Gameplay[edit | edit source]
The Prologue section of Darkwood is the tutorial of the game. It begins with the player controlling The Doctor as he wakes up in his house from a dream. Exiting his study, and passing through the living room with two large cages and a strange, static-imbued radio, The Doctor collects his things and leaves, searching for a tractor which might contain some Gasoline.
Outside there is a pile of wood logs, a tied up dying dog, a ruined car (Referred to as "My 125p" by the Doctor, and containing The People's Tribune), a broken well, and an empty grave. Past the fence there is an axe and a pile of wood logs. From here on, the dog can be killed with the axe if the player chooses to, this affects whether or not a enemy spawns here later in the game.
After learning how to attack by chopping a tree out of the way, the Doctor continues along the path and passes between several rocks and trees and a dead cow containing the Bone, as well as a paved road blocked by what appear to be large chunks of wooden roots (See Trivia). A torch is semi-necessary, in order to pass by an abandoned house containing several dead bodies, and a ritual area with strange markings and defiled, stitched corpses, both human and animal, as well as several scattered clothes.
The Doctor finds the Protagonist gravely wounded, and takes his key. A cinematic follows, showing the Doctor brought the Protagonist back to his house and intends to find out where the key leads to, possibly indicating it leads to the door out of the woods. It is heavily suggested the protagonist is drugged for interrogation, and as of Alpha 7, it has been confirmed that the Protagonist received a severe beating from the doctor, as well as death threats, should he not cooperate.
After this, the protagonist wakes up inside the Doctor's House, locked in the room with the trapdoor with some rags and wire, possibly in a dream sequence. Fashioning a lockpick to open the trapdoor, the protagonist finds the means to escape.
Breaking down the door, he catches a glimpse of the Doctor, and the lights immediately go out, the generator nearby having dried up. The player can then hear footsteps, and a person in the northern inaccessible room asks to be let out. The original office, where the Doctor awoke, appears to be missing.
The protagonist heads into the southern, previously inaccessible room, and finds a metal slab with leather straps (where he might have been tortured/drugged as a part of the interrogation), a Generator and a crate containing survival materials and a Dog Tag, replaced in the final release with a Plastic Chick. On the room with the radio, a strange man containing dials instead of eyes keeps muttering the password to the northern room. After unlocking the northern room and killing the man inside, who is presumably Janek, a relative of Chicken Lady, the house is attacked by several Black Chompers and the Prologue ends. The last thing seen before Chapter 1 starts is a short cinematic showing the Trader picking up and rescuing the Protagonist.
Plot[edit | edit source]
After starting Darkwood, the player can create a new game with the options to enable or disable Supporter Content, to skip or keep the Prologue section and to change the Difficulty level, which cannot be changed after the start of the game. If it's been chosen to not skip the Prologue, an introduction is met:
It is possible that this saying belongs to the Doctor. Because The Plague was created by The Being, the information about it was nonexistent. As he was the only clinician in the Darkwood area, he was given the order by the government to treat the residents of the place. The Doctor read all the books and articles he possessed at the moment in order to find some known disease which met the same symptoms as the ones of The Plague for the possibility of a cure, but alas, there were none. He read them many times, which is why he says that he doesn't want to read the notes scattered on the ground anymore. He utters that he knows them by heart. After not getting an answer from the papers, he proceeded to do experiments on the plagued ones. When travelling to the Doctor's Domain, on your way you'll see diseased humans laying on beds, some are tied onto them. One of which has escaped and sits in the corner of his room, waiting for the doc's arrival with his muttering about an extreme headache, it is possible that he's going through the final stage of The Plague, turning into a Red Chomper. At the door you'll see a corpse of another sick human, who seems to have been a victim of unknown actions, having his hand severed. In the Doc's House you'll see two cages, which were presumably used for his experimented men. He comments that this time they're empty, confirming the above. These can also be seen in the Prologue, the conditions don't change, except for the scene's floors and walls that are infected by the white substance later in the game.
When the Doctor wakes up, we can see that he was possibly noting the results of the experiments or was writing questions which he would try to answer, but due to it being repetitive and/or ineffectual, he fell asleep. To sustain his life, he's been growing potatoes on his land and been producing moonshine using his alcohol distiller. He comments that these potatoes are the only edible, growing thing on this land. When checking the desk, his notepad appears. The pages from this item appear around villages, as advice and treatments for The Plague. Step outside, and you see a doll with a carved out face. The carved out part of the doll was given to the Musician, which can be clearly seen during his Conversation Screen. The Doctor probably gave the mask to him, because he couldn't obtain a cure for the Musician, he could only cheer him up. When the travel for Gasoline begins, the Doc goes to the very edge of the Prologue's map, where he thought he would find the said resource, however, instead of it, he finds the Protagonist after a presumable heavy attack.
He then captures the Protagonist and injects into his body some kind of substance, it can be speculated that it is the reason why the Protagonist received these mutations that change the biology of the body he possesses. However, it could also have been caused by his mere existence in the woods and contact with the trees or other infected objects, Either way, it can be confirmed that some lives go through different processes of alternation, however, they all lead to the Red Chomper transformation. The injected fluid causes hallucinations, mainly seeing no door leading to the Doctor's office, the sight of the Dial-Eyed Man and Black Chompers, which mainly appear in the Protagonist's dreams. After getting attacked by the black creatures, the player is rescued by the Trader. He wakes up at the Dry Meadow Hideout, meaning that he was probably taken there by him, because the Doctor's House is quite far from the Dry Meadow Region, being in the Old Woods Zone.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
As of Alpha 6, the Prologue seems to be undergoing active development. Recent versions have expanded the path that the Doctor takes before reaching the Protagonist, as well as adding new story items to investigate.
- Before Alpha 7, a body identical to the protagonist was strapped to the metal bed. Dialogue hinted it to be a wax dummy, and it would disappear after a while. The corpse now appears there once the player makes a return to this house, during Chapter 1.
- According to some dialogue lines added on Alpha 7, the forest that surrounds and forms Darkwood is said to be growing extremely fast, blocking all ways out of that place.
- Alpha 7 added a Player Map to the prologue, as well an expanding it. Alpha 7.1 brought further changes, notably on the starting cutscene's text.
- Notably, if one heads towards the door where Janek is locked, and remains around the house without opening that door for some time, the distorted man will disappear, having been re-replaced by the radio. This is one of many evidences that the Protagonist´s perception cannot be trusted at all times.
- Before Alpha 7, the dead cow appeared to be recently killed. Probably due to the fact that it made little sense for a fresh cow to yield only a bone, the animal was changed to a skeleton.