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Video Game / Subject

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Subject is a 2013 freeware Visual Novel, developed in RPG Maker by Indra and Mariko.

In it, the protagonist wakes up alone, in a dark room, and covered in bandages. The house they are in seems abandoned, and it's up to them figure out what went on. You can derive additional information about each new room you discover through your senses, with the "Look", "Listen", "Smell" and "Touch" commands. In total, what you do in that seemingly small house will ultimately lead you to one of 8 endings.

It can be found here. It is short, and all the endings can be found in a couple of hours, so why not give it a try?

NOTE: Due to its brevity, the trope names alone can be spoilers, so it's best to play the game before reading the page.


Subject provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Amnesiac Hero: This may or may not be the case. The protagonist never brings up any of their past in their internal thoughts, but then, they never really had a reason to. They still remember enough to identify nearly all the objects they find with ease, when often, that wouldn’t be the case. However, they clearly do not remember anything about the people they would have known.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The majority of endings fall into this in one way or another. Ending 7 is a special example, though: not only is the subject 27 captured without much trouble, but the researcher has now proven that they can be easily controlled, and openly gloats in the ending log about how powerful backers will now be easy to find. He even feels safe enough to plan to murder a female researcher, after suspecting she got too attached to 27.
    • Ending 2 is even worse in a way. Subject 27 had encountered the humans who could’ve rescued him, but he already wandered into the freezer room with the corpse. Even though he managed to escape, he’s already been conditioned to only see them as food, and so he kills them all, eats their corpses until he’s too full to move, and is then captured easily. Whichever company ordered the experiments has both proven Subject 27 is powerful, yet easily controllable, and has gotten rid of its opponents in one fell swoop.
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  • But Thou Must!: This is used on several occasions to devastating effect, as it means that the subject’s physical or mental state is so far gone that they can no longer make an actual choice.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The game is mainly black-and-white, though there are moments of dark green or deep blue palette, or a splash of colour usually, blood.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: The researchers who own the house and turned an unnamed human into Subject 27. Besides simply making them into a genetically modified monster that has loads of teeth, enormous strength and can survive a lot of damage, they also altered the mind to the point you cannot read books or understand human speech, see other humans as monsters, are unable to tolerate the smell of plants, and find normal food unappealing but the smell of human flesh irresistible. You even see blood on the walls as pretty.
  • Guide Dang It!: The wooden door can only be opened if you didn’t break the vase. There’s a reason for that, though: the subversive elements behind it had heard the noise of a broken vase, and decided it would be best not to approach you.
  • Hope Spot: One is offered at the beginning of the route to ending 5. Subject had managed to escape the facility to the outside world, as drinking the pond’s water let them tolerate greenhouse’s smell. Too bad that whatever made said water special also caused them to lose consciousness soon after wandering outside, though the cold wind may have also been a factor.
  • Human Popsicle: This happens in Ending 1, to Subject 27.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Subject 27 had been intentionally engineered to be one and prefer human meat to normal food. This is first hinted at when he finds normal food in the plastic trays unappealing, yet cannot ignore the smell of meat.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: Subject 27, once he opens his mouth.
  • Multiple Endings: 8 of them.
    • Ending 1: Frozen. Subject 27 walks into the freezer room with the corpse and fails to resist the temptation to eat it. As he’s gorging himself, the researchers turned the freezer on, then congratulated themselves on their successful proof of principle.
    • Ending 2: Capture. Subject 27 finds the humans who wanted to rescue him. However, they do so after he's already wandered into the freezer room which contained the human corpse. Even though they had the strength of will to walk out of there, they had already learned that humans smell like food, and so ate them all. The researchers then arrive and easily recapture him, since he's too full of flesh to do anything.
    • Ending 3: Stasis. The Subject found the humans who intended to rescue him. Unfortunately, he approached them too eagerly, and so one of them panicked and tried to knock him out. It didn't work, and he killed them all in the ensuing scuffle, but was himself wounded so heavily the researchers had to place him in stasis, and say that the recovery may not be possible.
    • Ending 4: Rescue. Subject 27 finds a group of humans, and tries to back away from them, finding them unpleasant. This allows them to sedate him. The researchers' log at the end reveals these humans have succeeded at taking him out of the house and disappearing without a trace. Their only guess is that the people who did this were your relatives, and so they managed to survive the contact with you.
    • Ending 5: Escape. Subject 27 walks out of the greenhouse and into the world outside. However, it turns out that they cannot tolerate the smell of live plants, and they soon lose consciousness.
    • Ending 6: Monster. Subject 27 sees themselves in the mirror for the first time, and realizes that they are a monster. Once they do so, they set out to kill any human sent to capture and kill them. According to the special forces logs, all their attempts to bring them under control failed, and they resorted to mining the whole place.
    • Ending 7: Trap. Subject 27 walks out of the freezer containing the first lure, but spends enough time in there that they cannot resist a second one placed in the corridors later on. Unlike all the others, the ending log is written by the researcher who owned the house and created Subject and the experiment, and he gloats about how successful it has been. He even mentions he's going to get rid of a fellow researcher who's been showing too much sympathy for the Subject.
    • Ending 8: Freedom. Subject 27 ignores dead body lures and heads straight for the drain pipes that allow them to escape the house.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: This happens in ending 6. After seeing that they’ve been turned into a monster, Subject 27 attacks anyone sent into the house to capture them. They have been so successful at it that the log reveals the capture teams have resorted to rigging mines all over the place, and are still doubting this would work.
  • Sanity Slippage: Two ways in which this might occur.
    • The protagonist walks into the freezer which smelled like food to them. In actual fact, it contained a human corpse. If they spend too long there, they would resist all player's commands to leave, and instead simply gorge on the dead body, leaving them full of meat and easily captured. Even if they walk out in time, their mind is still affected. If they come by a second trap containing a dead body, they would no longer manage to resist a "delicious smell" and walk in by themselves. If they instead find humans who broke in trying to rescue them, they would slaughter and eat them all.
    • Subject sees themselves in the mirror, and realizes that they are a monster. As such, they simply slaughter anyone the company sends into the house, resisting all attempts at communication.
  • Slasher Smile: Subject 27 smiles one to themselves in the last shot of Ending 6. The log afterwards reveal the extent of the ensuing rampage.
  • Shout-Out: Your first major choice is between picking a red door and a blue door at the end of the corridor. The genre-savvy researcher made the red door a trap, while it's the blue door that allows you to get anywhere.
  • Take Your Time: Played straight. The game never explicitly rushes you, and it’s also impossible to fail it simply through running out of time.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: Ending 6 is very much like that. Subject 27 finds a mirror and realizes they are no longer human, but were turned into a monster. This revelation drives them to kill anyone sent to capture them, and because of the engineering, they were highly successful at it. The log states the team's best plan is to rig everything with explosives, yet they still doubt it would work.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Ending 6 plays the trope straighter than most. Your character literally opens eyes to discover that they’re up against a mirror, and they’re fully a monster.
  • Was Once a Man: Subject 27 himself. Ending 4 in particular clearly states that you used to have human relatives, and they were likely the people who managed to rescue you.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Subject 27 is a monster with and the ability to regenerate by consuming humans. What is it that can possibly hamper him? Turns out, plants, and not even especially fancy ones by the looks of it, smell so awful to him he cannot bear to approach them, or spend a long time in a room with them.
  • Wham Shot: Subject 27 opening their eyes after they had run into what felt like a cold, hard surface, and seeing themselves in the mirror for the first time.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In the ending 7, this happens to Lea, one of the researchers, as the researcher who created you and placed you in this house decided she's been getting too attached to you, and has to be get rid of in the near future.