Sunday, 24 March 2013

Game 30: Manhunter 2 - Merry Murry Mockery

Manhunter Journal Entry 3: “Just when I felt like I was running out of leads, the Orbs have contacted me and given me a new mission. They obviously haven’t noticed that I’m not Peter Brown, but I guess I can’t tell the difference between them either. The new mission seems very much tied to the last one, as I very quickly discovered what I can only assume is the body of the second suspect from yesterday. Since that discovery I have spent some time in a temple where things are getting more than a little bit weird. Black spirits throwing things at me, levitating green statues, and visions describing letters and objects that don’t seem to have any relation to each other. All I can do is keep going and hope that all of this information will start to form something I can use to take Phil down.”


Yes, I've got it! It's Mic Stone! You're puzzle cannot defeat my genius!

I felt pretty good about myself at the end of my last post. Just when it looked like I was going to reach the end of my tracker recording investigation, I’d solved a puzzle that revealed one of the suspect’s names. What I hadn’t realised at the time was that Mic Stone’s profile didn’t have an address, meaning my next game session started with a bit of a letdown. All I knew about the guy was that he was aged 39 and that he worked as an Experiment Volunteer, and while that would explain why he ended up in the state in which he died (having transformed into some sort of mutant and then committed suicide), it didn't give me the lead I'd thought it had. I expected to be able to rush on over to his apartment and continue looking for clues, but instead I was going to have to look over everything that had happened so far, and try to figure out what I was supposed to do next.


OK, so I'll just pop over to Mic's house and...oh...damn!

I knew I wouldn’t be able to figure out everything that was going on in the tracker recording, but I tried my best. Two men, one of whom was Mic Stone, entered the Bank of Canton and killed Tad Timov (a member of some sort of Dragon gang). They took something from the safe in Tad’s office and appeared to have killed him by taking a large chunk out of his neck. On leaving the bank, they were confronted by another Dragon gang member, who they also killed by doing some serious damage to his throat. I discovered a large fang in the wound, suggesting at least one of the murderers was a mutant of sorts. The two then made their way to a warehouse containing crates of human body parts, where they fought each other and separated. One of them (not Mic Stone) was badly injured and made his way through the warehouse into an office. There he wrote a message in blood on a table that appeared to have been directed at someone named Zac. The message informed Zac that Mic was a traitor and that he could be located at a location called “den”.


Did Zac write this or was it written to Zac?

I can’t be certain which one the men ended up with the item from the safe. The message on the table says “me got it”, but it doesn’t say whether Mic stole it from him in the scuffle. I can only assume that he did, and that his motive for the fight was to steal the item and flee. The second man then left the warehouse and entered a pipe at the Hyde Street Pier, which I assume is where this “den” place is. Mic Stone on the other hand made his way from the warehouse to the Ferry Building, where I’d seen Phil Cook land his craft during the introduction. He entered a room there briefly before leaving, but I’ve not been able to figure out what he did there. I’m going to guess that he handed over whatever was stolen from the safe to Phil, but I could be way off the mark. Either that or he collected the bottle titled “remedy”, but it's most likely both. Either way, Mic then went into a hidden room underneath the Embarcadero Fountain and then appears to have killed himself using the “remedy”. I can’t be sure whether he meant to commit suicide or not, but my gut tells me he received the remedy as a trade for whatever was in the safe, but didn’t realise it was poison until it was too late.


Suicide or trickery? Perhaps time will tell!

Even if the above assessment was right, which I highly doubted, I couldn’t deduct from it what I should try next. I spent a bit of time looking at the “clues” I’d collected in my inventory, but none of them gave anything away either. Both the newspaper clipping and the fang suggested mutants were involved in the plot, and while the Dragon note seemed important, I couldn’t think of anywhere that “The R3 is the L1 to R4” might apply. It did dawn on me that the L could represent left and the R’s right, but I locked that away to memory for another time. That left the laundry receipt, the empty flask, the mallet, and the strange cloth with the words “rub jewel of heaven” to ponder over, but I still came up with nothing. All I could do was leave Mic’s place of death and revisit the various locations on the map in search of something I’d missed the first time around. However, on leaving the location, I was suddenly saved from my perplexity! The Orb’s contacted me!


I've never been so happy to be contacted by human-eating alien Orbs!

As in the first game, where the Orb’s would override my MAD at the end of each day to demand I hand over any rebellion names I’d uncovered, the same occurred here. “You have had sufficient time. Report suspect’s name...” I was then asked to enter the names of both suspects, although I only knew one. I typed Mic Stone and then Tad Timov for the second one, although I knew the latter was wrong. “Your reply is being processed. Return home immediately. Wait there for further orders.” I then found myself in Peter Brown’s apartment, which no doubt will be mine for the duration of the game. I was seen hopping into the hammock and going to sleep. I couldn’t help noticing the pink bunny rabbit slippers next to the hammock, which were a humorous touch in a very dark game.


Aaahhhh....I could get used to being Peter Brown!

Next thing I knew it was Day 2, and just as in Manhunter: New York, an Orb paid the apartment a visit to give me my instructions. While I’d noticed it in the introduction, it was now clearly apparent that the Orbs have two eyes, a nose, and a mouth in this game, whereas in the first game they were basically just floating eyes. I’d wondered how they were communicating with me previously, let alone eating humans, but now I could watch the Orb’s mouth move as it spoke to me. “Attention Manhunter! Boat burning on Pier 5. Investigate.” With that it was gone and I was able to view a whole new tracker recording on my MAD. I have no idea whether there is a trigger that causes the end of Day 1. I doubt it would be time related. Maybe the day ends as soon as you’ve visited every location? Or perhaps you literally have to have done everything you can with the clues available to you? I couldn’t help hope the latter, but once again I doubted it.


Actually, Peter's life seems awfully similar to my own!

Once again I planned to watch only short snippets of the tracker recording and visit each location as it is uncovered, and once again there were two suspects to follow from the outset. These two suspects walked out to a boat at the pier where someone was situated, and they appeared to have fought and killed him. They left the scene, but I immediately closed my MAD and pulled up the map to pay the pier a visit. On arrival I found a burnt out boat and since there was only one part of it that I could take a closer look at, I did. In the boat I found another dead werewolf looking creature, although this one had a muzzle on it. I picked up the muzzle and knew immediately that I would be able to use it at Tad’s apartment to get past that damn dog. Before I rushed off to do that, I investigated the corpse as thoroughly as I could. All I could find was that the creature had a broken fang and a missing finger, the first of which led me to believe that this was the body of Day 1’s second suspect.


Did they put the muzzle on him when they attacked or was it just a fashion accessory?

I had no idea what the missing finger meant, but putting my cursor over it revealed that “the finger hasn’t been gone long”. So the two new suspects killed the creature for the finger? I was eager to go find out, but before I did that, I simply had to see if the muzzle would work at Tad’s apartment. I made a beeline straight for it and entered. Within a few seconds the dog came at me, but I was ready with the muzzle and locked it over his head (the game did this without any interaction from me). It then ran back into the fireplace, leaving me to explore the apartment for the first time. I pixel hunted the room as well as I could, and came up with two very interesting things. Firstly, I found a banner on the wall with the words “HEAVEN” and “VISION” on it. Next to each were symbols made up of three lines, although the symbol next to VISION had an interruption to the middle line. What did it mean? I remembered the message on the cloth (“rub jewel of heaven”), but couldn’t see what relevance the symbol might have with that. I wasn’t able to pick up the banner, so clearly its content was all that mattered.


Why does everyone in this game just keep cryptic messages lying around?

The second item of interest in the apartment was a camera I picked up off the bench. Looking at it revealed that I could press a red button, so of course I did. A bright flash filled the screen after which I was informed by the Murry’s that I’d “just used your last flash!” I was still able to play after wasting the flash, so I’m not sure whether or not it’s completely necessary to complete the game, but I restored just in case and this time picked up the camera without using it. I tried to think of a location I’d visited previously where the camera, or more specifically the flash, might be useful. The only one that came to mind was the pitch black pipe at Hyde Street Pier where the giant rat had eaten me previously. I made my way to the pier to see if I was once again on the money, but no matter what stage I used the flash when looking through the pipe, the creature always ate me.


Haha! Got ya!

I therefore opened up the tracker recording to see where the suspects went after setting fire to the boat, and was surprised to find that they separated shortly after leaving the pier. One of them entered a building called “The Temple”, where they appeared to move towards one of four thrones and then disappeared, so I set off to find out what happened. When I arrived at the temple, I found I could enter the rather colourful building or I could go to the right of screen to another location. I chose to enter the temple, and soon found myself in the room with four thrones. In the middle of the room was a shield lying on the ground and since I didn’t seem to able to do anything else, I picked it up. Black spirit-like beings appeared on each of the thrones and began throwing things at me. I could use the left arrow to turn left and the right to turn right, and the aim of this little arcade mini-game was to block the projectiles with the shield. At first it was very easy, but then it became very difficult indeed, with stacks of high paced projectiles flying at me from all angles!


So now there are aliens, werewolf mutants and dark spirits? This ain't science fiction no more!

It took me a few goes at it, but I eventually managed to block all of the incoming projectiles, after which the spirits disappeared. My view then changed and I watched as the large green Budda-like statue rose up into the air to give me passage to a staircase beyond. Strangely, the tracker recording had implied that the suspect had sat on one of the thrones and then disappeared, but I was given no opportunity to investigate them further. I doubted that one of the suspects was actually a spirit, so maybe I was just supposed to assume that they made their way past the statue and up the stairs. I clicked on the staircase, and was then shown a view of it, with statues and candles on either side. I found that I was able to look at the statues, and that each one had a single word on a plate at its base. In clockwise order they were Gateway, Heaven, Truth, Freedom, Earth, Bridge, Hell, Castle, Balance and Action. Reading these gave me two “eureka” moments!


No, that's not ominous at all!

Firstly, the note I’d picked up in Tad Timov’s office had said “The R3 is the L1 to R4”, and the staircase seemed a perfect place to apply the Left and Right idea I’d had at the beginning of this session. I took at look at the third statue on the right, then the first on the left, and then finally the fourth on the right, hoping to make sense of the cryptic message. Taking the words from each statue, the sentence formed “The Castle is the Gateway to Hell”! In case there was any doubt that I’d uncovered something important, the Murry’s appeared onscreen with a message of their own. “OK, you figured that one out, but what does it mean??” They had a point too! As happy as I was to have solved that, the solution didn’t mean much to me. I’d certainly not come across anything resembling a castle so far in the game.


You couldn't just let me enjoy my minor victory could you!?

The second success I had at the staircase was to do with the cloth I’d picked up in the manhunter’s apartment. On it was written “Rub jewel of heaven”, and I was able to do exactly that. Rubbing the cloth on the jewel in the statue entitled “HEAVEN” caused the statue’s eyes and mouth to open! I have no idea how exactly the message was communicated to me, but I was shown the letter F, followed by what looked to me to be an oar, then the letter P, and finally what I gathered was a ruler. What was all that about? If it was indeed an oar then putting an F in front of it would produce “foar”, which could represent "for" or "four", but doing the same for the P and ruler would make “pruler”, which clearly didn't mean anything. Hmmmm...this one was going to take some thought! That’s probably enough information for one post, so I’ll stop here. Things could change quickly, but I’m still enjoying the game and still have quite a few leads to follow and puzzles to dwell on. Will the next post be where things start to turn pear shaped?


Settle down man! How could I have known that you had a metre rule?

Session Time: 1 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 30 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 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!

32 comments:

  1. The Heaven puzzle shows n ynpx bs pbafvqrengvba sbe na vagreangvbany nhqvrapr ol gur qrirybcref. Ynathntr vf bar guvat, ohg vg ernyyl vexf zr jura tnzrf erdhver fcrpvsvp xabjyrqtr nobhg phygher be gur pbhagel vg jnf qrirybcrq. Gb or snve guvf vfa'g gur jbefg rknzcyr ol sne gubhtu.

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    1. s-bhe c-vapurf, juvpu gryyf lbh ubj znal cvapurf gb gnxr yngre ba

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    2. Jung gur uryy, V'z Pnanqvna naq jr hfr vapurf unys gur gvzr, naq V fgvyy jbhyqa'g unir tbggra gung.

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    3. Lrnu, V'z Nzrevpna naq qvqa'g trg gur vapurf cneg rvgure. Urpx, gur bayl SND ba tnzrsndf qvqa'g rira trg gung vg jnf vapurf (naq ab bar unf pbeerpgrq uvz). Znlor fbzrguvat jvyy pyvpx yngre naq Gevpxfgre jvyy trg gur "sbhe" cneg cyhf gur urnira fgnghr.

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    4. That makes me think of a novel I read: Death Trick by Richard Stevenson, the first in a mystery series starring a gay detective. (They also made 4 movies from them, 2 of which are really good). Vg jnf choyvfurq va 1980, ohg jnf boivbhfyl jevggra va gur svany qnlf bs gur 1970f. Vg vf SVYYRQ jvgu ersreraprf gb pheerag zhfvp (V guvax V'q urneq bs bar fbat va gur jubyr guvat), cbyvgvpny fpnaqyrf, pryroevgl ersrerapr. V unq gb cubar zl Qnq n pbhcyr gvzrf gb nfx uvz dhrfgvbaf, naq rira ur unq ab vqrn jung unys gur fghss jnf, nf nccneragyl va nqqvgvbany gb orvat gur evtug ntr ng gur raq bs gur 70f (purpx), lbh unq gb or tnl naq vaibyirq va npgvivfg phygher (Abg fb zhpu) naq ybir qvfpb (nyfb abg fb zhpu) gb haqrefgnaq gur ersreraprf.

      Naq lrf, V yrsg gung svefg fragrapr ha-ebgguvegrrarq gb znxr Gevpxfgre tb jung gur senpx.

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    5. V xarj gur fbyhgvba gb gur c-vapurf nyernql, ohg tnzrf naq chmmyrf gung erdhverf fcrpvsvp phygheny xabjyrqtr sbe ab nccnerag ernfba ernyyl vexf zr nf v fgngrq. Naq V'z abg gnyxvat nobhg guvatf gung ner rnfvyl erpgvsvnoyr rvgure, yvxr orvat nfxrq "Jung'f gur anzr bs gur gnyyrfg puhepu va Onepryban?". Gung lbh pna tbbtyr rnfvyl, nafjre naq zbir ba. Jung V zrna vf jurer gur chmmyr vgfrys erdhverf na haeryngrq cvrpr bs vasbezngvba juvpu yrgf lbh pbaarpg gur qbgf naq svther vg bhg.

      Guvf vf bar bs gurz, gur chmmyr va Mbex VV jurer lbh unir gb unir xabjyrqtr bs onfronyy ehyrf vf nabgure. Gurer jnf bar tnzr V cynlrq (juvpu V pna'g erzrzore gur anzr bs) gung unq n chmmyr jurer lbh unq gb xabj juvpu nzrevpna fgngr n cnegvphyne pvgl jnf va, naq vs lbh qvqa'g gur fbyhgvba gb gur chmmyr jnf gbgnyyl orlbaq lbh.

      Sbe gubfr gung qbrfa'g pbafvqre guvf n uhtr ceboyrz, pbafvqre guvf rknzcyr. Jung vs n tnzr pnzr bhg naq nfxrq gb vachg gur anzr bs gur qrrcrfg ynxr va erirefr. Lbh pna gel naq gel naq gel naq arire svther vg bhg, orpnhfr gur thlf jub znqr gur tnzr jrer onfrq va Fbhgu Nsevpn naq zrnag gur qrrcrfg ynxr va gurve ybpny pbhagel.

      Gur fnzr guvat nccyvrf fyvtugyl gb tnzrf gung unir pbybe pbqrq chmmyrf, juvpu pna or n erny bofgnpyr sbe pbybe oyvaq crbcyr. Bs pbhefr, gurl ner ng yrnfg njner vg zvtug or n ceboyrz.

      The problem isn't that you don't know, it's that you don't know what it is you don't know.

      Ubj'f gung fragrapr sbe znxvat Gevpxl'f oebj fpehapu hc? :c

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    6. V frr jung lbh zrna. Gung jbhyq or uneq gb trg nebhaq. Ng yrnfg jvgu gur obbx V pbhyq frr gurer jrer anzrf gung zrnag abguvat gb zr. Ubjrire, V org gurer ner n ybg zber fhogyr ersreraprf gung V arire rira xarj jrer gurer, yrg nybar gung V jnf zvffvat gurz.

      Damn 1970s gay disco culture being so hard to understand from an outsiders perspective.

      Yngre obbxf jrer zhpu zber nccebnpunoyr, gubhtu gurer jnf n gvccvat cbvag, fvapr ur ntrq uvf punenpgre va erny-gvzr, jurer vg tbg uneqre gb rzcunfvf jvgu uvz nf ur jnf whfg fb zhpu byqre gura V nz, jura V pbhyq rzcunfvf jvgu uvz jura ur jnf lbhat, natel naq qngvat, engure gura zvqqyr-ntrq, fgnoyr naq zneevrq. Gur zbivrf jrer avpr qhr gb guvf, nf vg erfrg uvf ntr gb rneyl-zvq gjragvrf, naq uvf crefbanyvgl gb fbzrguvat pybfre (ohg zber ivbyrag) gb jung vg jnf va gur rneyl obbxf, juvyr zbivat gur gvzrsenzr gb fbzrguvat V pna haqrefgnaq.

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    7. Fcrnxvat bs 1970’f, grpuabybtvpny nqinaprf nyfb znxr chmmyrf va fbzr byqre tnzrf qvssvphyg gb haeniry. Sbe vafgnapr, va n pregnva Vasbpbz grkg nqiragher, lbh unir gb jvaq lbhe jngpu be ryfr vg jvyy fgbc naq lbh’yy raq hc zvffvat vzcbegnag zrrgvatf rgp. Nyy gur jngpurf V’ir unq ena ba onggrevrf, fb V jnf cerggl fghzcrq when the time suddenly stopped going forward.

      Nabgure tnzr, juvpu Gevpxfgre jvyy or cynlvat fbba, fgvyy unq n cer-JJJ abgvba bs Vagrearg (grkg-onfrq zrahf rgp.), naq univat ab svefg-unaq rkcrevrapr bs gur OOF-gvzr, V jnf cerggl natel, jura V abgvprq nsgrejneqf gung pbaarpgvat gb arg cnvq sbe rirel frpbaq (”url, jurer qvq nyy zl uneq rnearq zbarl tb?”).

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    8. Uhu, V'ir urneq gung va gur HX gurer ner fgvyy zvahgr-onfrq vagrearg cebivqref (Bar Qe. Jub rcvfbqr unq fbzrbar abgvat sbe gurz gb 'jngpu gurve zvahgrf')

      V npghnyyl qvq hfr grkg-bayl vagrearg onpx va gur rneyl qnlf, ol pbaarpgvat gb gur yvoenel pbzchgre ivn pebffgnyx, gb chg obbxf ba ubyq. I was quite annoyed when they went to a GUI as it wasn't nearly as fast. Gung fnvq, lrnu, gung ovyyvat chmmyr jbhyq or naablvat. V ungr gvzvat guvatf va tnzrf.

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    9. When was the Doctor Who episode set?

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  2. Some interesting puzzles! Is there any significance to the pattern for the flash being the same as the pattern on the temple floor? Or were they just reusing graphics?

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    1. Good eye! I don't think trickster noticed that since he didn't mention it. I think it's more obvious with the two screenshots next to each other.

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    2. Wow! I did not notice that! I hope that wasn't an accidental spoiler though. I think I might have to go back to the temple and use the camera to see what happens.

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    3. Nice observation, Andy! That would have been an interesting puzzle, too bad they are not related in the game.. at least as far as I know. It would be really nice to hear comments from the developers regarding this (among lots of other things :)).

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    4. I can't understand it, but I just reloaded the temple and the flash graphic is just not there! When I look at my screenshot, I can see it and I can also see the word FLASH faintly.

      It's obviously just something strange that happened on my laptop when taking screenshots!

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    5. Mysterious double-exposure! (except that shouldn't be able to happen via screenshots!)

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    6. Could be they didn't clear the screen properly when they drew the next screen.

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  3. I'll admit that much of the irritation I've felt for this game was based around the mouse-without-a-mouse thing that they went with. Even still, the vitriol I've shown seems somewhat unfounded to this point. There's still plenty I found quite illogical yet to come though, and I'm now more eager to see if you're so quick to find your way through it than anything!

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    1. The semi-mouse situation is even stranger when you consider the Amiga version uses the mouse, but not properly.

      For example, if my Manhunter cursor is on the bottom left of the screen and I click on the top right, I have to wait for the Manhunter cursor to slowly move across the screen instead of just being attached to the mouse cursor like you'd expect.


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    2. It's truly frustrating! I realise these posts are sounding very positive, but there's no doubt that technically the game is flawed. There's no point banging on about it every post though.

      The first game got a sub-50 score despite me enjoying it quite a bit, so I imagine the same will happen with the sequel.

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  4. Damn. I probably shouldn't have read this post while still playing through the game.

    I didn't try rubbing the Jewel of Heaven, but I reckon I would have worked it out myself if I got stuck.

    Also, I worked out the "Castle is the Gateway to Hell" riddle, but the Murry's didn't congratulate me. Probably because I clicked on all the statues instead of just those 3 in the right order.

    Does anybody know if this game has dead-ends? I don't think I can go back and rub the jewel of heaven at the moment and wonder if I need to reload an old game or will be allowed to do it later.

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    1. Vg qbrf (sbe vafgnapr, vs lbh hfr "lbhe ynfg synfu" gbb rneyl), ohg V qba'g guvax guvf vf bar bs gurz.

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  5. Here's another genre question for you. Has anyone played Spycraft: The Great Game?

    I've heard a lot of excellent things about it, but should it be considered an adventure game?

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    1. This is rather freaky, as I've just begun a playthrough tonight not having seen this post.

      At present, it looks an awful lot more like an interactive movie than an adventure - but I'll keep you posted if nobody else has a better opinion.

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    2. That is freaky indeed! I'd love to know what you think of the game.

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  6. I've come across another game that I think falls into the grey area.

    Realms of the Haunting

    This game seems to be a mix of adventure and first person shooter, but just how much of it is adventure? Worth considering for the playlist? It's currently disregarded.

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    1. From memory it's pretty much pure action FPS game with the "adventure" elements consisting of picking stuff up and having a story with FMV cutscenes - mostly stuff you see in all FPS games these days but more unusual at the time.

      It's possible I'm misremembering though.

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    2. I've played it more recently... It's essentially Ultima Underworld without the RPG elements and a TERRIBLE game AI. Great story imo, but it's only an adventure in the loosest of terms. I'd say it should definitely be disregarded - it's an FPS first and foremost.

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  7. The symbols on the banner are trigrams from the ancient Chinese practice of divination known as I Ching (易經, the Book of Changes). The trigrams next to "Heaven" represent Heaven, and the trigrams next to "Vision" represent fire. Combining the two trigrams with Heaven on top (as in the banner) creates hexagram 13, which is associated with the phrase "people gather." Turning it upside down creates hexagram 14, associated with "possession in great measure". Was any of this information used in the game?

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    1. Not that I can remember. I have a feeling the trigrams were there just for decoration.

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