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Video Game / Gloomwood

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"Ah, inside at last are you? Welcome, WELCOME!"

Gloomwood is a Survival Horror Stealth-Based Immersive Sim, developed by Dillon Rogers and David Szymanski and published by New Blood Interactive. The game follows a doctor's mysterious abduction to a forgotten, twisted Victorian metropolis in the midst of a horrifying transformation.

A public pre-alpha demo was released on Steam in 2020, followed by an Early Access release on September 5th, 2022.

The game's Reveal, Inventory Gameplay Demo and the E3 2021 Gameplay trailers. Dillon also has a Youtube channel and Twitter account, you can take a look at them to follow the development of the game.

Gloomwood contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Adjective Animal Alehouse: The Slaughtered Goat, the local watering hole of choice for discerning axe murderers. Unfortunately, by the time you get there, something even worse has killed them all and is penned up inside; the Huntsmen are too scared of it to go in.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: As is fairly common for stealth games, the game features vents that can be crawled through in order to get around guards.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Mr. Croup left behind a letter in his office before hanging himself. Another note recounts the beginnings of the Huntsmen's descent into insanity.
  • Arrange Mode: While the higher difficulties do increase enemy damage, they also have more enemies, new enemy locations and patrols that are harder to sneak around, and less ammunition and healing items scattered throughout the level.
  • Ascended Glitch: Axemen charging at the player was originally a bug, but eventually found it's way into the main game.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Enemies who see one of their fellows dead will go up to the corpse to investigate it. If the enemy in question burned to death, this typically means that the others will stand directly on top of the still-burning body and often end up setting themselves on fire as well.
  • Backstab: The primary way of disposing of most enemies is to charge up your melee attack (if there is an Audible Gleam at the tip of the blade, then it will be a killing blow) and stab them in the back.
  • Badass Bookworm: The protagonist is a Victorian-era doctor, which generally carries connotations of gentlemanly behavior and higher learning. They are nonetheless a proficient swordsman and a skilled marksman.
  • Blackout Basement: There are currently two in the Early Access. The game does give the player a lantern, but it must be used sparingly since it also makes you much more visible to enemies. The Kennels in the sea cave can only be opened after disabling the power, while the attic of the Slaughtered Goat never has any lights at all.
  • Boss-Only Level: The Slaughtered Goat, despite being relatively large is home to only a single foe, the Goatman.
  • Broken Bridge: A literal example. Once you get out of the Fishery, you'll be just in time to see two Huntsmen blowing up the bridge across the cliffs, just in case you slipped out, forcing you to take a detour through the caves and unlock a Door to Before. If you haven't raised the alarm by this point, the other Huntsman, exasperated, will ask his buddy why he just blew the bridge they still need to transport their hostage across.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Played Straight for the enemies, but Downplayed for the player. When badly injured your character will begin walking with a noticeable limp and a reduction to jump height.
  • Diegetic Interface: Almost all of the game's UI elements are diegetic. There's no HUD, instead needing to check your journal to get an idea of your character's current health and open up your guns to check their ammunition. The player's inventory is an actual physical object that items can be dragged into and out of. The player's journal is even an actual journal that can be seen in that inventory's equipment screen.
  • Door to Before: These appear fairly often due to the winding and fairly open-ended layout of the levels, making backtracking easier.
  • Eldritch Location: Entering one of the Countess' mirrors brings you to the Mirror World, which consists of three floating islands with several half-built buildings resembling those from locations you've visited integrated into them, located within a vast, celestial expanse tinted in purple. On the flipside, the gravity is reduced, allowing the player to jump higher and not take Falling Damage, and the location acts as a way to fast travel to other areas.
  • Emerald Power: The description of the emerald ring states that emeralds are believed to be connected to madness and cause people to embrace chaos.
  • Enemy Chatter: As is to be expected from a game influenced by the Thief series. If you see a few mooks standing together and not moving, odds are they're having a conversation you can eavesdrop on.
  • Exploding Barrels: These can be distinguished by their red color. Hitting or shooting it will ignite the barrel before it explodes, but will not do this if projectiles like bottles are thrown at it. Also, make sure that the torch that dead hunter is still holding doesn't touch any of these. It will blow up.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Averted, it is possible to get the gun-wielding huntsmen to shoot each other if you line it up properly. The torch-wielding huntsmen can even set each other on fire.
  • Genre Savvy: In a display of what's either this trope or scintillating stupidity, a Huntsman rigs the bridge to Gloomwood to blow to stop you from escaping. This still happens if you haven't sounded the alarm or even been seen, something the other Huntsman will call the mad bomber out on.
  • Grid Inventory: Your Doctor's bag contains a gridded rotating panel for storing items. Similar to Arx Fatalis, items can be dragged between the inventory and the gameworld in real time.
  • High-Class Glass: The player can purchase a monocle from the merchant, which allows them to zoom in the camera.
  • Holiday Mode: During the Halloween season, small turnip lanterns can be found scattered around the town. Christmas makes it snow, adds Santa hats to the Huntsmen (on top of the hat that the Huntsmen all already wear), and changes the texture of the Goatman so it looks like The Krampus.
  • Horrifying the Horror: The Huntsmen are twisted humanoids with glowing eyes and proportions so distorted that normal humans can't use their weaponry. They captured something and brought it to the Slaughtered Goat to show off. It turned the tables. By the time you get there, the last few terrified stragglers have barricaded the door, and are discussing getting dynamite to destroy the place. When you get inside the place is almost completely empty, save for a dozen corpses, a single terrified Huntsman begging for mercy before being ripped apart, bloody limbs and broken furniture, and the thing in question feasting by the fireplace.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Downplayed. You can find and eat food to restore your health, but it only restores a tiny amount.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Higher difficulties have fewer resources, a greater number of enemies who deal greater damage, and sometimes their locations and patrols change so they're harder to sneak around.
    • Crescent: For players who are unfamiliar with survival horror or just want to explore.Perks 
    • Half Moon: For players looking for a well-balanced experience.Perks 
    • Full Moon: For players who are familiar with survival horror or are looking for a challenge.Perks 
    • Blood Moon: For survival horror veterans who want to be pushed to their limits.Perks 
    • A custom difficulty setting, Lunacy, is also planned for the future.
  • Immersive Sim: You can pick up and throw things, smash open windows, climb onto ledges, and the levels are fairly open-ended with multiple routes to your objectives and multiple ways of getting through those routes.
  • Inventory Management Puzzle: All of the game's items (barring currently-equipped accessories and the cane sword) take up space in the player's 6 x 4 grid inventory. Even just taking the revolver and a stack of bullets for it already takes up a sixth of your inventory, so the player needs to balance between allocating inventory space for healing items, treasure, weapons and ammo, and anything else they might need.
  • Kung Fu-Proof Mook: Some Huntsmen wear armor over their torsos, preventing you from instantly killing them with a Backstab. They appear earlier and more frequently on higher difficulties.
  • Made of Plasticine: Any explosion will reduce basic enemies to a shower of giblets and red mist.
  • Reliably Unreliable Guns: You can pick up guns from Huntsmen armed with them after killing them to loot bullets for the revolver. Examining them makes mention of them being built specifically for use by Huntsmen and that regular humans wouldn't be able to use them, but even if that weren't the case, there's also the fact that every single one of them ends up with their barrel bent out of shape when you kill them.
  • Retraux: The game deliberately emulates the look of late 90s/early 2000s PC games such as Thief: The Dark Project and System Shock 2.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: The second gun available is a folding pump-action shotgun, and it is indeed better, being able to kill basic enemies in a single shot at close range.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Source Music: The phonographs play music to let the player know when one is nearby.
  • Survival Horror: The game is about exploring a Gothic Horror-inspired dark, fog-shrouded city and scavenging for supplies while evading and hiding from some very unsettling enemies that you cannot reliably fight back against if they notice you.
  • Sword Cane: The player's melee weapon and primary method of dealing with enemies stealthily is a fancy sword cane. Keeping with the game's weapon holstering function, you can sheath the sword in its cane. Thankfully, it doesn't take up any space in your inventory so the player at least has one weapon they can use to defend themselves.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: The axes wielded by Huntsmen can be picked up and thrown; they'll spin end over end before shattering into splinters upon hitting an enemy, doing some damage in the process.
  • Utility Weapon: The Undertaker Pistol is a customized, silenced pistol that can be used to fire several different kinds of ammunition, such as a pellet that breaks lights and windows from a distance and an incendiary projectile that ignites enemies and objects.