I have been an Amnesia fan from about the age of fifteen. I started by watching playthroughs by Tobygames on YouTube, eventually reaching custom story playthroughs by Pewdiepie and Morfar long after Tobygames had finished the franchise. My mum and big-big brother were adamant that I not watch the videos, but I always loved watching those Pewds and Morfar scare themselves stupid in whatever map they played. Then I turned eighteen and I finally convinced my mum to buy me the game for my Steam account, along with the Steam-only game Amnesia: Justine. After playing through both of those games and completing it with tricks I’d learned from various playthroughs, I went online to search for custom maps and mods that other people had made.
Because I already knew a number of the maps from playthroughs, thereby knowing the story and most jump scares, there weren’t many to play. Besides, the market of custom stories was slowing in the buildup to a new Amnesia game called A Machine for Pigs. After some searching I came to find an old mod that nobody had yet played – Amnesia: The Final Descent. I was surprised, firstly because the description for the mod was completely blank, and secondly because in all that time it had been on show, nobody had played or even heard about it. I downloaded the game and booted it up, signing into the game with my account coming to a main menu similar to the original game, save for the name Amnesia: The Final Descent. I clicked Start and it began.
When the first area of the mod had finished loading, something seemed off. The cut scene into the start of the game was exactly the same as the original, right down to the final pixel, but with no speech from the character. I was disappointed but played anyway, hoping that I hadn’t just wastes time and computer space downloading it. I moved my character along the hallways and corridors of the original, everything exactly the same until I came to where you find the note Daniel leaves for himself. When I picked it up, the text was totally different and there was no voice acting. Instead of showing one paragraph after another of his note to himself, all it said was YOU BROUGHT THIS UPON YOURSELF.
I closed the note and, almost immediately, the screech of a monster faded in and blasted out of my headphones, the volume set on max. I screamed and threw my headphones off my head and onto the computer counter in front of me as the screen flashed and faded to black, the horrible noise disappearing into silence again. I hate this game, I thought to myself. I don’t even know why I play it.
After another loading screen I found myself in the watery tunnels that were meant to go underneath Castle Brennenburg. I picked up the headphones and put them around my neck, keeping the volume at max but leaving distance between the sound and my ears in case of any surprises. I hate surprises. When I had calmed down and started moving my character again the book symbol in the bottom left corner for a memento appeared. When I opened the mementos though, there was only one word: Life.
After a moment of staring at that one word I closed the mementos and continued through the tunnels, but I was confused. Why ‘Life’? And how was this significant to the story I was playing? Before I had even finished thinking those questions the book appeared yet again. I checked the mementos to find another single word: Is. Quickly closing then again I made my character start running and listened to the splashing of feet in water over the area’s soundtrack. The book came up a third time and I ignored it. The stone walls along the tunnels slowly became covered with pulsating red flesh.
A fourth time. The clear water gave way to thick blood.
A fifth time. The soundtrack seemed to slow and fade away.
A sixth time. I couldn’t avoid my curiosity any longer.
I opened the mementos and read them. Six separate words, all making a sort of sentence: Life. Is. Something. They. Eternally. Navigate. I didn’t understand what it was talking about, but then I saw what the capital lettered made: LISTEN. When I closed the mementos I felt my spine shiver. Crying and demonic laughter filled the air, ringing around the room I was in. It didn’t sound like it was from my headphones; this was everywhere. I looked around with my character. The sound seemed to emanate from a red door that was behind me, in the side of the tunnel. How could I not have noticed that? I tried to open it but was greeted with the sound you get when the door is locked. Then there was a chink and text appeared: DEATH IS COMING. Peeking at my inventory I saw there was now a key there, along with all the other items I had gathered beforehand. I selected the key and tried it on the locked door in front of me. As I heard the door click the shriek started again and I hastily tried opening the door again but it still seemed locked and another line of text came up. I WON’T LET YOU. A blooded scratch appeared on the screen and my character fell to the ground, dead. I watched the cloudy words appearing slowly. DEATH IS HERE. The words then zoomed in and the screen went to white as I was respawned...in a totally different area.
I was facing a stone wall, a piece of paper right in front of me. I just sat there and stared at the screen, incredibly scared and confused. I had never seen a game before that messed with my head this much, except Imscared. I got up from my computer and went to get a snack. Some chocolate sounded like a good idea. When I arrived back the computer greeted me with a full close-up on the face of a Suitor from Justine. Its black and empty eye sockets stared me right in the face and its skin a sickly rotted shade of pink and purple and red. The monster’s painful wheezing seeped from the headphones on the desk.
“You will play,” it gasped. I forced myself to nod and sat back down in my chair, leaving my headphones in front of me. The face went away and I was looking at the wall again. Taking a breath I picked up the note and read it. THREE DOORS. TWO DEMONS. ONE KEY. CHOOSE WISELY. I chuckled and closed the note, turning to face three doors and a key on a plinth.
“What kind of lame puzzle is this?” I mocked the game. The book reappeared in the bottom right and I opened the mementos. DO NOT MOCK ME. YOU WILL PLAY. My smile faded. The game could see me and hear me? It was impossible. I closed the mementos and went to pick up the key. NO WAY OUT. I looked from one door to the next, to the next. All three of them were plain, splintered wood doors, the kind in cellars or dungeons. After a round of eeney-meney-miney-mo, I selected the door on the right and unlocked it with the key. The book again. Opened the mementos. GUESS WHAT...
I closed then again, my heart pounding within my ribcage. I moved forward and clicked the door to open it. The door burst apart and the screech of monsters blasted from the headphones as I came face-to-face with a Brute...well, face-to-jagged chasm. Where the face was meant to be there was a large scar stretching right to the back of its skull and its left arm was sliced above the elbow, a long sharp blade protruding from the bone.
Yet another scream escaped my mouth and I tried the middle door. That one exploded to a Grunt, missing its lower jaw bone and long pointed claws replacing a human hand. I tried the final door. A Suiter smashed it open, naked save for chains wrapped around its ankles and wrists and a cross-shaped scar across its chest. Before I even had any chance to react all three of them attacked me, one after the other, killing me once they had all given a hit. The death text came up: I LIED.
I went to the in-game menu. When I did, I noticed that the options of Exit and Save and Exit were coloured red and nothing happened when I clicked them except text coming up saying: I WON’T LET YOU. YOU WILL PLAY.
Starting to get angry, I reached for the power button on the computer. As I did the Suitor’s horrible tortured face appeared again.
“YOU WILL PLAY!” it screamed at me.
“NEVER!” I shouted back and pressed hard on the power button, holding it down. The face began screeching and writhing within the computer screen, the noise grating at my poor ears. After two or three seconds the screams were cut off as the computer finally shut down. I sighed with relief and slumped to the floor, my hands shaking. The nightmare was over...
I deleted that mod and left the Amnesia franchise alone for a while after that. Occasionally I still watched custom story playthroughs from Morfar and Pewdiepie. And then, when a little over a month had gone by, I noticed two new episodes, one from Morfar and one from Pewdiepie but both with a name I was all too familiar with – Amnesia: The Final Descent. I went back in desperation to the site where I had originally found the mod and soon located it again. It was top mod of the month. Looking at its block of information I saw that it now had 50 downloads and 40 reviews have been written for it but the most frightening thing was the description: WELCOME BACK. YOU WILL PLAY.