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Video Game / Last Half of Darkness

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A series of PC horror adventure games from WRF Studios. Themes of voodoo and vampirism, spooky swamps, assorted creepy-crawlies, ruins, and dilapidated mansions are common to all games in the series, set in a "Black World" of gypsy curses and malignant shadow-spirits.

Most games in the series are traditional Myst-style point-and-click, whereas the original 1989 version is a picture-enhanced text-based scenario, and Society of the Serpent Moon employs a 3-D avatar protagonist. In a throwback to the early days of PC gaming, Last Half of Darkness CD-packs incorporate printed supplements that are necessary to decode in-game clues.

Entries in the series include:

  • Last Half of Darkness (1989)
  • Last Half of Darkness II (1992)
  • Last Half of Darkness III (1993)
  • Shadows of the Servants (2005)
  • Beyond the Spirit's Eye (2008)
  • Tomb of Zojir (2010)
  • Society of the Serpent Moon (2011)

The last four games are now available as a bundle on Steam, modified to eliminate the need for printed supplements.

Tropes used include:

  • Bat Scare: Several examples in the games, often involving cockroaches.
  • Beast in the Building: If you open a filing cabinet in the secret lab, the result of one of your aunt's experiments (a huge snake) kills you.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Tia's wish for revenge only made things worse for Shadowcrest.
  • The Big Easy: Servants is set in a mansion at the edge of a creepy "Black World"-infested New Orleans.
  • Body in a Breadbox: Billy finds a woman's corpse in a storage locker. You hallucinate finding one in a wardrobe in Tomb.
  • Driven to Suicide: Marcos tried to hang himself when he realized what he'd become but Tia's wish made the rope break.
  • Empty Piles of Clothing: All that's left of Sashia's entourage of masked undead women.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: In Last Half of Darkness, death can happen in the following ways, each to the PC speaker rendition of a funeral march:
    • If you open a coffin, a zombie inside tears you apart.
    • If you annoy a hooded figure with an axe, he holds up your heart.
    • If you try to take a caretaker's lantern, he buries you in the hole he is digging.
    • If you open a filing cabinet, the result of one of your aunt's experiments (a huge snake) turns you into a human pincushion.
    • If you try to sneak past a pair of ghost twin children, one of them stabs you to death, "enraged by the presence of an adult".
    • If you try to sneak past a huge dog, he rips your arm off.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Madame Ze instigated the horror in Shadowcrest so she could claim the Eye of Acareous and take control of its protecting spirits, but Tia sics the Guardians on her instead.
  • Fortune Teller: Two gypsy mystics provide clues in Tomb, and an automaton fortune-teller in a coin-operated booth does so in Servants and Spirit's Eye.
  • From Beyond the Fourth Wall:
    • The DVD editions use in-case supplemental documents as part of the scenario, and the later games even use markings on the disk itself as one of their clues.
    • Also, Shadows of the Servants's Mind Screw ending reveals that Mira "summoned" the protagonist and others to the mansion by putting the video game on the market.
  • Ghost Town: Shadowcrest, the town from Spirit's Eye, is almost totally deserted, for good reason. The city streets of Society aren't exactly deserted, but an alarming percentage of the locals whom Billy encounters are already dead or get murdered soon after.
  • Have a Nice Death: Dying in the second game makes you hear a weird "Good-bye! Hahahahahahahaha!"
  • Interactive Fiction: The 1989 original is a hybrid of text-based and point-and-click, with a menu to select commands.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Wendy in Society got herself kidnapped while investigating a story.
  • It Won't Turn Off: The faucets in Last Half of Darkness can be turned on, but attempting to turn them off gives the message "the water won't shut off".
  • Magic Antidote: You whip one up to treat yourself for snakebite in Tomb, and Billy finds some already-made in Society.
  • Magical Romani: The young fortune-teller in Tomb dresses in stereotypical "gypsy" clothes, although it's never explicitly stated that she's Romani. Tia claims that the letter-tile puzzle from Spirit's Eye is a ritual device used by Romani magic-practitioners.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Madame Ze set Marcos up to find the Eye of Acareous and unleash the curse, then tricks you into retrieving it so she can claim control over the Guardians.
  • Orifice Evacuation: In the opening cinematic for Society, the shadow of a snake emerging from the mouth of a female figure is seen.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: There's a monkey infected with vampirism in Shadows of the Servants. In Society, Sashia is said to be "a witch, a vampire, and a snake" all in one.
  • Prophet Eyes: Tia's eyes are pure white. Madame Ze's are white in Spirit's Eye; in Tomb, the improving graphics show that hers have pale blue sclera around white irises.
  • Raising the Steaks: A skeletal fish snaps at you from the fountain in Spirit's Eye.
  • Recorded Spliced Conversation: Billy from Society splices together some sound-clips from Wendy's laptop to fake a call from Bruce, drawing the bartender of the Blue Iguana away from his post.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Tomb plays it straight with the wolf, but subverts it with the elderly gypsy. The junkyard dog and vipers in Serpent Moon also. Also Wendy at the end.
  • Rollercoaster Mine: Averted; the mine cart ride in Spirit's Eye isn't particularly fast, although it is creepy.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The thieves who stole the gemstones from the Tomb of Zojir unleashed some pretty nasty supernatural threats into the world.
  • Shell Game: Win three rounds of one in Servants to get a spooky hint from the man in the black hat.
  • The Starscream: In Society, Bruce works for Sashia, but has been collecting the means to destroy her behind her back.
  • Stolen Good, Returned Better: In Servants, a dark creature snatches the seemingly-useless voodoo doll from your inventory. The doll turns up later in another room, and you can now remove its head to extract a key from inside.
  • Swallow the Key: In Servants, the doctor swallowed the key to a strongbox before she died. You can't open the box containing the ashes from her cremation, but can put it in the fireplace so everything except the key will be destroyed.
  • The Walls Have Eyes: A creepy box with an animated eye on each side appears in Spirit's Eye, as does a weird trinket of finger-bones surrounding an animated eye. In Tomb, there's a ring with a living eye in the middle.