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Video Game / Helltaker

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For Love, He'll Go To Hell. Quite literally.
You woke up one day with a dream. Harem full of demon girls. You've opened the portal in hopes of fulfilling your wildest desires. Hellfire burns through your lungs, death awaits around every corner and everything looks like from a cutesy mobile game. You are in Hell.
Steam Description

Helltaker is a free Indie Game made by vanripper (Łukasz Piskorz). It follows the exploits of the Helltaker, a man who looks like an Expy of Johnny Bravo as he decides to visit Fire and Brimstone Hell so he can assemble a harem of demon girls via a series of block puzzles and chocolate pancakes. It takes itself about as seriously as one would expect.

Learn more about the cast here. Watch the game's trailer on YouTube here. Check out the supplementary comics here. Tropes relating to the web comics should go on its own page.

It got a free expansion on the game's first anniversary called Examtaker, telling a future story of a demon created by the Science Demon Loremaster to do experiments upon.

Not to be confused with Hellsinker.

WARNING! Due to the short length and fast pace of the game if played knowing what you're doing, spoilers relating to everything besides the secret ending and Examtaker will be left unmarked.

Glorious Tropes:

  • All for Nothing: Overall, the only characters that even seem romantically interested in the Helltaker are Modeus, given she's the only harem member hugging Helltaker in the ending slide, and Beelzebub, since she blushes and expresses a bit of joy when Helltaker offers her pancakes. The rest of the girls never actually seem to view the Helltaker as a romantic partner, and Azazel is implied to be a lesbian who is only interested in 'studying' the Demons. Though the fact that Helltaker still keeps them around implies that he's quite happy with having friends, so this trope isn't as bad as it could be. Though Examtaker would reveal that Lucifier is still carrying a torch for him despite his disappearance, so it could just be her being a Tsundere.
    • Subverted in one of the latest comics Given what Azazel, Modeus and Pandemonica were doing to him, it's safe to say there's no chastity involved here, even if the 'Taker doesn't seem exactly enthused by what they are doing to him.
  • All Just a Dream: A double-layered one; the beginning seems to imply that the events of the game, as seen in a dream, would go on to inspire the Helltaker to go on and cause the events of the game. The secret ending implies that the entire story could have just been made up by Beelzebub due to going insane from drifting on through space by herself.
  • Animation Bump: Most of the full-body views of the demons are just portraits that switch between each other. However, there are a few cases of actual animation:
    • When the player reaches Lucifer, she swirls her wine in her hand before her skeleton guards appear, before slowly looking at the protagonist.
    • Judgement makes her entrance by thrusting her arms into view, before making fists and swiping them and the screen down to reveal herself.
    • In the epilogue, Zdrada gets a short animation in which she tries to light up a cigarette.
    • During Beelzebub's secret ending where she takes on A Form You Are Comfortable With, she exhibits a Furry Reminder by taking a towel and wiping sweat off her hands and forehead.
  • Animesque: Lots of Japanese-animation-inspired art by a Polish game dev. Considering the game's main shtick is building yourself a harem of cute girls, it's almost a given.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • The first part of Chapter X has nothing trying to attack the Helltaker once he reaches the large chains, and the two chains that the Helltaker has to kick down are directly across from each other. This is to let the player figure out what they have to do without putting them in too much danger.
    • Similarly, the final boss of the Examtaker levels creates a checkpoint after registering each hit. And since Examtaker as a whole is much harder, it eliminates the Marathon Boss sensation.
  • Author Appeal: In the art book, Vanripper admits Helltaker was made to appeal to his desire for demon girls in sharp suits. He also notes in annoyance how male demons often wear suits in fiction, but female demons hardly ever do.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • The Helltaker certainly does gather a harem of cute demon girls, but it's not at all clear how much he actually gets to enjoy it, as they're all quite troublesome to take care of and handle (which is not surprising given, you know, demons). One shot even has the Helltaker getting stabbed in the shoulder. The final screenshot of the game suggests that there are good times, though.
    • This is somewhat alleviated by the fact that Vanripper has since been posting comics showing what the Helltaker and the girls have been up to since the events of the game. Highlights include Malina and the Helltaker introducing Azazel to Heroes 3, Cerberus explaining to the Helltaker the logistics having three bodies for one mind and the potential consequences of getting caught in a pleasure loop by indulging with all three simultaneously, and the Helltaker asking Lucifer what the deal is with demons and goat motifs only for her explain then troll him by shapeshifting into a goat before suggesting men love it.
  • Bilingual Bonus: There's a few words in Polish throughout the game, due to the creator being Polish himself. "Zdrada" means betrayal in Polish, and "Malina" means raspberry. The latter also holds a bottle with a Polish label saying "pure vodka" in the epilogue.
  • Bland-Name Product: The pancake recipe comic had Lucifer and Helltaker using a chocolate cream called "Xutella" for their pancakes.
  • Block Puzzle: Most of the game is a series of these in which the player must collect a key and reach that level's demon within a certain number of steps. Chapter IX ends with a boss battle, though.
  • But Thou Must!: After clearing parts of Chapter X, any choice you make will lead to the same outcome, including the final choice. Also, any choice made with Justice, the Awesome Demon counts as correct.
  • Celestial Bureaucracy: Hell is implied to function like a sort of corporation, with Pandemonica claiming to be part of their Customer Service and Lucifer being the CEO.
  • Cute Monster Girl: All of the demons are fairly attractive women with horns and tails, with the exception of Cerberus, who is instead one soul inhabiting a trio of Little Bit Beastly bodies with dog ears and tails, and Beelzebub, a massive fly-like Animalistic Abomination until the secret ending.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: While running out of moves on any puzzle or running out of health on the Final Boss results in death, you get infinite lives to try and solve them. The aforementioned boss even has checkpoints so you don't get set back too much upon failure.
  • Dem Bones: One kind of obstacle in the game is skeletons. They can be pushed around like blocks and are destroyed if pushed into a wall.
  • Did You Just Romance Cthulhu?: Played with. The Helltaker is a normal human man who ventures into Hell and manages to convince several demons (including Lucifer herself) to join his harem. However, most of them don't consider him a romantic partner.
  • Excuse Plot: The entire story is that a man decided to obtain a demonic harem, and so he descended into Hell to achieve that. What's more, the game never actually implies that he had any romance with any of them (except possibly Modeus and Beelzebub), instead just coming to have them as odd roommates.
  • Fission Mailed: The end of Chapter IX has the player suddenly experiencing a "bad ending" like they would have gotten if they picked the wrong dialogue option for the other girls, before continuing into the second part.
  • Funny Background Event: In the pancake recipe comic, there is a kitchen knife that happens to be laying on the counter. After the Helltaker accidentally splatters Lucifer with pancake batter, she grabs it and stabs him in the shoulder with it over the next few panels, but you're likely too focused on the text and the pancakes being cooked to notice until the Helltaker is suddenly shirtless with bandages over his chest.
  • Hades Shaded: Most of the characters in the game (i.e., everybody besides Judgement, the Skeletons, and the black cop) have a sunburned red skin color, fitting for a game taking place in Hell. Later content in the comics implies this was caused by hanging around in dimly-lit locations, such as Hell itself or Earth at nighttime, since in the comics that take place in more properly-lit locations, everybody besides the aforementioned differently colored characters change to having a Caucasian-esque skin-tone, and even in Judgement's case she becomes a lighter shade of grey.
  • Hint System: Played for Laughs. You can ask your harem for advice in completing the puzzles, but they rarely give good advice. The only ones who kind of give advice are Pandemonica who only shows up in the first few levels and Malina who gives the most straightforward piece of advice in the game which also comes across as a backhanded insult.
    Zdrada: "Don't look at me for puzzle hints, I'm not a nerd. Maybe go kill yourself on some spikes. It'll be amusing."
  • Improbably Female Cast: All the demons being Cute Monster Girls is a given, but the fact that the SWAT officer and detective in the Epilogue are also women pushes it towards this trope.
  • Inconveniently-Placed Conveyor Belt: The Final Boss takes place on a huge conveyor belt that's always pushing you towards spikes, which makes dodging the boss's attacks much harder.
  • Interface Screw: A minor example, but all puzzles can be skipped in the menu, except the second part in Chapter IX (as technically it isn't even a puzzle) where the option instead reads "There is no escape!" and cannot be selected. But it CAN be skipped in the chapter select...
  • Meaningful Name: Judgement is the High Prosecutor of Hell, and Justice is the former High Prosecutor. The latter doubles as a Punny Name since Justice is blind.
  • Mickey Mousing: Every character has their animated sprites bob in time to the beat of the main soundtrack.
  • Multiple Endings:
    • The bad endings are all examples of a Non-Standard Game Over and are reached by saying the wrong thing to most of the demon girls, who then murder you for various reasons.
    • At the end of Chapter VI, trying to hit on Azazel by saying that you're looking for angels has her misunderstand and take the Helltaker to Heaven, meaning he's forced to give up assembling a demonic harem.
    • The normal ending is achieved by playing the game normally and speaking to the police at the end of the Playable Epilogue to deal with whatever legal trouble Cerberus got themselves into.
    • The secret ending is accessed by moving in a certain pattern on the pentagram rug in the Epilogue (the pattern being revealed in the pause menu by collecting tablet fragments hidden under certain blocks in Chapters IV, V, and VI), which opens a portal to the Abyss, where Beelzebub is trapped. Going through it will trap the Helltaker as well, but Beelzebub assumes A Form You Are Comfortable With and they live Happily Ever After, with Beelzebub speculating on the nature of the story, whether she's recounting it to an amnesiac Helltaker or if she merely came up with it herself due to going insane from the isolation.
  • Not Afraid of Hell: The titular character willingly descends into Hell because he has a dream of creating a harem of cute demon girls.
  • Playable Epilogue: After clearing Chapter IX, the Epilogue contains a short playable sequence in which the Helltaker goes around his house, chatting with his demonic harem and giving them chocolate pancakes.
  • Precision F-Strike: After attempting to tempt the Helltaker into entering a portal to the Abyss he opened in his house, Beelzebub says "Fuck" when Lucifer recognizes her.
  • Prison Dimension: Justice sealed Beelzebub away in the Abyss, an endless dark void. By inputting a secret code on the rug in the Helltaker's house, you can open a portal to this Abyss.
  • Protagonist Title: The protagonist becomes known as the Helltaker in the Epilogue, due to him taking a load of demons out of Hell.
  • Self-Deprecation: In the pancake recipe comic, after Lucifer asks him what smetana is, the Helltaker says that he has no clue and remarks, "Polish immigrants sell the weirdest shit." The game's author is Polish.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Spikes of Doom: Spikes are a common obstacle in the puzzles, where stepping on them reduces the number of movements you can make. In the Final Boss fight, stepping on spikes kills you instantly.
  • Stationary Enemy: The primary enemies are skeletons, who only move due to player attacks shoving them.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: By the Epilogue, the Helltaker learns that having a harem of demon girls does not stop them from constantly misbehaving, bossing him around, wrecking his stuff, and stabbing him in the back (oftentimes literally). Beelzebub says that since life is already full of suffering, he may as well enjoy himself sometimes.
  • Tarot Motifs: Two of the demons, Justice and Judgement, are named after major arcana cards. The number for the Judgement tarot card, XX (20 in Roman numerals), even appears on the back of Judgement's jacket and her arm band.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: There's no way to actually know what the correct dialog choices are, and quite a few of them are purposely counterintuitive.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: After an entire game of Block Puzzles, Chapter X has no puzzle elements whatsoever, instead requiring you to dodge a series of attacks while destroying the massive chains that occasionally attach themselves to the arena.

Tropes that apply to Examtaker DLC

  • Brick Joke: In the Life Advice for Chapter IX, Justice jokes that Lucifer would like maid play. In the Examtaker DLC released as part of the Anniversary update, Lucifer appears as "the Maid Demon."
  • Brutal Bonus Level: The bonus chapter alternates between standard block puzzles and timing-based segments. For the latter, you have unlimited moves and less block-shuffling to do, but have to dodge lasers that fire periodically. The Final Boss fight is a lot busier as well, as its third phase can have up to three types of attacks overlapping each other.
  • Crosshair Aware: During the second and third stage of the Final Boss, giant cannons bombard the arena, with the player seeing their impact zone moments before they connect, giving them a chance to dodge.
  • Darker and Edgier: Slightly. Most of the original's humor is kept in the DLC, though it does away with the harem building and puts you in the shoes of an angry human-demon hybrid who must survive the tests of a Mad Scientist in her lab. Plus, the full story reveals that Azazel has taken over Hell some time in the future, rechristening herself as the Loremaster and reducing Justice and Lucifer to being her servants.
  • Kaizo Trap: During the final phase of the final boss, the easy to dodge Chest Blaster attack that finishes the first two phases is now accompanied by attacks from the horizontal laser emitters. Players thinking the fight is essentially over once it gets to that point are destined for a terrible surprise.
  • More Dakka: The aforementioned giant cannons deliver their payload very rapidly.
  • Number of the Beast: When Loremaster calls the protagonist Subject 666, she starts having high hopes as she considers such a number to mean great power. When Lucifer informs her that 666 had already died and that the subject is actually 667, Loremaster becomes less enthusiastic in 667 succeeding.
  • Shout-Out: Loremaster's experimentations on demons, the sterile grey-white lab environments, plus the offer of apple pie as a reward for passing her tests, makes the Examtaker DLC a pretty good Portal reference.
  • Stealth Pun: In the chapter menu, the DLC is labelled "EX," which is standard for a bonus stage, but it also happens to be convenient shorthand for a storyline titled "Examtaker."
  • Time Skip: This bonus chapter is set many years after the events of the base game and the comics. Loremaster and Lucy's dialogue in the ending hint that it's specifically set after the 'Abysstaker' ending, where the Helltaker leaves to be with Beelzebub.
  • Wham Line: Loremaster's identity is confirmed with a few lines of dialogue after the third level, where she reveals that she used to be an angel. Further dialogue (and a specific pose) confirms that this is Azazel, having completed her fall from grace into a Fallen Angel.

Glorious Success!