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Video Game / One Night

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The One Night Trilogy (sometimes referred to simply as One Night, after the first game) is a series of freeware survivalHorror/adventure games created by Dark Gaia Studios (who later went on to write sci-fi novels) in RPG Maker VX, comprised of One Night (2008), One Night 2: The Beyond (2010) and One Night: Full Circle (2011). The three games, presented in non-chronological order (much like Yahtzee's Chzo Mythos) chronicle the struggles of a series of protagonists against a supernatural race known as Shadow People that attempt to undermine the human race. The series' story is known for being particularly complex and branches across multiple timelines and alternate dimensions, though it's mainly just an excuse for the horrors that the characters are subjected to, which, by RPG Maker standards, are pretty damn scary.

The One Night games are regarded by most as being some of the better horror games to come out of the RPG Maker scene, having been reviewed and featured in gaming magazines such as PC Gamer, as well as being the subject of several Let's Play videos, which usually involve people screaming incoherently into microphones with a shaky scare-cam. The first game is notable for being the very first survival horror game made in the engine. In 2012, the author of the games released polished versions of each one with rewritten dialogue and additional puzzles, and the games continue to be updated on a regular basis. The three games are free to download here.

A follow up to the series, titled One Night 4 was announced in early 2013. Funds for the game's development were raised through an Indiegogo campaign, and a playable demo of the game which includes the first area has since been released. Initial fan reaction is that the game is quite a departure from the original trilogy, though this seems to be intentional, as the developer has stated that he intends to give the series a graphical overhaul and reinvent the gameplay. However, it was ultimately cancelled, as the creator refocused on the Legionwood series.

The One Night games contain examples of these tropes:

    open/close all folders 

    Original trilogy 
  • Abandoned Laboratory: The original game takes place in 'The Complex', which is primarily a research facility, though also includes an office building and a prison.
  • Abandoned Hospital: You get to explore one in the third game.
    • Technically, it's not abandoned, but is 'has' been out of commission for several months by the time you get to it.
  • Action Survivor: All of the protagonists, especially those of the second game such as Sara, who writes books for a living.
    • Kind of subverted with Colt in One Night and One Night: Full Circle, given that he is a CIA agent, though he's arguably as unprepared for the events of the series as any other character.
      • Also kind of subverted with Tom in One Night: Full Circle, who's actually a shadow person and not even human.
  • Actionized Sequel: The third game is clearly more action focused than the first two games, with multiple equippable weapons and the ability to bludgeon random monsters.
    • Kind of subverted though, in that you get penalised for killing too many monsters.
  • A Friend in Need: In the first game, when Marchani appears to rescue you in the final boss fight and in One Night: Full Circle, if you get the good ending.
  • All There in the Manual: All three games include readme/manual files that have the answers to every puzzle.
  • Always Night: In all three games.
    • Except, it appears, in the endings.
  • Anyone Can Die: And they often do.
  • Apocalyptic Log: You can find several of these in all three games.
    • You also save your game in the second and third games by recording your experiences on a notepad or a computer, respectively.
  • Asshole Victim: Marchani in One Night.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Electric Saw weapon in One Night: Full Circle. It's cool and extremely powerful, but it only has a few limited uses and you get it so close to the end of the game that it doesn't really matter, anyway.
    • Kind of fixed in the updated version of the game that was released on Desura so that the player can find a Battery Pack that restores the saw's power. Said Battery Pack is hidden out of the way in an easily miss-able optional room, however.
  • Back from the Dead: The hanged man enemy in the second game.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: If you get the bad ending in the third game, it's made pretty clear that this is what happens.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: The pale enemies in the first and third game have these.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Tom and Tera in the third game, who are shadow people siblings and also the children of John Faraday who is a human who was possessed at the end of The Beyond.
  • Big Bad: In the first game, it's Castoth, who is also the Big Bad in Dark Gaia's Legionwood and in the second and third games, the shadow people fill this role.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Depends on which ending you get, though all of the endings are arguably this to some degree.
  • Body Horror: Several of the monsters, notably the pale baby things in the first and third game, and the scorpion-man in the second game.
  • Cat Scare: Several, with the most memorable being the rats in One Night 2 and the wine bottle scares in both the first and second games.
  • Creepy Doll: The teddy bear in the second game.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Colt in One Night: Full Circle.
  • Curiosity Killed the Cast: Pretty much explains every death that occurs in the second game.
  • Dead All Along: Played cleverly with your partner character in The Beyond, who in a particularly memorable scene is revealed to have died days before you entered the house, and you've been talking to an impersonation the whole time.
  • Death Seeker: Colt in Full Circle, mainly because of Survivor Guilt.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: In the second game, you can't get the good endings unless you complete the game with less than 3 saves, within a time limit, and using 2 or less first aid kits.
  • Easter Egg: Examine a barrel in the 1F East Hall in the second game 30 times and you'll get to see one.
  • Eldritch Location: The other side of the "merge" in the first game and the pocket dimension in between timelines at the end of Full Circle.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You
    • Subverted in the third game, though with good reason, considering the protagonist is a shadow person.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: While the games each have multiple endings only the bad/depressing ones are canon.
  • Fate Worse than Death: This is what happened to the people of the Complex in the first game, with those who didn't survive the initial catastrophe being turned into monsters that can't die.
    • Played straight with Tiffany in the third game.
  • Gender-Restricted Ability: In the second game, John has higher strength while Sara can solve puzzles easier.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Colt tries this with Marchani in the first game, but it doesn't really work.
  • Golden Ending: Possible in the first game if you save both Marchani and Tiffany. It's also possible in the second game, but considering the "good endings" in The Beyond are considered non-canon though, it undermines the concept a bit.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: The plot of the first and third games are based around this.
  • Healing Spring: Not the literal sort, though the bowls of water you use to heal up in The Beyond and Full Circle probably count.
  • Haunted Mansion: The second game is set in one.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Marchani thinks he's doing this in One Night and, depending on what your ending is, this could be you in the third game.
  • Jump Scare: Many examples in all three games. Shadows come at you through walls, monsters burst through doors, windows break as you walk past and the first game has an unlockable mode where Flash-game style faces jump up at you at random points while you play.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Choosing the wrong dialogue responses and killing too many enemies in Full Circle can lock you out of the good ending.
  • Late to the Tragedy: The protagonists of the third game get to Stillwater a good three months after the population has already been wiped out by monsters and the town left abandoned.
  • Life Meter
  • Living Shadow: They're the main antagonists of the series.
  • Locked Door: Averted in The Beyond, where you just bash several doors down. This mechanic is removed in the third game though, so you have to go back to finding those keys.
  • Mind Screw: The storyline of the third game, which takes place in an alternate timeline created within another alternate timeline where time crashed because someone was screwing with the events of the first game.
  • Multiple Endings: One Night has 3 endings, The Beyond has a whopping 4 different endings and Full Circle has two.
    • though the canon ones are usually the bad endings.
  • Only Smart People May Pass: Many of the puzzles fall under this trope. It's common for many people to be unable to solve them without looking up answers in the manual.
  • New Game Plus: In the first game, you unlock codes to use on subsequent playthroughs that unlock extra game modes, including an extra hard mode and a jump scare mode.
  • Non-Specifically Foreign: Alex Marchani in the first game. It's implied through his name that he is of some kind of European descent, though it's not clear which since Marchani itself seems to be an amalgam of different languages, sounding Spanish and Italian at the same time.
  • Not a Zombie: The mutated prison inmates in One Night.
  • Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: The shadow people themselves. Turns out they're only taking over Earth because they've run out of food and are on the verge of extinction.
  • Notice This: All items in the games appear only as nondescript sparkles and must be picked up to be identified.
  • Relationship Values: In the third game, these can determine whose side you end up on in the ending.
  • RPG Elements: Not so much in the original game, but The Beyond and Full Circle both have HP and menu based battles.
    • Not to mention the dialogue options in the third game, which don't often show up in survival horror games.
  • Shout-Out: An Umbrella Corporation logo in the hospital in Full Circle.
  • Story Breadcrumbs: While you can get a basic understanding of the games just from the cutscenes alone, many of the optional files and memos contain valuable background details.
  • Survival Horror
    • Not so much the second game though, which is more of a slow paced adventure game.
  • Survivor Guilt: This is what draws Colt to Stillwater in third game.
  • Tactical Door Use: Played straight, as monsters generally can't open doors...except for the stalker monsters (though they often only do so in scripted occasions).
  • Take Me Instead: In the first game, Colt wishes this if you don't save Tiffany.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: You can bring this about in the third game, depending on your ending.
  • The Faceless: The stalker monsters in the first and third game are this.
    • Seemingly subverted in the trailer for One Night 4, where the stalker monster more resembles a certain purple troll from another popular horror game...
  • Time Travel
  • Updated Re-release: All three of the games received this treatment at least once.
    • The most notable being the third game, where a re-release added about two hours of new content and renamed the game from One Night 3 to One Night: Full Circle.
  • Was Once a Man: Most of the monsters in the series.
  • What Could Have Been: According to an easter egg in One Night 2, and an old forum post Dark Gaia originally developed a sequel called One Night: Isolation to follow up the first game. It was supposed to take place after the first game and explore the origins of the merge that Marchani caused, but Dark Gaia felt that it wasn't different enough to its prequel, so he re-worked it into The Beyond. Most of its plot points and some of its assets ended up being re-used in One Night: Full Circle.
  • Who Forgot The Lights?: This is a common complaint about all three of the games. Generally, visibility seems to be just fine but on some of the less-bright computer monitors getting around can be a real pain.
  • Wistful Amnesia: Happens in Sara's bad ending in The Beyond.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Kind of, in the third game, though the monsters aren't really zombies - though they have killed everybody and laid waste to an entire town.

    One Night 4 
  • All Just a Dream: The main bulk of the game (at least in the demo) takes place in a nightmarish otherworld that the player gains access to by going to sleep in their apartment. They can also "wake up" at any time to return to said apartment to save the game.
  • Darker and Edgier: Even though the previous games were pretty dark to begin with, One Night 4 somehow seems to be even darker, and the themes hinted at by the plot are A LOT heavier than the likes of the original trilogy.
    • Not to mention that the player's ability to fight enemies has been removed.
      • And the shift to psychological horror rather than Resident Evil style horror, which makes for more messed up and bizarre situations in game.
  • Doomed by Canon: The demo is littered with references to the previous games in the series that indicate what the canon events of those games really are. For example, there's a painting in Gordon's apartment that suggests that the Bad Ending of One Night: Full Circle is the canon one when you examine it.
  • Driven to Suicide: The files you can find in the School World suggest this about Jessica, who had a crush on Gordon but killed herself when he rejected her.
    • Though she did apparently get revenge on him by getting him fired from his job first.
  • Drop-In Nemesis: The dream monster.
  • Eldritch Location: The dream world, which is kinda based on the real world, but ends up being a darker, creepier, more abandoned version of it.
  • Gaiden Game: According to its description on the Indiegogo page, One Night 4 is intended to be one and doesn't directly follow the events of the previous games.
  • Guns Are Useless: Sure, you can find one in the School World, but the only real use it has is to blow a lock off of a door, and is tossed away right after.
  • Hub Level: Gordon's apartment.
  • Jump Scare: Though there's surprisingly a lot less of them than in the previous three games.
  • Left Hanging: The playable portion of the demo ends like this, with Peter bursting into the room and shooting the player before he can finish getting answers out of Jessica.
  • Nostalgia Level: The game's intro takes place in a prison very similar to a certain level of One Night 1.
  • Shout-Out: A whole bunch to the previous games are scattered around everywhere (such as being able to play the save room themes from the old games on Gordon's stereo), though there are obvious Silent Hill leanings too, particularly to the fourth one, which is also about a guy trapped in an apartment exploring horrible dream worlds.
  • Story Breadcrumbs: Many of the optional memos scattered around the school reveal interesting details about Gordon's life and the reason he's been summoned to the dream world. Not reading them means you'll miss most of it.
  • Tactical Door Use: Averted. Unlike in previous games, the enemy doesn't hesitate to come through doors after you.