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All right, so last time got a little weird. Now that I've calmed down a bit, let's ... try this again.
I restored my game and Dr. Carrington immediately entered the room again. This time, since I was sort of expecting it, I acted quickly enough to catch him before he left.
And since it completely slipped my mind to check whether Ernie Leach had been added to my notebook when I was interrogating the Countess (you know, before she flew off to the moon), I took this opportunity to check. Success!
But the main subject is, of course....
[Speculation]I still say that either Yvette or the Countess did the deed but Dr. Carrington ordered and masterminded it, but all right.
So, back to that painting. Using the magnifying glass on the glittering portion itself just brings up a standard response....
...but using the magnifying glass just below it brings up a closer view.
And just to repeat this design mechanic a second time, using the magnifying glass on any part of the gold inside the pot except the part that actually sparkles brings up another closeup detail, this time of the object causing all of this glimmering....
... a skeleton key, which we can't even get yet, because it's glued to the canvas. The walkthrough just urged me to make note of this, so I could come back later. I probably didn't have to; as long as I knew it was there, looking at it beforehand probably doesn't trip some flag that's necessary to retrieve it later, when I actually can ... but it's Sierra. You never know.
The other thing we're meant to notice (according to both walkthroughs, even) is that the paintings are damp, as if freshly-painted. Forgeries? Perhaps the Dagger isn't the only relic that's the center of shenanigans around here, after all?
And with that, we're done here! According to the walkthroughs, next stop is the scuplture gallery. Which is ...
... not on this map. All right! Well, one says "continue to the sculpture gallery" and the other says "continue on to the hallway with the statue", so I'm guessing they just mean to keep going, into the Museum Hall, which must double as a miniature sculpture gallery.
Success! Hello again, Dr. Carter.
So, in this room, we should hear--
--that didn't take long.
... Well, other than providing fuel for the Yvette x ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE shipping that the game itself seems to love, that told us ... absolutely nothing.
At this point, the walkthroughs disagree on where to go and what to do next. I'm guessing that means that, like the party, there are several events and I just have to do them all in whatever order. I choose ... Dr. Myklos' office, going off the theory that she's clearly distracted right now, and with this game's weird randomness with character wandering, I might not have the opportunity when the other walkthrough says I'm supposed to. According to the map, that should be ... straight down?
... Wow. That ... sure is Dr. Myklos' office, all right.
Hey, it's called vore. Don't kink-shame, Sierra.
The skull looks kind of neat ... and since I can't resist poking things (see also: Barney) ...
... Um, that wasn't what I expect--
Let it be known that I am not controlling this in any way
Seriously, the last thing I did was touch the skull, and then the secret passage opened and Laura decided to walk through on her own, then it closed behind her and now it's dark and the music is scary and I hear Laura screaming and--
--and that happened. So, basically a very long, very drawn-out instakill just for poking the skull, even though trying to touch the poisonous cobra is fine. At least Sierra is consistent and totally not arbitrary about what can kill you, as always.
Restoring my save and trying again, we're actually here for the second half of the Rosetta Stone, which is under that white cloth on the right.
The second half, of course, has the exact same "hover over the stone to see things, clicking anything anywhere just exits you out of the examination with no message or confirmation or anything, so you just sort of have to hope it worked" mechanics as the first.
The blackboard has two pages of hieroglyphs on it, and even though I (allegedly) have the full set of hieroglyphs in my notebook now, the game doesn't provide any sort of automatic translation. The game doesn't even let me look at my notebook if I wanted to try it myself. I think the game expected you to write down all the hieroglyphs in real life, then refer to that as you manually translte two pages of whatever message this is.
Obviously, that is the stupidest suggestion I've ever heard, so I'm going to refer to the walkthrough that was nice enough to translate it for me. According to my ability to copy/paste, it says:
"I PAY HOMAGE TO THEE, YE LORDS OF ETERNITY. RA, STRONG IS THY SAIL IN THE WIND AS THE LAKE OF FIRE IN THE UNDERWORLD. BEHOLD SHU, THE MOTHER, CREATING THE GODS IN SILENCE FROM WOMB. QUICKER THAN GREYHOUNDS AND FLEETER THAN LIGHT, LET ME NOT BE BURNT, LET ME NOT BE CONSUMED, LET ME NOT PERISH AS MY MUMMY LIES PROSTRATE IN MY TOMB."
The fanatical devotion to Egyptian gods and the reference to the Womb/Tomb riddle Ziggy mentioned in Act 1 points directly at Rameses Najeer, but I don't know what it's implying about him, exactly. It's certainly hinting something having to do with him, but what? [Speculation]That the Countess's statement about a secret sun-worshipper cult during Act 2 was actually correct, perhaps?
There's a bottle of Snake Oil on her desk.
But attempting to pick it up--
Busted! Fortunately, that was supposed to happen; the walkthroughs warned me.
This is obviously totally meaningless fluff information and I'm sure we're not going to have to come back later and grab that Snake Oil and navigate a snake room with it or anything.
And that concludes our business in Dr. Myklos' office. Fun fact: the first time I went through this, the time advanced and the clock changed and everything right when I was looking at the Snake Oil, and that's what called Dr. Myklos in. Out of paranoia, I restored my save and did everything in the office again, more quickly and without distractions (no wasting time poking Barney or anything), and attempting to pick up the bottle caused Dr. Myklos' appearance, without an accompanying time change. So, as much as I fear saying this, that tells me that the clock isn't tied to the plot, and that there is some sort of "make sure you collect all the evidence you need to collect before 10:30" time limit.
On the bright side, with Yvette and Dr. Myklos having moved on, we can now go to Yvette's office.
Leaving Dr. Myklos' office, Dr. Myklos walks off into that upper-right hallway, and leaves the statue with its head obviously detached. Then, there's the sound of grinding, like a passageway or something opening in the distance. Yes, yes, that's all painfully obvious and I'm sure I won't have any trouble figuring out the open-a-secret-passage puzzle later, but we're (probably) on a time limit. TO YVETTE'S OFFICE.
I was expecting Yvette's office to be a giant bedroom or something, and am somewhat disappointed in the looks department. However, you should hear how sultry this music is. If I close my eyes and just listen, I swear this is a porno soundtrack.
Obviously, we're here to root around her wastebasket for important documents. This being carbon paper, if you hold it up to the desk lamp....
Success! Man, who writes their criminal intent letters on carbon paper, anyway?
I'm not sure who Big Al is--that doesn't match the name of any of the main characters. However, the big takeaway here is that Ernie Leach is a fence. This means he very well could be involved in the theft of the Dagger, especially since he has the keys and access and such to get it.
And now that we've used the desk lamp, we can go ahead and steal the lightbulb! Why do we need a lightbulb? Because it's there and we're in an adventure game, obviously.
Haha, or not. You thought this was going to be easy for a second, there, didn't you?
The solution is to turn the desk lamp off, then go do some other stuff and let time pass. The bulb will cool down eventually, and then we can take it. Another reason I wanted to do the stuff in this area first: it gets the bulb-cooling puzzle out of the way early.
Next stop is Dr. Carrington's office, which is through that door (so, you walk through Yvette's office to get to Dr. Carrington's office.)
This office is rather fancy and I really like the musi--WOW that didn't take long.
Whoa whoa whoa slow down
Is the game trying to make up for how uninformative the last eavesdrop was by dropping all the bombs this time?
Okay, so Rameses being some sort of secret cultist is pretty much confirmed, and Yvette let him in?? Wow.
And she's holding that over his head to bed him? There's the one part of this I don't understand: once again, I can't tell whether Yvette's out-of-control libido is a means or an end. Just when I thought she was using sex to get connections and leverage over people, she now appears to be using connections and leverage over people to get sex. What's her game, exactly?
All right, as I was saying, this is a fancy office with cool music.
It even has a fireplace, with a piece of charcoal inside! Remember when I said Dr. Carter's notebook came with an obvious "shade the page so you can read the imprints" puzzle?
The last two times the game felt like pointing out were declaring it 7:30 in the middle of the party, when Wolf Heimlich kicked me out of the gift shop about halfway through the eavesdrop-on-everyone ordeal, and declaring it 8:15 after I had finished my examination of Dr. Carter's body. All the speculation I had made up to this point pointed to either Yvette or the Countess as the murderer (albeit operating under orders), and 8:00 is a pretty reasonable estimation on the time of death, and the Egyptian Room was definitely the place. I believe this officially confirms that Yvette murdered Dr. Carter!
So, that's something.
Believe it or not, we're not done with revelations in this room, either. See that intercom on the desk?
... Okay, so I missed and clicked on the notepad instead, but that's important too, I guess.
There we go.
The intercom has send and receive modes for a bunch of rooms, so obviously we need to put it on receive mode and go through the list of rooms with more conversations on which we can eavesdrop.
Slightly less obvious is how. Impressively, I actually had to look up a third walkthrough just to find something with a bit more guidance on the exact mechanics of working this thing, since the rotated perspective made it slightly less than clear what "top left button" means. It turns out that receive mode is top left from the perspective of someone facing the intercom unit from the bottom, camera bottom left from this angle. Then, with that on, you just hit all the buttons along the bottom (camera right) row to get the conversations.
There are three conversations.
And I'm just going to cut the first one short after this, because it goes nowhere informative, the whole thing is just nothing but this, and this is about the most frightening pairing in any video game I have ever played. I honestly regret having listened to this one.
Conversation #2 is much the same, only with a different pairing. I'm honestly impressed, considering that Yvette was off with Rameses Najeer like ten seconds ago.
... Oh. Ha, ha. Very funny, Sierra.
Finally, something potentially useful!
Unfortunately, while the fact that Ziggy is up to something Ernie doesn't like is probably important, we really don't learn much more than that.
There's a phone list on the desk. The phone line has been cut, so none of these are usable. However, there is a puzzle in that you are meant to notice the obviously stupid fake name "B.Sayff" whose number is actually the combination to a nearby wall safe. This would be a lot more intuitive if they weren't all obviously stupid fake names.
What safe? The one behind the painting, of course.
One combination-entering puzzle later....
THAT WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN.
Yes, there is another lovely game mechanic in this phase of the game: not only is there an apparent time limit, but Wolf Heimlich wanders around completely at random, and throws you out of whatever room you're in, and locks the door behind you. If this happens, your only recourse is to go mess around somewhere else and come back later, after the coast is clear once more. Given the time limit, though, your only real recourse is to reload and hope he doesn't appear this time.
There we go. Much better. I know you're supposed to save often in Sierra games, anyway, but that is just absurd.
Inside the safe is ... the Death Note?
You know, Laura has some extremely weird, extremely arbitrary decision-making skills when it comes to which vital pieces of evidence are and are not stealable.
And trying to look at the diary just identifies it as such ... how do you read it, then? Do you need to use the magnifying glass on it, or something?
Of all the stupid ... and all that for information we already inferred rather obviously from the party eavesdropping! Though it's nice to have it officially confirmed, I guess.
With that, we are now done here.
And hey, we have to pass through Yvette's office again just to leave, anyway, and the light bulb cooled down while we were away! Score!
Back in the statue room, fiddle with the secret switch ...
... and reveal the passage down in the next room!
A secret passage whose lightbulb burns out just as you arrive ...
... making it impossible to navigate the staircase until a replacement can be found. This, of course, is why we did the desk lamp thing first.
There we go.
Downstairs is a room with two office-type doors. This place isn't on the map, so I have no idea where either of them lead.
Hmm ... does being an adventure game protagonist with a dinosaur bone in her purse count as an emergency?
Of course it does. Lantern acquired.
Random squeaking noises, and then a weasel or ferret runs by. Sure, why not.
The upper door leads to ... the decor and the music lead me to believe this is Wolf Heimlich's office. Especially the music, which is basically just a slower version of Heimlich's theme.
There's a mousetrap connected to a wire, but there's some cheese on it, and since this is an adventure game, we're probably going to need that at some--
... That's one hell of a mousetrap.
You can trip it from a distance with the dinosaur bone and then grab the cheese after the gunfire ceases, though at this point, I have no idea why we need cheese yet. I'm sure it will become clear soon enough, though.
There's a secret button behind one of the paintings on the wall, which opens up a secret passage behind the bookshelf. Much like the secret passage in Dr. Myklos' office, it leads to a dark tunnel that instantly kills you without the lantern. Of course, I have the lantern, now, but I still ate a death in an Uninvited-esque twist that it doesn't do anything until you find it in your inventory and TURN IT ON. (Well, crank the hand crank, because this is 1926, but still.) At that point, the tunnel from Heimlich's office just leads to Dr. Carrington's office, and messing around with it advanced the time, so I decided not to anyway.
A lot of things advanced the time at this point, actually. I think I might be fairly close for the game to decide it's 10:15 anyway, as it seems like messing around any location even a second longer than I absolutely have to triggers it. I did eventually manage to get everything from now through the end of this update done before the time advanced, but only after I reloaded and sprinted from goal to goal with zero distractions (for example, I entered Heimlich's office, used the bone on the mousetrap, took the cheese, and left) without so much as looking at, let alone interacting with anything anywhere else. You know, just like how good adventure games are meant to be played.
The other door leads to an alcohol preservation lab. The walkthroughs implied that I had to use the lantern to take the passage through Dr. Myklos' office to get here, but I guess not. (I guess it's just that there's a passage connecting this room to Dr. Myklos' office, just like there's one connecting Heimlich's and Dr. Carrington's offices, but I already took the long way around anyway.)
The vats are filled with a bunch of jokes and references to things (King's Quest monsters, etc.) absolutely none of which we get to see because A) the time limit, and B) you're also on a strict limit of how many vats in a row you can examine before succumbing to the fumes and dying. But mostly A.
This conversation is important, though.
Current odds of Ernie Leach surviving the events of this game: RAPIDLY DECREASING.
I'm a bit curious about what he wasn't supposed to see, though. It can't have been Dr. Carter's murder; we pretty much just confirmed that Yvette was behind that (though I'm positive [someone else]Dr. Carrington was behind her doing it), and if Ernie had witnessed that and especially if Yvette had caught him doing so, those two would be having a very different conversation right now. What else is going on around here, I wonder?
Oh, and just for fun, even though Ernie changes the subject back to seduction and the conversation ends on that note, they actually didn't lock the door....
I'm honestly surprised that they got away with putting this in the game. The innuendos and hinting and such are everywhere, of course, but ... this?
Laura doesn't seem very impressed, though.
Of course, that only leads to being yelled at and kicked out (and the time advancing), so I reloaded and listened to the conversation again without walking in on them this time.
To the vats, quickly! In a game that wasn't so strict about its time and how-many-you-can-examine-before-you-die limits, this would be the part where we slowly and painstakingly examine the contents of every vat in the room, until we find anything interesting. Of course, at this point, I'm ignoring every vat except the one the walkthrough says is important (#13, which is third from the wall on the camera left side) and just running directly there.
At this point, I feel bad for whoever put the background and atmosphere and flavor details into this game (the contents of the other vats, descriptions of basically everything you can look at that isn't evidence, etc.) I really do.
Unfortunately, we have a job to do, and time's wasting.
Well, that's a logical, intuitive place to find it. Perhaps in a game that gave you a little more room to breathe, there could have been a bit more of a buildup to this moment. Instead, I was so pressed to get the dagger before 10:15 that I didn't even have time to go back to the gift shop and establish that it wasn't there anymore, let alone get any sort of clue whatsoever where else it could be. Just, OH BY THE WAY THE DAGGER'S IN VAT #13 OF THE ALCOHOL PRESERVATION LAB GO GO GO!!
And, of course, now that we have it, the obvious next step is to carry it around like any old meaningless inventory item as we proceed through the rest of the game, and to quietly smuggle it around in my purse without telling anyone. I'm sure that, in a game whose plot specifically revolves around the theft of the Dagger and subsequent investigation, anyone who sees me with it will understand. As long as I don't touch Sterling Waldorf-Carlton's diary, though! Heaven forbid I walk off with anything important.