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"This is a terrible place. A once great institution of healing twisted into terrifying pit of corruption and death. I've been here longer than I can remember. But now that you're here, maybe we can work together to escape this nightmare. After all, you have to trust someone. And since I'm the only one not trying to kill you at the moment, it might as well be me! I am not going to lie to you, the most likely outcome for you is ceaseless torment. I probably should've lied to you... shouldn't I?"
The Old Man

The Dark Meadow is a 2011 Survival Horror game for the iOS (iPad and iPhone) operating system. It was developed by Phosphor Games, a fledgling company that utilizes Unreal Engine 3.

At the beginning of the game, a nameless man wakes up in an abandoned hospital uncertain of how or why he got there. An old man, who mostly speaks to you through the speakers, warns of a beautiful witch whose minions roam the halls seeking the living. Equipped with a crossbow and a sword, it's up to you to take on the white witch and her hordes of grotesque creatures.

Much like Infinity Blade, the game plays like a sword-fighting version of Punch Out. After a few seconds of firing with a crossbow, enemies are then fought one at a time and player movement is limited to quick dodges rather than actual sidestepping during fights. The warrior can also block attacks, and retaliate with his sword.

As the man kills the monsters, he gets gold to buy better equipment and experience to make him a better fighter. He also starts to pick up journal entries and documents that tell the real reason why he is there. In short, many things are not what they seem in this abandoned hospital...

Tropes used in The Dark Meadow include:

  • Abandoned Hospital: The main setting of the game, where you have to fight your way from the first floor up.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: If you choose to stab Trickster, you will collapse just before you deliver the final blow. The Trickster foreshadows this fate in a monologue, but if you do so anyway, you will just repeat the old cycle over again.
  • Bad Liar: The old man certainly is this. It's mostly Played for Laughs.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: The Trickster, in his second and third forms.
  • Beauty Is Bad: The White Witch. Or is she?
  • BFS: Even the swords that look small in the shop are massive in game.
  • Big Bad: The old man sees the White Witch as this... until you gradually discover that the White Witch is your daughter's soul. The REAL Big Bad is, in fact, the old man (The Trickster).
  • Bittersweet Ending: The option where you sacrifice yourself by jumping into the pit. You are now dead, but you've redeemed yourself by emancipating your daughter's soul from The Trickster and the Abandoned Hospital falls shortly after.
  • Black Comedy: The old man's sense of humor.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Like Infinity Blade, there's some brutal finishing moves that don't result in the High-Pressure Blood you'd expect.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Using real money, players can buy massive amounts of gold. Because gold can be used for new weapons and amulets, with enough money you could have every weapon and a maxed-out character before you fight your first enemy.
  • Chekhov's Gun: That dirty fountain in the outdoor plaza? It's a portal that takes you directly to the final area of the game, saving you a lot of time if The Trickster kills you the first time around.
  • Class and Level System
  • Cool Sword: Lots, and also cool crossbows and amulets.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: The White Witch can and will deliver this to you if you aren't prepared for her.
  • Deal with the Devil: This is what kicks off the events of the game. Ben Jacobi's parents sold their son's soul in exchange for being cured of his illness and receiving 17 good years. Later, Ben sells his daughter's soul in exchange for 17 more years in his life, which weren't anywhere near as rosy as the years that came from first deal. Ben's reached the end of his contract, hence why he's in the hospital.
  • Door to Before: If you were defeated by The Trickster, you can just keep clicking on the cicada pool in the courtyard to instantly jump to the final boss arena.
  • Downer Ending: If you choose to defeat your daughter's soul one last time and toss it into the pit, you'll awaken at a modern mental asylum. The Trickster double-crosses you and locks you up in chains for the next 17 years of the contract.
  • Endless Game: If you manage to defeat the final boss, you get a choice of three cool ending sequences and the ability to reawaken. You can repeat this sequence of events as long as you want.
  • Evil Is Hammy: The Trickster, AND HOW!
  • Evilly Affable: The old man, aka The Trickster.
  • Evil Gloating: The Trickster absolutely loves to do this. He gives GLaDOS a run for her money, which is REALLY saying something.
  • Evil Is Not Well Lit: Monsters won't attack you in any room that has light coming in. (Although a little bit getting in through a crack is OK for them, apparently.)
  • Evil Laugh: Being a middleman from Hell, it's only natural for The Trickster to do this.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Arguably Ben Jacobi versus The Trickster.
  • Fan Disservice: Most of the enemies are naked, but they all have grotesque heads and huge scars.
  • Going Through the Motions: The warrior's weapons include swords and crossbows, yet the combat animations never change.
  • Good All Along: The White Witch, who is actually your daughter's soul.
  • Guide Dang It: You have to find 10 gems in order to gain additional stats points that will help you beat the White Witch. Good luck trying to find them all without referring to the internet forums.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Let's face it: even if you deck out your weapons, you are NOT going to win your first battle against the White Witch, let alone The Trickster in his second and third forms.
  • Hundred-Percent Completion: Collecting all of the documents unlocks an achievement.
  • I Need You Stronger: Or rather, the White Witch needs YOUR CHARACTER to be stronger.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: The old man calls you out for this. That said, he loves ranting about how he has all the food supply in the hospital.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Decided to screw over your daughter for a second time? Have fun spending the next 17 years being locked up in a mental asylum!
  • Light Is Not Good: The White Witch, according to the old man, is in charge of the hordes of grotesque creatures that are trying to kill you.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Inverted. The White Witch gradually reveals to the main character through messages and clippings that she is actually his daughter's soul.
  • Mook Chivalry: Averted. Your enemies come one at a time, but they can pop out at anytime. This can make combat against them quite annoying.
  • Multiple Endings: You get three: a Downer Ending if you choose to toss your daugther's soul into the pit, a The Bad Guy Wins ending if you decide to attempt to kill the Big Bad, and a Bittersweet Ending if you choose to turn around and sacrifice yourself.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: The White Witch and The Trickster.
  • New Game+: Justified in the story. Each new game occurs when you wake up from your hospital bed. It's also mandatory, because you can't retry if you lose to the White Witch or The Trickster in his three forms.
  • Player Preferred Pattern: The enemies do grow stronger, but you could keep on using your favorite weapon if you boost your stats as you level up.
  • Reverse Grip: The warrior does this for many of his attack animations.
  • Scenery Porn: Judging from the fact that this game was made with Unreal Engine 3, this should surprise no one at all!
  • Shout-Out: The old man gives quite a few references to pop culture in his ramblings. Notable examples include references to Snow White, Atlantis, The Beatles, and Grand Theft Auto San Andreas.
  • Take a Third Option: Don't want to kill the White Witch but also don't want to try to take the Trickster's life in vain? Just turn around and touch the pit.
  • Trick Boss: With your high experience levels and fancy weapons, The Trickster's first form gets his ass handed to him fairly quickly. Next thing you know, The Trickster unleashes his second form through some squicktastic Body Horror and you'll be dealing with someone who's much more powerful than you.
  • Troll: The old man gradually becomes this if you spend more time finding evidence than fighting monsters.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Choosing to save your own skin for 17 more years in exchange for screwing over your daughter AGAIN will surely earn you fans.
  • Villain Protagonist: It turns out that Ben Jacobi (the player) sold his newborn daughter's soul to the devil just so that he could live for 17 more years. You also have the option of corrupting your daughter's soul in the end in exchange for another 17 years in the character's life, for maximum Video Game Cruelty Potential.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The Trickster has one of these if you choose to sacrifice yourself by walking into the pool of dark sludgy stuff.
  • Villainous Harlequin: Some of the more agile enemies are these.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: The old man sure communicates with you quite a bit through the intercom.
  • Was Once a Girl: The White Witch was once your character's daughter.
  • We Can Rule Together: The Trickster offers you to join him after the final boss fight. If you accept, he double-crosses you and locks you up in an asylum in the real world. Then the credits roll and you're placed back at the beginning of the game.
  • Wham! Episode: What the White Witch tells you after the first fight.
  • X Meets Y: Infinity Blade meets Silent Hill.

 "Maybe that's a bit harsh. After all, we're not the bad guys here. Well, I'm not anyway. I'm not so sure about you..."

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