a unique (for Adventure Games Live) inventory system: selecting an item from the inventory gives you a sub-menu with a list of options. Some players who don't realise that can get stuck in the very first room.
  • Only Idiots May Pass: The Game Within a Game you have to beat includes a maze, the solution for which is hidden somewhere else in St Mary's. Entering the sequence will only work if you've found the solution (as well as making the connection between it and the game); if you discover what the solution is before your character does so in-game, it won't work.
  • Permanently Missable Content: If you trigger the game's endgame by jumping off the roof before you find the secret area, then it's no longer accessible. More annoyingly, there's an item required for the secret area that you get from Sr. 1C which is very easy to miss as it's not obtained by solving the quest but becomes unobtainable as soon as you've completed it.
  • Point of No Return: Jumping off the roof locks off most of the game's areas; as mentioned above, this makes the secret area inaccessible if you haven't already found it.
  • School Newspaper News Hound: Averted - dozens of interesting things happen in the school, but the reporter does not care. She instead writes about what she eats for meals, sure that no one will even read the article.
  • The Starscream: Mrs. Desai is determined to seize control from her superior... by any means necessary.
  • Smart People Play Chess: The A-Level students seem to believe this.
  • Stable Time Loop: The physics teachers explain this nature of time in detail, and your own adventures prove it true.
  • Take Your Time: Played straight with some elements such as the English teachers' fight, and for the game as a whole as time never seems to pass in spite of your whole goal being to get out of school early. However, this is occasionally averted; when trying to get someone to drink a cup of tea you've just warmed up in the microwave, you only have a certain number of moves to get to them before the tea gets cold again.
  • Throwing the Distraction: This gets you out of the game's first room.
  • Title Drop: During the closing screens.
  • Trick Shot Puzzle: This is how you topple the books and move Mr Castro.
  • Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay: On occasion. Getting a picture of the English teachers' fight also gets you the photos from the fashion show as they were on the same spool, and they remain in your inventory despite serving no purpose, and when trying to deliver the sleeping kid to Mrs Awatif, you have to put him down, put the Perma-Tie on and pick him up again one move at a time because "you've only got two arms" and can't put the tie on him whilst he's slung over your shoulder.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: You pretty much spend the game breaking stuff and making people's lives miserable.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The game calls you out for trying to deliver one of the Sr. 1C kids to Mrs Awatif without any defence.