The Horror at MS Aurora is a 2013 Adventure Game / Interactive Movie hybrid with horror elements, whose gameplay mechanics are heavily centered around quick time events.. The game was made for PC by Sweden-based 12 O'clock Studios and, according to the developer, it aims to be "an intense and immersive experience, no longer than your average friday-night horror flick". It draws a lot of its inspiration from H. P. Lovecraft.
The game's story centers around Non-Action Guy Frederick Kirk, who has just signed on as first mate on the cargo ship MS Aurora together with three others: Daniel Lindstrand (the ship's captain), Douglas Olsen (the engineer) and Kenneth Pedersen (the cook and medic). The plot starts out slow enough, but eventually hell quite literally breaks loose and Kirk ends up having to run for his life.
Compare to Man of Medan, a 2019 game with a comparable premise and approach to gameplay.
This game provides examples of:
- A Storm Is Coming: This happens a little while into the game. It's also the name of one of the tracks in the soundtrack (and, appropriately, said track plays when Kirk gets to look at the weather charts to confirm that a storm is indeed coming).
- Cruel and Unusual Death: The Horror seems to enjoy playing with its food before it kills it.
- Darkness Equals Death: And how.
- In fact, this is initially averted. After the crash or near-crash, the ship is either already blacked out or will be once you reach the bridge. Nothing comes out to attack you (although the Horror is making disturbing noises in the walls). Once the Horror begins attacking you, this trope is played straight.
- Downer Ending: Applies to both of the available endings.
- So you managed to escape the ship? Congratulations! Everyone but you is dead or presumed dead, and there's no telling what happened to the Horror.
- So you managed not only to escape the ship, but also to only scrape by the cliffs, sparing Daniel's life in the process? He's still determined to go down with his ship and leaves you floating away in the lifeboat. And the Horror is still out there.
- Dramatic Thunder: Occurs while steering the ship.
- Eldritch Abomination: It's never explicitly stated, but it is very likely that the the titular Horror is this.
- Enclosed Space: You're not getting off that boat easily.
- Improbable Use of a Weapon: If the player fails the steering event and is left alone at the end, Kirk temporarily stops the Horror by firing a flare gun shell right at it.
- Life-or-Limb Decision: The Horror knocks over a large console that lands on Kirk's arm. The sun is setting and Kirk quickly realizes that his only choice is to cut off his own arm so that he can escape certain death. The result is not pretty.
- Morton's Fork: If you miss too many quick time events during the steering sequence, the ship crashes and the Horror gets out. If you complete them successfully, the ship only scrapes by the cliffs, but the cargo containers still get knocked around (releasing the Horror) and eventually the power fails anyway.
- Press X to Not Die: Nearly the entire game is based on this mechanic.
- Rapid-Fire "No!": Kirk lets out one of these when he hears the lights start to go out behind him and the Horror roaring in triumph.
- Run or Die: Essentially the only thing you can do if you get trapped in the dark with the Horror chasing you.
- Scream Discretion Shot: This happens quite a few times:
- Douglas is attacked by the Horror when he picks up the flashlight (presumably getting a clear look at the thing and making it very angry) and ripped apart while screaming. The player only hears this happening. Then an extra thud and some dragging noises help push that scene straight into Nightmare Fuel territory.
- Kenny, who is killed very quickly in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it sequence as the player is running from the Horror. The poor cook gets dragged through a door that has remained inaccessible to the player during the course of the game and then only the sounds that emanate from there give a hint as to what is going on. It doesn't sound like he's having fun.
- This can also happen to Kirk if the player fails enough times at the QTE button presses in the chase sequence. Kirk is dragged down to the bowels of the ship and as the Game Over screen appears, chewing noises are heard.
- Screams Like a Little Girl:Kirk: Hey. I didn't whine.
Douglas: You whined like a girl.
- Sinister Scraping Sound: Once the power fails or when Kirk wakes up from having crashed the ship, these can be heard as you walk around.
- Sound-Only Death: See above.
- Survival Horror: The game turns into this after the halfway point.
- Weakened by the Light: The Horror does not like bright light. This, in turn, becomes the only way to survive in the end.