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Video Game / The Dark Side of Red Riding Hood

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The Dark Side of Red Riding Hood is a 2013 freeware, horror-themed game made by Charon in RPG Maker, based on Little Red Riding Hood. It is available here.

Little Red Riding Hood, the protagonist, is a young girl. At her mother’s request, she goes to visit her ailing grandmother. But she is told to beware of the wolf. Along the way, she will encounter five detours, and can either stay on the path or decide to explore. What sort of horrible end awaits her? And who is the wolf?

Compare to The Path, which is also based on the Red Riding Hood story, and has a largely similar gameplay premise.

Contrast with Woolfe - The Red Hood Diaries, which also takes a Darker and Edgier approach to the same fairy tale, but moves it in a more action-heavy direction.


Tropes associated with The Dark Side of Red Riding Hood:

  • An Axe to Grind: Red Riding Hood has an axe in her basket. In True End 1, she uses it to kill grandma, just like her mother told her.
  • Antagonistic Offspring: In one of the endings, Mom is sending Red to kill her grandma.
  • Big Bad:
    • In True End 1, Red's mom turns out to have sent her to kill Grandma.
    • In True End 3, the woodsman/hunter is the wolf (or a werewolf) who kills the grandma and captures Red is implied to have made her a Sex Slave.
    • In True End 4, the grandma herself is the antagonist as she eats Red and has eaten other girls like her in the past.
    • In True End 5, the child slaver who paid Red's mom to capture Red is the antagonist.
  • Bookends: True End 1 again shows you Mother's speech from the opening of the game, but this time you see additional lines, which reveal that Mother instructed her to kill Grandma.
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  • Break the Cutie: Red Riding Hood suffer this in the third and fifth "True Ends".
  • Comic Relief: Here, it's offered by the save point rabbit, a fixture in Charon's games.
  • Cut-and-Paste Environments: You might go through the main path, or one of the forks, but they all share the majority of their screens with basically no alterations. the ending where Red Riding Hood gets lost and starves to death is preceded by her going through the same four narrow, twisting screens that form a perfect loop several times after she makes a wrong turn, so that the player can feel the increasing sense of panic themselves.
  • Downer Ending: Out of all the Multiple Endings, the bad ones are all of them, besides the Standard Ending.
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: To achieve any of the "True Ends", you have to walk through one of the many paths outside the Main Street, which you are actively warned against doing. And those endings are not pleasant.
  • Good Is Boring: Since the standard ending, "Good Girl", is literally just walking straight ahead by the road as you were told, meeting the grandmother, and delighting her, at which point the game just ends. All the other endings that involve straying from the path are more narratively exciting, but are also far worse.
  • Grimmification: Of Little Red Riding Hood. Which is impressive, because Little Red Riding Hood is already a Grimm fairy tale...
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Along with having blonde hair, Little Red Riding Hood seems to be a rather nice girl apart from the first True End in which she kills her grandmother.
  • I am a Humanitarian: Grandma is this in True End 4, where she eats Red Riding Hood, but apparently not in any of the other endings.
  • Jump Scare: True End 4 attempts one when Dialogue with the Grandmother initially occurs over the same screen of her in bed as in all the other endings, as she repeats the classic fairy tale responses to Red Riding Hood's (implied) questions about eyes, ears and hands being too big. By the time it get to the mouth, however, we get a pause and a black screen, and then suddenly a large close-up of her huge, bloodied mouth emerges, along with the words "THE BETTER TO EAT YOU WITH!" splashed in blood-red."
  • Little Dead Riding Hood: Exaggerated Trope. When staying on the path, nothing will happen, but if Little Red Riding Hood strays from the path, then she will kill her grandma with an axe because her mother asked her to or get lost and starves in the woods "at best"; at worst she will be eaten by her cannibalistic grandmother, be raped by the hunter (who may or may not be a wolf himself) or be sold by her mother as a slave. It is also implied that there are several Little Red Riding Hoods, since both the slave owner and grandma mentions how she isn't the first and certainly not the last that they will get their hands on.
  • Multiple Endings: Six of them, to compensate for the short length (less than 5 minutes) of each run. All are triggered simply by where you choose to stray (or not stray) from the path.
    • Bad Ending: "Good Girl" Red Riding Hood simply walks straight by the road without ever straying, reaches her grandma's house and grandma says she's happy to see her, at which point it just ends. Called a "Bad Ending", but that's only to pique the players' curiosity about the rest of the endings.
    • True End 1: "Mother's Bloodlust". Take a detour through the first available fork in the road, which will eventually bring you to Grandma's house as well. There's a clearing with flowers halfway through. Pick them, and Red will kill Grandma will an axe. It's then revealed this is what her mother wanted all along. It's unclear what difference the flowers made, if any.
    • True End 2: "Lost Woods". Take a detour through the second available fork in the road. It soon leads Red Riding Hood to an impassable lake; when she tries turning back, the road behind her changes to represent her getting lost. The player is forced to travel through the same four looping screens several more times, until nightfall arrives and we are told she was never seen again.
    • True End 3: "Wolf Man". Take a detour through the third available fork in the road. Little Red Riding Hood encounters the really creepy Hunter. Once she gets to the house, it'll turn out he has beaten her there, killed her grandma, and then raped her, declaring his intention to keep her as a sex slave.
    • True End 4: "Cannibal". Take a detour through the fourth available fork in the road. There's nothing really special about the path itself, and you'll arrive at Grandma's house regardless. However, it somehow triggers the "original fairy tale canon" events, where Red Riding Hood points out Grandma has big ears, eyes and hands to better hear, see and hug Red Riding Hood with (though she refuses the hug and tries to walk away. Once it gets to the mouth, she finally reveals she's going to eat Little Red Riding Hood and somehow manages to overpower and kill her offscreen. The final screen has bloodied Grandma eat meat on a fork while praising the taste, and waiting for the next Little Red Riding Hood to be sent.
    • True End 5: Take a detour through the final fork in the road. You see some swans on that path, and it starts raining, but otherwise there's nothing special. At the house, there's no grandma at all; instead, it's just a man who paid Mother good money so that he could pick up her daughter at the house and make her into a slave at the workhouse.
  • Obviously Evil: Even before you talk to the Hunter, he is represented on the screen as an inhuman sprite completely shrouded in shadow. His dialogue portrait never shows his eyes, either, only the lower half of his face. The title of the ending triggered after talking to him, "Wolf Man", implies that he was some form of a werewolf, though he may have just been a normal human evil enough to match any wolf.
    • Then, in True End 5, The slave trader who paid Mother for the privilege of getting her daughter and was waiting her at the house doesn't even bother to sweeten the pill, and simply says that he'll enslave Red Riding Hood for the rest of her life, and she'll be doing such hard work, she'll wish she were dead.
  • Pædo Hunt: The villain of True End 4 (the Hunter) rapes Little Red Hood and is implied to have made her into a Sex Slave. She's also clearly a child.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: In the True End 3/"Wolf Man" ending, where Red Riding Hood is implied to have become a sex slave of the Hunter (who's implied to be the wolf or a werewolf).
  • Schrödinger's Gun: Several things that should have been constant throughout the story instead retroactively change depending on which path you have walked.
    • The nature of Grandma. She's apparently just a harmless old woman in the default "bad" ending, and probably in True End 3 as well. In True End 4, she's a cannibal and Mother has been periodically sending Red Riding Hoods to feed her. True End 1 has Red Riding Hood cut Grandma down with an axe; we are not given enough information to determine if it was the normal grandma or the cannibal one. In True End 5, Grandma apparently had never existed at all, and the house was instead occupied by a slave trader, who paid Mother to lure Red Riding Hood there.
    • Mother's speech. True End 1 reveals that Mother had instructed Red Riding Hood to outright kill Grandma in addition to the lines you saw at the start. This line clearly doesn't exist in all the other endings, since Grandma never even existed in one of them.
    • The basket. It contains a bottle of wine and an axe in the ending where Red Riding Hood kills Grandma with an axe on mother's orders. In the ending where Red Riding Hood gets lost in the forest and was never seen again, it only contains rocks. In the ending where Red Riding Hood gets raped and enslaved by the Hunter, it contains wine, but clearly lacks an axe, since she doesn't even try to fight with it. Likewise, the slave trader ending makes no sense if Red Riding Hood had an axe in the basket to defend herself with.
  • Sex Slave: Implied Trope. In True End 3, the Hunter rapes Little Red Riding Hood and states she's going to be his slave.
  • Silent Protagonist: Red Riding Hood doesn't speak once in the game. If you check her skills, you will find that her skill is silence because there's no need to speak.
  • Single Tear: A tear slides down Little Red Riding Hood's face in one ending.
  • Slasher Smile: We get a wide, evil-looking smile from the grandmother in True End 4.
  • Violence Discretion Shot: Downplayed; every ending that does involve violence doesn't show the violent act itself, but portrays the aftermath.
    • True End 1 shows Red Riding Hood lift her axe to comply with her Mother's instructions, and then cuts to black as we only hear the axe blows, then shows Grandma's bloodied face afterwards.
    • True End 4 doesn't at all show Red Riding Hood getting killed by Grandma after she reveals she's a cannibal, and only has an image of Grandma's bloodied form eating meat from a fork.