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Oh God I remember this game.
Good thing I made an index page with all my past updates and an Act 3 recap and speculation so we can all refresh ourselves before I dive right back in! Seriously, I'm not even going to bother easing everyone back up to speed; I'm just going to write this for the future audience who's binge-reading this entire archive and just read the last update like five minutes ago. Are you ready? If not, the index is right there.
Now are you ready?
Okay, let's do this.
Act 4 opens in the statue room right outside Yvette's office, which, conveniently, is exactly where we need to go next.
Holy crap, Yvette is still alive. Remember, we last overheard her in a heated argument with Det. O'Riley, who is very heavily implied to be the killer at this point. I'm kind of amazed she somehow got out of that one.
You know, one of my friends pointed out that my commentary for this game is perhaps a bit meaner in tone than what they would have done, but I would just like to clearly state for the record that even I wouldn't have opened with that.
The game couldn't have pointed out any more strongly that Det. O'Riley killed Ernie if it had had a blue cartoon dog to help it try, but okay, sure, let's play along for the people who missed the entire last scene I guess.
Wait, what? Since when does he have anything to do with any of this?
Because goodness knows Laura wouldn't want to be insensitive.
Speak of the devil[ishly handsome]! Yes, that's why the conversation dropped his name out of absolutely nowhere: as if Sierra had suddenly remembered that he is, in fact, still a character in this game, we are now treated to the sudden and triumphant return of "Lucious" Lou Loveinterest. You may all now commence swooning.
Yeah yeah, you're still morbid, we get it, anyway we need to talk to our boyfriend now okay bye.
This is still his theme song, by the way.
"Murders? Oh, uh, yeah, there's that I guess. But listen, we may have forgeries on our hands!" Anyway, way ahead of you there, buddy.
Suddenly, Yvette bursts out of her office to all but kidnap him.
Time advancement! Fortunately, Act 4 is far shorter and less open than Act 3 was, so hopefully I won't be running around in "OH GOD IT'S 12:30 AM I READY FOR IT TO BE 12:30 YET???" mode quite as much. (Just one very nasty trick at the end of the Act, rather than numerous little ones all throughout.) I mean I'm still following three walkthroughs, but....
The game gives us a "you hear muffled voices" notice and of course we have to spy on this one.
Obviously this is going to be a gag where Golly G. Whillickers is just giving Yvette a shoulder rub and they're playing it up like sex dialogue for hilarious misinterpretation. And it is. But I will give the writers points for some of the lines they came up with for this.
See? The joke is badly telegraphed but I'll take it anyway because clearly they had fun with it along the way.
Laura can't take it anymore, walks in on the couple who really are just doing a shoulder rub, and reacts with literally the same face and pose she uses for happening across murder victims.
But... he is just rubbing her neck! I know I'm a member of the modern-day furry fandom, where we start our relationships with people at "Hello, I checked your f-list profile and I see you and I have many of the same fetishes!" Still, even in 1926, it's just a neck rub. Furthermore, I know he's Laura's star-crossed lover and all but they met twelve hours ago.
For my "I'm just going to assume people reading this caught up on the archives" speech earlier, I think I'm the one wondering if this is still the same game between updates. I dusted my save off again and Smooches McSwoon is back out of nowhere and I swear Laura didn't used to be this much of a cynical, bitter husk of a person.
Anyway, as previously established, it is now 2:45. (Hour hands in the Laura Bow universe remain fixed to their current position until instantly and abruptly ticking to the next one, the way second hands do in ours.) Weren't Yvette and Wolf supposed to meet in the preservation lab at 3:00? I know, I know, particular appointments like that would have been impossible to remember even without how slowly I'm posting updates, just because there are so many of them. Fortunately, I'm following three walkthroughs.
We regain control right outside Dr. Myklos' office, which has a secret passage leading directly to the preservation lab. You don't ever have to use any of the secret passages in this game, but (annoyances of having to re-crank the lantern to avoid death by bats every single time aside,) they're great when you need to beat the clock somewhere.
And the Countess just happened to walk in while I was in the middle of the walking out animation. Probably random NPC wandering algorithm, but, uh.. can I help you? Or....
There is an immobile you-have-to-come-to-it refill station for the snake oil on this desk. The walkthroughs make it very clear that if you fail to make sure you have a full bottle now, the game becomes unwinnable.
What the walkthroughs didn't mention is that the refill station itself has a limited supply; topping off your bottle drains a third of the desk supply. I was just poking the bottle at the desk supply to see what would happen, but... oops. Reload!
(And in the reload, I take the long way there instead of the secret passage because I actually got there a little too early anyway.)
Here we are again, it's three, and... nothing happens. There is no meeting to overhear. If you're wondering what the point of that was, it was to establish that neither party (Wolf nor Yvette) made it to their own meeting. Curious? Suspicious.
Back to Yvette's office, and... oh, this doesn't look good. Did Det. O'Riley come back to finish the job after all? That would explain why she didn't make it to the meeting.
There are three items scattered about her desk. Some are juicier and more incriminating than others, but all of them are clues in their own way. Based on their relative importance, what do you think we do?
If you guessed "Ignore the dress scrap and hairs because I'm sure they're fine where they are, but go ahead and take the shoe," congratulations!
Meanwhile, there's a new addition to the Old Masters gallery: a statue. A statue that looks familiar. A statue that looks kind of like someone who missed her meeting and was last seen before an apparent major scuffle in her office.
Yeah, I'm pretty sure this isn't an actual exhibit, given that basically everyone with a claim on being or pretending to be the curator is dead by now, and therefore it's okay to smash it with the dinosaur bone and
How much do you think Laura's purse weighs at this point, by the way?
Gasp! It's... it's... it's 3:15 already!
Oh, and there's Yvette.
So, not going to react, or...?
Oh, there we go. Smashing the statue doesn't trigger the shocking discovery bit; you have to manually look at the body once it's exposed.
DEATH #5: PLASTER OF PARIS'D!!!
Victim: Yvette Delacroix
Gruesomeness: 5.0 / 10
Absurdity: 9.0 / 10
Alas! Poor Yvette. She died as she lived: covered head to toe in a white, sticky substance.
Honestly, I'm amazed she even made it out of her last altercation alive, so this one is tragic but not exactly a huge surprise. At least the circumstances help us confirm that Det. O'Riley is definitely definitely definitely the murderer.
As for rating this one, the combination of being dead and being covered in plaster doest does do a good job of making her look like a freaking zombie, so, you know, gruesomeness points for that. It doesn't really look much like Yvette, but that's mostly because her hair deflated, and I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt that being covered in plaster can do that. If anything, the bigger mystery is why it's still blonde, considering what the plaster did to her skin. But hey, Ernie spontaneously lost his mustache when he died, so it's not the worst posthumous transformation in this game.
The absurdity score? I originally gave it 7.0 for every point I just mentioned, plus the usual "you know there are easier, less giving-yourself-away ways to hide a body, right?" theme, plus the obvious clues in her hands that apparently weren't affected by the plaster at all. Remember that all Laura did was give Yvette's torso a solid whack with an improvised club to shatter the outer shell; she didn't use a fine brush to unearth the buried artifacts like an archaeologist or anything. However, davidn did an amazing reenactment of how this crime must have gone down in the comments below, and his points made me realize I needed to bump it up a bit.
Anyway, let's investigate!
More red hairs (these ones we can keep,) and some bifocals with a fingerprint on the lens. Yeah, these seem important. *ker-steal*
Or had simply what? Laura, are you serious?
Really, Laura? You are the worst detect--
Wait just a God damned minute.
Well, I'll be damned. He does have red hair.
And he was alone with Yvette mere minutes before she died.
And he's been conveniently absent for most of the game up to this point as everyone else kept dying.
And he was surprisingly nonchalant about the murders when he found out.
And the "mad artist" angle is about the closest we're going to get to an explanation for the why behind any of the increasingly ridiculous body displays.
No. There's just too much of a case against O'Riley (who also has red hair.) This has to be misdirection. Yvette was so sure to die at the end of Act 3, I really want to say this entire bonus one-more-scene-and-then-she-dies thing in Act 4 is just a clumsily shoehorned-in attempt to toss one last bit of intrigue into this case after Act 3 had already pretty much given the answer away. Maybe... maybe it's a setup? The whole "only the artist would bother with all these weird displays" assumption is a tool the detective used to frame the artist? If there is an explanation, then I'm going to go with that; otherwise it's probably just something that sort of happens. (I don't think we ever actually will be expected to explain how the killer murdered Ziggy with a pterodactyl and a paper cutter, for example.)
Anyway, we're done here. Our next stop is the armor room, for a bit that's rather notorious even by Sierra standards for a particularly nasty "if you fail to do this one small thing right now, the game becomes unwinnable" trick. See, the game in no way tells you this, but we are already almost done with Act 4. If anything, it probably made you expect something hideously long after Act 3, but nope! Surprise! The game also doesn't warn you that we're going to be, um, a little preocuppied throughout all of Act 5, and that this surprisingly small window before the end of Act 4 is our last chance to investigate the museum before control is taken away. And what is our target in this window? Something that just appeared in the armor room (the game doesn't tell you that, either) that we're really going to need in Act 5 (the game doesn't tell you that, either.)
Pretty much every Sierra game except King's Quest VII does this to a certain extent, but this is one of the few rare examples (much like the unskippable taxi rides in Act 1) of something so bad that they actually fixed it in later versions of this game.
But we're not playing later versions of the game. We're playing this version of the game, so we need to go to the armor room right now.
So anyway, this Act is subtitled "Museum of the Dead" presumably because a trip from one side of the other involves passing by a corpse in literally every room along the way. Sigh.
Sigh (because Dr. Carter is now inside one of the suits of armor.)
Er, wait. What's that by the dog?
A familiar-looking boot. Yes, this is the thing that if you fail to pick it up, the game becomes unwinnable. man, what is it with Sierra games and punishing you for not acquiring a boot, anyway?
So we'll just take this so the game can't stab us with that particular gotcha later, but... oh, dear. Depending on whether you believe the feint from earlier, either our killer is now on a rampage or things aren't looking good for Dirk Dreamdate.