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Penumbra: Black Plague

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Black Plague is the second major part of what was originally planned as the Penumbra trilogy. The story is picked up right after the events of the first game, where Philip travelled to Greenland to pursue a location the notes of his father describe. The game takes off deep inside the mines, in a complex known as The Shelter, built in the seventies by the Archaic Elevated Castle, an organization in pursuit of ancient knowledge. Philip gets to know more about the Tuurngait virus and the storyline is explained further through the events and notes left behind.

Gameplay is fairly identical to the original game. Philip has to gain access to different locations mostly by relying on his wit, in a survival horror setting. The environment is very dark and puzzles are more complex than similar games, requiring extensive object manipulation, combined with a realistic physics engine where the mouse is used to open drawers, turn valves on tools and throw or stack objects. As the original game was often criticized for the cumbersome close-combat, the sequel removes almost all offensive means, having the player use the environment to outwit enemies and run from them, and putting the focus almost entirely on the puzzle-solving aspect. Gameplay is also largely based on stealth and hiding in dark corners. The game is shown through a first-person perspective with a regular mode, and an interact mode to explore specific areas.

Important items are stored in an inventory, with quick slots. The player can take multiple hits and restore health through painkillers. The game uses fixed save points, represented as ancient objects. Where the first game introduced the character Red as a dubious radio sidekick, the second game makes interaction more complex, as Philip is contact with a certain Dr. Amabel Swanson as well as with Clarence, a conflicting voice inside his head as a second personality due to the effects of an infection. Clarence is able to cause effects such as déjà vus (playable sequences), distorted reality and a lack of control over vision and movement.

Playing the first game is not required to follow the story, but many important plot elements are further explained or referenced. New to this game are a gas mask, the use of computer terminals to access information and gain access to new areas, and an additional button to rotate items more easily when holding them.


Penumbra: Black Plague Windows A sequence on the surface. Be quick or you will freeze to death.
Penumbra: Black Plague Windows The outside light is not from this earth.
Penumbra: Black Plague Windows Using the gas mask.
Penumbra: Black Plague Windows There is a gas leak in this room.

Alternate Titles

  • "Пенумбра 2. Дневники мертвецов" -- Russian spelling
  • "Penumbra: Czarna plaga" -- Polish title

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The Press Says

Adventure Classic Gaming Windows Apr 03, 2008 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 100
Cheat Code Central Windows Feb, 2008 4.3 out of 5 86
Looki Windows Feb 22, 2008 84 out of 100 84
Games32 Windows Feb 28, 2008 82 out of 100 82
DarkZero Windows Feb, 2008 8 out of 10 80
GameSpot Windows Feb 22, 2008 8 out of 10 80 PC Gaming Windows May 08, 2008 8 out of 10 80
Deaf Gamers Windows Mar 10, 2008 7.9 out of 10 79
Krawall Gaming Network Windows Feb 27, 2008 77 out of 100 77
GBase - The Gamer's Base Windows Feb 29, 2008 7.5 out of 10 75


Topic # Posts Last Post
Opinions? 21 MichaelPalin (1195)
Apr 17, 2008


Early in the game, Philip discovers a slide projector with slide containing a timeline of the events happened in the mine. If you "use" it, Philip will write the timeline on his notebook except for one event:

"24th December 1970: Mine worker Tom Redwood goes missing"

Tom "Red" Redwood is the only human that we meet in the previous game, 30 years after he disappeared. This may be seen as an emotional attachment of Philip to his late friend.

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Contributed to by Sciere (248572) and Iggi (4455)