Section IV: NPCs

The monstrous creatures the player fights in Unspeakable are all undead creatures that have been brought back to life by The Black One, the central villain of the game and the architect of the chaos that takes place. All of the creatures the player must fight correspond to a specific method of execution that has been used on the island at some point in its storied history. For some creatures the connection will be extremely obvious (such as for the Nooseman, the hanged enemy), while others will be more subtle (such as the Cartwheeler, who was beheaded). The theme for each of the creatures exists for the player to find if he is interested and thinks about it, while it will not be overdone or thrown in the player s face.

The NPCs have varied means of attack and ways of moving through the game-world, which will serve to prevent visual and gameplay monotony , while also allowing creatures to be used in interesting combinations to create different gameplay situations for the player to cope with.

Since all of the enemy NPCs are derived from humans (though their actual appearance will be twisted into horrific form), the creatures will all be able to speak to the player as he battles them. Depending on how twisted the creatures are, these voices may be more or less intelligible, and the very manner of their speech will be frightening to hear.

NPC Base Mechanics

The creatures Torque battles throughout the game are of course a major component of the gameplay in Unspeakable . The mechanics for these creatures are discussed in a per-creature fashion below. NPCs share some base mechanics common to all of them, as described here.


Almost all NPCs take damage at one time or another, though some will be invulnerable or sometimes invulnerable to damage. Vulnerable NPCs take damage similar to the player, from melee weapons, projectiles , explosions, or effects (such as fire). NPCs are unable to regain their lost health, however, and will die permanently once their health reaches zero.

NPCs employ a resistances system, such that certain types of damage will be more or less effective on different NPCs. For instance, the Slayers are partially resistant to damage from projectiles, while taking extra damage from melee attacks. The Infernas are invulnerable while they are moving, but once they have completely burned down to a pile of cinders, their cinders are invulnerable to fire-based attacks. They are extremely vulnerable to explosive or melee attacks and take normal damage from projectile attacks.

Taking Damage

Monsters can be slowed down in their movement by certain weapons, while other weapons will actually knock them over and/or stun them. The stunning depends on the creature, the amount of damage sustained, and the origin of the damage. For instance, the Festers are relatively immune to being slowed or knocked down, while Cartwheelers are easily pushed back. Furthermore, being shot by a shotgun will be much more likely to knock a creature over than being shot by a pistol bullet.

There are eight possible reactions for an NPC to have when he takes damage:

  1. No reaction.

  2. Hit reaction animation played , monster speed is unaffected. Hit reactions will vary from NPC to NPC based on types of hit reaction (for example, light, medium, heavy), which will be based on the amount of damage sustained. There will be a minimum of damage that must be sustained to trigger any hit reaction.

  3. Hit reaction played, monster is slowed down.

  4. Monster plays a knocked back animation and is actually pushed backward by the weapon.

  5. Monster is actually knocked down/stunned by the weapon, then can get up after the duration of the stun.

  6. Monster is killed by the damage and plays an appropriate death animation.

  7. Monster is killed by the damage and sent flying through the air by the damage sustained. This occurs if the damage comes from a position below the NPC.

  8. Monster is killed by the damage and the damage is so great that the creature gibs ( parts of his body sent flying in various directions).

Reaction to Light

In general NPCs tend to stay out of the brighter areas, though some are far more averse to it than others. For instance, the Cartwheeler doesn t mind light that much, the Mainliner will always flee to a dark area when illuminated, and a Burrower has no reaction to light and dark. Extremely bright lights, such as the prison spotlights , will cause all NPCs to flee from their path .

Standard Enemies


The Cartwheeler is a creature that was executed by being beheaded. He is relatively humanoid in appearance, but on all four of his limbs his hands/feet have been removed, and long swords have replaced them. The Cartwheeler is able to walk and stand upright by balancing on these blades, as the Movement section below describes. The Cartwheeler s head is somewhat crooked on his torso, and stitching is visible around the circumference of the neck, as if the head had been sewn back on after being severed. Stitching is visible on other parts of his body, such as on his shirtless chest. His head is covered by a bizarre and horrific mask.


The Cartwheeler has a variety of methods of navigating his environment, including moving on the floor, on the ceiling, and jumping through the air. When using all four of its limbs to move, the Cartwheeler is able to travel extremely fast, either on the ground or on the ceiling. On the ceiling the creature crawls with its head looking at the floor and its limbs bent back behind it, moving with a spider-like motion. On the ground, the Cartwheeler moves on all fours reminiscent of a monkey . On the ground, the Cartwheeler can also move by walking on its two legs like a normal human, though he moves much slower in this fashion than when using all four limbs. The general motion of the Cartwheeler has a start/stop feel, with the creature moving extremely fast for a second and then slowing down to a crawl, which will make its motion erratic and unpredictable, but also a bit disturbing .

The Cartwheeler is able to switch from moving on the floor to moving on the ceilingby leaping in the air while simultaneously moving its limbs in order to stick its blades into the ceiling. Conversely, the Cartwheeler can easily drop off of the ceiling and onto the floor. Cartwheelers will decide to switch from being on the floor to being on the ceiling and vice versa when it is to their advantage during combat or simply to efficiently navigate the game-world. Cartwheelers can be flagged to stay only on the floor or on the ceiling in certain specific situations.

The Cartwheeler is quite skilled at jumping, which it uses to move from the floor to the ceiling as described above. The Cartwheeler can also jump in order to cover large distances in a short amount of time, or to lunge at the player in order to attack him. This is described in detail below. Cartwheelers can also spawn into areas by jumping and landing from great heights, such as off of rooftops or, in one case, out of the sky itself. In such cases the Cartwheeler will use a special heavy landing animation.

When moving on any surface, the Cartwheeler s blades stick a few inches into that surface. This will provide a visual explanation for why the creature is able to stay attached to the ceiling. Though the Cartwheeler has a human body with normal joints, these joints are able to bend in wrong directions as if extremely double jointed. This allows the Cartwheeler to pull off the various moves it needs to in order to navigate the environment, while simultaneously making the creature s movement disturbing to watch.

Melee Attacks

The Cartwheeler has a number of specific melee attacks, which it will pick from based on whether it is on the floor or ceiling and depending on the range of its target. Each of the Cartwheeler s four blades is capable of doing damage to the player on contact, and some attacks will allow the creature to hit with multiple blades at once.

  • Ground Slash Right, Left, Both : While on the ground and standing on its legs, the Cartwheeler can slash at its target with its right or left arms individually, or swipe with both blades at once. The Cartwheeler can perform this attack while moving.

  • Ceiling Slash Right, Left : While on the ceiling the Cartwheeler can swipe downward with either of its arms, slashing at a target when in range. The Cartwheeler can perform this attack while moving.

  • Ceiling Swing Slash Front, Back : While on the ceiling, the Cartwheeler can pull both its legs out of the ceiling while staying attached to the ceiling with its arms and swing toward its target, potentially striking it with both blades. Similarly, it can leave its legs attached to the ceiling and swing down with its arms. After completing one of these attacks, the Cartwheeler will immediately swing back up to the ceiling, once again attaching itself with all four of its limbs. The Cartwheeler must be stationary in order to perform this attack.

  • Leaping Attack : The Cartwheeler leaps through the air toward the top of its target, with all four of its blades facing forward. The Cartwheeler can significantly damage the target with all four of its weapons using this attack.

Ranged Attacks

The Cartwheeler has no projectile attack, though its ability to leap through the air and do a melee attack achieves a similar effect (see above).


The Cartwheeler and Mainliner are natural enemies of each other and will attack each other on sight. The Cartwheeler prefers to ally itself with the Burrower.

In some areas on specific NPCs, the Cartwheeler can do an impaling attack where it runs its blades deep into a creature, killing it instantly. Performing this move will not be part of its regular behavior, and will be considered scripted.

Cartwheelers tend to favor the darkness and will try to avoid the player s Flashlight beam or other sources of intense light. Despite their fear of the light, Cartwheelers are still quite effective when in an illuminated environment.


The Mainliner was killed by lethal injection, though the form of its body is far more twisted and horrific than such a manner of execution would imply. The creature resembles a human torso with its two legs amputated right below the knee, one arm missing its hand, and the other arm longer than the first, bony, and multi-jointed. The second, longer hand clutches a massive hypodermic needle. In its back are jabbed thirty or more hypodermic needles , which wiggle a bit as it moves. Its head is bald, though two syringes have been jabbed completely through the back of its skull (where the plunger ends still stick out) and exit the skull where the Mainliner s eyes once were. Except for the syringes, the creature is reminiscent of some of the more disturbing carnival characters in the movie Freaks .


Because of his deformity, the Mainliner is not able to stand upright, but instead crawls along the ground using its two leg stumps to wiggle forward, while jabbing its hypodermic needle into the ground to assist in pulling itself along, all leading to a very distinctive movement sound. Despite this awkward method of locomotion, the Mainliner is able to cover quite a bit of ground, though it does not move quite as quickly as the player. To compensate for that, the Mainliner is able to jump great distances in the blink of an eye, which is a key component of its deadly melee attack.

The Mainliner may appear normally in levels, but can also spawn out of sufficiently large puddles of fluid on the ground. That fluid can be water, blood, gasoline, or any other liquid.

Melee Attack

For its melee attacks, the Mainliner is able to leap onto the player from a significant distance. From there, it can perform one of two attacks:

  • Grab : If it finds itself positioned correctly relative to the player, in midair the Mainliner will attempt to grab. It then wraps its legs around the player s torso just below Torque s arms, holding tight with its vise-like grip, putting the player into the immobilized state. Once attached, the Mainliner starts moving the arm that holds the syringe toward the player s neck, raising it high over his head, preparing to jab in its deadly chemicals. To prevent the Mainliner from actually sticking the needle into him, the player must press the Jump button repeatedly, forcing the creature s arm away from Torque as the player taps the button. Once the arm is fully pushed back for a certain amount of time the creature detaches itself from the player and jumps off of him. If the Mainliner is successful in jabbing the player (which causes a large though not necessarily fatal amount of damage), the creature leaves the needle stuck in the player s neck and jumps off of him, simultaneously grabbing a new needle from among those stored on its back.

  • Slash : If the Mainliner cannot align itself for the Grab attack, it will simply slash at the player with its needle arm. This will cause significantly less damage than the Grab attack, but will be much easier for the creature to pull off.

Ranged Attack

The Mainliner can also hurl the hypodermic needle it holds toward the player, using it as a projectile weapon. The needles are medium range, slow-moving projectiles and do much less damage than the Mainliner s melee attack. On impact, the syringes inflict damage and stick into objects, including the player s flesh. Once the Mainliner has hurled its syringe at the player, it immediately grabs a new one from the collection off its back, though the number of syringes back there does not actually decrease, and the Mainliner has an unlimited amount of ammunition .


The Mainliner is a bitter enemy of the Cartwheeler, but is the frequent companion of the Fester.

Mainliners are most effective in darker areas, and will tend to spring out of the shadows toward the player, or simply do their ranged attacks. Mainliners are afraid of the light and will try to navigate to the shadows when possible, and will tend to flee from the player s Flashlight beam. Mainliners do make a distinctive sound as they drag themselves along the ground, and sporadically make a dripping/sucking sound reminiscent of a hypodermic needle being depressed. Their projectile will also have a distinctive whooshing when it is hurled.


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Boss Enemies


Killjoy is a twisted doctor/ psychiatrist dressed in garb historically appropriate for a surgeon from the year 1900. He is seen wearing a bloodied apron and clutching a bizarre medical device in his right hand. Killjoy looks the most human of all the enemies found in the game, though still twisted and disturbing. Killjoy was an adherent to radical techniques that could be used to cure patient insanity, the lobotomy being the least grisly of his methods. Killjoy was a hideous creature while living and he has barely been altered in appearance for his post-death form. In the game, Killjoy appears as if projected from sepia-tone film, a proto-hologram kept alive on dirty, worn, and deteriorated film stock, his image appearing crackled and dusty as old prints of films do when shown in a theater.


Though Killjoy appears to look like a normal human, he is no longer able to move normally. All of Killjoy s movements are performed backward and with a unique twitching motion. This also fits with Killjoy s ability to resurrect the dead, in fact turning back time for those he resuscitates. Killjoy is quite fast in his movements and will be able to easily get away from the player in most situations. Generally Killjoy tries to stay far away from the player, preferring to have the creatures he resurrects attack the player.

Melee and Ranged Attacks

Killjoy has no attacks of any kind. He is able to damage the player only through the creatures that he reincarnates and sends to attack Torque.


The player encounters and battles Killjoy in the Asylum as the game s first boss encounter. Early in the game, the player gets a glimpse of Killjoy in the prison death house as he administers a lethal injection to a man strapped to a gurney, but the player is unable to fight him at that time.

Killjoy is invulnerable to damage directly from the player. Though he is unable to attack the player himself, he is able to indefinitely resurrect fallen creatures so they can attack Torque for him. When the player fights Killjoy in the Asylum, the combat area will include a number of Cartwheelers. These creatures provide the true threat to the player s health, and he will need to concentrate on keeping them at bay. As the player kills them, however, Killjoy will run up to them (if they are not too close to the player) and return them to the living by performing a quick operation on them. During this battle, Killjoy hangs back behind the other creatures.

Killjoy is not exactly mentally stable himself, having delusions of his own grandeur and fame, as the statue of himself he had erected on the Asylum s lawn will testify.

During his life Killjoy was fixated on film stars and fame, and bought projection equipment to film the treatment of his patients . Killjoy became delusional, believing that his filmed performances were beloved by audiences of millions when in fact no one at all watched them. When the player encounters Killjoy in the game, he is still extremely narcissistic and obsessed with his own status as a superstar.


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The Black One

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Friendly Characters


Humans are important characters in the Unspeakable game-world and will be key to communicating the story. Humans have a realistic, believable appearance, which contrasts with the stylized creatures the player must kill. Humans come in two forms ” guards and prisoners ” but both manifest the same behavior.

  • Guards : Guards tend to look tough and physically imposing , though not excessively muscular. Guards appear in the game with multiple flesh tones and with slightly different texture sets for their clothing. They can also be visually differentiated by their attachments (hat, etc.).

  • Prisoners : Prisoners appear in appropriate prison uniforms , and are a bit larger in size and stature than the guards, but are also not too large. Like the guards, texture variations provide them with a variety of flesh tones and slightly different clothing.


The human characters move through the game-world as the player will expect a human to. They are able to go anywhere Torque does, including up stairs and ladders, though they will not be able to jump. Human characters are able to move slightly faster than Torque and thus will be able to follow behind him without getting left behind. Conversely, they will be able to slow down their speed in order to lead Torque somewhere without leaving him behind.

Melee Attacks

Human characters have no melee attacks.

Ranged Attacks

Humans will be able to use different weapons, depending on what they are equipped with in the level. The humans will be able to fire single pistols, shotguns, or machine guns. These weapons will behave similarly to how they do for the player. Some guards will have no weapons at all and will thus be unable to attack and will flee when in a combat situation.


When killed, human characters will drop their weapons. The player will be able to pick up these dropped weapons to use them or, if they already have that type of weapon, to get additional ammunition.

Humans are naturally the enemies of all the monstrous creatures found in the world, and all the monstrous creatures will attack the humans when given the opportunity. As a result, human characters will fight alongside the player, in some situations meaning the difference between life and death. If the player attacks a human character, the human will now consider the player as hostile as well, and as a result will either retaliate against him (if he s armed), or will flee from him (see below). Some humans will be set to be hostile to the player from the onset, such as crazed prisoners or guards who assume the player (as a prisoner himself) will attack them.

If a human character has no weapon and is in a dangerous situation (where it s threatened by either monsters or if the player attacks them) the NPC will flee. Fleeing will consist of the NPC trying to find a designated flee location, which is farthest away from the threats it is facing. Once the NPC has nowhere else to flee to, it will cower there. Some crazed humans will flee from the player even if he has not actually attacked them.

Human characters will be able to talk to the player. This will involve them speaking lines of dialog to the player without the player responding. Humans can be set up to approach the player and speak to him in certain situations, while other humans will speak when the player approaches them and presses the Use button. All human characters who are not hostile to the player will have some response when the player presses the Use button near them.

In certain situations, humans will lead the player to predetermined locations in the levels. In other situations, the humans will need the player to lead them out of a dangerous situation to somewhere safer. Some humans will be used to help the player out by opening locked doors, suggesting the solution to a particular puzzle, or by warning the player of a dangerous creature right around the corner. Some humans may request the player to help them in other ways, such as bringing another human or object to them or fixing a certain device (such as a generator). Humans may reward the player by giving him an object.

Game Design Theory and Practice
Game Design: Theory and Practice (2nd Edition) (Wordware Game Developers Library)
ISBN: 1556229127
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2005
Pages: 189 © 2008-2017.
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