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Video Game / FAITH: The Unholy Trinity

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"What I am about to do has not been approved by the Vatican."
Abide with me: Fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, o abide with me.

FAITH was a free Retraux indie Religious Horror game about Demonic Possession and Hollywood Exorcism. It was developed and published by Airdorf Games and released in 2017.

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 exorcists, Father Allred and John Thomas Ward, to investigate the case, and if necessary, exorcise Amy.

It ends badly.

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.

Gameplay has you navigating throughout the Martin household and surrounding forest, collecting notes that reveal the backstory and keys to open locked doors. John's only means of defense is a crucifix he holds in his hand — deploy it in whichever direction you hold it in and it will repel any demonic entity coming your way. It will also harm the various bosses you will encounter. But you will need to stand still for it to work, so be sure you aren't leaving yourself vulnerable.

A sequel, FAITH: Chapter II, was released in February 2019. Trailer. Weeks after his return to the Martin house, John has traveled to Gallup Cemetery to investigate suspicious activity, and finds things relating to activities of a Satanic cult, the Eternal Order of the Second Death, who seem to be connected to Amy Martin. John finds himself having to exorcise another woman, Sister Miriam Bell, who is haunting the nearby church.

The demo for a third Chapter was released in Halloween 2019, and released as part of a bundle with the previous two games on October 21, 2022. The bundle, Faith: The Unholy Trinity, can be purchased via Steam, and was published by New Blood Interactive, where one can download the first game and demos for the sequels. Halloween is approaching, and John has gotten a letter from Father Garcia that the Eternal Order intends to summon a powerful demon, Malphas. John must travel around the city to discover where the summoning will take place and thwart it, coming face-to-face with cult leader Gary Miller and learning the truth linking everything together.

The following Tropes have not been approved by the Vatican:

  • The '80s: The games take place in the '80s, the time of the Satanic panic.
  • Achievement Mockery: There's an achievement for being killed by the Airdorf Truck in each chapter.
  • Ambiguous Ending: The Multiple Endings in Chapter II suggest a couple of different resolutions to the story. 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?
  • And the Adventure Continues: In the Golden Ending, if John accepts Garcia's offer to continue the war against the Unspeakable and its minions across the country.
  • Answer to Prayers: The final flashback in Chapter III has then-amateur exorcist John Ward, having escaped the Martin household and the demon-possessed Amy, pray to God for help. God (or at least a figure who claims to be God) answers and personally speaks to John, who expresses his fear and desire to save himself even if he has to leave poor Amy behind. God gently cautions that he is acting in cowardice, but otherwise helps him leave. In the final phase of the True Final Boss, God empowers John to fight Super Miriam, allowing him to take ten hits instead of the usual one.
  • Antepiece: In Chapter III, the player goes through a scripted event where John gets possessed by a demon and starts moving on his own in random directions, seemingly serving no purpose other than to have a Jump Scare. This mechanic makes a return in the demo's Final Boss battle, and a pop up reading "FIGHT IT, JOHN" appears when the possession happens again just in case it wasn't obvious what happened the first time, as John now has to prevent himself from killing Lisa.
  • The Antichrist: Whatever Gary is, he is not "a normal human being, just like you and me.". He dabbles in demonic corruption, turns people into monsters, and uses unholy magic in service to a demon. When John speaks with him briefly in Chapter III, he gradually becomes more corrupted before his mask of humanity returns.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • The game autosaves just about every time you make progress.
    • In the final segment of the game, 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.
    • Version 1.1 added a visible pentagram in the attic during the boss fight with Amy's demon to make it easier to predict her movement pattern and get out of the way.
    • In Chapter II, a few of the final boss's attacks, including the infamous pentagram attack, will completely ignore Garcia, making keeping him alive much more manageable.
  • Arc Words:
    • "Gary loves you" pops up in certain notes, and all over the game's marketing. even acts as a redirect link to the game's Steam Store page.
    • "Gary is a normal human being just like you and me", and its variants, is repeated throughout Chapter III.
  • Art Shift: Many cutscenes are rotoscoped, which contrasts unsettlingly with the rest of the game's second-gen appearance.
  • Ascended Meme: The "Mortis" Game Over screen has been jokingly compared to Morbius (2022) due to the similar spelling. The Steam release includes a file in the goodies folder of a similar screen, but this time actually saying "Morbius".
  • Asshole Victim: The cop from Chapter II whose whole squad was wiped out. He's perfectly fine with sacrificing other human beings that he regards as lesser — drug addicts, the homeless, child prostitutes, and AIDS sufferers — as long as his squadmates are safe.
  • 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. Darkly invoked in Chapter II, in which a message from the Satanist leader Gary mockingly paraphrases Matthew 7:21: "Verily, not everyone who says LUCIFER, LUCIFER will inherit His kingdom."
  • Badass Boast: Father Garcia in the prologue of Chapter II after Michael escapes from his exorcism.
    Father Garcia: You can't hide from God, hijo. You shall drink the wrath of the Almighty.
  • Badass Preacher:
    • John Ward is a priest 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.
    • Father Garcia from Chapter II reassures John with complete certainty that the two of them can banish the Big Bad of the game. Whether he is right or wrong depends on the player. Even more so in Chapter III when he does the same, but arrives packing a shotgun.
  • Bad Boss: In Chapter III, you can find a note in the apartment building where Gary instructs his fellow cultists how to keep themselves safe during the visit of the UNSPEAKABLE. A note you can find elsewhere in the same building, implied to be from another cultist, reveals that Gary is lying to them and that no one is safe, instructing others to run if they see the demon. He also acts dismissively towards everything Tiffany did out of her love for him, showing how little others actually mean to him despite his Affably Evil persona he has been putting up in front of the cult. There's also the fact that Gary has keeping the money meant to cover the apartment building's utilities payment.
  • Big Bad:
    • Chapter I: The UNSPEAKABLE is the demon possessing Amy Martin, whom John Ward must exorcise.
    • Chapter II: The UNSPEAKABLE is the demon within the body of Sister Miriam Bell who is trapping John Ward in a nightmare.
    • Chapter III: Gary Miller, the leader of the Eternal Order of the Second Death, aims to provide his master, the UNSPEAKABLE, with a vessel so it can bring about The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Father Garcia appears to save and help John during Chapter II's final boss. He does the same for Chapter III's final boss, arriving to pump Gary full of lead and cover John's back.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Spanish and Latin are both used in various points of the game, Latin moreso.
  • Bittersweet Ending: All of the endings are either a Bittersweet or Downer Ending.
    • Chapter I:
      • If you kill Amy, you're arrested for murder. If you shoot the shadow (revealed to be a priest that is trying to stop Michael) in the woods, you're killed by Michael. If you shoot that fox corpse on the pentagram, you're jumped by the local satanic cult. If you kill a deer, nature strikes back. In fact, the best ending is to give up your pursuit of Amy after the incomplete exorcism, and shoot Michael when he attacks you as you try to leave. And even then, the hosts of both demons are dead or dying, the demons never expelled from them.
    • Chapter II:
      • Best case scenario, John is still haunted by his failure to exorcise Amy, and can only hope that her death leads her to Heaven; meanwhile, Amy's siblings are being targeted next, and John needs to hurry to spare them the same fate.
      • If you couldn't protect Father Garcia during the Final Boss, John's final speech and self-reflection will be a lot less hopeful, and a red figure is shown tailing him.
      • In the secret third ending, in which John completes three Satanic rituals (drawing a pentagram with blood from his eye, luring an innocent child to a demonic confessor in a haunted church, and murdering two innocent bystanders while temporarily turned into a demon). As a result, after "winning" the game and it's revealed that it was All Just a Dream, John goes into his backyard and finds the cult and the UNSPEAKABLE waiting for him, inducting him into their ranks, complete with John spouting Tears of Blood.
    • In Chapter III:
      • Failing to unlock the Crucible will have John and Father Garcia successfully prevent the Profane Sabbath. However, Gary is still at large, and John is shaken by his experiences and lacks closure. He follows Garcia on the latter's war against the demonic forces, but it's clear that he isn't doing it of his own convictions, a fact that is reflected by the two leaving in Garcia's car instead of John's. It's even worse if John failed to protect either the police officer in the hospital or Lisa in the apartments, in which case he's so broken by everything he's endured that he hesitates to join Garcia's crusade, only to be forced to at gunpoint.
      • Failing to protect the police officer and Lisa, as well as failing to confront the bonus bosses in the clinic and apartments, will enable access to the room in John's house that is covered in crosses. Inside, he finds Amy, and is used as the new vessel for the Profane Sabbath.
  • Blackout Basement:
    • Chapter II has two cases of this:
      • The basement of the Church is pitch-black. John needs to study a glyph on the floor carefully, then solve a tile puzzle to safely advance. If he steps on a wrong tile, he'll be torn apart by an unseen monster. Well, mostly unseen.
      • In the deeper reaches of the Candy Tunnel. John is forced to find a flashlight to light up where he's going, and it goes from bad to worse when a demon decides to take advantage of the limited visibility to harass him.
    • Chapter III also has two:
      • In the apartments, the lights will go out, and all you'll have to light your way is the flash of a camera. It has a long delay between flashes, and there are things in the dark that will not appreciate you lighting them up.
      • The basement in Moloch's navel becomes dark as you proceed, and John has to find a lantern to proceed through the darkness.
  • 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. Later games show that this is a trait of Demonic Possession.
  • Blatant Lies: "Gary is a normal human being just like you and me" is a phrase thrown out a lot... after really demonic events related to Gary have occurred. Uh huh, sure.
  • Body Horror:
    • The crawling demon that attacks you in the first game's overworld is actually a human. After a year of being both possessed and locked in a basement for exorcism, he has lost all his hair, grown deathly pale, and has developed rickets.
    • This seems to be a general symptom of Demonic Possession. Tiffany's head exploded to make way for the demon coming out of her body, reducing her neck to bloody strips. And her body is still attached to and dangling from the much larger demon, yet she can move and talk like nothing is wrong.
  • Building of Adventure: Part of Chapter III (and its demo) takes place in an apartment building. You cross multiple floors and rooms between the start and the end, and not always in the expected ways.
  • Call-Back:
    • Father Garcia says "Do not be afraid, John" when he saves you during the final boss of Chapter II. His real-life, non-dream counterpart says the same thing during the climax of Chapter III, emphasized with a Dramatic Shotgun Pump no less.
    • During the first fight against Gary, he will summon demons that John has previously encountered to attack him.
    • There is a portrait of the nun from Chapter II in the school basement of Chapter III. Makes sense, considering said nun is actually Gary's "mother".
  • Canis Latinicus: "Pandemonium regnat" doesn't actually mean anything in Latin — not only should the verb "regnat" come first, "Pandemonium" was coined by John Milton in Paradise Lost as a name for Hell's capital city, from the Greek "pan" meaning "all" and the Latin "daemonium" meaning "demon". As such, it could be interpreted as either "the demons reign," "Hell reigns," or "chaos reigns." Given the accuracy of the Latin in the first game, this was probably chosen deliberately for its ambiguity.
  • Canon Welding: Late in Chapter III, it's revealed that this game takes place in the same universe as DUSK. Inside a shack, you find a letter from Gary to Jakob, the Big Bad of that game, as well as a photograph of the two along with an as of yet unknown third man. As soon as you leave the shack, you are chased by a Horror, an enemy from DUSK that Jakob had gifted to Gary as a pet. Even before that, an Easter Egg in Chapter II has the symbol of Jakob's cult appear in the sewers.
  • Cat Scare: In a later area Chapter III, a bird can be seen flitting behind the wires of the basement with a loud sound playing when it appears. This happens three times. On the third time, however, something more dangerous than a bird shows up.
  • Chupacabra: Although he's not actually a chupacabra, Michael, the primary enemy of the forest section, resembles one due to the length and extremity of 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 relate the locals taking his corpse for that of 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: John is blue with a single white pixel representing his clerical collar, Michael is sickly-white with red eyes, and Amy is a dark purple. In addition to these three, there's Father Garcia (grey), Gary and his cult (red), and in Chapter III, Tiffany is purple, (but more of a lavender, as opposed to the dark purple Amy was in Chapter I) and Lisa is a pale yellow.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Demonstrated in the ending of Chapter III: Father Garcia fends off both cultists and demons on his own with barely a scratch, whereas an entire squadron of police gets annihilated in the process of killing off several cultists.
  • Creator Cameo: Of sorts. The truck that kills Michael in Chapter I has "AIRDORF" written on it. Airdorf Games are the developers of the game. The truck shows up again in Chapter II as an easter egg, this time running over John if the player decides to make him backtrack and kill innocent civilians. And again in Chapter III during the lead up to the birth clinic segment which can kill John if he is unfortunate enough to be in front of it.
  • Crisis of Faith: According to John in Chapter II, he "turned [his] back on the ministry, and broke [his] vows with God" between Amy's first exorcism and the events of Chapter I. He has had a change of heart and come back to God, whether it be out of guilt or genuine belief. Averted by Father Garcia, who actually has found a renewal in his faith from the events of the game.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: It's hard to tell due to the game's deliberate low-poly look, but John can die in some pretty gruesome ways, including being squashed into a red smear, torn to shreds, or mangled beyond recognition. At one point, during a Rotoscoping cutscene, John appears to visibly melt alive, as well.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: Chapter II confirms the Golden Ending, where Amy is left for dead and Michael is shot and splattered by a truck, to be the canon ending of the first chapter. Maybe.
  • Danger Takes a Backseat: In one of the endings, which you get if you shoot the shadow, Michael hides in your backseat and jumps you on your drive home.
  • Darkness Equals Death: A common theme:
    • In Chapter I, the only "dark" area is the house's basement, but there's a bloody pentagram there, and finding it is what triggers Amy to appear and start attacking you.
    • In Chapter II, there's an entire segment set in a series of dark tunnels. Trying to blindly navigate your way through them will just get you killed by monsters. You need to find a flashlight — driving off the demon guarding it — before you can proceed. And there are still monsters lurking in the dark you'll need to watch for, as well.
    • Two instances in Chapter III.
      • There is a segment in the apartments where John must temporarily discard his crucifix to proceed. A camera is found shortly thereafter, and then the lights go out. The flash of the camera is the only way to navigate the pitch-dark building until you find the crucifix again in the basement. And, naturally, there are monsters lurking in the dark that will chase you when you flash the camera...
      • Inside Moloch's navel, John proceeds through a hallway where the lights go out behind him as he passes. Further on, there is a darkened forest brimming with bird-head demons with broken necks, that can only be seen by the light of a lantern John finds.
  • Deal with the Devil: Obviously, what with the Satanic cult trying to bring on the end times and all. Specifically, however, it is heavily implied that John was tricked by Satan into abandoning Amy to Hell's clutches after the demon possessing her murders her parents and Father Alred. The vision of "God" he sees preys on his fear and cowardice to prevent him from completing the exorcism, only willing to grant him safe passage out of the house if he verbally forsakes Amy's soul.
  • Death of a Child: Occurs a lot in the backstory of the game due to the cult's activity. Well, you wouldn't expect a demonic cult that's really gung-ho with killing people to draw the line at children now, would you?
    • The first known instance of this is the Cornfield Maze Incident, where the dismembered body parts of six orphans under the care of Snake Meadow Hill Church were discovered by their caretakers. What had happened was that the orphans ignored their caretakers' warnings to not go into the nearby cornfields after a dog that was also being cared for by the Church was discovered to have been killed by something hiding in the cornfields.
    • Miriam Bell is heavily implied to have either killed or had a hand in killing four of the six orphans who were under their care during their time in Snake Meadow Hill Church after it was restaffed. While there's no clear indication how many years have passed between the events, this one chronologically occurred after the Cornfield incident.
    • In the very first game, Michael Davies, is essentially dead by the time you encounter them as their body has been used as physical vessel by a demon, which is why they now have a really grotesque look.
    • One of the steps that you must do to Earn Your Bad Ending in Chapter II is to offer an innocent child to the red figure in the confessional booth.
    • As it turns out, this has been happening long before the events in the game, both the ones that John experiences (sorta) firsthand and the flashbacks we are treated to, since the Cult of the Second Death has been practicing a ritual in the form of offering newborns to the portal to Hell that they carve into a vessel's face. It's for this ritual that the cult runs a childbirth assistance clinic in order to gain access to newborns.
    • It's Played With in the case of the Martin twins, Amy's younger brothers. They seem to have disappeared after the exorcism performed on their sister and no mention is made of their fate in Chapter I. Then in Chapter III, Father Garcia says that he's been unable to find them even after searching and trying to track them down extensively. But as it turns out, the twins were actually a Tragic Stillbirth that Cindy Martin suffered and to cope with it, she pretended that they were still alive.
  • Demonic Possession:
    • Amy Martin is a victim, and the player controls an exorcist trying to handle it. He fails. From then on, though Amy apparently "dies," much reference is made to the fact that the demon is still running around wearing her face.
    • 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. Something similar happens to John during the game. Maybe.
    • In Chapter III, John must be possessed by a demon at least once. Also, Lisa is used by Gary's cult as an unwilling vessel for that same demon. The final encounter involves the demon surfing between John and Lisa multiple times during the battle, trying to bait John into killing Lisa. If he does, the demon possesses him permanently.
  • Developer's Foresight: Exorcising Amy enough times on the second floor will have John comment about a door opening. If this is done on the first floor, or in the basement, he will instead comment that he 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.
  • Double-Meaning Title: The title of the full release, Unholy Trinity, refers to both the fact that the game is three chapters, to the three secret bosses in Chapter III that power the seal to the Profane Sabbath, and the in-universe Unholy Trinity: the Mother, the Daughter, and the Unclean Spirit.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: The entirety of Chapter II, outside of the very beginning with Father Garcia and the very end, hints at things John will deal with in Chapter III. Except in the ending where John joins the Satanists.
  • Dual Boss: At the end of Chapter III, if you satisfy the requirements to access the final boss battle, Gary will be joined by Malphas midway through the first phase of the battle.
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: Getting the worst ending in Chapter II is way more involved than the others, as it requires you to carry out three obtuse actions throughout the game only vaguely hinted at by one early note. Chapter I, by comparison, is choosing to shoot things you probably shouldn't at the end, and Chapter III is significantly more lenient by comparison, only requiring that you refuse to do your job and go home from the first area before you've even done anything.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Chapter III can be completed by simply investigating and trying to fight off the cult's machinations in the three main locations, but you'll get incomplete endings that don't resolve everything. You have to dig deeper and seek out every Secret Boss to be able to really face Gary as a True Final Boss once and for all instead of him getting away, and finally free Amy's soul.
  • Easter Egg: Pausing whenever Michael is present will trigger a set of rotoscope animations featuring him.
  • Egopolis: The Very Definitely Final Dungeon in Chapter III, the underground base of the Eternal Order of the Second Death, is called Garyland.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Pretty much all of the demons are this to some extent, if not Humanoid Abominations. But special mention goes to the demon known as the UNSPEAKABLE, being an amorphous mass of arms and tendrils with a single eye in the center, whose summoning usually means instant death for the player. It's unknown just what this thing is. It's said to be capable of unspeakable power (hence the name), but it's unclear whether it's real, or just part of John's nightmare. Its presence in the initiation ending seems to indicate the former.
  • Eldritch Location: Anywhere that seems to suffer from demonic influence suddenly seems to stop obeying the laws of natural geometry, as there's many an Unnaturally Looping Location, and the environments start having implausible layouts or straight up reality-breaking abnormalities. Combine this with John's Sanity Slippage and it might be hard to tell if any of it is actually happening or just his mind's interpretation of what's happening.
  • Escort Mission: The final Boss Fight of Chapter II locks the Good Ending behind protecting Father Garcia as he attempts to drive away the demon in the shape of Miriam Bell. The boss can be fought if Garcia dies, but this leads to a Bad Ending. Thankfully, you only need to block one specific attack aimed at Garcia, as the rest will not affect 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.
  • Facial Horror:
    • Towards the end of Chapter I, 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, the demon possessing her sticks its arm out through the hole.
    • In Chapter III's apartment area, you get a trippy visual of a demon staring John in the face, before his face seems to melt as he is seemingly possessed by the demon also possessing Amy. Later, every time he is possessed during the Boss Fight, his face seemingly explodes inside out. It's quite gory.
    • It's implied in Chapter III that cutting off the face is what lets the demon inside. Tiffany willingly did it to herself to try to win Gary's favor, and she can be found in the full game as an Optional Boss. Asking the right question to Gary will have him tell John that the way to open a portal to hell is by carving off one's face and inserting a newborn in it.
    • As you ask him more questions, Gary's face becomes more and more distorted.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • You can see a spirit behind you in a mirror in the house, but you cannot exorcise it. When you get the rifle, fully breaking said mirror starts a Secret Boss fight.
    • The Chapter II demo has a note mentioning how one can open the Gate to Hell by putting three followers of the dragon into an effigy and setting it on fire. Cue Chapter II where John kills three followers of the dragon and then turns into a demon after setting the effigies of them on fire.
    • The family portrait in the Martin residence only shows Amy and her parents, with Nate and Jason excluded. One might think that this is due to the portrait being from before the boys were born. However, it is revealed that Amy really was an only child and the twins were miscarried, without any mention of them being the delusions of a grieving mother.
    • In III, in the alley outside the clinic, a dead purple bird can be found and a cultist runs away after being spotted. This is the same alley where the cop (who is the same shade of purple) is ambushed and killed by the cultists later on.
  • God Was My Co-Pilot: During the climax of Chapter III, on the Golden Ending route, a white silhouette that John calls "God" appears when he begs for help. During the final boss, he is able to survive multiple but limited hits, implied to be a blessing from God. It's likely that God was always with John, considering the power of his cross, but his Crisis of Faith blinded him.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: From the few details we get of the attempted exorcism of Amy, it was an absolute disaster. One of the notes has blanked-out text that goes into a bit more detail: Amy killed Father Allred with her bare hands, and strangled her parents with their own intestines.
  • Gorn: There are some gruesome things in these games. The fact that said things are rendered as a smattering of indistinct red pixels arguably only makes it worse.
  • 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".
  • Gratuitous Spanish: There are a few Spanish words mixed into the dialogue during the prologue of Chapter II with Father Garcia, as well as Michael having a few Spanish voice lines in Chapter I.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: A few notes mention a man named Gary who seems to be the leader of the cult. Chapter III establishes that the top of the demon hierarchy is a being called the UNSPEAKABLE who even in the Golden Ending is never fought directly.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The only way to learn what John was up to after Amy's failed first exorcism is to abuse the gun's respawn mechanic to shoot the mirror three times and fight a Optional Boss.
    • The secret third ending in Chapter II. You have to complete all three of the secret Satanic rituals before reaching the final area: after the Eye Scream scene, but before opening the gate, backtrack south and draw a pentagram between five rocks with your blood; if successful, a new demon will appear and need to be driven off. Next, lure the child to the church in the woods, and take him to the confessional, like the demonic confessor demanded you to; a demonic hand will snatch him, then you. Drive off the extra boss fight, then continue on. Finally, when John is turned into a monster, after approaching the overpass but without going under it (thus returning John to normal), backtrack, and the path will have changed to open up a new ledge to the top of it; from here, quickly chase down and kill the man and woman, while avoiding being killed by the truck. If you did all these steps right, then in the final section of the tunnels, the path that's normally blocked off will be open, and at the top is an inverted cross with a red note at the base congratulating John for his success. Afterwards, finish the game normally, and you'll get the "Initiation" ending. And along the way, once again, you'll be treated to extra lore about John's time following the first exorcism.
  • Gutted Like a Fish: After coming down from the Gary-induced Mushroom Samba, you'll find yourself returned to the beginning of the basement. Moving to the next room will reveal various cultists dead with their guts spilling out, with one poor sap trying to crawl away.
  • Happy Rain: Rain falls in the Golden and Neutral endings of the third game, washing out the blood stains from the final battle on John in the former.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The game's crude, low-quality text-to-speech dialogue and crunchy sound effects add to the atmosphere, as it makes the human characters come off as abnormal and eerie, and makes the monsters' babbling sound much closer to Black Speech.
  • The Hero Dies: In several endings of Chapter I, John is killed by Michael, a Satanic cult, or a pissed-off deer.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: The following of the contemporary Santa Muerte religion is a full-blown demonic cult.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In the Golden Ending path of Chapter III, after failing to unite the Unholy Trinity, Gary is called a failure by the UNSPEAKABLE and pulled into Hell through the portal he had created on Amy's face.
  • 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 that one of his many inspirations for the game was the 1980s "Satanic Panic."
  • Holy Burns Evil: John's primary weapon against the horrors he faces is a good, old-fashioned crucifix that damages unholy entities just by raising it up near them.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Tiffany did everything she could to win Gary's love, including willingly undergoing the Second Death ritual. Not only did her gestures go ignored, but Gary flat-out thanks John for killing her after her boss battle.
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: The Profane Sabbath takes place on Halloween of 1987.
  • Idiosyncratic Menu Labels: The games have menu items written in Latin that get translated into English whenever they're highlighted. The first installment for example has "Initus" (Begin), "Catechismus" (Instruction), "Additicia" (Extras), and "Abitus" (Exit).
  • If I Do Not Return: John's letter to Molly in Chapter I ends like this, with him wanting her to know that he loves her, should anything happened to him in his quest to exorcise Amy.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: John's motivation for exorcizing Amy, and therefore the subsequent boss battle, of the first game.
  • Immune to Bullets: Downplayed. Demons can take a fairly meaty helping of lead and still keep going, but they really do not appreciate the pain of being shot.
  • Insistent Terminology: Gary and characters associated with him often insist that he is "a normal human being, just like you and me". He is actually a Humanoid Abomination of some sort — it's not clear if he was ever a human — who first appeared on the Eternal Order of the Second Death's radar as an infant who was sent back to them through the Hell portal they had sacrificed many other newborns into.
  • Jump Scare:
    • Prevalent throughout the game, but not super ear-piercingly loud... at first. By the time Chapter III rolls around and almost everything you encounter is genuine demon threats, you should probably not play with headphones for certain encounters.
    • Probably one of the more effective ones is in Chapter III's hotel, where you've lost your cross and only have a camera with flashes to guide your way through the lights going out. It's almost inevitable that the demon possessing the hotel is going to briefly appear in all of its rotoscoped glory across your screen briefly after you've flashed the camera too many times. This comes with a Delayed Reaction of a sound cue to boot.
  • Lampshade Hanging: In Chapter I, John's second letter mentions how Amy was being restrained in the basement, then says that Amy was in the attic in the next paragraph. In Chapter II, a note from John's psychologist uses this as an example that John couldn't keep his story consistent.
  • Last-Second Ending Choice: In the Golden Ending path of Chapter III, after Gary is pulled to Hell and John successfully exorcises Amy, John is offered a choice between settling down with Lisa or continuing to hunt the Unspeakable alongside Father Garcia.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Some of the statues in the daycare's basement are stated in a note to have been donated by the Save family and to approach them "whenever [...] in need of rest". Sure enough, the game autosaves when you go up to them.
  • Lemony Narrator: In the Golden Ending path of Chapter III, if the player hesitates to exorcise Amy after Gary is defeated, text will appear stating (You can use the cross now), (Seriously just use the cross), and (But, you know, take your time or whatever).
  • Lucky Charms Title:
    • The game's title replaces the "T" with a cross.
    • The "mortis" screen replaces the "O" with a sun cross, the "R" with a Sinister Scythe, and the "T" with a cross.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Michael's fate in the good (or rather, least bad) ending in the first game, where he goes splat when he's hit by a truck.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: According to Chapter I's endings, Amy may be either an actual victim of Demonic Possession, or just a delusional escapee from a mental institution. Subsequent chapters settle into the Demonic Possession being real. And even before that, in the first chapter, a note acquired by killing Michael is of a news article about police and animal experts trying to identify a strange, deceased creature that sounds exactly like Michael.
  • Mind Screw: One of the best-executed examples is a note approximately halfway through the second game, which appears to be an excerpt from a newspaper talking about a set of recent murders, before the writing turns a bit morbid. Then it addresses John directly... then it gets REALLY bad.
  • Missing Floor: The apartment complex in Chapter III is missing its 7th floor, and trying to access it using the stairwells only ends in brick walls where it should open into the floor. Approaching it from the 6th floor only gives you the message that there isn't a 7th floor, but approaching it from the 8th reveals that there is a 7th floor. You can try accessing it with the elevator, but it only gives you an Ominous Visual Glitch. Pressing the 7th floor more than once triggers the appearance of a strange demon in both the Ominous Visual Glitch and in the hallways of the complex.
  • Mood Whiplash: Happens twice during the final battle:
    • Right after defeating the second phase of the final boss, Gary, Malphas, and Miriam all convene on each other and fade away, seemingly dying there and then. Out of nowhere the game gives you a goofy A Winner Is You screen ("CONGRATULATION") complete with fireworks—before the True Final Boss, Super Miriam, manifests with a digitized Jump Scare snarl. Game on.
    • A goofier version occurs as an Easter Egg should you let the third phase of the final boss proceed long enough. Super Miriam momentarily vanishes, the intense final boss music is once again replaced with goofy 8-bit celebration music, and Anti Poop-Socking messages start to appear on the screen.
  • 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 (aka Father Garcia), 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.
    • Chapter II has three: the normal ending, the bad ending if Father Garcia dies during the final boss but you defeat the boss anyway, and the secret, really bad ending that has John Ward inducted into the Satanic cult.
    • Even the demo for Chapter III has two endings, the standard one after defeating the boss at the end, or a Bad Ending where during the fight, you (intentionally or accidentally) kill Lisa while possessed by the demon Body Surfing between her and you, which leaves it to continue possessing John, who simply apologizes and blames The Devil for killing her while speaking in a heavily distorted tone of voice.
    • In the full release of Chapter III, there is a bad ending, a normal ending with two variations, and a Golden Ending that has minor variations depending on the Last-Second Ending Choice.
  • Mushroom Samba: Whatever weird substance Gary injects John with causes bizarre and distorted scenes to flash across the screen, ranging from scenic views of natures, demonic imagery, and John with a Slasher Smile.
  • My Greatest Failure: John deeply regrets not saving Amy, something that haunts him for the entirety of the trilogy. The Golden Ending of Chapter III has Amy forgive him and he is finally able to save her, thus allowing him to atone.
  • Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: A crude drawing of a cultist and a demon by Nate is hung on the Martins' refrigerator. As well, the school in Chapter III is full of these.
  • No-Gear Level: There is a part of Chapter III that combines this with Blackout Basement. Where in order to advance John needs to let go of all his current possessions, including his cross, essentially leaving him defenseless against the demons.
  • Non Standard Game Over:
    • A different Game Over screen can appear on the way to the secret third ending in Chapter II. While John is transformed into a demon and on top of the overpass to kill the two bystanders, the player can get ran over by the Airdorf truck that strolls by without warning. Instead of the standard MORTIS screen, the player is greeted with a huge red splatter, followed by an untelligible voice and a distorted foreboding sound. It may catch any curious player off-guard.
    • In one of the demos for Chapter III as well as the full game, the police have surrounded the cult-ran daycare, necessitating John to sneak in through the back way. If he then tries to leave via the front entrance, the cops will mistake his crucifix for a gun and promptly blow him away, triggering a rare rotoscope cutscene of John being shot to death. It then cuts to the usual "MORTIS" screen.
    • During the first fight against Gary, getting hit will actually not immediately kill John, but rather knock him to the ground and force him to drop his crucifix. The player has a short window to recover the crucifix; if Gary catches up to John first, it cuts to a short rotoscoped cutscene showing that John has become the new vessel for the UNSPEAKABLE. Cue the "MORTIS".
  • Noodle Incident:
    • The previous exorcism is never gone into detail, but it was bad. In Chapter III, the game flashes back to the exorcism, showing that it got so bad, the only reason John was the Sole Survivor was literal divine intervention.
    • Airdorf loves this. Chapter II is full of notes that give just enough backstory on the various locales and demons to paint a picture of what might have happened, while leaving plenty unspoken.
    • Chapter III mentions something happening at a previous Halloween party that traumatized a little boy named Timmy. This led to the invention of what his parents assume to be an imaginary "elevator friend." On the path to the apartment's secret boss, you will see a child holding hands with the elevator demon as the both of them walk away. You never catch up with them. Afterwards, you can visit 7A to find the remnants of a ritual with a nearby note expressing the writer's desire to bring their child (implied to be Timmy) back.
  • 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. Or at least, is something taking the shape of that nun.
    • The Chapter II demo specifies her as Sister Bell, with notes waking more than just a few hints on her maybe being the Bell Witch.
    • One of the notes found in Chapter III confirms she underwent Second Death, letting herself be used as a portal through which infants were thrown into Hell as a sacrifice, resulting in infant Gary eventually emerging from said portal. He even flat-out refers to her as his mother at one point. Rather creepy paintings featuring her can be found in the cult's lair underneath the daycare.
  • Ominous Visual Glitch: The screen will slightly distort whenever there's demonic activity taking place.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: John's crucifix has the power of God to exorcise demons, but John himself is only a man, and the many, many horrible things in his path are more than man. The demons will eagerly turn the source of their distress into a red smear on the floor the second they touch him, and that's if you don't get particularly grisly death cutscenes from certain foes. On the flip side, John can't do the same to any of his foes, making his mission all the more daunting.
  • Optional Boss:
    • If you abuse the infinitely respawning gun to shoot the mirror in the southwest room three times, you can go through the mirror and fight... something. Afterwards, you get an additional letter to read revealing why John has been away for so long.
    • In Chapter III, there is a secret boss hidden in each of the three locations (the clinic, the apartments, and the school basement). Defeating all of them is required to access the Golden Ending.
  • Police Are Useless: Though not for a lack of trying on their part in Chapter III, being massacred by the cultists though not without taking a good amount with them. A single one does manage to help out during the hospital section, untying John when he's stuck on a gurney and even helping him defeat the boss of the area despite blatant Genre Blindness. Said blindness gets him killed anyway not a minute after you leave the hospital together and he chases after some "hippies" who burned his car. And later on in Chapter III, an entire army has surrounded the daycare that serves as the cult's headquarters, but the only things they manage to accomplish are murdering John if he tries to leave and getting massacred in most of the endings.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Powered by a lot of them, turns out, since the Second Death ritual involves cutting a person's face out to make a portal to Hell and then feeding babies into the portal until a demon pops out. Specifically, Amy is only 17 when the cult targets her for this ritual, and John and Father Garcia spend much of the game trying to prevent her younger brothers, who are 6-7 years old, from meeting a similar fate. Sister Bell murders nearly a dozen children over the course of her influence over the orphanage, and the cult is generally not above inflicting the ritual on small children.
  • Precision F-Strike: When repelled by the crucifix in Chapter I, Michael might swear at you in Spanish.
  • Production Throwback: In the school in the Chapter III demo, drawing referencing Airdorf's games SUMMER NIGHT made for the Dread X Collection and Earl's Day Off can be seen on a wall.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: The menu screen plays a rendition of the hymn "Near the Cross," and the outdoor section plays Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. Chapter II plays Erik Satie's Gnossienne No. 3 in the first half before entering the church, while Chapter III plays Chopin's ''Revolutionary Etude" once you finally confront Gary.
  • Purple Is Powerful: Purple is associated with Amy Martin, the demonically possessed girl.
  • Puzzle Boss: A note in Chapter III states that the body of the Mother must be destroyed with purifying fire. This is a hint as to how to defeat the True Final Boss. Even then, you need to figure out how to apply the purifying flames to the Mother, otherwise she will recover and the fight will continue until John dies. The answer is to light yourself on fire using one of the two torches in the arena and then run into her while she's weakened.
  • Random Encounters: There's no indicator when Michael will show up in the forest of FAITH, or from which side of the screen as well for that matter. Not helping matters is that he gets faster the more you repel him. If you're really unlucky, he'll spawn right next to you when you're at the edge of the screen, a guaranteed Game Over unless you have incredible reflexes.
  • Real After All: Chapter III clarifies that yes, the exorcism and John's return was real, but Chapter II was All Just a Dream, or at least partially. The entire final chapter takes place in a proper suburban setting where John lives, and the cult of the UNSPEAKABLE are prepping the final steps of their god's summoning, with at least the core events being very real.
  • Redemption Quest: The entire trilogy is essentially revealed to be one for John Ward himself; after failing to finish the botched exorcism and fleeing in terror (condemning Amy to her fate), he lost his Faith and became wracked with guilt and nightmares. The games see him overcome his fears and doubts to not only attempt to save Amy's soul, but also confront the source of the demonic evil that targeted her. While the outcome is dependent on the ending obtained, in the best ending he succeeds, redeeming Amy's soul, seeing Gary cast into hell, and either joining Father Garcia on a demon-hunting crusade or settling down with Lisa for some much-deserved peace and quiet.
  • Red Herring: In Chapter III, in the school basement, there is a puzzle involving the positioning of chairs and three demon masks. The masks control the chairs, but are in a different room, requiring the player to go back and forth between the mask room and chair room to solve the puzzle. The masks don't do anything. Going back and forth enough times will trigger a Jump Scare where Gary injects John with... something, which will then change the layout of the basement; the player never returns to the chair or mask rooms and thus never needs to solve their puzzle.
  • Religious Horror: According to Word of God, the game was inspired by the "Satanic Panic" of The '80s, and it shows.
  • Retraux: This first two games look straight out of the Atari era, and game 3 is styled after MS-DOS.
  • Rotoscoping: Used for intentional Uncanny Valley effect during scenes of (possible?) demonic possession.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin:
    • A child's drawing in Chapter III says "Thanks Satin."
    • Graffiti in Chapter II reads "Satin lives."
  • Sanity Slippage: The further you go, the less it becomes clear how much is reality and how much is some sort of psychosis John is going through, as yet another Unnaturally Looping Location throws you off, or some weird changes occur. Or a demon comes flying at your face. A large amount of the game generally seems inspired to make you wonder if you're losing it. Not helping this is how even the notes might screw with you.
  • Schmuck Bait: If you go too far into the grated-off section of the tunnels in the second game, you'll find a note about murders that occurred in them. As soon as you try to head out, a man wielding a pair of scissors rushes up and kills you.
  • Self-Made Orphan: In the original exorcism, Amy killed both of her parents thanks to Demonic Possession.
  • Sequel Hook: By the end of the trilogy, the cult is defeated and the Profane Sabbath averted, but the UNSPEAKABLE is still out there, and Father Garcia fully intends on hunting it down. Depending on the ending, John can join him in doing so.
  • Serial Escalation:
    • Each subsequent chapter gets worse and worse in the demonic incursion. The first is an isolated part of Connecticut with two major threats and an Optional Boss. The second starts having more overt problems, run-ins with cultists and unexplainable happenings which isn't helped by the fact that it's all Dreaming of Things to Come. And then the third and final chapter is straight up hunting to find the demons in key locales they dwell at so as to stop them from causing Hell on Earth. The scares ramp up accordingly to the threat level.
    • Also seen in gameplay; the first chapter consists of 2 relatively short exploration areas and a single boss fight, while the second and third chapters are larger, more non-linear, and have multiple fights against various different demonic enemies.
  • Shoot Him, He Has a Wallet!: In the school area in Chapter III, going outside of the front doors of the school has the police surrounding it mistake John's crucifix for a gun and shoot him to death. In a bit of a Black Comedy moment, the cops will resume firing even after John has been reduced to little more than red paste on the floor.
  • Shout-Out: Many that can be seen here.
  • Snipe Hunt: It turns out that Nate and Jason Martin never existed. Any evidence of their being real was actually a symptom of Mrs. Martin's delusions in an attempt to cope with a miscarriage. Gary knew this and led John and Father Garcia on a wild goose chase, as evidenced by his taunting messages found after defeating an Optional Boss and him personally confirming it if you ask him about the twins.
  • Story Breadcrumbs: The basic plot of the first game is very simple, but if you want more context on the backstory, you'll have to go out of your way to hunt down notes by exorcising various objects. The sequels take this up to eleven thanks to the increasing Mind Screw. You'll have to get many notes to understand what the plot even is, and sometimes they just raise more questions than answers. Confronting Gary in the third game's finale will give you the option to ask three questions, which will give some answers, but there are many more mysteries that are left unsolved.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option:
  • Synthetic Voice Actor: All of the game's voice acting is done with the early text-to-speech program Software Automatic Mouth.
  • Toothy Bird: Malphas in Chapter III appears to be a humanoid bird-like demon, missing his upper part of the beak while the bottom part (and interior of his mouth) is lined with sharp teeth.
  • Truth in Television: The game is inspired by the real-life "Satanic Panic" of the 1980s, wherein the United States experienced a sweep of mass hysteria regarding alleged Satanic rituals. Additionally, Airdorf claims there is audio from actual exorcisms incorporated into the series' sound design.
  • Uncanny Valley: The minimalist art style, extremely smooth rotoscoped cutscenes and distorted, almost inhuman text-to-speech voices that all characters have give the game a creepy and unsettling vibe. Of course, given the dreary tone of the game, it's appropriate.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: The core mechanics, your slow movements and exorcising with the cross are all the same, but the closure and Final Boss to Chapter III invoke more of a Bullet Hell shoot-em-up game as Gary throws patterns of attacks your way. If you're on the path for the Golden Ending, the True Final Boss might as well be a near-literal bullet hell that fills the screen with attacks, and only an 11th-Hour Superpower of not dying (immediately) from the attacks by God's blessings gives John a chance.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Chapter III has Garyland, the Elaborate Underground Base of the Eternal Order of the Second Death, as the last of the three big areas in the game. It is a massive labyrinth patrolled by Gary’s cultists and guarded with several puzzles.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: While scriptures get brought out for more serious threats, generally anything demonic can be warded off with a mere cross. Or at least the crosses that priests like John and Garcia wield. This can exorcise certain beings so hard that they outright die. Still have to shoot Michael the old-fashioned way, however, who is too far gone and far too physical to be put down through exorcism.
  • Wham Line:
    • From the very start of the first game.
      What I am about to do has not been approved by the Vatican.
    • When you finally meet with Lisa in the Chapter III demo:
      John: Lisa, thank God you're alright!
      Lisa: John, what took you so long? It's so dark, I can't see the light anymore.
      John: I got here as fast as I could... Let's go, Lisa.
      Lisa: I'M NOT LISA
    • From the end of the Chapter III demo, we get the following as a red-robed figure reveals itself to John before he leaves the room where he fought the demon possessing him and Lisa:
      Hello, John. It's nice to finally meet you.
    • From the Bad Ending to the same demo, not so much the line as the presence of the same distortion effect as other demon-possessed humans in the second part:
      John: Oh no... Lisa. I'm so sorry. THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT.
  • Wham Shot: The Bad ending of chapter 3 begins with John waking up in his bed as usual...except the crucifix on the wall is inverted, indicating there is no hope left as the Profane Sabbath has been completed.
  • Who Forgot The Lights?: Chapter I has unlockable extra modes where the entire map is dark save for a flashlight or lantern held by Johnnote . As can be imagined, this makes Michael and Amy much harder to fend off.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • Amy's possession is the entire catalyst for the plot, but it gets worse when Chapter III has an entire daycare raided by Gary's cult, with it being shown that they sacrificed everyone inside as well. The same Chapter implies that Gary's clinic was a front to acquire newborn sacrifices.
    • Taken to the extreme once you ask Gary what the Second Death is...and learn it basically entails casting newborns through the mutilated face of a sacrificial victim into Hell itself.
    • Miriam Bell murdered nearly a dozen children at the orphanage she worked at and later ran, all for the sake of the Satanic cult she founded. She also developed the Second Death ritual, so offering babies directly to Hell was her idea.
    • Tiffany performed the Second Death on herself, and Airdorf stated that 490 souls will be exorcised from her over the course of the boss fight. How did she even get access to that many newborns?
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Asking Gary about Malphas in Chapter III will have him reveal that they have already summoned the demon to the mortal plane. Fortunately, John defeats Malphas and Gary in the Golden Ending.
  • You Have Failed Me: After being defeated in the Golden Ending route, Gary is dragged to Hell by the UNSPEAKABLE, who simply utters "Failure" as Gary tries to plead with Amy who's being used as the portal. Judging by Gary's expression as this happens, whatever awaits him on the other side won't be pretty.

Alternative Title(s): Faith