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Video Game / Rhem

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Rhem is a Point-and-Click video game series developed by Knut Muller and published first in 2003 by Got Game Entertainment. Currently spanning four titles, each game involves visiting the titular country by rail car in search of a Dismantled MacGuffin for archaeologist brothers Kales and Zetais.

The Rhem games contain examples of:

  • 100% Completion: Rhem 3 has an optional bonus puzzle to be solved at the endgame, which leads to a Developer's Room containing photo albums of all 3 games, and a Sequel Hook from Kales.
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  • Aborted Arc: Around Rhem 3 are star-shaped keyholes on several devices and doors, with the implication that a key for them would show up at some point. Rhem 4 never reveals this key, though Kales admits in his journal that he couldn't find it.
  • The Aloner: The story gradually unfolds that Kales had been marooned on Rhem for some time, with your presence needed to unlock more portions of the country. By the fourth game, you're actually able to free him.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Used in the second game as a one-way route back to the starting level.
  • Beautiful Void: Rhem 1 seems like this throughout most of the game, apart from the one character who steals your rail car at the beginning. Then you start to come across the cave inhabitants in the later games.
  • Book-Ends: Each game begins with a rail car ride into Rhem, and ends leaving it.
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  • Broken Bridge: One of the series' staple puzzles, ranging from rotating bridges that can only be operated from one side, to floating bridges that require a certain amount of water to cross.
  • Call-Back:
    • Rhem 3 has framed screenshots of the first two games, and Kales' iPod contains video clips from them as well.
    • Kales' last journal entries at the end of Rhem 4 reference the stolen rail car from Rhem 1.
  • Closed Circle:
    • On your ride into Rhem in the first game, a crashed rail car can be seen near the end of the track. Later, the owner of the crashed vehicle shows up, explains his desperation to escape, and steals your rail car to do so, marooning you on Rhem.
    • In the later games, some contrivance is set to prevent you from leaving until the endgame.
  • Drone of Dread: 3 crystals in Rhem 2 emit an eerie humming sound when tuned correctly.
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  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first game is rendered at a lower resolution than the later titles, has more Backtracking between locations, and a Myst-style flyby at the very end.
  • Enter Solution Here: Most of the puzzles involve exploring to collect information, to be entered at a certain location to unlock more locations or retrieve parts of the MacGuffin.
  • Epilogue Letter:
    • Rhem 1 involves collecting four pieces of a letter to Zetais. You can read it at the end, largely serving to frame the second game.
    • Zetais sends you letters at the start and end of Rhem 3 and 4.
  • Featureless Protagonist: You have no identity or name throughout the series. By Rhem 4, Kales calls you "The Messenger" in his journal.
  • Full Motion Video: Any human characters in this game are rendered in live action.
  • Fun with Subtitles: Subtitles for the characters are shown in one solid paragraph on-screen.
  • Give Me Your Inventory Item: Near the end of Rhem 2, the Lady in Red takes the keycard to your rail car and hands you a token that unlocks the MacGuffin. She gives you back the card in exchange for the MacGuffin after you photograph it.
  • Great Big Library of Everything: The third game, titled The Secret Library, has such a location a third of the way in, whose books hold clues for a large chunk of the game's puzzles.
  • Indo-European Alien Language: The minute you meet her face to face, the Lady in Red talks to you in an unfamiliar, German-esque language. By the third, a different, but similarly dressed woman speaks English.
  • Insurmountable Waist-High Fence: Water in the series is treated as a No Walk Zone. Most egregious in the first game, where it has to be lowered just to cross five feet between a pair of ladders.
  • It's Pronounced "Tro-PAY": The actors for the two brothers pronounce each others names differently. Kales is mostly spoken as "Kay-les", while the 4th game has it pronounced as "Kah-les". Similarly, Zetais is initially spoken as "Zeh-tie-as", then "Ze-tay-is", then finally "Zee-tie-as" for the rest of the series.
  • Lady in Red: A few are revealed in the second game onwards, which Kales believes are Rhemian natives. You actually meet one of them up close in the second and third games.
  • Let's Play: J.B. Lewis did complete playthroughs of all 4 games.
  • MacGuffin Escort Mission: At the beginning of each game starting from Rhem 2, Zetais sends you off with an item to use in Rhem, and Kales gives you your main objectives upon arrival.
  • The Maze:
    • The Glass Labyrinth in the second game qualifies, compounded on with doors that open and close like an airlock.
    • The entirety of each game could qualify, as they are laid out in highly geometric ways. And in many of them, you have to find a way back to the start, close a door or flip a switch, then circle back around to see what changed on the other side.
  • Message in a Bottle: The first game has a puzzle in one area where the player has to fill a well with enough water to be able to reach a bottle that has a clue inside.
  • Minecart Madness: Rail cars are the primary Rhemian mode of transportation.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: Despite having similar gameplay mechanics to Myst, Rhem has very little in terms of a story, beyond fulfilling Kales and Zetais' work.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: Rhem 2 exponentially ramps up the puzzle complexity and places to explore over the first one. The later two level out in some aspects.
  • Songs in the Key of Lock: One puzzle in the fourth game involves playing eight tones on a set of bells, first heard from a vinyl record.
  • Unbroken First-Person Perspective: One of the series' Myst-like elements.
  • Underground Level: The second game largely takes place in underground caverns.

Example of: