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In The House of Alexander is a point-and-click adventure horror game that came out in 2018 and was created by an independent game company named Dawn Breaker. Set in the late 1950s, the goal of the game is to uncover the mystery behind Sir Alexander XXI while also avoiding the many traps and monsters that lurk in his mansion. Unlike most other survival horror games, the game barely gives the player any weapons what so ever and the ones they do get don't last long, meaning most of the game the player feels powerless and puts a lot more emphasis on running away rather than staying to fight.

Gameplay

The game has many elements in it that are used to build suspense, including an ability the player has while clicking on a door named "spy", where the main character (named Dayna) looks through the keyhole of a door. Many times this ability is used as a way of scaring the player, such as looking through the hole and seeing another eye staring back at them. Almost everything in the game can be interacted with and all of them have Dayna say something different.

The game also changes depending on the player's very own actions, so if the player picks up weapons and nothing else Dayna's dialogue will become more paranoid, believing someone is following them, and if they repeatedly look at items they just got multiple times, Dayna will develop a few tendencies of OCD. This element can also be very small changes, such as Dayna becoming slightly more aggressive depending on how harsh the player themselves is with dialogue options. Another big part of the game that somewhat ties into this is the sanity meter, which is an eye in the bottom left corner of the screen. Depending on what Dayna goes through the eye will begin rapidly moving around. If the eye continues to move even when they are no longer in danger, Dayna has taken permanent damage to their psyche and the only way to help is by taking a pill out of a bottle that Dayna has. They start out with just three pills left but more can be found in Alexander's home and can be bought in the town.

There is also a feature known as "keywords", where if the player discovers something important they can add it to their keywords and ask NPCs about it. It is less important than the other features, though it does reveal some extra history about a few of the characters, including the main character Dayna and Alexander, as both of their names are keywords and can be asked. The final big part of the game is that it is very non-linear, meaning that the player can enter Alexander's home from the very beginning and even confront the final boss if they know what to do (though it is very unlikely the player will beat them). If the player wants they can choose to never speak to a single NPC or speak with every NPC in the game.

The graphics of the game don't affect anything what so ever but it is mostly what made the game stand out, as everything in the game was made to look as if it was hand drawn. This even mixes in with before mentioned features, such as the screen becoming more wrinkled depending on how low Dayna's sanity is, or the screen having a coffee stain on it when a mug is placed down without a coster.

Plot

The rich and famous Sir Alexander XXI is dead. He was found with both of his wrists slit in a bathtub. All signs point to suicide, but some aren't too sure if that's the end of the story. One of these people is a childhood friend of Alexander named Dayna (whose gender is never stated). Dayna, wanting to uncover the truth about their friend's death, enters Alexander's mansion and begins finding out just how abnormal and horrifying his home is.

Eventually, after many different encounters and discovering an odd book full of horrifying images, Dayna pieces together a story of what happened to Alexander, finding out that he was actually a follower of the Cult of the Old One, a beast who is summoned with the death of a pure and impure one. Dayna attempts to tell everyone this but is captured by seven different people in hoods, who reveal that Alexander killed himself since he was the impure one of the ritual and that they are going to kill Dayna, who is the pure one. Luckily, the ritual is very specific about killing the pure one at night, which gives Dayna enough time to escape. They manage to call the police and they quickly arrive, arresting six members of the cult, who are revealed to be people Dayna has met in the town. Unfortunately, the leader of the cult murders an officer, revealing that the officer was enough to finish the ritual.

After all this, the cult leader, whose name is never revealed, forces Dayna to say the incantation that finishes the ritual, summoning the Old One, who begins wreaking havoc on everything in its sight, even killing the cult leader. The player themselves is then forced to find a way of stopping the creature, with there only being one true way of defeating the Old One forever. If the player finds out how to defeat them forever, which is by speaking the entire incantation backwards, starting from the last word and working their way back, the Old One will suddenly stop and fall to the ground, where their body slowly turns into nothingness. An ending scene then follows which states that half the town was driven mad at the sight of the Old One, but those who weren't remembered Dayna, who left the town shortly after, not wanting to go through anything else after their entire ordeal.

Endings

Though the ending described is the true ending of the game, there are a few alternate endings the player can find which include:

The insanity ending. This ending is quite easy to get, all the player must do is lose all their sanity. They will know they are close when Dayna's eye dilates and begins shaking in place. Once they finally snap, an ending scene is shown of Dayna in a padded cell with the words "madness" written on the top of the screen.

The Old One wins. Another quite easy ending to get, all the player must do is die during the final portion of the game at the hands of either the cult or the Old One. Once they do, a game over screen is shown of the Old One hovering above the city.

Half sane. A variant on the insanity ending, in this one Dayna must be only half sane during the final battle. If they are, the ending will change to say that Dayna was one of the people who went mad at the sight of the Old One.

The egg ending. Throughout the mansion, there are six different green eggs. If all of them are destroyed and their insides are collected then it will suddenly cut to a black room with nothing but a mirror. The player is given no other option other than to look into it. Once they do, a cutscene will play out where Dayna looks in the mirror and sees that their face has been replaced by a large mass of tentacles. Dayna will feel one of them and then the camera will cut off before the credits roll.

The New One. This ending is considered the hardest to get, as it requires the player to have snapping point sanity during the final battle. In this ending, once Dayna defeats the Old One this time, a cutscene plays out where, again, the Old One begins disappearing. However, before it can, Dayna begins eating chunks out of its flesh. Once the Old One is completely gone, Dayna turns and licks their bloodied lips, revealing that they now have large, dagger-like teeth and a disgusting pointed tongue.

It will repeat. This is the ending most players most likely got during their first play through. In this ending, Dayna uses a different method of killing the Old One, which causes there to be an extra bit at the ending that states that all of this will repeat itself since the Old One has many followers and it's only a matter of time until one of them tries the ritual again. The Old One's scream is then heard echoing.

References to the Cthulhu Mythos

The game has many references to the Cthulhu Mythos and actually includes many creatures from it, even mentioning gods from it by name. For example, in the book Dayna finds, this strange phrase can be found:

Y'AI'NG'NGAH

YOG-SOTHOTH

H'EE-L'GEB F'AI

THRODOG UAAAH

This phrase is a recurring element in The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. It is used to revive the dead and can slay the creature created by reversing elements of the spell. The ritual that revives the Old One within the game is actually a reference to this spell, as both of them have many similarities in effect, the most noticeable is the reversal of the spell defeating the monster.

Throw away dialogue from the cultists in the game mention The Black Goat. The Black Goat is a shortened version of "The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young", which is a phrase that is used very often to describe the entity Shub-Niggurath, who is actually Cthulhu's grandmother, as she bared twins named Nug and Yeb with the entity Yog-Sothoth, with Nug going on to become one of the parents of Cthulhu.

Enemies within the game are actually creatures from the mythos, the most common of which is the Ghoul, a creature that is more or less a zombie. Other creatures from the mythos include one of the Deep Ones, which are fish creatures, that can be found in a full bathtub, a small group of Byakhee, flying monsters, that are in the attic, and the Chthonians, who crawl around the basement. There are a few more, but these are the most notable of the creatures in the game.

The Old One itself is apparently a creature from Lovecraft, though it is never stated in-game what it is, nor are the developers specific about what it is. It is possible it is Yog-Sothoth itself, though it is unknown if Yog-Sothoth is evil or not. Another possibility is it being Azathoth, grandfather of all the Great Old Ones, though the Old One is depicted as having a head whereas Azathoth is just a mass of tentacles and mouths. Whatever the Old One is, it is extremely powerful and is well known enough to have a cult.

Notes

  • The game takes inspiration from many survival horror games before it, including Alone in the Dark and Silent Hill.
  • The Old One's theme is called "Angels Cry, Devils Laugh".
  • Despite the many mentions to the mythos, Cthulhu himself is never actually brought up in the game.