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"This is BMRF radio. We Interrupt This Program to bring you a special news report! Unknown atmospheric phenomena have been reported throughout the area. Meteorologists have been unable to identify the source of the strange electrical displays but we will keep you informed of any developments. We return you now to our regular programming."

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A best-selling author drives through the countryside. He's been having writer's block with his latest work, and his publisher's paid for his trip here to try and clear it up. Unfortunately, lightning strikes his car, completely wrecking it.

After falling into a river, he realizes the dead have risen and they hunger...

They Hunger is one of the better known Half Life One mods, alongside Counter-Strike, The Hidden: Source, Sven-Coop, Redemption, Gunman Chronicles, The Specialists...

In this three part action horror/survival horror mod, you must fight your way through hordes of the experiments of a mad scientist, his minions, and the poor infected shmucks standing in your way.

Tropes used in They Hunger include:


  • Abandoned Hospital Awakening: Episode 3 begins this way, though you have no clue until you find a nurse who turns around to show of her mutilated back, and proceeds to eat a baby.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: After escaping the police station in Episode 2, the player must go through one.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: Towards the end of Episode 2 the player has to seal a boiler shut to advance, once the boiler explodes however the entire Asylum catches on fire forcing the player's escape.
  • All Just a Dream - Subverted. At the very end of the second game you hear a voice saying "Wake up, you're having a nightmare." Turns out it's only a nurse. Who later on becomes undead.
  • Always Night: It is unknown exactly how much time that passes between the episodes. One thing for certain, is that the sun finaly appears at the end.
  • America Saves the Day - Subverted. Another survivor says he helped a dying Army officer out... only to find that the Pentagon is trying to destroy the whole place. Not to mention the military is being overrun.
  • Anyone Can Die
  • Apocalyptic Log: You find several recordings left behind by the scientist, the sheriff, and various Police and Asylum personnel, detailing the backstory.
  • Artificial Limbs: Dr.Franklin Survives death a second time and comes back as the final boss with a new leg and a arm.
  • Author Stand In: The Programmer Einar Saukas has his own office in Dr. Franklin's asylum. Some other of the creators of the mod cameo as floating heads in his laboratory or as part of a meat-mauling machine in the final episode.
  • Back from the Dead: All the zombies, obviously. Dr.Franklin however, survives death a second time and becomes a cyborg.
  • Badass Bookworm: The main character is a Writer surviving the apocalypse. He could certainly make a awesome autobiography out of it.
  • Bag of Spilling: Between each episode, and even halfway through the third one. At least each opportunity leads to a few additional new guns. All of them have justification (getting imprisoned in the second, put in a hospital in the third, getting captured... again... halfway through).
  • Breather Level: Midway through the asylum you come upon the boarded up Doctor's quarters which turns out to be completely free until you hear a shot from a Doctor who mistook you for a Zombie.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: The Sheriff Chester Rockwood and Dr. Franklin. They were friends before their zombifications, and they still are.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The first real introduction of the military has them "rescuing" you from semi-intelligent zombies about to ritually slaughter you. However, they're trying to kill you as well. As time goes on, it becomes obvious a great number of the military forces have become infected.
    • Played straight with a random deputy with a rocket launcher who saves you in the second episode.
  • Bloody Handprint: Everywhere.
  • Bug Buzz: There are a lot of crickets and frogs heard in the countryside.
  • Cavalry Betrayal: See above, Justified as the military wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a normal human, or a smart infected zombie pretending to be a human.
  • Climax Boss: The final boss fight is against the Sheriff, and to escalate things, both of you are in two seprate helicopters trying to take each other down.
  • Collapsing Lair: The player destroys Dr.Franklins laboratory and burns down the Asylum.
  • Convection, Schmonvection
  • Conveyor Belt O' Doom: In the third episode. By the push of a button the player can send the creators of They Hunger and Alfred to their death.[1]
  • Corrupt Hick - Subverted and played straight. It appears the Sheriff with the horrible Texan accent was a good man until he was infected.
  • Cool Train: In the first episode. You get to control it, and it even goes Hoot Hoot!
  • Cue the Sun: At the end of the third episode, after the final fight in the air is over, the helicopter with the Deputy and the player flies off into the sunrise.
  • Damage Sponge Boss: The Sheriff. An official mod was eventually released that halved his health and he still took forever to kill.
  • Dem Bones: Resurrected skeletons that can talk. And shoot lightning bolts.
    • "Who goes there~?"
  • Die, Chair, Die! - Indeed.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: When switching to the Tauser pistol.
  • Ear Worm - The end credits. "I smell you around the corner..."
  • Easter Egg: There is a PC Gamer magazine in the radio station. All the episodes were bundled as one in a PC Gamer issue.
  • Exploding Barrels
  • Enemy Chatter: The Zombies, with their standard desire for brains and flesh. The more intelligent ones with weapons, however, are quiet. As you hear moans such as "Why do we Hunger?" "FRESH MEAT..." "Who goes there?" "Flesh Creatures..." and "JOIN US!" It's worse in the third episode, where you wander through the ruins of the Asylum and hear "Flesh creatures!" with no enemies around.
  • Episodic Game: They Hunger, They Hunger 2: Rest in Pieces and They Hunger 3: Rude Awakening.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: During the games you find many zombies eating dead bodies. But occasionaly, you see some that Actually bother to use a Fork and a knife.
  • Exploring the Evil Lair: The player wanders through the asylum, and down into the underground laboratory.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Dr. Franklins experiments in his laboratory. They are decapitated heads held alive in a aqvarium.
    • There is also a man impaled stuck on a huge meathook, like a worm. He should be dead but isn´t, and is screaming and endlessly trying to get off. You can put him out of his misery though.
  • Flunky Boss: Dr. Franklin is assisted by a policeman using a mounted machinegun, while The Sheriff has infected soldiers dropping from an helicopter early in the battle.
  • Gatling Good: One Gatling Gun is found in the third episode.
  • Giant Space Flea From Nowhere: The Giant Bullsquid. You encounter it at the bottom of a lake in part three while traveling through the countryside, and you don't have to kill it, nor is there any explanation or warning that it's there.
  • Guns in Church: An silenced 9mm is found at the dead body of a priest, for some reason. Next to the rope that rings the church bell and unlocks a secret Dynamite stash. For some reason.
  • Hellish Copter: The police and military copters fought against in the mod.
  • Helping Hands: A lot of them in the hospital and the Laboratory, and they Do actually help each other trying to kill you.
  • Heroic Mime: The writer you play as.
  • Hidden Supplies: For some reason, there is a secret Dynamite stash in the church.
  • Hope Spot: You finaly get to the police station. But then it turns out that all of the police are infected too.
    • When you're in a Hospital in episode 3, the entire thing appears to be a dream. Then you find the nurse's back has a scratch on it...
  • Horror Hunger: The last few recorded messages by Dr.Franklin have him mentioning that he is infected, and the symptoms slowly getting worse. The final tape have him shouting that he feel their hunger.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal
  • Hypocritical Humor: Intentional. When the military soldiers attack the player, they sometimes clearly call you a Zombie as they chase you. The thing is, that they might say this even after they have gotten infected themselves.
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-- Zombified Soldier: "DIE, ZOMBIE SCUM!"

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  • Infant Immortality: Averted several times, sadly. In the hospital, a baby is heard crying, until it abruptly stops. The player cannot get to the nursery immediately, and when he does... There is a pile of gibs in the beds for newborns. And later in the mountains, the player has to kill their resurrected tiny, tiny skeletons that have the hunger...
  • It Got Worse for each episode. The infection is not limited to humans, so there were more enemies in the later episodes.
  • Jump Scare: A few of them are in the games, but thankfully, they are far between each other.
    • Most memorable one is at the beginning, before the Zombies come and when the player walks to the church. He is walking through a cave when a skull rolls in front of him.
  • Hollywood Silencer: The first weapon found is a silenced 9mm.
  • Howling to the Night: A wolf can be heard howling through all the episodes.
  • Just in Time: The first episode ends with the player captured at the police station, and with a Zombie opening the cell door to eat him. The second episode starts only a few seconds afterwards with the Zombie in the cell. However, a non-infected police officer shoots a rocket at the station from the outside, that creates a hole in the wall allowing the player to escape.
  • Kill'Em All: The few people you do meet end up dying by the third episode.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Flamethrower. You also burn down the Asylum. it doesn't take.
  • Large and In Charge: The Sheriff. No other police officer is as overweight as him.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The Devil´s Rift.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: It is used to resurrect dead, create new life, and also used in a attempt to kill the player, in a Shout-Out to Frakenstein.
  • Ludicrous Gibs:the explosive weapons cause them. Running over the zombies with a car in the town also instantly turn them into gibs.
  • Made of Explodium: The helicopters, in the weirdest way possible; They explode imediately if the pilot dies.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Franklin. He had a huge interest in re-animating the dead a long time before the first games events. However, his alive and uninfected assistant says that he was a good man until he got infected.
  • Mad Scientist Laboratory: Underground, conveniently below Dr. Franklin's Asylum.
  • Meaningful Echo: "The Secret of Life and Death!"
  • Mini-Mook: The undead baby skeletons, found in the burial ground in the mountains, are smaller and speak in high-pitched voices.
  • Mood Whiplash.
  • Mooks but No Bosses: the first two episodes had no bossfights.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: The Devil´s Rift. It is an active volcano. Also, Rockwell Asylum for the Criminally Insane.
  • Nightmare Dreams: The main character has two of them when he lies unconscious in the hospital.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: Dr. Franklin and The Sheriff are the only zombified men with personalities.
  • No Name Given: The player character.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The first areas of the Asylum of Dr. Franklin. There are no enemies there, of all places, and it builds tension the deeper you go.
  • Not Using the Z Word: Only Dr. Franklins assistent Alfred and the military calls them Zombies.
  • Ornamental Weapon: The Sheriff has a Revolver he never uses. It is possible it became this trope when he got infected, seeing as he became their ally and all.
  • Our Zombies Are Different - Most zombies are of the B-movieish type, but people who have only recently been infected can still use their firearms and their knowledge they had prior. For instance, you learn that they can fly helicopters.
  • Papa Wolf - The sheriff loves his zombie "children".
  • Parasol of Pain: The first weapon picked up is a umbrella.
  • People Farms: Instead of killing all the uninfected inmates in the Asylum, they are all locked in their cells instead.
  • Pyromaniac: One is encountered in the Asylum. Even when he is dying he tells the player, with passion, to set the asylum on fire to kill everything in it. Not a bad idea. After the second episode, the player finaly gets to, so to speak,try being one.
  • Raising the Steaks: Dogs roam throught the first two episodes, and the third episode had the player visit a farm with chickens and escaped cattle.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: It kills every zombie in one shot to the head, and it has good accuracy.
  • Rousing Speech: The Sheriff gives one to the zombies while the player is captured in the third episode.
  • Schizo-Tech: Word of God says the game takes place in The Fifties. That doesn't explain the modern-looking helicopters, modern camouflage on the soldiers, night-vision, G3s with grenade launchers, TEC-9s, and a futuristic flamethrower. Was to be fixed in the sequel.
  • Screaming Woman: In the third episode, a woman hanging over a giant firepit. You can't save her.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: In the first level there is a locked door. The player must find a weapon in order to be able to break the padlock open. Whenever you the 9mm, Dynamite or a damn umbrella is up to you.
  • Shovel Strike: One of your melee weapons is the shovel.
  • Squick: One of the few uninfected is hiding somewhere, where? In a toilet. Filled with shit, and he's in chin-deep.
  • Sniper Rifle: With a Nightvision Scope!
  • Splash Damage: The Dynamite and the grenade launcher mounted on the Submachine gun can kill several zombies at once.
  • Spooky Painting: There are many paintings of Vladimir the Impaler in the mod. One single painting that appears through the episodes for no explainable reason.
  • Standard FPS Guns
  • Stock Ness Monster: There is a Giant Bullsquid living in one of the lakes in Rockwell. If its existence and size has something to do with the undead is unknown.
  • Story-Driven Invulnerability: At the gates of Dr. Franklin's asylum after setting the building on fire, the Doctor himself comes running from the same way you came. You cannot kill him, and once he runs up to you, both of you get knocked unconscious by the Asylum's explosion.
  • Sunglasses at Night: The Sheriff.
  • Take Over the World: Dr. Franklin and the Sheriff decides to spread their hunger.
  • The Grotesque: Dr. Franklin. He had his half-face deformation a long time before his zombification, he was considered crazy by other scientists, and his only friend was the Sheriff Chester Rockwood.
  • The Fifties
  • Teleporting Keycard Squad - Pretty Egregious here, where zombies appear in mazes after you made sure they weren't there (and if you're quick enough, you can see them appear out of thin air).
  • They Called Me Mad: Dr. Franklin says this word for word, replacing Mad with Crazy.
  • Two-Faced: Dr. Franklin. He had the deformity before the infection, however.
  • Uncanny Valley: The Zombies.
  • Undead Child: The baby skelletons.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: The weapon Franklin uses against the player.
  • Video Game Flamethrowers Suck: Hilariously, the flamethrower can´t set Anything on fire.
  • Violation of Common Sense: Jump into the fire to collect ammo for the Revolver!
  • What Could Have Been - The game was supposed to have an entry that used the source engine, titled Lost Souls, but it was apparently canceled.
  • Where It All Began - You visit the asylum where Doctor Franklin first worked and began his experiments (eventually turning it into a zombie stronghold), and the dig site where Franklin was first infected.
  • Welcome to Corneria: Jerry Hoobs really want you to Shoot that Bastard during the last bossfight.
  • We Will Meet Again: The player gets one in an nightmare.
    • Dr. Franklin: "You ruined my plan! But i´ll be back... you can´t kill me!"
  • Worth It: if you manage to take little damage, the above mentioned fire jumping will been worth it.
  • Wrench Whack: The second melee weapon found is a wrench.
  • Zombie Apocalypse - Duuuuhhhhhhhhhh.
  • Zombie Infectee - The sheriff and his sub-ordinates. Oh, and Doctor Franklin.
  • Zombie Gait - Duh. Actually subverted as a minor scare in the first episode - cops who are only barely infected don't have the distinct zombie animation and can only be identified by their scars and sores on their faces.
  1. Don´t get too distracted watching their demise, as a zombie walks into the room when it hears the noises of the machinery.
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