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Video Game / Hugo's House of Horrors

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Seems like a nice house...
A short adventure game from 1990. You play Hugo in a quest to rescue your girlfriend from a house inhabited by monsters. Followed up by two sequels, Whodunnit? and Jungle of Doom, and the basic premise was retooled as a Wolfenstein 3D clone called Nitemare 3D in 1994.
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There's also a film called Hugo that has nothing to do with the games.


This game provides examples of:

  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Within two minutes, Hugo goes missing in Whodunit? and Penelope takes over as the player character for the next 98% of the game.
  • Angry Guard Dog: there's one in the first game. It's not pleasant to look at, and if it catches you, it eats you (or so you're told: Hugo just kind of falls over).
  • Arc Number: 333 is the solution to the combination lock in the first game and part of the phone number to dial in the second. Trying it on a safe later in the second game will just result in the game mocking you for thinking that would work again. It also appears again in Nitemare 3D.
  • Behind the Black: A puzzle to cross an impassible chasm is to walk along the pixel-sized ledge that is not described in the room description, and not visible on-screen.
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  • Boss Button: Pressing F9 takes you to the DOS prompt, which could then be used.
  • Bound and Gagged: Penelope in the first game, though this is more of an Informed Attribute since we only ever see her shadow.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The second last obstacle in the game is an old man that asks you six trivia questions, with five of the questions being based on various period TV shows and movies. The last question is "Did you register the shareware?!"
  • Cutting the Knot: In Hugo 2, you encounter the old man again and it looks like he's going to be asking you a bunch of stupid questions again. Instead, Penelope just knocks him out and continues on.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • Try throwing those matches across the bridge in the second game.
    • Or kissing the French Maid.
    • Try typing "fuck" in the first.
    • You can also kiss the girl who finds Penelope at the beginning of the third game.
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  • Dirty Old Man: Two of them in Hugo 2: the gardener, who tries to seduce Penelope with "kissy, kissy!", and the old man, who uses magic to draw Penelope towards him.
  • Dumb Waiter Ride: Penelope travels in a dumb waiter from the study to the kitchen.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: There are lots of ways to die in these games:
    • In the first game, it might be curtains for you by the butler chopping your head off, the nice doggy eating you all up, the vampire bats, or the mummy.
    • In the second game, it might be death by killer bees ("stingeroo!"), the venus fly traps, the mechanical monster ("exterminate!"), a slithery snake (who appears in the list of murder suspects), being blasted by dynamite, falling into a chasm ("how careless!").
  • Excuse Plot: The entire first game. Penelope has been kidnapped! By...someone. And taken to a house! For...some reason. Save her!
  • French Maid: Hugo 2 begins with a saucy-looking French maid, who is bossy and obstructive. Some of her lines are as follows:
    "Please go to your room, Monsieur!"
    "LOOK, ARE YOU DEAF, OR WHAT?"
    "Monsieur, please go to your room. We can have ze little chat later, no?"
    "Monsieur, I told you already, it is ze third door on ze right!"
    "Blah blah blah blah blah..."
  • Hand in the Hole: In Hugo 2, if you investigate a mousehole by putting your hand in, you are rewarded with mouse droppings.
  • Happily Married Hugo and Penelope from the end of the first game, onward.
  • High on Catnip: In Whodunit, a tricky puzzle to get past the Motor Mouth French Maid is to pick a catnip plant, rub a bell with it, and offer it to a cat, who then plays with it, and rings the bell to distract the maid.
  • Inheritance Murder: Penelope discovers Great-Uncle Horace's will, which leaves a fortune to Hugo, which is a possible motive for the murder.
  • Jungle Japes: The third game takes place there, where you must save Penelope from a poisonous demise.
  • Let's Play: Pushing Up Roses and her companion Paw Dugan tackle this adventure with innuendos all around!
  • Limited Wardrobe: Averted in Jungle of Doom: just after they crash land, Penelope tells Hugo to change his clothes, as they clash with the jungle scenery; he changes into a dark red outfit and straw hat.
  • Mad Scientist: in the first game. His apparent goal is to use his machine to do...something...to people.
  • The Maze: In Hugo 2, there is a hedge maze containing various items needed for the game.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: In the third game, the South American jungle has elephants, hyenas, and suspiciously African-looking natives. Amusingly enough, the game acknowledges the misplaced elephant, claiming it just escaped from a zoo.
  • Monster Mash: Several monsters appear in the first game, most of which are having dinner.
  • Not What It Looks Like: In the kitchen in Hugo 2, the cook carries a knife which is dripping with blood: the dripping is even animated.
  • Obscured Special Effects: In the first game, which appeared to use much simpler programming than the later games, certain actions were not allowed, or the game intervened in some way, presumably to make the game mechanics simpler.
    • If you try to take the broom in the kitchen, you get the message "Gonna do some sweeping, are we? Hey, the broom appears to be held in place by magic! Despite your best efforts, you can't move it!"
    • Hugo can wear a mask, which appears on his head. But if he tries to go into the laboratory with it: "the radiation from this room knocks your mask on to the floor"; because Hugo undergoes transformations in the laboratory, and the mask would have complicated these. The same happens when Hugo enters the basement: "You casually throw the mask away, since you won't be needing it any more", because of a later screen when Hugo appears small.
    • Some of the items (the oilcan, the knife and the whistle) could not be dropped, because then they would have to appear on the screen.
  • Off with His Head!: If the butler from the first game approaches you while you're wearing the monster mask, he'll give you a pork chop. Let him catch you without it on, and you'll get this kind of chop instead.
  • Off-the-Shelf FX: Of a sort. The exterior of the titular house is borrowed from a common "haunted house" stock image. The outside of the house does not match the layout inside.
  • Paper Key-Retrieval Trick: In Hugo 2, the character you control encounters the locked door in a hallway but can't open it. It is opened in the finale, where Hugo puts the newspaper under the door and pushes the pencil through the keyhole to unlock the door, where you meet with a character in the hallway.
  • Payphone: In Hugo 2, Penelope uses one (a British red phone box) to call the police, and then to travel to the planet Retupmoc.
  • The Peeping Tom: Penelope witnesses the murder in Hugo 2 by looking through a keyhole; she does not see the murderer, only the victim; although the colour of the murderer's sleeve gives a clue.
  • Polly Wants a Microphone: In Hugo 2, there is a talking parrot in the room where the murder takes place. Is the bird a reliable witness?
    What are you doing with that knife?
  • Red Herring: In the second game, the final bits of evidence are red herrings based on Cliches. You instead have to locate them.
  • Schmuck Bait: When you pick up the whistle in the first game, the game asks, "I wonder what the whistle is for?" But if you blow it right away and go into the next room, you get killed by the dog. However, the whistle actually does have an important, positive use in the game.
  • Shout-Out: The old man in the basement/cave asks you several questions relating to The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Thankfully if you never saw them, then the help text will tell you the answers.
    • The opening theme music is a mishmash of both the "Dragnet March" and the synthesizer lick from Boz Scaggs' "Lido Shuffle."
    • The killer dog is accompanied by a brief clip of "(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window?".
    • In Whodunnit, the opening music is "English Country Garden", as the game is set in England. When Cousin Harry plays an organ, there is a PC-speaker rendition of Widor's Toccata, a well-known but notoriously difficult organ piece.
    • In the sequel Hugo's girlfriend Penelope saves The Doctor from a Dalek, confusing the hell out of a lot of stateside players who weren't familiar with British programming (the BBC America channel wouldn't exist for another seven years after the game, so Doctor Who was very much a niche fandom in the U.S. until then). In fact, a few strategy guides written at the time treat it as a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The only way to pass a rockfall is with dynamite. Trying to use the dynamite in any other part of the game brings the message "there is a time and place for everything, and clearly this is neither!".
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Typical for its genre and era, experimenting with items has a very high probability of resulting in death.
  • Twist Ending: The murder in the second game? That was actually Hugo's uncle and cousin rehearsing a play where they play the victim and killer, respectively.
  • The Unseen: Penelope is only seen as a silhouette in the first game, but gets an actual sprite in the second and third games. The end of the first game shows a heartwarming silhouette of Hugo and Penelope together.
  • Unwinnable by Design: In the second game, woe betide you if you get those matches wet when they accidentally drop into the water. The solution is to drop the matches, pick them up, drop them again, pick them up again... It is possible to get across the bridge without dropping the matches, if you walk across the bridge very carefully.
  • Voodoo Doll: In Hugo 3, the game directs you to make a clay model effigy of the witch doctor who has imprisoned you, and to stick a pin into it. (Interestingly, the game does not use the word "voodoo".)
  • We Were Rehearsing a Play: In the second game, when describing a certain event.
  • Witch Doctor: Hugo 3 features a witch doctor. If you look through the window of his hut, you see "the witch doctor, a cooking pot (big enough to put somebody in), and a cage for imprisoning people".
  • You Can't Get Ye Flask: Parodied:
    ->open bolt
    Please say "undo bolt".

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