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Video Game / Klaus

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Klaus in his promo art.
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Klaus is a 2016 video game created by La Cosa Entertainment for the PS4, described as an existential platformer. You guide Klaus, an amnesiac who’s awoken alone in a red basement, in his attempt to find out what's going on and how to get out of the facility. Along the way Klaus slowly starts to piece together who he is through memories that are hidden throughout the levels. He is later joined by K1, and between the two playable characters you must solve puzzles using their individual abilities.

Not to be confused with the comic book by Grant Morrison, which reimagines the origin story of Santa Claus.


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Klaus contains examples of:

  • Abandoned Laboratory: Seemingly.
  • After the End: Klaus Sr's several comments that there's nothing outside of the facility, as well as the tumultuous storms assaulting the skyline imply something happened out there.
    • Klaus in the regular ending says "Look at all these ruins. Is this what's become of society?"
    • The other skyscrapers seen outside the blue level windows occasionally have pockmarks in them, reminiscent of an air raid.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Klaus' last words in the game: "I'll see you on the other side..." Which leads directly into La Cosa's short film, The Other Side.
  • Arc Words: "I remember this."
    • "Who am I?" and variants tend to come up a lot as well as Klaus trying to answer that question.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Klaus and K1 have a few snide remarks about each other but they’re always glad when they meet up again after being separated.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: The Player is always watching and in control. So is Klaus Sr.
  • Character Title: Klaus is the main character.
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  • Clone Army: There have been tens, if not hundreds, of Klaus(es) before the one we follow, as well as all the K2000s made before. They don't seem to have been built specifically for combat so much as a white-collar daily grind.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Each floor is painted differently: the basement is Red, the vents are Green, the offices are Blue, the Electric Floor is Purple, and the rooftops are white. The characters also have color motifs: K1 is Red (his basement home and location of his boss fight) Klaus is Purple (his favorite color and the location of his boss fight), Klaus Sr is blue, for his sweater and office, and Julia is Green/Pink (her first and last appearances).
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: While never outright stated, Cornelio preferring to put humans in obviously dangerous situations rather than employ a robot (considering Klaus mentioning they didn’t pay too much, likely to cut costs) suggests they were rather shady.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Thrown into spikes, torn up by sawblades, crushing pistons, being punched to death, Hollywood Acid, Sliced up by a fan, falling off the screen, hit in the head with a coffee cup, electrocuted, and getting smashed by a giant robot, to name a few. The Memory deaths can get even more surreal in their depictions.
  • Deadly Disc: The Red levels have several circular sawblades.
  • Death Is Cheap: Lampshaded by Klaus a few times about how 'you only live once' doesn't really apply to him.
  • Disappeared Dad: K1 mentions his father throughout the blue levels, and at the end Klaus finds his father's former office. In the True Ending, he's the final boss.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Klaus' reaction to the electricity on the Electric floor is heavily reminiscent of getting a high, complete with allusions to withdrawal symptoms.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: The Basement alone is massive.
  • Fighting Your Friend: K1 has to fight Klaus at the end of the purple levels.
  • The Genie Knows Jack Nicholson: Klaus has a good idea of pop culture, most notably singing Electric Feel during the purple levels.
  • Grew Beyond Their Programming
  • Hollywood Acid: The Green levels employ this.
  • Hostile Show Takeover: Klaus breaks free of Player's control and later becomes overcharged.
  • Interface Screw: Klaus' adventures through his memories, and later the game's code.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Klaus makes note of video game mechanics like the save points, you pressing buttons, and gives Player their nickname, but it's never actually addressed if he knows he's in a video game.
  • The Many Deaths of You: Klaus can die many times in creative ways and keep coming back for more.
  • Mega-Corp: Korp as a whole, and maybe Cornelio as well.
  • Meaningful Background Event: Klaus' boss battle is located in the very same room K1 got overcharged.
    • Earlier, 6he skyline of the outside world can be seen from the windows in the blue levels, where a massive thunderstorm rages. It's subtle, but this is your first glimpse that the city outside is in ruins.
  • Minimalist Cast: Only four named characters, not counting the K2000s or Player.
  • Missing Mom: K1 accidentally kills Julia in a workplace accident that causes Klaus Sr. to abandon him in the Basement.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Klaus, K1, and the K2000s are all taken out with one hit.
  • Plot-Driven Breakdown: The building seems to crumble at just the right time to make sure only Klaus moves ahead.
  • Puzzle Game
  • The Reveal: Several, including but not limited to pretty much every memory sequence, Klaus coming upon the corpses of dead clones, K1 revealing his backstory, and Klaus Sr’s appearance in the true ending.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: K1 is the red to Klaus' blue. Klaus is the red to Klaus Sr's blue as well.
  • Robot Names: Played straight, alongside the Human Names variation.
  • "Second Law" My Ass!: Klaus, continually. Turned Up to Eleven when he starts messing with the game controls to disobey your inputs.
  • Shout-Out: Klaus' knowledge of pop culture and Leaning on the Fourth Wall tendencies result in quite a few.
    • There are multiple references to music: Kraftwerk notably gets two, in The Vents and later in a memory. When Klaus tries to teach K1 to say his name, K1, Obfuscating Stupidity, says 'Kraft' instead. In the memory, Klaus passes by a scene of him recreating the infamous The Man Machine album art.
    • Klaus also sings MGMT's Electric Feel during the purple levels.
    • One of the chapter cards in the true ending reads Robot After All, a reference to Daft Punk's Human After All.
    • KLAUS also references a lot of other video games. After the sound of the lady crying was revealed to be a tape on loop, Klaus says "The girl is a lie!", a reference to Portal's The Cake Is a Lie.
    • Shortly after, upon seeing K1’s silhouette, he says “That shadow was Colossus!” referencing Shadow of the Colossus.
    • In the last level before the K1 boss fight, the layout looks strikingly similar to the Donkey Kong platforms and ladders.
    • Klaus, upon getting used to K1’s company, quips “sure you’re Ken?” referring to Street Fighter.
    • The chapter card for one of the Advancing Wall of Doom levels reads Marathon Man.
    • In the first memory sequence, provided you get all the secrets, Klaus as a young boy can be seen reading. The text is small, but in fact he’s reading Orwell’s 1984.
    • Klaus' last name being Spiegel and a woman from his past being named Julia is a reference to Cowboy Bebop.
    • A title card reads Big Boss.
  • Spikes of Doom: These are all over the place.
  • Suspicious Video Game Generosity: Whenever there’s a slew of checkpoints, you know you're in for a challenge.
  • Temporary Platform: Of the crumbling variety.
  • Title Drop: It's the character's name so this is kind of a given.
  • True Companions: Klaus calls both Player and K1 this.
  • Wham Line: I'm just another Klaus.
  • White and Grey Morality: Every motive by the antagonists during their arcs aren’t even really evil—they're acting out of ignorance, fear and/or desperation, respectively.

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