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Video Game / Psychonauts

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"You shall engage the enemy in his own mentality! You shall chase his dreams! You shall fight his demons! You shall live his nightmares. And those of you who fight well, you will find yourselves on the path to becoming international secret agents — in other words... Psychonauts! The rest of you... will die!"

Psychonauts is a 2005 Action-Adventure game, and the debut title for Double Fine Productions, headed by former LucasArts employee Tim Schafer. It's the story of a young psychic prodigy named Razputin Aquato ("Raz" for short) who runs away from his home in the circus (an inversion of the usual run away to the circus trope) to sneak into Whispering Rock, a government training camp for child psychics like himself.

Raz is quickly caught by the camp's leaders, but he's allowed to stay for a while until his psychic-hating dad will come to take him home again. During his one day of training, he discovers that something horrible is going on: someone is stealing the brains of his fellow campers, leaving them mindless zombies obsessed with teeeeeveeeee and hacky-sacking. As he tracks the brain-stealing scheme to the source, he hones his powers, and encounters a variety of eccentric and downright crazy characters. Raz finds himself forced to literally get into their heads and fight his way through their memories and mental disorders in order to save the world.

The platforming aspect of Psychonauts is often made of Bizarrchitecture, and some levels — especially the notorious final one — are Nintendo Hard. Luckily, Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: even if Raz loses all of his lives inside someone's mind, the items and events he has already unlocked won't have to be found again.

The game is especially notable for its level of detail. Every line of dialogue in Psychonauts is voiced, and every single character has elaborate voiced reactions to virtually every item, ability or situation that Raz can show them. (This is even true for characters who aren't actually around when certain items or abilities are available: hacking the game reveals that the game data has scripted reactions for these things regardless.) Additionally, the majority of characters have their own separate plot lines and interactions, many optional cut scenes, and long, hidden conversations that can be overheard by Raz.

Double Fine and Schafer had interest in making follow-ups to Psychonauts for a long time, and these started being realized over a decade after the original's release. Psychonauts 2 was announced at the 2015 Game Awards, and was released in 2021. Funding was partially provided by fan donations through Fig, as well as Double Fine itself and Starbreeze Studios. In addition, a VR game called Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin was released on February 21, 2017 for PSVR; a year later it was released for Steam and Oculus VR. The game ran into financial difficulties again, and Microsoft purchased the studio; Schafer stated that had Microsoft not purchase the studio, the game would have been reduced in scope.

  • Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin: Picks up immediately after the first game left off, concerning the kidnapping of Truman Zanotto (Grand Head of the Psychonauts, and Lili's father).
  • Psychonauts 2: Raz officially becomes a Psychonaut, but quickly realizes it isn't the perfect place he expected... not when a mole hiding within the organization is threatening to revive a long-dead psychic villain.

This game provides examples of:

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  • Abandoned Hospital: Thorney Towers Home for the Disturbed is an abandoned mental hospital. Its history is actually quite interesting if you're willing to hear the whole thing.
  • Ability Depletion Penalty: If you deplete either your Invisibility or Shield abilities then there is a slightly longer delay before they start to regenerate than if you had stopped just before.
  • Abominable Auditorium: Gloria Von Gouton's Mental World is "Gloria's Theater", a stage trying to put on a play about Gloria's life. However, the play is constantly being sabotaged by The Phantom, and endlessly heckled by Jasper Rolls, Gloria's inner Caustic Critic. Plus, there's the Manual Mood Override, a light that can switch the play between being upbeat and happy, and dark and dangerous.
  • Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: It's a mental representation of deeply buried (and rather painful) memories of the place where the owner of that particular headspace found and lost the love of his life, includes one high school locker room to boot.
  • Abusive Parents:
    • Raz thinks there's a pretty solid chance his dad's endless training was an attempt to distract him from his budding psychic powers, if not actually kill him; and further, that his dad hated him for those exact same psychic powers, even though he had psychic powers himself. The actual situation was much more complicated. Raz's father actually loves his son deeply, and the training was to teach him control so that his powers would be more effective, and to give him something to rely on aside from said powers. And he doesn't hate psychics in general; just the ones who cursed his family. A lot of the level progression is done through trapeze and tightropes so it seems that his dad's training actually helped him save the day several times over. That being said, Augustus' biggest failing when it came to his parenting was actually bothering to explain to Raz that he didn't hate him, and the purpose behind his training. It also didn't exactly help that in Raz' memory, Augustus did engage in some cruel behavior, like ripping up Raz' pamphlet.
    • This also appears to be the case with The Butcher, who chopped up Oleander's pet rabbits and claimed they were only good for meat. However, given Razputin's history with his father and the fact that Oleander's image of The Butcher has been twisted over the years into a tremendous, cannibalistic madman (and Oleander's memory of him is the only information we get), it's ambiguous whether he was as bad as it seems.
    • Gloria's mother, a budding actress, abandoned her daughter at an extremely harsh boarding school for years on end since she, quote, "[had] a career and a boyfriend to worry about." Granted, it is implied that said boyfriend actually manipulated her into making this decision, but that only makes her actions marginally better at best.
    • According to one of his comments on Elton's Campster page, it seems that Clem's father isn't that fond of him.
    "No, I'm terrible at canoeing. My dad says I'm a total idiot when it comes to canoeing. And most other things. He said he'd rather ride a seal into a pool of sharks than ride in a canoe into a lake with me. Sometimes I wonder if he's right—if I am too stupid for this world."
  • Academy of Adventure: Well, summer camp, anyway.
  • Acid-Trip Dimension: Every Mental World, though some are more trippy than others.
  • Action Bomb: Personal Demons explode if they get close, damaging Raz. The Confusion Rats in the upper floors of Thorney Towers explode into Confusion gas, damaging and disorienting Raz.
  • Actually Pretty Funny:
    Kochamara: I've got the brain of a little girl back in my lab that's strong enough to power a whole army of psycho-blaster death tanks!
    Raz: (starts laughing uncontrollably)
    Kochamara: What?
    Raz: You've got the brain of a little girl?
    Kochamara: I said, "in my lab!"
    Raz: I think you've got the muscles of a little girl too!
    Kochamara: (groan) ...Good one.
  • Adults Are Useless: Averted in exactly the sort of setting you'd expect it to be played straight. As noted below, most adults are actually Bunny Ears Lawyers. Even though the adults do the ass-kicking later in the game, Sasha ignored Raz when he tried to tell him about Oleander's psychic death tanks because he and the other teachers were in a hurry due to an emergency Psychonaut meeting... which turned out to be a trap laid by Oleander to kidnap the teachers so that they wouldn't interfere with his plans.
  • Advancing Boss of Doom: The lungfish will make her way towards Raz in auto-scrolling segments.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: A notoriously difficult one in the Meat Circus, as segments of the level have rising water that will kill Raz if it catches up with him.
  • Alien Geometries: The Milkman Conspiracy looks about as twisted and confusing as you'd expect the mind of a paranoid schizophrenic to look.
  • All There in the Manual: The supporting characters have expanded backstories and personalities on "Campster" and the official wiki.
  • Almighty Janitor: Subverted by Ford Cruller; he plays the parts of all the menial tasks around camp (janitor, burger flipper, ranger, etc.), but he's actually one of the most powerful and respected psychics in the world. The problem is, due to an accident in his past, he can only remember who he is when he's down in his lab. Everywhere else, he thinks he's just another average Joe.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: A lot of the characters have outright bizarre skin tones such as blue (Loboto, Bobby), green (Sasha, Phoebe) or even purple (Edgar, Benny). This is justified for the mental constructs like Napoleon Bonaparte and Dingo Inflagrante, but the aforementioned are all from the physical world. Even Raz himself has a rather unnatural yellowish look.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: The kids talk and act like relatively modern-day kids, but they make references to media and cultural phenomenon from all over the place. The fact that they're all psychic and can, therefore, see things in the future and past, only serves to make it more ambiguous. And if you thought the surprisingly-detailed timeline of Whispering Rock's history you can read in the parking lot will help you, trust us, it won't.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • The disembodied brains are still fully conscious, as shown in the pre-Meat Circus scene. Though if Sasha and Milla's dialogue is any indication, the stuff they're in kind of sedates you so you don't realize that.
    • Regardless of how misguided it ends up being, Raz's personal hell inside the Meat Circus is still undeniably horrifying: being forced to perform a nightmarishly painful and difficult task which will kill you if you fail, while your own father mocks and berates you the entire way, trying to trip you up in the hopes that you will die.
  • And Then I Said: Used when Raz brings the re-brained kids up to speed of what has been going on. For most of them you can easily figure out the context, but Misha's leaves you wondering what the hell they were just talking about:
    Raz: Good question. But I didn't taste it, so I can't be sure.
  • An Aesop: Several.
    • When Raz first encounters a censor that Sasha believes was what he saw in his vision, he tells Sasha that it appeared much bigger in his mind, to which Sasha replies that problems can oftentimes seem much bigger inside our heads, something that Sasha felt was an important lesson for him to learn. Raz learns this at the end of the game, when he discovers his dad wasn’t as harsh or cruel as he made him out to be in his mind.
      • Building off of the above, there's also a lesson to be had about making your intentions clear when it comes to working out your problems with your family, since even well intended decisions can be easily misinterpreted if you are not careful or considering of your actions.
    • A recurring one across the minds of the Asylum residents is the importance of empathy and compassion when it comes to the mentally disenfranchised. Raz helps out each of the patients by working through their issues with patience and empathy. As a result, each patient ends their stay in the asylum on the road to a full recovery.
      • Branching off of the above, mental problems can be solved much easier if you let someone help you. It may be difficult opening yourself up to another person, and you won't be instantly cured just by talking to someone, but it's an important first step in learning to live in spite of your issues. You also need to learn when you might be wrong about something, as demonstrated by the finale- Raz learns that his father really does love him, and Oleander learns that other people have gone through similar situations as him.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The game ends with Raz being recruited by the Psychonauts, who have just received word that Truman Zanotto, the Grand Head of the Psychonauts, has been kidnapped.
  • Anti Climactic Parent: Raz doesn't talk about his father that often, but when he does, it's never pleasant. Raz even remarks somewhat offhandedly that his father may actually be housing plans to get him killed. In reality, his father is actually a very caring person, who would have gotten along much better with his son if it weren't for a severe communication barrier between them.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Since the 2011 Steam patch, you no longer lose lives if Olly gets caught during the Escort Mission or if you drown during the rising water part of the Meat Circus. It's still possibly the hardest part in the game. This also appears to be the case in the Xbox One port.
    • If you had any unredeemed brains, cobwebs, etc. before the Point of No Return, there is an NPC at that point who can redeem them all at once for you.
    • Speaking of the Point of No Return, the game automatically creates a separate autosave just before you cross it, so that you can go back and get any missed collectables without having to restart the entire game.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Literally; Whispering Rock has its history written out on the rings of a cut-down tree. While it's not this trope in the traditional sense, it still recounts the town's gradual descent into insanity due to the Psitanium deposit, ultimately leading to the place being shut down permanently and replaced with the camp.
  • Arc Villain: The mental worlds of the various Thorney Tower residents have their own antagonists and problems, generally unrelated to Oleander and Loboto's plans.
    • Black Velvetopia has El Odio, who bothers Raz and Edgar frequently throughout the level, as well as plaguing Edgar's mind. At least until the final stretch, where it's revealed El Odio is his pent up anger, and Dingo and Lampita take over after it becomes clear they're the main cause of his suffering.
    • While Crispin Whitehead played a part in Fred's mental state, Waterloo World's antagonist is the genetic memory of Napoleon Bonaparte, who's constantly playing against Fred in a game of Waterloo-O until he wins.
    • The Phantom/Jasper Rolls in Gloria's Theater, who sabotages the play and causes particular grief for Bonita.
  • Arc Words: "Eggs" are a metaphor for brains in both 1 and 2.
  • Armless Biped: The knife throwers in the Meat Circus. They use their feet instead.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Oleander's shortness led to him not being allowed in the Army. Or the Navy. Or the Air Force. Or cooking school.
    • Also in the Gloria's Theater level — you're warned about messing with the mood lighting, and the possible results — utter chaos, etc. ending with "...or worse: Improv."
    • In the Meat Circus level, Raz's father, confronted with Raz's mental image of him, explains that he doesn't hate psychics or seeing his son happy, and also that he has more hair than that.
  • Aroused by Their Voice: In the underground cart that works as a quick-travel device, you'll be greeted by a deliberately erotic computerized female voice that will ask him where he wants to go. If the player does not want to go anywhere, Raz will humorously answer that he just dropped by to listen to her voice.
  • Art Course: Black Velvetopia is a level set in the mind of One-Track-Minded Artist Edgar Teglee. The entire level is designed like a bright-neon black velvet painting of a Mexican town, with Raz's design refitted to accompany this.
  • Artificial Brilliance: If you try to use your shield to block Kochamara's attacks (such as his Mighty Ram) prematurely, he'll hold off and wait for you to lower it before launching the attack as normal.
  • Artistic License – Military: Played for laughs in Lungfishopolis, where the navy includes what would normally be in different branches of the military, such as tanks and airplanes.
  • Astral Projection: The Psycho-Portal projects one's mental image into the mind of another.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: In Lungfishopolis, Raz becomes GOGGALOR! Lungfishopolis is a giant spoof of Kaiju films, right down to the bad English dubbing.
    • Also appears at some sizes in Waterloo World, although you can't destroy things.
    • Building up enough psychic charge to create a giant astral projection of yourself is how you beat the Final Boss.
  • Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: Most of the game is actually pretty clean, just subversive and creepy, and/or dealing with extremely mature topics. A lot of its weirdness can't really be "rated against" anything due to the themes of the game. As such, it features a few cusses like "ass", as well as fair bit of blood (The Meat Circus is particuarly blood-curdling by early 2000's standards), as to bump the rating up so kids would be less tempted to play it.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": The actors in Gloria Von Gouten's mind deliver their lines loudly and over-enunciate every word.
  • Bathos: "The Milkman Conspiracy" level is loaded with this. Almost everyone you meet is a secret agent in some sort of Paper-Thin Disguise (actually, no disguise; they're simply holding different objects: stop signs for a "road crew worker," hedge trimmers for a gardening husband/father, etc.) and the things they say to maintain the facade are usually Played for Laughs. Every once in a while, however, you'll hear them spout a line that would be pretty pathetic, even devastating, in other circumstances. "Over time, my husband will desire me less, sexually," says the rolling pin-toting "housewife." "Why, God? Why?" says the "grieving widow." It all stays relatively light, given the amusing context, but the tragedy subtext is there and it's fairly difficult to miss.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: Rather the point of the game.
  • Bears Are Bad News: On the outskirts of camp, Raz can find telekinetic bears, who won't hesitate to claw you up with telekinetic claws.
  • Bedlam House: The Asylum Climb. Though it is an abandoned asylum for the most part and unlike most other Bedlam House, the real dangers aren't the patients but the management.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Between Raz and Lili in the beginning, sort of. They eventually warm up to each other, however.
  • Berserk Button: An actual button you receive early in the game. Show it to Elka Doom repeatedly.
    Raz: Hey look at this button I found on Nils' bunk. It looks like it came off a girl's dress!
    Elka: (loud gasp) ...I don't care.
    Raz: Looks like it was pulled off by force!
    Elka: I don't care.
    Raz: It's got little teeth marks on it...
  • Big Bad: Coach Oleander is the story's true antagonist, not Doctor Loboto.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Raz can say "Shut up!" "Shut up!" "Shut up!" to the cheerleaders urging him on to victory in the Punching Game in Basic Braining in the same rhythm as their cheers.
  • Bindle Stick: Raz is seen with one in a memory reel flashback, even though he already has a backpack. It's a visual cue to let you know he's a runaway at that point.
  • Bizarrchitecture: The asylum receives a strange orientation as you approach the top, with the crooked construction. Psychic worlds (especially for the Asylum residents) also have unusual construction.
  • Black Bug Room: Many of them. The most noteworthy example would probably be the one hidden in Milla's mind, as she's probably the only character you wouldn't expect to have one, and it's among the worst. Word of God is that this is how a healthy mind is meant to work, compartmentalizing and managing tragic experiences rather than letting them taint everything.
    • The Meat Circus is basically a Frankenstein mishmash of two different character's Black Bug Rooms. Needless to say, it's a pretty unpleasant place.
  • Black Comedy: All over, but Waterloo World most obviously.
    Peasant: Hurl my innocent bones into the cruel machine of war. I'm ready!
  • Blatant Lies: Anything the G-Men say in the Milkman Conspiracy.
  • Boarding School of Horrors: Hagatha Home For Girls, a boarding school in Gloria's backstory. According to "Gloria's Cruel Training", the matriarch of the school whipped the children during recitals, film watching and the plays they performed.
  • Body Horror: The Meat Circus. It's a circus made out of meat, and yes, its just as macabre as it sounds.
  • Boring, but Practical: The basic PSI blast tends to make quick work of enemies, has plenty of ammo, and the upgrades for it chain to other enemies, making it surprisingly good at crowd-clearing.
  • Boss Rush: Again, the Meat Circus. First you fight Oleander's dad. Then you race Raz's nightmare dad. Then you have to fight Oleander's dad again, and his arms are on fire, and you have to dodge Raz's dad's flying flaming fireballs and use them to defeat the other dad. Then both dads merge into a monster dad. And then you finally win once Raz's real dad shows up!
  • Brain in a Jar: Which you can collect and return to their proper owners. There's even a brief moment in which you play as one of these, no jar included.
  • Brain Theft: There is a pepper-like compound simply referred to as "Super-Sneezing Powder" that can cause people to literally sneeze their brains out if inhaled. This is the primary tool Dr. Loboto uses to steal the brains off all of the Psychic Children so that he can create Psychic Death-Tanks and conquer the world with them.
  • Brain Washed:
    • Fred Bonaparte was originally Thorney Towers' orderly, and probably the most sane person in the entire asylum. Then Crispin Whytehead started playing Waterloo-O with him. Crispin played against Fred and won so much that his self doubts resulted in his self-loathing manifesting as the genetic memory of his great great great grandpa, Napoleon Bonaparte himself. This was all so Crispin could steal his position as orderly.
    • Another example of this trope can be found in Boyd Cooper. Boyd already had a few mental problems, namely pyromania and a lack of self control. However, his skill at crafting explosives lead to Oleander implanting a Manchurian Agent called "The Milkman" into his mind. Now Boyd can't stop trying to figure out who and what The Milkman really is. Ultimately, he gets fully brainwashed into becoming The Milkman after Raz frees him, only becoming Boyd again once The Milkman's final delivery is finished.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: In the Milkman Conspiracy level, the agents you meet throughout attempt to disguise themselves as, among other things, road workers, widows, and assassins.
    • There's also the Rainbow Squirts Pledge of Purpose:
    Rainbow Squirts: To promote niceness. To make the world prettier. To share candy with everyone. To obfuscate the true nature of the Milkman. To protect the Milkman at all costs. To destroy all who would harm the Milkman, or threaten to reveal his secret objective.
  • Breather Episode: Waterloo World. The puzzles are much simpler and more straightforward than those in the other inmates' minds, and it is the only non-tutorial mental world without a boss battle.
  • Brick Joke:
    • At the beginning of the Waterloo World level, the carpenter you need to recruit will not come out of his house because he is afraid of a burglar on his roof. Near the end of the level, a peasant you recruit wants to use the musket you give him to "rob that stupid carpenter", whose house he has been trying to break into for days.
    • When Raz first meets Ford Cruller in his sanctuary, he asks him if he has a jet hidden around the sanctuary somewhere. In the final cutscene, with Ford being rendered incapable of teleporting everyone to the HQ, Oleander says they'd have to take the jet. Cue jet.
    • During The Milkman Conspiracy, one of the questions Raz gets asked, if caught by the G-Men, is "what is the purpose of the goggles?" Later on, when the Den Mother claims she'll jab his eyes out, he proudly exclaims that preventing something like that that is the purpose of the goggles.
  • Broken Lever of Doom: Sasha Nein's training stage only begins for real when Raz manages to break off the lever on the Training Dummy-spawning machine, sending it into complete overdrive, so the two of them have to work together to get the literal horde of enemies under control.
  • Brutish Bulls: El Odio, a creature who is seen tormenting the mental landscapes of an artist named Edgar Teglee (and, incidentally, the player), is a gigantic, neon-pink bull with a strangely human face and boots on his hooves who mindlessly rampages across Black Velvetopia's streets. He is also apparently completely invincible unless you face him in a bullfight. As it turns out, the bull actually ''is'' Edgar, and his constant rampaging represents the anger he refuses to let go of after a tragic series of events back in high school. Naturally, Raz has to help him.
  • Bullfight Boss: Literally. You dodge the bull and impale it with banderillas once it stops. Though when it turns out that the bull is actually the owner of the headspace the level takes place in, it becomes a matador-fight boss where you have to protect the bull. But you win by convincing the matador that he's actually a bull, and repeating the same tactics you already used, causing a Double Subversion.
  • Bungled Suicide: Crystal and Clem tried cyanide, and later jumping off the roof of the lodge. Neither worked.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Practically every adult Psychonaut in the game does this to some degree. Sasha can't ask you to participate in his off-the-books advanced training, but he can give you everything you need to figure out where it's being done and join on your own accord. He also can't give you marksmanship training without a learner’s permit, but he can remind you that Agent Cruller can give them out even if he definitely wouldn't.
  • The Butcher: Oleander's father, or at least, the version of him that we see in his son's mind.
  • …But He Sounds Handsome: When you accuse Jasper of being the Phantom:
    "WHAT? How dare you accuse me of being the rugged and romantic scoundrel that has thrilled and terrified audiences for years?"
  • But Thou Must!: Parodied. Trying to tell Ford you're not ready only results in him slapping Raz upside the head and saying: "How about now?"
  • Bystander Syndrome: When you save the kids, most of them have better things to do than help you save the world from a battalion of killer psychic death tanks powered by the stolen brains of their fellow campmates. Like make out. Though at least five do try to do something that could be construed as help (one radios for help, but since she's calling aliens that's likely gonna be a bust and it turns out she sees Earth is doomed and she's just trying to get a ride out anyways. Two others sabotage the coach's car, which, while useful as a backup plan, does nothing to help you right now. The last two volunteer to guard the cabins, which would be useful if not for the fact that all the others are spread around the camp and it doesn't address the killer psychic tanks that are going to be unleashed).
  • Call a Hit Point a "Smeerp": Raz's HP is referred to as his Mental Health and his lives are Astral Projection Layers.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Parodied with Kochamara.
    • "Overly Intricate ...Combination!"
    • "Hard-to-Avoid ...Area Attack!"
  • Camera Abuse: Raz fires at the screen at the end of cutscenes after learning an offensive psychic power.
  • Camera Lock-On: Raz can do this, and it's useful for aiming projectile attacks. It also allows him to strafe around enemies and side-jump to dodge.
  • Canines Gambling in a Card Game: After Razputin cures Edgar Teglee of his psychosis, Edgar creates his own painting of the anthropomorphic dogs that populate his mind playing a game of poker. Should you enter his mind after clearing it, you will find him playing that very same game with the dogs.
    Edgar: Ah, you see, the poor dumb beasts have no thumbs, so I ask you... how are they holding their cards? ...It should be impossible, and yet somehow they go on... playing the game. In the end, Razputin, aren't we all just dogs playing poker?
  • Cast of Snowflakes: Nearly every character, whether major or minor, has a unique character design that makes them unlikely to be mistaken for any other.
  • Character Blog: During the game's development, Friendster-parody profiles for all of the campers (besides Raz) were created to work out their personalities. They can be found and read here.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Pretty much everything seen inside the Brain Tumbler. The whole area from the bathtub onward foreshadows Thorney Towers Asylum. The bathtub itself has "Oblongata" written on the side, the name of the lake next to the camp, past it is a tower covered in thorns, and on the floor around the tower are figments shaped like bottles of milk, flowers, a Napoleon hat, and a purple bull. And then there's The World Shall Taste My Eggs!, a bizarre memory vault that explains itself very shortly after finding it.
    • Also the rabbits which can be seen in Coach Oleander's obstacle course. No matter how much you prod them, they won't run or hide from the pillbox and keep getting mowed down. Further, you are led to the Guns listed above by another rabbit.
      • Use Clairvoyance on those same rabbits. To them you look like a butcher.
      • Not to mention the meat plant in the obstacle course which Raz and Lili both mention they saw in their dreams (and the brain tumbler does indeed have meat scattered all over), in addition to figments shaped like butcher knives.
    • Lili's cold becomes plot-relevant later on as it renders her immune to the sneezing powder and delays her de-braining operation.
    • Raz's armored mind comes back up during Meat Circus when his dad struggles to break through to communicate with him. If it wasn't so protected, the entire level might not have happened. Of course, this might also have meant that Oleander would still be evil at the end.
  • Child Prodigy: Raz was able to master all the Psychic Powers, cure four mentally ill asylum inmates, gather all the campers’ Brains and rebrain them, befriend a sea monster despite his Gypsy Curse, rescue a girl before she became brainless, rescued the teachers from the same fate, facing very creepy images over the course of his adventure, and still remained calm. Over the course of one day. At age ten. If this kid isn't badass, then what is he?
    • Even before receiving any training, Raz has defenses fully-trained Psychonauts cannot penetrate, can Double Jump, and perform acrobatics like nobody's business. The latter due to his father's Training from Hell.
  • Children Are Innocent:
    • Mostly averted. There's twenty-one Elementary age kids attending Whispering Rock, and just about all of them, including Raz himself, have some understanding adult things like sex, drugs, and/or alcohol. Kids can be found making out all over the place (though we can assume that's as heated as it gets), and one boy casually mentions that his parents let him watch R-rated movies. Justified, however, as many of these kids grew up in less-than-ideal living conditions and several have moderate at best hold on their sanity, and the fact that they are all psychic grants them all the ability to, uh, poke around. Dogen has killed at least one person by detonating them with his mind, and the cheerleaders even try to commit suicide! These kids are seriously messed up.
    • That said, there are a number of played-straight examples. Most notably in the case of Raz, who believes that his father hates psychics and, consequently, him. Upon entering the Meat Circus, the mental landscape that represents his own mind, we find Raz's personal perception of his father: a sadistic, Card-Carrying Villain who is hellbent on making sure his son drowns. This isn't even close to the truth; Raz just interpreted his father's actions incorrectly due to being a realistically impressionable ten-year-old.
  • Circus Brat: In a subversion, Raz ran away from the circus. His family are travelling acrobats.
  • Circus of Fear: The Meat Circus, which serves as the final level, a combination of Raz and Coach Oleander's formative traumas — Raz's life in the circus, and Oleander's upbringing by a stern butcher. The combination of high-wires, trapezes, and flaming hoops with raw meat and severed bones sprouting like Meat Moss is rather hellish even without the distortions of the nightmare world.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • A somewhat mild case with camper Chloe, who believes herself to be an alien from outer space and in contact with a deep space armada. She likes to wear a space helmet and spends most of her time tinkering with gadgets she thinks will be useful to her alien brethren, but is surprisingly lucid and grounded despite her obsession.
    • Dogen has a rather spacy affect and can seem a little slow, distracted by hearing the voices of woodland creatures. He also seems rather young for his age, at least if all the campers are within a year or two of each other — breaking out crying when Raz first appears at the campfire reception, and again when he gets stuck in front of a minefield in Basic Braining. He also wears a tinfoil hat, but it wasn't his idea — it was suggested as a way for him to avoid accidentally exploding anyone else's head again.
  • Cobweb of Disuse: Parts of people's minds which haven't been accessed in a long time are blocked by "mental cobwebs" which you need to buy a specific piece of equipment to clear. In later levels this is a prerequisite to finish the level.
  • Collect-a-Thon Platformer: The game is an exploration-heavy platformer with several tiers of collectibles, all of which increase the player's rank, coming with added health and new Psychic Powers and thus offering plenty of reason to backtrack.
  • Comes Great Responsibility: When Raz gets Pyrokinesis:
    Ford: You have to promise to only use your power of Pyrokinesis, only when it's really important, or really, really entertaining.
  • The Comically Serious:
    • Sasha, who can't be made to giggle with the Crow Feather item — instead, he grumbles about germs.
    • Boyd's G-men subvert the trope by using a stilted monotone to describe activities they are obviously not doing. As with Sasha, they won't giggle with the Crow Feather. However, they display a paper-thin disguise combined with gross incompetence on how they use their items.
  • Company Cameo: Double Fine's logo can be seen as a figment in the Meat Circus.
  • Concept Art Gallery: Sorting everyone's Emotional Baggage unlocks a "Primal Memories" reel where the player can observe the game's concept art.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Boyd Cooper. His conspiracies are quite entertaining to listen to.
  • Construction Catcalls: Parodied with the G-Men who pretend to be road workers and say this to sell the illusion:
    "Look at that woman's breasts; they're large."
  • Contrived Coincidence: Played for Laughs in the B-sequence of the climax. Edgar wraps up a painting to demonstrate his OCD's officially cured and rips his chain out of the art studio floor so he can leave - busting a gas pipe in the process. He checks to confirm that the gas is shut off and continues on his merry way... while Gloria spots a valve in the garden and turns the gas back on due to her mistaking it for a sprinkler. Cut back to the studio and Edgar announcing offscreen that he's just "spilled all [his] turpentine and acetone". Then cut to Fred kicking open a window at the front of the asylum and jumping out to say hello to the molotov-toting Pyromaniac standing at the ready by the doors...
  • Corridor Cubbyhole Run: Most of Black Velvetopia. Curse you, El Odio!
  • Creepy Monotone: The G-Men in The Milkman Conspiracy, hilariously.
    G-Man: I am a grieving widow. Why, God. Why.
  • Curse Cut Short: When Raz insists that he can fight Coach Oleander:
    Raz: Back home I had to clean up after the elephants, so trust me, I know how to take care of this ugly little pile of...[Milla puts Raz and Lili in a protective bubble and floats them away.]
  • Cute and Psycho: Secretly dysfunctional male/female cheerleading duo, Clem and Crystal. They are shown early on mixing poison, and when you restore her brains, Crystal tells you they had thrown themselves off the roof "because the poison didn't work!". Please remember, these kids are 10.

  • Damsel in Distress: One major plot point in the game is to save Raz's Love Interest Lili. That said, Raz isn't doing it just to save Lili; she's imprisoned alongside Milla and Sasha, his adult counselors, and unlike them, and all the other students, (and later Raz), Lili doesn't get debrained at all.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: The game barely plays a single trope straight. Essentially its a parody of Kid Hero, Adults Are Useless, Insane Equals Violent and pokes holes with several aspects of Hollywood Psych and Single-Issue Psychology which it parodies all the time.
  • Destructive Savior: Raz may save the population of Lungfishopolis from being brainwashed, but he will probably destroy lots of the city and step on many lungfish along the way, both because smashing the buildings gives you health and ammo, and because it's fun.
  • Depraved Dentist: Doctor Loboto. He became so obsessed with yanking out teeth, he wound up yanking out people's brains.
  • Deuteragonist: Lili Zanotto, also Raz's love interest, is the only other camper doing anything to investigate the mystery.
  • Developer's Foresight:
    • Raz is restricted from leaving the bunkhouse area of camp and entering the rest of the camp's property until he finishes Basic Braining. This means he can't get to the Main Lodge to buy any Psi Cores until that's done. There's actually enough Psi Cards in the bunkhouse area to complete a Challenge Marker, and when you get nine cards, a message automatically pops up to tell you that you've collected nine cards and you should buy a Psi Core to take advantage of them. If you haven't completed Basic Braining by that point, a second message will follow immediately after saying "...after class, of course." This message has a picture of a yelling Coach Oleander to remind you of who you need to find to get Basic Braining done.
    • During Sasha Nein's training, he tells you to defeat 1000 censors in order to receive the Marksmanship Badge. To generate these Censors, there is a lever with output levels to monitor in what frequency they appear with a gauge indicating from "1" to "SKULL". The game only progresses if you, being Raz, gets impatient and turns the switch to the "Skull" setting. If you go about killing 100 Censors without turning the switch up, the Censors stop spawning until you increase the level which eventually leads to you summoning the boss of the level.
    • After your mentors are suddenly kidnapped, you can still return into their minds - and they are there, too, but for some reason are nearly helpless. If you go there after freeing them but before saving Lili, which the player would normally do immediately afterwards with a single button press, they'll be confused at what he's doing in there at a time like this.
    • Not only do all the psychic powers in the game get different (and often hilarious) reactions from every NPC, almost every item gets similar reactions. For instance, at one point you need to rescue Sheegor's turtle, Mr. Pokeylope. If you were playing the game normally, you'd probably have him in your inventory for less than 30 seconds. Yet most of the cast has something to say about him. There's even an achievement on Steam for showing Mr. Pokeylope to all of the campers (save for Benny and Maloof).
    • Try to enter the mind of someone you're not supposed to enter, and there'll always be an explanation. Except for Sheegor (who is one of the sanest characters in the game) and Dogen, which is actually an even further case of Developer's Foresight as you're unable to stick it to his head since he's wearing his tinfoil Power Limiter.
    • If you turn invisible and attempt to steal Gloria's trophy, you get a different cutscene than if you interacted with the trophy without using your invisibility power.
    • Normally during the fight against the mega-censor in Sasha's mind, Sasha would give you tips on how to defeat it. Get crushed by the Mega Censor's stamp enough times, and he eventually devolves into gibberish before looping back to the tips.
    • In "Waterloo World", Napoleon explains that all Fred has to do to win is storm Napoleon's stronghold. If you try doing it yourself, Napoleon gets annoyed and clarifies that you have to storm his stronghold with your knight.
    • The G-Men who are "baking a pie" occasionally say rhubarb is a controversial pie flavor. If you show other G-Men your rolling pin, they will either claim rhubarb is their favorite flavor, or the only flavor they dislike.
    • Characters have special lines for being tickled with the Crow Feather when their brains are stolen.
    • Vernon has a special line of dialogue if his brain is found before Franke's. You'd really have to go out of your way to do this, because her brain is at the start of Thorney Towers and his brain is found at the end.
  • Die, Chair, Die!: Among the things you can destroy: pillows, stereo speakers, fruit carts, buildings, stacks of papers, lava lamps, napkin dispensers, watermelons, televisions...
    • Special mention: Sasha Nein hates Tiffany lamps, and uses one to demonstrate how to use the Psi-Blast ability. This is somewhat explained after one of his memory vaults shows a Tiffany lamp on a table next to his mother's deathbed, along with Word of God stating that he worked in a factory that produced Tiffany lamps before he joined the Psychonauts.
      Sasha: (covering his eyes and momentarily looking away) So... tacky! ...Can't look it! But I control those feelings, focus them, and... release! (lamp shatters) And the world is a better place.
    • There's also the soldier whose father was killed by a bridge.
  • Directionally Solid Platforms: Trampolines act like this in a few places.
  • Dirty Mind-Reading: In one of Sasha's memory reels, he was reading his father's mind in order to find nice memories of his mother, and ended up finding... more about her than he wanted to know.
    • In a more G-rated example, early on Raz is talking to Lili about the Psychonauts, and mentally she states she wish he'd just shut up and kiss her. Unfortunately for her, she didn't realize that mind reading was one of the abilities Raz has, and runs off in embarrassment when she realizes it. At the end of the game, she thinks the same thing, fully aware this time that he can read her mind.
  • Disaster Dominoes: The asylum's destruction is caused by a number of individual factors all coming together. Edgar pulls free his chain which tears open the floor breaks a gas pipe. Fortunately, the gas is off... until Gloria (in her dazed state) turns the main gas valve, thinking it would provide water for flowers. Edgar then spills all his turpentine and acetone. Then, when convincing Boyd to leave with the other inmates, Fred happens to use the phrase "blow this popsicle stand", which triggers Boyd to throw his molotov cocktail and ignite the gas leak.
  • Don't Explain the Joke
    Raz: Hey, Bobby. Someone's stealing kids' brains!
    Bobby: Well in that case, you've got nothing to worry about! Ah-ha-ha-ha!
    Raz: ...Good one.
    Raz: (sighs in frustration)
  • Dowsing Device: The Dowsing Rod. A mere 50 arrowheads, it lets you find deep arrowhead caches worth dozens of arrowheads. It's the only practical way to get the 800 arrowhead Cobweb Duster, which is required to progress.
  • Dissimile: "We've fought monsters like you before, Goggalor! Only much smaller!"
  • Dreamville: "The Milkman Conspiracy." Accessed when Raz enters the mind of Boyd Cooper, it's a quirky, chaotic mimicry of a 1950s-style suburb. Featuring the floating roads that corkscrew upside-down and eerily-empty buildings, it's infested with poorly-disguised G-Men impersonating the residents, suspicious-looking girl scouts roaming the streets, and omnipresent spy cameras (hidden everywhere from trash cans and pink flamingo ornaments). In other words, Boyd's paranoid nightmare made manifest as a Mental World.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Coach Oleander.
  • Driven to Suicide: Crystal and Clem, who attempts to drink poison after you've talked to them for the first time, behind your back. This is extra sad, when taking into account that they're supposed to be the camp's pepping cheerleaders...
    • Also, Gloria's mother, in response to her daughter's success.
    • Reading the history of the camp reveals that the founder of the insane asylum did this by throwing himself off the top of the asylum's tower.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Paying enough attention to throw away conversations and memory vaults will make it clear that most of these people are either really messed up or bearing up under horrible past tragedies.
  • Eagleland: The Milkman Conspiracy. On the outside, it looks like a typical Flavor 1 1950s suburb...Though it's incredibly twisted. It's immediately apparent it's under an obvious yet incredibly creepy Big Brother Is Watching scenario, with government agents dressed in trench coats and fedoras poorly attempting to imitate normal people, trashcans and fire hydrants staring at you, mailboxes walking around, and unusual girl scouts.
  • Easily Forgiven: Coach Oleander, despite his attempt of world domination.
  • Easter Egg: The original protagonist, D'Artagnan, who was replaced with Raz for being really hard to render because his hat was too awesome for the engine to render, shows up briefly in the ending. Briefly, as in a one-second appearance. For those who can't find him - at the beginning of the final cutscene, peeking from the outhouse, as Raz is running after Lili.
  • Eccentric Townsfolk: Most of the children have some form of insanity.
  • The Electric Slide: Raz does it at one point.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: For the final, two-headed boss, Raz's dad lends Raz his psychic powers in order to protect his mind, which in-game translates to Raz projecting a giant body of psychic energy.
  • Empty Eyes: When all the campers are debrained.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: When Raz tries using levitation on water in Milla's mind, the Hand of Galochio tries to grab him. When Raz refuses to talk about it, Milla thinks it might be a bedwetting problem.
  • Entertainment Above Their Age: Most of the campers at Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp (who are all children) list PG-13 or R movies as their favorites on their Campster profiles. Some of them, like Nils, even like NC-17 rated movies.
  • Epiphany Therapy: Edgar, Fred, Gloria and Coach Oleander all have their own struggles and personal demons that they've been dealing with for (presumably) a long time. When Raz comes in and defeats the personifications of their issues, they're all finally able to move on with their lives (and in Oleander's case, reform from evil).
  • Escort Mission: A brief optional one early in the game, plus the final platforming section.
  • "Everybody Laughs" Ending: Everyone laughs at the end of the bonus scene you get for 100% Completion.
  • Everyone Can See It: A lot of the characters in the game could see something going on between Raz and Lili.
  • External Combustion: If you return their brains, Mikhail and Maloof offer to help you deal with Coach Oleander by wiring up his car with a bomb. On the one hand, it's nice that they're one of the few campers who actually do anything to help you especially if all else fails. On the other, it doesn't solve the problem right now.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The entirety of events that play out in the game take place over a single day and night.
  • Evil Hand: Whenever Raz gets close to deep water, a supernatural hand called the Hand of Galochio tries to submerge him.
    • The cardboard waves in Gloria's Theatre can also produce a cardboard hand to pull down the player.
  • Falling into His Arms: In one of Milla's memory reels, Sasha catches Milla in this fashion after they escape from an exploding building. They both look quite happily flustered.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Yeah, there's a reason this game is rated T...
    • How does falling into a meat grinder sound? Yeah, you can't see it, but you can definitely hear it.
    • If Raz steps on any of the citizens of Lungfishopolis, they become a bloody little mess. Which he can wipe off his shoes like gum as an idle animation.
    • Milla's backstory involves a full orphanage of children being burned alive.
    • The first, out of many, Black Comedy jokes in the game involves Dogen blowing a group of squirrels to pieces with his psychic powers. There's no blood or anything, but there's still big meaty chunks.
  • Fantastic Racism: It's heavily implied, both with Coach Oleander's opening monologue and Raz's fear that his father wants to kill him, that prejudice against psychics is all too common.
  • Fate Worse than Death: The whole brain-sneezing thing just can't be pleasant.
  • Fisher Kingdom: When Raz goes into Edgar Teglee's mind — Black Velvetopia — his clothes take on characteristics that match the world. There are orange accents on his clothes, his lenses change from red to pink and his whole body looks like he's under a black-light.
  • Fission Mailed: When you attempt to pick up the book during the Milkman Conspiracy, you are immediately arrested and taken to interrogation. The exact same thing happens when you would attempt to cross a restricted area without the correct prop...the player may think they made a mistake, but it's actually needed to proceed.
  • Floating Limbs:
    • The dancers in Milla's Dance Party have limbs, but they taper off before connecting to the body.
    • Jasper Rolls' head also detaches from the body, but it's usually in a position where it seems attached.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: A horrific, mutated lake monster — with a deep, thoughtful voice — named Linda. Granted, it wasn't born as a monster.
  • Foil: Edgar Teglee and Gloria Von Gouten, two of the residents at Thorny Towers, serve as foils to each other. Edgar's mind is visually dramatic and dark, being styled after a black velvet painting, and he seems to be haunted by demons that manifest in the form of a bull that keeps him from moving forward. However, it turns out his entire psychosis came from not being able to get over being dumped by his cheerleader girlfriend in high school - even Raz seems surprised that this has weighed him down for all these years. Gloria Von Gouten, on the other hand, has a mind that is rather comical in tone, where we get to see various vignettes acted out (rather poorly) on a mental stage that vary between disgustingly sweet and comically dark depending on the mood that you set for the scene. However, she has one of the darker backstories in the game - she was abandoned by her famous mother at a young age at an abusive boarding school for the arts, before eventually becoming a star herself and overtaking her mother in fame until she had a nervous breakdown when her mother killed herself out of jealousy.
  • Follow the White Rabbit: A (mindscape-generated) rabbit acts as something of a guide for Razputin in the first tutorial, leads him to an important clue, and also eventually becomes a central element in an Escort Mission.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the opening cutscene, when Raz is quoting the Whispering Rock pamphlet, the camera cuts to Oleander staring in awe - then mouthing along - when he reaches the words "your father looks at you with shame in his eyes."
    • Also in the opening cutscene, Oleander says to not worry about the rumours of the lake monster, and to feel free to walk around alone during night, in the perfectly safe camp.
    • Also in the opening cutscene, Oleander tries to read Raz's mind and is astonished it's "armored like a tank!" He then mentions how he has big plans for Raz's mind. That's not some turn of phrase. He intended to use Raz's brain to pilot a psychic death tank.
    • And when Raz introduces himself Lili's knees visibly weaken, showing that she started crushing on him from the very beginning.
    • During Basic Braining inside Coach Oleander's mind there are meat-cleavers amongst the imagination figments, which stands out a bit amongst the otherwise military themed figments. Not to mention the bunnies under assault by the turret, or the meat plant Lili calls attention to.
      • One of Elton's very first observations when seeing the beginning of the Basic Braining course is to comment that it looks like a dentist's office. As it turns out, Oleander is in fact preparing kids to be sent to Doctor Loboto, a Mad Scientist dentist that tries to apply his knowledge to brain surgery.
    • One example that's Played for Laughs in Basic Braining is how Oleander's Memory Vault makes him out to be an army man that's much taller than he actually is. The reality is that he was rejected from all branches of the military, including their cooking service just because he was too short.
    • Then you have Oleander talking in his sleep after Basic Braining; he mentions "eggs" (brains) and seems to be talking to the "Easter bunny" (Linda), telling it to be careful with the eggs under the water (Lake Oblongata), give them to "you know who" (Doctor Loboto) and put them in their "holders" (the tanks). Then they'll all see. Who are you callin' short?
      • Likewise, listening in on Oleander's sleep-talking allows you to hear begging his papa not to do something, and then crying out for "Mr. Bunny". Given the final level's revelations, Oleander was likely having a nightmare, begging his father not to kill his childhood pet rabbit.
    • The collectible figments, when they aren't thematic or seem out of place, often serve as obscure hints about a given mind's past traumas or current issues before they're fully explored.
    • When inside what is apparently Raz's mind through the brain tumbler experiment, after Dogen's brain gets stolen, Raz has to fight a tank powered by said brain. The boss theme has a small segment that is taken straight from the theme in Oleander's brain. Indeed, Oleander is ultimately the one responsible for the plot to steal children's brains to power psychic tanks.
    • Elton talks to the fish about a ghost town and a giant lake monster with glowing eyes and a prehensile lure.
    • Boyd's ramblings include him mentioning "that freaky hunchback girl" and "that fat kid with the bunny", foreshadowing two characters: Sheegor and Lil Oly.
    • The Meat Circus has Raz get haunted by a ghost-like figure with an equally eerie voice. It would be reasonable to believe that it represents Raz's father, but he still sees it after encountering Evil Augustus. Raz eventually discovers that the figure is actually the real Augustus trying to project himself into Raz's psyche.
    • The Hand of Galochio attacks Raz when he's on a wooden representation of water. This is a clue that there is no curse to die in water, and just a mental quirk, as revealed in 2.
  • Forgot About the Mind Reader:
    • Raz overhears Lili's thoughts.
    • Played with, since the last time, she intended for him to hear them.
  • Former Child Star: Gloria von Gouten.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: Everyone except Raz and his father.
  • Freudian Trio: Literal example in Gloria's Theater. Becky is Gloria's superego, desperately trying to maintain order and control over Bonita and the rest of the production. The Phantom aka Jasper is her id, constantly trying to derail her. And Bonita Soleil is her ego, the most balanced one.
  • Friend to All Children: Milla treats all the campers like they're her own, to the point where using Clairvoyance on her shows that she sees Raz as a little baby. This becomes a lot more tragic once you find out about her backstory.
  • Funny Background Event: In the final cutscene, there's a shot of Nils picking his nose. To the side, Mikhail can be seen staring at him while he does so.

  • Gambit Roulette: Spoofed. Upon returning to Sasha's mind, Raz is told by Sasha that the "censor overload" incident was all an elaborate training course, knowing that Raz would push the censor deployment rate to maximum against Sasha's advice. Raz, of course, asks if the giant mutant censor that handed Sasha his ass on a platter was all part of the course, too. Sasha is not amused (because it wasn't).
    Sasha: Okay, that part got a little bit out of hand...
  • Gender Reveal: Bonita Soleil. The viewer can determine the gender by triggering reactionary speech (smashing objects, etc), but Raz is still unsettled during conversation for assuming the wrong gender. Although Bonita still might be a woman that sounds like a really gruff man, either way the voice is a reveal in itself.
    • Linda, the lake monster is actually female.
  • Gentle Giant: Linda is a giant fish monster but she's actually quite nice.
  • Germanic Depressives: Chronically Comically Serious Sasha.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The Nightmare boss fights in "The Milkman Conspiracy" come entirely out of nowhere and have no explanation for their existence. This is mainly because they're the remnants of a cut sub-plot featuring Milla's unresolved issues involving the orphans she used to care for.
  • Gimmick Level: Almost all of them.
  • Girl Scouts Are Evil: The Rainbow Squirts from "The Milkman Conspiracy", who are guarding the Milkman so he can bomb the asylum when the time comes.
  • Go Among Mad People: When in the asylum.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Among the level images shown in the game's credits, you have amusing stuff like Raz and Sasha posing with the latter's Censors and the whole cast of Milkman Conspiracy (including both Boyd and the Milkman somehow) having a fun barbeque together.
  • Goggles Do Nothing: Raz wears a pair of goggles on his head, and only puts them over his eyes when he enters a person's mind. There's no readily apparent reason for having them at all, though there is a brief mention of them being used as a method of protecting his eyes from rabid conspiracy theorists in the manual.
    • Lampshaded in the Milkman Conspiracy level, when Raz is captured and interrogated by the Men in Black, one of the things they ask him is "What is the purpose of the goggles?". Later, the boss of the level screams "I'll pluck out your eyes!" and Raz's response is "Ha! You can't! That is the purpose of the goggles!". So the boss shuts off the lights.
  • Good All Along: The agents in The Milkman Conspiracy. They may get in your way, but they are searching for the Milkman, who's actually an implanted - and very dangerous - alternate personality. A late hint is that they're siding with the Censors, who are similarly benign entities - to the host mind, at least.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: Figments, PSI Cards and Challenge Markers (and as a subset of that, Mental Cobwebs), Scavenger Hunt Items, Emotional Baggage, Memory Vaults and campers' brains are all tracked, and the first four categories are factored into your PSI Cadet Ranking. If you really want to go all out, there's also the ammo/extra life capacity upgrades.
  • Gravity Screw:
    • Sasha's stage features planetary gravity.
    • Boyd's stage features a vaguely-enforced "fall towards the ground" gravity system, which will probably kill you more than anything else in the level.
    • There's even a bit during a few select parts of the tutorial level. Specifically, after you complete the obstacle course with taking cover and the machine gun, what looks like a drop when you jump into the nest instead becomes a hallway...
  • Green Rocks: Psitanium, a psychoreactive mineral that Raz can use as currency and also helps Ford regain his sanity.
  • Grind Boots: Raz can grind on anything. Even wooden railings and telephone wires.
  • Guide Dang It!: Certain sections can be trying. Thankfully using the summoning bacon can provide some helpful advice.
  • Hailfire Peaks: The final level is a haphazard mish-mash of Raz and Oleander's psyches. The Meat Circus is a Circus of Fear where nearly everything is constructed out of flesh and bone.
  • Hair-Raising Hare: The Meat Circus contains hideous, mutilated bunnies who attempt to target Lil Oly during the escort mission section of the level.
  • Harsh Word Impact: Jasper uses this as a weapon. He fires criticism projectiles and these can actually damage Raz.
  • Hartman Hips: Milla Vodello - exaggerated because of the thin torso and neck.
  • Hearing Voices: While not in the insane manner, in the last level there are ghostly voices repeating your name now and then. It's Raz's father trying to get him to allow him into his mind.
  • Heart Container: The brains found in the later part of the game.
  • Heh Heh, You Said "X":
    Kochamara: I've got the brain of a little girl back in my lab that's strong enough to power a whole army of psycho-blaster death tanks!
    Raz: (starts laughing uncontrollably)
    Kochamara: What?
    Raz: You've got the brain of a little girl?
    Kochamara: I said, "in my lab!"
    Raz: I think you've got the muscles of a little girl too!
    Kochamara: (groan) ...Good one.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Lili.
  • Hint System: Summoning Ford with the bacon allows him to give specific advice on the current situation or general advice about foes you've encountered previously.
  • Historical In-Joke: Razputin is a psychic who's cursed to die in water. In real life, Grigori Rasputin was an adviser to the Russian royal family who claimed to be psychic and supposedly died by drowning. Coincidence?
    • Waterloo World is almost entirely built out of this trope.
  • Hidden Depths: Pretty much every character whose minds you jump into.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Oleander's the one who led Raz to the camp in the first place, through his pamphlets. If he hadn't done so, his plan would have gone off without a hitch. That said, it ended up better for him in the end...
    • Double hoist: He only let Raz stay to begin with because he was so impressed by Raz' natural psychic prowess that he just had to use it in the plan that it eventually ended up foiling.
      • Triple hoist: He ends up getting a dose of the sneezing drug he'd been using to extract the campers' brains, and ends up sneezing his own brain out... and it went into the Psychic Tank.
    • Also, Dingo Inflagrante's defeat is contingent on the confusion grenades that he earlier gave Raz, and he's damaged by the spears that he intends to use on El Odio.
  • Hook Hand: Dr. Loboto. Although in his case, it's more of a 'Peppermill-with-Talons' hand.
  • Hot-Blooded: A lot of the characters in Waterloo World. You know your army is going strong when a bucket of snails are proud to fight and die for your cause.
  • House Wife: One of the many Paper Thin Disguises the G-Men can wear.
    "Over the last several years I have relied on prescription medication to make it through my day."
  • 100% Completion: Damn do you have to work for it.
    • Over 100% Completion: The "Math is Hard" achievement is so named because you can get to PSI Cadet ranking of 101 by beating every round of the punching game in Basic Braining.
  • Idle Animation: They vary from level to level, and can involve everything from bowing to rolling out invisible pie crusts to dancing enthusiastically. And they occasionally cause Raz to walk on air.
  • The Igor: Sheegor, a female and obviously The Woobie during her brief appearance.
  • I Have No Son!: Outright stated by Raz's mental image of his father.
  • I Shall Taunt You: That little bizarre dance and humming by Bobby Zilch and Raz. According to Schafer, it was based on something his brother did.
  • I'll Kill You!: Napoleon's soldier.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The Butcher.
    Lil' Oly: He says little bunnies are good for nothing... nothing but food!
  • In Case of Boss Fight, Break Glass: The brain-powered psychic tank is defeated by flinging chunks of concrete at the glass dome shielding the final boss's brain.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Inverted: The fact that Lili had a head cold was the only thing between her and Doctor Loboto's magical brain-sneezing powder.
  • Indian Burial Ground: Subverted:
    Franke: The camp is built on an Indian Burial Ground and -
    Raz: Oh my gosh! Indians buried their dead here?!
    Franke: Ewwww! I hope not. No, stupid, they buried their arrowheads here.
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: Dr. Loboto and Bobby Zilch. Both have tall and gangly physiques, green-blue skin, heterochromia (one red eye, one green), and high-pitched voices prone to lisping. The boy's huge afro is even shaped like the dentist's shower cap, but the two characters are never seen interacting, nor are said to be relatives. In Psychonauts 2, however, Loboto claims he accidentally left his kid at Whispering Rock in all the excitement...
  • In One Ear, Out The Other: Once Dogen loses his brain.
  • Insane Equals Violent:
    • Played straight with Oleander, who wants to conquer the world, no matter what it costs. He gets better.
    • Played with by Edgar and Gloria. They both have tendencies to fly into rages unprovoked, but this is because their mental disorders are untreated and they've never received help to learn how to control them. Edgar only takes his rage out on his art, and the worst thing Gloria does to Raz is briefly chase him away from her garden.
  • Instant Roast: Killing various critters (birds, squirrels, etc.) with Pyrokinesis turns them into miniature roasts which restore health.
  • Interface Screw: When hit with a confusion grenades (or similar effect), the screen is flipped horizontally. It also randomizes your psi powers, even switching to those you didn't have selected.
  • Interface Spoiler: If you're good enough at raising your ranks, you will get informed of new powers before you get them. It's even possible to gain an upgrade for the final power without actually having it.
  • Invisibility: One of the available Psychic Powers.
    • Milka, one of the campers, is really skilled at this power. She once stayed invisible three days straight.
  • Invulnerable Civilians: You can attempt to set fire to your fellow camp mates and the worst that will happen is that they complain about it. It's likely that their own psychic powers suppress your pyrokinesis.
  • Ironic Name: Raz's last name is Aquato, but his family doesn't take to water too well.
  • Ironic Nickname: Benny "The Nose." Have you seen the size of his ears?
  • Irony: In Gloria's mindscape, one would think Jasper (the critic) would be the Super Ego for holding Gloria back, while Bonita (the diva) would be the Id for delaying the show. But in the grand scheme of things, Jasper's the Id for trying to stir up drama for the sake of getting attention. Whereas Bonita represents Gloria's self-confidence and regulates her insecurity, making her the true embodiment of Super Ego.
  • It Makes Sense in Context: Constantly.
  • It's Up to You: Used to the point of deliberate absurdity: of the nineteen campers whose brains you recover, none of them are willing to directly help you save the world. Most or all are perfectly capable of helping, they just have better things to do. Like getting pedicures or making out. Aversions:
    • Maloof and Mikhail sabotage the coach's car. However, it's really only useful in case you fail.
    • Chloe tries to help by using the coach's radio in an attempt to contact aliens. However, if you talk to her again, you find out that she thinks that Earth is doomed and she's just looking for a ride out.
    • Chops and J.T. patrol the cabins of the campers. Considering that there are telekinetic bears and fire-starting mountain lions, and that the camp counselors who would be keeping them away are all unavailable, that sentiment is nice, even if it wouldn't matter if the world is conquered.
  • I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: Dr. Loboto keeps Sheegor under his command by threatening to make soup out of her pet turtle.

  • Joke Item: The crow feather, which can be used to tickle nearly everyone that can be interacted with (except Sasha, Chloe and Boyd). Using clairvoyance on it helps to solve a puzzle, but it can be solved with luck. Clairvoyance can also be used on it to find out where items for a couple of the Gotta Catch 'Em All quests are, provided that those items are outside and that Raz is standing within mind-range of a crow.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: The basic premise of the game.
  • Just a Stupid Accent: Used deliberately in Waterloo World. Napoleon and his toy soldiers have archetypical French accents. Fred Bonaparte's troops all have modern American accents, since Fred is an American, despite the fact that the "game" they're in takes place in a setting very loosely based on Napoleonic-era Europe. Even the Knight, who specifically identifies himself as a Frenchman, only speaks in something like an upper-class New England accent.
  • Justified Extra Lives: You're not "dying", you're just getting kicked out of the person's mind. That said, this explanation does raise the question of what happens when you die in the overworld...
  • Justified Tutorial: Basic Braining.
  • Kick The Son Of A Bitch: In Fred Bonaparte's mental landscape, while the first two recruited peasants lament their fates and wax philosophical about the cruelties of war, the third is a jerk that fully admits he plans to rob the Carpenter at gunpoint when you complete his Fetch Quest, and only fights against Napoleon's soldier because he's in the way and he wants to practice.
  • KidAnova: Nils Lutefisk, though it might be all talk.
  • King Mook: The Mega Censor boss is a giant censor that resulted from a buildup of censor energy.
  • Kill It with Fire: One of your standard psychic powers. Target the squirrels and seagulls. Also, Boyd's reaction to being fired.
  • Kill the Lights: Used by the Den Mother in the Milkman Conspiracy boss fight.
  • Ladder Physics: The super-long twisty ladder in the Meat Circus allows you to slide in pretty much all directions. Justified, since it takes place in the Mental World of an acrobat whose having... issues.
  • La Résistance: In Lungfishopolis, "For Freedom!"
  • Large Ham:
    • Coach Oleander.
    • The Den Mother really takes the cake though. "And the seas shall run white... with his... RAGE!"
  • Larynx Dissonance: Linda, the mutated lungfish, and Bonita Soleil, the personification of Gloria's star power, both have gravelly, masculine voices.
  • Last Lousy Point: Packing off all the Emotional Baggage and getting all the Scavenger Hunt items? Simple. Tracking down every Memory Vault and Mental Cobweb? Difficult, but doable. Finding every PSI Card and Challenge Marker? Challenging, but at least there's not too many per area. But getting every figment — of which there are hundreds per level, and you have to get them all for 100% Completion — is an exercise in masochism. Some fly, some are hidden in areas you have no reason to visit otherwise, and all of them can blend in with the scenery thanks to their coloration. Let's not forget how the figments are 2-dimensional, making them next to invisible at cerain camera angles.
  • Leitmotif: The soundtrack features a recurring eight-note sequence that represents mental illness.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Sasha, at the end of his stage.
  • Lip Lock: After Bobby kicks Raz off the platform in Basic Braining, he mocks him with some half-singing gibberish while doing a dance. If you watch his lips, it isn't matching what he's saying.
    Bobby Zilch: I'm not stupid. You're stupid. The Coach is stupid. This whole camp is stupid! (points behind Raz) That thing flying at you is stupid!
    Raz: What thing?!
    Bobby Zilch: (kicks Raz off the cliff) Bobby Zilch's foot, that's what! (performs victory dance)
  • Lobotomy: The appropriately named Dr. Loboto — who is a dentist, by the way — specializes in removing people's brains. Instead of using ice picks, however, he prefers using his own special brand of Pepper Sneeze, ground out of his prosthetic arm; one sniff, and you'll sneeze so hard your brain will hit the wall with a splat.
  • The Lost Lenore: Strongly implied to be the case with Sasha's parents, the Lenore being his mother.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: A contributing factor behind Edgar's insanity was losing his high school sweetheart.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: A really weird example. The five other acrobats Raz and his father are seen performing with in Raz's vault are actually his other family members: his mother, his older brother and sister, and his younger brother and sister. The fact that he even has a mom or siblings is never even hinted at in-game, which lead fans to speculate for a while before it was finally confirmed by the creators.

  • Mad Libs Dialogue:
    • Boyd Cooper, a conspiracy nut suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, spends all his time scrawling on things and rambling about some sort of conspiracy that only makes sense in his own disjointed mind. This effect is done by having his voice actor record a ton of funny dialogue quips that sound like the sort of thing you'd hear when listening to a conspiracy, and then programming them to play at random when the player hears Boyd talk. Not only would you never notice unless you listened for a very long time, but it's extremely unlikely you'll ever hear him say the same thing twice, not to mention it does a very good job at making him sound like he's completely insane.
    • During Basic Braining, Raz gets into a plane with Vernon Tripe, who begins to discuss the time he went on the longest walk ever with his dog, Lady. All of the dialogue lines are picked at random, and the conversation only ends when Raz smacks the door open.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Loboto, although he's a dentist.
    • Also Sasha, to a lesser extent. "If I could only get him (Raz) in my lab, I'm sure he could withstand more than the others."
  • Magic A Is Magic A: The cougars have pyrokinesis, bears have TK Claws, and the psychic death tanks have confusion grenades. The rats are effectively confusion grenades themselves.
  • Man Behind the Man: Coach Oleander is the one behind Loboto's plot.
    • Whose identity is revealed unusually early for this trope. A far better kept reveal is the true source of Oleander's insanity: the Butcher.
  • Manchurian Agent: Boyd's alternate personality, the Milkman, was created to destroy the Asylum on Oleander's order. Raz accidentally sets off him off while exploring his mind.
  • Masked Luchador: A Quirky Miniboss Squad in Black Velvetopia consists of four of these, each based on an animal and a card suit.
  • The Men in Black: The hilariously inept, robotic undercover agents in The Milkman Conspiracy.
  • Mental World: The premise of the game, pretty much.
  • Metaphorgotten: "It's like looking at the site of a horrible car accident! A car accident where the victims can't act, and the paramedics forget their lines!"
  • Milkman Conspiracy: In the level that named the trope, the conspiracy is actually about a milkman, but of eight-year-old girls.
  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read:
    • Sasha Nein's second mental vault shows us that reading the mind of your parents is not a good idea.
    • Milla's personal nightmare room, where visions of monstrous ashen ghosts whisper her name and ask why she did not save them.
    • Entering someone's minds in general is a very dangerous process, especially if that person isn't mentally well.
  • Mind Rape: Inverted. Raz enters people's minds to help them.
    • Played straight with Linda, who was possessed by Coach Oleander by the time she was attacking.
  • Mind Screw: The World Shall Taste My Eggs!
    Raz: Okay...what the hell was that?
  • Misplaced Kindergarten Teacher: Milla sees her students as little children and treats them accordingly. If you use Clairvoyance on her, you can see Raz through her eyes as a very small child. It turns out that she once worked at an Orphanage of Love which was accidentally burned down, and her psychic abilities caused her to hear the thoughts of all the children as they burned to death. She was traumatized as a result. The part of her mind that contains these memories is well-hidden, and she gently tells Raz not to go there.
  • Missing Mom: Sasha's mother died shortly after he was born.
    • Raz's mother is never seen or mentioned once. Unless you've read up on Psychopedia, in which case you'd know that the other circus performers shown in his backstory were, in fact, his other family members, one of them being her. She still doesn't play any part in the story, however.
  • Mistaken for Flatulence: If you blow the Lungfish Call in Loboto's lab, he will say "Sheegor, please! Open a window if you're going to do that".
  • Moment of Lucidity: If the player uses confusion grenades on Boyd or any of the characters in The Milkman Conspiracy (only accomplishable with cheat-codes), instead of discombobulating them it instead brings them to sanity temporarily.
    Boyd Cooper: Wait a minute. I think there might not be a conspiracy after all. It's possible I'm suffering from paranoid delusions linked to an entity I call "The Milkman", who is, in actuality, the mummified remains of Abraham Lincoln!
  • Mood-Swinger: Gloria, one of the mentally ill patients at the Asylum. The mission is even called "Help Gloria control her mood swings".
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Dr. Loboto is an evil dentist.
  • Most Definitely Not a Villain: "I am a phone repairer. I can listen to any phone conversations I wish, but do not do so out of my sense of professional responsibility."
  • Mundane Utility: Sasha uses his psychic abilities to light his cigarette and hold it to his lips without using his hands.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Coach Oleander, as you can see from the opening quote, takes summer camp way too seriously.
  • Murder Water: Raz's entire bloodline is cursed with this thanks to a spiteful psychic family. Any time Razputin is near bodies of water, a ghastly, aquatic arm appears and will try to drag him to his watery grave if he touches it.
  • The Napoleon: Coach Oleander, and Napoleon himself. Inverted in Fred Bonaparte, a descendant of Napoleon's, who is extremely tall and has no ambition whatsoever. He also has bizarrely short arms — he appears to be part T-Rex.
  • Napoleon Delusion: Fred Bonaparte's Split Personality. Bonus points for Fred actually being a descendant of Napoleon himself.
  • Nerdcore: Adam War Rock devoted a song to the game, which ends up name-checking most of Tim Schafer's career (and lead artist Scott C.) in the process.
  • New Job as the Plot Demands: Every single job around camp is filled by the same guy. Turns out, he has a particularly nasty case of split personality disorder.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Sure, you've gotten Boyd to open the gates... but now he's on a hair trigger: his original, mildly deranged personality has been replaced by another, somewhat more deranged personality, and he's about to blow up the asylum! On the other hand, you really don't care much about the Asylum...
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The Gloria's Theater level revolves around finding new scripts and producing a series of plays so Raz can ascend the stage to the catwalks and battle the Phantom, and oddly enough, the first script you find is given to Raz by the Phantom himself, aka Jasper.
  • Nice Mean And In Between: The game presents this trope with the staff of Whsipering Rock.
    • Milla and Ford are the Nice. Milla is a friendly party girl who is a Friend to All Children and helps them learn to use their powers in ways that don't involve violence, instead creating fun obstacle courses. Ford is a Cool Old Guy who, when sane, helps Raz test some of his psychic powers and aids him through the psychic link in his head.
    • Oleander is the Mean, being a Drill Sergeant Nasty who is also trying to take over the world with the brains of the kids.
    • Sasha's the In-Between. He's not as rude as Oleander but he also tries to coerce the campers into being lab rats for his ethically-dubious experiments, which gives him a reputation as The Dreaded amongst some of the children.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The bulldog in Black Velvetopia / Christopher Walken
  • No Fair Cheating: "Yooooouuuuu cheated!". Napoleon also does not permit cheating in Waterloo World. He tells Raz not to touch his pieces, his soldiers tell you that using PK on them is cheating if you talk to them, and he won't accept victory if Raz tries jumping in the stronghold directly. Yet, he jams the gate mechanism when you're about to win.
  • Nominal Importance: Everybody has a name. Usually first and last, too. Most of them have defining personality characteristics and flaws.
  • Non-Lethal Bottomless Pits: The good news about Raz's Super Drowning Skills is that he doesn't normally lose a life from them.
  • Non Sequitur, *Thud*: If Raz gets hit with the Mega Censor's stamp one too many times, Sasha will start to get concussed and spout gibberish.
    Sasha: My name is Yon Yonson, I live in Wisconsin, I work in the lumberyard there...
  • Noodle Incident: You're given a rough idea, but you never get told precisely what Clem and Crystal were trying to accomplish. The poison? Trying to kill themselves. The rooftop? Trying to kill themselves. Crystal's backstory on Campster says that she's suicidal; Clem's says that they're no longer allowed to handle sharp implements. It's strongly hinted that they're trying to gain ultimate psychic power by destroying their bodies and setting their spirits free.
    • And then there's Dogen Boole:
    Dogen: And then you make their heads explode.
    Raz: No! ... Wait, can you do that?
    Dogen: No! Well once, kinda... actually it was more like four times...but now I wear this special hat. Do you want to try it on?
    • If you use cheats to get the confusion grenades and use them on the Spies playing assassins, you get this gem:
      Assassin: Oh God. Why am I holding a gun? I hope I didn't kill again...
  • Nostalgia Filter: In Edgar's mindscape, Raz learns from an artistic collie about a scandal: Edgar was once a famous painter, married to the beautiful flamenco dancer Lampita. But one day, El Dingo the matador commissioned the artist to paint his portrait, only for Edgar's cunning client to seduce his wife and run off with her before the painting was complete. Later, Raz talks to an artistic dalmatian who sets the record straight of what really happened: it was simply a highschool incident where Edgar's girlfriend Lana left him for a male cheerleader named Dean, leaving Edgar unable to finish his wrestling match (or anything else in general). And the notion he's a renowned artist was really the memory of taking refuge in art class as a new outlet after the wrestling team turned on him. In short, Edgar romanticized the memory of Dean and Lana to be more grand than they really were.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Sasha ignoring Raz to leave for urgent "official Psychonauts business" when Raz was trying to tell him about Oleander's psychic death tanks.
  • Notice This:
    • Interactable objects glow with an aqua blue aura or sparkle silvery.
    • You'll know when you can dig up an Arrowhead when Raz is looking at the purple smoke.
    • This trope is the only way to find Deep Arrowheads. You can only dig them up when the Dowsing Rod is out and the higher the sound it makes, the easier it is to pull one upnote .
  • Now, Where Was I Going Again?: The notebook tab in the menu keeps track of whatever Raz is supposed to be doing next, and how it factors into his end goal.
  • Obviously Evil: Oleander. It gets painfully obvious to the point of lampshade hanging, especially on a replay. The "armored like a tank" and "walking around at midnight" thing, etc. etc. It gets up to a peak when you're back in the ominous evil white hallway, and see that really distinct bunny fresco - then the anvil should hit you.
    • Some thought he was so over the top that he had to be a Red Herring. Maybe that was the point.
    • Also, Jasper. Lampshaded in the cutscene before:
    Raz: ...I totally guessed that!
    Actress: Nuh-uh! You said it was Becky!
  • Oblivious to Love: Raz just seems confused about Lili's behavior toward him at first. Not that the average ten-year-old would act any different.
  • Officer O'Hara: The opening cutscene to Lungfishopolis features a lungfish police guarding a pedestrian crossing who speaks in a thick Irish accent. He's naturally named Officer O'Lungfish.
  • Official Couple: Raz and Lili.
  • Officially Shortened Title: The full name of the game is The Most Excellent Game Psychonauts, but you'll rarely ever hear it called that.
  • Offing the Offspring: Raz is clearly terrified of his father, believing that his constant acrobatic training from is actually a plan to kill him and make it look like an accident. In reality, this couldn't be further from the truth.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: At the end of The Milkman Conspiracy, a huge swarm of agents and censors come after the Milkman. The Rainbow Squirts go out to confront them while you fight the boss. When the camera shows the outside of the house again, there are dead or unconscious combatants everywhere, which suggests that the battle was epic.
  • Old Master: Ford. Especially in the showdown against Oleander.
  • Once Killed a Man with a Noodle Implement: If you show Coach Oleander Sasha's button.
    "If I had that button, I could kill you six different ways."
  • The One That Got Away: A critical part of Edgar's backstory.
  • Only Sane Man: Compared to the crazy people and stuff that happens, Raz is the sanest of the bunch. That is, until you find out about his own issues in the Meat Circus.... Ironically, toward the end Raz meets two people that are possibly the most mentally healthy out of the entire cast: Sheegor and her talking turtle Mr. Pokeylope.
  • Out of Focus: While Linda and the campers show up in the animated bumpers for MTV2 and G4, none of the adults in the game appear at all.
  • 1-Up: Extra Astral Projection layers, shaped like Raz's helmet.
  • Orphanage of Love: Milla's old job. Before it burned down.
  • Overly-Long Gag: The story of the asylum. The Steam version gives out an achievement for actually listening to it.
    • Vernon's dull, rambling stories, which can literally go on for hours if the player sticks around that long.
    • Also, This interview with Tim Schafer. Specifically, his response to the first question.

  • Palette Swap: The four Luchadores in Velvetopia are all the same basic character model with different paint jobs. They even have the same moveset, except for the special attacks.
  • Papa Wolf: Raz's father, Augustus. Think about it — he comes to the camp for his runaway son, but his son is currently at the asylum across the lake, fighting Coach Oleander. So, Augustus has to figure out what the hell is going on in the camp, cross the lake by taking a kanoe, since he can't summon Lungfish Linda (and do remember that every mumber of Raz' and Augustus' family has a Murder Water issue), get to the ruins of asylum, enter the Meat Circus, reconcile with Raz and help him out in fighting the Butcher. Oh, and his timing is perfect.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise:
    • The Men in Black: "I am a grieving widow. I wish my loved one was not dead, but alive."
    • Raz uses them to get past the MIB, just picking up a rolling pin makes you appear to them as a housewife. Also a literal example, when Raz uses a painting of Loboto and a few other props to sneak past near-sighted Crispin.
    • Clairvoyance actually shows that Raz is this often literally. Whenever a character doesn't see him as himself, he appears as a cardboard cutout, ranging from a slightly modified version of him to looking nothing like himself (the only thing he never seems to lose are his googles).
  • Parental Abandonment: Gloria never knew her father and her mother abandoned her at Hagatha Home so she could focus on her own career.
  • Parents as People: Raz's father, in a very interesting Subversion/Deconstruction of the Abusive Parent trope.
  • Pass Through the Rings: When learning levitation. Repeated in the Meat Circus with flaming hoops.
  • The Pen Is Mightier: The phantom/critic has two mounted on his flying mecha. They fire deadly inkblots in the shape of insults.
  • Pepper Sneeze: Exaggerated to the furthest logical extreme - Dr. Loboto's special powder will make you sneeze so hard your brain will go flying out.
  • Permanently Missable Content: All mental worlds can be revisited to gather stuff you've missed, so almost no item in those places is lost for good. note  However, since all of the (very) extensive dialogue branches depend the situation, it's almost impossible to hear every line of dialogue in the game. A few of the achievements and achievement-related items can be missed, however, such as the "Made Man" achievement and one of the golden helmets. There is a major point of no return, which creates an autosave beforehand.
  • Personality Powers: Bubbly Milla Vodello's specialty power is levitation. Repressed, slightly awkward Sasha Nein's specialty power involves controlling one's emotions and turning them into firepower.
  • Pickup Hierarchy: All of the collectibles serve to help Raz rank up in varying increments:
    • PSI Challenge Markers, a bunch of cards floating around an eye-shaped core. Each one is worth 1 rank on its own.
    • PSI Cards, from challenger markers that fell apart, are now scattered all around the camp. Collect 9 and buy a core from the camp commissary and they can be assembled into a marker in Ford's lab.
    • Scavenger hunt items, 16 in total. For every 8 you collect, you gain 4 ranks.
    • Figments of the imagination floating around inside the various mindscapes, the closest thing the game has to the coins or gems of other games (which are particularly irritating, since there are literally hundreds, they're semitransparent, and they're perfectly flat, making them hard to spot).
    • Mental Vaults, 2 per mind, pig-like safes which run around in typically hard-to-reach spots in the mind. Punch them open and they'll spit out a memory reel consisting of the pivotal traumas creating the mindscape Raz is exploring.
    • Emotional baggage, 5 different pieces of anthropomorphic, extremely unhappy luggage found inside a given character's head. Find the matching tags and you can sort them out for a third primal reel, made up of an unlockable gallery of concept art.
    • Mental Cobwebs, which form in disused parts of the brain and can block progress in later levels. They can be cleared out with the Cobweb Duster, a kind of mental vacuum, and detangled in Ford's lab, reweaving them into yet another PSI Card.
    • And then you need to get back all the other campers' brains.
    • There are also the Aggression/Astral Projection Layer Trophies, which increase your maximum Psi Blast ammo and "lives". Unlike the other collectibles, they're not included in 100% Completion.
  • The Pin Is Mightier Than the Sword: Hypothetically, the merit badges celebrate Raz's mastery of various techniques. In practice, though, he seems to attain mastery of the techniques by earning the badges. Some such as levitation you have to complete a level to demonstrate before you can use it elsewhere in the game. Others such as Clairvoyance or Confusion, you're just given the badge and left to figure it out on your own.
  • Pinball Zone: Milla's Dance Party, where she teaches children levitation — in the form of a psychic ball that lifts them a few feet off the ground. The level is a series of challenges, bouncing around inside Milla's colourful mindscape on Raz's own ball, with much less combat or overt danger compared to the other mental worlds.
  • Playable Menu: Naturally, your main menu is a brain with the Psychonauts logo and several doors on it. You walk around on its convolutions and access the save, load, and settings menus through astral doors plugged into its surface. If you don't think that's fitting, read what it says on the logo again.
  • Plot Coupon: Very blatant at the ground floor of the asylum. The only way past an unarmed orderly guarding the elevator is to get a trophy, a straitjacket and a painting to use as a disguise, and there is only one of each item that can be used, and you need to clear a full level before you're allowed to take it? You'd think a boy who can turn invisible and set fire to things with his mind could get past some other way. At least the levels you need to play are a lot of fun.
    • Double Subverted: Fred, the mind behind Waterloo World, has a history with Crispin, the "orderly" guarding the elevator. When you complete Waterloo World and get Fred's straitjacket, Fred offers to take care of Crispin, which would remove the need to collect the other two items. Unfortunately, he's so exhausted from fighting with his now gone alternate personality, he decides to have a nap first, and doesn't wake up until you're already past Crispin via the Plot Coupon route.
  • Point of No Return: Once you free Lili, you start the penultimate boss fight, and then are immediately thrown in the last level. You can still aceess the mental levels, but you can't explore the real world anymore. The game automatically creates a new autosave slot for this specific point, making it a Strict example. The game even labels the autosave "POINT OF NO RETURN"
  • Poor Communication Kills: All the problems between Raz and his father would have been resolved if they had just communicated better.
  • Portal Door: The Psycho-Portal is literally a tiny door that makes it possible for a psychic to enter another's mind.
  • Power Floats: Psychics who are relatively green on learning Levitation do so on a visible sphere that abides by normal physics (albeit, with more moon-esque gravity if on top of it). Ones who develop their abilities enough, though, not only lose the physical sphere, but can outright fly.
  • The Power of Friendship: One of the game's last abilities, usually only unlocked by those going for 100% Completion, uses the power of your friends "focusing their good energies on you" to heal you slowly.
  • The Power of Love: At the end of the game, Raz has to face down against his own personal demon: a gargantuan Eldritch Abomination that represents his fear and hatred of his father. Before he entering the fray, however, his actual father enters the picture, and the two of them have a talk that ends with them making up. After telling him that he's strong enough to take control of his own mind, he then uses his own psychic powers to give his son a power boost. Cue a Curb-Stomp Battle.
  • Primal Scene: One of Sasha's memory reels shows that he read his father's mind to learn what his Missing Mom was like. He found some memories he really was not looking for.
  • Prince Charming: Lili sees Raz as this when using Clairvoyance on her. As do the women in Black Velvetopia, provided you have a rose.
  • Psi Blast: One of the plot-relevant psychic abilities Raz learns is Psi-blast, taught to him by Sasha in his mind The Shooting Gallery. Psi-blasts are described as raw negative emotions (mainly the will to attack) and expel them in the form of a red laser that works as a long-distance attack. After getting permission to learn psi blast from Ford Cruller with a learner's permit, Raz can use the power outside of his mind with the Marksmanship merit badge.
  • Pstandard Psychic Pstance: Featured right on the box art by Raz himself, used throughout the game by various characters as an Ass Kicking Pose. Also used by Raz while standing atop the imaginary statue/winners' podium in the cutscene after achieving each new psychic power and its associated badge.
  • Psychic Children: Naturally, and they're central to the main villain's plot to conquer the world with psychic death tanks.
  • Psychic Powers: Even the animals have them! Including the Godless Killing Machines!
  • Psychological Horror: While the game is primarily comedic, some of the minds you enter are healthier than others.
  • Psycho Serum: Psitanium. While it does grant and enhance mental abilities, it can also cause psychological instability in those without psychic aptitude. A large enough deposit of it can slowly cause an entire town's population to slowly go insane.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: The Censors that you fight in most levels exist for the purpose of stamping out foreign, bad, and hurtful thoughts before they're allowed to come to fruition. They're like mental-antibodies and we're told they're a sign a mind is healthy. (Although, in practice, even demonstrably insane characters like Boyd have them.) However, since you're a foreign body, you're fair game.
    • Raz does wonder why they're attacking him inside his own mind at one point. Or, for that matter, why Sasha's Censors attacked him inside his own mind. (The first one is because by that point, Raz isn't in his own mind at all. The second is because you're using an experimental procedure to project yourself into your own head.)
  • Punny Name: Too many to count, some in foreign languages.
  • Puppy Love: Despite being ten years old, Raz and Lili end up kissing twice. At some points in the game you can watch/catch other children making out, making it pretty blatant that they're not the only couple.
  • Pyromaniac: Boyd seems to be a harmlessly nuts conspiracy theorist when you first see him, but when you crack the other vault in his mind, it's revealed that he was sent to an asylum after he burned down his old workplace for firing him. Also, at the end of his level Raz releases the arsonist part of his personality again, when he is a hair trigger away from burning the Bedlam House he now guards. Fortunately, once that's done, the persona is exorcised and he seems much more collected.
    • Also, Phoebe. Using Clairvoyance to see yourself through her eyes reveals that she sees Raz as an unlit campfire.
  • Quick Melee: Raz's basic attack (PSI-Punch) involves hitting enemies using mental hands.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Luchadores you face in Black Velevetopia.
  • Reality Is Out to Lunch: Provides the trope image, and appropriately so; once Raz has entered a mind, pretty much any lapse of logic or physics can occur hassle-free.
  • Recurring Riff: A phrase from the game's theme shows up in many places in its music.
  • Recursive Reality: In the Asylum, you can go inside Fred's mind to find him playing a board game with Napoleon. Then, you can jump on the board to find a whole living world controlled by the rules of the game. Then, you can look in the window of a house to find... wait for it... Fred playing a board game with Napoleon.
    • It's not just any board game, either. Before you jump into the board game you can look out through the window to see the walls of the board game sitting on the table!
  • Red Right Hand: Mismatched eyes seem to be a sign of when a character is evil or otherwise an unpleasant person. Most of the time, this takes the form of a character (Bobby, Loboto, the Hulking Lungfish and the Butcher) having red and green eyes. Coach Oleander has mismatched eyes too...
  • Reluctant Mad Scientist: Sheegor, though she is, of course, technically an Igor.
  • The Remnant: If you visit Lungfishopolis after beating it once, a resistance member informs Raz that some members of the Navy have not realized the war is over and are still fighting for Kochamara despite his defeat.
  • Replay Mode: The game offers a variation; one of the pause menu sections allows you to re-watch most of the game's pre-rendered cutscenes, but not for cutscenes that took place during real-time.
  • The Reveal: Almost once per level, sometimes twice or more]]:
  • Rise to the Challenge: The Meat Circus has a long climb with rising water.
  • Room Full of Crazy: The starting room in Boyd's mind.
  • Running Gag: Every time Raz tries to tell someone directly that Dogen's brains were stolen, he'll be told some variation of "Oh, no, he's just like that", regardless of who the other person is.

  • Seeker White Blood Cells: Although it's not a physical example, Censors are a mental equivalent. Censors roam the psyche and censor out anything that doesn't belong, including hallucinations, paranoias... and visiting Psychonauts. In fact, one of the first signs that Boyd's mind isn't safe at all is that there are no Censors whatsoever in there. It could be argued that the G-Men are Boyd's censors, but this just demonstrates that every aspect of his subconscious mind is dedicated to seeking out the Milkman (which is an artificial intruder that was implanted in his mind) and ignoring all others.
  • Self-Deprecation: In-Universe. Raz buys a painting from an artist in Black Velvetopia:
    Dog: Yeah, maybe you can write it off in your taxes as a loss. A catastrophic loss, even!
  • Sensory Abuse: In Basic Braining, the sound of the aircraft exploding after you jump out of it is extremely loud.
  • Sequel Hook: There were actually multiple hooks - the head of the Psychonauts being kidnapped and Raz's father warning him about the rival family of evil psychics he's been trying to protect Raz from. Despite miserable sales figures at first, Tim Schafer continued expressing desire for a sequel, and one was eventually announced in December of 2015, ten years later, with an interquel announced shortly after.
  • Serious Business: As you can see from the page quote, Coach Oleander takes summer camp very seriously.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Usually played straight, but subverted at least once. When Raz is looking for Lili inside the fish's mind, and he is asked if "Lili is your girlfriend?", his answer is a sincere "I don't know."
  • Ship Tease: In one of Milla's memory reels, she's on top of Sasha Nein (presumably having fallen on top of him after jumping out of an exploding building), and they both have flustered looks on their faces.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Once the player enters the final level, they cannot return to Thorney Towers or the camp and interact with the goofy side characters. There are also no Censors in the final level, just creepy carnies and disturbing meat bunnies.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To Forbidden Planet: "You are my own creation! I command you to stop!" First Sasha tries it on the Mega Censor, then Raz tries it on the censors in the Dream Tumbler vision. The censors keep coming both times.
      Raz: Man, does that ever work?
    • Examining the tree stumps causes Raz to make a remark about "a series of catacombs", a reference to an easter egg from an earlier game Tim Schafer worked on, The Secret of Monkey Island. Seeing as the game fits neatly onto one disk, however, Raz doesn't need to skip it like Guybrush did and finds a fast travel system inside.
    • Gloria's level is one big Whole-Plot Reference to The Phantom of the Opera.
    • Dr. Loboto's design and tower lair are deliberately modeled after Sally's creator Dr. Finkelstein in The Nightmare Before Christmas.
    • After you get your oarsman badge, Crystal and Clem are contemplating suicide on top of the lodge. Crystal says something along the lines of "we're going to become so powerful, aren't we?" Clem responds, "More powerful than you could imagine."
    • Phoebe and Quentin's Band The Firestarters is a reference to the Stephen King novel Firestarter. It's about a 7-year-old-girl that can start fires with her mind.
    • The following in-universe setup by Raz: "First question: What do you think the Queen is drinking right now? Second question: What was your favorite science-fiction mini-series in the eighties?"
    Dogen: TV?
    • Lungfishopolis as a whole is parody of Kaiju films, the Godzilla franchise in particular, with Raz as the monster. "Kochamara"'s jumpsuited design and role as the city's protector are a riff on Ultraman (with a little bit of Sentai/Power Rangers thrown in), but is named after Gamera the giant turtle, from one of Godzilla's more prominent rival franchises. Unlike Gamera, Kochamara turns out not to be much of a Friend to All Children.
    • "Water(loo) World".
    • The black knight in Waterloo World declaring "None shall pass!".
    • In one of Fred's memory reels we can see him looking at the mirror and seeing Napoleon instead of his own reflection. Suddenly Napoleon jumps out of the mirror and tries to strangle Fred, a la Evil Dead 2, when Ash hallucinates his own reflection choking him.
    • The Steam achievement for completing Waterloo World is titled "Thanks for All the Snails".
    • Vernon is hunting the most dangerous game of all... MAN! a game of hide and seek.
    • A couple of screens in Ford's secret lair show the games Pong and Battlezone.
    • The soundtrack is a goldmine of shout-outs. In addition to the Standard Snippet examples below, many other level themes have very clear influences: Lungfishopolis and the Godzilla theme; Meat Circus and the main Beetlejuice theme, etc.
    • One of the dogs in Black Velvetopia mentions he used to play poker with the other dogs. After you complete this mental world, Edgar will paint four dogs playing poker, and if you enter his mind again, he will be playing poker with the dogs there as well.
    • According to Tim Schafer, all the words weaponized by Jasper in his boss battle are taken from a review of White Chicks.
    • By the endgame, Chloe, who at least thinks she's an alien, believes the Earth is doomed and is trying to hitch a ride on a spaceship away.
  • Shown Their Work: Tim Schafer created Campster profiles for every kid in the camp. It's revealed that Chloe Barge was really into hardcore rap.
  • Single-Issue Psychology: True for just about everyone whose brain you enter, and often Played for Laughs:
    • All of Edgar's hang-ups stem from having been dumped by his high school girlfriend in favour of another guy, which made him lose an important wrestling match and become the pariah of his high school.
    • Fred's came about as a consequence of being repeatedly beaten in a Napoleon-themed board game by an inmate in the asylum.
    • Raz and Oleander's problems are mainly because of Daddy Issues (although Oleander being The Napoleon was arguably a contributing factor).
    • Milla is haunted about an orphanage fire in which the children under her care perished.
    • Boyd's paranoia came about after having been fired repeatedly.
      • Rather, he went insane due to his string of bad luck with jobs. His paranoia was the result of having a split personality embedded in his mind; his active mind knew something was wrong and he became obsessed with figuring out what it was.
  • Slide Level: Milla's level teaches you to control Raz's psycho-kinetic ball that he rides on. To this end, the entire level is rounded and sloped. While Raz can slowly make his way around on foot in places, the ball automatically rolls down with the idea of using ramps to collect the various figments in the level.
  • Sliding Scale of Parent-Shaming in Fiction: Raz's father is a type that makes him a bad parent. His actions are completely justified in the context that the game is in, it's just the fact that he failed so badly at communicating his intentions that caused so many problems between him and his son. The consequences of this are shown loud and clear in the game's final level, and while it isn't outright stated, it's not a stretch at all to assume he felt remorse for his mistake. Giving his boy a power boost right before the Final Boss certainly helped a lot too.
  • Sliding Scale of Gameplay and Story Integration: Deliberate Integration. Raz's Super Drowning Skills are the result of a curse on his family which is an important part of the game's backstory. Extra Lives are added layers of "astral projection (depth)". Most marvelously integrated are the Mental Worlds, the structure of which depends on the owner's personality, meaning the gameplay will reflect this and any disorders that character has:
    • Sasha is The Spock who advocates rigid mental control, so his mind is a black-and-white cube with a modern art pattern that unfolds and decompresses, puzzle box-like, into specific memories on command. Until Raz upsets the balance and the whole thing goes spinning out of control.
    • Milla is a bubbly Manic Pixie Dream Girl who treats everything like a party, so her mind is a huge, winding seventies disco with bright colours that you get around by bouncing or gently floating.
    • Boyd has Paranoid Schizophrenia, which causes almost everything in the level to look at you or sneak up on you in some way, which will make some players think that the level is trying to attack them.
    • Edgar suffers from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, which is represented by a bull that keeps knocking you back to the start of the level, causing you to repeat parts of the world over and over again.
    • Gloria has Bipolar Disorder, and you can change the mood lighting in the world to literally swing the mood of the stage between comedy and tragedy.
    • Fred has multiple personalities, so his world is actually two worlds; one world where he manipulates a game board inside of a castle, and a game world containing that castle.
    • The opening few levels are all pretty easy without too much that can kill you, since you are inside the minds of camp councilors who are trying to teach children to control their abilities. Starting with Linda the mutated Lungfish, the levels become much more lethal and difficult as you are an intruder into their minds and their mental states are much worse than the camp staff.
    • The final level takes place within Raz's own head and is not only frustratingly difficult, but the final boss is completely invulnerable without the aid of another psychic. The fact that it's nigh-impossible to solve your own mental problems without outside help is the entire reason Psychonauts exist.
  • Something-Nauts: The Psychonauts, an organization of international psychic do-gooders.
  • Spexico: Black Velvetopia, oh so very much. Lets see: We have Toros y Flamenco, Spanish architectural style, Mexican sombreros, and Masked Luchadores. Justified, since Edgar has actually probably never been to anywhere Spanish-speaking, and it's all one big symbolic fantasy of his creation.
  • Spectacular Spinning: Vodello gets you to make the hoops spin by passing through them in order to "lighten up the party".
  • Split Personality
    • Fred Bonaparte battling with his ancestor Napoleon Bonaparte.
    • Ford Cruller, whose psyche was shattered in a mental duel against another psychic and can only be himself when he's near a relatively large Psitanium deposit.
    • Boyd / The Milkman is an artificial example.
  • The Spock: Sasha Nein
  • Spoof Aesop: "Shooting things is fun and useful!"
    • "Now Razputin, remember only to use your power of Pyrokinesis only when it's very, very important... or really, really entertaining."
      • "And if you're doin' it to impress girls, make sure none of them have on a lot of hairspray. Whoo!"
  • Spoon Bending: Ford Cruller occasionally refers to the Psychic Children that attends the camp as "spoonbenders."
    Ford Cruller: This training facility is built smack on top of the largest Psitanium deposit known to man. It runs under this whole valley and makes this a very critical area for Psychonauts, so I'm here to look after it. And to make sure you little "spoonbenders" don't kill each other.
  • Spring Jump: The levitation ball can be used in this fashion.
  • Square-Cube Law: Played surprisingly realistically in Lungfishopolis, even though it's a Mental World where physics need not apply. Raz dwarfs the city, and due to his immense weight, he moves slower, jumps lower, can't use Levitation, and can only bounce off water two times instead of the usual three.
  • Stage Mom: Gloria's mother, causing Gloria's many emotional issues.
  • Standard Snippet:
    • The music for Waterloo World is constructed from the Public Domain Soundtrack The 1812 Overture, with the theme of destroying the oppressive opponent.
    • A lot of levels have snippets meshed with the background music based on the level's theme. For example, the Duckworth Cadence shows up in "Coach Oleander's Basic Braining", "Sasha's Shooting Gallery" has a few measures of Eine kleine Nachtmusik, and the final level "The Meat Circus" features a few rhythms from Orpheus in the Underworld.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • The final level in the game is a circus made of meat. One could refer to it as a Carne-val.
      • Sausage-Fest?
    • In order to cure Edgar Teglee, you have to collect the four Queens; otherwise, he can't complete the house of cards, because he's not playing with a full deck.
    • On that note, why does Edgar keep painting a matador fighting a bull? Because he's painting Dean as a good guy, and himself as the bad guy.
    • Ever wonder why the protagonist's name is Rasputin? Well with the respawn mechanic he sure is hard to kill.
    • Then, there's Mr. Pokeylope. He's pretty sharp for a turtle.
      • And, as a turtle, he naturally lopes pokey. Or rather, walks slowly.
    • Ford Cruller gives Raz a piece of bacon to use as a beacon.
    • The clouds in Boyd Cooper's mind look like a vast, endless spider web. Given his paranoia, one could call it a web of intrigue.
  • Stealth Insult: This:
    Boyd: (Referring to the Clairvoyance badge) There's something in the fridge that might help you see the world like I do.
    Raz: Ooh, sorry, um... I don't drink.
  • Stepford Smiler: The Rainbow Squirts, a transparent parody of the Girl Scouts.
    • Also, the transparently suicidal cheerleaders Clem and Crystal.
    • Milla to a minor extent. She is genuinely cheerful but has some bad memories which constantly haunt her.
  • Stepford Suburbia: "The Milkman Conspiracy", a perfectly ordinary, peaceful, all-American suburb, if you can look past the Alien Geometries, the spy cameras poking out of bushes and mail-boxes, the shady Rainbow Squirts, and the spies transparently disguised as gardeners, road crew workers, and grieving widows.
  • Storming the Castle: The Hearty Knight helps you do this to Napoleon in Waterloo World.
  • Straw Critic: Gloria has a really nasty one living in her head.
  • String Theory: Courtesy of Boyd's attempts to unravel the Milkman Conspiracy, of course.
  • Suicide as Comedy: Joked about, but never gone through with.
    Jasper Rolls: This time I'm going to file a formal complaint and get this theater shut down!
    Becky Houndstooth: Great. Well, I'm off to go kill myself.
  • Supernatural Hotspot Town: The backstory indicates that a village called Shaky Claim once existed in the area; people were driven insane due to the psitanium deposit, causing the government to evict the residents and flood the area, forming Lake Oblongata.
  • Surprise Slide Staircase: Managed by a trained crow. The crow pushes the button at the top step, but you still can't use momentum to jump onto the main platform. You have to go invisible, sneak up the stairs, and punch its cage away from the button.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: In one of the plays in Gloria's mind, with a conversation between actors playing Gloria and her mother.
    "Gloria": And isn't it wonderful that you aren't even slightly jealous of my fame, which has risen so much faster and higher than yours, while your star has faded?
    "Mother": (Beat)... Yes.
    • Keep in mind the guy saying this next one is still wearing a straitjacket.
    Crispin: I'm an orderly, you know. I am not an imposter.
  • Super Drowning Skills: A Justified Trope thanks to a curse placed on Raz's family, but taken to ridiculous extremes within the game. Raz can "drown" in a cheap wooden prop made to look like water. To clarify, hitting a large body of water causes the water to form a hand-shaped-appendage and try to grab Raz and pull him under. When you hit the wooden-prop water, an equally cheap wooden prop-arm is pushed up and grabs him.
  • Superhero School: Technically, it's a psychic summer camp, but close enough.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: Ford doesn't bother to correct Raz's guess as to why he goes around acting as everything from the camp coordinator to the janitor.
  • Surprisingly Creepy Moment: Milla's level is probably the brightest, happiest mental space in the game, until you find the hidden area with the memories of the destroyed orphanage.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: You need to purchase the Cobweb Duster, and advance your rank enough to unlock Invisibility, to complete a few of the stages later on.
  • Take That!: The, ahem, censors which serve as your default mooks. They dress up in stereotypical suits, wear overly large glasses, and all their attacks consists of different ways of saying "No." Given the fact that you mercilessly beat them up in hordes and the amount of off-colour humour in this game there is no way this is coincidence.
    • Brainless kids only want to watch television.
    • Or, occasionally, play hacky sack.
  • Talkative Loon: Boyd Cooper. It's quite fun to listen to.
  • Talking to Plants: According to the Psychonauts wikia [1] Lili is very fond of plants and can communicate with them.
  • Teen Superspy: Preteen Superspy.
  • Televisually Transmitted Disease: The four residents of the asylum have pretty Theme Park examples of paranoid schizophrenia (Boyd), bipolar disorder (Gloria), Dissociative Identity Disorder (Fred), and a combination of obsessive compulsive disorder/chronic depression (Edgar).
  • Theatre Phantom: The Catwalk Phantom, who is the main villain of a Mood-Swinger starlets mind.
  • Theme Song Reveal: The boss encounter in the Brain Tumbler Experiment is set to a remix of Coach Oleander's Basic Braining theme, foreshadowing the revelation after the battle of his Big Bad status.
  • There Are No Therapists: Despite being an insane asylum, though abandoned, there are four psychologically hurt patients there who get no help from anyone, and probably wouldn't if you hadn't come.
    • Pretty much every camper, including Raz himself, could use a little therapy. Maybe it's not provided to psychics?
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Many of the minds you explore belong to people who are not entirely there. Boyd is a particularly noteworthy example, as you need to use your clairvoyance ability on him in order to see the world as he sees it and help figure out his psychosis.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Maloof claims that the staff haven't thrown any kids in the Geodesic Psychoisolation Chamber since the fifties, but according to the tree cutting in the parking lot, the camp was opened less than a decade ago. Given Milla's seventies-party-girl flair, it doesn't seem like it's possible for both statements to be true.
  • Tin Foil Hat: Psychonauts features a character named Dogen Boole who is seen regularly wearing a tin foil hat. When asked about his hat he will explain that he wears it so he doesn't accidentally blow anyone's head up with his incredible psychic powers.
  • Tomato Surprise:
    • Boyd is The Milkman.
    • Likewise, Edgar is El Odio.
  • Top-Heavy Guy: Edgar Teglee. Also, the Lucha wrestlers.
  • Toros y Flamenco: Edgar's mind. And it's smooooooth...
  • Tough Love: Raz's father. Unlike most examples of this trope, he's not even all that mean or callous toward his son. The countless hours of strenuous acrobat training that he forced on him were simply done to keep him safe from the world around him.
  • Tsundere: Lili is very much a Western version of this trope.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The trailers, back of the box, and the summary for the Steam store page all mention the fact that someone removes Raz's campmates' brains.
    • Trailers Always Lie: Said trailers also said "the councilors have something to hide"; implying the camp itself was a front for the aformentioned brain thefts.
  • Truth in Television: The G-Men will sometimes mention tidbits that are completely true, such as the "sewer workers" saying there is not a single documented instance of fully grown alligators encountered in sewers, and the "house wives" saying rhubarb is toxic in large quantities.
  • Two Words: I Can't Count: Raz and Ford get into a short debate about whether "Ca-Caw!" counts as either one word or two words due to the hyphenation.
  • Underwater Ruins: The battle with Linda the Lungfish takes place in the submerged ruins of the prospecting town Shaky Claim. The lake was originally a valley until the government evacuated and flooded it to deal with insanity epidemic.
  • The Unfought: Doctor Loboto; you don't get to even enter his mind. He just gets pushed off the the top of Thorney Towers by a tank piloted by the talking turtle disguised as a human brain.
  • Unreliable Narrator: One twist that happens late into the game is the revelation that Raz's father isn't anything like his son describes him to be. Raz believes that his father hates psychics, despite being psychic himself, and has been training him in acrobatics either to stamp the powers out of him or kill him, whichever came first. This is in no way close to the truth, Raz just severely misinterpreted his actions.

  • Vent Physics: In use in the platforming dream world.
  • Victory Pose: Done via a strange hold-your-hand-out-like-a-chicken (Egyptian walk?) and walking around in a circle while saying "Erh, eh-erh! Eh-eh, eh-erh!" It was originally Bobby Zilch's pose. Raz co-opted it.
  • Video Game Caring Potential:
    • You aren't required to return all the camper's brains, but you are rewarded if you do.
    • In the first level, you can optionally escort Dogen through a minefield and get a small reward of Psychic Arrowheads for it if you make it through without getting him blown up.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • Raz can attack various animals who can't fight back against him. "See ya in hell, squirrels!"
    • You can use practically any ability or item on any NPC, meaning you can punch them, shoot them, set them on fire, confuse them, lift them up in the air, or tickle them.
  • Virtual Training Simulation: This is how the teachers instruct you, by thinking up training grounds in their minds and then letting you explore them.
  • Visible Invisibility: When Raz turns invisible, his body becomes ghostly and his goggles glow.
  • Visual Pun: While exploring the minds of others, you will encounter an assortment of hatboxes, duffel bags, and purses lying around, all bearing very sad faces and crying loudly. These things represent the person's emotional baggage.
  • Vocal Dissonance:
    • Mr. Pokeylope is a teeny little turtle with a smooth, deep voice.
    • Played for laughs with Bonita Soleil. Outside her dressing room, a woman's crying is heard. When you talk to Bonita in person, her voice is a gravelly man's voice. The feminine crying is a tape she plays to get in character.
  • Voodoo Shark: The game actually provides a pretty reasonable explanation on how its extra lives work: since the whole game is built around the Journey to the Center of the Mind idea, you're not really "dying", you're just getting kicked back out into the real world and have to start over again. Okay... so what happens when you lose a life outside a mental world?
  • Wacky Land: Nearly every level is some combination of this and Gimmick Level.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: Fixing the psychoses of the asylum inhabitants is fun, but it doesn't advance the plot in the slightest.
  • Walk on Water: The Levitation power should let you do this, but Raz's curse prevents him from doing so. This catches Mila off guard, with her saying that shouldn't be happening. Raz can do this in a very short-lived variant, doing a double jump in an attempt to get to land. If he fails when he comes down to the water the second time though...
  • Warm-Up Boss: The first boss in the game, the gigantic mutated censor, is by far the most straightforward in the game. Other than a simple "kill these four things to keep it from recovering health" mechanic, its the only boss that can be beaten in the standard "shoot it 'till it dies" way. All other bosses in the game are some sort of Puzzle Boss.
  • Warp Whistle: Either the smelling salts or the bacon can take Raz out of a mental world instantly, and the latter can take him to Ford's headquarters to quickly receive new badges, unwind cobwebs or combine cards. There are also several ways of teleporting around an area- see Zip Mode.
  • Weakened by the Light: The Phantom/Jasper from Gloria's level, though its justified due to every mental world being a World of Symbolism. As a Straw Critic, Jasper cannot stand any form of positivity, and as such his boss fight involves triggering spotlights to hit him so that he's made vulnerable. At the ending of the stage, Jasper is unable to withstand Bonita's radiance and is left to shrink while screaming ineffectual insults, representing Gloria's positivity overcoming her self-hatred.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Due to a family curse, Raz can't even get close to water more than waist-deep without risking death.
  • Weapons-Grade Vocabulary: Jasper fires ink bolts at Raz from giant pens, which turn into critical words like "Awful!" and "Tedious!" on impact. And Raz was so sure he had nothing to fear...
    Raz: How can I say this and still sound cool... Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never... hurt me?
  • Weirdness Censor: Literally - explore any sane persons mind, and you will come across strange little men called censors. They essentially act like your mind's immune system, stamping out anything that doesn't belong in there, such as manias, hallucinations, and delusions. Unfortunately for you, you're considered a threat.
  • Welcome to Corneria: Thoroughly averted - nearly every character has a plethora of dialogue pieces, they update frequently as the story progresses, and there are even a few characters who are literally programmed to never say the same thing twice.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Never outright stated, but strongly implied with Raz. His relationship with his father can be generously described as less than ideal, and while he outwardly acts like he doesn't care much about him or what he thinks, examining his dialogue closely would indicate otherwise. Then, in the final level, we meet his own mental image of his father: a sadistic maniac who not only hates his son's guts, but constantly belittles him and calls him a disappointment and a failure. Thankfully, his real father shows up to help set the record straight.
    • Gloria Von Gouten is also strongly implied to be a "Well Done, Daughter" Woman.
    Gloria: [Delusionally mistaking Raz for her mother] Would you like me to tell you how I won that award? ...Or are you trying to take it from me, because you don't think I deserve it? I never asked to be famous - I just wanted you to love me!
  • Wham Line: Once you telekinetically throw Raz's brain into the tank's open hatch with Oleander's brain, they circle each other, the screen goes back, and then a boy you've never seen approaches and says "Oh, hi! My name is Morceau Oleander. But you can call me Morry. Or Oly."
  • Whatevermancy: Several psychic powers get this treatment.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Crispin's fate after the asylum exploded is left unclear.
  • What the Hell, Player?: Quite aggressively so - every NPC has a unique reaction to just about every psychic power. Some reactions to psychic powers require cheating to see. Just about every object gets a unique reaction, too. Trying every power and item with every possible NPC and object is vastly rewarding.
    • If you punch a girl scout in The Milkman Conspiracy, "Why did you punch that little girl?" will be added to the list of questions you're asked when captured and interrogated.
    • Raz can jump on and knock over Edgar's card tower in Black Velvetopia prior to getting all four queen cards. Doing so will cause Edgar to become furious and yell at Raz to keep off.
  • Wheel o' Feet: In Gloria's stage, this is how the cardboard horses run.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Whispering Rock could really be located in any old forest. Most of the campers have American accents, so its most likely in the United States, but there are very few clues pointing to anything more specific.
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: Gloria.
  • Who Even Needs a Brain?: A case of walking vegetables when Dr. Loboto forces all the campers to literally sneeze their brains out as part of an evil plan. They can be put right back in with no ill effects.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Due to a family curse, Raz is extremely hydrophobic.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years:
    • At age ten, Raz was able to cure four people from their insanity, and he did that by jumping into their minds and talking to their subconscious mental figments, representing the patient's psychological issues, in the most encouraging and most gentle way possible. Did we mention that all these people are adults?
    • Also, when Raz first arrived at camp, three of the most powerful Psychonauts in existence try to figure out who he is and what he wants. His defenses are so incredible, they get nothing.
    • Raz earns all badges, learns all skills, saves the campers and by extension probably the world. At age ten. After less than a day at camp. The only one even close to his abilities is Lili and she's been at camp for at least a few days longer than him.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Played With in the form of the psychoactive material Psitanum; it'll either give you incredible power or drive you insane. The rules on how and why this happens is left rather vague, though it is implied that your chances of becoming more powerful increase significantly if you're already psychic.
  • Womb Level: The Meat Circus, a Circus of Fear with bits of raw meat and bone sticking out of the canvas. You're not inside anybody, but you're certainly surrounded by a lot of raw flesh.
  • World of Chaos: All the Mental Worlds are strange, but the only two that can truly be described this way are the Milkman Conspiracy and the Meat Circus. The former since it takes place in the mind of the most mentally broken character in the game, and the latter because it takes place in a mishmash of two different minds.
  • World of Symbolism: Well, considering the fact that all the levels in this game are a Journey to the Center of the Mind, that's to be expected.
    • Sasha's Shooting Gallery is a simplistic white cube with intricate designs on it, representing Sasha's level of control that he has on his mind. However, once the cube unfolds, the player gets to see shoes, shoeboxes and figments that bring to mind items for babies/children amidst the architecture, which represents Sasha's childhood as the son of a cobbler.
    • Milla's Dance Party is a brightly colored fun obstacle course that reflects Milla's fun-loving personality and her Disco Dan aspects. However, tucked away from the party area is a traumatic part of herself: A traumatic memory of the time she worked at an orphanage and returned home to find the building on fire, unable to save the children. However, her nightmares are under control, reflecting that while she does have past traumas, she's risen above it and doesn't let it take over her mind.
    • Lungfishopolis is a representation of Linda's own mind and what "Kochamara" did to her: He had a hand in her brainwashing to make her steal the brains of the campers. While most of the little lungfish in her mind are complacent, there's a few zealots who ask for Razputin's help in breaking the broadcasting tower that's brainwashing everyone, implying Linda is aware that she's been brainwashed and is attempting to fight from the inside.
    • The Milkman Conspiracy is a twisted reflection of a modern suburban neighborhood. The roads all twist into the sky, distorting gravity along with it, a visual metaphor for how Boyd's own logic and reasoning are both twisted to make room for his conspiracies. The level contains mailboxes that follow Raz when he looks away and bushes and animals that have hidden cameras inside of them. This is an example of Boyd's paranoia, thinking that even the most mundane of things are watching him. Further, his mind has no Censors (until the very end), a reflection of his insanity: He has nothing to stamp out thoughts that don't belong.
    • Gloria's Theater is a representation of Gloria's life put onto a stage: Raz needs to find scripts that are plays acting out the various portions of her life, from her childhood in Hagatha Home to her eventual rise to stardom. However, the plays are all very poorly acted because Gloria's muse Bonita Soleil can't act on the stage. Every time she attempts to do so, her efforts are sabotaged by a man called the Phantom. Up in the critic's booth however, is an enormous and really rude theatergoer named Jasper Rolls, representing her inner critic. According to Bonita, he wasn't always so big, but after the suicide of Gloria's mother, that caused him to grow bigger as Gloria's life fell into shambles. Getting to the end of the level reveals that Jasper and the Phantom are the same as her critic doesn't believe she can do well and attempts to sabotage her performances. The play also has mood lighting that causes the plays to transition from being overly saccharine to hostile and rude, reflecting Gloria's mood swings outside her head.
    • Black Velvetopia is a beautiful world of neon colors painted on black velvet architecture, befitting of an artist like Edgar. However, the wild bull El Odio runs free in his head, knocking down the card tower and preventing the artists from moving out onto the streets. Edgar seeks to make a tower of cards to reach Lampita Pasionado, a beautiful woman who cries rose petal tears. Along the way, Raz meets Dingo Inflagrante, a bullheaded bullfighter with a large ego and four luchadores who guard the cards that Raz needs. As the player progresses through the level however, the true nature of why Edgar's mind is the way it is starts to unfold: "Lampita Pasionado" and "Dingo Inflagrante" are romanticized memories of Edgar's high school girlfriend and the boy she dumped him for. The luchadores that you have to fight to get the cards are memories of the wrestling team Edgar was a part of in his youth. Underneath the beautiful town is a sewer that looks like a high school, complete with figments of teenagers and lockers underneath. To top it all off, El Odio represents Edgar's anger over his high school days and his inability to let those memories go. Only when Edgar lets the memories of "Lampita" and "Dingo" go, he can move on and paint a picture without the bullfight getting in the way.
    • The Meat Circus is the game's final level, and it's a twisted fusion of Raz and Oleander's minds. The circus that Raz performed in is combined with the memories of Oleander's childhood as the son of a butcher and both of their bad memories of their father shape the scene: Oleander's memories of his father killing and selling the rabbits he loved is represented by rabbits falling into meat grinders and becoming grotesque and mangled, and Raz's belief that his father hated him for being a psychic is represented by the circus turning hostile and his father attempting to kill him. In the end, Raz and Oleander's daddy issues combine to become the Two-Headed Dad Monster. That's when the real Augustus Aquato arrives and we learn Raz's issues with his father sprang from misconceptions about his father, and his real dad isn't anything like this. Then Augustus gives Raz his support and helps him defeat the Two-Headed Dad Monster. Fittingly, this is the only level where Raz is helped by someone else instead of the other way around, representing how other people helping you with their problems can make the fight against them easier.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: It's vague at best, but the Whispering Rock timeline would seem to indicate that the inmates of the abandoned insane asylum have been there for fifty years. With nothing to eat, drink, or clean themselves with.
    • The game tells you that the highest achievable rank is 100, and there are exactly enough collectables in the game to get to this rank. However, you also get awarded a rank for beating every round of the punching minigame in Basic Braining, making it possible to have a rank of 101/100. Doing this in the Steam version nets you the achievement "Math Is Hard".
  • Yandere: Elka is... kinda nuts about relationships.
  • You All Look Familiar: During most of the game, this is averted quite beautifully, but during the Milkman Conspiracy this is played straight on purpose. All the G-Men look blatantly identical and have carbon-copied personalities, and yet they are still trying their best to blend in like any other people.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Inverted in Edgar's Mindscape. Raz points out that Lana and Dean are more worthless than Edgar believes they are. Played straight for Edgar, as Raz is lets him know he's bigger than a couple of dumb kids who hurt him in highschool.
  • You Get What You Pay For: During the Brain Tumbler experiment Raz will tell Sasha about seeing "very weird things". Sasha exclaims "Ack! Why did I have to buy the cheap Brain Tumbler?". Turns out cheapness has nothing to do with it...
  • Your Head A-Splode: Dogen did this to someone once. Four someones. kinda probably. He definitely did it to three squirrels who were saying the little guy would kill everyone. By little guy, they meant Oleander. Dramatic Irony hits when Dogen thought they meant him...leading to him kill all the squirrels.
  • You Killed My Father: Invoked for a joke:
  • Zip Mode: In addition to the Warp Whistles mentioned above, Cruller's transit system allows quick transport between areas of camp. The bubbler provides the same service in mental worlds.


Meat Circus

As a merging of Raz and Oleander's minds, the Meat Circus is a horrifying mix of "circus" and "butcher shop".

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

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