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Sorry to be emailing you so late. I've just got a call from Detective Flynn about the disappearance case you've been covering. He's a friend, and wanted to tip me off that they think they know where the victims were taken, and they'll be moving in soon - within the next couple of days, even. There's a map attached to this message with directions, get there as soon as you can. I booked you a room across the street, just give the receptionist your name.
I'm sure I don't need to tell you to be careful, and try not to get in trouble with the garda, I don't feel like bailing you out again.
This message is intended only for the named recipient(s). If you are not an intended recipient, please contact the sender or system administrator.—Description text from the mod.
Harvest is a custom story modification and full conversion for Amnesia: The Dark Descent, the Survival Horror-slash-Adventure Game released in September 2010. It places the player in the shoes of Liam Connelly, a twentysomething reporter for the Irish Record. It is preceded by three prequels, collectively entitled Harvest: Prologue, which put the player in differing characters' shoes in each one-map mini-adventure. Harvest: Prologue, while a completely separate custom story and not a total conversion, is intended only to serve as a backstory for Harvest proper.
The story begins at the custom story selection screen, where the email quoted at the top of the page is visible. It is from Liam's boss, who has received a tip from a friend about a case that Liam has been covering for some time. She makes Liam a reservation at Foulksrath Castle and sends him to report on the police action as it unfolds. Arriving early, Liam decides to tour the castle, and is surprised to see that much of it is restricted from public eyes - a marked change from its days as the country's oldest hostel. He determines to stay in the castle after closing hours, documenting whatever he can find with his camera and notepad.
Harvest provides examples of:
- Always a Bigger Fish: Sort of.
- Artificial Stupidity: Liam, when deciding to stay overnight in a purportedly-haunted castle that is under suspicion of being either a dumping location for bodies or a prison for kidnapping victims.
- Artistic License Biology:
- Partially averted. The spiders made specifically for Harvest are as true-to-life as possible, with the notable distinction that they have no upper bounds on size or age, and so will continue to molt and grow larger indefinitely.
- Also played straight with the desiccated, who manage to shamble about just fine despite being "relieved" of most of their bodily fluids and tissues.
- Played straight again with the Big Bad's ability to communicate with Liam.
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Templeton, an established naturalist in the nineteenth century, encounters and later becomes strongly influenced by the Big Bad.
- Black Bug Room: Seen occasionally in Harvest: Prologue, notably in Part I of the prequels, as well as Harvest. Typically used to prevent a player from lingering in an area for too long, especially areas unreachable by most monsters.
- Body Horror: The dessicated.
- Brain Bleach: May be needed as the player continues into the later levels.
- Breather Level: Cruelly and brutally subverted later in the game. Seemingly played straight at the start. Seemingly. Surely no one could keep up a type three Nothing Is Scarier for the duration of an entire game, could they?
- Cat Scare: Averted as much as possible.
- Chekhov's Gun: Played mostly straight. If you find something that goes in your inventory, you'll be able to use it in some way. Whether you figure out what that way is remains up to you.
- Collapsing Lair: After the second phase of the Final Boss, the basement system collapses, crushing the Big Bad and exposing the player to fresh air for the first time after being trapped within the catacombs for the second half of the game.
- Comedic Sociopathy: Shared with Amnesia the Dark Descent.
- The game is horrifying to play, especially alone at night, but watching other people play it while freaking out is inherently hilarious.
- Continuity Nod: The notes found in the various prequels and chapters, referencing each other in most cases (while also giving you clues to help you move forward, and a healthy amount of Foreshadowing).
- The Corruption: What happened to Elizabeth. And, if you're not careful, it will happen to you also.
- Cower Power: Shared with Amnesia the Dark Descent.
- Literally, the best way to survive a monster is to find a dark corner, curl up with your nose to the wall, and pray it leaves before it stumbles over you. Justified, as Daniel has no means by which to fight back against these monsters, they can generally outrun him when they break into a sprint, and closing doors will only slow them down at best.
- Diegetic Interface : As in Penumbra and Amnesia the Dark Descent.
- Dummied Out: The original plot of Harvest involved a corporation kidnapping victims in order to sell their organs on the black market. Some of the models for the victims are reskinned and changed slightly to fit into the new plotline, while other elements are removed entirely.
- Evil Is Easy: To get the "bad ending", just stand there. The "good ending" requires you to have picked up an apparently Useless Useful Item, used it properly, and then kept it with you until the end. You didn't really expect me to tell you how to get the good ending, did you?
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: You'll get it by the end.
- Facial Horror: The desiccated.
- Final Boss: The only enemy in the game you're really expected to kill.
- First Person Ghost : As in Penumbra and Amnesia the Dark Descent. Averted only by your left hand, which visibly holds the flashlight(s).
- Fission Mailed: Shortly after Liam reaches his apparent "goal", which is the finale of the entire first chapter.
- Also present in the "bad ending" of Prologue, Part III which ends with you becoming trapped in a dungeon with an enraged enemy and no way to fight back.
- Game Breaking Bug: The game flatout refuses to run on anything except very specific video cards.
- Gaslighting: The Big Bad and his minions do this to you. It becomes a problem because your sanity (or lack of same) is also affecting where things appear to be, so you never really know what is the workings of your own mind and what has been genuinely moved.
- Genius Loci: The areas beneath the prison section.
- Giant Spider: The Big Bad, when you first see it.
- Go Mad From the Revelation: When Liam reaches the end of the second chapter and discovers who -- or what -- he has been talking to.
- Gothic Horror: Dark, decaying, haunted castle? Check. No vampires in this one though... ...Unless you count Blood Lust.
- Have a Nice Death: When you die, the game will give you advice such as, "Tread carefully..." and, "Block the path. Run..."
- Heroic Mime: The current case of Liam, due to a lack of a voice actor.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Liam, if he takes the "bad ending" after the second chapter of Harvest proper.
- Historical Domain Character: The ghosts of Foulksrath Castle and Robert Templeton.
- Hollywood Darkness: Completely shattered - if you try to peer into a dark room from a lit hallway, you will see nothing beyond the doorframe.
- Humanoid Abomination: If you happen to run into the visible monster (the desiccated) in a room, it looks something like this.
- Human Resources: Humans are semi-dissolved and drained of vital fluids to feed the inhabitants of the lower cellar.
- Immortality Immorality: The spiders. They are documented in Templeton's notes as having "no apparent upper bounds on size or age" and "could, theoretically, continue molting and growing larger indefinitely". Fortunately they, "as semi-sentient beings, have developed a sort of continual strife with one another ... keeping any one from excelling above the rest, like crabs in a bucket".
- Interface Screw: Liam's sanity. He begins the story as a paranoid and rather jumpy character. By the end, he's gone into Heroic Safe Mode.
- Karma Houdini: The Big Bad, potentially, depending on the ending.
- Madness Mantra: Oddly enough, the Big Bad's "Down, always down" suggests that, while intelligent, it might not be entirely sane.
- That is, of course, assuming Liam himself is sane, which by this point in the story is highly in doubt.
- Meaningful Name: The title itself is one... but you don't actually see why until the second chapter.
- More Than Mind Control: Templeton, after the events of Harvest: Prologue Part I.
- Multi Stage Battle: The Final Boss.
- Multiple Endings: Three in Harvest, two in each of the three Harvest: Prologue segments.
- Musical Spoiler: Partially averted. Some of the enemies have theme music, while others do not. Theme music can also play when there are no monsters around. Generally speaking, temporary spawn monsters will be accompanied by music while permanent patrol monsters will not be. The exceptions to this rule are seen in Harvest: Prologue.
- Nightmare Face: The Facial Horror of the monsters is one major source of this. The other source is the paintings of Alexander when viewed Through the Eyes of Madness.
- Non-Action Big Bad: Phase one of the Big Bad fight.
- No Budget: The developer created this mod on his own time, with no previous experience with the modeling programs used, and without pay. The mod continues to be updated and expanded, and will continue to be even after chapter two (the current ending) is complete.
- No Escape but Down: Played straight once, inverted once (when there's no escape but up). Played both semi-straight and semi-inverted at various other times in the map (when there may technically be other ways, they're just very bad ideas).
- Nothing Is Scarier: In spades. The monsters are scarce enough to keep them from being a source of frustration, but frequent enough to ramp up the Nightmare Fuel. Add to that ambient sounds that, at times, sound like footsteps, music that sounds like the monsters' theme song, and the fact that most people won't notice important details, and you'll be cowering in a corner for fear of a monster you haven't even seen yet. The game doesn't even let you get a good look at the monsters, ever, because just looking at them drops your sanity meter, and eventually makes them notice you.
- Numbered Sequels: Harvest: Prologue, Part I through ...Part III. Also used in the version numbering of the game itself, with X.0.0 corresponding to X chapter's release, 0.X.0 corresponding to major patches for content or noticeable changes, and 0.0.X corresponding to bug fixes and other small adjustments.
- Offscreen Teleportation: Spiders do this a lot. Tip: Don't stand in one area for too long. Especially not enclosed areas. Especially not "safe" areas out of reach of monsters.
- Powered by a Forsaken Child: The Big Bad needs this to survive and provide for its brethren, making it possibly the most unlikely Mama Bear ever.
- Primal Fear: Plays heavily on several of these. Fear of the dark is, as the title suggests, a frequent one, but that is also subserviant to a more general fear of the unknown. The game uses lots of little tricks to ensure this fear is invoked, such as Hell Is That Noise to suggest what might be near, and Teleporting Keycard Squad to ensure that monsters can be anywhere, and Nothing Is Scarier to keep players tense and on-edge. Even if one tries looking at the monsters (Body Horrors though they are) Daniel's vision will be blurred and distorted, ensuring that they retain an element of mystery and unknowability, in addition to their role as predators after a helpless prey.
- Psychological Horror: The backbone of the whole game.
- Psycho Strings: When some of the monsters are chasing you.
- Real Place Background: Foulksrath Castle.
- Sanity Meter: The bad thing is that it's an accurate barometer of the player's mood. Well, except for needing to stay near lights to keep sane.
- Your decaying sanity doesn't only diminish your sight. It also makes you gradually hear more and more deranged and ominous aural hallucinations... and the quiet grinding noise of your own teeth...
- Spooky Painting: Toyed with - as your Sanity Meter depletes, paintings become grotesque to look at.
- Stationary Boss: Phase 1 of Final Boss.
- Stealth Based Game : You don't even have a weapon to fight back.
- Story Breadcrumbs: Templeton's lost notes.
- Strong as They Need to Be: Most of the terror of the game comes from the fact that you're playing as a regular human who lacks any skill or ability that would allow him to fight back against the creatures stalking him.
- Contrary to the original game, however, Liam is more acrobatic than Daniel, able to pull himself up to ledges just out of reach.
- Teleporting Keycard Squad: Unfortunately played straight some of the time: Generally when there's a puzzle-relevant pickup in plain sight, you can bet that a monster is going to spawn two rooms back to terrorize you after you pick it up. Of course, knowing this makes it even more tense, because you'll be afraid to even find the pickups because you know it could cause a monster to spawn. Alternately, story events that change your path of progression (or simply eliminate options, preventing you from escaping back the way you came, for example) can be triggered instead of monsters. Of course, they're not mutually exclusive.
- The Man Behind the Man: Played straight. Twice. With the same character.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Delivered by the Big Bad. Not aimed at Liam, in particular, but humanity in general.
- The Reveal: First, the Big Bad. Then, who the Big Bad is. Finally, who was controlling the BigBad.
- Through the Eyes of Madness: Your surroundings change as your sanity gets lower. You later discover that the Big Bad and its charges have been Gaslighting you as well, leaving you to wonder what they changed and what was only changed in your mind.
- Title Drop: A quote by the Big Bad.