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I swear I do still intend to finish this game someday.
This is going to be a shorter update, mostly just because I wanted to post something. I could have waited until I had gotten farther and had more content, but I think we've been waiting enough already.
I know it's been forever since my last update, but I reread the last entry and got myself all caught up again, so I should be good! Let me just reload my last save and--OH MY GOD!
I reloaded my save and ... this happened.
There was no scream sound effect or intro riff, and no cutaway to the body of whatever victim Laura is screaming at. Nothing but the "investigating the murder scene" music, the animated dripping blood (well, chocolate syrup, perhaps; the color is a bit off), and the game being perpetually frozen on this screen. The minimalist "most of Laura's body is invisible" approach to all of the scream shots, paired with the presumably not-supposed-to-be-there brown blood, make it look like Laura herself has been slashed open this time. I know that there was no way this was intentional, but look at this! The two sources of dripping blood match perfectly with her stomach and her hand.
Well, this session is off to a fantastic start.
You know, I was really hoping for some sort of identifying clue about whose blood this is supposed to be. You know, some line about "as you watch Ziggy's blood dripping onto the floor..." or something. Something obviously out of place like that, just to remind me that this is just the game glitching. I just need that illusion broken, to know that the game is not breaking its own expected behavior protocol and showing me a screaming, slashed-up Laura on purpose, because I swear that's how 9 out of 10 Haunted Gaming creepypasta stories start.
THANK YOU. Never in my life have I been so relieved to see a game obviously malfunctioning.
So, what happens when I...
I can't leave this screen. And reloading the save only makes this exact thing happen again--it very consistently and reliably sticks me right here. Evidently I have discovered a nasty game-ending, save-corrupting bug that happens when you save in Dr. Carrington's office right after discovering and dealing with the porcupine murder.
Fortunately, years of Sierra games have trained me on just how to prepare for such unforeseen occurrences.
I reloaded a previous save and just let the game run while I made this part of the writeup, mostly because I just wanted the game to be somewhere else while I was idling. Then, while I had this window in the background and was typing away, I suddenly heard a squeak, and switched back just in time to see Dr. Myklos' ferret running across the room.
This game is possessed.
After getting back to where I was before (and confirming that, yes, discovering fake-Dr. Carrington's body really is supposed to advance the time,) it's right back to wandering around the museum. Now that I'm using three walkthroughs on a section of game that is a bit open-ended, it's ... not the easiest thing in the world to reach a consensus on where I'm supposed to go next. Taking the three occasionally-conflicting guides into account and coming up with some sort of rough average, I believe we will step in and out of Dr. Carrington's office real quick just to overhear a conversation with Yvette, then go off to the medieval armor room to confront the Countess, and then back downstairs to Ernie's office to loot some things.
So far, so good....
It is almost painfully obvious that the stain in Yvette's rug is Ziggy's blood, from the behea--WAIT. NO. HOW THE HELL WAS HE BEHEADED IN YVETTE'S OFFICE WHEN HE WAS BEAKED TO DEATH IN THE PTERODACTYL ROOM? We went over this in the last update, and this clue honestly only raises even more questions.
Anyway, off to the Medieval Armor room. Ducking behind the tapestry makes it 1:00 AM.
The Countess appears for a prearranged meeting with Dr. Carrington, which Laura apparently decided to crash, "I've got you now" style.
I have to admit, this dialogue went from utterly ridiculous to a surprisingly clever and powerful "gotcha" an instant. That's the kind of reversing line Phoenix Wright says just before the prosecutor recoils as if physically slapped.
This is ... a lot tougher than I'm used to seeing Laura, in any conversation, ever. Maybe I'm missing something from not having played the Colonel's Bequest, but damn.
Good God, Laura! This kind of confrontational accusing usually only happens when you're seconds away from slapping the handcuffs on the perpetrator. You don't just come at them THAT strongly as part of a routine questioning and then let them go; that's how you end up slashed up like how this update accidentally started.
Laura believes the Countess had a hand in Dr. Carrington's death. The Countess claims she would never want him dead and would have no reason to kill him, as she had brought him over from Europe just to cash in on his part in this whole art burglary scheme. Given what we know about Watney Little most likely assassinating and then impersonating Dr. Carrington on the Andrea Doria, I believe we're both correct.
Just for fun, the Countess left that scene heading in the same direction I was going next anyway, so I met her again in the next room over, and could keep questioning her about unrelated things there.
HE'S RIGHT THERE!!!
More importantly, she has a similar suspiciously shifty "Er, I, um, have no idea what you're talking about!" reaction to being asked about Watney Little, which basically confirms that theory. I forgot to get a screenshot of that, though.
Anyway, next stop is Ernie's office. One of the walkthroughs said to question him about basically everything, and I did, but he didn't really say anything particularly noteworthy. At least, not enough to be worth screenshotting. He did mention serving in World War I and taking a wound that got him a plate in his head, which left him with A) a mistrust of Wolf Heimlich because he had fought against the Germans and everything (and given the fact that Heimlich is an actual literal Nazi, I can sort of understand his misgivings on this one,) and B) Dr. Myklos' near-fanatical obsession with his plate and his scars. However, all of that seemed like fluff--you know, character background stuff, not something that would actually come up as relevant in the main plot. I'm just writing it down here in case I end up being wrong about that ... but I didn't bother screenshotting any of it because I don't think I am.
Ernie's office has some tools we need to loot when he's not around, but supposedly we also needed to question him while he was there, anyway, so that's fine. Supposedly, if I dip into the mammalogy lab and come back, Ernie should be gone.
"The what," you ask?
This place, the one Dr. Myklos was occupying earlier because she was looking for her ferret. It's open now.
And there's the ferret.
The ferret makes a point of squeaking and sniffing at this exact box. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY BE INSIDE, I WONDER.
The box is locked, but that skeleton key we pried off the painting opens it. And so, at long last, after all that heavy-handed, painfully obvious foreshadowing, here we are. To absolutely no one's surprise, inside the box is....