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Video Game / Exmortis

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Devoured the crimson life of five, Marks of Vlaew given to thee, Mirrored below the soul survive, What was, what is and what will be
A flash game series originally released on Newgrounds and created by Ben Leffler, who just loves to make creepy/scary-as-hell games, the Exmortis series A trilogy, the first game (found here) in 2004 and the sequel two years later (found here), with a closing chapter released as Shareware for Halloween 2009. The development blog is found here. And just for future reference, the first screen you see says that you should play with the lights off and the volume turned up. Don't.

The first Exmortis tells the tale of a person lost, tired and amnesiac in the woods who suddenly finds an abandoned house and, with little left to choose, begins exploring it. Incredibly creepy events follow, including the discovery of a diary of a previous 'resident', a hunter who also stumbled upon the house. The hunter began to hear voices in the house, the voices of the Exmortis, which slowly brainwash him into releasing them into the human world again. To do this, he must first kill five hikers that the voices predict are coming towards the house.

In the second game, the Exmortis have invaded Earth and all hell has, literally, broken loose. As the game begins, you're one of the few last survivors of mankind, who's just come out of recent rout of the last human forces (who have learned to act as one to confuse the Exmortis). The church where all the human survivors of the battle were supposed to meet is empty, or so it seems. A spirit of sorts appears and explains to you that mankind still has one last chance, provided you follow his instructions. You end up in a house where the Exmortis have already passed through and encounter the grisly consequences of this. As you investigate, you discover more about the Exmortis and the history of the Earth. Apparently, eons ago, three sadistic and demonic brothers named Vlaew, Kfafta and Azrael once ruled Earth and were in constant wars with one another, until one of them, Lord Vlaew, got the upper hand through a clever betrayal. He proceeded to create the Exmortis, but eventually they turned on their master (who lost his physical body), and the Exmortis ended up disappearing...

The third and final game in the trilogy features you as the protagonist from the second game, Mr. Hannay. Hannay finds himself in a spirit realm and is able to escape, gaining supernatural powers in the process. He must now find a way to defeat Vlaew once for all and save mankind.

Some of the tropes present in this game are:

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     Tropes appearing in all three games 
  • Antagonist Title
  • Apocalyptic Log: In the form of diaries, letters and notes strewn about.
  • Arc Words:
    • Throughout the series, the phrase "What was, what is, and what will be" makes an appearance, always referring to something different.
    • "Remember" shows up a couple times in the first game, painted in blood in the study, and spoken by a disembodied voice while trying to access the cellar door. It also reappears in the third game next to a Simon Says puzzle.
  • Call-Back:
    • Likely unintentional. The first game has a screen with two doors, and it appears as if you must make a decision between the two, when in fact it's just an ordinary room that happens to have two exits. In the third game, the Reader offers Mr. Hannay a choice between two doors with a similar setup, and both lead to a Bad Ending where Hannay lives with his wife or daughter in Limbo, condemning mankind
    • After escaping the spirit world, the second game lets you revisit the tunnel that connected the underground Temple of Exmortis with the house and outside. But the passage to the temple collapsed behind you, and an incredibly brutal slaughter of people happened over time between both games.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: In all three.
    • In Exmortis, the PC finds out he is the Hand of Repose. He can either open the portal and allow the Exmortis to dominate the Earth, or refuse and escape. Just when he thinks he's safe, he is knocked unconscious and wakes up outside the house with no memory of what came before.
    • In Exmortis II, Mr. Hannay defeats the Hand of Repose, destroying the scourge. He meets the person who set this up, only to discover it was Lord Vlaew all along. Vlaew thanks him, then kills him.
    • In Exmortis III, Mr. Hannay kills Vlaew, but is forced to flee through a portal Vlaew opened to escape the Collapsing Lair. The portal leads eons into the past, long before humanity rose, dooming Hannay, although humanity is given a chance to finally survive now that Vlaew is dead.
  • Developer's Foresight: The first game has Flash's common cheat method by revealing hotspots via the Tab key. If Tab is pushed in Exmortis 2, however, a message pops up saying, "Now why would you want to ruin a good game with the TAB cheat?"
  • Devil, but No God: There doesn't appear to be any higher force of good in the series.
  • Door Stopper: Several of the books, especially the diary in the second game.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: The first game is set Just Before the End, the second and third show the world returned to its primitive state by the battle between demons and humans.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: So it would appear.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Vlaew often comes across as very polite. It's all an act, and as soon as someone expresses defiance towards him, he shows his true colors.
  • Ghost Butler: A few of them, usually indicating an advancement in the plot.
  • Grid Puzzle: There's a sudoku puzzle to solve. Three cells are marked, and they're a 3-digit combination.
  • Hearing Voices: In all three games, for different reasons.
    • In the first, the Exmortis are urging the Hand to complete the ritual.
    • In the second, Xavier is trying to lead you to the clues needed to locate and defeat the Hand.
    • In the third, Vlaew's Reader is contacting you to break your spirit.
  • Mind over Matter: Lord Vlaew and many of the other Exmortis have telekinetic powers — amongst other things. In the third game, the protagonist gains the same power due to time spent in the spirit world.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Happens, again, in the first two games.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Lord Vlaew, anyone?
  • Noisy Nature: The Cult of Exmortis. When these unearthly creatures zero in on their targets, the first thing the victims hear is whispering, which slowly gets louder, until it sounds like a dull roar.
  • Ominous Clouds: Unnatural cloud cover is one of the signs that the Exmortis are active in an area, which bodes ill for any human stuck there.
  • Our Demons Are Different: More formally known as the Exmortis, they are ethereal entities that are made corporeal by leaving the spirit realm to which they were banished. They can be killed by conventional means, such as guns, but will merely be banished to the spirit realm, which they can leave and re-corporealize. And unfortunately for a few misguided humans, Holy does not burn evil. They have a variety of different appearances, from a closer resemblance to zombies than demons, to something that looks a little like a scamp.
  • Point-and-Click Game
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Vlaew, respectively in Exmortis II and Exmortis III asks if Xavier is "still moaning about losing his little whore of a daughter", and refers to Mr. Hannay's late spouse as his "whoring wife".
  • Red Sky, Take Warning: Red skies are a sign of Exmortis activity in the area. In Exmortis II, an early Apocalyptic Log mentions that people found the vivid sunsets quite pretty, right up until the demonic invasion began in earnest.
  • Satanic Archetype: An ancient, supernatural, narcissistic manipulator who overthrew a higher power with the help of a band of rebellious lesser beings? Sounds familiar. Inverted pentagram used as a symbol for him? Hmmm ... rings a bell. Seeks dominion over the earth? Now, I know that sounds like SOMEONE familiar. In all seriousness, Vlaew seems to be a stand in for the Devil, and may actually be the mythological basis for him In-Universe. Xavier Rehayem's book in the second game, Vetus Hostillis Exmortis, even translates to "Exmortis: The Ancient Enemy".
  • Solve the Soup Cans: The Exmortis sure do love their irrelevant puzzles.
  • Voice of the Legion: Vlaew talks this way in the first and third games. Averted in the second.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Vlaew does this to everyone. Ironically, he was almost on the receiving end of it once himself.

  • Arc Words: The ritual to charge the Hand of Repose, first seen in the Exmortis book, and repeated by Vlaew for the final puzzle of the game. "Devour the crimson life of Five. Marks of Vlaew given to thee. Mirrored below the soul survive. What was, what is, and what will be."
  • But Thou Must!: If you refuse to become the Hand of Repose, the game just, effectively, restarts. The only way to win the game is to accept your destiny.
  • Downer Ending: The Hand of Repose accepts his destiny, and the Exmortis flood throughout the world.
    • The alternate ending isn't much better. If the protagonist refuses to become the Hand of Repose, then he'll be knocked unconscious, his memory wiped, and forced back into the mansion over and over until he submits. This could be considered a Bittersweet Ending were it not for the fact that the second game implies that he eventually accepted his destiny.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: If you refuse to complete the ritual, you get clonked in the head and dragged back to the house, starting the game anew, until eventually you give in.
  • Foreshadowing: Upon inspecting the microwave, you receive a sudden image of a terrified person's face moments before you see that same person's head stuffed inside it. This is one of the protagonist's memories of him killing the campers that were unfortunate enough to stumble aross the house.
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: The very opening theme has heartbeats that give you chills...
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Given that the ending where the player refuses to start the end of the world just restarts the game, the only way to avert apocalypse is to let yourself get killed by either the last survivor, or Vlaew, effectively resulting in this.
  • Jump Scare: Quite a few in the game, mostly when you discover a corpse.
  • Mad Oracle: The author of the diary you find, who eventually becomes the Hand of Repose, a living gateway for the Exmortis to invade Earth. It's you.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: For a good chunk of the game, there's not much going on. A few mutilated body parts are strewn about here and there, some jump scares in the intro, and a few hallucinations, but otherwise, it's just dark rooms and the unsettling sound of wind blowing loudly.
  • Peek-a-Boo Corpse: A severed head pops out of a microwave.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: You start with no memory of the recent events, in front of the house. If you choose to escape at the end, you find out how you got there to begin with.
  • Tomato Surprise: The man in the Apocalyptic Log which was driven to madness by the Exmortis and killed the campers to complete the ritual? Yep, you all along.
  • Shout-Out: The whole setting of the game seems to be inspired by The Evil Dead (1981). The credits confirm this, with other other films like Hellraiser and Poltergeist along with it.
  • Vader Breath: The protagonist does this during the intro.
  • Villain Protagonist: The protagonist is the Hand of Repose, the living portal that the Exmortis use to invade Earth.

     Exmortis 2 
  • After the End: A few years after the Exmortis took over the world, in fact: most of the scenery is bleak and both fresh and old corpses litter the roads.
  • Badass Longcoat: Vlaew wears one.
  • Badass Normal: Mr. Hannay. What else can be said of a mortal man who single-handedly gunned down a seemingly endless swarm of demons and killed the supposedly immortal Hand of Repose? Even Vlaew lampshades this.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: A man kills his whole family including himself rather than leave them to face a much crueler fate at the hands of the Exmortis.
    • This appears to be the case with Joe as well. Stringing people up doesn't seem to be part of the Exmortis' M.O.
  • Book Safe: A bible in the Lochear residence hides a Kriss blade to defeat the Hand of Repose. Hannay ignores it entirely until he reads a related journal first, though.
  • Confessional: Where you meet the man who gives you the clue on how to defeat the Exmortis. Although it's for his own agenda...
  • Downer Ending: Lord Vlaew's plan, you eliminating the Exmortis (the one thing that can stop him), was successful. He then proceeds to dispose of you.
  • Fallout Shelter Fail: A few isolated rural communities have managed to survive the apocalypse many of them making their basements into improvised shelters in which they can hide from prowling Exmortis, complete with stockpiled supplies and CB radios. According to the Apocalyptic Log at Lochear Fields Ranch, this approach only worked for a little while: supplies ran low, forcing the inhabitants to go on extremely risky supply runs; shelters caught off-guard were easily overwhelmed even by lone Exmortis; finally, once the bulk of the Exmortis horde began sweeping the area, they easily sniffed out the shelters and butchered everyone inside. It's for this reason that Mr Lochear opted to kill his family and then himself rather than even bother heading for their shelter.
  • Fleeing for the Fallout Shelter: Once it became clear that the war against the eponymous demons had turned apocalyptic, towns isolated enough to have avoided the Exmortis horde began building shelters in their basements, arranging for community-wide alarms via walkie-talkies and air horns in the event of an attack. Given the terrifying speed and power of the Exmortis, residents would usually have a minute to move from their homes to their shelters; the Apocalyptic Log at Lochear Fields Ranch mentions at least one unlucky household was caught off-guard and slaughtered before they could get anywhere near the shelter. Worse still, it turns out that the shelters only work against small bands of Exmortis; once the entire horde arrived, nothing could hide from them, hence why Mr Lochear opts to kill his family and himself rather than bother with the shelter once he hears air horns in the distance.
  • Footprints of Muck: An invisible entity leavesbloody footprints leading to the confessional.
  • Grid Puzzle: There's a sudoku puzzle to solve. Three cells are marked, and they're a 3-digit combination.
  • Hollywood Atheist: After the scene in the confessional, you can hover your mouse over the crucifix and Mr. Hannay will comment that he lost his faith when he found his wife and daughter disemboweled on his front lawn. Most of the population appears to have become this as well, after the invasion of the Exmortis. Possibly justified in that God, Heaven, and Hell appear to all be myths.
  • Hope Spot: You have escaped two close scrapes with the Exmortis, come back from the Spirit Realm, found and killed the Hand, and the mysterious stranger who helped you in the beginning congratulates you on paving the way towards a new era. An era of domination for Lord Vlaew, who was only held back by the Exmortis which you just neutralized. Oops.
    • The diary of Mr.Lochear also contains one: after managing to hide from the initial attack and waiting for the Exmortis horde to leave the area, his and a few other families manage to hold out, and everything goes quiet for about a month. Just when things seemed back to relative normality, they get news of the horde coming back to finish the job.
  • Jump Scare: First is starting the game on the title screen. Other jump scares exist, such as going through the vent.
  • The Nothing After Death: The limbo in which Mr. Hannay is trapped after shooting himself. It's a void with red clouds and floating buoys of light that the Exmortis use to recorporealize and return to the Earth Realm.
  • Ominous Clouds: Early in the game, a fast-moving cloud bank tips you off that the Exmortis are closing in on you. You get a Non Standard Game Over if it reaches you before you can escape, restarting at the scene just before leaving the church.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: Mr. Hannay gets to fight the unnamed player character from the first chapter.
  • Shout-Out: In a newspaper clip, an attack of the Exmortis on the town of San Raimi is detailed.
  • Subliminal Seduction: One of the active channels on a CB radio has a voice speaking backwards. It's actually Vlaew broadcasting an ultimatum to humanity: "Pitiful mortals of the earth realm, you have been chosen for extinction. Step in line. Resistance is futile. Your destruction at the hands of Exmortis is inevitable. Destruction. Death."
  • Wham Line: Once you find the entity from the church standing in the doorway, he'll greet you and congratulate you before revealing who he really is.
    Vlaew: You Soul-Bearers, so complicated, and yet, once again, I find myself surprised at the ease of which your kind can be manipulated. Much easier than former brethren within the Exmortis! Mm, why the look of surprise? Surely you must have had some suspicion that I — Lord Vlaew — was the one who set you upon this path?
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Lord Vlaew uses you to execute this on the Exmortis. And then graces you with the same treatment.

     Exmortis 3 
  • After the End: Being a direct sequel to 2, it's a given. This time you get to see a bit more of the ongoing conflict between Vlaew and the few resistance soldiers, though you don't meet any of the latter.
  • Alien Geometries:
    • The limbo/hell where Mr. Hannay was trapped in for six years, which is somewhat akin to a Fire and Brimstone Hell with jagged, rocky mountains, red skies, and a mist that surrounds everything. Hannay can navigate it using the "summoning technique" on buoys floating in the mist.
    • Shadow Citadel. Located in the already enigmatic Shadowlands, it is a tall, menacing, spiky tower whose spires "reach for a heaven [Hannay] know[s] doesn't exist." Inside, it's even weirder. Statues of animalistic demons decorate the hallways, and it has a functional elevator. The upper level just before the entrance to Vlaew's throne room vaguely resembles a hospital, albeit with chains hanging from the ceiling and large, transparent curtains on the windows. Oh yeah, and the doors to the upper level are opened with a kris blade.
  • Badass Boast:
    Vlaew: Petulant fool! You dare challenge me? You are nothing more than an insignificant distraction! I am your lord! I am your god! I AM FOREVER! You know as well as anyone else that only another Ancient can bring harm to me. Your efforts will be without reward and your death will be exquisite!
  • Badass Longcoat: Vlaew, again.
  • Big Good: Azrael is the closest thing the series has to one, though he's more interested in revenge against his brother than he is in saving humanity.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Hannay defeats Lord Vlaew, but he's doomed to wander a pre-humanity Earth.
  • Booby Trap : A few in the underground section, and one in the Resistance base you try pass through.
  • Crater Power: The game opens with Hannay's return from the spirit world resulting in a crater-inducing explosion; and your first puzzle involves devising a way to climb out of it.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The face-off against the cannibal is not so much a battle than an interrogation which you may or may not choose to aid with torture.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Vlaew gloats at you for a good minute, believing himself to be invincible to anyone but an Ancient. Hannay is quick to prove him otherwise.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Aside from Vlaew and the Reader, the creatures from Ancient Earth look the part, being giant, four-legged monstrosities that long predate the existence of man and beast.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Having had Azrael's powers transferred to him, Mr. Hannay has become this. He even kills Vlaew.
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: The part of the hellish dimension in which Azrael is sealed.
  • Gas Chamber: Solving a door lock puzzle near a resistance base only leads Hannay into a dead-end room that fills with knockout gas while someone laughs off-screen. He then passes out and endures a surreal flashback of his home. Notes found when you wake up say that the gas chamber was used as a "decoy entrance".
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: With the Exmortis long since banished, humans have found new ways to be cruel to each other under Vlaew's regime. The Shadow Army brutalize anyone in their path — especially La Résistance – in a manner all too similar to their demonic predecessors, while scavengers will remorselessly torture, kill, and eat people in the dozens.
  • I Am a Humanitarian: You meet a cannibal in the underground train tunnels.
  • Karma Meter: Bypassing puzzles by abusing your magic power and certain dialogue choices shift you towards "Evil".
  • Kick the Dog: Both Mr. Hannay and Vlaew can potentially do this. Hannay can spare Azrael to keep his powers and leave him to suffer, and when he tells Vlaew this, what is Vlaew's response?
    Vlaew: You will not hear me scream as your whoring wife and your pathetic daughter did, when my legion ripped them limb from limb!
  • Kick The Son Of A Bitch: Killing the scavenger doubles as this and Kick the Dog. On one hand, being a cannibal and a sadist, he completely deserves it, but on the other, his tragic backstory that lead to him forfeiting his humanity may earn him at least some sympathy points.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Vlaew.
  • Mistaken for Spies: Mr. Hannay was mistaken by the resistance commander as being part of Vlaew's Shadow Army, resulting in you being left for dead in a cell when the army actually attacks the base.
  • Noble Demon: Azrael, the last remaining Ancient besides Vlaew, is this. Despite being part of an inherently greedy and arrogant race of beings, he wishes for nothing more than to see his brother slain, and asks Mr. Hannay to Mercy Kill him after gifting him with the Ancient powers.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: You kill Vlaew by, essentially, throwing him around like a ragdoll with telekinesis.
  • Nuke 'em: You stumble upon a small nuclear bomb which levels the town you are in at the beginning of the game, giving you a few minutes to find shelter in the underground train station.
  • Plunger Detonator: Hannay has to use one of these to blow open a subway station's entrance. Granted, the explosives used consist of a Time Bomb that doesn't work, and the entry grate is too heavy for telekinesis.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: Although Azrael is more of an Anti-Villain than a straight good guy, the part of the hell dimension that he's trapped in is a portal that is sealed by three cubes, which itself is sealed by a force field of sorts.
  • Simon Says Minigame: The door to the cannibal's room is secured by one of these, by matching a pattern of flashing traffic lights to a 4-color keypad, with an old "Don't Walk" sign changing to "Walk" when solved. Made harder by said pattern being up to ten moves long, and getting it wrong three times drops you into a pit full of spikes, killing you.
  • Sniper Duel: There is one with a scavenger, and another with Vlaew's guards.
  • Take a Third Option: The Reader tells Mr. Hannay to choose between two doors. While either door will allow you to be with a deceased family member, entering one dooms the earth to extinction. The correct decision is to use a nearby curtain rod to skewer the Reader.
    • Another spans the entire game: upon giving him the powers of an Ancient, Azrael reveals to Hannay that they will disappear when the two remaining Ancients (himself and Vlaew) will die, as well as asking Hannay to execute him before leaving for the mortal world. In the end, Hannay can either kill Vlaew and in doing so strip himself of his powers, or let him escape...or he can refuse to kill Azrael, leaving him suffering for eternity, and smugly reveal it to Vlaew when he tries to use the powers as leverage to escape.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Several dialogue options give Mr. Hannay a chance to act uncharacteristically cruel for someone who wants to liberate humanity from Vlaew's tyrannical grip. However, with the exception of leaving Azrael to be tortured to keep the Ancient powers for himself, at the very worst, he'd become an Unscrupulous Hero, since most cruel options are of the Pay Evil unto Evil variety and the Karma Meter does nothing to affect the ending.
  • Was Once a Man: The Reader says he was.
  • Whispering Ghosts: Heard when Hannay uses his powers, reused from Goliath The Soothsayer.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: You can off the cannibal after torturing as much information as you need out of him.

Alternative Title(s): Exmortis 2