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Act 5 is a very fast-paced act, so I wanted to hold off on making these updates until I had the entire act completed and could post them all at once. This is not the place to leave you hanging for literal years as I've unfortunately done before (sorry about that.)
Last time, Laura bluffed her way out of being sacrificed by a cult by knowing as much about ancient Egypt as your average twelve year old, which worked because so did the cult. Now free, we move on to...
There's no music here, and no sound except the quiet, almost soothing hum of the boiler/furnace/whatever that is, but Mr. X isn't done with us yet and we should probably keep moving.
Hey, who's that over in the coal pit? Is that....
It is! The triumphant... well, not so triumphant return of Stanley von Strapping!
So, obviously we need to tend to him and get out of here before Mr. X catches up, but eh, I saved and the lack of music makes this feel like something of a respite. Let's poke around a little.
And if you touch the door...
Oh, hey, a shovel! Two of them, actually!
Okay, Sierra is clearly doing this on purpose, so I can't complain too much at an obvious gag. I would still like to point out that Laura put an entire human mummy in her purse, though.
Obviously "Washboard" Abs Abner is too
And once you get that little bit of loveliness out of the way, next comes the hard part.
Use the smelling salts to revive him...
Unwinnable count: 5
... and he'll sit up and kind of sit there in dazed silence for a beat. I've played enough Sierra games before (King's Quest VII was notorious for this) so I know that "giving you about six seconds to do something critical, or else lose if you did nothing or the wrong thing" pause when I see it.
Mess up or run out of time, and he'll stand up...
... step on something (complete with a surprisingly pathetic "owwowwoww" voice clip for his otherwise deep voice)...
... and die.
Well, he's completely non-responsive to the talk and ask commands, cannot be interacted with in any way, and makes no attempt to move, so that's my interpretation, anyway.
This, of course, means your eventual death as well, since you need his help to escape this room. Without him, you're stuck here, trapped and waiting for Mr. X to come put you out of your misery when time runs out. Oh, how could we have averted this terrible fate?
By giving Larry Loveletter his boot back before he stood up, of course.
Unwinnable count: 6 (in this version of the game. In other versions, the boot reappears in this room and you can collect it before reviving him if you didn't already have it. I'm counting it anyway because I'm playing this version, but to Sierra's credit, they did fix this in other versions.)
Right, now we just need to find a way out of--oh God I just heard gunshot sound effects.
MR. X HAS A GUN?? Well, now we definitely need to get out of here, before--
I'm choosing to believe that one of the cultists had a gun but opted not to use it on Laura because they wanted to ritually sacrifice her instead, then Mr. X fought his way through them with his morning star, then he got a new weapon from his fallen enemies. That's the only way I can believe he didn't just shoot Laura at any time right when the act started.
Let's try that again....
Okay, now Laura leisurely strolls away from danger. Toward... right, we still need to figure that out. The door is locked, the grate is bolted to the ground and too narrow for a human to fit through, and hiding in the furnace is a bad idea, so that leaves....
With the help of Biceps McRippling (it is explicitly stated if you try that it's too heavy to move by yourself,) we move this stone out of the way, expose another secret tunnel, and climb in. You have about ten seconds to figure this out before Mr. X finds you, by the way.
Inside, it's too dark to see anything but our own Scooby Doo eyes.
Wind up the lantern, though...
Unwinnable count: 7
... and the tunnel lights up, revealing... oh, what are the odds.
Good thing we made it through Act 4 without running out of snake oil, right?
Unwinnable count: 8
In case you were wondering how snake oil actually work in this game, it's a solid confetti-like substance that Laura throws out in front of her. When a snake runs over it, the snake instantly changes its mind, turns around, and just sort of goes away. One quart is sufficient for even the largest horde of snakes, unless one of them is Barney, who requires three just for him.
Dealing with the snakes allows us to progress one entire screen before...
You don't say.
And speaking of problems, what's that up ahead?
You'd think the snakes would have taken care of the rats, but what do I know? I guess I'm not as much of an expert on secret escape tunnel ecosystems as I am on ancient Egypt.
The good news is that the rats can be baited with cheese...
Unwinnable count: 9
... but the bad news is that you have to be careful with it. Unlike with the snakes in the previous room, you can't just use the cheese directly on the rats and have the whole situation work itself out. If you try, they'll just eat the cheese and then you. Instead, you have to throw it down one of those two doorways at the top there, thus making the rats chase after it.
Each rat gets its own unique animation for their one-at-a-time exit. Some even do flips. It's all very impressive and I'm sure they would make for a great cartoon show about a sewer-dwelling anthropomorphic ninja force (which would have to include the voice of Cam Clarke, of course,) but I'm not sure we have time to explore that at this particular moment.
For the record, the left door at the top there leads to the furnace and therefore to instant death, while the right one leads out. In a rare act of mercy, it actually doesn't matter which one the rats go through. If you don't incinerate them, they just harmlessly scurry away when you follow them into the next room. However, it does matter quite a lot which one you go through.
The T-Rex room! Now it's time for T-Rex to take a bite out of crime.
Especially because Hank Honeybun chose this exact moment to stand directly in front of your only path out of this room and turn to stone. Well, I guess it's up to Laura to do something, then!
In what has to be the most spiteful "female detective activating a reptile to stop a criminal" act one can do that doesn't involve log-kicking, we press the button to make Rex speak.
The unholy jaw mechanism activates right as Mr. X tries to climb out after us, pinning him. You'd think that would kill him, but no, he's just stuck there. It did apparently somehow disarm him, though.
And you know what that means! Now that we have him defeated and captured, gang, let's find out who this ghost really is!
OLD MAN ACT 6 TITLE CARD! I KNEW IT!!
All right, so, at this point, we have completed the main game. Act 6 is a final exam, wherein the coroner asks you to spell out, one at a time, every single crime committed here this evening. Getting the good or bad ending depends on whether you correctly answer the questions and whether you have all the necessary "Evidence" items in your inventory.
I'm going to leave this entry here, since the next one is just the epilogue. Also, I'd like to leave some time (hopefully not as long as my updates usually take, but... you know... some time) for the audience to weigh in and submit their answers. What do you think? Go back and reread this whole series if you haven't already, piece together the clues we've found along the way, and see if you can solve all the mysteries within this case. Be warned: in some of my earlier entries, I ended up completely falling for things I now believe might have been red herrings. Don't just take my word for it when I conclude something, especially in the earlier entries! I was probably wrong!
For each murder, the game will present you with a multiple choice list of basically every character in the game for the "Who?" portion of the accusation. For the "Why?" you get the following list:
As for the "How?" that may be the greatest mystery of all, but the game doesn't factor it into the equation at any point. When going back over the old entries and trying to piece this all together, assume Mr. X is a wizard who can magically zap people into being dead in bafflingly impossible ways.
There are also miscellaneous questions about the Dagger theft and the other museum thefts and, you know, whatever other shenanigans transpired here this evening.
Without playing ahead too much, I think the overall exam is going to look something like this. Again, for each one, the "Who?" is basically any character in this game and the "Why?" is that list you see above. Feel free to put a more thorough explanation behind your conclusion and how you arrived at it as a parenthetical aside, though. I'm very eager to hear your theories!
- Who is
Mr. MadmanMr. X?
- Who murdered Dr. Pippin Carter? Why?
- Who murdered Ziggy? Why?
- Who murdered Dr. Archibald Carrington, III (the one porcupined to death in his office)? Why?
- Who is the skeleton found in the steamer trunk? Who murdered him/her? Why? And if your answer is any of the other characters we saw (thus implying the one we saw is an impostor,) then who was impersonating them?
- Who murdered Ernie Leach? Why?
- Who murdered Yvette Delacroix? Why?
- Who murdered Countess Lavinia Waldorf-Carlton? Why?
- Who actually stole the Dagger of Amon Ra? (The catspaw, basically.) And who was behind the plan to have them do it?
- Who was involved in the forged paintings scheme?
- Who is the leader of the Amon Ra cult? (Yes, this one is about as obvious as asking who reunited with Laura in the coal bin and accompanied her in the final leg of her chase, but the game really does ask it.)
Let me know in the comments, and I'll see how soon I can get you the actual proper resolution and we can all see how right or wrong we were. For now, thank you so much for bearing with me throughout the main game!