The Patient (as he is referred to by Graves) is the main, non-spoken, and esoteric protagonist of the Nightmare House series. After crashing his truck in the front of the abandoned Romero Household, he stumbles across an unusual amount of paranormal activity and finds himself trapped in a chain of bizarre and terrifying events.
Little is known of the Patient's history, his origins unknown. His real name is never mentioned in-game. His ability to operate with a wide variety of firearms as well as his skill level states that he, at least at one time, had a job in law enforcement or enlisted in the military. Whether or not he still possessed this job during the events of Nightmare House 1 is not specified.
Nightmare House Edit
On May 2nd, 2013, The Patient becomes lost while driving through the woods, accidentally crashing his truck in front of the Romero household. In an attempt to enter the home in order for assistance, he breaks through the cellar, only to crash through to the basement level. He begins to make his way back up to the surface, maneuvering his way through. As he does so, he is continuously attacked by zombie-like creatures and is forced to defend himself. In his journey throughout the house, he is also confronted by Emily Romero's spirit, whose appearances become increasingly unnerving. As the Patient is making his way through the building, it is soon revealed that Emily is the cause of the zombies that target him. As he is exiting the attic, Emily appears in front of him and crumbles the floor underneath him, funneling him to the exit. Upon exiting the building, however, he is confronted by several zombies that are roaming outside. In an attempt to flee the zombies and back to his truck, the Patient is intercepted by Emily one more time, and the screen ends with the message "You can't escape from Nightmare House."
Nightmare House 2 Edit
The events of the first Nightmare House has driven the Patient insane. As a result, he is taken to Never Lose Hope Hospital, the same hospital Dr. Romero is stowing away underneath, and is hospitalized for four months. On the third month, Romero's Core test experiment goes horribly wrong, and all employees as well as patients have evacuated the premises, are killed, or have gone insane from the power of the hallucinations they experience. Emily is in possession of the Patient's mind, locking him in a state of mental paralysis and instability. While in this state, Dr. Romero attempts to kill the Patient, only for Emily's ghostly presence to scare him away. At some point, she restores the Patient to a more stable state, and he is woken up by Dr. Romero in order to serve as an unaware test subject.
After the Patient wakes up, he is able to push open his solitary confinement cell door open and step out into the downtrodden Never Lose Hope hospital. Shortly after, he comes across an activated security lockdown and has to find a way to deactivate it. Notably, this is also the first time the hospital's announcer is introduced. After finding the security room and removing the lockdown, he is contacted by Dr. Romero via stationary radio. From this point, he serves as an informant and guide for the Patient as he makes his way through the hospital. As he is traveling, the Patient encounters similar paranormal activity to what he had faced at the Romero Household, including the reanimated corpses of the test victims, monsters manifesting from the illusions of the Core, and even Emily herself. However, the spirit makes little moves as to actually kill the Patient. On the contrary, her actions indicate that she is simply leading him to where he needs to go. She even speaks to him, although her words are whispered and said backwards, making understanding her next to impossible. In the midst of all of this, The Announcer continues to taunt and scare The Patient whilst also giving out public information notices.
Although considerably vague at first, the Patient is saved by Emily from the influence of the Core's machinery as well as Dr. Romero's own attempts to kill him. At one point after the Patient destroys the radio equipment under Dr. Romero's orders, the effects end up setting the area on fire. As he is escaping towards a set of double doors, they automatically shut and lock on him. Before he can be enveloped in the approaching flames, Emily appears within the flames, forces the doors open, and pushes him through before shutting the doors behind him to keep them from following.
Eventually, the Patient encounters an Alpha Squad, a S.W.A.T. team of five sent down to kill Dr. Romero for his experiments. Working together, they fight their way through the zombie-infested hospital initially to perform the objective. The journey does not go without tragedy, however. A short while after their introduction and a bit of exploration, Johnson is abruptly pulled into a ventilation shaft out of their reach, dropping his gun for the Patient to use. During a period of separation from the team, the Patient finds him dying in the library section of the hospital with Emily kneeling over Johnson's dying body in a seemingly comforting manner. However, the horrifying experiences make the surviving S.W.A.T. members re-consider, and they eventually decide to evacuate the premises. Systematically, the two subordinate operatives are killed, leaving the commander and the Patient to proceed to the evacuation point on foot. As the helicopter that brought the team in descends, it comes within range of the Core and crashes into the helipad. The commander and the Patient survive, but the commander is mortally wounded. In his dying words, he reveals Dr. Romero's true nature and instructs him to kill the scientist. As the Patient is heading down the elevator leading to the main floor and to the storage level of the hospital, Dr. Romero attempts to discourage the Patient by giving him a choice to escape the hospital or head down to confront him. The choice is up to the player, and it is unknown which ending is canon.
If the player chooses to escape Never Lose Hope hospital, Emily will speak to him one last time. Though her words are incoherent, her whisper is louder and seemingly angrier than normal. The announcer will give a seemingly automated message to the player before vehemently whispering "Don't go out!" Notably, the title sign on the front of the hospital loses its "L" and "O" letters, leaving the message "Never Hope Hospital." It is noted that even when the player walks out of the hospital, they can go back any time. When the Patient walks out a certain distance, Emily will intercept, immobilize, and kill him before he can go any further. In reality, Dr. Romero knows this, purposefully sending off the Patient to his own demise. The game ends with the message "You tried to escape your fate, and paid the price. You can't escape from Nightmare House."
If the player chooses to kill Dr. Romero, the Patient is taken down to Dr. Romero's laboratory. The lab is a good source of information about the events of the Nightmare House storyline and Dr. Romero's background. Dr. Romero locks himself within the bathroom, waiting until the Patient heads downstairs to the Core in order to come back out. Dr. Romero activates the Core, manifesting and sending Creepers after the Patient in an attempt to kill him. During his struggle, the Patient manages to down the Core's external shielding, allowing him to step closer to it. He proceeds to cut through the wooden support beams holding the Core in the air in order to destroy it, all the meanwhile defending himself against the Creepers and enduring the Core's pulse emissions. In a desperate effort to stop him, Dr. Romero traps him within hallucination after hallucination at certain points of the battle. This is where Emily's intentions for the Patient are clear, as she directly shows herself to him in order to rescue him. The last hallucination is a flashback extending the end of the first Nightmare House; after she intercepts the Patient as he is fleeing to his truck, she levitates the vehicle and crushes the oncoming zombies, albeit injuring him in the process. An ambulance comes to pick him up and drop him off to the hospital.
After the last of the support beams are destroyed, the Core collapses, and the resounding shockwaves mortally wound the Patient in the process. Dr. Romero confidently approaches the Patient in order to proclaim victory, as the Core is still online. However, it soon fizzles out, and Emily reveals herself to Dr. Romero. Dr. Romero attempts to make amends by apologizing, but she responds by slamming him repeatedly into the walls with her telekinesis before liquifying him. She approaches the apparently dying Patient and coherently speaking "Thank you" before the game ends, leaving the Patient's status unknown. In the 2015 update, after the credits roll, a heart monitor beeps 3 times, indicating that the patient survives.
Whether or not the Patient personally knows Emily is unknown, but it is clear that Emily knows enough about him in order to select him to help her kill Dr. Romero. Throughout the series, she continuously uses the Patient as a guinea pig in order to further her own goals, more than willing to risk his very sanity in the process. During their encounter in the Romero household, she continuously attacks his mind with her very own hallucinations until his sanity is wiped away, his unstable state allowing medics to bring him closer to Dr. Romero. In the seven months that the Patient spent in Never Lose Hope hospital, Emily had him within her possession and keeping him trapped within her illusions in order to ensure Dr. Romero could not control him. As he is moving through the facility, she exhibits a tendency to spook and scare him at occasional moments. Despite these ruthless and rather sadistic traits, Emily also keeps a constant look-out on him and keeping him safe from the full extent of Dr. Romero's trickery. Much of her personality is revealed through her reversed dialogue; throughout the course of the game, she encourages the Patient not to listen to Dr. Romero and to keep pushing through the horror he endures. She even has a more humorous and friendly nature, occasionally teasing the Patient from time to time and making jokes about the hospital and its current residents, including herself. The "Thank you" given to the Patient at the end of the game indicates gratitude for enduring the torture inflicted on him and assisting her.
At his introduction, Dr. Romero becomes the informant and guide for the Patient, giving advice in order to help the player along. Ultimately, this is nothing more than a facade in order to cover up his real intentions. In his logs, he woke the Patient back up in order for a guinea pig to continue his testing experiments. Throughout the game, the Patient unwittingly serves as Dr. Romero's lapdog, destroying the radio equipment and increasing the range of the Core so that he could destroy the S.W.A.T. team helicopter. He sees the Patient as nothing more than expendable, even deciding to kill him at random intervals. Emily thwarts his efforts, however, but the Patient continued to remain unaware of Dr. Romero's true identity until the last chapter. During the final battle, Dr. Romero is completely antagonistic towards the Patient, seeking nothing more than to destroy him and mock him.
Personality and skills Edit
The Patient does not speak a word throughout the entire series, and his interaction with characters outside of the player's influence is little to none. However, it is clear that the effects of the paranormal activity have a stressful effect on him. The encounter with Zombies in the Romero household first proved this, as he is rendered insane and distressed at the events that had befallen him. There is also an indicator that Emily could be speaking through him in some instances; when Emily's whisper is heard at one occasion, Alpha 3 asks "Did you say something?" His teammates don't respond, meaning he is presumably speaking to the Patient and that the whisper actually came from the Patient.
Despite himself, the Patient is capable of being a resourceful thinker when the time comes for it. As he makes his way through the hospital, he shows unorthodox methods of moving to his objective, such as using a cat-scan machine to blow a hole in the wall. He shows incredible versatility with weaponry, capable of operating a variety of firearms with an expert flair. It is unclear of how he had acquired his gun skills, as it is never mentioned or indicated within the series.
- In Nightmare House 2: The Lost Files, the Patient's appearance is somewhat unusual and unnatural. In one of his supposed pictures, the sclera, irises, and pupils of his eyes are colored black, while in another picture, they are colored gray. In both pictures, the Patient lacks a mouth. Presumably, this could be the reason why he is unable to speak. Additionally, a third picture has his face with a scarring cut running along his jawline and through where his mouth would be.
- In Underhell, another mod for Half-Life 2, the protagonist, Jake Hawkfield, was a patient of Dr. Romero.