Monday, 13 May 2013

Game 31: Mean Streets - Top Heavy Beach Bimbos From Mars

Tex Murphy Journal Entry 10: “I’m very close to finding the secret MTC computer facility where I can put a stop to the Overlord project. I now know that the Vice President of the company, Bazil Mallory, is also the security chief, and that he knows the navigation code for the facility. Not only that, but I’ve also managed to collect all eight passcards that are needed to shut down the project, and I know all eight passwords to go with them. Tomorrow I will pay Bazil a little visit, and I will also approach the other major Law and Order players that I now have locations for, including Robert Knott himself! I'm really close now...I can feel it!!!!”


It's time to visit the suitably named Lola Lovetoy. She even has her own establishment!

I arrived at Lola Lovetoy’s establishment feeling like whatever I uncovered there was likely to lead me to Mean Streets’ closing stages. After all, it was the first time I’d only had a single navigation code to visit left on my spreadsheet. Tex’s description of the prostitute was once again hilarious: “She looks like the kind of woman you could score with, even if you played your cards wrong.” It quickly became apparent that Lola wasn’t going to give up any information for free, so I had bribe what I needed out of her. It took $500 to get anything out of her regarding Frank Schimming, but the information was well worth the money! “I was introduced to Frank Schimming by Tom Griffith. Griffith paid me to keep an eye on Schimming and keep him occupied. Griffith gave me a key to an apartment (NC 4605). He told me to take Schimming there. The old guy was an egotistical bore who loved to talk about his favourite subject – himself. Several weeks ago I told Tom I was fed up with Schimming, and called the arrangement off.”


Don't worry lady. You're just not my type!

Little did Lola know that her decision to call off the arrangement led to Robert Knott adding her to Big Jim Slade’s hit list, but clearly he hadn’t arrived to take her out yet. After a few other questions that gave me nothing I didn’t already know, I left Lola ad made my way to the apartment her and Schimming had stayed at. After fighting my way through another shootout, I opened the door to find that someone else had moved in. I began my exploration at the dresser near the entrance, where there were also a switch, a jewelry box and a mirror to interact with. The draw was actually unlocked this time, and inside I found women’s lingerie from Fredericks of Hollywood, size: medium. There were also some matches on the dresser, and looking at them revealed a bus locker key. The number of the locker had been filed off, but the bus station nav code was still there (NC 5194). I picked up the key and tried turning the switch on and off. It was a standard light switch, so I moved on.


They really thought that TVs would just continue to get chunkier and chunkier

The jewelry box was locked and I didn’t have the key, so I turned my attention to the mirror. In it I saw a “tired, haggard face of a down-on-his-luck P.I.”, and moving it revealed a button. I pressed it, and was informed that “a panel opens in the side of the holographic projector unit.” I wasn’t even sure where that was in the room, so I moved to check out the section containing the bed, a cushion, and some art. Looking at the bed uncovered a small panel in the head board, within which was an ashtray with cigarette butts in it and a small box. The cigarette butts were unfiltered Camels, confirming that the man staying here was Big Jim Slade, the hitman. The box contained an “inflatable companion”, which popped out and inflated when I opened it. “A plastic woman in a polka dot bikini. She rates a 9.5. You seriously consider getting one for yourself, but decide that another one would just clutter the closet.” The inflatable woman appeared to be there for humour purposes only, so I ignored it and looked at the cushion.


Well at least something improves in quality during the next couple of decades!

Underneath the cushion I discovered some more cigarettes and a bottle of Russian vodka, which I added to my inventory with no real purpose. Moving the art revealed a switch, which seemed to control a “pressure sensitive burglar alarm”. Switching it on or off didn’t seem to do anything, so I figured it must turn the alarm off if it was activated, but otherwise do nothing. I moved to check out the table in the bottom left corner of the room, finding a suitcase, a mood globe and a book in the near vicinity. On the table I also found a sign which read “Danger – Electrical Field”, so I knew I was going to have to be careful what I touched. The suitcase on the floor had a tag on it saying: “Property of Big Jim Slade, touch this and I kill ya.” What a lovely fella! I ignored the threat and opened the case regardless, finding some shirts, ammo and another tag inside. Inside one of the shirts I discovered a note: “Los Angeles air bus station (NC 5194)”. I already knew that code as it was written on the locker key, but this undeniably connected the locker with Slade.


Somehow I think he meant it too!

I picked up the 50 rounds of ammunition, and after finding that the tag had the same message as the one on the outside of the case, I closed it and looked at the mood globe. It was an “antique Radio Shack mood globe, late 20th century. Very valuable, worth 2000 dollars on the street.” Wow! If I’d only realised back in the eighties how valuable those globes would become one day! I tried to pick it up, knowing that I was likely to get zapped by the electrical field. “You reach into the electrical field to get the mood globe and 300,001 volts of electrical energy surges through your body, killing you instantly.” Well, I had to try right!? I restored and got myself back to where I was, this time leaving the mood globe alone. The book turned out to be “An Elderly Man’s Guide to Picking Up Chicks”, by Dr. Ron Morgan. It looked as though Big Jim Slade was very thorough in getting information about his potential hits. Either that or he needed a hand in the lovin’ department! There was still quite a bit to explore in the room, so I walked over the desk with flowers on it.


Invaluable advice that I wish I'd known in my teenage years.

The desk held a binder, an ashtray and a hit list! The binder had the Law and Order insignia on it, and on opening it I found that someone had written “N.C. 5037 – Los Angeles” on the inside. Could that be the nav code for the Law and Order Party? It seemed likely! The ashtray was once again just filled with Camel cigarette butts, so I picked up and looked at the hit list. “Law and Order confidential hit list. Names not crossed off: Harry Rice; Lola Lovetoy; Tex Murphy; Sonny Fletcher. Good job, big Jim! I need to talk to you. Come to my house at NC 0132 --- Robert Knott.” I wasn’t at all surprised to find my name on Slade’s hit list, but I didn’t expect to have Robert Knott’s nav code so soon.  I added Harry Rice to my spreadsheet of leads, and finally put a code next to Knott’s name. Before I could even consider rushing off to any of the new locations on the list, I still had one more section in the apartment to check out. The top right corner contained a cabinet, a V.C.R. (just as with fax machines, it appears V.C.R.’s come back into fashion sometime in the future), a holographic imager and a panel.


Top Heavy Beach Bimbos From Mars involves a large breasted woman throwing a ball endlessly

The cabinet contained a satchel with $5000 in it, which I eagerly took! When I turned on the V.C.R., Tex automatically put “Top Heavy Beach Bimbos From Mars” into the machine and pressed play. I had to turn on the holographic imager as well, but eventually sat down to watch some of the action. “While the scenery is excellent, the acting leaves much to be desired” was all Tex had to say about it. The panel contained a button, which had an inscription saying “Don’t push unless you wish to turn off the protective field around the valuable mood globe.” Well at least the game designers know how ridiculous it is to label buttons that turn off alarm and security systems! I turned off the field and then went straight back over to the table and collected the mood globe. “You lift the globe from its pad and it sets off the pressure sensitive alarm and shuts the exit.” I had five minuted to turn the alarm off, but that wasn’t a problem since I knew exactly where the switch was (behind the art at the back of the room). With another apartment fully explored, I now had a choice to check out either the bus station in Los Angeles or what I assumed would be the Law and Order head office. I really wanted to know what was in the bus station locker, so I travelled to NC 5194.


I assume this was Bosworth Clark's passcard?

What I found there exceeded my expectations! “I use the key on about 50 different lockers before I find the one it fits. Inside the locker is a leather wallet. I open the wallet and find a black passcard and the word “koro” written on a piece of paper.” Awesome! Now I had seven of the eight passcards, along with their passwords! There was only one left to get, and I knew from Larry Hammond that it would be found somewhere inside the Law and Order building. I travelled to 5037, fought my way through the expected security, and entered a room marked “OFF LIMITS – OFFICIAL CLEARANCE ONLY”. Typically, this set off an alarm, and I found myself with ten minutes to shut it off or pay another visit to the police station. I quickly got to work, beginning with the file cabinet, flag, book case and garbage can that were situated in the top left corner of the screen. It probably goes without saying that I wasn’t able to open the file cabinet, as I didn’t have the key. I wondered (and still wonder) whether it’s even possible to open some of these drawers and cabinets spread throughout the game!


Subtlety wasn't part of the interior decorators instructions

The flag appeared to be decorative only, so I moved onto the bookcase. There I discovered various “texts on violence and bloodshed”, and I was able to open one entitled “An Experts Guide to Spite, Malice and Revenge.” I read “about a number of incredibly rude and vicious party tricks, including the crazy-glue on the toilet seat trick, that Law & Order party members are invited to try on people they dislike.” This raised a smile, but I was down to eight minutes and needed to keep looking for the alarm switch. There was nothing of interest in the garbage can, so I moved down the screen to the work station where I could also check out fax and answering machines. The workstation also had a printer, a monitor, a cabinet and a control panel, so I began with the printer. Looking at it revealed a letter which read: “Interdepartment letter...as Oct.5 will be the day that we officially control the world, may I be so bold as to propose that this day be the 1st official holiday of the new order. Have a nice day...Robert Knott.” Well, the man sure has confidence!


The designers put quite a bit of effort into pointless yet humorous touches throughout the game.

I wasn't able to do anything with the monitor, but I found a very important memo within the cabinet. “Coporate minutes from last meeting. Officers are: Robert Knott - President, Basil Mallory – Vice President and Security Chief, Melba Wiedbush – Secretary, Stanford Demille – Attorney.” There were three new names for my lead list, right when I’d expected not to find anymore! I then discovered a switch on the control panel. “Flipping the switch makes a small clicking sound near the closet in the corner of the room.” I couldn’t see anything visually change, but assumed I’d find out soon enough what I’d just done. Strangely, looking at the answering machine revealed a file cabinet key, which I immediately used to open the file cabinet door. Inside was a memo that read “Please send Big Jim Slade 5000 dollars for the liquidation of Professor Clark.” That would be the $5000 that I now had in my possession! Conscious that I only had just over three minutes remaining, I made my way to the back of the room where there was a firearms cabinet, a desk, a picture and a closet. I collected 100 rounds of ammunition from the cabinet (it appears all guns take the same ammo in the future), but I didn’t have the right key to open the desk drawer. Behind the safe I discovered a large black metal safe, but I didn’t have the combination for that either!


Story of my life it seems

It looked likely that I was going to run out of time at this point and have to restore, unless the alarm switch was in the closet. Within the closet were a coat, some shoes and a shelf. Rather fortunately, I found a pad of paper in the coat that had the combination I needed for the safe (37-16-36). Before I went and opened it, I checked out the shoes, which were uninteresting, and the shelf, which had a hat on it. I picked up the hat, and then tried moving the shelf out of desperation. This revealed a button, which shut off the alarm and opened the door when pressed. I’d managed to turn off the alarm with around 30 seconds left on the clock!!! With that sorted, I used the combination to open the safe, collecting another $5000 in cash and Larry’s grey passcard in the process! The final part of the room left to investigate was the table in the bottom right, which had a tool box beneath it. The table also held some “hate literature detailing plans to move against the mutants” and a paper shredder that I found no use for. The tool box proved to be useful though, holding a drill and a “mutant masher” hammer (both of which I picked up), as well as some plans that talked about a secret MTC location: “See security chief for navigation code to secret computer facility.”


I wasn't stressed at all. Had it completely under control!

So the security chief knows the nav code for this secret computer facility. I also happened to know that the security chief was a guy by the name of Bazil Mallory, who also acted as Vice President for the Law and Order Party. I didn’t know where to find him though, but perhaps Vanessa or Lee Chin could help on that front? Vanessa informed me that “Melba Wiedbush lives in Ford City at NC 4122” and “Stanford Demille has an office in Santa Barbara at NC 3199”, but she couldn’t help me with Bazil Mallory or Harry Rice (the unrecognisable name on Big Jim Slade’s hit list). Lee Chin came up with the goods though (for a total of $700): “Talk to Sonny Fletcher. He may know where to find Bazil Mallory.” and “Harry Rice lives in Pasadena at NC 1231”. It appears there is still quite a bit more to Mean Streets, which is a surprise given that a few readers have been suggesting the end is nigh for a while now. I’m off to see Sonny and hopefully I’ll get what I need from him without giving an arm and a leg in the process!


I just might do that!

Session Time: 1 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 14 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!

14 comments:

  1. This is a first callout to three readers that correctly predicted ratings I would give to games. None of these readers ever claimed their prize. I will make three callouts and if they have not been claimed after that, I will run competitions so they can go to good homes.

    Mooki won Quest For Glory 1-5 (predicted Chamber of the Sci-Mutant Priestess)

    archivis won Tex Murphy 1+2 (predicted Larry III)

    Fenrus won Tex Murphy 1+2 (predicted Manhunter 2)

    If any of these readers send me an email to theadventuregamer@gmail.com, I'll reply with the code to collect their prize.

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  2. I find your lack of using the taste verb disturbing.
    Although actually tasting things often end up with disturbing results I must admit.

    But you're close now...so close, I can taste it! (badum-tish)
    Your next Tex post will be a Won-post. Either that or a "I'm totally stuck in this obvyre ebbz gelvat gb trg cnfg guvf ebobg orsber ur fuhgf gur qbbe va zl snpr."-post.

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    1. He's found more information and hidden alarms than I found throughout my winning playthrough. I'd be shocked if he doesn't find his way through it (given I found that to be more or less trial and error, which was sorta my problem with the game. I really got sick of every room having an item or magical button that solved all of its woes... But there again, I was far more sick of the speeder.)

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    2. Hopefully, Trick will go to see Xabgg naq Ovt Wvz before the final events, so he can tie all the loose endings in the plot.

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    3. The reason I mentioned that particular "puzzle" was that I struggled so much with it I started to wonder if I was actually doing the right thing, and wandered around trying different things before going back to the correct solution.

      Oh, and Trickster, as far as I can remember, every locked drawer, cabinet and safe can be opened. Quite a few are optional though, and contain money or pawnable items.

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    4. That feels like a challenge, but one I don't have enough time for unfortunately. ;)

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  3. I've finished!!!! Exactly one month after I started!

    I struggled at the end too, assuming that I'd missed something really important elsewhere in the game. From the comments above, I wasn't the only one.

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    Replies
    1. Congratulations! Another one with no requests for assistance, although it's not really that hard.

      I assume it was getting out ahead of that Speedy Gonzales robot that gave you a headache too?

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    2. Yes, it was the robot. I just assumed that there was something else I needed to do. It never occurred to me that I could possibly just bypass it!

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    3. Yeah, I thought I remembered how to do it from years ago when I played it last, but struggled so much with it that I started to doubt my own memory.

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    4. I found it very irritating that in that situation, Tex just kept walking calmly. It reminded me of some timed sequences in Operation Stealth, which you included in your next-year game list if I'm not mistaken!

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    5. I guess cool detectives never run.

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    6. Congrats on finishing your longest game of all time.

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  4. Sorry if I missed it, but I did check through all the previous comments... did everyone already know the origin of "Big Jim Slade"? He was a character in the Kentucky Fried Movie (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076257/)

    Congrats on finishing the game!

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