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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 from 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.


On November 11, 2010, Schafer indicated he was "ready" for a sequel. On February 7, 2012, Markus "Notch" Persson, the creator of Minecraft, offered to sponsor Psychonauts 2. At first he claimed he was serious, but he has since reconsidered on that offer after being informed on how much money it would cost. Psychonauts 2 would eventually be announced at the 2015 Game Awards, scheduled to release in 2019. Funding is being partially provided by fan donations through Fig, as well as Double Fine itself and Starbreeze Studios. In addition a PlayStation VR game called Psychonauts: In The Rhombus of Ruin was released on February 21, 2017.

  • 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... The Psychonauts need him more than he needs them!

This game provides examples of:

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  • Abandoned Hospital: An abandoned mental hospital, if you will. 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.
  • 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. Ultimately subverted; 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.
    • 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: Both the personal demons and those danged rats in the tower.
  • 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.
  • Adult Fear:
    • Your child running away from home out of resentment and fear of being indirectly murdered by you.
    • Or, in Sasha's case, your child running away from home for seemingly no reason at all.
    • Dying and leaving your spouse and newborn child behind.
    • The children in your care dying a fiery death whilst you're out grocery shopping.
    • Your parent committing suicide, possibly out of being shadowed by your own success.
    • Looking into your child's mind, and finding out they see you as a monster.
    • 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.
  • Advancing Boss of Doom: The lungfish.
  • 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.
  • Affably Evil: Doctor Loboto. Even offhandedly commenting to a hostage that he uses his little jokes to put his "patients" at ease. Combine his "jovial family mad doctor" routine with his hideously menacing appearance and the fact that his idea of humor includes stuff that goes way beyond "tickle torture," and you get some of the purest nightmares in a game already loaded with them.
  • Agent Mulder: Boyd Cooper. He's completely insane, though.
  • Alien Geometries: The Milkman Conspiracy looks about as twisted and confusing as you'd expect the mind of a paranoid schizophrenic to look.
  • All-Cheering All the Time: Crystal and Clem, who deliver pretty much all their lines in cheer form.
  • All Guys Want Cheerleaders: Edgar's ex-girlfriend was a cheerleader.
    • Oddly enough inverted with Edgar's girlfriend as well, who dumped the large and manly Edgar to go out with the MALE cheerleader captain.
  • 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.
  • Alpha Bitch: Elka Doom.
  • 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 Disorder: Raz try to tell Lili and Milla that Dogen's brain was literally stolen, only for both of them to say that he's "just like that."
  • 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.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Benny, particularly on the official character RP Campster pages. He's obsessed with three things: bullying, musicals, and Bobby.
    • Franke and Kitty, again on the Campster pages, on which their interactions, interests and pictures have a very notable theme. Most blatantly, according to her Campster page, Kitty is interested in meeting "Friends, Activity Partners, Dating, Serious Relationship (Women and Men)." They also both have their relationship status set as "Open Marriage".
  • 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.
  • 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: One in several minds, especially the ones you have to clean in the asylum.
    • Sasha’s Shooting Gallery - Control is important for the mind, but forcing control can lead to disastrous results. Also, shooting things is fun and useful.
    • Gloria’s Theater - Life is too short to spend criticizing oneself; it’s better to stay positive. One with a healthy mind is able to realize that no aspect of their past is entirely positive or negative.
    • Black Velvetopia - Ruminating on negative past decisions for too long can lead to a toxic mindset; it’s better to move on from the past than focus exclusively on it.
  • And the Adventure Continues: But the series didn't...until the crowdfunding relaunch.
  • Antagonist: Coach Oleander.
  • 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.
  • 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 parody of a Mexican Town, with Raz's design refitted to accompany this.
  • 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, creepy, and/or dealing with extremely mature topics. A lot of its weirdness and can't really be "rated against," but actually making it look like it was for younger kids (when it skews more towards teenagers) would have been... bad. As such, it features a few shoehorned usages of "ass" and a few instances of blood, seemingly to bump the rating.
  • Badass Adorable: Lili has obtained all psychic badges by the time Raz's shows up, and she is really cute. At least by the game's standards.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": The 'Actors' in Gloria Van Gouten's mind, so much.
  • 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: Especially when they're telekinetic bears.
  • Bedlam House: The Asylum level. 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
  • 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 those who are unhinged) 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 its among the worst. Word of God is that this is actually how a healthy mind is meant to work, compartmentalizing and managing tragic experiences rather than letting them taint everything.
  • 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: A ballet boarding school in Gloria's backstory.
  • 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.
  • Brainwashed
  • 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.
    • Early on in the game, Raz asks Ford 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.
  • Broken Bird: Most characters to some extent, but especially Milla Vordello.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Bully: Bobby Zilch, and his friend Benny. They're not the sharpest knives in the box, though...
    • Because of Raz being a skilled beginner, they want to give him a "special beating", but they never have the chance to do so.
  • Bungled Suicide: Crystal and Clem tried cyanide, and later jumping. Neither worked.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Milla, Sasha, and Ford. In fact, almost every adult in the game.
  • 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?"
  • Butt-Monkey: Dogen just can't catch a break, can he? Though, when you think about it, Sasha has it rough too.
  • 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).
  • Calling Your Attacks: Parodied with Kochamara.
    • "Overly Intricate ...Combination!"
    • "Hard-to-Avoid ...Area Attack!"
  • Camera Abuse: Used at the end of cutscenes when Raz learns 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.
  • Camera Screw: Perhaps inevitable in a third person platformer, but most notable during the Meat Circus, where the camera switches angles mid jump several times. And occasionally, it will just get stuck inside an object, forcing a restart.
  • Canada, Eh?: Chops even pulls out a few Canada-isms.
  • 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?
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Augustus Aquato, Raz's dad. Or at least, the version of him in Raz's mind.
    "Man, do I hate psychics...and seeing my son happy!"
  • Caustic Critic: Jasper Rolls from Gloria's Theatre.
  • Cheerful Child: Averted with Clem and Crystal, who are actually suicidal.
  • 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.
    • Most of the figments in general.
    • 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 obtain all Psychic Powers, cure four mentally ill people, gather all camper's 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 the adventure and still remain his calm. Over the course of one day. At 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: Averted to the moon and back. 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
  • Circus Brat: Raz.
  • Circus of Fear: The Meat Circus.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Chloe, who believes she's an alien from outer space, and has contact with the space armada.
    • Dogen can be this too sometimes.
  • 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.
  • Collection Sidequest: Let's see, you have the...
    • PSI cards.
    • PSI Challenge Markers.
    • Scavenger hunt items.
    • Figments of imagination (which are particularly irritating, since there are literally hundreds and they're semitransparent, making them hard to spot).
    • Emotional baggage.
    • Cobwebs.
    • And all the campers' brains.
    • There are also the Ammo/Mental Layer Increase Trophies, but they're not included in 100% Completion.
  • Comes Great Responsibility: When Raz gets Pyrokinesis:
    Ford: You have to promise only to use this when it's really important, or really, really entertaining.
  • The Comically Serious:
    • Sasha, who's the only living character 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.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Boyd Cooper. His conspiracies are quite entertaining to listen to.
  • 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.
    • Also, Vernon.
  • 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.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • 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, and if you were playing the game normally you'd probably have him in your inventory for less than a minute. Yet most of the cast has something to say about him. There's even an achievement on Steam for showing everyone Mr. Pokeylope.
    • Try using cheats early in the game to unlock the powers you're not yet meant to have. Use said powers on characters who won't be around once you're actually supposed to have the powers and you'll often hear dialog that you would never hear if you played through the game without cheats. The best use for cheats is confusing the G-Men.
    "Oh my God. Why am I holding a gun? I hope I haven't killed again."
    • 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 most sane characters in the game) and Dogen, which is actually an even further case of Developers' 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, Sasha Nein would give you tips on how to defeat the Mega Censor in his mind, but get crushed by the Mega Censor's stamp enough times, and he eventually just devolves into gibberish before finally looping back to recycling 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.
  • 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. "Say something hideous and horrible jumps out at you... Something so disgusting that it simply must die."
      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.
      • It's explained that Sasha worked in a factory that produced Tiffany lamps after he ran away, but before he joined the Psychonauts.
      • In one of Sasha's memory vaults, we also see that there was a Tiffany lamp by the side of his mother's deathbed.
    • 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, it's shows that he learned never to read his father's mind the hard way. He was looking for nice memories of his deceased mother, and he found rather more 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 embarassment 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. Then Fred comes to the asylum's front gate, and happens to use the phrase "blow this popsicle stand" when asking Boyd to leave with them, which triggers him throwing his molotov cocktail and ignite the gas leak.
  • Disco Dan: Milla.
  • 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, because of 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.
  • Dummied Out: Unused voice lines hint that Milla's reaction to her orphanage burning down could have been seen. On a lighter note, there are also lines of her apparently making out with Sasha.
  • DVD Commentary: An iPhone app has been released of the memory vault pictures with an accompanying commentary track, featuring lead Tim Scafer and Scott Campbell, the artist who drew the images.
  • 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'Artagan, 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.
  • 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.
  • Escort Mission: A brief optional one early in the game, plus the final platforming section.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Vodello gets you to make the hoops spin by passing through them in order to "lighten up the party".
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Crosses the Line Twice: Removing someone's brain? Horrible. Inducing them to sneeze out their brain? Hilarious.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • And when Raz intruduces himself Lillys 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 a bit out amongst the otherwise military themed figments. Not to mention the bunnies under assault by the turret, or the meat plant Lili calls attention to.
    • Then you have Oleander talking in his sleep after Basic Braining; he mentions "eggs" (brains) and seems to be talking to a "bunny" (Linda), telling it to be careful with the eggs under the water (Lake Oblongata), give them to "who you know" (Doctor Loboto) and put them in their "holders" (the tanks). Then they'll all see. Who are you callin' short?
    • When inside what is apparently Raz's mind through the brain tumbler experiment, after Dogan'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.
  • 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 Excuse: And since the game takes place in peoples' minds, you get to fight those. They hit like a mofo too, especially in the final level.
  • 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.

  • 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...
  • Gainaxing: Lampita Pasionado.
  • 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.
  • Gentle Giant: Linda.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hair-Raising Hare: MEAT GRINDER BUNNIES. To be more specific, bunnies thrown into a meat grinder, torn to pieces, then reassembled into...hideous, loping things.
  • Harsh Word Impact: The Phantom/Critic uses this as a weapon.
  • 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 whose 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.
  • In One Ear, Out the Other: Once Dogen loses his brain.
  • Insane Equals Violent: Played straight with Oleander, and to some extent Edgar and Gloria, but averted with the rest.
  • 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.

  • Jerk Jock: Bobby Zilch.
  • Joke Item: The crow feather, which can be used to tickle almost everybody (except Sasha, who hates germs and refuses to play along). 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.
  • Kid-anova: Nils Lutefisk, though it might be all talk.
  • 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.
  • 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)
  • A Load of Bull: El Odio, a creature who is seen tormenting the mental landscapes of an artist named Edgar Teglee (and, incidentally, the player), is definitely a unique example. He's a gigantic, neon-pink bull with a strangely human face and boots on his hooves, and is 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.
  • 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; 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: A rare example where not only is the trope done well, but it actually makes the dialogue better: 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.
  • 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!"
  • 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.
  • Milkman Conspiracy: In the level that named the trope, the conspiracy is actually about a milkman, but of eight-year-old girls.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • No Name Given: Almost every character has a first and last name... with the exception of the protagonist himself. Among fans, though, he's generally given the last name of "Aquato" because of the Circus posters seen in flashbacks.
  • 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*: "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...
  • 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 .
  • Not So Different: Raz and the main villain both have daddy issues. This turns out to be a very, very bad thing when they have a Battle in the Center of the Mind, as now their issues get blended together and get stronger for it.
  • 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.
  • Oedipus Complex: Raz, Sasha and Oleander all have some serious father issues. In fact, the final boss is a monstrous amalgam of Raz and Oleander's nightmarish versions of their fathers.
  • 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. Pokielokie.
  • Out of Focus: While Linda and the campers show up in the animated bumpers for MTV 2 and G4, none of the adults in the game appear at all.
  • 1-Up: The Astral Projection layers.
  • Orphanage of Love: Milla's old job. Before it burned down.
  • Orphaned Series: They wanted to make a sequel, but the fact that it lost Majesco nearly 20 million dollars prevented that from happening. Tim Schafer has expressed interest over the years in continuing the series, but that interest was unmet until the crowdfunding began late in 2015.
  • 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.
  • Panty Shot: It's possible for Raz to see up Milla Vodello's dress. She's not wearing underwear. Her legs end at the upper thigh.
    • After Milla's level and before revisiting Sasha, Lili can be seen in the Kids' Cabin area, on top of one of the poles surrounded by speakers. It's very easy to see up her skirt there. Or you can just lift her up using Telekinesis.
  • 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.
    • Clairvoiance actually shows that Rez 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: Subverted. Despite being the main character of a video game, both of Raz's parents are around, and he even has an assortment of brothers and sisters he lives with.
    • Played straight with Gloria, whose mother abandoned her so she could follow 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.
  • 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.
  • Pinball Zone: Milla's Dance Party.
  • Playable Menu: Naturally, your main menu is a brain with the Psychonauts logo and several doors on it. If you think that's unfitting, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Power Perversion Potential: It's not too hard to come up with ideas of what you can do with powers like Telekinesis, Invisibility or Clairvoyance...let's just say it's not all too unpleasant.
    • The developers are aware of this too. One of the campers, Nils Lutenfisk, plots to use Clairvoyance on an acorn to spy on girls through a squirrel's eyes.
  • 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
  • Psychic Children: Naturally.
  • 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!
  • Reluctant Mad Scientist: Sheegor, though she is, of course, technically an Igor.
  • The Reveal: At least one in almost every level:
  • Rise to the Challenge: The Meat Circus has a long climb with rising water.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Frankie and Kitty, probably. They hold hands and spend every second of screen time together, to the point where Raz promises Frankie's stolen brain he'll be sure they're not apart long, but the likelihood is they're just an example of this.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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 (assumably fallen on top of him after jumping out of an exploding building), and they both have flustered looks on their faces.
  • Shout-Out:
    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.
    • Gloria's level, to The Phantom of the Opera.
    • Also, does Dr. Loboto remind you of anyone?
    • After you get your oarsmen 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.
    • 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?
    • "None shall pass!" in the Bonaparte level.
    • Vernon: I'm hunting the most dangerous game of all... MAN!
    • A couple of screens in Ford's secret lair show the games Pong and Battlezone.
    • "Waterloo World" is a reference to Waterworld.
    • 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 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.
    • The Steam achievement for completing Waterloo World is titled "Thanks for All the Snails".
    • 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.
  • 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's Napoleon Complex 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 slanted and, while Raz can slowly make his way up on foot, 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 solid Type II. 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 "mental depth layers". 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 blank featureless box that expands into specific memories on command.
    • 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: 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.
  • 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, Sasha's level has a few measures of Eine kleine Nachtmusik and Raz and Oleander's shared level 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
    • Milla to a minor extent. She is genuinely cheerful but has some bad memories which constantly haunt her.
  • Stepford Suburbia: "The Milkman Conspiracy."
  • 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.
  • Surprise Slide Staircase: Managed by a trained bird. The bird pushes the button at the top step, but you still can't use momentum to jump onto the main platform.
  • 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.
  • Surprise Creepy: The game gets progressively darker as time goes on, particularly once night falls and Raz heads for the asylum. Milla's level has a self-contained example: it's probably the brightest, happiest mental space in the game, until you find the hidden area with the memories of the destroyed orphanage.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: "See ya in hell, squirrels!"
    • If you're really bored, you can have some fun by setting fire on a passerby NPC.
    • 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
  • Visual Pun: While exploring the minds of others, you will encounter an assortment of hatboxes, duffelbags, and purses lying around, all bearing very sad faces and crying loudly. These things represent the person's emotional baggage.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Mr. Pokeylope. Also Bonita Soleil and - in a way - the giant lungfish. She's female; her name is Linda.
  • 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.
  • 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 mistakening 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!
  • 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.
  • 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 Type I 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, in a sense. You're not inside anybody, but you're certainly surrounded by a lot of raw flesh.
  • Words Can Break My Bones: Jasper. 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?
  • 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.
  • 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 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.



The only two fought are in The Milkman Conspiracy in this way.

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