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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Mantorok. Magnificent Bastard who created a millennia-spanning Gambit Roulette and exploited an Enemy Mine situation with humanity in order to eliminate the only possible checks on his power? Ultimately benign entity who is willing to coexist peacefully with humanity? Some combination of the two? A third option is he's merely taking Revenge against those who have effectively given him a painful death lasting thousands of years.
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  • Annoying Video-Game Helper: Given all the numerous times a visual depiction of each Ancient's dominance over each other is shown, you will never find yourself forgetting how the Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors works. You also need to sit through all the tutorials regardless of whether or not you've finished the game.
  • Anticlimax Boss: The Black Guardian has shades of this, with it being pretty easy despite easily killing Paul Luther, with attacks that don't do that much damage and are easy to avoid. The problem though is that damaging in its second phase borders on Guide Dang It!.
    • Pious, especially if you have the Enchanted Gladius, being fairly easy to stay out of his melee reach and his only other attack being the Magickal Attack, which you can easily avoid by moving.
  • Awesome Music:
    • The soundtrack is notable for being very ambient and yet very memorable - especially when your character begins to lose sanity. The two bosses of the game also have awesome themes.
    • "Black Rose" plays once throughout the entire game without a loop, and is an absolutely beautiful and breathtaking piece.
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  • Breather Level: Michael Edwards's chapter, gameplay wise. You're given a bloody assault rifle to kill guardians with. Fitting, as it is the last chapter before the end.
  • Complete Monster: The Roman Centurion Pious Augustus serves one of three evil Ancients in exchange for power and immortality. Over the course of two millennia, Pious causes numerous tragedies for humanity: destabilizing the Holy Roman Empire by killing its emperor; building a monument to his Ancient out of the bodies of countless slaves he has captured; and engineering a conflict in World War I within a hospital to feed many injured soldiers to his bloodthirsty demon servant. Using a time of planetary alignment, Pious tries to bring his Ancient master into reality, putting the whole world at risk of destruction to maintain his power.
  • Critical Research Failure:
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    • It's easy to miss, but early in the game, Edward Roivas refers to himself as a clinical psychologist. However, later, he mentions his training in psychiatry. Clinical psychology and psychiatry are two different fields that require entirely different training and degrees (a Ph.D for psychology, an MD for psychiatry).
    • "Augustus" was an honorific used by emperors; a mere soldier like Pious would not have it as part of his name.
    • Alright, maybe it's not strictly "critical" (certainly not compared to the above), but Pious describes the annihilation of every Guardian in Ehn'Gha as their being "decimated". He was a Roman centurion - he should know that that only means killing one out of every ten!
  • Cult Classic
  • Disappointing Last Level: Alex's chapter is largely a repeat of Edward's chapter, but with the gauntlet of guardian monsters replaced with a series of obnoxious electrified floors, making you stop every thirty seconds to replenish your shield, and the only enemies encountered there aside from one group of Horrors are Trappers.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Xel'lotath. Probably the most popular of the Ancients. Her dialogue and split personality deliver a lot of darkly amusing moments.
    • All of the human characters are well-loved and have their fans as well, but most notable are fantastic Large Ham Max; Ellia; poor, poor Anthony and Paul; and Edward and Peter for their sheer respective Badass Bookworm and Action Survivor factor.
  • Foe Yay: Pious gets quite creepy with Alex at one point, calling her "my sweet", declaring that she's his and he's waited centuries for her, and that she will "succumb to his desires". That he's in the guise of her grandfather's ghost for most of this makes it even creepier.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: The sanity effect that jokingly promises a "sequel" to the game becomes less funny now that there never will be a true sequel to this game.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • The Mantorok rune. Even beyond the fact that Mantorok's Enchant Item spell is not only strong against all other ancients, it also poisons enemies you hit with it, doing additional damage. Its Recovery spell, likewise, recovers both health and sanity. A Mantorok shield will protect from all damage types and poison. A Mantorok Magick Pool spell will regenerate your health, magick and sanity all at the same time, making you nearly invincible. The most powerful spell in the entire game, in fact, is that the Reveal Invisible spell, normally cast only when the plot demands, will, if cast with a Mantorok rune, actually invert, making you invisible. This means that only boss monsters and Trappers will detect you. You can run around cutting their heads off and most monsters won't even fight back. Zombies will stand in one place swinging wildly and Gatekeepers will slowly rotate to face you, but will not attack.
    • It is possible to discover Magick Pool as early as Lindsey's chapter, although you don't get the scroll until Edward's. A Ulyaoth pool will render most Squishy Wizard characters nigh-invincible; a Mantorok one will render anyone invincible if they can afford the high magick cost.
    • If you so choose, you can walk around in circles to build up your magick, which you can use to heal and restore sanity.
    • Melee weapons are stupidly overpowered compared to the crossbow and various handguns; it's not until you find shotguns or rifles that distance attacking is superior to getting up close and personal.
  • Goddamned Bats: Trappers, which can only be hit with projectile weapons, usually come in groups, are small and tend to blend in with the scenery, make annoying chirping sounds when alerted, have deceptively long reach with their attack, and their attack teleports you to a small room with some enemies and health/magic/sanity refuelers and forces you to waste several seconds getting out of it.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • It's Easy, So It Sucks!: Between your infinite magick reserves and the ability to target enemy heads and arms when fighting them, this is a common criticism of the game, especially with its tendency to be lumped into the Survival Horror genre, which it is decidedly not.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "CHARLEMAAAGNE!"
    • "This... can't be happening!"
    • "Pargon!" Explanation 
    • "MAY THE RATS EAT YOUR EYES!!"
    • Nintendo constantly renewing the game's trademark and then just sitting on it.
  • Most Annoying Sound: When playing Anthony, Paul, and Peter's chapters, prepare to hear the Item Get! choir a lot.
  • Narm: Alex is menaced by Pious posing as Edward's ghost at one point, and she sends him away with an angry "Get away from me!" and what amounts to a gesture that looks like she was going to grab his crotch, given that she was sitting and he was standing over her.
  • Nightmare Retardant: Michael Edwards' chapter is considerably less scary than any other part of the game. The unfathomable creatures of the beyond aren't quite as nightmarish when you're a heavy set firefighter with an assault rifle/grenade launcher.
  • Signature Scene:
    • Anything related to Max's chapter, but special note to the scene with him locked up in the asylum. Also, Pious' transformation into a liche.
    • As far as sanity effects go, the Bath Suicide Jump Scare and the pop up for a fake sequel qualify.
  • Spoiled by the Format: Some of the sanity effects fake some things happening with your TV, such as the volume muting or the system turning off, showing a black screen with "VIDEO" in the corner. These effects are much less convincing if you're playing this years after its release, since modern televisions have much different volume bars and "Missing signal" screens.
  • The Woobie: Several candidates:
    • Ellia just wanted an adventure. She got it, probably saving Mantorok in the process. Pity it involved her imprisoned within her own dead body for centuries before the end.
    • Anthony, who fought against all odds, was cursed, knew he was likely a dead man, and ultimately failed. The fact he spent 600 years suffering before Paul released him from his torment doesn't make it better for him.
    • Paul Luther, who spends the duration of his story completely out of his depth and terrified out of his wits. Ultimately, his fate at the hands of the Guardian and the look on his face can't help but make you feel for the man.
      • Likewise, the custodian in Paul's chapter, his only ally who also ends up getting killed, possibly by Paul's own hand (ambiguous on purpose), and ends up having his soul bound to an altar until the defeat of Pious.
    • Karim ends up falling for a woman who sends him on an impossible quest to gain her affection. When he actually manages to reach his goal he discovers she's slept with the first rich charmer who came along, and is now dead because of it. Despite this, he still loves her and agrees to stay and guard the artifact sacrificing his own life. When Robert finally releases Karim from his duty it's clear the only thing he believes was gained from his sacrifice was aiding humanity.
    • Really, most of the characters, due to the fact that most of them are thrown into an age-old power struggle, with no preparation and an incredibly high chance of death or worse.


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