Celine Kalante (kjorteo) wrote in videogame_tales,
Celine Kalante
kjorteo
videogame_tales

The Dagger of Amon Ra, Part 4: The night that never ends (Part 2)

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Right, so, I hit LiveJournal's character limit right after getting kicked out of the gift shop, so now it's a new entry and more eavesdropping.

Back to work!


She just doesn't stop, does she?


Det. O'Riley questions Dr. Smith, who gets rather suspiciously evasive and "English is such a difficult language"-y in response. Then Det. O'Riley makes the mistake of suggesting Dr. Smith stole it....

I find it a bit suspicious that Dr. Smith is still taking the "Dr. Carrington may come around, this isn't over yet" approach even after the Dagger is officially missing. Under ordinary circumstances, what would he be expecting at this point, exactly? "Well, since you put it like that, you're right, you can go ahead and have the Dagger back. Oh, wait." There has to be something more to his scheming.


Hmm ... on one hand, that is about the stupidest thing I've ever heard, but on the other, Mr. Najeer is clearly obsessed with ancient Egyptian religions, to the point that his backpedaling here makes me wonder a bit.


Whoa. We conveniently only catch the tail end of this one, so who knows what Ziggy and the Countess are plotting, but that has to be important.


Pffff.

Hmm ... not sure what to make of that one. I do believe Ziggy and Yvette would have run into each other a lot before; Yvette used to work in the speakeasy and Ziggy practically lives there. Why she isn't recognizing him ... could be any number of things, some inocuous, some not. I have no way of knowing on that one for now.


She's his to what, now? That's ... suspicious.


Damn it, Sierra.

You know ... now that I think about it, that is a very good question. Probably whatever secret arrangement he has with the Countess, but that can't be his up-front cover story.

Smooth. Well, I'm obviously convinced and no longer suspect anything at all.


All right, Yvette, I like you and I like your libido, but I think we need to have a talk about your taste in men.

More importantly, though, I think this might just further disprove Dr. Smith's "Rameses Najeer? Never heard of him" claim.

I'm randomly curious about something, though. I wonder if witnessing all these conversations ... hold on, let me check something.



YES!!! I have absolutely no idea how, when, or why this happened, but I finally got his name! Presumably, I can finish the game, now. (For now.)

For now, let's go back and track down all the guests in questioning mode AGAIN, just to ask them all about Dr. Smith.


Well, of course.


Mithter Najeer? Um, I think you meant Dr. Smith ... I do believe I've found a script error.


Nothing particularly new here, I suppose.

So, that's five guests down, and the other four must be on the left side of the room at this point. We start to head that way, and....







Oh, sure. I was only partially done tracking down people and asking them about Dr. Smith, which itself was a break while being only partially done eavesdropping on the three million conversations they're all having with each other. Little busy right now. But sure, let's just pause the Dr. Smith sidequest so I can be whisked off to a scripted cutscene with Brock Chincleft; I'm sure everything will be exactly as it was and I'll have no trouble remembering where the hell I even was in all the tiers of dialogue I have to mine when I get back.


Gee whillikers? Gee whillikers!?

Guys, you would not believe the music that plays during this part. It is every bit as aw-shucks hoakey-yet-charming as they're pushing his character to be.


"Anyway, Miss Bow, I just wanted you to know that my name is Ken Dollface and I will be your hamfisted over-the-top love interest for this story."


He walked into a fancy museum fundraiser with a tuxedo and outrageously clashing brown work boots (how he got past Wolf Heimlich like that, the world may never know,) and managed to spin that into dangerously Jimmy Stewart levels of "I'm just a poor dock worker, but, aw, shucks...." cornball charm. I offically can no longer tell whether this character is meant to be a parody of some sort.


LAURA

YOU'RE IN A SIERRA GAME

DON'T SAY THINGS LIKE THAT


oh my God, are they serious


THEY ARE

The music even explodes into a crescendo at this point, filling me with a sudden urge to buy Hallmark cards and Chicken Soup for the Soul books to celebrate the birth of the corniest relationship in video game history.


Right, as soon as I can stop laughing, it's back to ... eavesdropping? No, asking the people on the left about Dr. Smith, that's right.


Dr. Carter isn't with them, which means he is officially nowhere right now, but presumably he'll turn up after I eavesdrop on a conversation or two and the groups shuffle again. May as well get these three out of the way in the mean time, though, I guess.


Mm-hmm.


This is all seeming pefectly mundane, with nothing really earth-shattering coming up anywhere. Just when I thought I was wrong for thinking it important to ask everyone, though....


Whoa, whoa, WHOA! SPOILERS, LAURA!! My God.

Yes, somehow, asking Yvette about Dr. Smith leads to a discussion of a murder that hasn't happened yet, and whether Dr. Smith could have been responsible for the death of someone who is currently still alive.

And lest any of you think this is some secretly ingenous "the body hasn't been found yet but the character isn't around, the murder could have happened and this foreknowledge of it is a huge clue" scheme, let me remind you that
1) Laura is asking about it, not one of the potential suspects, and
2) As the player, I can safely tell you that, no, the character in question is definitely among the still-living, still-at-the-party, you-can-talk-to-them-and-everything crowd.

I have two walkthroughs and I still somehow temporally broke the game.

Anyway, back to eavesdropping.


They aren't even trying to hide the Countess' true nature, I see. I guess Yvette's warning about her wasn't that big news after all.


Good Lord, Yvette. Even I don't go after that many people in one night. (Unless I'm on Tapestries.)


Well, so much for Dr. Carter's sheer force of will allowing him to resist her.


This one just ... kind of carries on for a while. The shouting match just goes back and forth until Laura stops eavesdropping and has to get involved to get them to knock it off.


Oh, hey, that reminds me, now that we have Dr. Carter here, he was the last person on our "ask everyone about Dr. Smith" tour.


I'm not sure what else I was expecting, really.

And finally, Steve Sexappeal has officially joined the party as an interviewable guest, so I guess we should probably go ask him about everyone and everything. (You have to do this before you listen in on the last conversation, by the way, since everyone disappears afterward.)

Dr. Carrington:

Yes, yes, we know.

Yvette:

Meow. Come on, Laura, you two have been a couple for, like, five minutes. And I like Yvette. Was that really necessary already?

Dr. Smith:

Um ... are you sure he seems nice enough now?

No other topic pulls up anything worth mentioning, so let me just step around behind this table....


Oh. Maybe that was necessary already.


And with that, it's over, and the guests all instantly disappear. The rotunda (including the left and right rooms) is completely empty except for the non-speaking background characters. All the major characters are gone.

It's over.

After fourteen eavesdrop conversations, nine ten guests with, what, 20-30 questions (about two of which go anywhere) each, three layers of stacked "deal with this interruption so you can go back to dealing with that interruption so you can go back to dealing with that other interruption before going back to eavesdropping and having everyone move again" tiers, two side interruptions, one temporal breaking of the game, and a partridge in a pear tree, the party is finally over.

I...

I'm so happy. ^;.;^

Now, the bad news is that I could live to be two hundred and still go to my grave with the party theme permanently seared into my head, of course, but ... still. We made it. We survived.

So now that that's finally, finally over, the rest of the museum has magically unlocked, and it is now back to exploring and poking around at things as though we were playing some sort of point-and-click adventure game. Of course, the museum is jaw-droppingly huge...

... and I still can't say with 100% certainty that it isn't somehow timed or something, so any "exploring" I do will consist if going exactly where the two walkthroughs tell me to go, for no other reason than because they tell me I should go there, like I picked up a free pair of horse blinders and added them to my inventory.

According to the walkthroughs, I am apparently off to the T-Rex exhibit!



I made it as far as the Pterodactyl room and got a bit turned around as far as which of those doors takes me to the T-Rex room, compared to the map. Do I have to go through the armor room, or...? Plus, one of them almost seemed like a fake door, in that I rubbed Laura against it from every angle but just could not for the life of me get the game to acknowledge that I wanted to move to another screen.


There. Geez.


Well, all right....


The T-Rex makes an unholy mechanical grinding roar, as though its animatronic jaw hadn't been oiled since the Lincoln administration, and then gives us some semi-cute factoids. Sure, why not.

Of course, fun as that was, anyone who has ever played an adventure game before could look at these screenshots and instantly tell that we're here for that bone.


Look, I'll be honest; we came here to solve the mystery of a missng museum artifact, not to steal another museum artifact ourselves ... but this is the adventure game equivalent of begging for it.


Honestly, I'm half-surprised the bone didn't jump into the purse of its own accord.


Next stop is the Egyptian exhibit, which is allegedly right off of the armor room which itself is right off of the pterodactyl room, but these doors are impossible.


There.


Just in case you didn't believe everyone in the game who said the Dagger disappeared with no clues, I guess.


Half of the Rosetta stone is here. I forgot to take a screenshot of this, but the game states that the other have has been replaced with a sort of I.O.U. type note saying that half the exhibit was moved on (whatever date), signed O.M. Thus, the implication that Dr. Myklos took it, for some curator duty or another.

Both walkthroughs helpfully inform me that it is absolutely vital to examine the Rosetta Stone now, as we will be needing to decode some hieroglyphs later. So....


The Rosetta stone shows various hieroglyps and the individual letters of the English alphabet to which they form a simple substitution cypher, just like in real life. However, since this is only half of the Rosetta stone, we only get A through M.

According to both walktrhoughs, examining this piece of the Stone puts the hieroglyphs in my notebook for later use, but ... it sure would be nice if there were any confirmation of that at all. Clicking anywhere simply exits this screen with no dialogue box or anything, and I can't just look in my notebook for the fun of it; the only way to view its contents is when asking people about things, and all the guests are currently missing. I just have to hope they're in there, I guess.


Hey, there, um ... there wasn't that much blood on the floor before I examined the Stone.


Looking at the previous shots, the ankh was there, and there was some blood, but definitely not that much.

Hey, which guest was wearing an ankh, again?


Dr. Smith, of course.

Well, this is obviously a crime scene (there is bound to be a dead partygoer in that sarcophagus), which means this bloody ankh is incredibly important evidence that the investigators will undoubtedly need if they hope to get anywhere. Preserving a pristine crime scene is like the first rule, everyone knows that. So, you know what that means.



Looking at the blood more closely, it would appear that a "dainty foot" (someone in heels?) was here. Those must have been some seriously quiet heels to come and go while Laura was right there examining the stone, but then again, it's probably just another temporal anomaly, like that murder that happened before it actually happened. Let's be honest; the game isn't trying very hard to keep track of itself right now.

And now that the preliminary examination is out of the way....

... I'm just going to go ahead and conclude this update here! I want to see if we can make a game out of this part. Who do you think we're going to find inside the sarcophagus? Tune in next time and find out! Feel free to speculate until then, unless you've played this game and you know already. No spoilers. :)

Here is a summation of the cast thus far:


Name: Dr. Archibald Carrington, III
Which one is he, again: New-guy museum president with a dead body in his trunk
At the party because: President of the museum
Notes: Has surprisingly few connections for someone so important. Was on the Andrea Dorea, but no one seemed to notice. As the new president of this museum after Sterling Waldorf-Carlton's death, conveniently few people know him. The one person who was supposed to have seen him before was Dr. Carter, who noted that Dr. Carrington seemed not to remember him.


Name: Dr. Pippin Carter
Which one is he, again: Snooty arrogant racist archaeologist
At the party because: Originally uncovered and claimed the Dagger of Amon Ra
Notes: Seems to be after Dr. Carrington's job.


Name: Yvette Delacroix
Which one is she, again: French bicycle
At the party because: Dr. Carrington's assistant(?)
Notes: Is afraid of the Countess. Sleeps with a lot of important and powerful figures, but also sleeps with a lot of unimportant figures, which calls her motives into question. Is she just in heat, or is she trying to sleep her way to the top of something? If so, what? Knowing this game, it's possible that the random unimportant bedmates are to foster an "oh, don't mind her, she'll just take anything with a pulse" reputation as a cover for when she does go after important figures.


Name: Studly Do-Right
Which one is he, again: Token love interest
At the party because: Came to see Laura, becuase he just couldn't forgive himself if he let a girl like her get away. AWWWWWW. <3
Notes: All the snarky names and images I use for this guy cannot even begin to compare with how heavy-handed the game itself is in presenting him.


Name: Wolf Heimlich
Which one is he, again: Nazi security guard
At the party because: Nazi security guard
Notes: Nazi security guard. (But the Dagger was stolen on his watch, which some find suspicious.)


Name: Dr. Olympia Myklos
Which one is she, again: Morticia Addams
At the party because: Museum curator
Notes: Apparently took half of the Rosetta Stone.


Name: Rameses Najeer
Which one is he, again: Tut Smith with a lisp
At the party because: Museum accountant
Notes: Has a thing for ancient Egyptian religions. Puts on a face of being a mild-mannered family man (even if his kids have ... interesting names,) but several characters have commented about there being some burning intensity buried underneath that.


Name: Detective Ryan Hanrahan O'Riley
Which one is he, again: Alcoholic Irish cop
At the party because: Officer in charge of investigating museum burglary
Notes: Somewhat abrasive. Most people seem unimpressed with his handling of the case thus far, as well as the fact that he drinks.


Name: Dr. Ptahsheptut "Tut" Smith
Which one is he, again: Cartoon Egyptian nationalist
At the party because: Wants the Dagger back for Egypt
Notes: Explosive temper, has already threatened several characters, most obviously Dr. Carter.


Name: Countess Lavinia Waldorf-Carlton
Which one is she, again: World's most obvious black widow
At the party because: Married to the late former museum president, Sterling Waldorf-Carlton
Notes: Seems to have something going on with the current museum president, Dr. Carrington. Doesn't get along with Yvette.


Name: Ziggy
Which one is he, again: Cheap hood, stool pigeon for hire
At the party because: Unknown. Det. O'Riley even asked and he evaded the question.
Notes: Is plotting something with the Countess.

Also, I will add that this game is not about to cop out and present some random anonymous red-shirt; the victim inside the sarcophagus is one of the eleven characters I just profiled. (I can't remember whether the killer is, though. Probably. I'm, like, 90% sure it is.)

So, get to speculating! :D

Right, so, I'm actually torn about the game at this point. On one hand ... I'm interested in the story, I am. Yes, the cast is more caricature than character, the guests have about one personality trait each and it's really more of a gimmick than anything else, and some of them are downright offensive. (Lo Fat isn't part of the game at this point, though, thank God.) However, obvious lack of depth aside, I am interested to see the case unfold. I watched a playthrough of this game when I was a child, and I remember the gist of it, but there's a lot I don't remember, and I'm interested in it. I vividly recall a lot of the death scenes in this game, and therefore I know a lot of the doomed characters, but I can't say for sure whether the ones whose deaths I don't recall survive or I've just forgotten how they die, and I'm curious to find out. The game ends with a chase scene with a hooded murderer after you, and I remember which character that turns out to be, but I don't remember whether that same character is responsible for all the murders in this game--in fact, I'm pretty sure that character is not. I think there are several factions in play, here, and I really am legitimately interested in watching them unfold. And at the root of it all ... I actually don't remember who stole the Dagger in the first place, and obviously I'd like to know that. This game's story has me so far! It does.

But the presentation ... my God, the presentation. I almost hate to pick on one particular element of the game, because the itemized credits make it easier to think I'm picking on one particular person's work...

...but the gameplay up to this point has been simply inexcusable. If the meat of this game is a murder mystery set in a museum, why was there an entire chapter dedicated to farting around the city before the game starts? Clearly it wasn't for the fun gameplay (I'm still mad about those taxi rides.) Then, once we finally got to the museum, that dinner party was like every insufferably long blatant exposition infodump from every bad heavy-handed novel you've ever read, only it was just interactive enough to make you work for it. Was there really no better way to present this information than through fourteen eavesdrop conversations and approximately six billion notebook questions? And speaking of the notebook, why was Dr. Smith's name so hard to get compared to everyone else's, and why does asking Yvette about him open a portal into the future? Their writers did their homework (except for the part where Rameses Najeer called Dr. Smith "Mr. Najeer", and all the racial sensitivity training courses they skipped) but did anyone actually play this game up to this point?

It's just ... look, I want to like this story. I really, really do. In fact, I think I do like this story. I just can't believe the game I've put up with so far to get it ... and that's with two walkthroughs! Aahhraarhaararhgh.

Anyway, next time, we'll be looking into the sarcophagus and uncovering the first murder, and things will suddenlly take a turn for the dark. See you then!
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