Sunday, 14 October 2012

Game 24: Chamber of the Sci-Mutant Priestess - Won!

Raven Journal Entry 5: “I have rescued Sci Fi! It is difficult to describe what I had to go through to get her back by my side, as I’m not even sure that I fully understand it myself. From what I gather, it was not a god called Zorq that was ruling our planet, but in fact an alien race that had in turn taken control of another alien race called the Zorqs. Whoever they were, I foiled their plans of keeping Sci Fi as a high priestess slave and killed one of them in the process. Sci Fi and I won’t be around if they ever decide to return, as we’ve taken a flying saucer and are making our way to other worlds as I write this. Who knows what awaits us, but it’s surely better than what we leave behind...”


Where we last left off: Believe it or not, this had no relevance to the game whatsoever

I’m going to try to keep this short (ed: I failed). It appears from the reader comments that Chamber of the Sci-Mutant Priestess has offered even less entertainment to you guys than it has for me playing it. Describing what’s been going on in my sessions has not been easy due to the bizarre nature of it all, and I think the amount of effort I’ve had to put into merely painting a cohesive picture has left me with little energy left to inject my own feelings about it all. If I’m going to do that in this post, I’ll need to get a move on, so let’s get to it! When I last finished writing I’d just awoken a sleeping mummy by giving it a drink and feeding it a bean, yet I could find no purpose to the event whatsoever. The rebels Normajeen and Ash seemed nice enough, but neither had any advice, items, or even requests to offer. All I could do was move on.


Why let me ask characters for items when none of them ever have any!?

I felt like I’d been everywhere I could go in the game so far apart from the two exits leading out of the rebel’s cavern. You guys probably know my style of play well enough to know that I took the left exit first, but for completions sake I’ll tell you up front that the right exit led only to The Noose and Deilos’ watery habitat, neither of which I thought could offer me any assistance at this stage. The left exit however did lead somewhere new! A few twists and turns and I found myself in a room called the Refectory. In this room was a smallish green creature, which my cursor informed me was a turkey. Why the creators named it a turkey is anyone’s guess, but regardless, it quickly disappeared out of sight before I could try to interact with it. The red light came on in my interface, which informed me that there was an item in the room. It turned out to be a chopper (knife), which I added to my inventory.


Evolution has not been kind to the poor old turkey.

From the Refectory I could go right or down. I chose down for no particular reason, and appeared in The Threshold of Truth, confronted by an angry protozorq priestess. She shouted “yegga zorku, kwango! Wug..” at me and then waited to see what I would do. What else could I do but attack her?! I assumed the priestess was going to kick my ass, but instead it was me that ripped her a new one. I could only assume that my newfound chopper made a big difference in combat because my previous attempts at taking down protozorqs had been less than inspiring. Once she was dead, a turkey appeared and ate her body before I could search it, which was rather annoying. Oh well, she was gone! I then noticed a pedestal behind the bars in the room, and an odd looking...thing...on the wall.


A pity your fighting skill did not deprive me of anything

The thing on the wall had an open mouth as though expecting me to put something in there, but I didn’t know what item might do the trick. It seemed unlikely that the chopper would be the answer, and the egg seemed far too important to throw away now. I turned to Gauss to see what advice he might have. “Poach dor fried” was all he had to say. Talk about giving the answer away! I think this is one of the main issues I have with the game. Some of the puzzles are genuinely interesting, but Gauss either gives the answer away entirely or the interface does by giving you only one or two valid options. Probably the only time the puzzles really worked  were when I had to turn to my sci powers. Rant aside, I put the egg into the mouth and the bars opened, allowing me to investigate the pedestal further.


"Psssttt...use the egg! That's the solution!"

Inspecting the pedestal changed my view to inside the room behind the bars, from where I could see scriptures sitting upon it. I read the scriptures and was informed that they contained the Book or Origins and the Book of Shame. Both scriptures were part of the game’s background manual, so now Raven knew all that I as the player knew prior to starting. It turned out the scriptures were not what I was after at all, as I soon noticed a small statue sitting atop a wall sculpture. I couldn’t reach it apparently, so I used my Sci Shift power to get it and add it to my possessions. With that done I left the room and took the downwards path out of the Threshold. This took me to The Ante-Chamber where I was destroyed immediately by numerous protozorqs. That clearly wasn’t the way!


Zorq had a fascination with giant boobed elephant people!

I restored and then took the right door instead, finding myself in a room called In the Presence of God. There was a large orange statue there, but there didn’t appear to be any way of interacting with it. That left only three doors, labelled Saura’s Repose, Starry Wall and Placating the Powers. I recognised the latter name, as that had been where I was sacrificed in the previous games where I’d agreed to sleep on the mattresses in Dreams of Slime. Gauss had no insights to offer me, but the Zone Scan did reveal that the Starry Wall could be moved somehow. No amount of pixel hunting or clicking gave me any clues as to how the wall might move or open, so I decided to enter Saura’s Repose.


This brings new meaning to the phrase "fear of god". He looks terrified!

Saura’s Repose contained two pillars topped by spiders, a mattress on the ground, an inscription on the wall, and a niche containing a statue very similar to the one I’d collected earlier. The inscription said no more than “of the divine couple”, which meant absolutely nothing to me. At first I picked up the statue to complete my set, but it then dawned on me that the solution might be to put both in the niche together. There definitely appeared to be room for both, and it turned out there was! Reuniting the two statues in the niche caused a small tunnel to open close by. Unfortunately, it was much too small for me to enter, and I could find no other use for it at all!


Now I know how Alice felt.

I thought about how I might be able to use the turkeys, or even the vorts that appear from time to time, to do something in the tunnel, but to no avail. There was another door leaving Saura’s Repose apart from the one I came in through, so I left the statues in the niche and took it. This doorway led me to a rather surprising scene. On entering a room called Ablutions, I found myself looking at a naked woman bathing herself in the centre of a room surrounded by doors. She immediately set upon me, and while I had options such as “Admire” and “Kiss” in my menu, the only successful thing I could do was to “Attack” her. She went down (so to speak) quickly and disappeared beneath the bath waters, leaving me to try my luck with the five doors.


I knew it was too good to be true!

I won’t take you through each room that I gained access to through these doors, as all but one had nothing of interest apart from an inscription on the wall. I read the inscriptions on each wall and came up with the following: “The father of all offa will open the way of the stars under the eye”. The father of all offa? Under the eye? Huh? The way of the stars was clearly the starry wall in the room called In the Presence of God, but the rest was a mystery to me. Taking the last door took me back to Saura’s Repose, where I realised that my sentence wasn’t yet complete. I’d already come across “of the divine couple” earlier, and that was clearly the last part of the message. “The father of all offa will open the way of the stars under the eye of the divine couple.”


If you really want to tell something to someone, spread the message across five separate inscriptions.

Suddenly it dawned on me that the divine couple would likely be the two spiders atop the pillars in Saura’s Repose, but what the hell was “the father of all offa”? Offa are the people (myself included) that lived on Earth before Zorq came down and messed around with Spawnomatik. Who would the original father of the people be? I had no idea, so I decided to go to the only place I hadn’t yet explored...Placating the Powers. This is where things got very, very confusing...so bear with me. If the following description of events makes it sound like I rationally figured out what was going on and quickly solved the scenario, then I haven’t done a very good job of describing it.


Using the Know Mind power had so much potential, but can be used rarely in the game

The scene I came across in Placating the Powers was certainly odd. There was a figure on the altar who was about to be sacrificed, a protozorq priestess standing to the right of it, a bunch of turkeys hanging around, a monkey, and Saura the high priestess herself. I only knew it was Saura because she matched the image I’d been shown in the games introductory presentation. Saura went through with the sacrifice before either of them realised I was there, but once they did, the battle was on. The priestess called me a “vile profaner” and attacked me. She was defeated easily and once again eaten by a turkey. Saura then turned her attention to me. Surely it was going to be harder than just pressing attack to defeat the high priestess!


Expiation? Sounds like you've been doing some fouling of your own!

Nope, Saura went down quickly too, and for a split second I thought the game might just be the most anticlimactic experience ever. But Chamber of the Sci-Mutant Priestess had at least one card up its sleeve! When Saura died, a message popped up saying “Saura’s mask falls! You’ve killed your partner, Sci Fi!!” What? The bitch that just took a swipe at me with a large knife was my best friend (and presumably lover) Sci Fi?! Surely not! Had I totally missed something? Was the victim on the altar Sci Fi and I just misinterpreted what was going on? I restored and played through the scene again. Same result! Saura the high priestess was Sci Fi...Sci Fi was Saura the high priestess. Every time I killed her, I was set upon by distraught turkeys that killed me on the spot, so clearly I was supposed to do something else.


Noooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!

I tried all sorts of things at this stage, from running away after defeating the first priestess to Brainwarping Saura, with no success. I spent some time killing as many turkeys as I could before entering Placating the Powers in the hope that there would be none there to eat me after I took down the traitorous Sci Fi. I must have spent about forty minutes trying everything I could think of until I finally tried Sci Shifting Saura’s sacrificial dagger away from her. It worked, and I was then able to Sci Shift her mask away also. Sci Fi still didn’t seem to recognise me though, and if I tried to talk to her in any way, she still attacked me and forced me to kill her. It turned out that the only solution was to Sci Shift her dagger and mask away, then Brainwarp her, and then give her the flask of liquid I retrieved from the mummy’s tomb.


Hmmmm...she seemed better in my memories.

Sci Fi must have been under some sort of hypnosis, and as soon as I went through the above steps she came to, completely confused about where she was or what she was doing. I’d kind of expected the game to finish once I had Sci Fi, but I wasn’t done yet. She just stood there looking at me, with a monkey standing next to her. I tried picking up the monkey, but he was afraid of me. I did however have a “eureka” moment though, when I suddenly realised the monkey must be “the father of all offa”, as man descended from monkeys. As an avid science student, it pains me that this is part of the plot of a computer game, as humans did not evolve from monkeys as we know them, or any modern animal for that matter. I’ll excuse the game creators for their simplistic view of evolution though, as a fair percentage of the world’s population falsely assumes this to be true (don’t get me started on those that refute evolution altogether).


"Squeeken...squeek, squeek squeekety!" (I...am your father!)

Given I was unable to pick it up, how was I going to get that monkey into the tunnel in Saura’s Repose? Eventually I noticed that both Sci Fi and the monkey followed me wherever I went, so I headed for the tunnel with them in tow. As soon as I was standing next to the tunnel, I was able to select “put in the tunnel” as an option when clicking on the monkey. It seems odd that the little guy wouldn’t let me touch him at all, but doesn’t mind me chucking him in a tunnel. Anyway, with that done, I went back to In the Presence of God, where I was now able to open the starry wall. It felt like the end of the game was very close, but I really had no idea what was to come.


Get in the hole you little shit!

Through the newly formed door in the starry wall was a room called Birth of a Divine Race. The Spawnomatik device was in the room, which I believe is what Zorq (and then the people) used to form new races (including the Vorts). There was also a ladder leading to a trapdoor and a lever next to it. No matter what I tried to do, the trapdoor would open and two protozorqs (I assumed they were protozorqs) came down into the room, announcing “It’s an abomination, great Zorq! They will die!” I’m not really sure what they were referring to, but interestingly, one of them had a white beard and the other some sort of spider like creature levitating above its head. I was informed that “the god Zorq has decided to destroy you!” and then the one with the spider thingie attacked me straight away, so I attacked him back.


Hey! That's my girlfriend you're talking about there!

I died before I could even throw a punch, with a message saying ”what mortal can resist the mega-god Zorq?” Huh? Was this guy supposed to be Zorq himself? I restored and went through the scene again. Yes, everything suggested I was about to fight a god! How could I possibly defeat him? I turned to my sci powers. My Extreme Violence power did the trick, and then Zorq was down. Except...a message said “Qriich falls to the floor and starts to squeal.” Qriich? Who the hell was that? So I wasn’t fighting Zorq after all? Gauss then piped up with “deeaktiv ation of Zork seemz to hav inka pass it ated hiz col eeg” (deactivation of Zorq seems to have incapacitated his colleague). Deactivation of Zorq? What?


My brain fell out of my head and started to squeal!

I then noticed the spider thing was lying on the ground next to Qriich. Was that Zorq??!! Was he controlling the protozorqs through some sort of telepathy? Before I could think on the matter further, the bearded dude took Sci Fi hostage, threatening to kill her if I even so much as moved. I tried numerous things at this point, but any incorrect moves led to the bearded one (whose name I could now see was Harssk) climbing up the ladder partway or killing me by plunging a dagger into my back. Rather oddly, once Harssk reached the second step of the ladder, he appeared to have one of the spider things on his head, despite the other one still sitting on the floor. I could only imagine that this was a bug in the game, but there was every chance that I just had no idea what was going on.


Um...oh I hate decisions like this!

Eventually I came upon the solution, which was to cast Brainwarp at Harssk. This apparently gave the spider thingie on the ground a chance to attach to Harssk. Any chance that my current assessment of the situation was correct was blown away though, as the message onscreen stated that “Qriich leaps from the floor and fastens onto Harssk’s head”. So the creature is Qriich, not the protozorq!? So where’s Zorq in all this? Am I to believe that he was controlling the non-bearded protozorq by controlling the alien called Qriich attached to his head? How was he controlling the bearded dude? Or was Zorq merely spectating events through the eyes of Qriich? That would kind of make sense, but then why did taking down the protozorq also take down Qriich?


Watch out for gravel rash little dude!

Qriich then spoke to me, saying: “you saved my life, earthling, by emptying mind of protozorq. I was able to enter it! I must leave. Cannot act without my Zorq. Protozorq body too weak for me. Zorq race dying out. Need new slave race. I will return with another Zorq. Experiment with Earthling female. Will make new race of slaves for Qriich. They will take place of Zorqs whose numbers dwindle.” Hang on a second! There’s more than one Zorq? All I could deduce from that was that the guy I killed with Extreme Violence was in fact a Zorq, but not the only one. Qriich (or perhaps a race of Qriich’s) were using Zorqs as hosts to enslave other races. This particular Qriich lost his Zorq, so he then attached himself (or herself) to a protozorq, but that wasn’t enough to sustain him, so he was going to have to leave and come back.


I've experimented with lots of Earthling females mate. What do you want to know!?

Qriich leaving sounded just fine by me, but he still had Sci Fi held hostage. If I didn’t get her away from him before they reach the top of the ladder, then we were both killed. I used my Sci Shift power to close the trap door and he was unable to escape, dropping Sci Fi to safety. When I saw the message “Qriich’s eyes leave you, turning towards the trapdoor”, I knew what I needed to do. I threw the sacrificial dagger at him, and felt great satisfaction when “the blade buries itself deeply in Qriich-Harssk’s back!!” With him out of the way, Sci Fi and I climbed up the ladder and through the trap-door. That’s when we saw the flying saucer!


Just shut up and die would you!

At least, that’s when I was informed that my character could see the flying saucer. I was then also informed that “back in the temple, you see all the protozorqs have self-obliterized!”, “you fetch ash and normajeen from their cave”, and finally “you and Sci Fi decide to quit this world of fear and hatred. The netwerk’s not for you. The saucer will fly you to other worlds.” I then witnessed the flying saucer speeding off into space. Talk about tying up all loose ends without involving the player in any way! I stared at the words THE END that popped up, feeling utterly confused, yet pretty damn happy that I wasn’t going to have to subject myself (or you guys) to Chamber of the Sci-Mutant Priestess any longer. I’ll save any further rants for the Final Rating post.


Um...the end!

Session Time: 2 hours 00 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours 00 minutes

23 comments:

  1. This is going to sound wrong, but you should become deeply frustrated and snarky more often -- I laughed aloud several times while reading this post. I'm looking forward to seeing how you rate it...

    "Hmmmm...she seemed better in my memories."

    I was thinking something very similar -- it was like the graphics took a horrible turn when it came to living creatures, and "Sci Fi" was additionally either electrocuted or hit with really bad 80s hair.

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    1. Haha...I'm glad you enjoyed my frustrated cynicism. At least it was good for something! ;)

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  2. Ok, you know what? I've avoided reading your other posts to avoid spoilers for my own playthrough until now. But the last few days whenever I've sat down to pick up where I was, I've always found excuses to do something else. So I've decided that enough is enough, and scored it on my own system, SCUMMING. The verdict? NOT FUN.

    There, done. Onwards to the next one!

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    1. There's a lesson in this somewhere. I can't quite put my finger on what it is, but I'm sure it's there! ;)

      It's probably for the best that I played a game I didn't love during such a busy time at work. I never really felt the magnetic pull that really entertaining games have, which allowed me to focus on my work.

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  3. Indeed, a rather corny ending - I was rolling my eyes when Qriich-Harssk so conveniently turned his back and the animation of flying saucer at the end was too much to bear.

    I was as confused as you with the strange creature. Reading the manual made it at least a bit clearer: "Qriich: It's a kind of hovering squid, to be seen floating near Zorq. Probably a pet". So the developers were probably trying to create a surprise ending where the supposed pet was actually the evil mastermind behind it all - too bad the creature was mentioned only in this one sentence and nowhere in the game before the end.

    My final verdict is that the plot had too much elements thrown in (post-apocalyptic world, mutants, telepathic network, renegade telepaths, alien conqueror seen as god by primitives, alien mind controller) that it would have required more effort on story telling - now it felt just like an incoherent mishmash. Forgettable experience.

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    1. I skimmed over the manual again to see if I could find out who or what Qriich was, but couldn't find it. Damned if I was going to thoroughly read that nonsense again.

      I'm glad I wasn't the only confused one! When I look back at my screenshots towards the end, they're all titled things like wtf, huh, waaahh, say what, etc. etc. I was having a tough time! :)

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    2. So the big twist involves a creature only mentioned in a throwaway line in the manual? I hate when they do that! It's like one of those crappy whodunits where the killer is a store clerk that appeared in the background during a 10-second scene.

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  4. Hooray! I think...

    But doesn't that mean that humanity is enslaved or to be killed? ("Others will come to start new slave race. all offa will die!") Or are we hoping that's an empty threat?

    Also, I'm glad you mentioned “the father of all offa”, and had a little explanation, because otherwise I would have had to do it. Although it might be more clever than that, because the text bubble you showed said "If you believe the Protozorqs, he could be your dear poppa". This seems to indicate that it is the Protozorqs who consider monkeys and humans to be alike, and perhaps that the game designers knew their stuff and wanted the Protozorq to appear ignorant.

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    1. I'm not sure I'm prepared to give the designers that much credit, given the overall plot, but perhaps I should give them the benefit of the doubt.

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  5. Whooo! Using my own Divo skills, I don't see a high score for this one happening. :-)

    As for the "father of all offa" reference, I actually thought it was clever, if technically wrong. But hey, if Douglas Adams got away with it...

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    1. Well it did give me a "eureka" moment, which means I must have come to the solution through logic, even if it was flawed logic.

      The game will go low...but Psycho is well and truly safe at the bottom of the pile.

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    2. In retrospect, most of us were a bit too optimistic in our guesstimates. Interesting to see whether this will beat Captain Blood and Mortville Manor and be the first French game getting more than 27 points.

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    3. Surely it can do better than the one game I couldn't get myself to finish and the shockingly difficult, not to mention appallingly translated, Mortville Manor.

      At least Chamber was over pretty quickly. ;)

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  6. Also: Kon gratson complee tendis ouith nohelp!

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    1. Aaaaaaaaaggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!

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    2. What's really strange is that I got so used to translating Gauss that I actually started writing things in his language when it came time to post. I actually wrote deaktivate and inskripshun before correcting myself.

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    3. Lol! As if texting and l33tspeak hadn't butchered the language enough already :-)

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  7. Remember kids; Don't do drugs, or you'll wind up producing adventure games like this one!

    Also: I've found an adventure game that you WILL not finish. Cyberia, PS1 and PC.
    http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6CA20EDB748C44D1
    Why? The traditional adventure game segments are interspersed with brutally hard rail-shooter segments. However, it is probably easier if you aren't using a mouse instead of a d-pad.

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    1. Oh and it keeps you from missing things by having a guy step out of a doorway and kill you if you go to a region it doesn't want you in yet.

      I do like the puzzle with the and/or/not gates, but the people in the replay have passed both puzzles by guessing so far.

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  8. Soooooooooooooo glad this game is done!! Onward to far, far, far better things! As in, anything at all...

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  9. Final Rating post will be up some time tomorrow.

    I'm genuinely excited to play something new, and I should be able to post a bit more regularly from now on. Things have finally settled down. :)

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  10. So is the US title of the game supposed to be a reference to the fact that Sci Fi is the priestess? What excatly is her chamber? Reading about this game makes me think of those wonderfully horrible 70-ies b-movies with all sorts of nonsensical elements mixed together with no thought for the whole.

    Except since it's a game you turn your brain into a gauss foetus trying to make sense where there is none, instead of just laughing at it.

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  11. The first entry on this game describing the story hurt my brain. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to understand the rest, so I skipped the subsequent posts.

    But I tuned in this time to see how it ended, and it kinda makes a half-sense! It made more sense when I assumed a dreamy, delirium state.

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