Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Game 24: Chamber of the Sci-Mutant Priestess - Do the Brainwarp

Raven Journal Entry 4: “I must be getting close now to my goal of saving Sci Fi from the protozorqs. I have bypassed the dreaded Dreams of Slime room, where I believe other Divo’s are sacrificed, and have instead made it into the Gallery maze past The Concourse. There I have found two rebels named Ash and Normajeen, who are a father and daughter hiding out in the caverns. Strangely, I have just resuscitated a long dead mummy we discovered in a tomb beneath the cavern, but I know not what purpose it might have. There is still much to explore, so perhaps things will become clearer in time.”


The Concourse: Only Divo's may enter

So, I’d made it through the Five Ordeals, and now found myself in The Concourse as a Divo. I had no real purpose at this point apart from saving Sci Fi, wherever she might be. I didn’t yet know whether I’d removed the time limit altogether, or whether it was simply going to start over with another hour ticking down. The concourse had four doors leading off it, being the Guard-Room, the Dreams of Slime, and two that were simply called Passage. I decided, as I normally do, to take the doors from left to right. The first door was blocked by a protozorq who demanded I “do not hang around, Divo. Go into the chamber of dreams.” Well that sounded like the door named Dreams of Slime, but I thought I’d stick to the plan before taking that option.


Somehow I highly doubt the truth is worth dreaming!

It turned out the second and third doors were also blocked, with the protozorq guards giving me exactly the same message. It looked like I was going to have to take the Dreams of Slime pathway anyway. Before I did that though, I spent a little bit of time exploring The Concourse thoroughly. That same damn engraving that had appeared a couple of times before was on the wall, yet it still meant nothing to me. There was also a Holo Holo on the wall, which if I haven’t described it already, is a screen displaying propaganda on tap. “All must be ready for the final spawning! Zorq drools.” I briefly considered changing sides after such a stirring speech, but eventually decided to continue down the path of righteousness I’d chosen. Most interestingly though, Gauss had the following to say when I used my Tune In power: “faithful to water not dreem.” It didn’t mean anything to me, but I noted it for future reference.


This bloody engraving better make sense by the end of the game

With no other apparent option available, I tried to enter the Dreams of Slime. The protozorq guarding that door once again stopped me, but he merely demanded I reveal my egg to him. I did so, and then found myself in a room full of other Divos sleeping on matresses. The protozorq on guard told me that “Zorq has been kind to you, Divo. Dream.” Clearly I was supposed to use one of the mattresses and go to sleep, so that’s what I did. On awakening, I found myself strapped to an altar in a place called Placating the Powers, where I watched powerless as I was sacrificed to Deilos. I restored my game and re-entered the Dreams of Slime hoping to find something to do or some way of avoiding being killed, but I couldn’t. No matter what I did, I always ended up on that altar.


Wasn't there a scene like this in Conan the Barbarian, but with more boobs?!

I restored once again back to The Concourse, but this time I tried to figure out if there was another path I could take. Guass seemed to be suggesting that I could avoid dreaming somehow, but I wasn’t sure how. I turned to my sci powers, and was stoked to find that if I used the Brainwarp power on one of the guards, it gave me enough time to enter the room they were guarding unopposed! I therefore went back to the original plan of checking out each pathway from left to right. The left most doorway took me to the Guard-Room, where I was confronted by “many protozorqs”. Gauss just had time to tell me that I’d gone through the “rongdor” before I was slaughtered where I stood. So...door number one was not the way to go.


Noshit!

The second door took me into a passage with some bars at the end. Through the bars I could see a chamber, half-filled with water, and there was also a bolt I could interact with just next to them. I pulled the bolt and there was a loud clunk, but nothing I could see had changed. I then passed through the bars and found myself in The Powers of the Abyss. I haven’t mentioned this room before, but I did find myself there a couple of times earlier on. It’s where I fell when I purposely jumped down the hole in the ground in The Noose, but since it was also home of the hungry Deilos, who quickly tore me to shreds, I figured it was a place I didn’t want to be. I was surprised to find myself back there now, and started to wonder whether the room served another purpose. After all, Gauss had mentioned water.


Do you care to let me see it?

I quickly realised I could use the Sticky Fingers sci power to climb into a tube in the ceiling, but there didn’t appear to be any way of getting through a slab at the top. I always ended up thrown back into the water with Deilos, and eventually dying. Even if I pulled the bolt in the chamber and then tried to retreat back to The Concourse, I was immediately confronted, and killed by, the protozorq guards. I was going to have to try door number three! This passage immediately looked more promising, first taking me into a vacant corridor, which then turned left up some stairs to another passageway that had a door off to the left and ended with a toad’s head carving. The door led to a room called Ante-Chamber, but I thought I’d investigate the carving before proceeding that way.


Shodan's little sister had none of her kin's sex appeal!

As usual, I checked in with Gauss to see whether he had anything insightful to offer. “Sumthingznot kleer” was all he had to say. I inspected the toad’s head and was told that the eye appeared worn out. I was then able to interact with the eye itself, and pressing it made the wall spin round, and me with it! The room I found myself in was called A Hidden Place, and there was a cadaver lying in the middle of the floor. There was also a lever on the wall and a trap-door on the wall, but I couldn’t help but wonder whether searching the cadaver would offer positive results. I chose to “go and search” the body, and was immediately crushed when the ceiling dropped to the floor. Well I guess that’s what happened to the dead guy!


Well if you'd described the cadaver as being strangely flat, I may not have attempted it!

I restored and made my way back to the hidden room, then tried to pull the lever with the same result (death by ceiling). I eventually figured out that I needed to use the Sci Shift sci power to pull the lever from a distance, which would then allow me to pass through the trap-door. The cadaver appeared to be nothing more than a red herring, and an effective one at that. Only time will tell whether I was actually supposed to do something with it! Through the trap-door I found myself in an ominous place named Gallery. It was the colour of fire, and there was nothing there apart from a passageway at the end. I took it!


Raven's vindaloo ramification art exhibition failed to find an audience

Through that exit was yet another room called Gallery, but this one had two exits. Oh oh! Was this a dreaded maze!? I opened up Excel in preparation and began mapping my progress in case things got complicated. I took the left passage and found myself in Pink Gallery, which strangely looked exactly the same as the other passageways and had nothing resembling the colour pink. I pushed ahead and found a trap-door in the next room. On entering it, I was a bit shocked when I suddenly appeared back in The Noose. It turns out there’s a small trap-door high up on the wall in The Noose that I only discovered when I used my Zone Scan sci power. I couldn’t reach the trap-door now that I was in The Noose, so I restored back to the beginning of the Gallery maze.


Pink Gallery: Not pink

This time I went straight ahead from the second Gallery room before taking the next left. I was now in a room called Downward Gallery, and pushing ahead brought me to a room with Water flowing into it. Entering the water took me straight back to The Powers of the Abyss, which is the room beneath The Noose where Deilos attacks and kills me. So far, taking any path off the straight and narrow in “the maze” had resulted in bad results, so I restored once again to the first Gallery room and moved straight ahead four screens. I found myself in a cavern, and there were two people standing in front of me!


Ash and Normajeen's presence was a welcome change to the solitary task at hand

I recognised the characters straight away from the presentation that was part of the game’s introduction. They were Ash (described as an old gink) and his daughter Normajeen. At first they were very sceptical about me, but I obeyed their orders to remain still and told them the truth when asked questions, eventually winning them over. Unfortunately, despite me being friendly to them, Gauss quickly alerted the Netwerk of their location, much to their disgust. The two of them appeared to be rebels, who are now hiding in the cavern from the Protozorq. That would make them my allies! Eventually the conversation ran out, and while there were two doors ahead that I still had to check out, I highly doubted there was nothing I was supposed to do with Ash and Normajeen.


Um...sorry?

Gauss was of no help, but a Zone Scan revealed a stone slab beneath Ash, which he got off as soon as he realised I’d located it. The two of them had been unable to open it, despite trying for quite some time. I simply clicked the slab and selected lift to open up what turned out to be a tomb with a mummy in it!  The Objects in the Room light came on, and clicking it revealed that there was a flask and a bean in the tomb. I picked them up and then began investigating the tomb. I found an inscription that said “Prass will drink to dispel the mists of mind. Feed this to dead prass, that he may live once more to die.” It seemed pretty obvious that I needed to give the flask and bean to the mummy, so that’s exactly what I did. The mummy opened its eyes!


...then does absolutely nothing...at all!

I felt like I was onto something big by awakening the mummy, yet I didn’t seem to be able to do anything else with it. Unwinding its bandages resulted in it disintegrating, so surely that wasn’t the right thing to do. Talking to Ash and Nomajeen revealed nothing else either after restoring, so I just had to leave the cavern behind and move on through the Gallery maze. I’ll have to end this post here, despite feeling like I’m getting quite close to some sort of climax. I really am getting to the end of this insanely busy time at work, but in the meantime I have to limit my time spent gaming and posting to just enough to feel like I’m making progress. I have no idea how long Chamber of the Sci-Mutant Priestess actually is, but if Ilmari’s comment about expecting a Won post shortly comes to fruition, it may happen in the next few days.


Oh boo hoo hoo...we all have bad days you know!

Session Time: 1 hours 00 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 00 minutes

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: I've written a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!

28 comments:

  1. I'm getting very little insight into how much you are or are not liking the game. I do hope you finish this soon.

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    1. I was thinking the same thing Zenic.

      The vague impression that I get is that the bizarre mystery of the game has a sort-of charm. The overall story really doesn't seem to be too hard to understand when you get past the extreme levels of "all your base are belong to us" translation challenge.

      Overall though I do not think that my prediction of a 33 on this one will prove correct. I suspect a low 40s is going to be the winner.

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    2. The main problem with the plot, I think, is that there's too much stuff crammed into a very small game, so that there's not really time to develop some plot elements. For instance, the contact with the rebel tuners Ash and Normajeen is probably the only thing indicating that the Netwerk from which Raven and Sci Fi come isn't really nice at all.

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  2. Honestly, just reading this psychedelic experience is a little taxing. I find my eyes glazing over quite often.

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  3. You are definitely getting close to the end. There's still few puzzles to worry about, but nothing really difficult.

    I got through the room with Deilos, a bit quicker route to Ash and Normajeen than the one you took. Not much of a mystery there, but I'll ROT13 it anyway: V fvzcyl hfrq Rkgerzr Ivbyrapr gb fpner Qrvybf bss. V qvq unir n mnc tha va zl cbffrffvba (lbh pna trg bar sebz nal qrnq cebgbmbed), juvpu zvtug unir urycrq zr n ovg, nf vg fhccbfrqyl tnir zr na rqtr va rirel svtug. Gura vg jnf whfg n znggre bs qvivat naq hfvat Mbar Fpna gb svaq n jnl gb tnyyrel.

    Just a thought: did you try Sci Shifting the cadaver? (not sure if there's any effect, since I took a different route)

    The engraving: I think I recognize the characters after seeing the whole game - vg'f cebonoyl Mbed naq uvf "crg" pbzvat bhg bs gurve fcnprfuvc.

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    1. I just realised I never answered your question Ilmari. Yes, I did try Sci Shifting the cadaver, but it didn't work. I was quite sure that was the solution too!

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  4. Ok, I've got to admit, I can't wait for this one to be over. The psychedelic naming scheme and odd puzzles don't really do much for me. I long for more traditional fare!

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    1. I hope Codename: ICEMAN fits the bill! Never played it before, but it's next on the list.

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    2. It's been ages, but I remember Codename: ICEMAN having it's share of dead ends and annoying mini-game sequences. Oh, and the manual is a must.

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    3. Good thing I have a shiny boxed copy then! Oh, I've been waiting to try C:I for a long time but never mustered the courage (from what I've seen of the goodies in the box, it looked more of a sub sim?!). Now Trickster will give me again a good reason to get it out of my backlog. :-) A fine community service, he provides!

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    4. It's been awhile for me too, but I recall the game is 1/2 to 2/3rds sub simulation. As stated, the manual is a must. It's Police Quest-ish in that a lot of the sub "puzzles" involve following correct procedure. I have a boxed copy buried somewhere, but no desire to play this one again.

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    5. 1/2 to 2/3 is an exaggeration, I think. True, you do spend most of the game in the sub, but even there you have something else to do (like playing the most frustrating gambling mini game ever). The sub parts of the game could have been cut down, and in some places the game has way too much following the procedure (what do you expect in a Jim Walls game?). Otherwise it's a decent enough action romp.

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    6. It's been a long time since I played...I was a teenager. I'll defer to Ilmari. Maybe the sub parts just took me the longest. Or maybe I just remember being on the sub the longest. Either way, it was entertaining enough for me to stick to it at the time.

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  5. I seem to be in the minority here, but I've quite enjoyed these posts. I admit the game, especially the game world seems to be a bit haphazard. It lacks the consistency of a well-designed game world and yet at the same time it's not all that dream-like either. It's hard to get a handle on how one should relate to things that happen in the game. Or how things don't happen, like with the mummy. The unconventional representation doesn't help any.

    But it has been fun to read of this admittedly very strange journey. And I do understand how come the 10 year old me wasn't all that thrilled with the game.

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    1. Don't get me wrong. I've enjoyed reading through each post, but I'm hardly getting a sense of how Trickster feels about the game, unlike his other postings. Maybe there's conflict or a disconnect that's causing this, so he's distancing himself from what's happening in the game; maybe I'm over analyzing. In any case, I'm more looking forward to the rating where hopefully I can get a better feel for his opinion.

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    2. That's a fair call. I think the reasons for that are two-fold. Firstly, I've been rushing my posts a bit, as my time has been limited. Secondly, the game was so strange that I just didn't know how to feel about it a lot of the time.

      I've completed it now, and things are much clearer in my mind. I'll save the details for the Won post, but it's safe to say that the game is not going to rate very highly.

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  6. The Blackwell Bundle is on sale at GOG for $5.99. This is apparently four games in one package, being Legacy, Unbound, Convergence, and Deception.

    http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/blackwell_bundle

    I snapped it up as a sign of my intention to see this project through to completion. :)

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    1. I did similar recently. Bought a copy of a console RPG that just came out. It will remain sealed until I get to it, or will be sold sealed for profit in about 30 years.

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  7. Finished! If you think what you've seen of the game so far is weird, wait for the won post! Extremely happy to be done with it to be honest. It's been a bit of a chore to get through, despite its short length.

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    1. I'm sensing a pang of guilt now about my plans of saving CAPs to make you play Eternam (1992), which should evoke very similar feelings...

      This Kult/Sci Fi run has been odd in many ways. Looking forward to getting back to more relaxed posts, riddles included!

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    2. Trick: Nice to know you've cracked the game! I am interested to hear whether you found the sudden plot revelation at the end as confusing as I did.

      Charles: I actually found Eternam much more rewarding experience than Kult - it's at least weird in a funny sort of way, while Kult was just boringly weird.

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    3. Glad to hear this game is nearly finished. I simply haven't had as much fun reading about this game than ones I've heard about (with Psycho being the exception with its so-bad-it's-entertaining quality)

      If only I could pay CAPS to make you NOT play a game that looks boring to me :)

      Still looking forward to hearing your final thoughts and the final thoughts of those playing along though.


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  8. The Sherlock Holmes Collection is on sale on Steam. It isn't the entire series; there are a couple missing, including the most recent one, but 75% off some well reviewed adventure games seems worth posting. http://store.steampowered.com/sub/2696/ $3? I'll risk that on a game!

    Also on sale: The Testament of Sherlock Holmes, the brand new game. Only 25% off though, leaving it at $30.

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    1. Most Sherlock Holmes games appear good, but Mystery of the Mummy is the worst adventure game I've ever played to completion.

      Still a great deal on the Collection, so don't let that scare you off. I'd just recommend if you play them in order and find Mystery of the Mummy bad, stop playing it - it doesn't get better.

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    2. Hah, I'm working on Sherlock Holmes; The Awakening now, since it got good reviews. My problem is the frame rate; even on a modern computer, with graphics down, it is visibly jumpy, which gives me a headache over time.

      The built in hint system is really helpfull, but some puzzles are *dumb*. I mean, at one point it expects you to have a random European flag memorized. Also, far too much pixel hunting.

      Then, randomly in one second several *hours* in, if you screw up, it kills you. There is no autosave; I got kicked back to the start.

      I am going to keep playing though, as the story is interesting, thought the writing is a bit flat. The authours seem to be going through the motions with the Cthulhu elements, like they are going through a checklist of what a Cthulhu story should contain "Evil temple, check. Connection to the sea, check, mutilated corpse, check". The attempts to imitate Sir Arthur Conan Doyal's writing are also a bit flat.

      The ingame help is very good though, as is the interface and art, for the time/budget anyway. I really think they are one good scriptwriter away from moving from an OK game to a *great* game.

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    3. I felt pretty much the same about The Awakened, Canageek. One step short of greatness. Beautiful art & settings, awkward animations and writing, and a few infuriating cases of pixel hunting which almost made me give up on it... but the story and some creative puzzles kept pulling me back. There is also one fantastic chase scene.

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  9. Sweet CAPS! I found another sale while buying a game!

    The Double Fine Bundle: http://store.steampowered.com/sub/13701/?snr=1_4_4__106_3
    50% off 3 DoubleFine games.

    And another: Pendulo Adventure Pack: 75% off a bunch of traditional looking Adventure games; http://store.steampowered.com/sub/15253/

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