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Our Darker Purpose is an Action Roguelike, developed by Avidly Wild Games and released on January 29th, 2014 for PC on Steam.
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It takes place in the Edgewood Home for Lost Children. As creepy as the place is, things get worse when the teachers vanish, leaving the children in charge. Things go extremely badly as the children divide into violent gangs fighting one another and the various horrors of Edgewood, all overseen by mysterious (and extremely mean-spirited) Administrators.

The game follows Cordy, a shy girl who survived the initial slaughter by hiding under a bookcase, and is attempting to make her way up the building. While inspired by The Binding of Isaac, it adds RPG elements — both short-term (experience points) and long-term (every run, even failed ones — and there will be many failed ones — provides credits to give Cordy new abilities), and detailed journal entries on Cordy's past and various foes.

The game also features a Show Within a Show in the form of the Shuddering Jim books you can find. There are enough tropes in those to warrant their separate section.

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The main game provides examples of:

  • 1-Up: Reading The Tell-Tale Extra Heart book at level-up reduces health by a quarter, but grants an extra life. The Five People You Meet in Edgewood gives a whole 5 extra lives, but also slashes health by 75%.
  • Alpha Bitch: Regan is head of the popular clique...
    • Academic Alpha Bitch: But also a skilled and powerful sorceress in her own right. One of the early bosses ("Some Harmless Markings") is purely her creation, and it's implied she was responsible for "Some Friendly Footstools" assembling into a monster as well. Every single case of students getting replaced by their clones may have also been her way of eliminating rivals.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: to the point of Everything Trying to Kill You. There are spider-like desks, a soul-stealing chandelier, a pot of gruel, two cardboard dragons, a balloon, a collaboration of elevator parts, a grandfather clock and so on. Notably, most of these possessed objects are bosses.
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  • Ankle Drag: Done in a disturbing way, not that you'd expect anything less, with Cyndar's Timekeeper. A long thin chain is said to have been creeping through Edgewood before catching up to Cyndar, an orphan the clock appeared alongside on the doorstep. When it reached him, it dragged him into its gears.
  • Artificial Stupidity: All of the enemies have pretty simple AI, as many of the basic Broggs are not even trying to target Cordy in particular and just shoot randomly. Even the more advanced enemies are limited to a single attack type: Chair Hurlers will always throw a chair up in the air to land right where Cordy was last time, and will not even try to kick Cordy or just slam a chair into her, even is she's right next to them.
    • Some of the ranged enemy types like Chalk Clappers, Globethrowers and aforementioned Chair Hurlers just stand in place and are completely immobile, while even the enemies that move (including bosses), make no attempt to dodge your projectiles, even if you shoot from the other side of the room, giving them plenty of time to dodge.
    • Shadowdropper Capulets' main trick is to disappear under the floor for a few seconds after firing off a burst, with only their hair sticking out to indicate where they are going to re-emerge. Their movements while beneath the floor are completely random, however, and they may even end up popping up right in front of Cordy, to predictably get shot to pieces.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: It's suggested from the Shuddering Jim lore that Edgewood is a reconstruction of the Bandit's Freudian Excuse, and the adults disappearing are a sign of him finally falling apart. We think. It's all quite confusing.
    • One huge clue supporting this interpretation is that while Shuddering Jim is described in-universe as a bumbling fool who is constantly mocked and only escapes death through increasingly unlikely happenstance, the excerpts you find actually paint him as a competent and resourceful if put-upon investigator with the respect of his peers who comes closer and closer to catching the Bandit every time.
  • The Beautiful Elite: All enemies of the Capulets faction are the preppy, pretty/handsome kids, and some manner of magician, including their enslaved Feral minions (who shoot Energy Balls instead of gaining Super Speed).
  • Black Humor: Much of the Administrators' floor descriptions are darkly comedic, due to their increasingly thin attempts to pretend Edgewood is just fine, and all its murderous qualities either don't exist, or are exaggerated. See Blatant Lies below.
  • Blackout Basement: Nearly all the rooms in the game are unlit; while a large circle around Cordy is automatically lit up, that still leaves about half of a typical room in darkness.
    • There's also an occasional [Underlit] floor modifier, which makes everything even darker. Administrators comment on it with "For some reason, light doesn't travel very far on this floor. At least, none of you will have to look at each other." Of course, darkness doesn't affect enemies' accuracy at all, so it's exclusively a problem for you.
  • Blatant Lies: Pretty much everything the Administrators say about Edgewood's "good qualities" in the level descriptions is this, combined with ample qualities of Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick.
    • Brogg space descriptions: "The stairs are littered with rags and scraps of paper, signs of a Brogg encampment. Chunks of the banister are missing and someone's been prying up the nails from the floor. Hunger and desperation have driven these students to hunt in packs with improvised weapons. Stay away from the shadows and you'll be fine. We assure you that these are some of the friendliest students at Edgewood."
    • Woundwort space descriptions: "The threatening drawings on the steps above look rather recent, as do the poorly spelled messages carved into the steps. Are those shards of bone scattered across the wood? No, surely not. Despite their reputation, we're sure that you'll find Woundworts to be generous hosts, providing that they don't see, hear, or smell you."
    • Capulet space descriptions: "The steps are covered in arcane chalk symbols. Don't worry, they are likely benign. The Capulets are known for making fellow students feel welcome, and any accusations of magical experiments are not only unfounded, but hurtful. We assure you that almost all of the passerby they have captured are still alive, in a fashion, and we expect that you'll be treated just as well in spite of your shortcomings."
    • Classroom floor description: "The staircase ahead leads to a classroom floor. These spaces represent the heart of Edgewood's mission, which is to instill its students with the values and skills to avoid the mistakes of their predecessors. Recent events have supposedly compromised the quality of a small number of the classrooms, with complaints concerning the integrity of the walls and chalkboards, but the rooms are still more than sufficient to server their educational purposes."
    • Kitchen floor description: "The staircase ahead leads to a kitchen floor. These represent the social center of the house, where students gather together to cook and serve each other food. Wether tossing knives to each other to set the table or balancing a cauldron of boiling stew, they approach their tasks with an anxious energy. Shirkers are encouraged to join in by their peers, as none want to risk time in one of the iceboxes. The kitchens, perhaps more than any other area, represent a triumph for Edgewood's values."
    • Dorm floor description: "The staircase ahead leads to a dormitory floor. Edgewood is a home as well as a school. While the accommodations may seem spartan, each student has abundant space to rest and socialize. Much ado has been made about furniture re-arranging itself in the night, thumps and hisses emanating from closets, spectral hands creeping across the floor, and so on. Such stories are a testament to a charming, though somewhat derivative, imaginations of our students."
    • Terrace descriptions: "The staircase ahead abruptly changes from wood to stone halfway up, indicating a terrace floor. The terraces are a recreational area for the students, where they can admire the sweeping vistas and the carnivorous flowers that line the balconies. Birds of prey are seldom seen at these altitudes, and in any event can only carry off one child at the time. Edgewood's various seasonal festivities generally take place on the terraces, to the dismay of the attendees."
      • This also applies to the names of the bosses: Some Harmless Markings is a series of cursed chalkboards that all shoot projectiles, and when you hit the right one, a chalky outline of a girl emerges and starts stalking and attacking you in the room. Sudsy the Inanimate is a dragon statue made out of ice that is anything but inanimate, The Friendly Foot Stools form a snake that only dies when its head is destroyed, etc.
  • Blindfolded Vision: Swirler Capulets are blindfolded, but will nevertheless track your position perfectly well.
  • Blob Monster: So-called Kitchen Slimes are green blobs that bounce around and attack in packs. Large groups of these frequently appear in the challenge rooms, where your goal is not kill them all, but survive for about a dozen seconds before they all go away.
    • On Hard Mode, Leaper Broggs will also summon a weaker variety of these whenever they jump.
  • Boss Arena Idiocy: For some reason, Cyndar's Timekeeper boss can't resist creating bubbles where "time speeds up" - i.e. where Cordy's fire rate is greatly boosted once she steps inside. Granted, its own attacks will also be faster: however, given its huge health pool, both compared to Cordy and to the other bosses, the benefit to her is still far greater.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Justified for Cordy, since she's essentially casting fireballs. Much harder to justify for some of the enemies: Woundwort Chair Hurlers and Globethrowers only ever seem to have one of their titular projectiles at any given time, yet they can still spam them infinitely.
  • Chaos Architecture: As one would expect given both the genre and the setting; and it's reported to only get worse as you go.
  • Collision Damage: Pretty much all of the enemies will inflict this. There are still exceptions, though, like the Cauldron Of Yesterdayers.
  • Cool Old Guy: Elderly Mr. L, one of the teachers at the very beginning whose disappearance in part led to the kids taking the school.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The onslaught of the quiet kids, which ended with a bookcase crushing them. While Cordy survived the bookcase, it concluded with her being able to speak. Or, well, throw fire at stuff.
  • Crapsack World: The Edgewood orphanage has always been horrific. Even before the teachers left and students started murdering each other a la Lord of the Flies, it was still a place where the only food consisted of potatoes that had to be cooked by the students themselves, with those shirking their duties fed yesterday's gruel, which invariably gave them anything from fever to psychic rage if they actually ate it. (Since the gruel somehow becomes sentient if left overnight, with a large cauldron being one of the bosses, and vines on the terrace that had a lot of gruel poured over them entangling themselves around rubble and forming another boss.) Meanwhile, the only counselor is a useless scarecrow and the malady ward is never open, because its doctor is too busy animating burlap dummies instead. Then, a whole dormitory outright vanished (which was preceded by collective nightmares that were promptly ignore by the Administrators), and Cordy may only encounter it as a late-game boss, students turned to statues. Other students may encounter doppelgangers who'll eventually kill them and take their place. Students' own creations also went rogue to make things: from the two dragon statue bosses that regularly kill children (to the point there are "seasonal patterns" for the first of them), to Regan's "harmless" chalkboard markings and footstools enchanted to create a snake-like monster.
    • However, the outside world is actually worse. While the students are actually allowed to leave the building and explore the countryside, no-one is foolish enough to try. Merely going onto the building's terraces is a huge risk because of the enormous eagles that regularly fly off with the students who are sent to maintain the roof (and clear the poisonous, spitting moonflowers that regularly grow there.) The hills near Edgewood have plenty of other monsters in them - the description for a telescope item states that the student who had it was so horrified by whatever he saw through it in the hills that he's lost the ability to speak.
  • Critical Hit: Any one of your shots can score these. Items and perks that raise these can outright make just about every hit into one and turn the game into a cakewalk.
  • Deal with the Devil: The Chandelier boss grants whatever written request is thrown into its candles, but takes some unknown payment from the student who threw it in. Understandably, most students don't do it, and warn the ones that do.
  • A Degree in Useless: "Class Schedule" is an in-game mechanic to apply modifiers, as the lesson you are supposed to be studying while fighting your peers changes some things about the level. Some of the classes are outright useless academically, like "Crowns", which costs 150 Tuition: "Mostly focused on looking at pictures of famous crowns. No lecture, theory or discussion permitted. Bears no relation to any other kind of course, past, present or future." In-game, however, it raises by 50% your chances of encountering champion enemies, who'll always drop some useful item at death.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: All of the level-up books have purely black-and-white covers. The game itself has a limited color palette.
  • Deflector Shields: Capulet Reflectors can temporarily cocoon themselves in these. Gifted's Teslatanks can also create these, though theirs don't work against piercing shots, or effects like instant death.
  • Doppelgänger Attack: Regan can create copies of herself who, like her, can also fire projectiles.
  • Dual Boss: After the Cauldron Of Yesterdayers boss reaches 50% health, a second version of him appears, called "A Second Helping", who is weaker, but has a separate healthbar and needs to be defeated as well. Hard Mode throws "A Third Helping" in the mix as well.
  • Dual Wielding: Goneril fights with two mallets.
  • Dumb Muscle: The Woundworts.
  • Eat That: The description for Better Bug Collection item: "James W's bug collection put the rest of yours to shame. Now, please vote on who eats the bugs." Gameplay-wise, though, it instantly levels up Cordy after the next room, so, uh, thanks Administrators?
  • Eldritch Abomination: Your Caring Friends, the group of enemies encountered on the Library floors.
  • Eldritch Location: Edgewood, given its tendency to animate inanimate objects and its shifting geometries.
  • Everything Fades: Unlike The Binding of Isaac, where cleared rooms were often left absolutely splattered in blood and/or other fluids, here the defeated enemies and bosses will quickly disappear with no trace left of them.
  • Evil Counterpart: Two of these act as bosses. The first, A Buoyant Double, is a balloon that only somewhat resembles Cordy, and does not have any similar attacks. The second is Better Cordy, who is better in personality (nicer, prettier, etc.) and gameplay (she's stronger and faster than upupgraded Cordy, attacking with doubled fireballs and using stronger chalk clouds, as well as having more juice boxes to heal with).
  • Evil Redhead: All of the Capulet enemies besides the Levitator are red-headed. So are the Tackdropper Broggs.
  • Evil Sorcerer: The Capulets and their leader, Regan. Who are also the popular kids.
  • Evil Teacher/Apathetic Teacher: Almost averted, actually. Many of the teachers were actually nice to the students, barring Dr. Bloodfather and the Head of Punishment. The higher-ups were the ones who ignored terrible happenings and berated students for their justified fears.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Lots of students have fallen victim to this due to the things going on in Edgewood. The Obsolete Operator is implied to be in this situation as well.
  • Flunky Boss: Goneril hides behind her Woundworts until her fortress is sufficiently devastated.
    • As befits a Final Boss His Natural Defences can summon literally every other enemy type in the game. After all, it's strongly implied to be the last shreds of sanity of the person whose mind spawned the entire Edgewood.
  • Friendly Fireproof: None of your enemies will ever end up hurting each other with their attacks.
  • From Bad to Worse: The adults disappearing — as terrible as they were, they provided some semblance of order.
  • Funny Background Event: The conversations between the background furniture in the rooms. They may even go on unperturbed while you and the other kids are fiercely trying to kill each other.
  • Gainax Ending: After His Natural Defenses is destroyed, Cordy finds herself exiting the building, surrounded by other Cordys, who are tearing down the fence surrounding Edgewood. As all this is happening, someone is heard laughing uncontrollably with people holding them down.
    • If you've been reading the lore, it's suggested that this is the Bandit, main villain of the Shuddering Jim series, finally cracking into useless insanity after he got injected with the chemical he himself commissioned to destroy mind's "natural defences.
  • Gameplay Grading: You get a scorecard from the Administrators every time you complete the level, which takes into account number of enemies killed, damage taken, time taken to complete the level, and number of challenges completed. You'll get base credits (which are spent in the shops, etc.) either way, but grades above a D result in a report card bonus. Either way, however, the comments on the card are exactly like what you would expect from the Administrators.
    • D: "Ew, that ragged thing is still alive?"
    • C: "Allowing it to continue would be cruel."
    • B: "Boorish or Boring?"
    • A: "That floor was too easy. Next time, set it on fire."
  • Giant Mook: Most of the Woundwort enemies are these. Interestingly, their boss, Goneril, is actually smaller than all of them bar the Collared Ferals, and maybe the Chalk Clappers.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Downplayed in the description for Eugene's Telescope item (which gives 20% range gameplay-wise): "We don't know what he saw with it in the hills. If he learns to speak again, you can ask him."
  • Goth Spirals: Found everywhere, most notable for forming eyes for the heart above the player's health.
  • Hand Blast: Cordy attacks by shooting fireballs from her palms.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Players heal 5 Health through eating Cookies, and 20 health with Juice Boxes.
  • I Am A Humanitarian: Some of the Administrator remarks imply that the enemy students will literally eat you, or at least the Broggs and the Woundworts will. Though, everything they say to Cordy is to be taken with a pile of salt.
    • Their description for The Tell-Tale Extra Heart level-up book implies that in reality, Cordy dug up that heart under the floorboards, and then ate it to get an extra life.
  • An Ice Person: Sudsy the Inanimate is an Ice Dragon statue built by students that came to life. It fires a lot more projectiles then the other bosses of its level, but also automatically receives critical hits from all of your fireballs.
    • Later on, the Levitator Capulets will launch ice crystals directly at your location. If these crystals miss, they'll then shatter into several smaller ones upon hitting a wall or another obstacle.
  • Improvised Armor: The Cauldron of Yesterdayers (see below) wears armor made from pots and pans, including spaulders made from steaming baskets.
    • Leaper Broggs wear saucepans as helmets.
  • It Came from the Fridge: The Cauldron of Yesterdayers, a vat of leftover gruel that comes to life and tries to kill Cordy. Its lore entry states that simply eating a portion of this yesterday's gruel invariably causes symptoms ranging from fever to uncontrollable rage.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: The Administrators call Cordy "it" instead of "she" when not directly talking to her.
  • Jerkass: All of the item descriptions and level narrations are written by the Administrators. All of them include some form of an insult or a condescending remark, or some cruel demand.
    • Shy Stella's Diary description: "We are pleased to announce that the diary will be reprinted and redistributed as punishment."
  • Jerk Jock: The Woundworts, especially Goneril.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Regan and Goneril instructing all of their followers to murder the quiet kids is the clearest example.
  • Killstreak: Merit Slippers award +15% dodge if you can score 18 straight kills without using Juice. Administrators note that these were originally issued to Karl K, "Who'll need them to run from hawks during roof maintenance."
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: One of the furniture conversations has them wonder if they ever feel like "An omniscient being is watching over them."
  • Lemony Narrator: The antagonistic Administrators also provide descriptions for items, floors, and upgrades.
  • Life Drain: This is provided by certain items, like Shy Stella's Diary.
  • Magic Carpet: The Levitator Capulets are perched atop these.
  • Man-Eating Plant: A Leafy Overlook, a four-armed plant creature that appears to be what caused some children leading a parade to disappear.
  • Meaningful Name: Specialist Fenwick's name is the same as the music composer for the game, Nate Fenwick Smith.
  • Mini-Mecha: Steampunk-style ones used by the Gifted.
  • Mook Lieutenant: Like in The Binding of Isaac, just about every single enemy type (exceptions are mainly the Feral Slave Mooks) has a champion version. These are always red in color and always have a name, which can be human (Wil Moldavian for the red Bubbler, Sylvester the Sliding for the Shadowdropper one) or just descriptive (Chalk Clapper champion is named Tabula Rasa, the Levitator one is The Social Chair, etc.)
    • There's usually one of these per floor. However, [Leaderless] levels have none, and the Administrators comment on this with "The graffiti on the walls looks more sullen then we would expect. This floor lacks authority figures." Alternatively, [Power Struggle] levels have multiples, and also have more expensive vending machine items, as "You can't help but notice that the walls are covered with campaign posters. It seems that there are a lot of potential leaders up ahead. Elections tend to drive up prices."
  • Mook Maker: There are closets that'll regularly open and produce an enemy charging at you before fading away after a few seconds, as another one will emerge in its place. They'll keep on doing that as long as there are killable enemies in the room.
    • The "Box of Nice Things" part of the Arrival Day Gifts boss will not attack at all, and instead spawn toothy Chatterboxes to chase you.
  • Multiple Endings: Three "bad" endings and a "true" ending. In the same vein as The Binding of Isaac, reaching the "bad" endings unlocks more parts of Edgewood.
    • Ending 1: Cordy defeats Goneril and takes her place as leader of the Woundworts. She becomes far more brutal and tyrannical than Goneril ever was, and is eventually assassinated by a new girl who is heavily implied to be a second Cordy.
    • Ending 2: In her final moments, Regan uses the last of her power to trap Cordy in her lunchbox. Afterwards, a new, cheerful Cordy is seen becoming the new leader of the Capulets.
    • Ending 3: Cordy seemingly defeats the Administrator, only for him to use the last of his strength to viciously bludgeon her to death.
    • Ending 4: The same as ending 3, only Cordy dodges the Administrator's attempt to bludgeon her, prompting him to transform into His Natural Defenses. Cordy defeats this new creature and finally escapes Edgewood for good, watching hordes of Cordies tear down the school as maniacal laughter is heard.
  • My Little Panzer: Most of the Broggs utilize some sort of kids' toy to combat Cordy, from jacks to bubble blowers.
  • My New Gift is Trying to Kill Me: The Arrival Day Gifts, a boss. None of the kids want these things, not because they're lame, but because much like everything else in Edgewood, the gifts are very deadly.
  • Oh, Crap!: When you approach the Highest Library, where the Administrators await, their usual snarky narration is replaced by genuine fear.
  • One-Winged Angel: After being defeated as a large being made of paper, The Administrator melts into the floor and becomes His Natural Defences in a paper vortex.
  • Orphanage of Fear: Edgewood was terrible when the adults were around, with students often dying to neglect and various inanimate objects becoming possessed. It's only gotten worse in their absence.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Dr. Bloodfather. While his powers are somewhat what you'd expect from a vampire, his position is what makes him different. He apparently became one after his own experiments, and when they got around to him, the Administrators decided to promote him to Dean of Sciences for causing people to disappear.
  • Parody Name: At every level-up, you get to choose between two "books to read", which affect your stats. As expected, their titles are all pun versions of famous books. Each one also has a quote where The Administrators put your choice down.
  • Plague Doctor: In the Malady Ward boss fight, there appear to be two ghostly Plague Doctors named Specialist Fenwick. According to the entry, they were intended to heal student ailments, but spent untold time doing something involving burlap dummies hanging around. They walk about the room as their burlap dummy patients attack you, and need to be hit while tending to a fallen dummy.
  • Playing with Fire: Cordy's default attack is to fire small wisps of flame from her hands, and this is also done by some of the Capulets, including the main form of their leader Regan. Other Capulets instead opt for ice crystals or ball lightning.
    • Equipping Bunsen Burner item gives your attacks a chance to outright ignite the enemies and have them burn for a while. In Administrators' words, "simon de V's carelessness, while tragic, provided an illuminating example to the rest of us."
    • Frothy the Dragon boss is obviously all about fire.
  • Pinball Projectile: You can get this power with the Escher's Compass item. The knives thrown by the Cauldron Of Yesterdayers will also bounce off surfaces once, before disappearing.
  • Positive Discrimination: An strange variety: while the crude, early-game Broggs and Woundwort students, as well as the beautiful and refined mid-game Capulets are always white, the late-game Gifted who come with their own robot suits are all black/Latino/Asian. Given that they are all your enemies trying to kill you, however, being the strongest ones is questionably positive. Shuddering Jim excerpts imply that The Bandit was the kind of quiet child who was friendly with the teachers, but bullied by the other orphans, and so the Gifted are probably a proxy for how he saw himself, and race is likely a factor in this. It's even more likely given how the books portray him as a mad inventor, who is introduced through the giant serpentine submarine he built.
  • Power Floats: Regan does this. Swirler Capulets under her command float too, while Levitators float on top of a carpet.
  • Recurring Riff: The music track that always plays on the first floor, "Welcome to Edgewood", is composed almost entirely of the same notes that you'll occasionally hear throughout the rest of the soundtrack, especially during boss fights.
  • Serial Escalation: Predictably, as you go through playthroughs, the game gets longer and more difficult. This is also referenced in Lore entries, where Edgewood is reported as becoming more and more strange and dangerous. (I.E. — Frothy the Dragon begins eating children more frequently, and desks begin to grow out of flowerpots.)
  • Shock and Awe: Capulet Reflectors and Fanatic Ferals cast purple ball lightning from their hands.
    • Vanishers do the same thing from their staffs, though their lightning also splits upon hitting the walls. Then, The Gifted's Tesla Tanks do the same thing, but better.
  • Shockwave Stomp: Woundwort Brutes move on all fours and produce several shockwaves at once when they slam their arms into the ground. Once a Chair Hurler's chair lands, it breaks and produces a shockwave upon impact.
  • Shout-Out: Some of the background items in the rooms may engage in conversation with each other while you are there. One of such conversations clearly references Back to the Future, with catch phrases like "Great Scott!".
    • Defeating The Cauldron of Yesterdayers before A Second Helping grants you "May I Have Some More" achievement.
  • Shoutout To Shakespeare: Cordy, Regan, and Goneril are named after the three daughters of King Lear. Lear himself gets a smaller shout out in the form of Mr. L.
    • The title itself is a line from the same play where Lear is talking about splitting the land into three kingdoms.
  • Slave Mooks: Ferals are simply the basic Broggs that do nothing but charge at the player. However, they reappear on the Woundwort levels as the (much faster) Collared Ferals, meaning that the much bigger Woundworts went to the trouble of capturing and enslaving them.
    • Fanatic Ferals on the Capulet levels lack such physical signs of domination, but appear to be indoctrinated instead. On the bright side, they got taught by their masters how to cast ball lightning as well.
    • Also, while the "normal" Brogg Ferals may have Champions like any other enemy type (one of whom, William the Windswept, actually gets mentioned in the Shuddering Jim books), the Collared and Fanatic varieties have none, presumably because all of them are enslaved and so cannot possibly "lead" anyone in the faction.
  • Smart People Build Robots: The Gifted's schtick. All Gifted are decked out in Steam Punk Powered Armor or riding a mechanical animal.
  • The Smurfette Principle: An antagonist version. Out of the four enemy student factions, Broggs, Woundworts, and The Gifted all have five enemy types, while the Capulets have six. In each case, only one is a girl: the Tack Dropper Brogg, Chair Hurler Woundwort, Reflector Capulet and Hovercrab Gifted. Of course, this is offset by both Woundwort and Capulet faction leaders being girls.
  • Spikes of Doom: Clusters of tacks on the floor fulfil this function, although they obviously deal only minor damage. An early Brogg enemy type attacks exclusively through throwing these about.
  • Spin Attack: Goneril can spin almost like a tornado during her battle.
    • Swirler Capulets have a ring of ghostly chairs constantly swirling around them as they are closing in on you. This generally makes them the second toughest variety after the Vanishers to defeat.
  • Spread Shot: Regan's attacks are all about this. Her main one is two fire two concentric circles of fireballs, and she and her clones can also fire spread versions of a Hand Blast.
    • Earlier on, there are green fireplaces that'll regularly fire a burst of three flames. Some rooms have no enemies, but are instead lined with these all firing in a set order. There'll invariably be some valuables there too, tempting you to attempt to navigate the flames.
    • Cordy herself can find upgrades that let her fire a spread version of her hand blast, as long as she's standing completely still.
  • Stealth Pun: A dark version: the Cordy clones at the end take down the fence surrounding Edgewood, as in, they are literally tearing down defenses.
  • Super-Fun Happy Thing of Doom: Anything with a pleasant-seeming name can be safely expected to be malevolent, dangerous, or at least unpleasant, but special points must go to Your Caring Friends, who only appear on the final level.
  • Taking You with Me: Regan, upon defeat, tries to entrap Cordy in her lunchbox by using a fake Administrator. The first playthrough it happens in, it works; the second time, Cordy remembers and runs off before it can be done.
  • Teleport Spam: Done by the Vanisher Capulets.
  • Timed Mission: The challenge rooms only need to be survived for 10 seconds.
  • Unnecessary Combat Roll: Here, rolling is a very important way of boosting your speed to avoid attacks. However, unlike most implementations of the trope, Cordy is not immune to attacks while rolling.
  • We Used to Be Friends: According to an overheard conversation, Goneril, Cordy, and Regan were once friends. Chapter 4 lore entry, "On Caravans", also states that Goneril, Cordy and Regan arrived into the orphanage in the same caravan, and they were surrounded by more shadowy apparitions than anyone's ever seen before. This ties into The Shuddering Jim's implications that they were the most feared memories of The Bandit's mind.
  • You All Look Familiar: Every enemy type has exactly one sprite, often with some strong color highlight to make them stand out more (i.e. Chair Hurlers' bright blue sweaters). The champion versions use the same sprite, but tinged red.
    • A possible background conversation in the dormitories lampshades this trope in the environmental design. A bed might say "I do wish sometimes for new blankets", with a nightstand replying "Yes, sir", and the bed continues "It's just boring. The same color all the time."
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: This happens the first time Cordy defeats Goneril. Though she meets the same fate some time thereafter.

Tropes within the Shuddering Jim series:

  • Bavarian Fire Drill: A later excerpt has the bandit's crew remove a prized and heavily guarded gem-encrusted table by pretending to be maintenance workers.
  • Chameleon Camouflage: Book 16 has The Bandit's henchmen sneak up on the military base in the desert by using such camouflage. The excerpt ends before we find out how they then managed to overcome a hundred soldiers guarding the prized dagger there.
  • Deceptively Silly Title: Every book of the series has one. They are deceptive both because the excerpt of the book practically always has no relation to the title, and because they are related to the much more serious elements of the game, foreshadowing that the game takes place in The Bandit's mind.
    • Book 4:The Case of the Creaking Tower - Edgewood itself.
    • Book 9:The Case of the Furious Chandelier - Candelabra of Longing boss.
    • Book 12:The Case of the Duplicitous Dragon - applies to both of the dragon bosses, none of which were even supposed to start moving in the first place, let alone turn murderous.
    • Book 13:The Case of the Missing Chalk. Likely related to both Cordy's use of chalk in combat, and that of her enemies like the Chalk Clappers and Some Harmless Markings. The book itself also mentions a globe dropped from great height to disable virtuoso's security system - thus linking back to the Globethrower enemies and The Virtuoso boss.
    • Book 16:The Case of the Walking Desk - too obvious when spider-legged desks are a frequent classroom enemy.
    • Book 23:The Case of the Flying Ice - i.e. what the ice dragon boss, Sudsy the Inanimate, amounts to.
    • Book 29:The Case of the Madman's Stew - the thing that fills Cauldron of the Yesterdayers boss. It also states that Bandit's henchmen are "dropping tacks everywhere" - just like the early tack-dropper enemy. The mention of "prisoners who threw fire" may be related to the flame-casting Capulet enemies.
    • Book 36:The Case of the Mechanical Vendor - the in-game shops. It also mentions The Bandit's terrace topiary, thus paralleling the Terrace levels. Moreover, The Bandit's phrase that "the memory of the enemy can be as dangerous as the enemy itself" parallels Chapter 3's entry where Cordy remembers Mr. L. asking "Can a memory itself remember? And can it be redeemed" and then Chapter 4's, where a voice speaks to her: "You have no right," it said, "you're not even you. You're just a reflection of another."
    • Book 47:The Case of the Rising Lunch Tray - one of the items. It also mentions that Shuddering Jim was trapped in the Bandit's freezer in the previous book, thus paralleling The Frozen Few boss.
    • Book 52:The Case of the Burlap Patients - parallel with The Malady Ward boss. Moreover, this is the book where Shuddering Jim visits Bandit's orphanage to talk to a retired teacher, and finds out he was "always a victim", bullied by the three girls known as The Best Friends. Even discounting that Goneril, Regan and Cordelia (Cordy) are King Lear names, there's an earlier lore entry stating the three arrived into Edgewood together, even though they no longer remember this. Moreover, it mentions that The Best Friends tossed lit matches at him, implying that this is where Regan's and Cordy's fireball attacks stem from. Lastly, the teacher mentions William the Windswept - one of the possible names for the Feral Brogg leaders.
    • Book 54:The Case of the Walking Clothing - another reference to The Malady Ward fight.
    • Book 58:The Case of the Floating Crab - parallels the Gifted Hovercrab riders. There's another reference to Goneril, Regan and Cordy when the magician shows Jim the "three prisoners" card trick. In his words, there's always the strong one, the pretty one and the quiet one, and the latter (i.e. Cordy) is to be really feared, as she's always the ringleader.
    • Book 84:The Case of the Frozen Fortress - another reference to The Frozen Few.
    • Book 87:The Case of the Eight Palms - the exact number Handful Friend enemy has. Moreover, the psychic prophesies that Jim shouldn't be afraid of his enemy (The Bandit) killing him, as he "has enemies, old ones. At his moment of victory, he will be vulnerable".
    • Book 107:The Case of the Arcing Chair - Woundwort Chair Hurlers throw chairs in arcs.
    • Book 135:The Case of the Pot Handle Helmet - the very helmet worn by the Leaper Broggs. There, a psychologist tells The Bandit that he's "never seen a brain that so focused against itself" and his memories have long turned into nightmares.
    • Book 149:The Case of the Administrators. The final book. In the excerpt, the Bandit phones to his chemist to bring the chemical labelled "Shuddering Jim" to him. However, there's already a henchman with a moustache (Jim) standing nearby, implying that he's going to intercept it and turn it on The Bandit. The fact that "the final pages are too damaged to read" further confirms that Jim won, as of course the Bandit won't be able to recall the thing that damaged his own mind.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": You never learn what The Bandit's real name was.
    • Similarly, Shuddering Jim's police chief, and the lieutenant under his command, are both only known by their job titles.
  • Foreshadowing: Shuddering Jim and his allies say numerous times throughout the novel, that eventually, someone's going to get into The Bandit's head. Guess what the entire game is meant to be about?
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The last book very strongly implies that The Shuddering Jim finally defeated The Bandit by sticking him with the Chemical that destroys the mind's natural defences, which The Bandit himself had commissioned in a previously quoted book, and was going to turn it on Jim. The effects of the chemical are, in turn, what "removed the teachers" from his mental recreation of the Orphanage, and started the chaos that set Cordy, his very worst childhood nemesis loose.
  • Jumping Out of a Cake: Book 107 excerpt is an episode where Jim sits in the chief's office and recounts his recent failures, including the time lieutenant suggested he hides in a birthday cake. Unfortunately, that cake was intended for The Bandit's pet lions.
  • Impossible Thief: Many of The Bandit's exploits are only possible due to the cartoon logic of the books, and are sometimes pushing it even then. Probably the best example is the time they managed to steal an archeological relic a few hours after the archeologists have discovered it in the first place.
  • Long-Running Book Series: Apparently, there was a total of 149 Shuddering Jim books. Though, it's possible that the "books" are just the way The Bandit thought of his exploits.
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues: Book 9 has The Bandit's henchmen pretending to be mannequins in a fashion designer's shop in order to steal her prized platinum sewing machine.
  • Non-Indicative Title: The titles of the first books usually have little-to-nothing to do with what the excerpt is actually about. However, those titles often have a much different meaning relative to the game. See Deceptively Silly Title above.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Most of the books portray The Bandit as a ringleader of a wacky Impossible Thief gang, which never seriously tries to kill Jim, or anyone else. Then, one of the final books has him pull You Have Outlived Your Usefulness by throwing a hugely poisonous fish he kept in a tank at the psychologist who created the chemical that destroys mind's natural defences, and which is strongly implied to have been taken by Jim and used against The Bandit in the final book.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: There are three occasions where the Shuddering Jim goes undercover amongst The Bandit's henchmen by donning a thick moustache. Once, it fails, as he's invited to the sauna and it melts from the heat.
  • Properly Paranoid: Both the Shuddering Jim and The Bandit are this, since The Bandit's henchmen routinely manage to pull off the most impossible heists, while Shuddering Jim eventually wises up and learns to go undercover, getting ever closer to The Bandit each time.
  • Plot Parallel: It's implied that the entire game takes place within the Bandit's mind after he got defeated by being driven insane with his own chemical at the end of the series. Thus, there are a lot of parallels between the series and the main game. See Deceptively Silly Title above for more.
    • The orphanage is a nightmarish reflection of his experience in one as a child, with hardly any friendly children and him being weaker than most, The Bandit viewed it as a place without hope where the ones in charge allowed whatever terrible things happened to happen without taking action. Similarly, the teachers were the only nice people in his life (judging from the lore where Jim goes to get background info on the Bandit and meets a nice retired teacher that he had) and as such protected his mind with kindness, while still being useless to the orphans.
    • The Best Friends, three harsh bullies at the Bandit's old orphanage, are repeatedly made reference to, notably as three of the main characters — Cordy, Goneril, and Regan. Each is antagonistic in their own way:
      • Goneril and Regan are the main bosses of two of the sets of floors, each heading a negatively-viewed faction of kids and turning on some of their followers. Aside from that, they appear in Shuddering Jim after being mentioned directly in the form of a tarot card-like trick.
      • Cordy is the quiet one of The Best Friends, but she's she's more antagonistic to the villains and monsters of the story, she repeatedly is shown to make bad decisions on subsequent playthroughs, such as taking up Goneril's place as Woundwort Leader and being worse than her. In the Tarot-esque card trick, she's described as "the ringleader" of the three prisoner cards. In addition, she seems to represent the Chemical in the last few chapters of Shuddering Jim, destroying the defences of his mind.
    • Your Caring Friends are The Bandit's literal Inner Demons, as they have no rhyme or reason even by Edgewood standards at all and only hinted in The Shuddering Jim once, with "The Case of The Eight Palms" title.
    • His Natural Defenses are actually Exactly What It Says on the Tin; it is The Bandit's absolute last line of defense in his mind, only linked to Edgewood by the mysterious papers that are mentioned repeatedly in Edgewood Lore.
  • Reformed Criminal: Book Thirteen introduces the police chief for the first time as he converses with Shuddering Jim, and mentions that Jim used to be a pickpocket before the chief took pity on him.
  • Rock Beats Laser: Book Thirteen has The Bandit disable a state-of-the-art, titanium-encased security system by dropping a globe on it from the fifth floor balcony.
  • Rolling Pin of Doom: Third-to-last book lists getting knocked out by the Bandit's henchmen with one of these as one of Shuddering Jim's failures.
  • Serial Escalation: Zig-Zagged. The first excerpt you find is Book 4, which has Shuddering Jim travel within a submarine 150 fathoms underwater to deliver an antique typewriter, and The Bandit countering it by deploying a giant mechanical serpent. The next case simply has Bandit's henchmen pretend to be mannequins, but the one after that has them break into the skyscraper's penthouse through the glass roof, by flying in with the hot air balloon. It continues to zig-zag like this afterwards.
  • Sleek High Rise Apartment: Book 12 excerpt is set inside such a penthouse, where the tycoon keeps his paintings. The Bandit instead approaches in a hot air balloon painted black as the night, and bursts through the roof.
  • Strictly Formula: Every excerpt you find is named "The Case of X (Floating Crab, The Eight Palms, etc.)", and usually consists of a paragraph where the soon-to-be-robbed mark is restating how good their security is, a second paragraph where the Shuddering Jim is concerned due to his bitter experience regardless, and The Stinger sentence that reveals whichever means The Bandit and/or his henchmen are using to bypass the security this time.
    • Some of the later excerpts subvert the formula a little by being set amongst the Bandit's henchmen, and The Stinger reveals that Shuddering Jim has managed to infiltrate the group. However, the next book is typically back to the same, implying he failed.
  • Undying Loyalty: The Bandit's seemingly insane plans have worked out so many times that his oldest henchmen completely trust his judgement. "He says, jump off that airship, I go put on a parachute. He says, build me one of those electric shock antennas, I go find some cables."
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: The Bandit enjoys toying with the Shuddering Jim, and so he and his henchmen nearly always go for some non-lethal measure of neutralising him.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: A later Shuddering Jim passage reveals the Bandit to have been brutally bullied at an orphanage he lived in, mainly done by a trio of girls called The Best Friends. This apparently led him into increasingly dangerous criminal activity, doing such things as theft, murder, and light mad science.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In the second-to-last book, The Bandit pulls this on the psychologist who produced a chemical that destroys mind's natural defences, throwing one of his enormously poisonous fish at him. However, all of this was observed by The Shuddering Jim hiding nearby, so it's possible he may have saved the doctor.

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