It's been one year since I first went inside that house.
I have to finish what I started.
...What I am about to do has not been approved by the Vatican.
Connecticut, 1986. Amy, the daughter of the Martin family, has been acting strangely, and her parents fear that she might be possessed by a demon. To save her, they turn to the Catholic Church, who send a pair of priests, Father Allred and Father John Ward, to investigate the case, and if necessary, exorcise Amy.
One year later, Ward, the Sole Survivor, returns to the house. His goal: to put an end to the horror he failed to stop. What might otherwise be a simple exorcism, however, becomes a life-threatening nightmare, and Ward must search for answers while braving the wrath of a demonic presence, all to save a single soul... or so it seems...
The game provides examples of:
- The '80s: Takes place on the one year anniversary of a 1986 botched exorcism.
- All Just a Dream: If you take the "Murderer" ending at face value, as opposed to assuming it was a cover-up, it all turns out to be the schizophrenic episode of a psychotic priest impersonator, achieving nothing but the murder of an escaped mental patient.
- Ambiguous Situation: Is Amy actually possessed by a demon and is the player actually a priest, or are they both just mental cases who belong in either prison, or an asylum?
- Anti-Frustration Features:
- The game autosaves just about every time you make progress.
- If you waste the one bullet you were given with the rifle (by not shooting one of the five valid targets), the loaded rifle will respawn in the Martins' living room where you first found it.
- Art Shift: Many cutscenes are beautifully rotoscoped, which contrasts unsettlingly with the rest of the game's second-gen appearance.
- As the Good Book Says...: The instruction screen quotes Psalm 116:9 (I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living) when teaching you how to move, and James 4:7 (Resist the devil, and he will flee from you) when teaching you how to cast out spirits with your cross. Psalm 91 is also repeated in many endings from Chapter I, and said in full in a Chapter II boss fight.
- Badass Preacher / Religious Bruiser: The player is a priest (maybe) that doesn't take shit from any demons. He still goes down in one attack, and his only weapon is a cross used to banish spirits until you get a rifle with one bullet left in the final part of the game, but he makes pretty good use of what he has, and is at least spiritually-attuned enough to recognize the real Amy when she attempts to confuse him with duplicates in the first round of their fight.
- Black Speech: Michael appears to spout this, although unlike most examples, all you need is a good ear to decipher what he's saying. It's only slightly more distorted than the rest of the game's text-to-speech dialogue.
- Blue Is Heroic: The player is just a blue humanoid sprite with a little white pixel on his neck to represent a clergy collar.
- Big Bad: Amy Martin, thanks to Demonic Possession. Maybe.
- Body Horror: When you encounter Amy in the attic, you find she has a gaping bloody hole where her face should be. During the third round of the boss fight, she grows an arm out of it.
- The crawling demon that attacks you in the first game's overworld is actually a child. After a year-long exorcism attempt, he has lost all his hair, grown deathly pale, and has developed rickets.
- Chupacabra: Although he's not actually a chupacabra, Michael, the primary enemy of the forest section, resembles one due to his demonic possession. He's been transformed into a pallid, nightmarish humanoid on all fours that tries to rip John and the wildlife to shreds. If John shoots him, the newspapers cite his corpse as a chupacabra.
- Color Motif: Since the game is running with an Atari art style, the three most prominent characters are colored differently from the green of the forest and the orange of the house: the Priest is blue with a single white pixel representing his clerical collar, Michael is sickly-white with red eyes, and Amy is a dark purple.
- Creepy Catholicism: The inspiration behind the game's aesthetics.
- Crisis of Faith: According to John in Chapter II, he "turned [his] back on the church, and broke [his] vows with God" between Amy's first exorcism and the events of Chapter I. He supposedly has had a change of heart and come back to God, whether it be out of guilt or genuine belief.
- Danger Takes a Backseat: If you shoot the shadow, Michael hides in your backseat and jumps you on your drive home.
- Demonic Possession: Amy Martin is a victim of one, and the player controls an exorcist trying to handle it. Chapter II confirms that Michael is also a victim of possession, whose body has been demon-ridden for so long that he's no longer recognizable as having ever been human.
- Developers' Foresight: Exorcising Amy enough times on the second floor will have the player comment about a door opening. If this is done on the first floor, or in the basement, they will instead comment they heard it from upstairs. Do it at the attic door, and Amy will float to the door, opening it with no comment.
- Don't Go in the Woods: John has to trudge through a desolate forest in the middle of the night to get to his destination. Said forest is haunted by another possessed victim resembling a Chupacabra.
- Downer Ending: Most of the endings. If you kill Amy, you're arrested for murder. If you kill a deer, nature strikes back. If you shoot that fox corpse on the pentagram, you're jumped by the local satanic cult. If you shoot the shadow in the woods, you're killed by Michael. In fact, the only "good" ending is to give up your pursuit of Amy after the incomplete exorcism, and kill the Michael when he attacks you as you try to leave. And even then, you were forced to take a boy's life.
- Many endings of Chapter II qualify, with Amy and Micheal remaining unsaved from their demons in all of them, and in one, John becoming fully taken over by the cult.
- Easter Egg: Pausing whenever Michael is present will trigger a rotoscope animation featuring him.
- Eye Scream: John gets the brunt of this in Chapter II. In order to create a pentagram in the forest, John stabs himself in the eye with a key and uses the blood to draw lines, and in one of the endings, he bleeds from both eyes after being taken by the red-robed cult.
- Gratuitous Latin: The menus are full of largely accurate Latin: menu options are written in Latin until you scroll over them, and collected items are listed with their Latin names. For example, the Extras option on the main menu is Additicia (literally alongside), John's cross and the key to the Martins' house are labeled crux and clavis, respectively, and if you're killed during gameplay, the game over screen displays "mortis".
- The Hero Dies: In three of the five endings.
- Hollywood Exorcism: The game's whole schtick.
- Hollywood Satanism: There's plenty of demonic rituals and pentagrams and all that jazz littered about. You're also jumped by a Satanic, red-robed cult in one of the endings. Developer Airdorf Games has stated on Twitter one of his many inspirations for the game was 1980's "Satanic Panic."
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: John's motivation for exorcizing Amy, and therefore the subsequent boss battle, of the first game. This continues his motivation into the second game, where by the end, John is told at the very least killing Amy may still send her soul to Heaven.
- Jump Scare: Whenever Michael appears.
- Multiple Endings: A whopping five in the first chapter, surprising for such a modest game. If you kill Amy, it turns out it was all a schizophrenic episode and you're locked away for murder (or you really did kill a possessed girl and the schizophrenia is how the church covers it up). If you kill Michael, you simply drive away, complete (although Chapter II confirms that you killed a possessed boy.) If you kill the shadow, Michael kills you. If you kill a deer, the deer kill you right back. If you shoot that fox carcass in a pentagram, a Satanic cult jumps you.
- Noodle Incident: The previous exorcism is never gone into detail, but it was bad.
- Nothing Is Scarier: The game really leaves quite the impression thanks to the soul-rending paranoia it induces in the quieter sections, where you're just waiting for something to pop out.
- Nuns Are Spooky: The final boss of Chapter II is a nun who, according to local folklore, tortured children.
- Public Domain Soundtrack: The menu screen plays a rendition of the hymn "Near the Cross", and the outdoor section plays Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata.
- Purple Is Powerful: The artstyle makes Amy entirely purple to stand out from the black background.
- Retraux / Stylistic Suck: This 2017 game looks straight out of the Atari era, as is intended.
- Self-Made Orphan: In the original exorcism, Amy killed both of her parents thanks to Demonic Possession. Maybe.
- One of Michael's Black Speech lines is "I have the body of a pig", a reference to an infamous hoax from 2007 where a paranormal investigation crew record audio of a later photographed creature saying that very phrase.
- In one screen you come across the body of a fox inside a pentagram. Interacting with it prompts a voice to say "CHAOS REIGNS."
- Despite the extremely low-res graphics, all but a few of the toys (the ones that just look like action figures) in the twins' bedroom are recognizable brand-name toys: A Simon, an Etch-a-Sketch, a Fisher-Price phone and vacuum cleaner, a Speak-and-Spell, and a View-Master.
- The ending in which you shoot the deer notes that you were only able to retrieve 25 pounds of meat from it, a reference to a similar (and frustrating) limitation in Oregon Trail.
- Tomato in the Mirror: In the "Murderer" ending, the player may actually be an insane priest imitator who hunted down a teenage mental patient thinking she was possessed.