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Video Game / Hell Night

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You've just escaped a bunch of cult-members trying to kidnap you. You don't know why. As you're being chased, you manage to escape into the subway and take the first train you spot. You board it, it takes off and you managed to outrun them. That's until something derails the train. Now you're stuck in the underground tunnels of Tokyo.

All luck is not lost yet. You and a girl named Naomi were the only two lucky enough to survive the crash. You're both alive... for now. There's something lurking around and it wants you dead. As both you and Naomi manage to escape through tunnels into the sewers you find a underground city named "The Mesh", a place for people who wanted a more "peaceful life". But the creature is still hot on your heels and you need to find out what it is, how to defeat it (if you can), and reach the surface alive. Or is there more to it?


Hell Night (Dark Messiah in Japan) is a First-Person Survival Horror, developed and published in Japan by Atlus for the Sony Playstation system in 1998. Konami published it in Europe the following year.

The player navigates the underground of Tokyo while staying out of harm's way. It also includes a few point-and-click segments, albeit without any pixel-hunting. The game is unique with that you can always have a partner who follows you. The partners are limited and you can only get a new one by having the previous one killed. Each partner has their own unique ability to aid the player and an ending exclusive for that partner. This serves as the base for the game's replay value, as well as its RPG-feel.

Not to be confused with the 1981 movie of the same name, and nor with the PAL version of a Konami arcade Rail Shooter, Evil Night.


Partners available

  • Naomi Sugiura, a 17 year old schoolgirl. She was also chased by the cult members. She's the default partner and is with the player from the start of the game. Her unique ability is to sense if the creature is nearby. She is the only partner unavailable to stun the creature. Until later on.
  • Kyoji Kamiya, a 28 year old serial killer, who still carries a gun taken from his first victim, a cop. He doesn't see the player as worthy prey, and is the first recruitable partner. His ability is to lightly stun the creature with his gun.
  • Leroy Ivanoff, a 30 year old Russian soldier. The second recruitable partner. He was sent to destroy the creature but his squad was wiped out. His ability is a rocket launcher, which stuns the creature for quite a while.
  • Rene Lorraine, a French journalist, who's trying to uncover the secret of the cult and the kidnappings. Her ability is a Uzi with limited ammo, that can (as with the other partners) stun the creature. She is the last recruitable partner, although the player has to reach a certain part of the game to meet her.

Contains the following tropes:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: After escaping the maintenance tunnels, the player and Naomi ends up in one with a town.
  • Action Girl: Rene.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: The player becomes this if they have no partners or complete the game with Kamiya.
  • Anyone Can Die: Every "partnerable" character and the player. It becomes a gameplay mechanic.
  • Attract Mode: The game's intro that plays before the start screen, serves as this, both introducing the names of your partners available, shows you the setting of the game, and tells you who you are.
  • But Now I Must Go: That Which Wanders
  • Cosmic Horror Story: The Hybrid and the Holy Ring are both linked to an alien race named the Old Ones that exists deep under the earth in a sort of spaceship that doesn't obey normal physical laws and has technology far beyond our understanding. Although the threat can be destroyed, it requires the power of a nuclear reactor.
  • Cower Power: The basic premise of the game is to dodge the monster as much as possible.
  • Determinator: The monster. The player and the partners, to some extent.
  • Downer Ending: Becoming the Dark Messiah, by completing the game either with no partner or with Kamiya.
  • Dug Too Deep: How the Hybrid was originally uncovered.
  • Dungeon Crawling: The game uses the same play-style used for a First-Person-Dungeon-Crawler, but without the RPG-aspect. And with running away from your enemies.
  • Dwindling Party: If you aren't careful with navigating the Tokyo's underground tunnels and sewers, this occurs. All your party members can die, but you can only have one with you at a time.
  • Eldritch Location: The Hive.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: The Dark Messiah, who is worshiped by the cult, is known to bring this upon the world.
  • Enemy-Detecting Radar: Naomi, the first partner available, has the ability to sense if the monster is nearby.
  • Escort Mission: The basic idea of keeping one's partner alive. Keeping Naomi alive throughout the whole game is this.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: A version of Ending D, which requires you to have all your partners die.
  • Featureless Protagonist: The only thing the player is told is that they are the main character, that's it.
  • Fetch Quest: The game has a few, some of which are plot-important, and others that aren't. The player is free to do the ones that aren't part of the plot, which give a few items in return.
  • Foreboding Architecture: Some areas have these (See Schmuck Bait). An early one is a dark staircase that the player says the monster could hide under. It does during the first time you go through there. Afterwards, it's gone.
  • Golden Ending: Escaping with Naomi, possibly starting a relationship with her. Earlier, she lampshades that she likes the protagonist.
  • Grand Theft Me: Invoked ambiguously in Ending D.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The player quickly learns to listen for the monster's presence - a certain noise means that the monster is nearby and that the player should either check the map (if they have Naomi) and/or get ready to bolt (Whether they have Naomi or not)
  • Killed Off for Real: Any partner that follows the player when they get caught is killed. Better move fast.
  • Multiple Endings: There's a different ending depending on choices made by the player and what partner they completed the game with:
    • Ending A: Escaping with Naomi which is the game's Golden Ending.
    • Ending B: Fullfilling Ivanoff's objective to destroy the monster and escaping.
    • Ending C: Rene and the player escapes and splits up. Sadly, Rene didn't get her story, as the film was ruined.
    • Ending D: Depending on your actions, either Kamiya helps the protagonist to become the new Dark Messiah, or the player becomes the Dark Messiah themselves..
    • Ending E: one of the alien creations, That Which Wanders, decides to help you out - but it is a sad ending as they cannot go with you.
  • Non Standard Game Over: You can either be captured by the cult... or if Kamiya is with you, try to go up the stairs again. Kamiya at least warns and asks if you're sure you want to do that, but maybe you decide to screw that... and guess what he does?
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Most of the game is played in silence. This typically means that the monster may potentially be anywhere nearby.
  • One-Hit Kill: Getting caught by monster will result in this. If you have a partner, they die instead.
  • One-Hit Point Wonder: The player and their partner. The partner acts like an extra hit, although getting caught by a monster means the partner dies. If the player is caught alone, it's game over.
  • Party in My Pocket: Played with. The player can always have one partner, but only one. But the partner shares the same movement space as the player, so they never get in the way.
  • Run, Don't Walk: Subverted. Running when the monster isn't nearby is a waste of sprint and it can screw you over. If the monster is near you, then run.
  • Run or Die: Played completely straight. If you can't outrun the monster and it catches you, it kills you (if you're alone) or your partner (if you have one).
  • Schmuck Bait: You are generally warned about certain areas that the monster could ambush you or easily corner you (during the point-and-click segments). It's usually wise to obey, although some you have to disobey.
  • Sealed Inside a Person-Shaped Can: The Dark Messiah, which is why the cultists have been kidnapping people. Turns out you were the can.
  • Sinister Subway: The game starts off with the player waking up in a crashed subway tunnel and the player escapes further into the underground through the subway's maintance tunnels.
  • Sprint Meter: Although it's not visible, it's represented by the player character's breathing and whenever the screen starts blinking red.
  • Stealth-Based Game: Sort of.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: The monster who derailed the train. Gets worse as it starts to evolve and get more dangerous the farther you get in the game.
  • Survival Horror
  • Tomato in the Mirror: You, the player, were the Dark Messiah all along. More specifically, you're the soul of the long-dead prince of the Old Ones, while the creature running around is the body created for said soul.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Keep away from monsters to keep their partner alive, especially Naomi, the first partner available.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Getting your partner killed on purpose.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Well, getting your partner killed on purpose leaves you as the only one alive until you find The Mesh and get a new partner (if there are any left). And since you're a One-Hit Point Wonder, you may get what you deserve.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: You only get to know the fate of the partner you escaped with, so having any partners to spare leaves you with their fate being unknown.


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