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File:Ph2curtis 7290.jpg

  You know Curtis, you look a lot like your mother...

A PC FMV game, subtitled A Puzzle Of Flesh and centering on the escapades of Curtis Craig, a nebbishy, rat-loving (not like that), apparently ordinary office worker at large corporation WynTech. The game starts off as a typical day for him, but soon increasingly weird things occur, with Curtis receiving hellish visions, and then the mysterious and brutal murder of a coworker occurring. Curtis becomes suspicious that WynTech is somehow behind what's happening to him, and launches his investigation while desperately trying to hold onto his own sanity.

Of note is the Let's Play of it by Noah Antwiler of The Spoony Experiment (which can be found here), who was rather unimpressed by the whole thing.

The page for the first game in the series can be found here.

Needs Wiki Magic Love.

Tropes used in Phantasmagoria: A Puzzle of Flesh include:
  • Abusive Parents: Curtis' mother.
    • Curtis's father was hardly any better. See the entries below for more details.
  • Asshole Victim: When Bob dies, it's hard not to want to run around singing "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead". Even in the game, the characters are more affected by the violence itself than the victim.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: the final confrontation with the Hecatomb. Curtis has to battle all his personal demons, ending with his abusive mother. See Power of Love further down the page for the outcome
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty: It's entirely due to Spoony's LP that we have the "I heard that, Curtis" meme; Warner never says it in the actual game.
  • The Beast Master: Curtis is somehow able to command his rat to fetch his wallet out from under the couch, using a granola bar to lure it in.
  • Bedlam House: The mental institution Curtis was sent to is this trope on so many levels. This is why Curtis did not want to go into a mental institution when his problems started coming up. He should have explained to Dr. Harburg why he did not want to go into one when she advised him to. Then again, it is hard to say if she would have believed him or not, let alone done something about it. It also turns out the mental institution and Dr. Marek were in league with Paul Allen Warner and WynTech. Paul Allen Warner even brags to Curtis that Curtis was sent there so they could study him more closely. It is a wonder that Curtis can even function after what he had been through there, among other things.
  • Betty and Veronica: Jocilyn is the Betty, and Therese is the Veronica. Therese dies and Jocilyn lives. It is up to you if Curtis gets Jocilyn or not.
  • Big Bad: Paul Allen Warner. This is not a spoiler. However, Paul Allen Warner's status gets hijacked by the Hecatomb, and Paul Allen Warner is treated like nothing more than an afterthought by the end of the game. That is a spoiler.
  • Bi the Way: Curtis is at the very least bicurious.
  • Body Horror: The ultimate fate of Doctor Harburg and Paul Warner.
    • The Hecatomb looks as if he was put together by someone with only the crudest knowledge of human anatomy. It even has a beating heart on the outside of his chest.
    • Paul Allen Warner ends up as a head with tendrils connecting to him. He can only make frightened gurgles. His fate may qualify as And I Must Scream.
  • Bondage Is Bad: Kind of averted, as Curtis actually visits an S&M club, and his psychologist finds nothing inherently wrong with Curtis's passing interest in bondage photos. The woman who is encouraging him to try bondage does, however, come off as a complete nutcase and the term "safeword" never comes into the picture.
  • Boring but Practical: In a gothic supernatural horror game, what's your most used item? Magic powers? A cross? A gun? No, it's a run of the mill screwdriver, and you'll use it at least once in every chapter.
  • Break the Cutie: Let's face it. Curtis Craig received this in one form or another for his entire life. Which is a part of the Hecatomb's motivation for killing people. See the Grand Theft Me entry below.
  • Bury Your Gays: Poor Trevor.
  • Catch Phrase: Beat it, Rat Boy.
  • Changeling Tale: Curtis being revealed as an alien clone of the original Curtis who was stolen away has shades of this, just making it told from the changeling's point of view and making him sympathetic as a result. It just replaces fairies with interdimensional aliens.
  • Chick Magnet: There's only two people in the office who aren't into Curtis in some form. Hell, even Trevor wants him.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Well, if he wanted his son to find this box, clearly the smartest thing to do would be to hide it in a small walled off room hidden behind a small closet in your workplace and hope that he works there too someday, and just happens to feel like checking out hidden tiny doors in the back of closets. ... and also shove a dress in there for good measure.
    • Well, the company has seemingly been looking after him his whole life, as they'd want to keep track of the extra-dimensional being that thinks it's people. But that still gives us no clue as to why he would suddenly become interested in that particular door at the exact same time that the Threshold Project is ramping up again.
  • Cuckoo Nest: Sort of. The villain is trying to make Curtis think that he (Curtis) is the one committing the murders and that he should check himself into a mental institute.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Oh...man! Curtis Craig defines this trope. His mother dressed him like a girl, subjected him to electric shocks while he was strapped to a chair, as well as chased after him with a knife with the intent to kill him. She kept on calling him "a monster", which was apparently her reason or excuse for abusing him. Curtis ultimately finds her having committed suicide. His father seemed to neglect him, kept looking at him with sad eyes, and tried to protect him from his mother - but not enough. He is shot to death by WynTech goons, and Curtis finds his dead body. It is later revealed that his father worked with Paul Allen Warner on experiments with a portal between dimensions. While no one was looking, PAW grabbed young Curtis and tossed him into the portal. Curtis apparently came out, but he was never quite the same. The reason for that is... you know what, you should look at the Tomato in the Mirror entry below.
  • Dark Secret: Oh, man, do some characters in the game have them. Curtis is led to believe that he has this (i.e. being a murderer). He does not have that kind of Dark Secret. He does have a Dark Secret that even he did not really know about or understand. See the Tomato in the Mirror entry below.
    • Paul Allen Warner has plenty of these (i.e. Experimenting with a transdimensional portal, using asylum patients as guinea pigs and getting them killed off as part of the experiment, using his partner's own son as a guinea pig, using the portal as part of an illegal drug operation, killing people to cover it up, having Curtis Craig's father murdered, and the list seems to go on and on).
    • Doctor Marek tortured Curtis Craig in the asylum, and is also in cahoots with Paul Allen Warner, at least by sending his own patients to him as guinea pigs for the experiments.
    • Finally, the original Curtis Craig not only survived being used as a guinea pig for the experiments, but he turned into a monstrous murderer with psychic powers called the Hecatomb.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Curtis can be this if you want him to. On every email, there's a "Sarcastic" response option. Also, Trevor.
  • Death by Sex: Strangely enough, averted by Jocilyn, who is the only one of Curtis' coworkers who survive to the end, despite them doing it on the first disc. Played straight, however, with Therese.
  • Driven to Suicide: It's implied that Curtis's mother sub-consciously knew that Curtis was an unnatural imitation of her real son and that the conflicting emotions of love and revulsion drove her insane, causing her to torment the boy and finally kill herself.
  • Dwindling Party: The game starts off with a large number of characters. By the end of it, Curtis and Jocilyn are the only ones left standing.
  • Easter Egg: It's possible to make Batman, of all people visit Curtis' therapist. Goodness knows he needs it.
    • There are many others listed here.
  • Epiphany Therapy: Played with. Curtis goes to see a therapist about his problems. He ends up having several sessions with her. He even manages to recover repressed memories of the death of his father. However, the sessions do not cure him of his hallucinations. At the end of the game, he does find the source of his hallucinations and resolves it. Unfortunately, by that point, he may ended up worse off than he was before he went into therapy in some other ways.
  • Evil Phone: When you make Curtis call himself, that's what happens, and can also happen when Curtis calls other numbers.
  • Evil Is Visceral: The Hecatomb, the hallucinations he causes, the deaths he causes, his projection, and his real form, the original Curtis Craig. Everything about the Hecatomb defines this trope.
  • Evil Twin: Inverted; the game's main villain is the original Curtis Craig, the hero is an alien who has taken on his form.
  • Final Exam Boss: Kind of. Near the end of the game, Curtis goes through numerous visions...or...whatever that involve practically every dead character and traumatic scene from Curtis's past. You better remember that clicking on people during suspenseful scenes often gets you killed, and that the best option is to do whatever it takes to get the hell out of there. (Except the first puzzle with the doctor; that's just "pick an object and hope it works", and the last puzzle, which flips it)
    • Fortunately, unlike most Sierra games, Death Is a Slap on The Wrist in this game, allowing you to instantly retry from before you died - In fact, it's the only way to get the death scenes added to the movie viewer.
  • Final Girl: Jocilyn is the only survivor out of Curtis Craig's coworkers. However, she is not a virgin. She never even got to fight the Hecatomb. The Multiple Endings allow you to choose whether Curtis gets the girl or not.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: The original Curtis Craig. He started out as a young, innocent boy, got thrown into a transdimensional portal, was used as a guinea pig, and ended turning into the Hecatomb, a cannibalistic monster with psychic powers and a hunger for murder.
  • Gay Best Friend: Trevor Barnes to Curtis.
  • Grand Theft Me: This is the goal the Hecatomb is trying to achieve with Curtis Craig. He is trying to drive Curtis into insanity, so that he can enter his broken mind and take over his body with little effort. This is because the Hecatomb is actually the original Curtis Craig, and he feels that the Curtis you played throughout the game stole his life and identity. The Hecatomb wants it back and he will do anything to get it.
  • Guide Dang It: Presumably due to a bug, there's one point where you can only progress by right-clicking, something you don't need to do at any other point of the game, when left-clicking should have worked. (You can use a right click at any time in the game, but it does the same as a left click.) Also, early on you have to show your coworkers your personal photos to progress.
    • According to a mailing list maintained by the developers while the game was in production, the right-click puzzle is intentional. They actually thought that having a right-click do something exactly one time in the game was a clever idea. (There is a very oblique hint implying that this was meant as a kind of Interface Screw)
    • And then there's turning on the control panel at the end, which may very well be one of the least intuitive puzzle in adventure game history. It's a bunch of completely random shapes in various colors, only some of which are clickable without any rhyme or reason, and the whole time you're clicking around you have no idea what your ultimate goal is. It's particularly bad because up until this point, the only real "puzzles" you had to deal with were clicking objects on people until they stopped giving you dialogue.
    • The fact that you have to make Curtis check his mail early in the game. There's no indication that you need to do it, or that you even can.
  • Going Through the Motions: The waiter at the Dreaming Tree sure seems to spend a disproportionate amount of time working on receipts, doesn't he?
  • Have a Nice Death: If you die, the voice of the Hecatomb mocks you.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: The aliens in the Alien World that Paul Allen Warner had been communicating with. You only get to hear a voice from one of them, but you never actually get to see any of them. Which is weird, because you actually go into the Alien World.
    • The author says the little alien tools Curtis screws around with are the Dimension X aliens. Just too alien for humans to recognize as sapient. This is never spelled out directly in-game.
  • Hospital Gurney Scene: The beginning of the game starts with this. Curtis is the patient being wheeled in and being given electric shocks with Dr. Marek looking on and telling him "You're having a psychotic episode". All this is to show that Curtis Craig is not a well man. However, there is more to the story than that. Curtis, years later, has a flashback revealing that he was put in the mental institution and strapped to a wheelchair. He has no idea how or why he ended up in both positions. No one will tell him anything and he is unable to connect to anybody there. So he causes a distraction, unstraps himself from the wheelchair, and runs for it. Unfortunately, he gets caught by Dr. Marek and some orderlies. Doctor Marek says "Curtis! You've been a bad boy! Now I have to punish you!" Then the flashback shows the Hospital Gurney Scene, and Fridge Horror sets in when you realize that they were not trying to help Curtis, but were subjecting him to Cold-Blooded Torture.
  • In Name Only: The game's story is almost completely detached from the one in the original Phantasmagoria. There is exactly one reference to the first game, and it is not plot critical in any way.
    • Phantasmagoria was imagined by Sierra as a kind of Horror Anthology Series. There were early plans for a third game, with yet another protagonist, and vampires (The idea would later be floated as a possible storyline for Gabriel Knight 3). Originally, each game was to be a different kind of horror, going from "Demonic" to "Body Horror" to "Classical Monsters".
    • Both games have some things in common. Both protagonists see disturbing visions, and both of them have to contend with a monster at the end of the game.
  • I Resemble That Remark: Curtis' attempts to deny that he is insane make him seem all the more nutty.
  • It Was Here, I Swear: Played with. A good example is when Curtis finds a tiny room with a locked door at WynTech. He manages to get in there. There is a filing cabinet in there. Curtis gets a toolbox out of there. The toolbox turns out to contain a dress, a letter from Paul Allen Warner, and letter from Curtis' father. Later on, Curtis finds the room sealed off, and concludes that "They're hiding something!" Curtis shows the letter to his therapist, but the therapist is apparently not convinced that there is any conspiracy.
  • Jerkass: Bob, to the extreme. "Stealing files" is the worst Curtis accuses him of when the detective asks him what Bob did to wrong him, but Bob straight-up sabotages Curtis's computer and was preparing to brick his entire hard drive when he got murdered.
    • Mind you, Curtis did not even get to find out what Bob was doing in his cubicle, which is why "stealing files" was his worst accusation.
    • Also Curtis. As you go through the game it's really hard to feel sorry for him at all.
    • Especially with that business in which he cheated on Jocilyn with Therese, resulting in Jocilyn dumping him when she found out. Oh, and he tried to cover up his affair from Jocilyn. Really, he deserved what essentially amounted to a What the Hell, Hero? response for that. Not to mention the fact that he withholds evidence and obstructs justice, and proves to be no better than Paul Allen Warner in that area. It is pretty sad that Curtis is supposed to be a character to root for, and yet he does nothing much to earn it.
  • Karma Houdini: Doctor Marek, the man who put Curtis through at least a year of torture, and was apparently in league with Paul Warner, only gets his comeuppance in a dream-like scenario; the real one goes unpunished.
  • Kavorka Man: Curtis, as mentioned is decidedly attractive to all the characters despite being ridiculously plain in both appearance and personality.
  • Lack of Empathy: Curtis most certainly has this. He compares the death of Bob Arnold as road-kill found on the road. He also admits to his therapist that he truly feels no connection to people. He apparently considers his pet rat Blob to be his only family. There are reasons for this, however. That, and he does have moments of actual empathy. Too bad the same cannot be said about a number of other characters in this game.
    • Paul Allen Warner. Just about every scene involving him in some way demonstrates this trope in disturbing ways. One particularly creepy example takes place shortly after Bob's murder. If Curtis goes back into WynTech, he will find PAW working in his office. That's right, PAW is working in his office, on the heels of a gruesome murder, one that took place in the cubicle farm next to his office, and one that caused trauma to a large number of his employees and leave work for the rest of the day. Is that awful or what?
  • Limited Wardrobe: Curtis seems to wear the same grey pocket-T every day.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Curtis is most certainly a loner, and at home he treats a pet rat named Blob like the only member of his family. He has a few friends in the workplace, like Jocilyn and Trevor. It turns out that he has reasons for living like this. This trope becomes a problem for Curtis when Detective Powell questions him about where he was when a murder happened. He tries to explain that he spent the night in his home with Therese. Unfortunately, he is unable to tell her where Therese lives because he does not know that. Also, he does not want to explain to her that Therese broke into his home and he not only did nothing about it, but he engaged in bondage sex with her. Detective Powell can tell (maybe) that Curtis is a loner and she is convinced that he is serial killer because he is a loner.
  • Mad Scientist: Curtis's father was this and so was Paul Allen Warner. However, Curtis's father apparently became a Reluctant Mad Scientist after PAW threw Curtis into a dimensional portal.
  • Meaningful Name: Paul Allen Warner - PAW. Warner raised Curtis and paid for all his schooling and the like after Jonas Craig died, using WynTech money as a sort of apology.
    • Phantasmagoria, believe it or not is an actual word that has two definitions - 1. A series of events involving rapid changes in light intensity and colour. 2. A dreamlike state where real and imagined elements are blurred together.
    • Hecatomb is also an actual word that has two definitions - 1. In ancient Greece or Rome, a great feast and public sacrifice to the gods, originally of a hundred oxen. 2. Hence loosely, any great sacrifice; a great number of people, animals or things; a large amount.
  • Mind Rape: The hallucinations Curtis Craig experiences throughout the game turn out to be this. They are being caused by the Hecatomb, a creature that has the powers of telepathy and telekinesis.
  • Mind Screw: This seems to have been what the developers were going for to an extent.
    • Here is an example. At one point in the game, you are required to have Curtis throw a hammer at the mirror in his apartment bedroom. The mirror breaks, and the hammer is lodged into what appears to be a huge, beating heart. Suddenly everything turns back to normal, with the hammer back in your inventory and the mirror is not shattered. Apparently, Curtis had a hallucination of throwing a hammer at a mirror and finding something organic behind it. Good luck trying to understand that!
  • Mommy Issues: This is an understatement.
  • Multiple Endings: Depending on whether or not the clone Curtis returns to his home dimension.
  • Never Give the Captain a Straight Answer: A variation of this occurs near the end of the game. Curtis is in WynTech and he is looking at e-mail messages on one of the computers. One is from Trevor Barnes, who simply says to forget about WynTech. That's right, Trevor could not even be bothered to explain why in his message. Sure, he explained why to Curtis in an isolated room WynTech, but it's a little too late for that by then, isn't it?
  • Nice Guy: Tom Ravell, who is the only one of Curtis' coworkers apart from the somewhat-irritating Jocilyn who doesn't verbally abuse him, stalk him, conduct evil experiments with an interdimensional portal, or waste his time with a pointless story about potatoes.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Curtis Craig is simply a prime example of what not to do when a serial killer runs loose. He barges into a crime scene Detective Powell is investigating, he finds evidence that he does not hand over, and he acts hostile to Detective Powell when he should be trying to explain to her why he is not the murderer she thinks he is. He is not a murderer, but the Hecatomb is one. Too bad Curtis would have had a hard time proving that anyway.
  • Obviously Evil: Paul. Allen. Warner. If you can't figure out he's evil in some way within the first minute of meeting him, you're not exactly a good judge of character.
    • Here are some examples to think about. The first one is when he casually dismisses the environmental damage caused to a species of fish in the company's efforts to get needed ingredients for drugs in an email message. The second one is when he gives a cover story for the lower levels of the building being restricted and he backpedals in an email message - "We are trying to keep you out, I mean in!" (Strange, you would think that you cannot backpedal in an email message). The third one is when Curtis calls Paul Allen Warner on the phone to let him know that he completed an assignment, and Curtis is told "Well done, my boy! Well done! I am going to keep my eye on you!" (PAW says this in a rather creepy way). The fourth one is when Curtis goes into PAW's office and finds a lot of mounted animals on the wall (Which is creepy, because why would anyone want to mount animals on the walls of his or her company office?). The fifth one is when Curtis remembers how he heard Paul Allen Warner yell "You're a dead MAN!" All these examples take place at the beginning of the game before you actually meet the guy.
    • Not only is PAW Obviously Evil, but the game ends up revealing that he is a Complete Monster.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: The Hecatomb truly becomes less and less picky about who he kills. It can be safely assumed that had he succeeded in his Grand Theft Me attempt with Curtis Craig, he would have become this. However, when you see him as a disgusting pile of flesh on life support and you think about the fact that he lived like this for years, you could consider him a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds.
  • Only Sane Man: Surprisingly, Trevor. He's a pretty efficient hacker and, at the game's climax, tells Curtis he needs to get the hell out of WynTech. Why he decided to wait around in the highly isolated store room just to tell Curtis not to go to WynTech is another matter though...
    • Yeah, if he had been smart, he would have gone to Curtis's home to tell him that. Also, if he had just gone to the police before that, the outcome of the game might have turned out better.
      • Given that the Hecatomb was able to kill Therese on the other side of town from WynTech, it's not likely he would've been safer anywhere else.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Therese gets an odd German/Russian accent on a few lines.
    • The actress' real name is (according to The Other Wiki) Ragna Sigrun, which is Icelandic. So presumably that's her real accent slipping in through her put-on American accent.
  • Padding: There's a lot of this in the office scenes, with characters regurgitating similar info over and over. If you shaved down all the pointless scenes, the game could probably fit on 3 discs instead of 5.
    • There's also the odd moment of having pointless FMVs; for example: when you click on Curtis' bedside cabinet, you get a really quick FMV of him opening it. Like every other FMV, they're completely skippable with a simple click, so it's not too annoying though.
  • Parental Abandonment: Curtis' mother killed herself and his father was murdered.
  • The Password Is Always Swordfish: Curtis's password on his work computer is "Blob", the name of his pet rat whom he constantly fawns over and has a huge framed photograph of on his desk. Yeah, that's not obvious at all. Then again, his boss isn't much better making his password "Carpediem", a phrase he has on an obvious plaque mounted on his wall.
  • Point and Click Game
  • Police Are Useless: Initially averted, but quickly played straight to the point of being painful to watch. The only time you see the police in action is Detective Powell. She is not a credit to the police force for the following reasons... 1. She did not arrest Paul Allen Warner for completely ruining her crime scene (Curtis Craig's cubicle) the day after Bob's murder. 2. She is totally convinced Curtis Craig is the murderer despite the facts that he could not have known Bob would be in WynTech so early, he could not have known Tom would be in WynTech in the middle of night, and he does not possess the murder weapons in his home or anywhere for that matter. 3. She used intimidation (starting with her saying "You're screwed up!" and then going on a bizarre and stupid rant about how she will hunt him down wherever he hides if she finds proof of what he has done) on him when he only answering a question about Tom and Paul Allen Warner's confrontation. 4. She alerted him to the fact that he was under police suspicion 5. She never even tried to have him put under surveillance. 6. She never mentioned warrants or reading people their rights. 7. She never recorded or documented any of the conversations she had with the characters. 8. Curtis made statements about what he thinks is going on, and she refused to even investigate or consider them. 9. She always confronted and questioned him all by herself, even though she suspected him of murder. She did reach for her gun when he became angry and started moving towards her. Really, if she was so sure he was a murderer, then she should have brought a partner with her. 10. She should have questioned Curtis in another room, out of sight of Bob Arnold's body. 11. She seems to think that Curtis is a Serial Killer just because he is a loner. Detective Powell, and the entire police force in the game are basically useless jokes. They could greatly benefit from reading police procedural novels.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Oh, boy, does it ever. Curtis experiences hallucinations but he never tells anyone about it. In fact, some of these hallucinations occurred while he was with another person. He could have at least asked them what just happened when the hallucination wore off.
    • Possibly justified: he doesn't want to go back to the mental institute where he was abused and tortured.
    • Curtis hears Paul Allen Warner issue a death threat to Tom, and Curtis does not even try to warn Tom that the last time he heard Paul Allen Warner issue the same death threat to somebody, that somebody ended up dead. Indeed, Curtis fails to tell several characters details that they might need to know. No wonder Curtis is such an unsympathetic protagonist.
  • Power of Love: When Curtis gets a hallucination of his mother preparing to kill him, he goes up to her and hugs her, saying "I love you, Mom!" She breaks down and cries. The hallucination wears off, and the Hecatomb projection starts falling apart and decaying. This gives Curtis the opportunity to pull off the Hecatomb's breath mask, causing the Hecatomb to die.
  • Really Gets Around: Curtis, courtesy of the powers of the Kavorka Man. Therese as well, being a frequent patron of an S&M club in town. This adds a bit of Fridge Brilliance to Jocilyn's confrontation with Curtis over his infidelity. Therese doesn't seem to advertise her sexual kinks to just anyone, so how did Jocilyn's mind immediately go from "my boyfriend has strange scars on his chest" to "he must have slept with Therese!"? Because she probably tried to come on to Jocilyn before moving on to Curtis - she did describe her as "a real cutie", and that Curtis should feel free to bring her along.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Curtis is an alien who has shapeshifted into the form of the real Curtis, who has been trapped in fake!Curtis' home dimension.
  • Ridiculously Average Guy: Curtis. At least in the first part of the game.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: This seems to be part of the Hecatomb's motivation for killing WynTech employees and other people connected to Curtis. He apparently feels Unstoppable Rage over the fact that an alien took his life and identity in his place. Too bad he blames the alien for ruining his life and not Paul Allen Warner, who threw him into the Alien World in the first place.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: Trevor's legendary potato story, not to mention some of those inane emails.

  Crunch bird, my ass!

    • The potato story is especially egregious, occurring as it does fairly late in the game and therefore fairly far into Curtis' apparent breakdown. You wouldn't think that it'd be the appropriate time for him to sit and listen Trevor ramble on about rabbits, but apparently it is. Everything's better with bunnies, I guess, even serious psychological trauma.
  • Serial Killer: The Hecatomb. He kills people connected to Curtis out of rage, enjoyment, and revenge. He is also killing people to get to Curtis. He does not try to kill Curtis because he needs him alive so that he can take over his body. There are implications that Bob Arnold was not his first victim. Oh, and the Hecatomb is also a human that has developed mind powers that can reach from one dimension to the other and has essentially become a supernatural monster.
  • Shallow Love Interest: Both of the women Curtis works with. Although Therese is more...extreme about it. Jocilyn certainly is this trope. Here is why: when she finds out Curtis cheated on her with Therese, she yells at him and runs off. She vanishes and stays that way until the end of the game. At the end, she shows up out of thin air to talk to Curtis and somehow found out the truth about his being a Tomato in the Mirror. Curtis was doing just fine without her, by the way. How is Jocilyn able to appear and disappear, as well as find out answers is not explained. In fact, questions like that most certainly fall under Fridge Logic.
  • Shout-Out: The game makes references to Psycho (the Norman Bates Hotel), and Hannibal Lector.
    • Also, the message Curtis gets from the Hecatomb that simply says "SOON" (a threatening note that tries to not sound threatening, which is short for "I WILL COME AND KILL YOU SOON"), is comparable to a scene from I Know What You Did Last Summer.
  • The Shrink: Dr. Harburg.
  • Sitcom Arch Nemesis: Bob...
  • Social Services Does Not Exist: Played straight. Social services is not even mentioned. If a social worker had any idea what Curtis Craig's parents were doing to him and that both of them are somehow dead, he or she would have had Curtis removed at once.
  • Solve the Soup Cans: At one point, the game won't let you progress until you pick up a completely innocuous loose button on the floor to use in another, later scene.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Therese Banning.

 Curtis: Do you break into people's apartments often?

Therese: No. Only when I really like them.

  • Starfish Aliens: Literally. The residents of Dimension X, who all resemble invertebrate sea life. Word of God says they have a Hive Mind and communicate via biochemical reactions such as combining or dividing.
  • Talkative Loon: The other patients in the asylum scenes.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Curtis is actually an extradimensional alien. The real Curtis never left the alien dimension, and has mutated and developed psychic powers to torment the clone Curtis with past dimensional barriers.
  • The Chew Toy: Curtis Craig is either this or The Woobie. You decide!
  • There Are No Therapists: Almost averted in Phantasmagoria: A Puzzle of the Flesh, where the main character goes to therapy after he starts hallucinating. However, his therapist is quite possibly the most useless therapist in the history of psychotherapy and generally just sits and nods while he talks about his massive amounts of childhood trauma, sexual issues, and slow descent towards insanity.
    • And then she just lets him walk out of her office right before she records notes on how she believes he is delusional and possibly homicidal.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: All the main character deaths are really over-the-top brutal.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Tom Revell goes into WynTech to type up a report of Paul Allen Warner's conduct, so he can send it to the Board of Directors and take down PAW. This would be fine, except he is all alone in the cubicle farm in the middle of the night. One would think he would take precautions after a murder occurred and PAW told him "You're a dead MAN!" But no, he did not.
  • Took a Level In Badass: Arguably, when Tom Revell, a fairly bland, but still friendly co-worker, angrily calls Warner out on the fact that he forced his employees to come to work the day after a grisly murder took place in the building. Too bad he doesn't live past the CD this moment comes in...
  • Try Everything: There's a lot of times, especially in the end game in Dimension X where you pretty much solve puzzles by clicking every item you have on something. Entertaining enough when done on people, as they'll usually offer up an optional FMV, not so entertaining when done on objects.
    • Especially bad when you have to enter the cubicle farm, sit through a cutscene of Detective Powell yelling at you to get out of the crime scene - which you then must immediately re-enter. She just stays in the cubicle though, which is the actual crime scene. If you try to enter that particular cubical again, she'll throw you out, but entering the other ones is fine, because Curtis quietly opens the door the second time he goes in, being sure to not alert her.
  • Was Once a Man: The Hecatomb. Would you believe that a human being ended up becoming a monster that only has a few human-like characteristics?
  • What Could Have Been: The Alien World was supposed to be a lot bigger than what was seen in the game. There was supposed to be a point in it where Curtis had to swim to progress. However, budget and time constraints caused scenes to be cut out or never developed.
  • Wrongly Accused: A detective starts to suspect that Curtis is a murderer.
    • The strange thing about it is that she's right, From a Certain Point of View. The murders were pulled off by Curtis Craig; the real one, not the alien construct you control throughout the game.
  • You Have to Believe Me: Played with. Curtis finds evidence of a conspiracy. He does not even turn over the evidence to the cops. In fact, there is only one cop he interacts with. On his side, he acts like some raving loony to her. On her side, she dimisses his claims, does not even try to investigate them, and clearly thinks he is full of it and worse. He also tries to communicate his findings to his therapist and even shows her some concrete evidence. His therapist thinks that he is paranoid, delusional, prone to psychotic episodes and has some capacity for violence. To be fair, he was cetainly acting hysterical towards her at some points. His therapist does believe his claims in the end when she discovers her phone is bugged. Unfortunately, the Hecatomb kills her off shortly afterwards.
    • Another example is when Curtis finds his therapist dead, and he sees a vision of the Hecatomb. A spooked security guard bursts in. Curtis says "Get it! Get that thing!" and points at the vision. The guard sees nothing and motions to Curtis to move to another part of the room. It is implied that the guard heard the doctor's death screams on her phone. The guard thinks the Curtis not only did something to the doctor, but that Curtis is out of his mind.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Actually subverted; Warner survives this attempt, and ends up having his decapitated head attached to a series of tendrils in the alien dimension. The way Curtis looks over at him at the end implies Curtis put him through the portal.

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