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Video Game / Which Way Adventure

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Which Way Adventure, Get Lost, and Curse of the Red Ninja make up a trilogy of point-and-click flash games by Allen Henderson.

This series provides examples of:

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  • All Myths Are True: Manticores, minotaurs, fairies, ghosts, walking skeletons (confusingly both those and the ghosts represent dead people), yetis, aliens, tengu, mermaids...
  • Art Shift: The games all use different art styles from each other. Curse of the Red Ninja specifically loves swapping up the styles, between a more shaded version of Which Way Adventures, to a flat and basic look, to 8-bit, to one that resembles pale Japanese paintings.
  • Checkpoint Starvation: All three games send you back to the beginning if you're killed. Although given how the routes are generally not very long, the number of endings good or bad, and the non-linearity of the games, this really isn't an issue.
  • Cosmic Plaything: It takes effort (luck in the case of Which Way Adventure) to make anything go the main player's way. Anything.
  • Demoted to Extra: The manticore turned from being a constantly recurring enemy in Which Way Adventure, to only having a few appearances in Get Lost, to having only a single cameo Curse of the Red Ninja, and even then it only kills you if you actively try to get it after you by blowing up its cage.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Whoever they are, your character seems to be completely vincible to everything. You are always unarmed in Which Way Adventure, Get Lost gives you the ability to kill some NPCs, or occasionally something like the large black bunny in the cavern, and while you have weapons in Curse of the Red Ninja you cannot use them to fend off against many of the game's killers.
  • No Name Given: Neither of the first two games' protagonists are given names. In Curse of the Red Ninja, the player is pretty much named "Ninja."
  • Running Gag: Manticores.
  • Shout-Out:
  • The Many Deaths of You.
  • Multiple Endings: Surprisingly, there's more than one good ending per game.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment:
    • At one point in Which Way Adventure, you can ask to see a woman naked, with her easily thinking that it's part of an art project. Doing this gets you killed by the Manticore inexplicably when you try to remove her bra.note 
    • In the haunted manor of Get Lost, you can break some spider eggs. This doesn't do anything until you leave the room, afterwhich a giant spider turns out to be sitting in the chair and drops you into a pit of acid.
    • You can mess with a nest of birds in Curse of the Red Ninja, but much like the spider eggs in Get Lost, leaving the screen causes you to get attacked by a protective tengu mother.

    Which Way Adventure 
  • After the End: The sewer contains a nuclear control panel, with the options to either fire or shutdown defenses. Either way, Russia will nuke the United States and you must go through a post-blown up city.
  • Art Shift: The sequence of getting the ship is done in 8bit.
  • Big First Choice: Subverted, perhaps unintentionally. While it may seem like choosing between going into the sewer or going through the hole in the fence is one of these, in truth almost all of the game's content is through the sewer route. There are only 5 endings that can be gotten from going through the fence, and they're all identical(that is, they all end in getting eaten by the manticore.)
  • Black Comedy.
  • Bowdlerize: An update (sometime around 2011-2013 based on the copyrights; taking the author's notes in consideration the 2013 anniversary update is a likely scenario), along with doing other things, toned down much of the game's more risque content. The fairy is no longer bottomless, the acrobat doesn't lose her top, the attorney's assistant thinks you're undressing her for an art project and the kiss leading to the manticore killing you was cut, and while the "sleep with your mother and become your own father" route was still left in, dialogue was changed so that you're preserving the continuum and that you know the woman is your mother because of a birthmark.
  • Cessation of Existence: Climbing the chimney in 1908's Boston causes your great-grandfather to fall off the roof, erasing your existence.
  • Digital Bikini/Thong of Shielding: The fairy in the forest was originally bottomless (as seen in this videonote  of an older version, as well as how the later mentioned undergarment is suspiciously moving in a slightly different way from her shirt and the rest of her body), however a later edit of the game covered her up with a thong.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The game is much less open than its two sequels, has a bigger emphasis on Random Events Plot, and has a number of puzzles that no matter what cannot be solved. There is what seems like attempts at cheesecake in the game, but it's not known if they were intended for laughs. The protagonist is also much more "vulnerable" than in other games, and passive NPCs are next to non-existent. Unless a future update will change this, the game's inventory system is currently almost completely aesthetic, while the system in Get Lost helps keep track of how far you've gone and how to get to the best ending, while the inventory of Curse of the Red Ninja includes your weapons, which actually makes for a lot of bonus content.
  • The '80s: Word of God says that this game takes place in 1980.
  • Endless Game: Some paths force you into a route loop, and there's no way out besides either refreshing the game or by right clicking. A later edit of the game reduced the number of paths that led to inescapable dead ends, but there are still some that stick you.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Many, many routes. Including everything that stems from going outside through the fence. To make matters worse, for the most part the paths have some branching, which gives the impression that picking another route will save you.
  • Fanservice: Sort of? While the latter two games have no such content to speak of, there are five encounters with hardly dressed women which might have been an attempt to use this trope:
    • The acrobat in the carnival, who as mentioned below originally had a scene where she ends up topless.
    • Your own mother, who you get to undress. Before a manticore kills you.
    • The attorney's assistant, who also has a similar undressing game. Manticore included. If you pick the other option to escort her safely, this becomes the only one of these five characters where the game doesn't doom you upon meeting them.
    • The fairy, wearing only a tattered shirt and a skimpy bikini bottom, showing a lot of her butt.
    • Finally, there's a completely topless mermaid, who is introduced when you see her from the back and are given the sole option to get her attention. Actually, a sea monster drags you under water and kills you before you find out... anything about the mermaid.
  • Giant Spider: It traps you in its web. You can either lie still or struggle, but either way you get killed.
  • Harmful to Minors: The protagonist seems to be a young child. Despite this, he can get killed a number of ways and is exposed to women in contexts having various questionability.
  • Hope Spot: All over the place in this game, path after path seems to be going somewhere but it ultimately leads to defeat.
    • In one of the time-travel routes, you come across a fairy who says that if you stay with her, you're safe. She's not lying — at least, that's what it seems, however if you reach this point in the game you cannot win regardless. Following her will result in you losing her no matter what, and all paths after that lead to death. Your only other option is to get the manticore whistle, which seeing as it calls manticores to you, drives her away. In short, no matter what you do, you are either killed by a spider, killed by a manticore, or killed by something unknown in the forest.
    • Getting on the ship. This was the original best ending, but if you click on "YOU WON THE GAME" it continues onward. From there on, you either fall off the Earth, or come across a mermaid just before a sea lion kills you. Either way, it's not good.
  • Mind Screw:
    • Killing Shakespearenote  sends you to a warped version of the opening area, full of nonsensical colors and in certain patches having glitches. The narration and your options are written in garbled English. There is a hidden minigame here that cannot be won. Just about the only thing that makes sense here is a manticore, which flies through the area and kills you.
    • Fixing the time machine after it breaks down (by choosing to connect the red wire) takes you to an alternate version of your school where the narrative's tense is slightly incorrect. If you "going" left you will soon come across bread which counts as one of the game's wins, however if you "going" right you will find a coffin. Interacting with this causes you to get killed by... Vladimir Lenin?
  • Non Standard Game Over:
    • Blowing the Manticore Whistle while trapped in a spider's web results in you getting killed by the manticore and the spider eating your remains. Double Game Over indeed.
    • While not technically a game over, killing Shakespeare and going to the warped, glitched Earth offers a route that prevents you from going any farther or backing away: Going down the pit and going to the right leads to a blank gray screen with occasional glitches, and the narration only says "you." Clicking on a line of code that appears in the middle of this image results in it turning into a gray checker-board pattern that cannot be interacted with.
  • Parental Incest/My Own Pa: One of the options in the time machine is to go back in time, sleep with your mother, and father yourself. A manticore kills you before you finish undressing her, with no explanation.
  • Rule of Three: The manticore won't go away until it kills you three times in a row.
  • Same Content, Different Rating: Unlike its sequels, this game is said to be unsuitable for people under 18. As far as what has been reported, there is exactly one part of the game that contains nudity (the acrobat room; two parts if you count the fact that the blue fairy is bottomless, though because of the angle all that's visible is her butt, and because of the art style it's low-detailed to the point where it's near-Barbie Doll Anatomy), which is PG-13 at most and was even edited out in a later version of the game. (It skips to the manticore attacking you.)note  To make matters even worse, said edit also added an extra sequence to emphasize that you had to be 18 to play.
  • Schmuck Bait: Becoming a manticore keeper at the circus. Also, the manticore whistle.
  • Take That!: Going into the video game store gives you the option to get either Nintendo or Sega games. Picking Sega games sends you into a Stylstic Suck minigame with generic shapes representing the environment.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: It is possible to have Hitler steal your time machine and turn the world into a burning wreck.

    Get Lost 
  • Always Night: The Unsafe and Most Assuredly Haunted Grounds. Lampshaded with the narration saying "It's night here."
  • Bloody Hilarious: With some manipulation, you can become a manticore and maul people, taking off their heads and leaving a huge spray of blood gushing from their necks. This is even true if you go back as a human.
  • Deader Than Dead: Dying through supernatural methods gives a sequence of your character in the Land of the Dead. Not far from there is a medipack that kills you, sending you to the Land of the Double Dead. Where here a black sphinx statue triple kills you shortly from the start. Restarting here actually restarts the game.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to Which Way Adventure, it greatly tones down the unsettling atmosphere with more relaxed music, a comically suited art style, humor replacing the surreal, and most of the deaths being from environment instead of getting surprise attacks from monsters.
  • No Fourth Wall: There are a few in-universe bugs that serve as collectable items and are necessary for getting the best ending. One of them requires you to "go outside the game's boundaries" in the sewer maze.
  • Non Standard Gameover:
    • Dying through most supernatural ways will send you through a sequence in the Land of the Dead and the Land of the Double Dead before you can properly resume playing.
    • In the piglet/bunny route, there is a point where you enter a garden. There's three crops to choose from, and picking two of them will lead to a good end. However, if you pick the third one (beets), the game just says "You chose beets." And then you get a game over for no reason.
  • Unwinnable by Design: A rare case of the game being unwinnable as soon as you start: Pick the option to play as a bunny, and you instantly can't get the best ending until you go all the way through the changing room. A number of seemingly small details also do this: Didn't get the lightbulb on the first screen? Unwinnable. Went out the gold room by going straight down? Unwinnable. Broke a random spider egg? Unwinnable.

    Curse of the Red Ninja 
  • Beat Still, My Heart: If you attempt to fight your master right away, he will rip out your heart, and you must pick a method to get a new heart.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: At first, it seems like getting the Genie in Greece to travel you back in time to the beginning seems like a faux-death. However, you get to keep your gold with you, and all of your progress and items. This is actually the only way to get back to the main area after going through the rest of the world, and this makes Curse of the Red Ninja the first game in the series where you can "return" to the screen you started in, even if the way to do so is a little complicated.
  • Jump Scare:
    • Compared to previous games, this one seems to have fun having animals come out of nowhere to kill you. The aformentioned manticore fits this: going to the Greek mountain zoo and using a bomb will blow up the manticore cage. At first it seems like the creature inside is dead, but when you click to go back you will find it suddenly kill you in a closeup that overtakes the screen.
    • When you return to the dojo after beating the three white ninjas, you will find yourself in a dark room with a creepily detailed tengu standing there, staring at you menacingly. Interacting with it shoots you back outside, and if you re-enter the dojo, you will find that it's now gone.
  • The Maze: The rest of the world is essentially this, with you blindly hopping across countries and areas in hopes of getting and staying somewhere, particularly back to Japan. It's even worse seeing as the only real way to get back is through time travel.
  • Mind Screw: The portion in the far future with a man in a building, interacting with him triggering a long cutscene which ends with the ninja being killed by a giant baby.
  • Reality-Breaking Paradox: Go ahead, ask the village genie for more wishes. It causes about four copies of him to pop into the room, with lines of code suddenly appearing in the background. You "die" after this.


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