Narcosis is a First-Person Survival Horror game developed by the studio Honor Code and released on March 28th, 2017 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
You work as an engineer at Oceanova, a cutting-edge undersea methane-mining complex over two miles down and thousands of miles from shore, when an 8.0 earthquake hits 50 miles away, sending shock waves and currents that devastate the mining complex. This makes life more difficult.
As you to struggle to make your way through the crumbling habitats and methane fields to find other survivors and a means of escape, you need to contend with a variety of hazards. Whether it's breached methane pipes or the unforgiving deep sea environment, from agitated wildlife to narcosis-and-stress-induced hallucinations, it won't be easy getting to the surface.
Fortunately, you're wearing an ADS, a high-tech, heavy-duty industrial dive suit with flares, flashlights, and thrusters - cheerfully nicknamed a walking coffin. Of course, with oxygen at a premium and the situation swiftly going From Bad to Worse, your survival isn't guaranteed, and that nickname may prove to be more fitting than you'd like...
Tropes represented in this game include:
- 20 Minutes into the Future: Most of the technology is everything that presently exists. The two biggest exceptions are the ADS, which is almost like a man-sized quasi-submersible with sophisticated displays, and the sprawling Oceanova complex with transit subs and two massive habitats, intended to accommodate a crew of 75.
- Advancing Wall of Doom: At several points, you'll need to outrun super-cooled water flooding through the narrow hallways of the habitats, courtesy of burst methane pipes.
- Ambiguous Situation: You come across Cora Van Der Rhoe's dive suit, sprawled out against a rock after the sub crash. Your character doesn't know why she wasn't able to make it after she came so far, and speculates that it was an "internal issue". You can hear her begging for help after you take her oxygen, which may or may not be a hallucination.
- Kip's novel reveals she had a mental breakdown after a cuttlefish attack, meaning there's a good chance she is alive at that point.
- Character Narrator: The game is interspersed with segments of an interview, which takes place after the events of the game. The segments serve to give you insight into the character's feelings in the moment, as well as the personal aftermath of the disaster. You would be forgiven for thinking he's the same character you're playing as.
- Diabolus ex Machina: Twice. First with the submarine collision, just as you're escaping, which kills two other survivors. Kip lampshades this in the interview, mentioning the absolutely astronomical odds of finding anyone, let alone literally running into them. The only reason they even returned was because someone sent out a distress call, something the player has no knowledge of. The second is Kip initiating the escape pod launch mere seconds before you arrive, leaving a good half-minute for you to contemplate your fate as the sub launches, because the sequence can't be aborted or delayed.
- Failure-to-Save Murder: Kip Mattas accidentally leaves you behind, after you arrive at the escape pod less than 30 seconds too late.
- Foreshadowing: At one point during the interview, the survivor is asked if he panicked during the ordeal, to which he replies that he managed to stay calm and stick to his training. This occurs after several scenes where you've been tripping balls and are clearly freaking out the whole time. This is an early hint that the person giving the interview isn't the person you're playing as.
- Giant Enemy Crab: Giant man-sized Spider Crabs living on the ocean floor comprise one of the major obstacles you'll encounter. They kill you on contact due to being strong enough to penetrate your suit's faceplate with their legs.
- Giant Squid: There are two instances in the game where you see a really big squid swimming overhead and gone into the darkness. It never attacks you. Its just there to creep you out.
- Idiosyncratic Menu Labels: The game has "Commence" for New Game, "Event Log" for Chapter Select and "Power Down" for Quit.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Later in the game, you'll frequently see a glowing diver in old-fashioned diving suit leading you to safety. It's left ambiguous whether this is a spirit guiding you home or a narcosis-induced hallucination. It's your grandfather's suit, and after you're inadvertently left behind by Kip he accompanies you as you wait for your oxygen to run out.
- Meaningful Name: One of the Oceanova crew is a Frenchman named V. Faille. He's you, and you fail to make it to the escape pod before Kip activates it.
- No Name Given: For most of the game, you have no idea who your character is. This is a key element of the plot twist. Near the end of the game, there are only two possible survivors you could be - and it's becoming increasingly clear you're not the one giving the interview...
- Oxygen Meter: Your diving suit has a built-in oxygen meter, giving you the percentage left in your tanks. Unfortunately, due to lack of maintenance, it drops rather quickly. Low oxygen will cause hallucinations, on top of those already caused by the nitrogen narcosis. Additionally, being in frightening or tense situations will cause your oxygen intake rate to rise, draining your tank more quickly.
- Shout-Out: One crewmember's room has a poster from a Kirby game, as well as the game A Normal Lost Phone.
- Sole Survivor: Out of the 20 members of the Oceanova crew, only one survives to tell the tale after braving the myriad hazards of the deep sea. And he's not you.
- Survivor's Guilt: Averted. The character giving the interview claims that he doesn't really feel any lasting trauma from the ordeal, although he does express regret at accidentally leaving you to die after starting the escape pod launch sequence a few seconds too soon.
- Tentacled Terror: You'll frequently run into large, aggressive squid who will latch onto your helmet and hit you repeatedly should you give them the chance. While they don't do too much damage, they'll cause you to panic, which will drop your oxygen very fast.