Split Personality is an adventure game released for The V², and the first in the Shadow Monarchy phase, a new era in the Zaxinian Lifts that starts after "Fade to Black". The game features Pierce Hazel as he explores the Flaxen Asylum and the surrounding area of Shadow Sound in an effort to find out more about the "Fandraxonian Terminal", an event that reset the Lifts and its rules and even its government, resulting in the relocation of several inhabitants and the redesign of the actual area. In Split Personality, Pierce must make use of the newfound Personality Prism and use it to divide himself into multiple personalities, using each of his forms to his own advantage.
Following the unexpected fall of Fandraxono and the rise of Mallory as the queen of the Lifts, the universe had seen some vast rebranding within itself. Several heroes from before the new era met one of three fates: escape, imprisonment, or enslavement. While some have gone to permanently relocate to Earth, some -- such as Pierce -- have been unable to achieve the same success or wanted to stay for their own reasons. Due to this title's existence, there will be no more new projects for the first era beyond what has already been planned. Split Personality paves the way to the future...a very different, discomfirting one.
Following the "Fandraxonian Terminal", the Zaxinian Lifts had been totally revamped under the leadership of Mallory, whom had turned it into the luxurious Mallorian Monarchy, where everything had been revamped to a violet color and in the evil queen's image. Pierce Hazel barely survived the switch, having been found and attacked for helping several Lifts residents escape down to Earth. He was thrown in the Flaxen Asylum, where his execution would be within a few days, and he was drained of all his power and had his mind shattered. Using what remains of his functionality, he must recover his mind and powers and push his deathdate as far back as possible to study Mallory's plans for the future. In the meanwhile, he must put up with the harsh conditions of the surrounding Shadow Sound.
In Split Personality, the player controls Pierce Hazel and ten of his personality selves, which he acquires as the player progresses throughout the game. As he explores Shadow Sound, he must spy on the new queen and learn about her plans, and try to piece together her next moves before the date of execution comes. At the same time, he must figure out how to postpone his upcoming death so he can find out more about his plans and find out how to make distractions so he can move around the asylum and sound itself. Pierce is normally kept in a room hidden near the center of the asylum, on the second floor. Using what few tools he has, he must bribe guards, get help from resilient "patients", and/or drop down from the building to accomplish his tasks.
Halfway in the story, shortly after Pierce relearns elemental manipulation, King Snickers accidentally forgets to close a hatch in the asylum. This leads to an area known as Hangar 18. Here, Pierce learns of the Shadow Cage, for all the weaponry and vehicular machines originated from there according to accompanying documents. He must study the extraordinary material and find out how he can get ahold of some of these vital tools, although he must NOT be seen using them or he will be immediately executed. Furthermore, Pierce must make his way back to his asylum room before 8PM, where the guards will come to make sure that everyone's in their proper cage. In Hangar 18, Pierce can restore his health and overall energy via a device near the hatch leading up to the hospital.
Upon collecting pieces of the Personality Prism, his mind becomes more restored, about to more accurately put together Mallory's plans but also make use of his various personalities thanks to its cursed gem. These different personalities can push Pierce's limits and allow him to use several supernatural powers. These selves can be used to press switches and take out guards as the main Pierce tries to move along. Each "Pierce" can be summoned with the right shoulder button via picking through a list. Pierce himself will become transparent, but the respective personality emerges from his body and becomes playable. The player can choose to charge up the personality and let Pierce absorb it, or have them become platforms or attack enemies for Pierce. They cannot move far from Pierce, however.
With each three personalities obtained, Pierce relearns one of his older powers. His extremely powerful writing talent comes back first, which allows him to write down what Mallory has planned and store useful information for later. The player can write whatever they want into the notebook, although they must try to write down what actually helps them later. Elemental manipulation comes later, where Pierce can reflect electricity and fire and push it away from him by default. He can also safely cross various hazards this way. Psychic powers are learned near the end of the game, where Pierce is clearly near his strongest point. He can bend bars and toss away guards and become significantly more active in the game's world.
Split Personality utilizes an inventory that consists of ten slots. During his travels in Shadow Sound, Pierce must collect and use items that he finds and picks up in order to navigate the world or stall his execution date. The player will often find themselves using what's in their inventory to spy on Mallory and find more about her plans too. What Pierce doesn't use or can't use at the moment he can just hide in the toolbox kept in his hospital room. He must not be seen using it or it will be confiscated, resulting in a game over. Items can be found in various places, sometimes obscure ones, so the player will have to be on the lookout for them and check every place that looks suspicious. Sometimes secret rooms or pathways can open up from exploration.
Pierce can take about six hits before the player receives a game over. The player will mostly take damage via falling from high places and from traps laid out around Shadow Sound. Getting hit by enemies or touching dangerous materials will also hurt Pierce. Depending on the velocity and power of each hit Pierce takes, he will lose a different amount of hearts. Falling off the top of the asylum will immediately kill Pierce regardless of how much health he has left, but falling down half a floor will result in a loss of just three hearts. Stepping into a flame will result in Pierce losing two hearts, while stepping into lava without enhancements will instantly kill him. Pierce's personalities do not have health, but they still must not be far from Pierce or they will snap back into his body.
Mallory is the queen of the titular Mallorian Monarch, and its leader as well. She is a commanding, warped-out individual with a lust to wipe out everything about the Lifts and replace it with her own history and her own material. Along the way, she's ruining the universe and making it real bad...
The lazy, yet skullcrushing companion to Mallory. The effective king of the land, he enforces some really strict laws under Mallory's control and is in charge of Pierce's execution amongst the several prisoners that reside with him. He's really ignorant and doesn't give a care about much...
Valerie was robbed of her riches and stripped her down into a hypnotized, abused admiral who does nothing more than command her troops. She used to have so much money, but lost it all when the queen ripped her home away and transformed it into her own home. She takes the appearance of an officer.
Silver was removed of all his free will and became a merciless, blood-seeking admiral with a mind specifically designed to serve Mallory. He was transformed into a cyborg, working solely for Mallory and only taking commands otherwise by Snickers. He plays the biggest role in trying to make sure Pierce gets killed.
Once a princess of nature, Crymsia was stripped of this and instead became a toxic, unwanted mess who only plants seeds of hate. She has a sassy nature and pushes everyone away from her, and strikes with poisonous barbs and kicks people she doesn't like. Mallory's abuse contributed to this attitude.
Having been tricked into being given a promotion as a villain, Nightshade now resides with Mallory as a grouchy general who hates his job. He can still use hexes, although he became less of a mage and more of a mandatory expert in magic for Mallory, creating all the traps necessary to stop escapes.
Devina was once silent, but with her life on the line if she didn't obey Mallory's new universe rules, she became a grouchy general who screams at people if they mess up, and guards the cells to the asylum. However, she is still easy to scare and all thoughts of Black Eyes very much traumatize her harshly.
Shredder lost his job as a businessman and became just another crony for Mallory, having adapted to the more cruel and unusual atmosphere and using his weapons to seek and destroy. While having not lost his free will, he completely obeys Mallory for the sake of "everyone's lives", as the queen put it.
Deciding to just cope with Mallory's ruleset, Fandro became the judge of the monarch thanks to his aggressive and unrelenting personality, making him hard to manipulate. The player must pass Fandro's questions with brutal honesty or total trickery, or he will send Pierce down to the executioner.
Seeing Glain would mean a game over! You just can't beat her -- Glain is super fast and can slay you in no time at all. If she catches you, too bad! There are times where you actually do have to go near Glain, but on those moments, you need to be quiet and pass by this nightmare of a human slowly!
Split Personality is divided into "cases", which are the equivalent of "levels" or "chapters" in typical video games. In each case, Pierce must complete the given objective, which often has to do with breaking down Mallory's plot whilst setting back his execution date. There are a total of twenty overall cases to solve, and due to their massive size, Split Personality is among Goddess Studios' longest-running games to date. For every two cases solved starting from the first, Pierce regains a personality, and cases 7, 13, and 19 reward him with one of his old powers.
The first case is played somewhat differently than the rest of the game, featuring the game's basics. The asylum featured in the first case explodes and is replaced with a second that is explored by case 3.
Pierce starts this case by waking up hours after having been knocked unconscious, barely awake as he dizzily moves off his asylum bed. Earlier that morning, he had been found and savagely attacked after being watched help people escape the Zaxinian Lifts by the brand-new authorities. The player can take their time navigating their asylum room, poking around in drawers and looking through air vents. In the room is an inactive robot with white-and-black hair and some ragged red clothing, and a few thieves chained to the walls, each only speaking if Pierce walks really close to them. These thieves will provide hints until the first case is almost wrapped up. When the player feels ready, they should approach their cell door and try to open it. It will be locked, meaning Pierce is trapped inside.
When the player realizes that they can't get out, they should head to Pierce's bed, but before they're able to climb atop it, one of the thieves mentions a key being hid under the bed, although stresses that it's impossible to reach and the bed is too heavy to push. Upon trying for themselves, the player will find that the bed cannot budge. Just as things appear to be hopeless, the door opens to show the second guard of the asylum, Devina Kilmister. She instructs Pierce to follow the rules and to only move from his room when authorized to. In his dizzy state, he attacks Devina, causing her to shriek and slam the door shut, fleeing from him. Fortunately for the player, Devina left the door unlocked and gave them a chance to move out.
Pierce needs to move down the hallway leading north and continue on until he makes it to the kitchen, which is deserted at this time of night. Voices can be heard -- the player must put Pierce's head down to the floor and overhear Mallory's conversation, which talks of his own execution and the search of Fandraxono. With his current amnesia, he can't put his finger on who the God is but knows he's familiar at the very least. When the player nears the kitchen door, a scared Devina is slowly making her way down the hallway, still scarred by her clash with Pierce. The player must quickly slam the kitchen door fully outwards to block her vision, then help Pierce escape unseen back to his room (Room B13), where he can relax on the stainless steel bed in the room.
Devina opens the door and sees Pierce sleeping on the bed, and reconsiders her desire to yell at him due to not having any evidence that he did indeed escape his room. One of the thieves speaks up and says that a "burly guy" from room B05 was responsible for the incident and should be executed. In contrast to his belief, Devina believes his story and goes out to put such a person down, but this time she locks the door behind her, stopping Pierce from making his move. When he tries to bang his way out, a star-shaped container with a gem in the center falls from a hole in the ceiling. Upon holding this, Pierce regains full consciousness, although is still left without much of his memory. The player stores it in their inventory and resides on the bed.
After a bit of sleep, the thief on the right side of the room breaks free of his chains, having gotten a toothpick he nabbed from Devina before she could even notice. He wakes up Pierce, telling him that Mallory's up to something and that he should try to figure out what it is. Having remembered something about his execution and Fandraxono, Pierce agrees and the thief uses himself as a platform, allowing the hero to spring up and punch through a fake area of the wall, which is actually a door. Pierce shuts the door behind him and crawls through a vent, where he descends from the second floor down to the first. Along the way, the player can sees little bits of areas that they'll be able to explore later in the game, although vision is mostly obscured by bars blocking the miniature windows.
Pierce finally manages to near Mallory's room, where she can overhear her and Snickers talking. Pierce is able to piece together three things: his execution is in three hours, Fandraxono was the original king who went missing following a battle between him and Mallory, and that "a wild, unidentified thief" is hanging around. Snickers quickly sees Pierce's shoe in the vent and tries to shoot him. The player must not retreat to the left; they must retreat to the right and head into room A06. Using the rock near the vent, the player should throw it at the sole resident of that room and shake them awake, then immediately retreat into the passage before he can be seen. Snickers will enter A06's room, having followed Pierce's direction, and shoot up the innocent civilian. He then leaves.
Following that creepy indicent, Pierce cannot risk going back the other way, so he must jump through A07, A08, A09, and keep going until they make it to A14. In A15, there is a muscular grown man walking about, so disturbing him would be unwise. A13 is empty and has an unlocked door, which Pierce can use to escape. Pierce must dash quickly through the hallway, and turn around if they see a dangerous, weird-armed dude walking around. At room A10, he can find a ladder and carry it out to A11, where he can use it to climb back into B13, kicking over the ladder to erase the evidence of him walking around. Pierce will crash-land onto his bed exhausted, although the player can see that the thieves have left and have perhaps partied in there, pieces of gum being left in several places. Collecting the gum before rest is wise, and also getting the stick hanging around is an excellent plan.
Mallory will wake up Pierce by walking into his room with a ticking timer, having set it to a minute. She looks down to Pierce and says that his time of execution is near and that there's no way he should be able to escape. She sets the timer immediately to three minutes and laughs, locking the door as fumes begin to flood the room. If Pierce has not collected the gum, getting them is absolutely required as the time limit is rather short. The path to A11 is shut, and so is the one to A06 (although that one's impossible to reach without a footstool), so Pierce needs to climb through the actual heat vent. The player must put the gum on the stick and carry out the screwdriver with its stickiness, then quickly unscrew the way open so he can make his way through. The player should have about 1:30 left on the clock. They must reseal the vent, then quickly crawl out into the central heating room. Before this, the player should pick up the little prism piece hanging near the engine.
B13 will be set afire, although dowsed by emergency water. Pierce must go back to his room, but before he does, he hears a loud hissing noise and the sound of a heavy body moving. The player must ignore this and head to B13, unscrewing themselves out and (for the fourth time) messing with the vent, resting unscathed on the bed. When King Snickers checks in, he throws a cursing fit and complains that the execution was the only one he had time to prepare, so his death will be offset by two more days. When Snickers goes away, Pierce will rest, and his Avaritia persona will finally pop out, scratching his head at what reality looks like. He sneaks around and taps Pierce, going totally shocked when his master wakes up. The player then learns about Avaritia and how to use him like a footstool and how to use his greed.
Pierce goes down to near Mallory, where he hears something about Mallory wanting to take "extreme measures" with the guards in the asylum and recreate the fiery room idea Snickers had going. The player should crawl back to their room, but as soon as that's done, the three vents in the room will all close, leaving Pierce trapped inside. The door that leads out into the hallway is locked, too. Just as all is hopeless, Pierce remembers that there's a key under the bed. Using Avaritia, Pierce can collect the key that's far under the bed and get himself out of there at will. There are guards on the end of each hallway, so the player should use Avaritia to go down the halls (for they are invisible to all but Pierce himself). Once they make it to the end of the right hallway, they'll notice a key that leads to A06 hidden way up in the ceiling. Avaritia should easily be able to obtain it, however.
Once they make it to A06, they should crawl through the vent and spy on Mallory's plans. She tells of a self-destruct sequence on the second floor and that everyone but Pierce has evacuated. She seems to be crying, although cracks into a long, remorseless laughter that Snickers joins in. A timer then sets up, with Pierce having about five minutes to escape. Avaritia should crawl quickly through the vents and make his way back up to B13, using his power to transport himself back into Pierce's body. Upon absorbing his personality, he learns of Mallory's destructive plan and quickly realizes he has no real way to escape. However, he realizes a newfound power unintentionally that allows him to stretch his arms out far like spaghetti noodles and grab onto a vent in the ceilng, pulling himself up into it. The event is too quick for either guard to notice.
Pierce must crawl through the vent and drop down on the opposite side (at B01) and utilize his long reach ability to go across some long platforms in the short amount of time. When Pierce makes it a long way, some weapons will be triggered that Pierce has to cross through quickly. He has to avoid buzzsaws, swinging axes, and flamethrowers to make it to the elevator leading to the first floor. Before arriving at the first floor, Pierce should send out Avaritia so he himself can turn invisible. When the vast number of people watch the elevator go down, they are shocked to see nobody on it. Yet, Snickers cannot detect Pierce on either floor. As he cusses to himself, the second floor explodes all around, and the whole building is going to collapse in a matter of time. As everyone runs off, the player should go up to the second floor and use Avaritia as a platform again to gain access to a recently blown apart passage that leads to ground level.
At ground level, the player should have Pierce run far and join the others as soon as possible. As he makes it to Mallory, Snickers and the several guards and inmates of the asylum, the building explodes entirely, causing Snickers to stamp his foot in rage. As he goes to rebuild it, Mallory takes everyone to the big tower behind her castle to be stored at until further notice. The player should fluff out Pierce's pillow and get to rest.
- Case End -
The Zaxinian Lifts' titles are known for their plethora of different boss battles, although Split Personality breaks this flow by only having a mere few of them. Due to the more investigative nature of the game, these battles are handled in a slightly different manner; they often attack over the course of a few cases and aren't able to be directly attacked until the end of a case, where Pierce must either slay or at the least defeat them. These bosses can be some of Mallory's officers or completely original monsters that originated from Hangar 18.
- Split Personality uses the idea of splitting Pierce into several individual selves, which was a mechanic used in the original story for the game, which was initially written in 2015 as a severely different fiction.
- Athena Hawkins has commented on Split Personality being a "freestyle" project, thanks to the strong reshaping of the Lifts following the "Fandraxonian Terminal". Due to this, a lot of changes have occurred to suit the new take on the universe:
- Several characters have been rebranded and reintroduced in Split Personality as slaves or workers for Queen Mallory. They appear as bosses in this title.
- Mallory moved to becoming the main antagonist of the Lifts (alongside Snickers Caramel) and Fandraxono was shot down, resulting in vast rebranding and remodeling of the Lifts, turning it into a strong monarch.
- The focuses of the Lifts have changed in general, both in terms of characters and settings. Settings have both become more magical and more gruesome in style.